Monday, June 18, 2012

Mr. Scabs Answers Hard Questions

:D
Please laugh. Credit here

The other morning I woke up feeling kind of overwhelmed.  Although my mom knows about my addiction, she doesn't know about this blog.  I was talking to my sister about sharing it with my Mom.  I don't know how well she'd handle all the details.  She is so sensitive.  In fact, there are quite a few people who know me personally who read this.  And, while I'm ok with that and given them permission, the thought is sometimes overwhelming.  I want to own this as my life, my choices.  You have all said such encouraging things especially our friend Lindsay.  I've felt so emotional about her comment on my last post for a few days.  Thank you Lindsay.   

I'm working everyday to "Wake Up and Be A New Man."  The farther I get from my addiction, the I feel like I'm falling in love.  This addiction has stolen my feelings.  I feel myself beginning to have feelings from someone real in my life.  I feel badly every time i read your stories and wish I could help.  I want your men to own it too and really see that our addictions will destroy us.

I just want to warn you, these a lot of these questions were about sex and what I think.  In trying to be honest, I've given some detailed information.  I don't mean any of it to be offensive.  

Q:
My husband seems to have a Madonna complex - he holds back sexually with me even though I am very interested in the same things he is. So why would he seek outside satisfaction elsewhere when he has me at home willing and eager? 

Is there something I can do to help him get past this? I know there is no easy solution, but I am open to thoughts and suggestions from a fellow recovering sex addict. Am I pushing him too far too fast? It has been over a year.

A:

So, let me get this straight, it's been over a year and you are willing to be with him sexually and do things together but he's not interested?  It has been over a year for me and I am chomping at the bit to be with my wife.  I can't help but think he may not be at the right place in his recovery.  If he keeps working toward healing the sexual intimacy will come.  For us, it's not something we could rush.  Pornography had replaced my wife and I fell out of love.  Even though she was there in front of me wearing something sexy, I couldn't see her.  

It's my opinion that an addicted man will not seek any interaction with his wife because it's too much work.  Pornography and sex addiction take your ability to love someone and be interested in them.  Masturbation or whatever is the object of their addiction is a simple means to an end. I wasn't able to give my wife anything sexually because wasn't capable.  If a man is healthy and recovered I think that he will do what is necessary to regain a sexual relationship again.  If he is not fully recovered he may not be ready for intimacy yet.  Our brains are literally tainted.  Intimacy and sex are different beasts.  

My wife is eternally patient.  That has been helpful.  Also, a great sex therapist.  My wife and I started reading "Erotic Intelligence" because we thought we were ready for intimacy.  We put it back on the shelf and have been visiting our sex therapist instead.  Sex after addiction is complex.  I think in the near future we will start reading it again.  It had some real relatable information that's helpful.  

A lot of baggage comes with sex addiction.  Recovery is a long road.  I have needed a lot of support and people I could trust to be accountable to.  If not, its too easy for me to hide it


Q:
From Annon:
I have recently re-discovered my husband's near daily pornography habit after he has been in therapy for a year for the same issue. He has no clue what's coming. How do I confront/approach him so he knows I just want him to be honest so we can get help? I know that relapse is a part of recovery, so I don't care that he messed up. I care that he is lying and I want him to understand the difference.

A:
I'm sorry, I feel like we should have answered this question right away since you're looking to confront your spouse.  How did it go?  

This question reminds me of my wife and I.  I don't know how many times I lied and got caught and didn't want to talk about it.  We've come a long way in learning how to talk about hard things.  I've become more humble and able to talk about hard things too without feeling attacked.  I would suggest talk about boundaries and common goals.  

I thought there was no way I give up porn.  I couldn't imagine it was possible for any man and  I believed every guys needed it.  Hiding porn was a result of feeling ashamed and embarrassed.  I knew my wife didn't like it so I would hide it from her.  I knew what I was doing was wrong.  I still struggle with that.  It's hard to tell her.  Lying has been the key to this addiction for me.  I hid it because it's wrong and I didn't want to be that person.  If I admitted it, than it was real.  I wanted to have more control of myself.  I would tell myself that I could get away with it and be able to hide and pretend like everything is fine.  

