Friday, April 29, 2011

Just for Today (an ongoing series)

I'm stealing a little bit from Mr. SponsorPants. He has an "ongoing series" about things he's learned in recovery. I still have a lot to learn, and my emotional pain is consistently getting in my way. I want to wake up tomorrow and be over this. I want to have a different job that I love with co-workers and an office, and some meaning. I want to have a nice place to live and be able to afford it. But most of all, I don't want to be in pain anymore over Roi and his deceptions. 

That's not how life works, and I get that. The way I see it, I have to break all of this down into baby steps, all heading in the direction of my bigger, long-term goals. Because right now, when I wake up every day and I'm still in pain, still working with Roi, still somewhat financially dependent on him, still living with someone who continually deceives me, it's just so overwhelming and depressing that I find all I can do is write. The writing is damn important, I know that, but the more important writing is ahead. The writing where I tell the truth, and face the truth about my experience. While this blog is helpful, it's still cycling over and over again on the same pain. Pain that I want to free myself from. 

If I had to go all psychoanalysis on this "cycling-recycling" shit, I'd have to guess that while I don't like the pain I'm in now, it's a known pain. All I know about the pain of separation is that it will hurt, and it will be new and different pain. I would also guess that I'm suffering from the phenomenon of "learned helplessness" which comes from random, and unvalidated emotional abuse, because let's be clear -- whether they mean it or not, the tactics that addicts use to protect their addiction has all the same characteristics of emotional abuse. AND then there's the whole self-esteem in the toilet bit. Sex addiction has a way of doing a number on the partner's self-esteem, no matter how much they consciously know or repeat the mantra, "it's not about me, it's not about me, it is NOT about ME".  And lastly, there's all the cognitive dissonance that being close to active addiction creates in the mind of the partner -- cognitive dissonance which the brain demands must be ruminated on and RESOLVED dammit, because we need things to make enough sense so we can move around the world (this is why I still bristle at the codepenedent model).

Add to that my particular complications of living with and working with/for Roi, and it sure can seem like an insurmountable mess. But it's not, and I'll survive -- thrive even. Still, I need to be realistic about what I can do and what I can't do in a given day. Tomorrow won't be magic. Tomorrow I'll still be in the same situation now, except that I can make small changes that will eventually add up to an eventual complete paradigm shift in my life. 

So that said, JUST FOR TODAY, I'm going to do these small things to shuttle that paradigm shift a little faster. 

  • 10 minutes of meditation immediately after hitting the publish button on this post. 
  • 20 minutes of fun dance exercise. 
  • 5 hours more of work (yes for the "man" but I DO need money to get out of here and I can't forget that).
  • Getting out of the house and away from him for at least two hours.
I may be biting off more than I can chew, but let's say I'll definitely do two of these things, just for today. 

As always, tomorrow can suck it.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Universe is Full of Irony

Or just plain full of it. I can't decide which.

I've decided to write a book about my experience as the partner of a sex addict. Not just because I want to write a book, but because I've kept so much silence for so long that it seems the only way to begin healing is to tell my truth.

If you didn't already know this, I work with Roi, and we work from home. This makes it difficult to get any space from him when I need it. Today I needed it, so I drove to a cafe/used bookstore that's known for great food and pretty reliable internet. I planned to type out the first chapter of my book which I had hand-written, and to work some more on it. 

Then, oh dear Universe you have got to be fucking with me. Surely you did not seat one of Roi's booty-call freaks just one table over from me. Surely you did not mean for her to lean over and introduce herself laughingly to the women sitting between us so that my attention would be drawn to her and there would be no mistaking who she was. Now you're just fucking with me, right? 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


A little rant. A little feeling sorry for myself. 

Yesterday I told Roi to leave me alone and not talk to me while I figure out "how to get out of this hell". He has obliged. 

I'm keeping the fortress walls up as best I can, because to talk to him will only mean more pain. On the other hand, him not at least trying to break through or scale the walls is really really painful too. He has a friend in town, staying the night and they made plans without telling me. 

So come dinner time I asked what the friend would like me to cook for dinner and it was only then that I was informed that the two of them, he and Roi, would be leaving shortly to go to a bar for dinner. 

