Saturday, October 24, 2009

Ramblings

After a night of flashbacks, panic attacks and finally drugged sleep, I'm not very coherent. But I wanted to take a moment to update and to thank everyone for their comments.

After work yesterday,
I ran by the Christian bookstore and bought two books for women whose men struggle with sexual addictions. So far they are pretty good. I'm struck by two things. First, how many abusers start out with pornography, and how from a woman's perspective viewing pornography is just as bad as having an affair.

I went home and Husband was wrapped in a blanket on the couch. He didn't move. Didn't talk. I went into the bedroom. I had called T and thankfully she was able to squeeze me in. I told Husband I was going to meet with her. He looked a little odd about that.
She and I talked about what to do - block computer, cancel internet - is that controlling or helping? Since so much is from his need to be "mothered" I have to be careful not to take control and do it all. Decided to password protect the computer (done) and let him figure out how to do the Employment stuff on the phone or in person. Cancelled cable except channels 1-19 which are just local (no more TLC, HGTV, or A&E for me). Not so much for the X/R rated stuff but because he doesn't need to sit around and watch TV and not work. If he starts watching soap operas all TV will be gone.

She also suggested pulling Bugaboo out of daycare out for a week or at least a few days - pay for daycare to keep the spot - but don't use it. That way Husband has to take some responsibility. And she suggested I do some 1-1 things with the kids during evenings and weekends, so that Husband has at least 1 kid almost all the time for awhile. And if he is still unemployed over the holidays, keep Bugaboo out and let him have both kids for the two-week Christmas break. Even if I'm paying for the spot (to keep it and not lose it) doesn't mean I have to use it. I never thought of that. It's a good plan because he is not capable (at present) of juggling errands, housework, and the kids. He's enjoying staying home too much.


She said to give it a few days but then tell Husband two things (1) he's too good of a man to be acting like this and (2) I am too committed to our family to give up without a fight and that I was going to some man at the church to seek their help in reaching him. I'm going to have to use the shame to make him reach out.

Got home and there was a note on my dresser. It said, "Sorry about the computer thing. I have an appt with [his therapist] on Tues."

I'm grateful for that. Although I do note his apology is specific which is a deliberate thing for him - he usually just says "sorry."

Last night I cancelled the extended cable. I also
looked at the computer history closely (blech). I kept his note. T suggested I check our credit cards and bank cards. I did that. I looked in his wallet and will check the safe. The book cautions against becoming a constant hall monitor and I do not want to do that. But I need to know how big this problem is before I can tackle it. And the attorney side of me is compelled to document all this (just in case).

Everything appears to be "size issue" related - some female sites but nothing that appeared hard core.. So I definitely think it is an esteem thing, more so than simply a sex thing. But T also made me see that as he's gotten sucked into this more and more, his attitude has changed. Hindsight being 20-20 I can see that. And that could be causing a lot of our issues too.

T also suggested making the finances hurt awhile - so I'm cutting out going out to eat - that's his huge favorite. Just refuse to go because "we need to save $$" No ordering out either. I need to make his being out of work uncomfy. I need to make his sit around and do nothing for awhile and get bored. One so he feels his income does make a difference but also to make him want to find work.
I've been trying to keep things status quo so he doesn't feel bad about being out of work. But instead he sees things going on normal so why does his working matter? Again no motivation and a blow to his esteem.

Pornography and sexual addictions are a war. There are images everywhere. Men are so visual. Women in bikinis on baywatch become a problem. So things need to be super restrictive for awhile and then lessen up. It's like an alcoholic would never go to a party where alcohol was being served until they were far along in recovery. So I'll have to be cognizant of what I watch on TV, the magazines in the house (no more People magazine) and flyers we get (off the Victoria secret mailing list).

In the meantime, he's sleeping in the basement awhile. And I'm changing/showering/etc behind closed doors. I don't even want to nurse in front of him.

