Feb 25, 2014

When does snooping become wrong??

When does snooping become wrong? Where does the line get drawn between obsessively snooping or just trying to protect ourselves?

This is something that has been on my mind lately that I am seeking to gain more clarity on. Ive been reading a lot of articles, book, and blogs of other spouses of sex addicts, and when the spouse of the sex addict is trying to recover, heal and is going to counseling and 12 step meetings, I keep coming across a similar theme:

Snooping on your addict husband is BAD BAD BAD!!!

Frankly its quite frowned upon. By the time I married my 2nd addict husband, I too adopted the belief that it was bad, so if I happened to ever "slip up" and check up on my husband I would go through feeling shame and guilt which led me feeling scared to tell anyone HOW I learned my husband was up to no good. Because if I told them, I would hear the familiar "only focus only on you" & "checking will only cause you pain, don't put yourself through that unnecessary pain".

Heck, one of COSA's own "Sobriety Defined" is:

"Minding my own business: No checking up on or spying on the addict, trusting God will reveal any necessary information."

Uh oh.

Now I must say, I am ALL for focusing on me, working on myself, learning to love and forgive myself and not putting myself through unnecessary pain. I understand the reasoning's behind the No Snooping rule, because they frankly DO make a lot of sense, RIGHT?

Well...Partly. Sorta.

Not really....

I started thinking of all the times I snooped on my ex husband or my current husband. I was feeling bad (bad not because I snooped, but bad because of what OTHER people would say if they knew I snooped) for having behaved in such snooping behaviors.......then a spark of train reaction questions came to my mind: WHY exactly was I snooping? For what purpose? Did snooping benefit ME and the kids in ANY way? How would the situation maybe have turned out if I NEVER slipped up and snooped??

I started to think up all the MAJOR things (to name only a small few) that I have learned by "snooping" :

Ex husband-
* I learned his addiction was WAY more severe then I ever imagined in a million years.
* I learned out he was very skilled at "grooming" woman.
* I learned he started conversing and ended up sleeping with my WAY OLDER cousins wife who was having marital problems.
* I learned his pornography use was mostly always geared towards older woman
* I learned how to better protect me and my children so he could not bring such a dangerous drug into my home.

                                                            Pros & Cons
* Brought me immense anguish, pain, panic and sometimes rage.
* I felt unsafe.
* Took up a lot of my time at first.

* I learned more about sex addiction and how it works.
* Got myself lots of counseling
* Made me very knowledgeable in computer Spy programs
* Was able to inform my cousin about his wife's indiscretions with my Ex, which helped him better make a decision on what to do about his own marriage.
* Found the courage to reach out to people and speak up about this addiction.
* Prevented possible STD's
* Saw my ex's REFUSAL to change, despite his words saying otherwise. (all talk, no action)
* Helped me to know when he was lying and what is "telltale" signs were
* Calmed my thoughts and "what if's"
* Learning his preferences geared towards older woman helped calm (counselor explained this one) my fears that his progressive addiction was not geared towards children
* Helped me make a more clear calm decision about divorcing him.
* I WASNT CRAZY, and it wasn't "all in my head".
* Most of all, it HELPED KEEP ME AND MY CHILDREN SAFE. The more I learned about my enemies "moves", the better I knew how to protect myself from them. 

Current Husband:
* I learned my husband HAD a sex addiction....lame.
* I learned how severe his sex addiction was.....more lame.
* I learned HOW he was able to access filth (gotta know where the leak is to stop it, right?)
* I learned about relapse's and how often he actually lied despite what his words said.
* I learned how to better protect me and my children so he could not bring such a dangerous drug into my home.

                                                                Pros & Cons
* More extreme shock, devastation, anger, rage, and pain then I ever thought possible
* Extreme bodily pain
* Major Trauma
* Sometimes not being "all" there with my kids
* Thought I lived in the Twilight Zone
* Withdrawing from everyone.
* Taking up my DANG time! AGAIN!

* Learned more about sex addiction
* Got myself more counseling
* Better ability to protect the kids and learn of any times the kids may have been exposed
* I learned to WAY waaaaay better protect my computer, phones, and tvs and to prevent filth from entering my home, by learning HOW he was able to look up filth (like what apps are BAD, Wikipedia app, Google play, Camera apps, Ringtones, Wallpaper apps, Google Maps, Google books & Magazines, Games, Album art for music etc etc etc etc the list goes on of ways my husband found filth. BE CAREFUL WITH ALLLLL APPS)
* How connected his anger and other triggers are to them
* I was able to uncover multiple upon multiple reasons why my husband was no where NEAR recovery, despite saying all the perfect wonderful things and the counselor, church leaders, and sponsors all thinking he was doing GREAT.
* I learned how SEVERE his lying, hiding, minimizing, and "selective" forgetfulness was.
* Learned just how completely disillusional my husband became.
* I learned most the the lies he tells others
* I learned he isn't THAT into saving this marriage and told a friend if we divorced he would try and take the kids away.
* I learned how to better set boundaries after learning how bad his lying is.
* I learned to be FIRM on my boundaries.
* Learned that we were no longer safe with him home after I caught his last relapse, so my husband moved out.
*  Most of all, again, it HELPED KEEP ME AND MY CHILDREN SAFE. The more I learned about my enemies "moves", the better I knew how to protect myself from them.

Did I WANT to learn any of this? No ....it sucked big time. But by my "snooping" I uncovered A LOT of very very useful information in better protecting ME, my KIDS, and my HOME. My ultimate goal is to keep us SAFE. And many times I felt God led me to find out the things I found. All I want is truth, no matter how painful. If I never snooped, checked up on his history or occasionally check up on his texts, I would have NEVER found the Incest porn. I would have never found out he relapsed back at the end of July and was continually bringing filth in to my home. I would have never found out he was risking his job to steal a magazine out of a customers garbage. I would have never known about all the seemingly innocent Apps that are completely UNSAFE. I would have never come to know why hes not in recovery. I would have never known about my husband secretly hurting my kids. I possibly would have never even divorced my ex husband and found out about my cousins wife. I would have NEVER known how severe BOTH their sex addictions were. I would have never fully learned all the ways to prevent the filth from coming into my home, and how to protect ourselves.

I would still be living in complete ignorance. That is slightly unnerving.

Would either of my husbands ever have come forward with everything on their own? NO WAY. Ive never received complete truth on any matter from them because their lies are in layers: they lie to cover their lies, to cover their lies.  I may have definitely been less stressed and angry in ignorance though, but stress is temporary anyway, and living in ignorance only prolongs the inevitable pain I would feel.

Now, I need to be clear. If my husband was honest, I would feel no reason to snoop nor would I want to because I hate the time it wastes. These are MY opinions pertaining to MY situation and the type of addict MY husband has. Some woman really don't need to know, and that is great for them! Every situation is different. Its our duty to personally become self aware, and to better know what we can or can not handle in our lives.

Instead of listening to programs, or other people telling us to NEVER SNOOP ON OUR HUSBAND'S, shouldn't we instead be advised to CONSTANTLY be asking ourselves:

Do I NEED to know these things, AT THIS TIME?

Is this something I want to know to help protect me? (good) Or just to prove my husband wrong and hurt him?

Do the benefits of knowing, outweigh the risks?

Is this something that will help me, or hinder me?

Let me know your experiences!!