Sunday, August 25, 2013

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!!

Monday, August 5, 2013

An Innocent Question

It began as an innocent question, “Who is Wendy?” I asked. Then became a long conversation last night:

“I wish you hadn’t asked.” Devin answered.

He explained he had a minor car accident a few days earlier.  He wasn’t going to tell me because he wasn’t at fault, no police were involved and it was in his brand new car.  He was embarrassed and didn’t want to hear me “go on about it.”  I just happened to see the name Wendy jotted down on a piece of paper.

“Devin, you’re supposed to be open and honest with me.  Not telling me about an accident, no matter how small, is not being open.”  I said.

“You can’t use that as an example of me being open and honest.  That’s just one small example.”  He responded.

“I’ve been telling you for weeks that you’ve been ‘off’, that something just isn’t feeling right with you.”  I informed him.

“I know and I’ve been telling you, I’m fine.  I’m sober.  I don’t know what you’re feeling but I’m fine.  You’re going to have to give me more to go on.”  He said.

“I have, Devin, numerous times.”  I said.  I could feel myself getting impatient and reminded myself to detach with love.  I took a deep calming breath before I continued, “I cherished the times when you told me what you learned from SAA meetings and your group.  Now when you come home, you tell me if it’s crowded or the chairs were uncomfortable.  You stopped sharing substance about your recovery.  We haven’t done FANOS in weeks.  I miss our date nights and spending time together.  We're just not connecting.  I’ve detached with love from you.”

Devin sat and said nothing for a long time.  Eventually he said, “You’re right.  I need to reconnect with you.  I don’t know why I stopped.  You have to remember it’s been over forty years of me not communicating properly and I don’t know how to do this right but I’m willing to learn.  I’m still confused about you detaching with love from me.”

I wish I could say when I explained to him it again it went smoothly.  It didn’t.  He felt rejection although I had been detaching from him for weeks and he didn’t know it.  I explained I was detached from his addiction and his behavior, not from him as a person but he still felt rejected because sex was off the table. 

Once I explained when we connected emotionally again, sex would be back on the table, the bed, the floor….he was much happier.