As for me, reading these books has reminded me that most abusers start out with pornography. And reminded me just how pornography played a role in my abuse. The flashbacks and nightmares have been intense. I want Husband to see what this is doing to me -- but I'm not in a place where I can do it without being confrontational or accusatory. And I sure do not want him trying to comfort me. I'm also still PISSED I'm going to have to talk about sex in front of other people.

24 comments:

Ethereal Highway said...

I'm glad you're doing something about all of this. I think you have a good plan. I'm so sorry you're going through so much.

Faith-Magdalene said...

Enola,
The man is depressed. He's clearly depressed and having major issues with the role reversal thing.

When you block and set things up so he can't look at porn on the net you are doing the same thing wives did with a husband who drank. When has it ever helped an addict to pour his liquor down the sink? It doesn't. It turns his anger towards you instead of him focusing on the real problems. You taking over doesn't let him take responsibility for his actions.

The other question is this. Who says you have to fix this? Who says you yourself have to do something about his problem? You do not have to fix this. I'm not saying approve of it. I'm saying you don't have to be the one to save him from himself nor should you be the one he feels threatened by.

From what I've read over a long period of time it seems porn is a symptom not the main problem. Don't get lost in the details. Look at the entire picture.

Faith-Magdalene said...

Non-porn related comment:

You won't like me for saying this but.....how many times have you threatened to leave him over his lack of a job? You threatened him E. Anyone who feels threatened will retaliate in some way either right out or with passive aggression.

You've called him a mama's boy before so to tell him he can go back and live with his mother while you get an apartment was disrespectful and contradictory to telling him you're committed to the relationship.

In your entry you mentioned how little he does but then listed all the responsible things you did that day. You set yourself up as the good one and him the bad one.

The man is depressed and threatened. That is what appears to be the main issue.

Porn comment:

Despite how triggering this is (understandably it is) the truth of the matter is his issues with porn does not put him in the same category as your abuser.

Last but not least. You are not your mother.

Faith

Enola said...

I know putting controls on the TV and computer won't "fix" him - I thought lon and hard about it and talked to T about it. But the reality is I won't have it in my house. Not with my kids. Not if putting controls on a TV and computer can help.

One correction - I have NEVER threatened to leave him for losing his job. It is not his fault he got laid off. He told me he wasn't looking for one and what was I going to do about it - I threatened to leave because he isn't trying or willing (till Jan and after hunting) to get a job. There is a difference. I have repeatedly told him to go to a career ctr or something, go back to school or whatever he wants. But sitting around is not an option. I'm not proud of threatening to leave - I apologized later (even after finding porn) and reiterated my commitment to work on things.
I know he's not "as bad" as my abuser - but with the flashbacks being stirred up and the refrains of "it's not that bad" or "it's not as if he ..." In my head, I'm not exactly thinking the most clearly on those lines.
Bottom line - his core issue is self-esteem. I've known that a long time and have tried to get him to work on it. But he has to do it.
I've got my own issues. But I've worked 3 long hard years in therapy on them. I'm not perfect but I'm trying my best and I don't see that from him.
You may be right on the depression idea. I'll have to think on that some. It does run in his family.

prochaskas said...

I'm sorry I missed your previous post -- I'm sorry all this is happening. The depression possibility makes sense -- and would also explain the lack of motivation to actually look for work, too.

God be with you both.

Putting obstacles in the way of an addict doesn't fix the addiction, but it at least hinders its fulfillment. Not putting up those obstacles would just be enabling.

Ethereal Highway said...

I hate to be an A-hole, but does depression cause a man to put hunting before his family? Come on, people. There is no magic pill to make a man into a responsible husband and father. It's not that easy. And for those who remember, this is not the first time that these problems have come up. They predate the layoff.

I think there's a lot more to it, Enola. I think you know where the origin of his troubles lie, but only he can fix it. That said - good for you for protecting yourself and your children from filth. GOOD FOR YOU. And I'm sure you will think about plenty of things in all of this and will do your best to do everything you think is right every step of the way.

