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Ann Hedonia

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Ann Hedonia last won the day on March 15

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  1. Ann Hedonia

    Mich

    It is so hard to keep giving love and not have it respected and valued. First and foremost, you have to take care of yourself. Read everything you can about sex addiction. For so many of us, there is a lovely man that we love, and then there is the addict. As long as the addict is the one you are dealing with, you don't have access to that good man, however good a husband/friend/father he might be. The addict will chew the man up, chew you up and chew your relationship up. Get yourself well, with good trustworthy support. If your husband won't do the same, then he is lost to the addiction and with the best will in the world, won't be able to access all that is true and good in himself. Many of us ask ourselves the same questions every day. You are not alone. x
  2. Oh Lorna, there is nothing so crushing as learning that the person you thought you knew so well isn't that person at all! One thing that we all have in common on this forum is that we feel so alone. Sadly, there are many of us, all hidden in a shame which isn't ours to carry. In the early days, sometimes I had to actually remind myself to breathe. Just know that you are not alone, and that all of us make our way taking tiny steps, even if we don't quite know where we are headed. Be kind to yourself and remember that you did not cause this, and you certainly can't cure it; all you can do is take good care of yourself. x
  3. Hi Struggling Partner, I can relate so much to this, particularly the part about having to find it out yourself, rather than having a disclosure. I reached a similar place to you recently, not because he had relapsed, but because he was hiding stupid little things. It is the secrecy and minimising that I find so destabilising. He keeps asking me to be patient, which is a bit rich given how understanding and supportive I have been of his recovery. Then I had a moment of clarity. As long as he continues to work his programme and see his therapist, I am prepared to be patient re his recovery, understanding that it is a chronic relapsing condition. What I have zero tolerance for is the secrecy and obfuscation. I found myself saying out loud to a friend that if he lied or minimised one more time, I would ask him to leave. I had never made that boundary explicit before, and it felt liberating. I had always told myself that a commitment was a commitment, but I can't be committed to a relationship on my own. I sent him an email with this boundary very clearly laid out. I invited him to tell me exactly what has been going on (because I could sense that he had slipped). For the first time ever, he offered information that I didn't know about. It would be very very sad if we had to split, but I felt much better for giving myself permission to do this if necessary. I haven't thrown this around as an idle threat before, and my loyalty and love are well-proven. I know that if he crosses this boundary, I will end the relationship. I will have many regrets, but I won't regret standing up for myself on the need for trust. I have also asked him to go on the Laurel Centre course for addicts to support their partners. He has signed up for this, very willingly. I don't think he would have done this if I hadn't taken a stand. It took me several months to get to this point, and I'm not advocating that you take the same stand, but I know that if we don't value ourselves, why would our partners value us? There are so many of us out there. I am so glad that we can find each other for support on this forum. Ann x
  4. Can a partner heal if the addict isn't being honest? How many chances do we give them? My partner has admitted that he is creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. He says that he hides the truth from me, because he fears that I will reject him (I have discovered some shockingly awful and painful things and still haven't rejected him, because I understand this is the addict part of him, and that he wants to be someone other than the addict). Then he hides and minimises relatively small things, compared to my initial discovery. I have said repeatedly that it is the lies and secrecy that will break us up, not the truth, however painful. He says he hates himself for setting up this double bind, where he is creating a scenario where he can prove to himself yet again that he is a shame-filled unworthy being who is so unhappy with himself that he has to act out - so that addict wins again, and two people who fundamentally love each other lose, not to mention my step-son with whom I have developed a loving relationship over the last six years. I feel totally stuck. He has agreed to go to couples therapy, in addition to the personal therapy that he has weekly. His therapist told him he had to start being honest with himself in order to be honest with me. I know in the past he has lied in couples therapy with his ex. I wonder if I am just wasting my time and money trying this route, when the addict in him is bound and determined to push me away. There is so much love between us, and his son, but I wonder if love is enough. I am wondering the same question as Kaykay, above.