It's so hard, but I would try and approach him with honesty and love.  Assure him you have the same goals in mind and your not bashing him or that you think he's less of a man.  But, ultimately, you can't accept the lying in your relationship.  Trust is ultimate.  

Q: 
From Mrs A. @Kill Your Own Buffalo
Dear Mr. Scabs (first, go you! you are brave and I love that you're doing this.) Talk to me about lust. Is there ever a time/place when lust is appropriate? Most especially with Mrs. Scabs. Do you feel a difference in the way you feel about her (sexually) now as opposed to when you were in the deep dark part of your addiction?


A:

Thanks for your vote of confidence.  It means a lot.  
Yes, definitely, my feelings are different.  I have felt more in love now than I have in years.  I'm more attracted to her body, mind and her emotions.  We went swimming the other night after running and I kept watching her buns, I think she has such a cute butt!  I'm attracted more now than ever.  I truly believe if you alleviate the smut then the wholesomeness that's right in front of you will manifest itself and become more important to you.  So ya, I think lusting after your wife is healthy in a marriage


But, who's going to lust after their wife when they lust after porn.  Like I said in the answer above when you get rid of the porn all those emotions and physical feelings return for your wife.  Porn smothers feelings of love, intimacy and passion for your wife.  I want to "lust" after my wife and have her want me too fueling the fire between us.


Lust is normal.  Maybe every guy feels it but, its what we decide to do with it.  If you entertain it and mull it over it will ultimately get you into trouble.  Lust has become such normal thing in the world.  I was talking to a guy who was ogling over a woman and saying how he was totally going to "get with" her.  Then he was telling me his girlfriend would give him a free pass and that luring in this other woman for sex was ok.  Really?  What self respecting girlfriend would give a pass.  Lust has become such a pig attitude.    


Q: 
From Green Olives @ Life By The Yard Is Hard 
Does anything or has anything in your intimate life with your wife make you uncomfortable or set you thinking about the addiction? for instance in my relationship with my husband I am now nervous to share some intimate things with him that we have enjoyed in the past. Because I never would want him to think of me the way he has thought about other women. Not things I am necessarily uncomfortable with in themselves. Like dressing in lingerie or just more light hearted things in general.(We seem to only be very serious lately.) Or is it totally separate from the addiction?

A:
For me, nothing feels like a trigger and Ill tell you why.  Sex with my wife is way better than any experience I had with a prostitute.  When I was in my addiction, I had a weird sense that I couldn't be open with her.   Nothing my wife would do or that I would do will trigger any addiction memories.  Before the addiction, my wife and I loved doing certain things intimately.  We were just talking about this the other night, because she was feeling afraid at the thought of being so intimate again (or doing things we enjoyed before) because she might feel like just another hooker.  The act could be so loving and wonderful or so degrading and hurtful.  But the experience to so different.  With pornography or prostitutes sex becomes mechanical, it's not what it seems.  Does this make sense?  When I am healthy, being with her sexually is completely different than my addiction.  


Really, it's more my wife that has the triggers than I do.  She feels like she may not live up to the "professionals" or pornography or even worse would end up feeling like just another prostitute. I'll bet he may be worried about how you feel because he would never want you to think he thought of you as one of those other women either.  I can relate to that.


I wouldn't say any of this is separate from the addiction, everything is connected.  I was a fool.  There is nothing that I experienced with porn or prostitutes that was better than my wife can offer. 
Q:
From Anonymous 
I feel totally compared to the other--my body, my movements, my performance, who was better, who was best; they are he professionals right? My husband says he doesn't compare, of course you can't answer for him, but how can he/ you not compare to other experiences and what about all these years when it was happening and I didn't know he had been with someone a few hours ago, of course you/he would compare to his sexual experience earlier that day or yesterday while he is having another sexual encounter. Also, are the photos of them on their sites real or is it a bait and switch? Were they beautiful, sex kittens or are they bottom of the barrel? 
A:
The world thinks your man goes hunting because he's not satisfied with you but that's not true. I'm so ashamed to say these things but to answer your questions, I'll share the nitty-gritty about hookers.  They are not the people in the magazine or ads.  These are women who are abused, coerced and sex-trafficked.  There only was one picture of a hooker I went to that was real.  I hate to admit what I did but she was a real person, a mother and this was how she survived her life.  The sex was never intimate and that is what is missing.  

