Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Their side of the story

I have began over the past couple of months to read the blogs of women whose lives have been horrendously affected by their husband's sexual addiction. As I read how hard it is to rebuild trust, to not feel inferior, to go through divorce or try to rebuild the marriage, my whole body aches, but my heart truly hurts.

I could stop reading and avoid the pain, but at some level it is a part of the truth I really need to see. I seek it out not as self-punishment, but as a way of seeing what is real and what is a lie.

In my addiction, I have closed myself off from the feelings of the women who wash the dirty underwear, raise the kids, and put up with the egos of the men I took to bed. It's not that I never thought of the wives of the men I slept with. In fact, I often did. But I never allowed myself to think I was hurting them. It makes me think of the lies my stepfather must have believed while he was molesting me -- Everything's fine as long as no one finds out. Those are the same lies all sex addicts believe until they realize their soul has been stolen, and their life is no longer recognizable.

There is a usually unspoken lie that is perceived as the truth among people like me and the men I have slept with -- it is that our affairs have nothing to do with our partners. We are motivated, rather, by the screaming lie that we cannot go on, that life is incomplete and impossible, that we are nothing without that "zing" we get from acting out. We express our love and care for our families to one another and in the latter stages of the disease wish desparately that we could just stop and get back to our real lives. Thankfully it is when we get sick and desparate enough that we hit bottom and it is what brings the worst of us into recovery.

Even that doesn't stop the bleeding pain ... not for either side, not for a long, long time. What it does do, is give us hope where there was none.


woman.anonymous7 said...

Rae - Thanks for visiting me. Distinguishing reality has been one of the most powerful parts of this journey for me so far. So many things I held true were my ways of dealing with things I couldn't or didn't want to face. For example, believing that Husband would never hurt me was part of a world view that I wanted to have. But what I didn't acknowledge (wasn't even aware of) was that it absolved me of my own responsibilty for establishing boundaries, and denied my husband his humanity. Nobody is perfect, and even someone who loves you can hurt you.

I think turning away from things that threaten my world view is a Darwinian survival instinct. But when I am able to face what threatens my world view, along with the fear I find opportunity for growth.

Kellee said...

First of all, thank you, Rae. Not only for this post specifically, but for being a recovering sex addict and for putting yourself out there just as you are day after day after day. You & "Living Sobriety" never cease to amaze me with your raw honesty. It really is inspiring.

Thank you also for coming out of the shadows. Thank you for putting a real, human face on this terrible, destructive disease.

This paragraph struck me the most: "I could stop reading and avoid the pain, but at some level it is a part of the truth I really need to see. I seek it out not as self-punishment, but as a way of seeing what is real and what is a lie."

I started reading your blog from the beginning last night. I had to stop though because of how painful it was for me, the ex-wife of a sex addict. Before I stopped, however, I have to tell you that it was somewhat comforting to read your inner-most thoughts about your acting out. It was another clarification for me about the insanity that comes along with this (& every) addiction.

And although the details were almost too much to bear, it helped me get a little further on down the road in my struggles to realize that this addiction of my ex-husband's has nothing to do with me. There was nothing I could have done to have prevented or stopped it from happening. It's all on him. Just as it is for all of our respective recovery.

My reality used to tell me that he was plotting ways to hurt, humiliate & tear me down every, single time he acted out. Now I'm learning that (as painful as this is), I was more often than not never even a glimpse on the radar screen.

So thank YOU, Rae, for your side of the story. It helps & heals more than you know...


Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

I wanted to thank you as well, for bravely putting your story out there. You help humanize the women my husband has been with, help me have understanding and compassion, which ultimately helps heal all of us. I'm so thankful for you and so glad I know you.

Chris said...

Rae, as usual, beautiful, touching, heartfelt. You never cease to amaze me with your brutal honesty and soul. :)