Of course, it's just simply rude of Roi not to have the decency to inform me since it is my "duty" to cook dinner, but it's also just really painful that he's opting to go out to a bar to have some fun while our relationship is falling apart at his hand. 

I don't want to cry because it somehow means to me that he's won. But I can't help myself.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

in which I cuss a lot about the wonders of recovery

I gently blow out the candles in the window that Lexi so carefully placed. She loves to clean and prettify, gets annoyed at my clutter and Roi’s slobbishness. I pile, he drops, she picks up and organizes. She complains, but she likes this rhythm. It gives her a sense of control I think, and perhaps a sense of superiority. I’ll have to keep an eye on that last part. It is too easy to slip into condependency from that position.

But it’s the money too. We went for so long with so little. Now she has control over the flow and she always wants more. There’s always something new to buy. Something she needs, something on sale. So she is happy to go beyond her chores to earn more. If she didn’t have such a reasonably good head on her shoulders I’d be concerned that her years of deprivation are launching a shopping addiction.

Not that I would know what the fuck to do if I became sure she was headed down that path. I’m beginnning to believe I suck at being a mother, and pretty much at life in general.

This doesn’t stop me from acting like I know what the hell I’m doing, and justifying every action as a reaction.  But I’m becoming aware that my life has become unmanageable, yessir’. I’ve said before that I’ve hit bottom, and I still believe I was at a bottom, if not the bottom at the end of 2008. And when you say to yourself that you’ve hit bottom, it goes without saying that you get it your shit isn’t together and the whole big mess is large and definitely unmanageable.

The problem is, I felt that my life was unmanageable because I was at a bottom. The bottom of a rather large hole that someone shoved me into, and then just for good measure dumped their shit in on top of me.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t still believe that. Kyd and Roi together? It was just too much. But now the picture is coming a little more into focus. I was indeed at the bottom of a hole I had been shoved into, but I had also been walking that edge for some time, and I was too proud and ashamed to ask for help to pull away from that edge.

Now I’ve climbed out of the pit, but I’m still standing at the edge with wild eyes, just waiting for someone to dare and try to shove me back in there. Practically taunting them to try. And if I have it my way, I’ll stand guard over this pit for the rest of my life.

Because it makes a lot more sense to spend my life guarding myself against this edge rather than walking away from it, obviously.

That’s not all. I’ve been so focused on coming out of that shit-hole smelling like a freshly bathed newborn, that I failed to see there is definitely shit on me, and it’s my own.  Suddenly I get the concept of “keeping my own side of the street clean”. I always took that to mean that I had to ignore what was happening on the other side of the street, you know, collude with the addict, when it really means I’ve got to stop ignoring what’s happening on my side.

And because shit analogies are fun and I feel like cussing some more; when I’m not watching where I’m going on my side of the street, and I’m not keeping it clean, I’m bound to get shit on my shoes, and it’s my own. Again. My shit.

So it’s time I start cleaning my shit up because I’m running out of time in this life, and I want to start living it while I’ve stil got breath in me.

Suffice it to say, Roi has thrown these AA-isms at me more than once before and I’ve bristled. How dare he? With the state of things as they are with Roi, I can’t bear for him to be right about anything. I can’t let one sliver of trust, love, or compassion through the walls of this fortress. I won’t be able to leave if I let any piece of him in here.

Do you know how difficult it is to hate someone completely? Much more difficult than one would imagine. So right now, it’s not really my side of the street I need to keep clean, it’s the fortress floors. I’ll start there.

Today I’m going to do my stupid work that I hate, fold the stupid laundry, walk into the too-small kitchen at 5ish and cook some god-damned dinner, clean up after myself, put in one of the 20 exercise DVDs I’ve bought and actually, you know, exercise instead of just watching with a tub of popcorn, maybe read a little, and then I’m going to get into my bed, close my tired eyes, and mother-fucking sleep at a reasonable hour for once.

But that’s JUST FOR TODAY. Tomorrow can suck it.

