Every. Single. Exact. Word. Matters.

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My ex claims he never lied to me.

First of all, I’m sure that’s just another lie. But …. when he wasn’t actually lying, what he did was MUCH more sinister. It was gaslighting, which is a total mind rape.

Let’s lets look at an example of how this works. In this situation, I’d asked him to see his doctor for a particular medical problem.

  • Me: “Did you see your doctor?”
  • Him: “Yes”
  • Me: “What did he say?”
  • Him: “He said everything’s OK.” 

Innocent enough, yes? Not so fast. You see, I wasn’t specific enough in my questions. I was relying on underlying assumptions, which you can NEVER do with a sex addict.

Let’s re-examine that conversation now that we know how personality disordered people twist the truth.

Me: Did you see your doctor?

To normal people, this means “attend an appointment with” and “for the medical situation we are talking about”. With narcissists, sociopaths, and sex addicts things are often a matter of exact words.

The sex addict will say “yes” if he saw a doctor shopping at Home Depot or if he attended an appointment with any doctor at any time in his life, even thought he knows very well what you are asking.

Me: What did he say?

Again, to a normal person, this assumes we are still talking about the same doctor from our first question. But to a sex addict, “he” could be anyone – from a co-worker to an actor on TV who said, at any time ever, “everything’s OK” .

If you later find out that he did not see the doctor for the specified problem, he will claim – and believe – that he did not lie to you. And if he’s anything like my sex addict, he will then accuse you of poor communication skills because you didn’t play by the “exact words” rule.

Confused? Me, too. This is one tiny example and I’m exhausted.

In the aftermath of discovering his sex addiction, I learned that every conversation had a hidden meaning and that I had to carefully examine every single word he said.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t live that way.

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Spouses of Sex Addicts – Good News: we’re all alike!

This is a must-see video by my new favorite, Diane Strickland, MA, of Sisterhood of Support. If you don’t have a lot of time, skip to 6:17 to hear how amazing we are, and why that made us a target for sex addicts. They chose us, we didn’t chose them!

In the video, this is how Diane describes wives of sex addicts:

  • “antithesis of co-dependent”
  • “strong”
  • “incredibly intelligent”
  • “capable”
  • “huge capacity for commitment”
  • “loving”
  • “many interests”
  • “lots of relationships”
  • “successful careers”
  • “good at managing families with passion and creativity”
  • “competent”
  • “independent”
  • “dependable”
  • “honest”
  • “loyal”

I don’t know about you, but I needed to hear that. Diane helped me to remember who I truly am at my core – who I was before being systematically abused by a very sick man for so many years.

It’s pathetic that they chose us for these wonderful characteristics, then spent years tearing us down to keep us confused and off their dirty trail. It takes a very sick person to do that to a woman. Very sick, indeed.

“I Never Lied to You” – and other lies told by sex addicts

With sex addicts, we don’t ever get the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Of all the lies told by my sex addicted husband, these have to be my three favorites:

1.  “I never took off my wedding ring”

– has to be right up there in the top three. Let me get this straight: You stuck your penis in innumerable (hundreds?) living things, but I’m to believe you are a great family man because you kept your wedding ring on your finger? How about you keep your penis in your pants? Did that ever occur to you as a better idea?

– did leaving the ring on your finger seriously make your cheating feel less cheat-y?

2.  “I never lied to you”

– my definite all-time favorite. Let me wrap my brain around this: you sincerely believe, to your core, that you never lied because you never said “I screw men and women on the side” (or any other sick variation)? You sincerely believes that living a lie doesn’t count as lying?

-That’s some scary, pathological stuff.

3.  “I love you”

– really? Cause the last time I checked, love doesn’t abuse, lie, cheat, steal, deny, control, manipulate, or screw everything he can get his hands on east of the Mississippi.

– If you think that’s love, I’d hate to see what you do when you hate….. oh wait, I have seen it. I’m living it as you play the victim, blame shift, lie to my children, assassinate my character, and drag me back to court.

The Sex Addict’s Family Photo Album

Nothing is spared the sex addict’s carefully manipulated facade – not even the family photo album. I made him look really good; he made me look really absent.

On holidays he went to bed tired. Alone, I cleaned up from guests and prepped for the morning. In the morning, I wrangled giggling girls while I completed preparations, then grabbed the camcorder and camera. He showed up and I took pictures of him.

On birthdays, I planned parties, bought supplies, wrapped presents, and even bought him costumes to wear. He showed up and I took pictures of him.

When he napped, I lay a baby beside him and took pictures of him.

When we took vacations, I planned and prepped for weeks. He showed up, smiled, and I took pictures of him.

I was more than happy to do all these things and more because I was playing by the “we” rules. As far as I knew, we were a team and he was working hard for the family. I was more than willing to pick up the slack at home and document his “fatherhood” when I could.

There are very few pictures of me with our children. I now understand that he viewed parenthood as a competition. He had no respect for me or for motherhood. Motherhood and household duties were of no value, because he believed they were easy, endless days of leisure and reckless spending.

It no longer surprises me that he didn’t take pictures of me with our children. Why would you take pictures of something that disgusts you?

Only now do I have the luxury of knowing how carefully and patiently he works the canvas to paint a fake life – so I have to wonder if he knew what he was doing. Was the imbalance in the family photo album another skillful manipulation? Or was it simply the accidental result of only one parent being fully present in family life?

