Second stage

Responding to protect

This is the actual email I sent back to my less than stellar monster in law, for having the audacity to make yet another pain in our lives about HER. My intention was to make sure she never passive-aggressively comes back. Her MO is to come back, months later, when she needs him desperately and simply pretend like she didn’t do anything before. I never, ever want her contacting this family without II deciding to initate that contact. And thus, I held NOTHING back in my email to her.

You know, my first instinct to this email was to delete it and simply go on with my life with my precious family as if you don’t exist.

But, upon reflection as a Christian, as a mother and as the wife of this man, I’m not going to stay silent. I’m going to hold a mirror up in the hope and prayer that somewhere inside your soul is a heart that can be reached in ways I gave up reaching my own mother’s heart a long time ago. Not because what I say will make things any better now. But because you have 4 more innocent children in your home. You can either learn from who you have been and do better by them, or they are all 4 condemned to similiar outcomes to the 2 you have already raised.

You are selfish. You are a selfish, self-serving, egotistical lousy excuse for a mother for this man. Do not tell me that you love him nor us when your actions are this way. Love is not a word. Love is an action. And, its one you have had in short supply for those in your life who desperately needed it.

II believes you hate him because you do. You don’t think you do but the reality is that you do. Not one day of his life has he EVER been a priority to you. And, when he needs you most of all you are so wrapped up in your own self pity that you have once again thrown him away. You always did throw him away.

In 12 years of standing beside him, you never breathed a WORD that he was molested by your husband. Spare me your insistence that you asked him 3 years ago. First, he would have told me if you had. Second, it was far, far too late to have saved him from the pain and suffering you condemned him to. Yes, you failed to protect him. You are human, as are we all. That he was molested was not the measure of your motherhood. The measure of your motherhood was what you choose to do AFTER he was molested. You hid it. You knew in your heart and you hid it for 28 years. You were so wrapped up in yourself that you denied him the right to know where his pain came from and to heal that pain before it took over his entire life.

Don’t tell me you didn’t know. That’s garbage. Remember, I have a son who was molested at the same age. My son knows his history and we watch him carefully for signs that he is struggling. When he grows up, both he and his wife will know his history so they can guard for any additional needs to seek outside help for him. No one had to tell me he was hurt because I KNEW. You became an expert at spotting a pedophile and seeing the signs of molestation in other childen because you lived it with II.

In your need to not take responsibility for your failure, you buried it. You begged your son’s molester to not leave you. You blamed II that you lost your husband. You were weak and selfish. But still you could have saved it. You could have risen to be the mother he so desperately needed by blowing the whistle, getting him help, cherishing him and loving him so that he felt safe.

Even when you failed him then, you could have risen up. When he tried to kill himself because the pain was so great, you could have sounded the whistle, gotten hm the right help and held him while he healed. You heaped condemnation on him and threw him out.

Even then, you could have fixed it. When he came home from college and could not even function you could have told him. You could have pushed for help and healing and you could have stood beside him and shown him unconditional love. You igored his struggles and happily put him back in the emotional path of being your emotional partner instead of our child.

Even then when we were married you could have spoken up. You could have given me warning so I would know the dangers and how to help him if I saw even a hint of an issue. You could have again shown unconditional love to your son. You instead hoped it was over and no longer mattered.

This weekend, you finally broke your silence Certainly, having avoided all earlier opportunities to tell your little secret, this was definitetly the time to be forthcoming. It was also the time to love unconditionally and withhold condemnation.

You just couldn’t do that, could you? You could travel to TX and perpetrate a fraud on the Federal government to ensure little bro would not face the consequences of his own actions. You missed work to plead with little bro’s boss when he was caught addicted to pain killers so again he could avoid the consequences of his own choices. But, you don’t have the COURAGE to stand by II in his greatest pain and lowest point. He’s not asking you to save him from what he has done. He has a long, hard road to recovery and healing to walk. He will face the betrayal he has caused me every moment of his life. He is broken in body, soul and spirit. But, he is fighting for his life, his wife, his family and this marriage. He has the courage and strength of character to fight his addiction, heal his heart and reclaim his own soul.