Short-Cut to Truth Recon

I'm tired now. I was up until 4:00 a.m., woken at 6:30 by ROI starting his morning routine, and then woken again at 8-ish. My eyes ached in that particular way that your eyes hurt after some crying and not enough sleep. 

I had left "evidence" for ROI to find in the morning. This is what I do when I make a discovery and he's not around for me to confront. I have some vague feeling that this tactic is a "woman" tactic, but I might be way off base there.

In my head it works something like this. I'm having some vague unconscious feelings that I'm being snowed as usual, and that makes me feel uncomfortable and uneasy. Especially now as I'm having all kinds of realizations that there is a whole other side to ROI that is coming into focus, but I'll talk more about that later (or not). So last night I was alone with his phone. I didn't know this right away. We had been watching a movie together, but it being an independent film and "slow-paced", I ended up watching the second half alone and Roi went to bed. 

I took the opportunity to do some girlie things while I watched the end of the movie. Paint my nails, experiment with my hair, and have a nice drink. When I went to pour the drink I set my glass on the dining table, and there was the phone. 

I want to point out that there are many many times I find myself with Roi's phone and have no interest in checking out what he's been up to. Partners of addicts develop a sixth sense about when acting out is going on. About when we're being deceived even when it looks like we're not. I'm no exception. I couldn't possibly tell you what triggers the "spidey" senses, I just know. 

But if I go to Roi and say, "I know something's up, why don't you tell me what it is", that's pretty much an open invitation to get mind-fucked. I know because I've tried it. Yes, more than once. The last time I bothered going the nice route was when I told him I felt something was up and his response was to laugh merrily and say, "you always think something's up!". He practically tousled my hair. And when you know something is up and you get patronized, that's a recipe for crazy. Forgive me if I'm not keen on throwing myself under the wheels of that bus.

Roi lies so compulsively at times that he can't admit to something that isn't even a problem. So getting the truth from him is not even an option. 

But I digress. Back to what happens in my head during recon, and back to me alone with the phone and having those niggly feelings. I check the phone, discover that he's been using it to visit forums to get around the accountability software on his laptop (duh), and these forums introduce me to a new level of his addiction/compulsions. 

Such discoveries come almost always when he's not home or sleeping. The discoveries usually scare the shit out of me, and then they make me angry because I don't like being scared. I want to talk about it. I want explanations. I want apologies. I want action. And I want all that NOW. But I can't have any of that now, so instead I leave his own evidence out in the open in such a way that it will be clear that I've discovered it. I also do this because I'm getting the evidence out of the way since, as I've already pointed out, I know that he is incapable of telling the truth unless the evidence is staring him in the face. 

So that's what I do. I set it up to stare him in the face before I'm going to talk to him. 

Now that I think about this, maybe it's not a "woman" tactic. I've done this with Kyd too, but I realize now they're the only two I've done this with, and hey, it's probably not a coincidence that both will lie and lie and lie until they can't lie anymore, and then of course they'll still lie as much as they can get away with.

So I guess it's my "short-cut to truth" tactic.

Am I Doing This Right?

My friend said to me last night, "You're surviving, and there's no wrong way to do that". 

Twenty minutes later I was to be struck with the thought, "am I doing this right?", and that was hilarious to me in that moment. Tragic too. After all, feeling guilty for every decision I've ever made seems to have been hard-wired into me since birth. 

With Kyd that is to be expected. Both because we all understand that a parent naturally questions her/himself if a child goes astray, and because some people believe how the child turns out is always the fault of the parent. Part of this culture WANTS me to feel guilty about it, and my "motherness" wants me to feel guilty about it, and my being me wants me to feel guilty about it. 

It is impossible then for me not to feel guilty/responsible for Kyd so I've simply given up that fight. I accept that there may or may not be things I did or didn't do, might have done, shouldn't have done, and a complex combination of all of the above that could have changed the course of Kyd's life. 

But that's not how the shit went down. The "what ifs" are playing out in parallel universes perhaps, but I am here and he is here, and we are where we are. In some crazy way this has allowed me to let go. I could be kidding myself, but I genuinely feel that I can offer up a blank slate "just for today" when it comes to Kyd most of the time. It's a relief. 

