Wednesday, December 31, 2014

It's A New Year

Happy New Year to y'all. Well, it's a new year at any rate. I am hoping that this coming year brings more happiness than the last one has, because I am ready for it. It seems that the moments of true joy and happiness are so fleeting that I struggle to remember them in between.

I have really been struggling since disclosure. I didn't think it was going to impact me the way it has. Actually, that's not true, I DID expect it to impact me a great deal, but I also had high expectations that after disclosure B would really start working hard on recovery. If I was being completely honest, I would say I have really taken a few steps back in my recovery because of the combination of disclosure and my own lack of diligence in working my recovery. I can own that I haven't been very diligent in my recovery work and it has helped to impede my progress.

Right now my heart is aching, truly physically aching. I really, sincerely believed that once disclosure was over things would be different. B would feel lighter because he wasn't holding things back or hiding them anymore. I would feel more determined to work on my recovery because this is where I could start working on healing our relationship. Neither of those things has happened. Neither one of us has really actively been working recovery. Neither one of us wants to reach out to the other.

After disclosure I put my walls partially back up. It didn't hurt as bad at first as I anticipated it would and I even wanted to be held and comforted by B. I think he took that to mean that it was going to be as bad as it got. I tried to break it to him that it was probably going to hit me later and that the hardest was probably still yet to come. Apparently either he didn't think that was the case or I didn't clearly communicate that, because he truly didn't think it was going to get worse. When it did get worse and I had an entire week where I cried pretty much all the time and just wanted him to be the strong one and take care of me, it didn't happen. He made it about him and how hurt he was by my pain and anger. How it made him feel shame when I got angry about things that have happened and how much recovery it costing us in time and money. That's when the walls went all the way back up and haven't come down.

Maybe part of me was trying to punish him, make him feel some of the pain that I am feeling. In all honesty, I don't want to intentionally hurt or shame him. I honestly don't want to cause him hurt, but by hiding the pain from everyone for so many years I haven't let myself feel it. It's going to take time and work, and a lot of it, to be able to heal and feel safety and trust again. I am committed to working on my own recovery, but our recovery as a couple is on hold for now until I see the actions that will help me to feel safe and start to rebuild trust.

I think the thing that scares me the most is that B is not committed to working his recovery to heal himself. He flat out told me that he doesn't know what he is working on recovery for because I am not showing him love (I am paraphrasing, but the sentiment is still the same). I told him that he couldn't work recovery for us, he has to work on his own healing first. He doesn't think it's worth it, it's not enough he told me, to work on it for himself, he has to see some civility and compassion from me. That scares the SHIT out of me (pardon my language). He will never fully be in recovery if that's why he is doing it. He has to want to heal his own heart, mind and spirit before he can truly work on our healing as a couple. This has been my biggest fear going into recovery, that B won't want to get better unless I work to heal us as a couple. I can't do that right now. I have to be able to see action on his part before I can work on our healing as a couple. It's quite a stalemate we have. I can't lower my walls and let him in and he won't work on recovery because I won't lower my walls and be vulnerable. I don't know where we go from here as a couple. I know where I need to go and I am honestly getting my map out and working on heading that direction. B will have to make his own decision.

Heartbroken but recommitted,


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

My Heart Is Full

Tonight my heart is full. It is still carrying hurt and anger but it is also carrying joy, love and a small measure of peace. I'm not ready for Christmas, I don't even know what we will be eating. The presents aren't all wrapped, probably not even all bought, but it's ok. I am feeling joy, love and a small measure of peace because right now I can feel His love. I have been touched by the love of my Heavenly Father. He is carrying me. I can turn it over for this moment and let him have it.

A Little Lighter,


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Triggers, Triggers, Everywhere!

Today has been a day FULL of triggers and I have not handled it as well as I would've liked. I'm not exactly sure why there were so many triggering things in my day today, but if I had to put money down on something it would be lack of sleep. I have had some late nights and busy days and it has led to complete physical exhaustion. I am just plain worn out and so I haven't handled my triggers as well as sometimes do.

If you are easily triggered by others experiences, consider yourself warned not to read any farther. I need to write about some of today's triggers and process them and how I handled them.

I absolutely LOVE Christmas time! I love that we get to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I  think I've said this before, if not I'm saying it now, nothing speaks to me as easily as music. I can be touched by almost any emotion more easily and effectively through music. I should come as no surprise to me then that music can sometimes easily trigger me. Today it was about a particular artist who also happens to be an actress and one of B's favorites. I don't know if she has ever starred in his fantasies, but it's a wager that I would feel safe taking to say she has. When B's playlist played a song by this particular artist I made him change it because it triggered me.

