Many good meaning people, including bloggers and friends keep on telling me that I “should” seek professional help or at least talk to someone. Well, I want to put a stop to this as I have tried and it does not work for me. Number 1. I had agreed with my husband that if after […]
It is so devastating to realise that you have been a victim of an invisible opponent. To finally understand wtf was going on. To see that you had a snowballs chance in hell of succeeding in your marriage and your life.
I made a lot of mistakes in my marriage. We all do, because few of us enter marriage knowing instinctively how to be a “good” spouse. That’s part of the deal. If both spouses turn into the marriage to battle the rough patches, a real marriage is born. When one partner turns away, however, all bets are off.
What happens when one spouse turns away and the other doesn’t know it?
For years, I was fighting my husband’s sex addiction but didn’t know it. It was as if I’d been blindfolded and thrust unknowingly into a high stakes game. He not only made all the rules, but was taking advantage of the blindfold to outwit and outplay me in a game I didn’t even know I’d entered. Nothing made sense but why would it? There’s no such thing as a fair fight when the opponent is invisible.
To add to the confusion, his consistent game strategy was to remain eerily calm at all times…
Writing this stuff, getting it out, is like squeezing blood out of a stone… I mean a finger!
I can’t remember where or when but I’ve seen peoples fingers pricked for those quick blood checks they do. A neat little contraption is used to whack a tiny little needle into the finger, the ‘nurse’ squeezes the finger and out pops a little bead of blood.
Except sometimes it just doesn’t. No amount of squeezing works, so out comes the needle contraption again and it’s pushed more firmly into the soft flesh and hopefully a more hefty zap of the needle will bring forth the blood. But a more forceful squeeze is required to force that tiny shining bead out through the hole that needle made. SQUEEZE!
It’s all stuck inside me. Backed up, smashed up and tangled.
I’ve had a pretty good week, following the amazing breakthrough during my last therapy session. I had some fears that the clarity and confidence will disappear upon some stupid triggers pulling me back in the murky depths, but triggers came and went, and the clarity stayed. For now at least.
I am still in huge pain. I still despise my husband for putting me into this shitty situation. I don’t deny: I carry anger for that. But my clarity does not seem to be an illusion. I had a therapy session again last night, and even my lovely therapist said that I was one of the strongest women she’s talked to in similar circumstances. I don’t want to trick myself into believing that my healing is complete – I am very far from that. It’ll take long months or maybe years for me to feel whole again. But getting to the point…
For me, there is a difference between being codependent and being a co-addict.
I became aware that I was codependent in my thirties. I was struggling in my marriage and I was reading every self-help book I could get my hands on. Of course, at this stage, I had no idea that my husband was an addict and wouldn’t know for another fifteen years.
There is so much information on codependence. It is difficult to pin down exactly what it is.
Firstly, that horrible word – CONTROLLING. I wrestled with the idea of this for so long! I just could not identify with controlling. I felt that I was quite the opposite of controlling. I felt like I was constantly bending over backwards to accommodate, assist and support!
Then one day I came across a different description of controlling that allowed me to see it from another perspective.
ORCHESTRATE: To organise a situation or event unobtrusively so that a desired effect or outcome is achieved.
ORGANISE: To oversee the coordination of the various aspects of something
This was a defining moment for me. I could finally see what I was doing! I was trying to orchestrate and arrange my environment so it would be safe and peaceful.
I had not seen that my striving to orchestrate and organise (calm, soothe, explain, advise, peace make) what was happening between the members of my family, WAS ME TRYING TO CONTROL MY ENVIRONMENT AND MY FAMILES ENVIRONMENT AND THEREFORE ME TRYING TO CONTROL MY FAMILY!
This is how that word controlling fitted in! I WAS trying to control!
For me, these few descriptions and definitions I have collected shrink the concept to a manageable and understandable size.
‘Codependency is a disconnection from self. (Never having had the opportunity to know oneself, understand oneself or develop oneself.)’
‘Codependency is essentially an issue of inappropriate psychological boundaries, a loss of person-hood, being out of touch with oneself, a condition of being externally referenced.’
Codependency not having of a clear sense of what you think, what you feel, what you need, what you want – of who you are, independent of the people around you.’
‘Co-dependency is a condition that many people from dysfunctional families develop when they are children. It is a dysfunction that stems from focusing on the needs and behaviours of others while neglecting your own needs and inner child. The codependent usually turns over responsibility for their life and happiness to another person. They will only feel happy or whole when the person of their preoccupation is fulfilling their need for acceptance and love.’
‘A codependent person is one, who lets another person’s opinions negatively affect them, someone who is preoccupied with orchestrating (controlling) that persons perceptions of them, and who is emotionally dependent on sources outside themselves for feelings of self-esteem and self-worth.’
‘Codependency is allowing others to define who you are and how you feel.’
‘When we are codependent, allowing someone else’s actions or behaviours to determine our own, we can become trapped in the same kind of controlling and manipulating ways they use. This kind of relationship swirls in a vicious cycle of twisted practices. Within a family, the children and other loved ones also learn to function in this manner. These behaviours are thought necessary for survival. This prohibits any change and restoration toward a healthy family life.’
‘Codependency – The Flight to Intimacy’
Basically, codependency is an exaggeration of the otherwise healthy motivation for love/affiliation (which connects one to others). When reduced to its essentials codependency revolves around two core issues: problems about
1) Being oneself, and
2)Taking care of oneself.
Emotionally healthy individuals can connect with others without sacrificing their own integrity, and meet their own needs without guilt.
In codependency these healthy traits degenerate into
(a) Fusion(loss of one’s own identity in social contact), and
(b) Self-sacrifice (sacrifice of one’s own needs to meet the perceived needs of others).
Now, CO-ADDICTION! That was not and is not me.
I had no inkling of the addiction, therefore I could not enable Husbands addiction.
When I found out about the addiction, I confronted Husband. I put boundaries in place to protect myself. I did not deny the reality of the addiction or enable him to continue with the addiction.
Dr. Barbara Steffens says that a lot of the protecting, hiding and denial behaviour is actually a trauma response. See – http://drbarbarasteffens.com/
This past week I finally, FINALLY, stumbled upon Chump Lady’s blog. Oh boy. So when you read all that’s out there about sex addiction, how it’s not your fault, and how it’s really out of their control (it’s NOT! it’s a freaking choice to fuck another woman [or hundreds, in the case of my husband]), how guys can recover if they are willing to invest the hard work, and how you should not make a decision in the first year after discovery, it’s really awesome to get a good dose of reality from the other side. From those who made the leap and came out better, healthier, happier on the other side. Not saying there’s one good way to do this, just saying I needed to get a good slap from that side, too, to feel more balanced.
At the end, isn’t one of the reasons we don’t tell our…