Therein lies the hell of life with a sex addict – you never really know what’s real and what’s an illusion. And when you look back on photos, you wonder what else – or who else – he did that day.

The Exact Moment I Knew I’d Had Enough

The Story of the Walmart Bag

The one single thing that pushes wives of sex addicts over the edge and into divorce is not what you’d think.

  • it isn’t the hookers, the gay bars, or the happy endings at massage parlors.
  • it isn’t the nudist colonies, the drug use, or the phone sex.
  • it isn’t the family dog, the hotel clerks, or the strangers on airplanes.
  • it isn’t the transvestites, the strip clubs, or the lying.
  • it isn’t emotional, financial, or spiritual abuse.
  • it isn’t the lack of participation in the family, the complete emotional vacuum, or the lack of sex in the marriage.
  • it isn’t the counselors, family, or friends urging us to run and not look back.

These things are incomprehensible and justified under the tidy little diagnosis of “sex addict”. We’re told our sex addicts can be cured and we believe it. We are told that it’s only sex. Our longstanding histories of abuse at the hands of our husbands are ignored. Personality disorders, which go hand in hand with sex addiction, are dismissed.

Is it any wonder then, that it’s often a tiny, seemingly insignificant thing that pushes us over the edge? For me, it was a Walmart bag.

He stormed into the living room with the full Walmart bag in hand. He stood over me, angrily grilling me for answers: Where did you get this? When? Why? What year? What month? I had long ago stuck the bag and it’s contents in the attic and forgot about it, so I really didn’t remember when I’d gotten it. In an effort to back him off, I guessed. Wrong move.

Turns out he had taken the bag to Walmart to determine when that particular logo was used on bags. He had then returned home to try to catch me in a lie. So when I guessed at a date, he pounced. He had his “proof” that I was a liar.

This man, who’d lived a twisted double life for decades, was trying to prove I was a liar by using a logo on a bag. This was a man who was so good at covering his tracks that he thought of every tiny detail, right down to when logos were used on bags. That level of deception doesn’t occur to normal people.

And that’s the exact moment I knew who I was dealing with, and it terrified me. I finally understood that he really was pathological, and I knew it was time to go.

Win in Court Against a Narcissistic Sex Addict?

I spent 5 years in and out of divorce court, and I just got served a summons again today.

In the immediate aftermath of discovering my husband’s sex addiction, I was advised to either file for divorce immediately or get a post-nup. I instead tried to salvage the marriage, which accomplished only one thing: I gave my him time to regain his composure and go on the offensive. He’d already assaulted my very being, now he was going for the gold.

You see, you don’t just leave a narcissistic sex addict. There will be payback. There has to be payback so he can become “great guy” again. Unfortunately, the surest way back to “great guy” is down a road called “Discredit and Destroy your Ex”.

These men have repeatedly proven they are above laws and oaths. Why on earth do we believe they will suddenly do the right thing, even if that thing is court-ordered. They are not willing because they sincerely believe they are the victims ….. and no victim should be required to follow orders with which he disagrees, right?

You haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen how a narcissistic sex addict prepares for court. No detail is too small, no lie is too big. Remember, these are men who carefully crafted secret lives for decades. Crafting a little story for court is child’s play. Court is their home turf; a grand stage on which to perform their deceptions. You’ll see the charm ooze like you’ve not seen since you dated. Of course now it will be mixed with crocodile tears at all the right times.

If you are awarded anything in the divorce proceedings, expect to have to fight to get it; then expect to have to fight to keep it. Then expect him to keep coming for more. These men don’t considered marital property to be joint. It’s all theirs and they let you use it as long as you play by their rules, which are “sit down, shut up, and do it my way”.

There is no “winning” against a personality disordered man. Remember how long it took you to discover who he really is? … and you were living with him. If you think a judge has a chance of comprehending, given only a few hours, you are sadly mistaken.

We’d fare better in the criminal court system, where the judges have more experience with sociopaths, psychopaths, and other demented persons.

Afraid to Leave a Sex Addict?

I sat on the fence waaaayyyyy too long.

Plan A was divorce. Plan B was staying married to a sex addict. Both options sucked.

I desperately wanted a Plan C where everyone lives happily ever after. I wanted to go back to “before” and forget everything that had happened. I struggled with denial because this problem was too big to grasp all at once.

I thought if we worked hard enough we could overcome his sex addiction. (“we” lol) We separated. We went to counseling, together and separately. We attended weekend workshops. He became a leader at his 12-step meetings. He disclosed (some of) his actions. He professed his sorrow.

And he kept cheating.

Before I knew it, days became years. I never sincerely re-entered the marriage after his first disclosure. I knew it wasn’t safe, and I knew it never would be. So why did I stay so long? Fear – plain and simple fear.

Now, so many years later, I can barely tell you what I was afraid of. I’m no longer able bodied and live in a tiny condo on a tiny disability check, far away from the country club. Tomorrow is uncertain, and yet I am at peace. I am no longer being  emotionally, spiritually, and financially abused.

It seems crazy that I was trapped by fear when I was able to work, travel, and actively pursue a wonderful life.

What are you afraid of? No, really. What are you afraid of? Are any of those fears really worse than wasting your one precious life on an emotionally bankrupt cheater? I think you deserve better. I know I did.