One of my all time favorite things about Christmas is finding THAT gift. You know, the one that you know they will absolutely love. Well after five hours of shopping with my teenager we have almost covered everyone on our list. One of the things we were shopping for was makeup for me (my parents send us money to shop for ourselves every year). I have not been much or a makeup wearer for years. It's just too much effort most of the time and, if I was being completely transparent here, I would admit part of it was that I figured no matter how beautiful I looked, it wasn't me that B wanted. It was triggering to buy makeup for Pete's sake!

Here's my biggest trigger though, spending time in civil conversation with a friend of ours who is an "addict in recovery" (my opinion, he's not in recovery but it's only my observation which is admittedly tainted by the trauma). Here is what was so triggering for me. He said something to the effect that he thinks he and his wife were raised completely differently because she was raised that you made a list of your wants for Christmas and that he was raised to make a list knowing that it was a wish list and that you weren't going to get everything on it. Well…no s**t Sherlock! Give that boy a medal! He said that she never liked what he gets for her. He also said that she never liked what he picks out for her for Christmas and later that he picks out stuff for her because he likes it because that's what he knows. All I could think of was, "She gets upset about what you buy for her because you don't LISTEN to what she really wants. You but what you want to buy and not what she wants to get because you either couldn't be bothered to list to what your wife wants or that you don't care what she wants because you will get her what you want anyway. I'm sorry she doesn't like your gifts, maybe if you listened to her you would know that by doing what you are doing you are essentially telling your wife that she doesn't matter enough to not only listen to what you are saying but to take it to heart as well. This is so completely triggering for me because it has been my experience almost our entire marriage. B puts off buying me presents because "I'm too hard to shop for"…ummm nope! I am actually really easy to please if you listen to the suggestions I give you.  I don't care if the present cost $300 or $3 as long as thought went into it. That's the triggering part, feeling like I'm not important enough to waste time or energy on.

The capstone to my triggers tonight was that I was self-medicating with chocolate (let's not throw stones at me ok self and others, I know self medicating with anything is bad, no lecture or shaming needed. I was eating Dove Promises (the dark chocolate with caramel and sea salt…YUMMY) when I read one of the encouragements on the inside that triggered me. I even get triggered by some of my favorite things! Ugh!

I am going to head to bed and see if I can wake up and be less triggered in the morning.



Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Why Do I Have To Be Okay?

This week has been long and emotional. I think I have cried more tears in the last few days than I have in the last few years. OK, well that's probably an exaggeration, but I have a "crying hangover" and have had one all week. I was going to write about doing my first Temple Session  in probably seven years this morning, but I just have to get this out. *If you aren't familiar with LDS beliefs or about our Temples click here.*

Why do I have to be OK? Why don't I get to be broken? OK let me rephrase that, why am I expected to not show how broken I am. Why do I have to "get over it" and move on to healing? What don't I get to grieve?

These aren't just questions for society at large or people around me. These are questions I get to ask myself. These are questions I get to ask B.

This week as been rough for me. Far harder than I anticipated after how I felt disclosure went. Remember when I mentioned that tiny anxiety/panic attack that I had last Saturday night? The one that I said was leading me to believe that I was just starting to process things. I was right, I am just starting to process things. I am letting myself feel things that I have stuffed for the last however many years. It's bound to erupt out of me sometimes.

I want to be broken. No, actually I don't want to be broken…but I want to be allowed to feel the brokenness and process it. I get to cry. I get to be mad. I get to be hurt. I get to sob if that's what I need. I GET to do those things because I AM BROKEN. I've been betrayed and I can't trust B right now. I get to feel that.

It's gonna be hard for others to watch. It's always hard to see people that are hurting and not want to "fix" it. It is going to be particularly painful for B to watch knowing that he caused this pain. That doesn't mean I need to be "fixed". It also doesn't mean that I have to hide what I am feeling to spare B pain. I don't want to hurt him no matter how angry I am at him, but he needs to understand that part of healing for me is getting to be broken. Healing for me is allowing myself to FEEL. I haven't let myself do that for so long and it's overdue.

I want to be OK. I want to heal. Right now though, I'm not OK and I'm not healed. I am however, working on those things. In this moment, I'm giving myself permission to be broken.