With Roi, I don't accept feelings of guilt. When guilt comes knocking, I quadruple bolt the door and start shoving all the furniture up against it. Roi wants me to feel guilty. He wants me to believe that I hold 50% of the share of guilt. He tells me so in nearly those exact words. 

It's wrong. I know it's wrong. As wrong as someone hitting me with a two-by-four and then blaming me for standing in the wrong spot at the wrong time. 

But it's somehow standing in the way of my healing, of my leaving, of my gaining the strength needed for those two tasks. And I am terribly unsure of how to sort it out. 

Those Things Underground

A new discovery tonight, and suddenly the silence I've kept became suffocating and I reached out. One tiny compulsive email, followed by a phone call, in which I calmly stated how angry I am, how confused I am, how devastated and hurt. 

She noticed the disconnect, and gently pointed it out at the right moment. And I cried, but only just a little. I must be terrified of what will come out from deep under the internal ground where I've buried my feelings. 

My own personal Chernobyl. A toxic meltdown buried under concrete and sand because there's no reversing it. 

Monday, April 25, 2011


I am reading a true crime novel about Ted Bundy. Not because I'm fascinated by the macabre, nor with serial killers except in the way I think most of us are -- in which they are so alarmingly un-human it twists our minds with unanswerable questions. 

Somehow, in that way of the internet, I found the story of Ann Rule, the author of this novel I'm now reading. Were her story fictional it couldn't be believed. She met Ted Bundy while volunteering on a crisis hotline, and they became friends. More unbelievably, she had previously been in law enforcement, and at the time she met Ted she was a freelance crime author and aspired to become a full-time writer. 

Still more incredibly, Ann would be involved closely with the investigations around the missing girls - Ted Bundy's victims - and she would be contracted to write about the killings in a book. All while she remained friends with Bundy. She herself would begin to suspect him and turn his name in to the investigation, though not convinced it could be him. Even when he became the prime suspect, her friendship with Ted continued, and she could not believe that this man, the one she knew, could possibly be the killer so many were seeking. 

A compelling and incomprehensible story. 

It is her story I am interested in. How difficult it is to reconcile what Ted showed her with the evidence shown her. Because I am trying to reconcile what is shown to me, and the evidence I discover. Roi is not Ted Bundy. He's not a psychopathic killer. 

But there are two of him. And it is beyond addiction. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011


The sun shines outside, and he is out there somewhere, sitting at a table making plans for a birthday celebration. His laughter will roll through the restaurant and others will laugh too, moved by his unabashed cheer.

I sit inside his house, imagining this, failing to let go.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

In Which Straws Become Lead

There is a limit to everyone's endurance. So it is understood. It is not the entire weight of straw that breaks the camel's back, it is that one straw too many.

I was away for the day yesterday. Roi historically acts out when he knows we are far enough away from one another that the chances of him being caught go down. Or perhaps it is that he misses me? This is the twisted logic he might use to explain himself. Or that there is no pattern at all. It's random, and meaningless.

So this morning when I received an email from the accountability software he installed on his computer, I saw that one hour before I came home he was viewing photos of a woman in a bikini.

In the average relationship this would be grounds for some light-hearted ribbing. This would be grounds for not much at all. In the sex addict relationship, it is the tip of a jagged iceberg in the middle of a frigid and dark ocean. It is a sign that his compulsive side took over in the hours before I came home, when he knew I still had an hour of rainy highway driving ahead of me. It is a sign that there was probably more -- he knows ways to circumvent the accountability software.

It is a trigger for me, and for him. A woman in a bikini is much more than a woman in a bikini. She represents one small piece of a much larger obsession, largely revolving around beaches.

It is small. It is one straw, light as a feather, no burden at all by itself. It is one straw dropped carelessly on top of an already unfathomable weight.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

My Monster in the Closet

I used to be one of those people that believed, truly believed in the inherent goodness in all human beings. That everyone, given the right circumstances, is good at the core. It is only the fault of confusion brought on by abuse, culture, society, poverty, etc that causes that good to get covered up. 