All that was remotely required of you was to love unconditionally for the first time in his life. You can’t even do that. YOU are hurting??? You’ve had 28 years of hiding your dirty little secret while he was left bewildered by his pain. A mother doesn’t get the choice of whether she will allow herself to hurt or not. Its our JOB to stand beside our children no matter what. Yes, we take their anger just like we take their pain. That is what we do. And we support our children by still standing even when what they thow at us does hurt.

How dare you! How dare you call yourself his mother and give up on him. How dare you decide his pain that you allowed to fester for 28 years is too much for you to face. Your mother would be ashamed of you. She would be devestated at what you allowed to happen to her baby. And, she would be heartbroken to see him hurting and struggling. But she would not have considered abandonment even an option. That you have not only entertained it but implemented it confirms everything he ever thought of you as a mother.

And, I was the fool who defended you!

Don’t you dare talk to me about your pain. You have no concept of pain compared to what I am living now. Unlike you, I will stand beside this man, even when doing so hurts and hurts deeply. He is an amazing father, a wonderful husband and a good man. He is worth standing here for. But, I finally understand why he did not believe I could stand beside him. He was right. In the end when being his mother was messy, you have choosen to be selfish. You have thrown him, his children and his wife out so you can try to avoid looking at who YOU are.

In this choice, you have lost us…all of us. I will block you from the children’s email and I will cease all contact between you and our family. Do not contact us. Do not seek out II when you are once again desperate for the emotional support. You have choosen to deny his pain and contiue to ignore your shame.

But make no mistake, if you don’t face yourself, then the 4 you raise will struggle just as mightily as the 2 you raised. Pushing it all onto II and not accepting resposibility for your own mistakes will guarantee you repeat them. I hope for their sakes you face the reflection in the mirror. As for me, I will continue to stand beside the child you threw away, despite the pain he has caused me and may cause me still. He’s worth standing for. He is something rare and precious. Your mother could see thatj ust as strongly as I have always known. You are the only one too full of your own self to see that and know he was worth it.

Do not contact me. Do not contact II. Do not contact our children. Get your will changed because we’ll take no role in dealing with your messes if you don’t live to see them through. We will stand together and fight this fight. And, we’ll be stronger on the othsr side of it. You made his pain and my nightmare once again all about you. You’ve lost the chance to grasp how truly pecious the gift God gave you in this son.

Congratulations. You have now truly earned my disgust.


Trying to breath again

Wow, the God I don’t want to believe in right now keeps holding onto me.

I wrote back to MIL. Had a few choice words and honest reflections on her that needed to be said, most of all that he own mother would be ashamed of her for abandoning this man in his greatest need, and that as a mother myself (and the mother of a child who was molested) I am disgusted by her and his action.

As expected, her response was “Screw you” verbatim (wonder if the filter software will block that one).

But, as soon as I got that response, the church where the recovery groups are held called back. They have added an extra childcare worker JUST FOR M so that the whole family can come.

The little ones will go into the free nursery care program. A is going to the middle school support group for middle schoolers dealing with turbulence and stress in their lives. He is going to the SA group and I am going to the SA wives group.

Its a step. He still desperately needs individual counseling. We still have a long and hard road out of this. But, getting out of this begins by reaching out like we do tonight.

And, God has used the behavior of my MIL to remind me of what I already knew. I knew he was a hurting man long before I knew he had done *this*. And, I knew she was the source of his pain. But, I also knew he was a GOOD man and worth fighting for. In my own pain right now, I needed to remember that part. Yes, he hurt me. But, he hurt me because he is hurting himself. Deal with that hurt and then we can try to rebuild the marriage.

It does help. It helps with my doubts that he didn’t love me and didn’t want me. It brings it front and center that what he did really and truly wasn’t about *me*. I am collateral damage in this. I need desperately to heal. And, this knowledge won’t stop the pain, at least not right now. But it has reminded me of the gift I was given in this man and how he is worth fighting for.

First Steps

So, we went. There’s another Cystic Fibrosis child who normally comes to the childcare. She thankfully didn’t come tonight but its going to be a big problem.

II is not comfortable with the bible thumping Baptist connotation. Its also NOT a 12-step program and research says 12-step programs combined with individual therapy.

I think we’ve decided that II is instead going to go to SA on Monday nights and I’ll keep going to the wives one on Tuesdays and II will watch the kids that night.