Not OK but working on it,


Sunday, December 14, 2014

My Emotional First Aid Kit

When I was preparing for disclosure and for dealing with Betrayal Trauma in general, my therapist encouraged me to make an Emotional First Aid Kit. It was my strength and will continue to serve me as I move through recovery and life. I wanted to share with you some of the items for this kit that I found the most helpful.

The very first thing is to have good support. I have found an amazing group of women on FaceBook that have lifted me up the last few months. The Togetherness Community on FB is a secret group and that means nobody but those in the group can see that you are a part of it or anything you comment or post in it. If anyone reading this isn't part of that group and would like to be please email me at awifeprogressing(at)gmail(dot)com for details and/or an invitation. These amazing ladies are the sisters I have needed during this trial.

Here are some the actual physical items I included and why I decided to include them:

-Pictures - I have pictures of my grandparents (my grandma was my absolute safe person and I really miss her during times like this), a picture of my family when I was little (to remind me how much my family loves me), my book club (these have been my peeps for fifteen years and always have my back even though we are separated physically) and my family now (to remind me what I'm fighting for).

-Modeling clay - to have something to use to keep my hands busy (although I would recommend not buying colored clay as I looked like a Smurf by the time disclosure was over). It was so very therapeutic to be able to work it over and mold it.

-My ratty falling apart blanket that my grandma made me - again she was my safe person and the blanket wraps me in her love. I rarely allow myself to use it as it is in bad shape, but I felt I needed it this time.

-My stuffed black cat, Shadow (yes he has a name) - my sister gave him to me when I had surgery about seven years ago and when I need her and she can't be with me, my cat helps me feel her love.

-My worry stones (they even have names, I'll spare you those embarrassing details, but my kiddos helped me name them) - they serve a dual purpose: a - they give me something else I can keep in my hands to be able to have something to keep them busy and b - they remind me that something beautiful can come out of a trial because the four shiny ones started out rough and marked and came out of the tumbler shiny and smooth and the other one is a rock from the beach that has been worn smooth over time by water and sand.

-My Togetherness Project necklace - I wear this everyday as a reminder of the sister warriors that are supporting me all the time. It was a great reminder to me the last couple of days because these amazing sisters have texted me to make sure I am doing ok and provide encouragement and love. I hope they know how much it has meant to me.

-My therapist's cell phone number - because she's awesome like that and I did text her a couple times. She has been amazingly encouraging.

-My journal and a pen - because it helps to write things down and get my thoughts out so they don't go around and around in my head

-Tissues - that ones pretty self explanatory - to mop up the tears.

-My Dammit Doll - just see the picture below and it will be self explanatory.

-My scriptures and my prayers - because without the love and support of my Father in Heaven I would not be able to survive this trial.

I had a lot of other things in my industrial sized first aid kit for this weekend, but I keep my worry stones with me and wear my necklace every day to remind me of all the love and support I have. I would encourage anyone that hasn't made at least a simple Emotional First Aid kit to do so soon. Even if your trials are not the same as mine, everyone has trials and can benefit from items to help them get through.

Aided in my trials,


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Disclosure is Done and I'm Okay

I was prepared. My wonderful and understanding friend picked me up at the therapists office and spent the afternoon with me. I rented a condo for the weekend. My sister-in-law came down to stay with me. I had a bag packed with lots of different options for what I felt up to doing. I had snacks and sandwich makings in case I wanted to hole up in the condo. I took work off after our appointment on Friday. I covered my Sunday School class for tomorrow. I was ready.

I won't kid you and tell you it was pleasant. It was painful. It was hard. It hurt. The one thing it wasn't, for the most part anyway, was surprising. There were a couple big episodes of acting out that I wasn't aware of and one was particularly painful, but the rest of the disclosure wasn't really all that surprising. For the most part I had heard a lot of it over the years. It didn't make it any less painful…especially the lying and deceit. By far, that is still the hardest and most hurtful part of all this, the deceit. That the man I love and have trusted with my heart could be that duplicious is just painful.

The one thing that HAS surprised me from all this is that I'M OKAY. I am still trying to figure out if it is because I'm not acknowledging my emotions or if it's because I am in a good place and am really trying to heal. I really haven't cried much, only at the appointment and when I reread B's accountability statement again today, and even then the tears were short-lived. I have even spent time with B twice since then (once at the school play last night and once at our Ward Christmas Party tonight), and I have held his hand, leaned on him and given him a hug. I did have a very short panic/anxiety attack during the closing prayer at the party tonight and that tells me that it is probably just starting to settle in, but it was very short and I was able to breathe my way out of it. I don't know what that means for the upcoming days, but for the most part tonight I'm feeling okay. I'm exhausted and drained but I expected to be a lot more upset than I am.

