Here on the Sisterhood we have all acknowledged the narcissistic, self-indulgent behaviors of Sex Addicts. But, there is a strange behavior that I noticed in my husband, and in some of the stories that I have read. I am not sure what to call it, but I know it exists. In fact, it almost seems like ‘Serial Recovery’ although it does not deserve that label by any stretch of the imagination.
I am writing from memory, because after over nine years of my knowledge of Larry’s sickness he has become a strange breed, but that will be saved for another post.
Why I ruminate all of this I don’t know, but somehow I think it’s important to the big picture.
In my mind it is a sort of ‘push/pull’ or good/evil or Jekyll & Hyde behavior that seems to ebb and flow. They seem to vacillate from arrogant jerks to Mr. Nice Guy personas.
This is different from the Jekyll & Hyde actions that we usually think of. Those behaviors, in my mind anyway, are how these guys can hide their sickness by putting on a perfect façade while fucking around in the background. They are two people at the same time. That is not what I am talking about.
What I am describing is cyclic. I do recall it happening both before and after D-day with Larry, but I also know that my perception at that time was different than it is now. I just remember that at times he was an arrogant asshole (now I know that that behavior indicated he was fucking around) and a really nice guy who wanted to be with me and he acted almost normal (when he was not fucking around). These cycles had nothing to do with me or what was happening with us. They seemed to have a life of their own, although I recall that I could force him into the ‘nice guy’ cycle when I discovered new secrets or just flew into my raging bitch mode.
It appears as though these guys can only function in a world of extremes. They have no middle ground. No ‘average’, no ‘balance’ that we all need in our lives. They somehow always need the chaos of compulsive extremes. It seems as if after they have a period of over indulgence they have to slink into a period of self-deprivation. A time where they continue their isolation from the relationship and the world of reality; it just takes on a different look. During this time they indulge in extreme behaviors that, I think, force them to deny their sexual illness. Instead they take on other compulsive distractions—work, hobbies, exercise, religion, 12 steps, video games or you name it. The benchmark of this behavior is that it is superficially acceptable, even admirable.
During this phase, if there has already been discovery, they claim to be fully committed to their ‘Recovery’. This phase can last for a long or short period of time. Sometimes even years. It’s scary, but true.
To me, this is just the other half of the same side of the coin. They are still emotionally unavailable, they still have no insight about how their life is unfolding and they are still their own little island. They are still engaging in their sickness, it just looks a little different.
Then, suddenly, without warning this isolation, this self-imposed form of deprivation, provides them with an excuse. A reason. A justification. A ‘right’ to go back to their god awful bad sexual behaviors. In their tiny little minds they feel that their lives are so empty (yes—they are) and so void of any pleasure that ‘anyone would understand’ why they need to ‘indulge’ themselves.
They are back in the ‘asshole’ mode that we all recognize. They are not ‘responsible’ for their bad behavior; in their minds it was perfectly understandable justifiable and reasonable. The ‘poor me’ syndrome where they feel that their life sucks so they ‘deserve’ whatever piece (pun intended) of happiness they can find is back again.
Immature assholes! That’s what I think.