Patience



I think in the age of technology many of us have become impatient.  We’ve forgotten what it’s like to wait for things, no matter how minute.  Think of the last time you went to watch a video online and it took more than ten seconds to load.  I bet you checked to see if you lost your connection.  Maybe you even gave up on the video and moved onto something else entirely.  What about your last drive-thru experience?  Did it take too long to get your food, your money, or your prescription?  Just think, we used to have to get out of our car and walk into the establishment for these services.  The horror!

We’ve become a society of Veruca Salts.  We want it now!


I was one of those people.  Who am I kidding?  I can still be one of those impatient people.  Especially when it comes to something like Devin’s recovery. I sometimes think it will happen overnight.  I fail to remember that each individual moves at different speeds. 

I love to dive in and self-examine and explore.  I’ve recognized I have more work to do so I’m doing another 12-step workbook to challenge myself.  For Devin, it’s not as easy for him to face his flaws.  I can’t expect him to be as gung-ho as I am.  Instead, I can be excited at how far in his program he’s come. 

It wasn’t always this way.  I used to drive myself crazy wondering about the progress of Devin’s recovery.  I thought it only fair because as a couple we’re in this together.  It made sense I be involved in his recovery.  I became confused on what that meant.  I was told to stay away, and then I was told it was okay to ask questions.  What did that mean?

I got clarification from my rockin’ counselor.  She said my way was not the right way.  (I love this lady.  She doesn’t mince words.  My old counselor would have said something like, “not preferable”.)  I was being a dictator by telling him how to work his recovery i.e. attend SAA meetings once a week, see a counselor once a week, do your daily reading, etc. Instead, she said it was acceptable that he understands my expectations for a healthy recovery because it’s part of my boundary agreement.  She also suggested check-in conversations.  We began using FANOS once again.

Once she explained the difference between being a dictator and checking-in with Devin, things seemed to make more sense to me.  I was able to let go of his recovery and let him take charge.  It also gave me a greater sense of patience because I wasn’t so enmeshed in it.  I could step back from it with greater ease and see how much progress he’s made. 