All of that being said, forgiveness and trust are going to be a long time coming. We still have a long road ahead of us to healing. B hasn't even reached a point of sobriety yet. There are still a lot of hurdles to leap and a long distance to run yet, but we're off the block and headed into the first turn at least. This journey is a marathon and not a sprint, it might even be an triathlon or a hike to the summit of Mt. Everest, but we have started and that's the beginning of the journey.

Feeling okay,


Thursday, December 11, 2014

D-Day Tomorrow

I don't remember our actual D-day (disclosure day), I really honestly don't. B tells me that he came to me and told me and I'm sure he did. I just don't remember it. I've blocked it out I think because I've been looking for that memory and I can't find it. I want to remember what it was like because maybe it will prepare me in some way for tomorrow.

Tomorrow we are sitting down with our therapist and B is giving me a formal disclosure. I am having so many mixed emotions. I am nervous to have it all laid out in front of me. I am relieved to finally be getting it over with. I am anxious that I won't be able to process it all. I honestly don't expect any huge surprises as to behaviors but the context and timeframe will be new. I am really anxious for the answers to my questions. It is so much to process all at once.

I have a good plan in place for myself this weekend. I have support lined up. I have a safe place to stay. I have packed an emotional first aid kit. I have everything I think I will need (I even packed the Ambien and the Xanax just in case). I'm as prepared as I feel I can be when facing this huge unknown.

The thing that I am the most frustrated about right now is the fact that B completely disconnected from me tonight. I really wanted him to be present. Tomorrow our life will shift. It won't be the same regardless of how I react or what he tells me. We will be different. I really wanted to have tonight to be together talking about how we are feeling about tomorrow. Planning for how things will look after this weekend. Talking about Christmas and our kids. None of that happened. He withdrew. Our son had a meltdown. I got tired and frustrated. It was not a great night.

If you are the praying kind, please send one up for us. If you aren't please send whatever goodwill you can our way. We could use all the support we can get as we get through D-day and move towards our healing path.

Anxiously awaiting tomorrow,


Monday, December 8, 2014

It All Comes Down to Connection

I have been restless and discontented all night because I have so many things rattling around in my head and I wanted to get them out so I can sleep. Nothing would stick long enough to form a cohesive sentence about it. Everything was just a jumble. It all came together just now I had to get out of bed an write before it escaped again. The word that hit me so hard is CONNECTION. Everything comes down to that one word, connection.

Lately I have been actively seeking out connections in many areas of my life. I have been renewing my connection with B. I have been forging new connections within a community of amazingly strong women that understand what I am going through. I am strengthening the connection I have with my kids. I am trailblazing new connection with my parents. Most of all, I am seeking a connection with my Father in Heaven. He is what has strengthened me. He is where I have turned for support. Most of all He WANTS to connect with me.

When we go LifeStar we have to checkin with our group. Part of that checkin includes how we are doing spiritually. I remember describing how I was doing spiritually the first week as being like a toddler learning to walk. This last week I felt "kept". I tried to think of a better word, but this was the one I kept coming back to, kept. To me this means I am held and supported, I am provided for and I am loved. It was one word that seemed to sum all of that up. It is a fledgling connection but growing stronger all the time.

I have been relying a lot lately on my connection to those around me, especially to my sisterhood of WoPAs (Wives of Porn Addicts). I am beyond excited to get to attend The Togetherness Project next spring. I have found so much hope and healing by being able to share my battle with women who have faced the same struggles as I have. The most amazing thing to me is the instant connection I have felt with some of them. It's like they have just drawn me to them by their spirit and strength. I have also been amazed at the connections we have in our lives outside of the group (it's such a small world is something I often think). My heart aches for each of them and rejoices with those who have found happiness with or without their spouse. My only regret? This group wasn't around seventeen years ago.

I have also been seeking a deeper connection with some close friends by sharing my story. It has been so super scary, but also so incredibly freeing. I have such amazing friends. Heavenly Father has truly surrounded me with incredible people in my life. I am so truly blessed to have supportive and loving friends!

