Mr. Scabs Answers Hard Questions


Rimel Neffati
Credit


June 10, 2012By Mr. Scabs


I took my wife out on a Saturday night date.  On paper she is my wife but emotionally, maybe not.  She keeps her distance and I don't blame her.  For our date, she suggested an obscure little taco shop painted red, yellow and lime green.  We'd never eaten there before and she wanted to try it.  She ordered one roasted pork taco, one smothered cheese enchilada and a kind of stuffed pepper I couldn't pronounce the name of.  I ordered a burrito.  


This describes us. She is beautifully complex. Never stagnant, always changing, looking to improve and try new things. Obviously, hard things don't scare her.  I just like burritos.  I don't think the way she does and so answering questions on her blog for her people is intimidating.


This was our first official re-date.  We reflected on our first date over 12 years ago and how things are so different now.  It makes me sad to remember us.  We didn't used to be this way, I used to be happy. I felt so nervous, like i don't deserve to go out on a date with her.  But I want her and I love her.  I want the real thing with her.  I want to change my heart and have a love affair with her.


I am not an expert.  I don't know everything and I am not fully recovered.  This is just my experience and I'm in the beginning of rebuilding a relationship with my wife and becoming fully engaged with her.  I feel kind of odd giving any insight.


Thanks for all your encouragement. And 
with that, I'll answer some hard questions. 


First up, questions from "S" @ I Will Find Healing.  


Q:


Do you have any advice as to how to open the doors of communication? I think this is essential for me to stay in this relationship. Wow. Did I just type that? I don't want him to feel like I am checking up on him everyday, or that I am trying to control him? I just have to have some open communication about this (as well as everything else). How can I help encourage him offering up information - about his addiction on a regular basis - preferably daily - just so I know he is ready to be honest with me? Or does that come when he is ready to start seeking recovery?



A:
I asked Mrs. Scabs if she was pretending to be someone else and ask this question because I swear those words came out of her mouth verbatim!  

There are a lot of different levels to this question mostly because of the difference in how I feel now verses how I felt before when I was deeply involved in my addiction.  In the beginning I denied everything.  There wasn't a problem.  


I wish I could tell you some magical way to snap him into recovery.



I don't want to be harsh with my answer, but the truth is, an addict will never change until he decides it's time.   You or my wife can recover but your relationship wont go anywhere until he decides he wants to change and get help.  I'm sorry its the blunt truth.  He's got to want to see recovery. 


But what you can do is set boundaries.  I would say, be gentle, yet set firm boundaries and explain to him that this is really affecting your relationship and how you feel about yourself.  It's hard to put those words in terms that he's willing to listen to.  


Set boundaries, they speak louder than words.  For me, the realization came with the boundary of honesty.  I can't live with my family if I'm not honest.  We set up boundaries like a daily reporting.  I agreed to have an honest 5 minute conversation everyday about hard stuff.  Sometimes it felt like reporting but then it turned into real talking.  It's still hard.  In a weird way, this can be difficult too, because it gives him the opportunity to lie.  So really, it's up to him to tell the truth.  


For me, it's been a progression.  The whole scenario is a progression. Just like it progressed, it's almost like it digressed in patterns too.  I don't know.  Maybe I was just telling part of the truth until it exploded.  Now I have to tell her everything because if I want to heal I have to be honest.  


All the things helped like, working the 12-steps, having a sponsor, talking with my bishop and boundaries but really I just had to decide I wanted to be a better person.  


Can you guys talk about and say the words "porn" or "masturbation"?  Until things were out in the open, i didn't want to talk about it.  I was shamefully embarrassed.  It varies for each person, but for me I had to own it and be comfortable with the words.  I had to say to myself, "I masturbate. I look at porn and I've done a lot worse.  I am a man who is desperately trying to change." 


Q:
Also - what do you personally feel is the most helpful thing a spouse can for a loved one not currently seeking recovery?


A:
Boundaries.


Boundaries are a sticky situation because you will be setting the stage for him to either choose his addiction or choose your life together.  When there aren't boundaries and addict thinks he can have it all, his addiction and his family.  I actually said to my wife before she knew I was cheating on her, "I can't believe these men who go and have sex then come home to their beautiful wives and children." 


That was me.  I thought I could have my addiction and her.  When she set boundaries I had to make a choice.


In my situation, I finally saw it when I hit bottom.  She had kicked me out and I was living in the spare bedroom of a guy who worked for me.  The bedroom was pink.  It was intended for his niece, who sometimes came to visit her porn/sex addict divorced father who also lived there.  This is a whole other story and I should write a post on this.  But, it helped me.. I slept in the pink bed and look at the ceiling and would go running.  The girls father rarely saw her.  He was on the verge of getting fired from his job and he spent most of his days surfing porn and hiring prostitutes.  I saw how pathetic and destructive he was.  I saw that I was that person too.


Porn will inevitably lead to more.  I'm sure you've talked about it a lot.  So had we.  Boundaries will force a choice.  Start with a true heart felt conversation where you hash it out, setting boundaries that show him it's not acceptable on any level.  Don't threaten, just set the boundaries.  


When we were dealing with pornography my wife tried to talk to me about it and I would just blow her off, cause i didn' think there was a problem.  I thought everyone did it.  It goes against our religious believes and i didn't really care .  I didn't care enough to see that it was affecting her.  I was selfish.  Pornography, masturbation and infidelity are selfish acts.  