By using FANOS we, even all this time later, connect on a deeper level than we ever had before.  It also provides me with a sense of security that he’s continuing to work on his program.  It provides patience. 
~~~@ ~~~@
I’ll be at the dealership to get my car worked on today. I know I said that the other day but I never made it because I had a migraine.  They are supposed to have wi-fi so I can check my blog.  If not, I apologize for being late getting to your blogs.  

The Avoidant

source

Yep, another post from me.

Two days in a row, can you believe it?

The kids are back in school and blogging can become a regular part of my week.

I just need to figure out a schedule.

Sorry guys but I’m doing another post about sex addiction.  I normally don’t do two in one week but, meh, I’ve been gone for awhile.  Plus, I was pretty excited to find the link below and wanted to share it with those who may need it.

Now then, where was I?  Right, revelations.  Not the Bible chapter but self-discovery.  Yesterday, I talked about the importance of not being a parent to Devin any more.  That type of relationship is toxic in a marriage.

While doing some research on Devin's recent diagnosis of SLA vs SA, I discovered a fantastic

webpage

, and found that Devin and I fit this pattern almost perfectly.  Or, more accurately, we

used

to fit this pattern. 

Person

Desires

Attracted to

Behaviors

Process of person's relationships

Love addict

Security, safety acceptance, “oneness” (merger)

Fears:

Greatest fear is abandonment

Underlying fear is healthy intimacy (in enmeshment the core of the person is actually sealed off)

Self-contained individuals who appear strong, stable (often avoidant or obsessive compulsive, like their families of origin)

Line up next relationship before leaving current one--forming love triangles

Instant closeness, looking for “magic” feeling

Idealizing partner

Obsessing about partner

Talking obsessively to others about him or her

Acting out anger and revenge for being abandoned

Enters relationship in haze of fantasy--found this stable, strong, accepting individual

Gets high from fantasy

Denies how walled in avoidant really is

Avoidant gradually becomes distant and shuts down, abandons relationship in some way

Love addict acts out anger & revenge, turns to affairs and addictive sex

Partner capitulates and renews relationship, or love addict moves on to new relationship

Sense of self and self esteem does not develop--love addict remains in dependent position. Ability to tolerate fear and discomfort must develop for growth to occur

Avoidant

Wants to be connected, but not closely

Fears:

Greatest fear is intimacy/engulfment

Can have a hard time rejecting others or saying no

Individuals who provide much of the enthusiasm and intimacy for both of them

Ambivalence all the way through may be in relationship because can't say no

May show initial traditional romantic pursuing, but ultimately enters relationship because love addict provides most of the “intimate energy”; may fear would never make into a relationship otherwise

As love addict wants more and more attention avoidant attempts to please by giving it to them--at least initially

Eventually avoidant becomes overwhelmed by enmeshment and/or neediness of love addict, becomes critical, and eventually backs off from relationship or abandons it

Feels relationship has failed, sometimes gets involved with addictive behavior or affairs to distance, distract, or numb out

May return to relationship out of guilt or fear of being totally alone, or moves on to connect with another partner

Cycle of abandoning and returning can go on and on, especially if love addict starts to move on

If you didn’t figure it out, I’m the

avoidant

in this scenario.  I feared intimacy with someone and getting too close.  It made me feel vulnerable.  That fear was created after my first husband died.  I also thought I’d lose my sense of independence that I worked so hard to achieve after his death. 

What I didn’t realize was what an emotional mess I was inside after his death.  Instead of fixing myself, I focused on fixing others.  Some of you in a relationship with an addict may be nodding your heads right about now.  We tend to want to rescue people from their problems.  I tried to “fix” two alcoholics before I met Devin.  I didn’t even see the pattern of my relationships until I wrote them down while doing my step work.  How crazy is that?

The last column describes part of my relationship with Devin that are so painful to even think about.  It includes everything from me backing away from our relationship and then returning out of guilt to engaging in his addictive behaviors in an attempt to rescue our marriage. 

While it’s been a wild and crazy journey, I can truly say I look back on what I’ve been through with Devin with appreciation.  I never would have done this much work on myself had disclosure not happened.  Our marriage wouldn’t be as strong as it is now if he didn’t have the courage to tell me the truth and to get help.  We are better people today then we were in 2009-2010.

***

The Powerful Subconscious




My weekend was not starting out the best.  Don’t worry, it gets better, but it started crappy, that’s for sure.

Devin and I argued on Wednesday night.  Yes, I’m backing up to Wednesday night.  It’s my blog so I can do that.  You do what you want on your blog.  It was over something very trivial but instead of discussing it before we went to bed, we ignored each other.  The next morning we each waited for the other to apologize.  That never happened.  High expectations led to resentments.

I figured we would sit down and talk about it when he got home from work.  That didn’t happen either.  He texted me and said he had to go to Home Depot, then the book store, then his old school.  He let me know he wouldn’t be home for dinner.  I asked him why he was at his old school but I never heard back. 

I glanced at the clock and saw it was 6:00 p.m.   I reasoned he was probably visiting the guys he worked with.  I was going to send another text but decided against it.  If he couldn’t be courteous enough to glance at his phone, who was I to nag him about it?

An hour later the PTSD from the relational trauma kicked in.  It was like I had Trauma on one shoulder and Healing on the other.  “He’s up there emailing random women right now,” Trauma would whisper.  “No, he’s feeling rejected at home and accepted up there.  It’s part of the sex and love addiction,” Healing would whisper in my other ear. 

For hours the two battled it out in my head but Trauma won.  I was convinced Devin was up to no good although my gut and my brain were telling me it wasn’t true.  I went to bed feeling defeated.  I woke up the next morning, Devin gone for work, and a text message from the night before saying “Sorry, didn’t feel my phone vibrate. I’m on my way home. I’ve been hanging out with my old co-workers.”  Just like Healing whispered in my ear.

The next day, we didn’t speak until he came home from his SAA meeting.  I explained my trigger and he apologized for not checking his phone sooner and causing me anxiety.  He described how being at the college with his friends made him feel like he belonged somewhere when he felt excluded by me.

We decided we have a lot of work to do in the communication department but I feel like we are always moving in the right direction.  He has an updated diagnosis of SLA (sex and love addiction) vs SA (sex addiction).  I really can’t say too much about it because it’s brand new to me too.  From what I’ve learned so far, it makes sense.  To be honest, it’s his journey to explore, not mine.  I’ll do a little bit of research here and there so I know the basics about it but I won’t obsess over it like I did SA.  The days of obsession are long gone.

However, the days of triggering are not.  We went to his company’s picnic yesterday.  For some reason, while I was getting myself all dolled up, I reflected back on his military unit’s picnic a few year’s back.  I suppose it was because this was the first time I was meeting everyone at his new company and that made me think of meeting everyone at his unit picnic too. 

During the time of the unit picnic, Devin was still acting out and I had no idea.  I thought he was just really into porn.  I didn’t realize he was having online affairs.  So, as I applied my make-up, I had to do some deep breathing exercises to calm myself down and then I did my Serenity Prayer and felt much better.

The picnic was very nice, until I met the woman Devin went to lunch with.  I triggered again.  What in the world was going on with me?  On the outside I was still composed and smiling but on the inside I was crumbling. 

When we got home, Devin asked if I was okay. I told him about the trigger and he asked what he could do.  We talked about his “walls and windows” a phrase from a book we both read.  He assured me his boundaries are in place at work. After some time alone, I decided I needed to hand this over to God.  I needed to Let It Go and trust my gut.  I had nothing to tell me anything felt “off” with Devin.  There are no red flags.

Then this evening, I opened up my laptop and saw the date.  It’s hard to believe it’s been three years since my first disclosure.  I guess my subconscious remembered, after all.  At least now I know why I’ve been so triggery!  Now that I know the why, I think the triggers will be old news.

The good news is, Devin and I decided to focus on just he and I this week and have a date night!  Shrimp scampi here I come!!