When I hold my wife and caress her body it is nothing like being with other women, the connection is not there.  When I'm not in my addiction, I think I'm a romantic person and I want to feel loved and  be loved.  I want the connection.  I was caught in the addiction cycle and every time I did it, I'd feel like a douche bag. I felt hopeless.  

They may be professionals but it is mechanical.  There is no feeling or passion or love and I think that is what makes sex come alive.  It's not even like the sex in porn movies.  Porn is over-dramatic and unreal.  I don't even think of them as professionals it's just an act and it's hurried.  Quick and dirty as they say.  And not quick and dirty as in fun with your wife.  It's literally quick and literally dirty.  I feel stupid talking about this.  I feel so stupid that I rationalized it.  

Personally, I really don't compare because it is not even close to the same experience.  The only time I ever compared sex was different times between my wife and I.  I would compare if one time was better for her than another.  For me, my needs are pretty simple and easily met.  But, great sex is when you know your partner is enjoying it.  We all know damn well that the prostitute isn't getting any pleasure from our interaction.  It's a job and she does a dozen men a day.  Its sad and I'm disgusted and overwhelmed that I contributed to it.  The prostitutes I was with didn't even act like they liked it.  They were just doing a job, mechanical...it's not good sex.  What they portray in a porn film isn't real.  It's acting.  The emotion is missing.  If you were to see what goes on you would be disappointed with their performance.   It's pathetic and I know I'm pathetic that I went there and did those things.  I want to forget it.  They aren't good memories.  
Q: 
How do you set boundaries with a addict when there is no open communication? I feel like most of the boundaries I have seen women use in their relationships require that there be communication.Boundaries are just so foreign to me. Any thoughts or suggestions.
A:
You have to decide what is healthy for you and your family and stick to it.  I'd suggest to follow through with consequences.  For example, and this might not be realistic for you but for example, you tell him, "next time you lie about porn, I will cut the Internet, or the cable bill or sell your jeep or feed you Lima beans"  whatever you decide.

Then just do it, whatever it is do it.  When the boundary is crossed, follow through.

To encourage communication my wife says to find common goals.  So, lets say he refuses to talk about porn or intimacy or whatever the issue is and becomes defensive or silent when you're talking.  Use patience and love and find a common goal that you can bring you both together.  Maybe say something like, "I'm not trying to hurt you or belittle you, I know we both love our family and want to feel happiness."  "I know that we both want to be free of this problem."  And then begin your conversation from there.  If he doesn't feel safe you won't be able to communicate.      
Q: 
From Anonymous
I don't get why the addict feels trapped?
A:
When you've never felt the loss of freedom from an addiction it's hard to understand.  But, I think any addiction or vice makes you a slave to the body.  Have you ever had too many diet cokes and then stopped cold turkey?  Then come the headaches and cravings, dehydration, only another diet coke will temporarily alleviate the pain.  Addiction is like this times 1 million.  


Q:
From Jane@Learning From My Husbands Pornography Addiction
I want to know what you thought of the taco shop? Will you be going back?

A:
Finally!  An easy question!  I love that taco shop.  We already went back and I ordered tamales and rolled tacos, not a burrito!
Q:

From Xena @Killing Cupid
Hope you can do it from time to time.

A:
I would like to do this again.  It has been one of the biggest helps in my recovery and relationship. I think there is a side bar link, ASK MR SCABS, so ask a question whenever you'd like and I'll take the time to answer.  I really like being part of the discussion.  Thank you.

Q:
Hey Mr. Scabs. Well, I am not sure how I can post asking a question, but it is really helpful to have your honesty and explain how your addiction affects you. I still struggle to accept that porn viewing/masturbation is a "disease." I suppose since my relationship disintegrated with my ex, he seems to be fine while I have been a mess for so long. He couldn't care less I am gone or what he has done. I will never know the truth from him no matter how many times I ask. what is baffling though is how he has told me numerous times that porn is horrible, that it is not okay and I should never be okay with it. Yet, he is willing to date other girls or get married to someone else. It's like what why is he telling me that but is interested in other girls? I simply assume he is trying end things with me by using his "problem" as an excuse to end it with me rather than just say he doesn't have feelings anymore. I just don't think he cares or feels guilty about viewing porn. Here I am still trying to determine or believe it really does affect a person simply b/c everyone views porn and dismisses that it is even destructive by any means.