There's no magic way to talk about hard things


Q:
And while we're at it - one more thing - how did you feel about April having tourettes & telling people? Did you know she was telling people or did she tell you afterward who now knew? What was your first reaction? What do you feel now about it?


A:
My first reaction was fear.  I was scared that it would get out and people would treat me differently.  But you should tell people.  It's as much your story as it is his.  


The night she burned my underwear, I had come back home to get some clothes and things.  Her friend was still there hooting and hollering and burning my stuff in the backyard.  I hid outside for over an hour.  I was embarrassed that Mrs. Scabs told her friend and i didn't want to see her.  I felt ashamed and for a second, i never wanted to see her again or face her.  


My wife didn't get permission to tell anyone.  She told me after she's already said something.  But, by that time I was beginning to lessen my pride.  I wasn't mad at her cause i really couldn't get mad.  I was finally accepting that I had done this.  That knowledge still doesn't lessen the sting of people knowing.  


I'm learning that people will respect, support and love you anyway.  They are disappointed, I mean, no ones happy about it, but they want the best for you.  She told my parents and my family.  Our neighbor friends and close friends, she may have told a few people she didn't mean to, but hey, I deserved it.  When other people knew, it helped me be honest.


She didn't tell her parents.  I would be careful who you tell out of concern for yourself not out of concern for the guy.  It's embarrassing to stay married to someone who did those things or does them. 
Tell people that will support you.  


I was afraid people would give her ideas and that she should leave.  I don't want to tell people to leave, but even after our own experience, I would think "DOUCHE BAG ALERT".  The reality is, you never know the situation..  I was afraid of their ideas becoming my wife's ideas.  I didn't want to loose her or our kids. I feel like I'm ok with her telling people because I'm active in the 12-step program and I share my story with strangers and I talk openly with friends.

Q:
This question is from Anonymous:
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:
This sounds just like my wife too.  I've heard it so many times.  "Just tell me the truth."


It's hard but, I'd say, confront him with love.  I would have loved her to say, "Darling, Mr. Scabs, I noticed some unsightly things on the computer.  Would you like to chat about it?"


You've been betrayed, so it's hard for you to reach out in love.  You don't trust and you're hurt.  So it might come out something like this instead, "Hey, jerk-face!  Is this you're freaking micro-card full of pornography!!!???!?!?"


Again, for me, this was a boundary issue.  Show him it's unacceptable.  Set the boundaries to protect yourself from his lies.  And follow through!  When you talk to him, tell him what you know, tell him how you feel and set that boundary. 

I'm sorry about this.  I can only imagine what it's like to be strung alone by an addicts lies.  Let me know how it goes.


Q:
This question is by another Anonymous reader. 

I have not personally dealt with sex addiction in a spouse, but I have several friends who have and it has broken my heart for those whose husbands chose the addiction over their family. I have also seen the powerful healing of a man and a family when the husband chose to face his choices and make new ones. That was beautiful to watch, even from the outside. But the question I continue to have, particularly for those who are like you and still profess a belief in the Savior is this: how did you think you could get away with it? Even if you had been able to deceive your wife/kids (even yourself?), did you really think you could hide it from God? Or was there a mindset that you would quit when you wanted and be done with it?  



I wanted to tell both of you that I think you're courageous and lovely people. Thank you for sharing your story. I really wish you all the best and know that good things are in your future if you continue fighting for good things. Weak things are made strong. Totally amazing.


A:

This might be the hardest question to answer.  Probably because there isn't an answer.  Have you ever asked a addict why they do what they do.  We always say, "I don't know."


My mentality was, I would quit when i was dead.  I was going to take it to my grave.  My addiction   started out gradually and pretty soon I was lying to myself.  I didn't even believe that I was that guy.  I'm not the guy going into the massage parlor looking for sex.  I'm a good guy.  I love my family and I provide for them and I don't want to ruin my family.  But somehow you've lost all agency and you walk through that door and pay for sex.  


Pornography gave me instant gratification and with my wife it wasn't.  There was a relationship there.  I would have to look into her eyes and make it real.  I think a man seeks prostitution and pornography/masturbation  because he is lazy.  It is the lazy man's way of having sex and intimacy.  
And it's deceiving because its not better that being with my wife,  it's lonely.  


I was not thinking about God.  He was non-existent and my faith was so hidden it didn't even cross my mind.  I think i had forgotten who i was.  I knew deep down that what I was doing wasn't right and it was destroying everything, but I justified it.


"She's at work and I'm horny so let me just take a minute and wack off."


By the time i was going to massage parlors I was so disengaged in my marriage and from myself that I had lost touch with reality.  It's like anything addictive, the deeper I got, the more I knew I was in trouble and wanted to quit.  I was trapped.  I had lost my ability to choose the right.  There was a thrill to the lying and secrets, it wasn't really the sex or the hand-jobs.  And that thrill and the sex were used to make it all attractive and before I knew it, I was a slave to the body.  


-----THE END


We noticed there were two types of questions.  Questions about communication and questions about sexuality.  The ones I answered today dealt mostly with communication.  I will answer the rest of the questions about sexuality later this week.


I'm sorry you ladies are dealing with such heavy things.  I really am.  Each question reminds me of myself and how I hurt those I love most.


With the greatest respect,

Mr. Scabs