II has made contact with SA to go next Monday. Until he gets set up in the other program, he’s going to maintain his accountability partner from the first program so that he has someone to turn to.

And this afternoon he is going to request his work schedule be changed to the same 4-10s work week as his entire staff. He is going to try and request that as a professional issue but is fully aware that his boss will reject it. Once he does, II will be going to HR and invoking ADA to get the 4-10s workweek. Once he does that, he will got to therapy and a Psychaitrist on Fridays. He had been having the family doctor manage his Bipolar because there are no Pyschiatrists locally who take our health insurance and the $125 he was paying out of pocket for his last Psychiatrist was getting really rough. This will give him the ability to drive into the city where there are several Psychiatrists who take our health insurance and turn his co-pay back into $15. He will also travel into the city to see a specialized SA therapist to start working on his issues.

I will continue going to the Wives group at the church, since Bible-thumping Baptist is not as hard for me to handle, even though I’m not baptist.

This way, I can still go somewhere without the kids around to process through this nightmare. He gets the support and therapy he needs in a way that is comfortable. And, we can avoid the 2 CFers in the nursery diaster we nearly had last night.

II intends to alert HR that if word of what his ADA claim is leaks to his boss, he WILL sue. He has never invoked ADA before for fear it would ruin his career. But, it will do more harm than invoking FMLA already did. And, the children are I are moving next summer. If he continues to fight for his recovery, stay sober and maintain the boundaries I set forth, then he will be coming with us when we move. If not, then he will be responsible for his own life and I will do whatever I must to take care of myself and the children.

I so deeply, deeply want him to go with us. I want him to fight this and win. But, I cannot choose sobriety FOR him. I can only be responsible for me.


He did it. He swore he would never invoke ADA because it would be career suicide but he did it anyway. He went to HR this morning to request a 4 day work week so he can seek therapy and Psych appointments on Fridays. As soon as HR gets a letter from his current Psych, they will be switching him to 4 10 hour days instead of 5 work days.

And yesterday, he was feeling bad and struggling so he first called and later texted his sponsor. He officially held onto his 2 week sobriety. He’s also in the full swing of withdrawal now. I can’t seem to find how long this lasts anywhere. All I can find is that for SA is supposed to not be as intense as withdrawing from drugs but lasts longer. He did find something suggesting that once the withdrawal peaks, its easier to manage but still lingers a bit for about 6 months.

I ordered henna to re-dye my hair and my bar shampoo that I love but usually only splurge on. I’m trimming my hair today. He always preferred my hair long. I told him that right now he really gets no vote in my choices for appearance nor anything else.

I’m making myself shower every morning. And, just to force myself to take care of me, I started wearing make-up for the first time in years. I think I’m hitting 1000-1200 cal/day including the Jones soda which seems to be all I can tolerate for breakfast these days. Eating is the one thing I am NOT fighting myself on. My rule is 2 meals per day so I am functional for the kids. My thyroid wecked such havoc on my weight in the last decade that the weight lose is actually healthy for me.

We are reading Surviving An Affair. I’m also reading Divorce Busting and The Five Love Languages. And, we both continue reading the stuff given to us by the SA support groups.

I’m impatiently awaiting my college transcripts because my application is stuck in limbo until I get those transcripts. And, I’ve called the last 2 days trying to speak with M’s IEP cordinator to get started moving him into school with the therapies and support he needs. I have also successfully schooled the children for the last 3 days. I’m only online while they do breakfast and then briefly when school is over (unless I get stuck with J napping on me and not moving to his crib).

Last night, I went through a LOT of anger. I started plugging his behaviors into my life. I feel like a FOOL. There were signs and I knew there were problems. But, I didn’t know it was THIS problem. What hurt the most was finally realizing what he did when I was pregnant with J and desperately trying to help M. I was drowning, getting beat up by a violent and unstable bipolar child and risking my unborn son to that stress. It landed me in the hospital and I nearly DIED from it. When I gave birth, my OB instructed me to follow-up with a Nephrologist and a Heptalogist because she wasn’t sure the damage done to my kidneys and liver weren’t permenant. That’s how close I came to dying from it. And he disengaged, ran away and refused to support me emotionally one bit. Yeah well, nearly half his total count was in that one time frame.