  5. Hi Squirrel74, I am both saddened and encouraged by the similarities I see when I read our stories on this site. You explain so well the conflict between loving a man who is kind and loving etc, and wanting to support that man, and at the same time, feeling humiliated by the repeated betrayal of trust. In my case, it's not just that I don't trust him, although I really want to, it is that I don't trust my own instincts and responses. I feel for you. I feel for us all. Sadly, we are not alone. x
  6. Hi Snowpatrol, like Sunflower, I haven't been able to face coming on here lately, but I know that there is nowhere else where I can speak what is in my heart to people who truly get it. I found out about my partner's betrayal(s) on 1st June last year. I probably don't need to tell anyone reading this about how awful that day was, and how difficult it was over those first few months. However, he is working his recovery in his 12 step group and with his therapist, and all of that is good. I regularly tell him, sincerely, how proud I am of him. I see the changes in him, and I appreciate them. He can now tolerate hearing me say how upset I was/am, or telling him that I can see when he has slipped, and by and large, we get through those conversations constructively and with love. However, like you Snowpatrol, I am wracked with doubts. I knew last summer that he was not in a good place, but each summer his mood plummets; I had no idea that he was lost in a world of degrading fantasy. I have multiple post graduate qualifications in mental health, including addiction. I loved this man and I would have said that we had a close and trusting relationship (too trusting perhaps!), so you can imagine how I beat myself up every day for missing what he was doing. And my worry is that if I missed it once, might I miss it again? He has never made a disclosure, instead, I have always confronted him with my concerns, and on the 1st of June, I checked his phone. I don't want to be the porn police. One of the biggest losses of this whole mess has been my loss of confidence in myself, in my judgement and, frankly, my value as a human being. Besides his individual recovery, and mine, I think we have to recover as a couple. He agrees, but it's always me that takes the lead in asking for ways to make that happen. My calendar gets full quite far ahead, so I asked him what his thoughts were about the 1 year anniversary of that terrible day. He said we should just go to work as normal and that it was morbid to mark such a horrible day, but that if I wanted us to do something together, he would take the day off. This feels like an abdication of his part in our joint recovery, and that my organising something for that day and him coming along for the ride completely misses the point. I would welcome the thoughts of other women in my position. As a society, we mark Armistice Day and Holocaust Memorial Day, etc, to reflect and learn how not to allow these things to happen again. Is it morbid to want us as a couple to do this? How do the rest of you cope with anniversaries of this kind? How do you cope with the crippling self-doubt? Where is the line between asking for what you want in a relationship, and being the Butlins Redcoat of the relationship? Ann.
  7. I really appreciate hearing this perspective on what, as a partner, seems a baffling course of behaviour. Whilst being angry beyond all imagination, hurt, betrayed, etc, I have also hung on to a great deal of compassion for my partner, and admiration for his courage in facing this. Your explanation helps me do this better. Thank you.
  8. Natalieb, I understand the horrible compulsion to know, and the fear of saying what you know. A good therapist will help you get your thoughts and feelings together, for yourself, and for the sake of your children. Some things are too hard to tackle by oneself, and that's where a good therapist is worth his/her weight in gold. Take very good care of yourself; you will need your health and strength to get through the next part of your family's life. x
  9. Thank you @Ginny for your sound advice. And thank you @Cowslipfor expressing so well were you are at. The rationale that 'she knows and doesn't really mind' enrages me! I think my partner confuses my support for collusion too, and nothing could be further from the truth. Like you, there are many positive parts of our relationship, and when he is not in his addict mode, he is a lovely man. I have to keep reminding myself that this is the part I love, and that the addict behaviour is what is incompatible with my life. If needs be, I would have to take a stand against the behaviour; it is my horror at the thought of doing that that I fear my partner plays on.
  10. @OurLifeIsALie, I found similarly shocking stuff on my partner's phone. It was so disorienting for me, as he had never shown a shred of interest in other men. It made me think, how can I be enough for a man who fancies other men? If he had plain said he was gay, I think I would have found that easier to manage in a way, as I know some people discover this about themselves later in life. What I find hard to get my head round is that he vehemently says he isn't, but was sending very explicit material to other men (and women). I've done a lot of reading, and have talked to trusted and knowledgeable friends about this, and I have come to the conclusion that in SA, a big part of it is the secrecy and the shame, and that each reinforces the other. The expression of the relationship between the secrecy and shame happens to be sex and the more shameful and secret that sex, the more it does that job. I have learnt, from talking to my partner, that this kind of sex, and all the feelings that go with it, are compartmentalised into a different box in his head than his feelings for me. He kept saying to me, "it's not about you" which I found very hard to understand, as it felt so deeply personal to me. I don't put my sexual feelings into little boxes in that way, so it is very hard to understand what that feels like. It's not easy at all, but I am working very hard at not taking his addiction personally. He is doing the work, and I believe that he wants the stuff in the shameful box to lose its power in his life and for the feelings in the box in which he puts our life to be stronger and safer. I hope for that too, and am prepared to support him in getting there, as long as he keeps the work up. I hope that I am not being a mug for doing this, but I know that if he can't manage his addiction, it won't be for lack of support on my part, and I will leave the relationship sadly, but without blaming myself. Read all you can - knowledge is power! And I while everybody is different and has to find their own way, I would strongly urge you to be true to yourself, and remember that your recovery from this is yours, regardless of what choices he makes. x