A:
I told myself and my wife the same lies your hearing.  No matter what, any form of pornography is destructive for men or women.  Look at what it did to me, my wife and my family.  

It destroys a man by making them lose affection for their wife, children, reality and real intimacy.  It leaves the door open for even worse things.  It destroys a woman by making her feel worthless and debased, compared, not loved, jealous, hurt and self conscience.   There's just so many bad things.  There are no pro's, all cons.  

I think it sounds like he's having the same intimacy issues.  Does he think he's immune and that the same cycle won't happen with the new girls he dates or marries?  I would put money on that but I'm an x-gambler, so i wont.  Don't accept porn on any level.  An addict will say one thing and do another.  Thousands of times I told my wife one thing and did the opposite.  His actions simply won't match his words.  Maybe he doesn't feel like changing.  Maybe he feels trapped in his addiction.  I know women hear this all the time and have a hard time believing it or understanding it.  But, I ll say it again, my addiction was never about my wife.  

I'm sorry you're feeling so badly.  I know that without him, without all his unanswered questions and words/actions that don't match up.  There is a place where you can find happiness and know that his actions are his own.  Like my wife says, it's a terrible trauma to go through something like this and I'm sorry you have lived it.

23 comments:

  1. Thanks, you answered my question, and it sounded like my husband almost verbatim. It makes it easier for me to believe him-this may soun mean, but now I have the voice of two addicts and it makes it easier to believe my husband. It's hard to believe what he says about the addiction after soapy years of lies and deceit.

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  2. Mr. Scabs, Thank you for answering our questions. I have learned more about addiction from you. Then any book could teach me. My Husband is a wonderful good man that is in recovery from his porn addiction. He has told me all the same things you have said. But hearing it from you has really helped me have a deeper level of trust for him. And a little less insecure when it comes to sex. When you have been hurt especially by the person you love most. it takes so much to start to trust again. His word is just not good enough any more. (Imagine that!..... ha) So thank you for helping me understand things from your perspective.
    April, you are amazing. So much strength I am in awe of the person you are after going through the awful things you have. You and Mr.Scabs are a wonderful testimony of the atonement of our savior Jesus Christ.

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  3. This was very good! I've noticed how confused so many women seem to be when it comes to their spouse's addiction and getting an addicts eye-view is very helpful. I only wished I could have thrown a question in there! Recovery is a long slow process, so best of luck to both Mr. and Mrs. Scabs!

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  4. Another astounding post Mr Scabs. This is so much to take in, so much to put out, it must be rather exhausting.It makes me ponder all day, and I'm not living through it. I have a question. It seems this is really therapeutic for you. How has this question/answer series been for Mrs Scabs? I suppose only she can answer that, but from your perspective maybe? Have you shared things here you haven't been able to express to her personally? Do you answer these questions as if she is asking them? Do you censor yourself to shield her? Do you want her to read these as much as you want to answer someone's question, or put another way, do you answer them with her in mind?

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    Replies
    1. Oh, and I especially loved the picture of Jermaine. I laughed just seeing his face.

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    2. first of all that's way too many questions lindsay, please limit your question to one. just kidding.

      This isn't anything that Mrs Scabs hasn't heard already but in light of that this situation where we're talking about it is much more open. Our conversation hasn't been in confrontation mode like it has in the past. in a way it has been therapeutic because it has helped our communication grow and feeling for understanding for one another.

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    3. Brett is a good wingman. Jermaine takes the cake. Lol! Funny Mr. Scabs! thanks for answering ONE question. I've told Mrs. Scabs she is a phenomenal writer and storyteller, but I haven't told you. You both have a gift. Let it spew outta you!

      Delete
  5. I have the same question as Lindsay above. And I can't believe there aren't more comments !