And yes, it still makes me MAD. I love M. I am his mother. We have weathered the storms and we’re going to stay the course with this kiddo. But, NEVER would I have pursued this adoption if I had understood what was going on. This adoption was II’s idea, he pushed for it. I cannot understand how he could do that when he KNEW what he was the entire time.

He says he wanted to redeem himself by loving a special needs child. Parenting was the one thing he was really good at and he wanted redemption for everything else he was in that adoption.

I guess it doesn’t really matter now, no moreso than his refusal to get snipped after L for selfish reasons landed J in our lives. But, it does make me lose respect for his fathering knowing that. I have always been passionate that these kiddos need stability. He knew that. He had an obligation to NOT add such a high needs child when he knew he was already drowning.

And yet, we have now weathered the storm and I cannot imagine my life without either M or J. M is my precious, unique baby. He needed me so desperately and I’m glad I’ve had the priviledge of being his mother just the same. I love to see his heartfelt smiles. And, I don’t even respond when he falls into his behaviors because I know he’s trapped in them and we simply keep working to help him reach out from his trapped world into ours.

Still, what II did was wrong. It was wrong to M. It was wrong to the other 6. And, it was wrong to me. He knows that, or so he says now. It can’t be taken back. But, once again, I’m rocked to my core that the man I thought I knew and was married to was NOT who I thought he was, not at all.

So selfish. So very, very, very selfish. And, it wasn’t until recently that I even suspected. Granted I was submerged in adoptees with significant issues and pregnancies and newborns. But, until this year I truly did not suspect. I knew he was disengaged last year, but I assumed it was the same stress I was drowning under not THIS. This year, I started to suspect. I started to look for what was going on. I wasn’t looking when I found it. But, because I was looking, I knew what I found instantly and I knew when he gaslighted me over and over again.


So, I read, and we just confirmed together. Sexaul compulsivity is actually a DSM diagnosis *under* Bipolar. According to the DSM criteria, he fits it entirely. And, based upon his descriptions of what he has done, there is this very abnormal thought process at play when everytime he acts out.

What does that mean? Not much for his recovery. I already stipulated he had to get into 12 step recovery, a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist and back to a Psychiatrist versus having his Bipolar managed by the family doctor.

But, as far as my heart daring to hope for the future. Perhaps if he manages his mental illness and works hard for his sobriety and recovery, perhaps he has a strong chance of staying in recovery and holding onto his sobriety long-term and not cycling through addiction for the rest of our lives, because that I could not and would not live with.

Recovery for SA with 12-step programs and IC is 90%. If he addresses his mental health issues as well, do I dare hope he can work his way back out of this nightmare some day?

I honestly think if I have no hope for a better future that I just cannot stay.

I have felt better reading other spouses of SAs though. I’ve discovered its quite normal to have NO clue whatsoever until you catch the SA because they are good at living a double life and covering their tracks until they finally slip up and the world comes crashing down.

Last night was rough. I’ve had a recurring nightmare our entire marriage that Dh was cheating on me. Its always happened every 4-5 months. Its always so vivid that I struggle to shake it when I awaken. But, except when pregnant and for some bizarre reason the person he was cheating with was my mother, it has always been a faceless, nameless person. Last night, it came again and it wasn’t faceless nor nameless. I woke up sobbing that he had made my nightmares come true.

He seems to be fighting hard for sobriety and healing. He texted his sponsor twice today when he was struggling, and was in email contact yesterday. I can’t really ask him for more because he’s doing everything I have asked and more on his own. But, mostly I just don’t want to be here.

I told myself that I owe it to my children to try to work this out. But, I have a lot of moments of wondering why am I bothering. I just don’t want this to be my life now.


I started an online program specifically for SAs and their partners. Its free, or I can pay for online coaching as I work through it. The one for spouses is 4 months. The one for SAs is 6 months intensive with another 18 months of follow-up work. He wants to start this as well, since it can be worked with a 12 step program.

I’m thinking if he really wants to do it, he can start the program self-study for free and when we get the tax return he can get the coaching with it (unless we actually get the re-fi on the house and can save enough to pay for his).

When we both work through our portion, there is then a couple’s program to focus on rebuilding the marriage.

