Hard Questions for Mr. Scabs

adorable.

The original Ask Mr. Scabs post here.
Q: 
From Stacy B


Well, my question may be a little different from everyone else's because I am not a married woman with a husband who has this problem. Instead, I'm a 17 year old girl who's parents just recently divorced because of things that I'm still not entirely sure about, other than the fact that my Dad is now about to marry another woman. After reading your blog, I began to wonder if my dad had a pornography problem. For some odd reason, I had felt like he did, but being a member of the LDS church myself, I thought that was impossible since he had served a mission, was a part of the bishopric, and raised me and my brother to love the Gospel and believe that the church was true. Today, I asked my Mom if dad ever looked at porn, and it turns out that she discovered his problem with pornography when I was just 3 years old. He could have been addicted to it long before my parents ever met, but she caught him several times after that first instance as I was growing up. It just baffles and disgusts me that he ever did such a thing. As his daughter, I feel degraded and disturbed that he would ever look at porn. He doesn't know that I know about this, and he'll probably never tell me. I'm guessing that he doesn't think it's a serious problem, or maybe he doesn't want to admit that he has a problem.

So my question for you Mr. Scabs, is how do you feel pornography has affected your parenting? I used to think that I was such a daddy's girl, but now I feel like I can't be close to him like I was again because of what I know now. Should I ask him about his interest in porn, or just let it be? I want to think that maybe I should help him realize that it's a problem, but I don't want him to get mad at me, or make things even more awkward between us. I just want the old Dad that I knew and loved to be in my life again. Do you think his viewing of porn had anything to do with my parents divorce? I'm sure they had other problems, but could that be why he stopped loving my mom? He was also never excommunicated from the church, but he no longer goes. Should he be excommunicated? How can I help him go back to church again? He was never sexually promiscuous, or that's what he told me, but he had feelings for another woman that wasn't my mom, so is that something that could cause excommunication too? Also, with being a Mormon, how could my dad be viewing pornography and talking to another woman, yet still go to church, partake of the sacrament, go in the temple, and teach me gospel doctrine and give me advice about things in a way that follows the churches standards? He helped me to build my testimony of the church, and it breaks my heart to see him not fall away and not follow the churches standards. I just want to rebuild our relationship, but I just need help on figuring out how to love my dad when there's so much about him that I don't even know.



A:
Stacy, I need to apologize for taking so long to get back to you.  My life is still upside down and I'm trying to repair my bad decisions.  Although, I've thought about you and this question a lot I haven't taken the time to gather my thoughts about it.  Next time, you could just call us! Ha Ha!  


Also please limit to one question only.....Just kidding!  I realize your questions are very personal and layered.  They are personal to me too because i have a 10 year old daughter who will someday be 17.  She might have the same questions you have.  I feel upset because my actions have led me here and put my daughter and my family right in the middle of it.  Just like you are now.  I feel so feel badly that your right in the middle of the wake of destruction and it makes me feel even worse when i see it happening to another family.


As for parenting and porn...


I missed out on building a deep relationship with my daughter.  My porn addiction trickled down and affected me and my relationship with my wife and kids.  I was working on a shallow level.  It's hard to connect when you're allowing things like porn or addiction into your family.  It becomes next to impossible to focus on what's right.  Porn destroyed me, my family and my relationships with my children.  I wish I would have heeded the many warnings by our church leaders.  I wouldn't say I was a bad dad, just not 100% invested.  Pornography was a doorway for me.  It invited conflict, anger, and made it hard to connect and grow when I was constantly justifying or excusing my behavior


I have had to explain to my 10 year old daughter (age appropriate) what has gone on with our family and why I moved out.  I don't think you should hesitate talking to your dad about your feelings.  You feel betrayed and hurt too.  My mistakes weren't just between my wife and I, I had also wronged my children.   You have the right to know the whats and whys of your parents split, maybe not all the details, but at least an understanding.  I'm learning that mine and Mrs Scabs problems are deeper than just porn but when you throw all the worldly crap on top of a relationship its very difficult to grow together and work at your marriage and family.


Your father is still the dad you love.  And I'm sure you are still his Daddy's girl.  A hard thing to learn is that everyone messes up, even parents.  It's especially hard when it's your father that you have loved and learned from your entire life.  Maybe you feel a loss of respect.  I bet that's a very normal feeling.  I would talk to your dad about your feelings.  Talking about it will open it up.  Silence will only hurt both of you.  You can still be close even though you know a different side to him.


I believe porn was the "open the door" to things that led to my excommunication from the church.   It tainted everything I did.  I was excommunicated because of what I physically did, how spiritually destroyed I was and how damaging my actions were to myself and family.  


I don't think i stopped loving mrs scabs, my addiction got in the way of connecting and working it out.  I don't know how to explain this to you.  Love doesn't just end.  I let my pornography addiction cause anger, excuses, bitterness, blame and I built a big old wall between my wife and I.  There was no room to grow a deep relationship.  I let it all get in the way of a deep meaningful love.  The addiction, self-hate and anger made it easier for me to distance myself and justify not being close to my wife.


