PARTNER: I wanted formal disclosure. My experience of disclosure from my partner had been just about as bad as it could get. It was staggered over three months and came in about 5 chunks, each more devastating than the last. Each time I would ask, “Is that everything?” and he would insist that it was. Each time, that was a lie. At the Phase 1 Intensive, it had been explained that this was like being hit with a brick, only to get back up and be hit again. In my experience it was worse than that because each time the bricks were bigger and hurt more, and I had been lied to more. The emotional and physical effect of this was awful. By the end, I was shaking almost all the time and my physical health was at an all time low. I ended up in emergency during the Intensive weekend with breathing complications from flu. My physical health reflected my emotional health — it was hard to breath and I didn’t really want to!
I wanted formal disclosure because:
- I felt he owed me that
- I wanted to hear from a place where he wasn’t terrified, defensive, justifying, minimizing, or angry
- I wanted to hear from a place where I wasn’t in shock or distraught or completely “zoned out”
- I had a belief that the process of disclosure would be therapeutic for us both
ADDICT: Well, I didn’t want to do it at all. I had told her everything anyway so didn’t see the point. I feared that doing a disclosure “again” would re-open things and she’d be upset and angry with me again. We seemed to be getting on quite well, so I saw only danger in this process. My disclosures to her had taken place in bits over some months and had been a horrific experience for both of us. I didn’t want to recreate that .
However, she told me I owed it to her and I grudgingly thought she might be right. Also, my perception was that she was going to spend the rest of my life explaining what a terrible person I was and I thought it just might get me 5 seconds respite!