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  6. Thank you,again, Mr. Scabs. Patience, love, & a common goal are hard to find at this point, but I certainly needed the reminder to approach him with love. Guess I just need to get back to the fact that I still need to set boundaries.

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  7. How do I feel about all this? I've already heard every word of this, more than once. But it has been interesting to see his words in print. There is just somthing about being in black and white. It's interesting to read his words and see what he thinks...and just reinforces the knowledge that he is climbing out of the deepest, shadow-less, pitch black abyss.

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  8. Thanks for the answers. I really appreciate your insight. I think part of this issue is that while my husband hasn't acted out in over a year he hasn't been in therapy or constantly working on his issues during that time. I think he did a lot of avoiding rather than really looking at his triggers, working through them, and facing his addiction head-on.

    I actually read this entire post to my husband the other night. He said that he really agrees with so much that you said. These are very complicated questions, and I love the candor in your responses. It helped us to open up our dialog a little more and made him feel more comfotable telling me his viewpoint.

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    Replies
    1. Really? A dude read my post? If you saw me, you wouldn't think i was a blogger. It's hard to be here because I hate to see so many of you hurting. The world of this addiction has opened and I've been able to see how many people are suffering because of it. It's hard to be here but because of my actions maybe this is a little way i can give back and earn a little respect, from being the person i was.

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  9. Wow...while I was doing my blog-reading routine I saw my Q and your A. Thanks, Mr. Scabs. I really appreciate you took the time to write me. In fact, I feel so numb when you say I shouldn't accept porn on any level. I wouldn't but, truth be told, I feel hopeless about marriage or finding a decent man who doesn't view it. Even though there is a difference between viewing and being addicted. I absolutely have zero tolerance. I almost feel like maybe I should not ever get married which would be an empty life b/c love is rewarding and beautiful in so many ways. Then again, I feel like I don't even know if I will ever find a man who is honest and makes the decision to avoid taking a risk and put internet filters and such. I don't accept it but feel like this cannot be fought. And, kudos to Mrs. Scabs for pulling through. It is a traumatic experience to go through this.

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  10. Just wanted to say I love the picture above...it is one of my favorite shows. And the guy on the left is my favorite! hahahah

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    Replies
    1. me too!! hilarious! Let's get together and watch some Flight of the Concords reruns. :)

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  11. Mr. Scabs - I just wanted to share that I went to counseling yesterday & was sharing how the answers from you in reference to my questions had really helped me gain insight. She was really intrigued my the idea of hearing answers from an addict and commented on how insightful that must have been. I totally agreed. You & Mrs. Scabs are doing great things here.

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    Replies
    1. Both Mr. Scabs and I have felt some fear in being so open with this addiction and our lives. It's pretty raw. So this comment means a lot. Thank you for encouraging us and I'm so happy it's helped. It has helped us too.

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    2. I still have a hard time thinking that your talking about me, that i helped someone. because for so long i've been a destroyer and not a helper. it gives me hope that i can be more than a poop-head (as my son says). thank you

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  12. Yes, you have been a poop head, don't be one anymore.

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  13. Thank you for posting this. We are struggling with this right now and I had many of these same questions for my husband. I am trying to understand but I suppose I might not ever get it - I have never been addicted to anything (except maybe sugar?) in my life. Certainly nothing devious or harmful. Thinking about all of this makes me sick and I'm grateful to see other people working through these difficulties in their marriage...and finding happiness too.

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    Replies
    1. you sound like me. I have no addictions either... except maybe sugar. Welcome, I'm glad you found us.

      It's so hard because we want to find some kind of reason why the do or did what they did. I still try and dig for the whys sometimes because it is so beyond the realm of comprehension for myself. It is sickening but you are right, happiness is still out there!

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  14. Sorry if I seem behind the times but my friend just told me about your blog and I have been addicted to it all day! No pun intended :( Anyway I have been through something in the same book but not the same page. We went to a counselor and he made a comment that rang true for me. Porn is no more about the sex then drinking is about the thirst... I really do wish you the best BOTH OF YOU! Life is about changing and growing. Some of us choose to pay more tuition to the school of hard knocks then others but we all pay for learning. Thank you for sharing your story :)

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hi

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