Connection has been an on and off thing with B lately. I do feel he has been trying more than in times past. I also find that when he tries to connect in ways I'm not used to, I immediately grow suspicious. I hate it, but it is what it is. When he called me at work today just to tell me he loved me, my first thought was "What's wrong? Did something happen?" and when that didn't prove to be the case my next thought was, "What is he trying to compensate for?" I'm not proud of these thoughts, but because he rarely calls me at work, they were my first thoughts. I talked to B about this tonight and we were able to process it and work through it, it was liberating to be able to openly discuss this without either of us getting upset, defensive or mad. He is trying most days to connect with me and I am trying most days to connect with him. It feels like it is a lot of work most of the time, but if I have learned anything in my life it's that anything worthwhile is worth working for.

I will forever be grateful for the connections I have in my life. I have been truly blessed by the amazing people that Heavenly Father has put in my life.

Seeking connection,


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Stepping Into The Light

Owning my story and stepping out into the light is something that has taken me years to do. I always wanted to keep it secret. I didn't want people to judge me or my husband. We aren't bad people. When first disclosed to me almost seventeen years ago, I was ashamed. The other thing about his first disclosure is that I don't remember it. I'm pretty sure I have repressed that memory. I have been looking for it lately and I honestly cannot find it. I don't remember ANYTHING about B's first disclosure to me. That doesn't mean I don't remember the FEELINGS around it, those I do remember. I was hurt, mad and ashamed mostly. I also didn't realize what a powerful hold this addiction had on him.

I do remember later discoveries and disclosures and how each one left me a little more broken. I hid all of that completely (as well as I could anyway), because of my feelings of shame and embarrassment, for twelve very lonely years. I then told one person and we still didn't talk about it much, but it did allow me to be there for her when she found pornography in her computer history (to this day she is one of my most staunch supporters and I would be lost without her most of the time). I told a couple of people over the next few years, including my sister who is my best friend. I still felt lost and alone because I still didn't really want to talk about it. I numbed my feelings of hurt and shame with food, books (including literary porn but that's another story) and being as busy as I could be. Until a few months ago I kept thinking that if he would just stop I would be fine. The first time I heard the term Betrayal Trauma I thought, NO FREAKING WAY do I have that. Was I ever wrong (again another story…boy am I being squirreled today).

Starting a few months ago, I started stepping into the light by owning my story and sharing it as I felt impressed to do so. Overall, people have been amazingly supportive. I honestly thought people would judge me and that I would be criticized. I should have known better. I have chosen to surround myself with amazing people most of my adult life. I should have known that I would have an army of supporters when I needed it. It has been a really long time since I have felt so much love and compassion. I'm not sure I have ever let myself ever be this authentic. Why not? I was afraid of people not liking me if they knew who I really was inside.

Over Thanksgiving weekend I disclosed to a very longtime friend. She was shocked that I hadn't told her before now. I assured her that until recently I hadn't really shared with anyone. What hit me the most out of the entire conversation? That she wished I had told her sooner. Her only regret was that she hadn't been able to be there to support me all these years. I wish I had told some of my closest friends sooner. I wish I had sought out that unconditional love and support that I have received since disclosing to them.

In LifeStar the other night, one of my new friends said she has not told anyone. She doesn't want anyone to think less of her husband for this because he is an amazing man. She wanted to know if that was bad. I told her absolutely not! She's in LifeStar, she's talking to a therapist, that is part of owning her story and for her that may be enough. Everyone's story is different. Stepping into the light looks different for everyone. For a lot people, owning their story and stepping into the light may not mean that everyone around them has to know. It may not mean that anyone around them has to know. The one thing I have learned is that I personally NEED to share in order to heal. That is what owning my story and stepping into the light means for me. That doesn't mean that it is the right thing for someone else. Obviously, I am still not ready to completely come out to everyone, this blog is "anonymous" after all. I  have shared it with others as I have felt impressed to do so. I am no longer afraid of what people will think of me, because this is who I am. I still have a lot of days that I don't love who I am, but I am slowly learning that I am worth loving and I'll take that journey over the stagnation any day.

If I could tell anyone out there who has a loved one (doesn't have to be a spouse, could be a brother, sister, child, parent, whoever) that is suffering through a sex addiction anything, it would be this…find support, reach out to someone, know that you aren't alone. This does not have to own you because you are more than this addiction and trauma. There is an amazing amount of help and support out there. If you don't know where to go, reach out to me through the comments or email (awifeprogressing(at)gmail(dot)com). I also have a tab at the top with some resources listed. Most of all just know that this addiction doesn't make your loved one a bad person and you are not weak or less than because you love them and have stood by them. You are strong, you are not alone and most of all, YOU ARE ENOUGH!

Stepping into the light,