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Confused, angry, hurt, upset!

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Hi everyone, 

To cut a very long story short my husband has a sex addiction. He did mastubate to porn about 4-5 times weekly (to relieve feelings of stress, anger, upset - never really for sexual desire) and used online apps and sites to chat to women, obtain pics/videos etc. Often he was verbally abusive to these women also, insulting the way they looked.  When this all came out we had some counselling and realised he’d experienced a traumatic childhood. Physical abuse by a step father, enmeshment by a narcistic mother who controlled him. He was left with very low self esteem and confidence and used porn/sex addiction to make himself feel better. He tended to act out following contact with his mother who often belittles, controls, guilt trips and manipulated him. 

Following counselling he was going to do work on his past and try and recover. He didn’t do this but he did manage to refrain from acting out for 4 months. 

Recently he became low in mood and verbally abusive to myself (he tends to do this before acting out) and he replapsed. 

He promised this time he would get help but 4 weeks on he is yet to engage in therapy as he feels he now has it under control. 

I know he doesn’t. The wounds of his childhood are still there and I know without dealing with these underlying issues he will relapse again. He won’t listen to me. 

I have and am reading everything I can get my hands on, learning as much as I can in an attempt to help him but without him engaging I know it’s useless. I feel like I’m sat here waiting for him to mess up again one time too many so I can leave, I don’t want to leave but I can’t spend my life waiting for him to deal with this. It’s driving me crazy. I almost wish it was me with the addiction as he’s far less motivated to fix it. 

Im struggling so much with anger. Anger towards his family for causing it, anger towards him for not stepping up and taking some control and I’m fast losing respect for him. I feel like it has taken over our lives and I can’t remmember the last time I felt happy or content. I’m always reading/thinking/observing his mood. 

I feel like I’m  going crazy and he’s slowing breaking me down. I’m not sure why I’m writing this or what I think any of you can say to help but I’ve nowhere else to turn. I guess I’m wondering if he’s a lost cause? If anyone truly recovers? What I can do to help him realise he needs help? 

Thanks for the ear x

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Hi Carrie,

I'm about 4-1/2 years sober from pornography and alcohol, so maybe I can lend some insight. And while I'll always be an addict, I believe I am truly recovered.

It sounds like he started to do the recovery work, but stopped. That's like filling a tub with only a few centimeters of water and calling it good. It's better than an empty tub, but it's still not suitable to bathe in.

I don't know exactly his situation, but he sounds a lot like me when it came to how he treated the women on the other end of the computer. It not only was about "getting back" at women for those who physically, sexually and emotionally harmed me when I was young, but it was also a way for me to exert control over the situation and my life.

Here's the kicker...in my intense therapy, it went even deeper than the stereotypical abuse stuff and it took a long time to get there. That road is paved with sadness, anger, embarrassment and shame. Its much easier to say "Hey, I got this" on your good days than to delve into that deep subconcious stuff, but for me, it has changed my life for the better, and I think my wife and kids would agree.

Be angry at the addiction, not at him. Anger, resentment, judgment...they come natural...but they only make the situation worse. Why would he open up to somebody who harbors such negative feelings toward him?

If you haven't read everything yet, just type my name into Amazon and you'll find a memoir I wrote that was published earlier this year. Good luck, and remember to keep yourself healthy. You're the only person you can truly control.

Joshua Shea

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Just a small point really: You will find a lot of advice on line and elsewhere about how you should react to this situation. My partner is currently doing the same and, while you'll find serious and detached expertise like Joshua, a lot of these support groups start from the point of view that you should end the relationship before anything else. You may need to search quite hard to find support if you want to stay with him. My partner now has two good sources of support, both of which at least accept the idea that the relationship can continue. One is face to face, the other is by phone; the internet doesn't hold all the answers.

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