  11. Tabs, I admire your compassion for addicts. It's not always easy to hold on to that when we have been so abused, betrayed and hurt by them. I find it a hard balance to tread between holding compassion and not letting that manifest as making myself more vulnerable. I don't want to be bitter and angry, because I don't think anything positive comes from that, but equally, I want my hurt acknowledged. My partner too went to boarding school. Maybe boarding school is a positive experience for some people, but in my work, I encounter many many people who are deeply damaged by the experience. They aren't all SA, but their capacity for healthy relationships is invariably damaged. Anyway, Tabs, having read your story, I admire your courage, and your heart. I try to build those qualities in myself. Thank you for sharing your example. x
  12. My partner has engaged in a 12 step SLAA programme, and has been reading everything he can about his addiction and recovery, as well as seeing a really good therapist weekly. So far so good, and I am proud of him for doing these things. However, he has not maintained more than three weeks sobriety, "slipping" twice since starting the program a couple of months ago. I was, understandably, furious and hurt, particularly the second time, because he swore that the first slip was just part of his withdrawal. I was hurt on behalf of the other men in the programme, who presumably rely on the honesty of their fellows in recovery to support their own recovery. Anyway, he is back on the programme now, with more calls to his sponsor, etc, and swears that he sincerely wants to get well, and to have a life with me. The second slip destroyed my faith, not so much in him, but in myself. How could I have been taken in by all his fine words, his nightly calls to his sponsor, his meetings etc, all of which I accommodate into family life, arranging mealtimes around them etc, as I think his recovery is so important, when he was lying to himself, his sponsor, the other men, and to me? I would like to know how other women manage to draw the line between supporting a recovering addict, knowing that it is a chronic relapsing condition, and being played for a fool? It might be important to add that he didn't tell me about these lapses, but I discovered them and confronted him. He admitted that without this, he would not have told me.
  13. Lorna Ann, sadly, there are many many women (and probably men too) who have been where you are. We feel alone because the shame and horror keeps us largely invisible. On this forum, we can be heard by each other, without judgement and with compassion. What has helped me enormously is the realisation that his recovery is not mine. I have my own path to health and stability to tread; it may be parallel to his, but equally, the two paths may diverge. I know this is blindingly obvious, but it took me some months for the penny to really drop and for me to believe this in my heart, as well as in my head. Taking this position means that I can extend him compassion, and even love, but it means I am free from responsibility for his actions, and, equally importantly, he is not responsible for mine. I am free to choose what is meaningful and healthy for me. I hope that in time, you will find peace within yourself and the courage to choose what is safest and healthiest for you. And while you do that, know that you are in good company with the rest of us who are journeying with you. x
  14. @Snowflake, it sounds as if you and I are at similar points in our partner's recovery and our response to it. All the weirdness and things that just didn't make sense came bursting into painful undeniable focus on 1st June. Anyway, several rocky months on, he is completely and genuinely submerged in his recovery, with 12 step groups twice a week, and daily phone calls and written questions that he is presented each day. All of this is great, and I cannot fault him for sincerity, however, as I keep reminding him, there are two of us in recovery. I find it very difficult to watch any tv programmes with sex scenes in them when we are together. I'm currently watching Harlots on i-player, and I turn it off when he walks in. He assures me that I don't have to do this, as it doesn't upset him. This makes me so fu***ng livid, because it's not his feelings that I am sparing by turning it off! I've told him this, and he still doesn't get it! At first, I kept my distress from him as much as I could, because he was too fragile to bear his own shame and guilt, and my hurt and anger. Now, I've started to let him know what I feel and think; if we are to move forward in the way that he says he wants, then he needs to know who he is moving forward with. I may be a supportive partner, but I am so much more three-dimensional than that. I won't bob along like a dinghy in the wake of his recovery. He assumes that we will live happily ever after now that he has seen the light. He needs to see me too, or he will be continuing his journey on his own. I don't know if any of this bears any relation to what you are feeling, but I wanted to share with you my experience of not being cowed into being the "good wife" and being frightened of derailing his recovery with the imposition of my own feelings. OUR FEELINGS MATTER TOO!!!!! If our partners can't handle the fallout of their behaviour, then they aren't really doing the real work. X
  15. Sunflower365, at day 12, I was struggling to remember to breathe! You are in the very early days, and will have waves of all kinds of feelings swamping you. Re asking for a disclosure, if you asked now, do you think you would get a full and honest answer? Even if he did come fully clean, how would you know, and how would you trust that he was telling the full truth? A genuine disclosure, willingly and voluntarily given can’t be forced. However, I too was consumed by the need to know. I checked his phone. It’s not something I had ever thought of doing -it wouldn’t have crossed my mind- and I felt horrible doing so, but it did give me the information I needed. I compared this with what he was telling me, and so I can substantiate any speck of trust I might be willing to extend. He is now happy for me to look at his phone, and I do, occasionally. So far, so good. Remember to breathe; and be kind to yourself. X
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