Faith-Magdalene said...

"I hate to be an A-hole, but does depression cause a man to put hunting before his family?"

No, but feeling boxed in may. Perhaps hunting isn't a sign of laziness but of escape. Are we still not able to see that he's grasping at anything and everything he had before the lay off? Or are we dead set on making sure he's seen as a bad father and provider... cause that's what I got from your comment EH. I understand that we're pissed at the guy for his actions but for goodness sake lets at least be willing to look at WHY not just that it is but WHY.

No one blames you Enola for wanting to protect your kids from smut. Who on earth could blame you for that? I'm just saying that this may be a symptom not the problem itself. The fact that he let you find it and didn't erase it is a big sign to me. Someone who knows their wife is going to be pissed doesn't simply forget to erase the history.

I need to make this clear....This is not your fault. It's simply not your fault. You can't drive him to do that. He's an adult who made a very bad decision that he needs to reconcile. He also needs to look at what took place before this episode. What lead to it and how did he find himself here again? This has been my point all along. Figure out how he got here and how to make sure he doesn't get back. He needs to figure out the root cause of this issue. What triggered this? In my opinion a major factor in this harmful behavior is the role changes in the household.

fma

Faith-Magdalene said...

....... in addiction when there is a relapse there is first a trigger.

April_optimist said...

Big, big (((hugs))).

Colleen said...

I am sorry you are going through this. {{Hugs}}

Ethereal Highway said...

Everyone likes escape. The problem comes in when someone is so bound and determined to get it that they will jeopardize the well being of their entire family for it. There is just no way that responsibility can be described as neglecting your home and children to look at porno. And risking your unemployment benefits to go hunting even when there is no savings left? I don't understand how anyone can defend this. I'm not saying there is nothing driving the behaviors, I'm saying it would be unreasonable of Enola (and even a little twisted, imho) to break out the kid gloves, which would only enable. Adults have to draw the line somewhere and it seems to me that this is what she has done. Somebody has to be the grown-up and I don't think it's productive to blame that person for not living in the sandbox with the partner who is acting like a spoiled child. If she did that, there would be no one left to keep a roof and maintain a childhood for the real children.

I'm not saying he should be tarred and feathered, but I just happen to agree with Enola that the situation is unacceptable. And why oh why would anyone expect her to be accommodating and understanding of his porno problem after everything she has been through? You see in the post that his behavior is a perversion by Enola's value system. It's causing nightmares and flashbacks and yet she is supposed to 'make nice'. Gee, THAT sounds familiar. Sometimes people have to choose. That's what adults do. They make choices. I see nothing wrong with the ones Enola is making. They seem fairly healthy. Even in a marriage there must be boundaries.

jumpinginpuddles said...

Im glad you have gone to read up on all this stuff im sorry its hurting you so much

Kahless said...

{{{hugs}}}
Dont know what to say really, except I would be pissed about having to talk sex with T too.

prochaskas said...

"I hate to be an A-hole, but does depression cause a man to put hunting before his family?"

It might. Hunting brings no responsibility, no demands, no interruptions, no others' feelings and needs. I can see the appeal.

I don't think I'm vindicating E's husband by saying so. He's got the wrong priorities. But the solution does need to take into account both partners' needs and desires. And if depression is part of that, there are things that can be done about it. He's said he's got a therapy appointment. That's a good step. If medication would help, that could be good, too.

No kid gloves are necessary. It is possible to be compassionate, sympathetic, and respectful of another person's real needs and desires (for freedom, for sexual fulfillment, for a sense of being a man, whatever -- not for hunting instead of getting a job, not for porn, not for neglecting or belittling others) while remaining firm about one's own real needs and desires. It's not the same as "making nice."

Ethereal Highway said...