Roi has changed my mind. It saddens me, but I can't go back. For some, I now believe, are bad at the core. 

I have been with Roi for nearly 5 years now, and he is much more sober now than he was when we met, but he retains a frightening level of disconnect about his own actions. This disconnect was the last mind-bending thing I couldn't really get my head around. It didn't make sense that someone so intelligent could be so thick-headed about fundamental concepts that I'd seen many others in Recovery get.  

Not a day goes by that he doesn't say something that just smacks me in the face with its utter absurd hypocrisy. He'll refuse to watch a scene on television where violence against a woman is being portrayed, even if only the day before he had engaged in pornography that depicted women as victims. 

If I should point out this apparent disconnect he will reply that the porn is "just fantasy". 

Forgetting the obvious -- that television is its own form of fantasy in that it isn't real, I could instead point out that all of his fantasies seem to involve crossing a woman's boundaries without her permission, and though fantasies are only thoughts, our thoughts are also large clues into who we are as people. How we think is part of our core. But he only shrugs it off to my being overreactive, not understanding, crazy, or some-such. 

His default is that I can't possibly understand what he understands, and oddly enough, he refuses to even try to explain it to me. The cop-out is stunningly obvious, yet he has a ready defense for that too.

Only six months ago I believed that he was simply bold-faced lying to me during such conversations, but I am slowly gleaning that he believes himself, though he must defy all logic to do so. 

Roi considers himself to be a highly rational person, capable of higher logic than anyone around him. He refuses to question himself, to wonder if he is being irrational. His mind is so cleanly divided that he is able to believe his delusions. So when he says to one of his best friends who has been sober for years that he can't remember what alcohol is like, even though I'm sitting right there -- the same me who found his alcohol stash not two weeks before -- he doesn't even blink an eye. In his mind, what he just said to his friend is true. 

And because he can't see the disconnect, his sanity is ironically intact, while I have to make sure that I reach out to others to retain mine because it just makes my brain crack. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Of Eggshells and Anger

Oh my dear secret blog, it has been a while hasn't it? 

It's not that I've nothing to say. It's that I'm weary of repeating myself. The status quo of the addiction dance has lost it's charm. 

Kyd seems to be doing alright inasmuch as he's not in jail, he's alive, and he seems to be reasonably clean. I say reasonably because I'm under no delusion that when he goes out on weekends that there aren't substances in the mix of song and dance. He's found music again with a renewed fervor and passion bordering on obsession. That's how he rolls. Nothing is halfway. But there is at least redemption in creativity so I'm as hopeful as a war veteran can be that peace will reign forever and ever. 

That is to say, my anxiety is tucked away and I get some sleep at night. 

As for Roi and I, we have settled into a tense but already familiar pattern of him walking on eggshells, and I, the angry viper lying wait in the grass for the opportunity to strike. This is a shift of balance of sorts, but none less toxic. I gain strength through anger, and he withers under the force of it. 

If I were somehow on the outside observing I suppose I would feel empathy for the creature, but having been on the receiving end of his habitual deception I am decidedly unsympathetic. He continues to minimize the importance of trust to me specifically, and among humans generally, though he is the first to fly into spastic indignation should he be double-crossed. Should anyone deviate ever so slightly from what they promise he is tragically ironically offended. Yet the connection still is not made in his own mind. 

It is a foul illness. One I thought I could defeat, and has done nothing for me but to leave me truculent and sour. I meditated yesterday for the first time in so many months, and only when the tension around my eyes and mouth suddenly loosened did I realize my face has been a clenched knuckle of anger for just as long.

What's more, I've found myself unabashedly flirting with the attentions of other men, something that I'm not prone to even when single. I tend to the conservative in my flirtations, but now the attention of admirers leads me to encourage more and I bask in it, drinking it in and still thirsty for more, chiding them on to reveal the depths of their affections.

In short, the ties of this relationship have never been more frayed and fragile. My anger at his betrayals has never been so icy, so calculated and focused, never so much like this lazer that burns from my very core and with perfect aim. I feel an android with only one directive coded - methodically destroy at all costs.

I find joy, but never in his presence.