I'm not a well oiled machine. I'm more like the machine that breaks down sometimes, needs extra parts added on, with a few last minute adjustments and jimmy-rigging, maybe a few missing bolts...I'm forever evolving and devolving with my different gears, pinions and shifters.
Those of you who know me have probably seen my little orange notebook. Between it's leather bound cove,r all my secrets are held, it's my journal. I lost it once! Gulp. Luckily a friend found it. I feel a little like Margret in Judy Blume's "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret".
Can this be real? Did my husband really cheat on me? Is this my new reality? Please wake me from this nightmare, please. What the hell's a sex addict? How can you let this happen? What did I do wrong? How will I ever survive?
Are you there God?
It's me, Scabs.
I read my little orange notebook today. Cover to cover. I saw the progression of my boundaries. They've been stapled, removed, adjusted, bolted a little tighter and sometimes the whole machine breaks down and needs an oil change. It's a journey. We learn and make mistakes and that's ok.
Thank you to all who participated in yesterday's Q&A about boundaries. If you haven't already, go ahead. Our answers were all so different and yet, the same. Which proves one thing, there is no perfect way place boundaries. Sharing our journey helps us learn.
If you haven't already, meet Elsie, from Mock Turtle's Musings. Elsie's my mentor. She's always a few steps ahead ahead of me in healing. This makes my path a little easier (thanks Elsie). She's a New Yorker and eats hamburgers without mustard! Say Whaaa? The reason I mention her is for her Boundaries Agreement. I'm thankful she shared this intimate part of her marriage. Use it to get some ideas cookin' about your own boundaries and the consequences.
Elsie's boundaries and neat, organized and clear while mine are a little more haphazard and messy. But they still work. Boundaries will catapult you into a new phase of healing and changing. Like a boxers bolo punch, boundaries rearrange the face of addiction.
Looking into the past I've also been able to see that I set boundaries for Mr. Scabs but surprisingly, I also set boundaries for myself. Decision I made about how I will act. Here are the erratic pieces of my little orange notebook about boundaries:
Nov 2010-July 2012
It takes courage to set boundaries. I don't have courage.
Today I've decided to put our marriage aside and focus on me. I'm going to invest in myself. And I won't settle for resentment and bitterness.
Our relationship can't heal with honesty.
No other women. Is that a period? Yes. NO OTHER WOMEN (PERIOD) Signed Dissolution of Marriage documents are in my desk and will be brought to the court house without a second thought.
I will wake from this numbness. I will stop begging him. I will stop feeling pathetic.
Mr. Scabs agrees to account for where he is, who he is with and when he will be home. If he doesn't he will lose my faith in his whereabouts and I will no believe he is in recovery. I will detach.
I will let go of a future with him. My goals need to be separate from him because he isn't in recovery. What I want is important too.
I will spend time for me each day.
Mr. Scabs will choose to be cooperative in our healing with communication and honesty. If not I will believe he is an apathetic liar and will detach from him.
I will believe Mr. Scabs when he is actively engaging all his "safety nets". For example, working 12-step with his sponsor, putting blocks on his computer, not engaging in idle internet surfing, daily communication with me and when his actions match his words.
We will have no sexual intimacy without physical and emotional safety. He will get STD tested regularly and he must connect emotionally with me.
I can understand a relapse (pornography) when he is involved in a life of recovery, self-examination, honesty and communication. He can expect my support in recovery, not addiction. If pornography or inappropriate sexual material becomes an addiction I will detach and prepare for divorce.
Since we are not currently sexual, masturbation is acceptable without pornography. Open communication is important here to avoid masturbation becoming an extension of addiction. We will learn to empathize and understand each other. When we do this our relationship can grow.
Fidelity and honesty are full bodied commitments, not ala cart or cafeteria style, picking and choosing what he will be honest about. I do not need to ask the right questions. Without honesty and fidelity I will detach and file divorce.
Since he has moved out, I will determine the time he spends at our home. When I need space he will oblige or I will leave.
Money. He will account for any extra cash and all monies. Cash will be deposited into the checking account and there will be no more that $50 in his wallet or truck. If money is missing or lied about I will detach and assume he is spending it on old habits. He will experience a loss in trust.
I will not discuss my parachute stash of cash.
I can't tolerate lies and have no tolerance for lying. When Mr. Scabs tells lies we will talk and work it out or I will detach. Uncovering new lies only causes pain and distrust. It is like reliving the pain all over again. And will destroy any progress.
When he tells the truth he will build respect and self-love. We will move toward a closer relationship and reconciliation. We will spend quality time as a couple and family building affection, empathy and genuine effort repairing our marriage.
If I feel a decline in his honesty I will believe my intuition until he earns and proves he is trustworthy.
I will say sorry for mistreating or yelling at him.
I will not put myself in harms way physically or emotionally. When he resorts to lies and selfishness I will detach.