But, one thing it mentions, and I’ve seen everywhere else I’ve looked as well, is that SA recovery programs ask the partner to commit to 1 year before making any decision about whether to leave or not. They say that the pain of this addiction will stay with you whether you stay in the marriage or not, so better to work through the pain first and find wholeness and healing.

That was basically the committment I already gave him. One year. If he’s working to heal himself then I’ll commit to the marriage as long as he is always fighting this. I did that on my own because I felt the marriage can be saved, but only if he can successfully fight this addiction Yet, that is not an overnight process and he needs time to fight.

Everything I read continues to say that someone committed to fighting this addiction WILL recover from it. What makes it work is not the ability to overcome but the committment of the person to overcome.

Right now, he’s determined. He had no idea it was an addiction. While he was willing to try and fight for the marriage, when my Dad told him this is an addiction that is easy to overcome if you fight for it, he was relieved to hear it and determined to get free from this for himself.

Learning and growing

So, I’m 3 lessons into this workshop and am amazed at the difference between this and the one my SA partner’s group is doing. The support group one gets me angry a LOT. Lots of blaming, passive shaming and assigning guilt based upon the severity of the acting out of the SA.

I will NOT take responsibility for his behavior anymore than I can take responsibility for his recovery. I’m very sensitive to blame shifting on this one. This is NOT my fault and I won’t accept fault for his sin.

Anyway, lesson 2 on this one required I write out the times my gut instincts DID tell me something was wrong. It talks about how your gut instincts didn’t fail you. You just did’t listen hard enough because you gave trust and the benefit of the doubt to the addict. It was really healing to write out all the small weird vibes over the years that I did in fact see. I just never imagined *this* problem.

The purpose of the exercise is to help you feel safe by realizing that your instincts did NOT fail you. And, it has done exactly that.

It also gives you hard and soft signs of an addict not truly in recovery, encouraging you that you don’t have to obessively snoop but can in fact trust your instincts to know when something is wrong by knowing what true healthy recovery should look like.

It helped a LOT.

Then, I had an exercise to write out my vision for my life forward. I wrote a lot of “I wants” and one of the coaches flat out told me to change it to “I will”.

WOW. My life IS my own. And while I cannot dictate his actions and future, I can dictate my own. My life WILL recover because it is within my power to control ME and work towards my own healing and future. I needed that reminder!


So, after his SA meeting last night, II came to me with a written recovery plan for himself. He prays he can overcome and he believes this plan will give him the best chance.

~attend weekly SA meetings
~utilize his SA sponsor
~go back to his established Psych
~see a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist for at least 6 months to work through his past issues and develop better coping skills
~work through the workshop I discovered and he apparently was already pouring over

He has a few specific concerns about SA and the other programs he has encounter (except this workshop). They ALL espouse not disclosing to your wife, not struggles and not slip-ups. We both feel this is a HUGE problem, as it was only when he hit brutal honesty that we had any chance to rebuild our marriage.

So, the offer he has given me is to disregard this advice outright and offer me brutal honesty for the rest of our marriage. He believes if he practices brutal honesty, I will know when he is tempted and struggling and long before he has a major slip.

He has also vowed to practice brutal honesty with his Psych from now on. He’s finally fully comprehending that he tied his doctor’s hands by not being brutally honest. And, when it became to hard to hide he was not stable from the Psych, he switched to the PCP and quit going.

He, like I, has read everything he can get his hands on about this addiction. We both agree that he fits about 75% of the description of the addiction. His actons are fully those of the addiction. But, his thought pattens and history are glaringly NOT.

His truly started 5 years ago when he was drinking on a business trip and was repeatedly propositioned through the night. When he drank too much, he slipped and threw away our lives. The 5 years since then were a downward spiral born of his guilt and his cowardice at telling me in the first place. The longer his sin festered in his heart, the worse it grew. When he had the workplace affair 2.5 years ago, he realized he was out of control and could not stop himself. It escalated further as he entered a self destruct mode.

I think he finally gets that one dunk mess would have been so much easier than the last 5 year nightmare.

But, in the history and thought processing that he does not fit the classic addict, we suspect it pertains to his Bipolar/OCD diagnosis. He firmly believes that careful attention to his mental health for the rest of his life is paramount at never invoking the pain he has caused me again.