I know what my comment reads like, but Enola knows me and knows I am not without compassion. I think there is something being missed here. Going to a few therapy appointments and starting a medication is not going to quickly change a set of priorities that have taken a lifetime to build. This will take time and a massive commitment from the husband. I'm just saying (and I'm inspired to from things I've read here in the past) that Enola is doing the right thing in being very firm and direct about what she will tolerate and what she will not without candy-coating things to avoid her husband's disapproval.

And it concerns me that she is now supposed to put her energies on having compassion for something that she sees as a perversion when it was the very thing that caused her trauma to start with. She is going to need help and support instead of having people show up here to tell her how to be a 'better wife'. Do you not understand how horribly damaging perversions have been for her, how she was hurt and tormented by sexual abuse and how big a role pornography played in that? And now she is supposed to have understanding and compassion? I hope others will see what a bind this puts her in. She is going to need a lot of support and compassion, too. It just feels horribly WRONG to me that she is now expected to have patience and understanding around something that tormented her and hurt her so very badly. Where is HER support if her husband would rather hunt than be available for work?

Lucky for Enola, she has a mind of her own and she's not afraid to use it. She won't be making decisions based on what I or anyone else on a blog thinks of it.



Enola, please take very good care of yourself in all of this. You have worked your tail off to get where you are today. TAKE CARE. Your children are counting on you.

Labyrinth said...

You're telling my story! That's how I found out about my husband's addiction. It was awful. And we were running a business together! At Home!

I told him he'd better get help. I refused to cook his meals, do his wash, etc etc because we would talk about business and nothing more. Period. Scared the sh*t out of him.

He got into a group. I went to classes at a church for wives of porn addicts. I didn't know if our marriage would even survive. I've never come close divorce/separation before, but I did then.

It was a horrible time. We spoke about business, nothing more. I cried/got mad in my therapist's office. We got into marriage counseling after several months.

We were blessed. He was so scared of losing me that he took the necessary steps to get help. He gave it up immediately and agreed to a blocker on the computer. And knew that I'd check his history regularly.

He has been faithful to his commitment. But I will never forgot the shock at finding the stuff on the internet.

In our class, I learned I have the RIGHT to check up on him, to ask him questions about if he's clean, about what steps he's doing to deal with the addiction.

I am so terribly sorry you're having to go through this.

Labyrinth said...

PS... I got a couple of really good books too, and yes, as far as I was concerned, he was having affairs with all the women he was gawking at.

Faith said...

I was determined to not reply to this thread again but your last comment EH changed my mind. I absolutely never said she needed to have compassion and understanding for his issues. I simply stated that there's something bigger going on than the porn. I also never said that she needs to be patient. Never said it, never thought it. I simply stated that his issue seems deeper than porn. I also never said she should just accept this behavior nor did I say that it is okay for him to behave this way. I said he needs to take responsibility for his actions and that Enola can't fix something she didn't break. I also said this isn't her fault and she didn't drive him to watching porn. Again, I stated that his issue seems bigger than the porn.

I could easily continue to type the same thing again and again but since it's not being read the way I write it then why bother? As far as how dare people come here and say these things to Enola...well, I was specifically asked by Enola to come over here concerning this subject. She left a comment on my blog concerning recent "drama" as she called it at her house. I stopped coming over here a long time ago unless specifically directed over here. When E dropped by to tell me something was going on I came here. That's how I dared to come here and leave my opinion which has been taken so far out of context it's not even funny.

Enola, this is directed to you. The conversation between me and EH has totally gotten out of hand. It has also taken focus off of the real issues at hand. This is your blog and I should not be in this type of heated discussion on your blog. For my part of it I am sorry. What I said may be accurate but I should not have continued discussing this with such emotion on your blog. The last thing you need is two people going at it during your hard time. For that I am sorry.

fma

Ethereal Highway said...

And I never said 'how dare you' anything. But I think you know that. I know what words you used. I can read. I can also think. Don't pretend that you were not leveling blame in that second comment you made. Some of us ARE willing to ask people to be accountable for their actions and we don't have any other reasonable choice when there are children involved.

