Serial Recovery?

over and over and over

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.


10 thoughts on “Serial Recovery?”

  1. Love it Joann
    Steve has always been able to be the most wonderful guy in the world – so I used to think. Then, suddenly, he would turn into a total asshole in a split second.
    Am sure it is true with all of them!

  2. I recognize this pattern. My husband is cold cruel-snide when he is doing something wrong and I suspect OR I have caught him, then he will switch to super contrite and he will begin reading recovery material, journaling, and wanting to talk it out all the time. Then he will get quiet, time passes, and after awhile I find pictures of Kim Kardashian, or stuff on Facebook or pictures of models… In the cache file on our computer. So welcome back cold cruel snide…… Then contrite more reading more talking…. More promises.

  3. This describes exactly what I have been dealing with. I thought I was nuts, that I was the only woman dealing with this crazy, absurd behavior. I could never get anyone to understand or for that matter figure out what this was I was even dealing with.

  4. Exactly JoAnn! Years of living with your SA has given you much insight as you look back and see the cyclic patterns. I have seen this time and time again in my own situation. This is why the sex is only just a small part of their larger dysfunctional personality. It’s so sad to me that the Csat people will not recognize this for what it is!

  5. Wow spot on!
    Used to think my husband had Bipolar Disorder because of the cyclical nature of his behaviors!
    And he was a master at manipulation!
    But no worries now he is in treatment and going to get cured…. Ha!

  6. This is so helpful. I would love it if someone would answer this question for me. Why wouldn’t a SA, look at the porn or whatever material and then come and fuck their wives / make love versus, going to a stranger?

  7. Why don’t they have sex with their partner? Why go into the bathroom and masturbate over a picture? While I get in your car and drive to meet a escort when there is a woman who at one time if not you are still attracted to lying in your bedroom? Can someone answer this for me I just don’t get it.

  8. Thank you or this post. This exactly describes my experience as well. I noted the apparent cyclical nature of my husband’s “problem,” and he concurred early in his ‘recovery’ that it did seem to be cyclical. The other observation he concurred with was that his “problem” was MORE likely (not less likely) to manifest when we were having (or appeared to be having) better, more frequent sexual encounters. This is not at all intuitive. Thinking on the bright-side, however, it also lets me totally ‘off the hook’ for HIS behaviours.

  9. It is because these men are mentally ill. They have personality disorders and their behaviors are simply traits of the disorders. Most personality disorders do not respond to treatment or medication.

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