If your father chooses to go back to Church that's for him to decide.  I know that one day I had to decide to change my life and then take action.  The best thing you could do is be a good example and love him. 


I understand how you feel so confused about your life with your father and how he taught you everything you know about the gospel but then now you see his actions so far from what he taught you.  It doesn't make sense.  I did the same thing.  You should ask you father these questions.  They are hard to answer but I think you deserve the truth.  Your old enough, educated and mature.  Your father knows you best.  Maybe you can tell your dad you deserve the truth and you can handle it.  

It's so hard because even dads make mistakes.  We still love our children with everything we are.  We are human and it stinks cause we want to be perfect for our kids.  I had to let go of my pride.  For me, part of recovery is learning how to do hard things...that includes talking to my daughter about what I've done.  She cries and i feel like a douche bag.   I hug her, love her and tell her I'm sorry.  Maybe the biggest thing I can teach her is that even though we make mistakes, big mistakes, we can repair them.  The Atonement in action.  Healing and the attonment is for you too.  Forgiveness will come in time.


Another thing, your dad may not be ready to talk.  But, I don't think that means you should hide your feelings.  You can feel hurt and mad.  That's ok.   When I ask, my daughter will sometimes tell me that she's mad at me.  I tell her it's ok to be mad and upset.  I apologize and hug her.   I have to look her in the eyes and be sincere.  It breaks my heart and I get teary too.  I hate that I've hurt her.  

Again, I'm really sorry this took so long for me to respond.   It's such a hard question for me to answer but they are all really good questions and deserve answers.  This is a hard way to learn whats out there in the world and I'm sorry you're there.  It boils down to Honesty.  You can't build deep relationships without it.  I would set that expectation with my father and mother.  And that is why I would suggest talking to your dad about how you feel.

Can I ask you a question?  How would you want your mother and father to respond to you in this situation.  What do you wish they would have done differently?  What have they done to give you a sense of self love, even during these hard times?  Sounds like your parents hid their issues well, do you wish they would have been more open?  or is it better that they kept the issues hidden?


Q:

From Anonymous


Wow! I love reading this blog! I told dh the origination of the blog name and I think it made him a little nervous! LOL! 

Here is my question...I was a virgin when I got married. Not an easy thing to do :) but I believed that when I finally found 'the one' it would be worth it! I imagined sex being a little bit (and sometimes a lot) of everything...fun, exciting, meaningful, intimate, adventurous, bonding, etc., etc. 

My husband's past was not like mine. He was a recovering alcoholic/drug addict who had also lived with a girlfriend before converting to the faith we currently share (he converted several years before we met). When we married 18 years ago I believed that all of his sordid past was behind him. 

Well...it's been 2 mos since d-day for us. His SA acting out behaviours included p & mb, cybersex, phone sex, and a physical affair. 

I've read everything about SA that I can get my hands on and logically I understand the disease better than I ever wanted to :) But in my heart there is one thing that I still struggle with...

In my heart I imagine his sexual behaviour outside our marriage must have been wonderful. The OW must have fulfilled some need of his that wasn't getting met at home. Having spent no time in 'that world' I imagine his sexual encounters as being exciting and fun. Full of happiness and the anticipation and giddyness of new 'relationships'. (He doesn't like that word...he says there was no emotional connection with any of them so it isn't accurate to call it a relationship). Either way...I feel like what I have to offer him is simple and boring...in no way, shape, or form able to compete. 

I wonder if I am just a fix for him - a fix without the guilt because we are married. He assures me that it's not the same...but what makes it different? How is it different?



A:
I can relate.  There's hype and chase and excitement.   But once it's through, there's the disapointment always the disapointment. 


It always left me with emptiness, no connection.  That's what I wanted, a connection, but had no idea how to cultivate that with my wife.   Cheating left me with an empty wallet empty and an empty soul and heart--that girl isnt' going to call me.  She doesn't know my name.  She doesn't care about me.  I didn't have an affair, I paid women for sex.  It was nothing but a business exchange.  


For me, sex was always better with my wife so it doesn't make sense that I would seek out prosititutes but i did.  There was no deep connection between my wife and I.  I let my pride, anger, bitterness and pornography addiction get in the way.  I couldn't get past it and see that my wife wanted that deep connection with me too.  I shut her out. 


I was a liar.  I constantly had to justify and hide my second life and maintain the fasade of your perfect life with great kids and amazing wife.  Everyone wondered how I'd gotten so lucky.  But underneath it all I was destroying myself.  


Once I realized what I was doing and wanted to change I had to actually do it.  Not just talk about it.   I wanted to make it work.  The hard work was worth my while, to save my marriage with my beautiful wife and beautiful kids.  I have to invest in my life 100%.  Is he invested in your life?  Can you feel it?  Is it genuine?  When I'm invested I spend time, attention to detail and I want to work it out.  Everything I do, every choice I make, every word I say is invested in repairing my family.   


Mrs Scabs chimes in here and says she can feel the difference when sex her and I is fueled by the addiction.  She feels cheap and just like a warm willing body.  She can also feel when sex is real, intimate and about us as lovers and a couple.  Sex becomes healing and bonding.  You can probably feel the difference too. 


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