I just find it sad that a woman finds this filth in the midsts of her family after every horrifying things she has been through, comes to her blog for support, only to hear excuses for her husband's perversion and to be accused of being a bad wife. I think that's terrible. I'm also hoping it's unconscious. Sometimes that happens.

prochaskas said...

I agree with you, EH. E is right to be firm. She is right to own her own side of things -- all of it, positive and negative. How she's been hurt, how she's tried to do what's right, as well as her own missteps.

All I am saying is that her husband, while he has serious faults, is not (wholly) evil. If he were, we'd be telling her to get divorced.

Compassion for HIM -- not for his irresponsibilities, perversions, failures, etc.

Compassion for herself as well.

Therapy and medication might be helps -- I am not claiming they would be magic or even quick or even the only helps.

I'm not accusing E of anything.

Ethereal Highway said...

No, I didn't think you were accusing her, but having compassion for him might not always be so easy in this case. At times it might not even be appropriate (hence the 'making nice' business). Even in an addiction, an action is still a behavior. At some point the husband made a DECISION to search for porn. He purposely sought out the very thing that injuerd his wife so terribly. Now let's take the word 'addiction' out of the picture and forget all the politically correct coddling it brings to mind. Let's get rid of that word and just say her husband made a decision to seek out something that hurt his wife because that is what gives him pleasure. Now I think a call for compassion is 'making nice'. And pretty gross, too. She might not want to give him compassion. She might secretly want to give him a black eye and then puke in his face. I don't think we have any business pushing compassion for this man. He will get whatever Enola ends up able to give him and nothing more.

Kahless said...

As much as I have been shrinking at reading the comments (as I hate conflict) I just cant help but put my two penneth in!

And I want to put it in via talking about other things to draw a parallel.

I am an addict.
Smoking is one of my vices.
Yes it is a symptom. I guess some would say a symptom of oral fixation.
I could blame it on poor attachment with my mother. All of this is irrelevant if I was to smoke over kids. If I did that then I deserve no compassion only someone to kick my butt.

I deserve no compassion if my smoking impacts others. I am an adult and I would have to take responsibility for that.

I will draw another parallel.
Most abusers were abused as kids. They dont get any truck from me. Cos there are a lot of kids who were abused as kids who do not turn into busers themselves. Us adults have to take responsibility for our actions, whatever the underlying reason for them.

You go Enola. I am 100% behind you. Listen to the comments that resonate and ignore those that dont. (including this one.)

Caio!

prochaskas said...

Aha -- I think I'm making a distinction between behavior and the person, and that isn't coming off clearly.

I don't condone what E's husband has done, and I don't expect compassion for his behavior.

I do expect compassion for him as a person, apart from his behavior.

Love the sinner, hate the sin.

Isn't that different?

Ethereal Highway said...

No, it is not as different in this case as it may seem. I will tell you why, but I doubt you will understand unless you have walked in very similar shoes. It's this -- I'm not saying he deserves no compassion, I'm saying his wife, who he has harmed in a sickening way, is not the person who is obligated to give it to him in this particular instance. Whatever misery he has over this, the personal end of it that involves pornography is something he can not expect to use his wife as a sounding board for. I don't think she owes him ANY compassion around his problem because she might have to betray HERSELF to give it to him at this point. I'm sorry I can't really make it any more clear. Some people come from such different worlds that there is a certain level of communication that can often not be opened between them. It would take me a volume to get my point across on this in a meaningful way and I am beginning to think it would be like trying to explain a desert to a sea trout, or an ocean bed to a bird.

In some cases, it is not entirely possible, or even mentally and emotionally healthy, to separate the sin from the sinner. That is the sole job of the sinner anyway, and it is not Enola's responsibility to put that ahead of her own wellness. It doesn't even demand equal billing. Not from her. She will have enough trouble separating HERSELF from the sin she didn't even commit. Certainly such a distinction (dissociation, really) cannot be advised to another just on principle. There are simply too many variables.