I am willing to accept his plan. I think its wise, educated and sincere. He had an appointment with his Psych today but alerted me that the doctor had an emergency at the hospital and he is now going tomorrow instead. Thus far, he has taken every step he said he would, done every action I asked of him and continues to remain sincere and dedicated for his own health but also for us.

I proposed a non-conventional Plan B if he EVER relapses and doesn’t fight the addiction. I made it clear that sexual contact of any sort with any other woman ever will be the death of the marriage. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. I cannot and will not tolerate that betrayal of my heart and risk to my health again.

HOWEVER, my heart and the needs of these children are not necessarily the same thing. There is no situation I can imagine where these children could handle not having daily access to their father. Further, disolving the marriage legally opens the door for grandparent rights and my mother would in fact fight for them.

I have proposed that if he cannot successfully beat this addiction that we admit the death of the marriage and become roommates, provided he never brings any aspect of his addiction into this home or around these children.

This is NOT my first choice. I pray without ceasing that I never face this option. It would absolutely involve seperate finances, seperate bedrooms and seperate lives. But, it would allow us to continue the vision we began with this family.

He actually said that this proposal encourages him to stick with his committment both to fight for healing and to practice brutal honesty. His biggest fear about honesty if he fails is losing his children. He is an amazing father, no one could argue against that.

The truth is that if our marriage died, I would not allow another man in their lives anyway. I would commit to no relationships until they were raised because I could never trust the motives of any man willing to assume responsibility of 8 children who belonged to someone else. So, if the marriage dies because he cannot hold onto his sobriety, I am willing to stay as a roommate to raise these kids. When they are all raised I would seek an amicable divorce and seek companionship for myself at that point.

Its unusual but its the only way I can think to protect myself if he doesn’t beat the addiction while also still protecting these children.

By all the markers, we seem to be entering recovery now. His honesty, sincerity and remorseful and contrite spirit has gone a long way in this process. And, my absolute favorite part of this workshop that I discovered is that it gives me signs and symptoms of how to tell if the recovering addict is in genuine recovery or false recovery. I can clearly see signs of genuine recovery in him. But, I also know what to watch for to tell me if he stops continuing in genuine recovery.

We have agreed that if we both succeed in our individual recovery battles, this spring we will embark upon a maritial recovery program we have found and both agree with. We are going to utilize their at-home study course and their conference they offer IF we make it that far. We agreed we need to get through our individual recoveries before we recommit fully to the marriage. So for now we are working through Surviving an Affair and The Five Love Languages to help us work back to marriage while we’re working on individual recovery paths.

I do have hope. I may give my heart and have it shattered all over again. But, I do have hope. And, I have a future that keeps myself and my children safe if he fails to succeed in his recovery. I have the stregth of a Savior who is holding me up and reminding me that I belong to him no matter what. Its not anywhere near over. It never will be. But, the initial shock and immobilization, I can actually feel it lifting from my brain now. All I can do now is work on my healing and my recovery and learn what the warning signs of his not working are.

Almost forgot

I meant to add that his recovery plan included identifying his triggers and safety measures for those triggers. He has also vowed to practice absolute transparency with me for the rest of our lives. Its the other side of brutal honesty that is absolutely necessary.

I had placed a Net Nanny on the home computers after disclosure. It has a keystroke logger component he is not aware of and an alert function that texts my phone if he attempts to breech the program in any way. It has an off-site administrator to hopefully slow the techie down I also assumed control of the cell phone account and activated parental controls on his cell phone.

But, these measures merely slow they will never stop anyone truly determined to offend anyway. The purpose is to slow him down. Most of his behaviors involved not thinking but acting impulsively. If he desires to recover, being slowed down will function to make him think and require a concious decision.

If he chooses to offend, I will know. Either he will override my controls and I will be alerted or he will cease using the equipment in our house and that will also tell me.

He requests that the net nanny and controls remain in place to make him think for that very reason. He has also committed that he will never remain in the house for more than 30 minutes alone without a clear list of jobs to accomplish. I had NO idea time alone with the internet was a trigger for him.

His other triggers I could have guessed. Time alone floored me, but its a common one listed for SAs. He has established clear counter-measures for all of his identified triggers at this point.