Tuesday, February 23, 2016

It's Not Your Fault

There have been a few times in my life when the words that come out of me aren't from me. I was blessed enough to have one of those opportunities the other day. An amazing woman bravely reached out to me last week. She is hurting and broken just like many of us are and/or have been. Her husband is an addict, and she is suffering the effects of Betrayal Trauma and is just now learning what that is. She, like I have in the past, and so many others as well, blames herself for her husband's addiction and acting out. I understand that so well. For so many years I thought I could change my husband by being more or less of so many different things. I was wrong. Let me share with you the words that I was inspired to share with her. (The words are mine but the sentiment did not come from me, it is what Heavenly Father wanted me to share and believe)

Dear betrayed wife,

The one thing I want to you hear, because right now you probably won't believe it, I didn't believe it for years and still struggle to sometimes. Absolutely none of his addiction is your fault. His behaviors are not your fault and nothing you could do or say would change them. You could look like a Playboy bunny, have the sex drive of a teenage boy, keep the house like June Cleaver and earn the money of Donald Trump and he would STILL turn to porn and treat you this way. Why? Because porn addiction is not about sex, it's about mismanagement of emotions. He doesn't know how to manage his emotions. You are enough and wonderful just as you are. Your inherent value lies in the fact that you are a daughter of our Heavenly Father. You are loved and cared about more than you can possibly know. 

I completely and totally understand the self loathing that comes with this addiction. I blamed myself for so many years. I weigh much more now than I did when we got married. Why would he want me? Why wouldn't he turn to porn? But the truth of the matter is, I am learning to love myself for exactly who I am. My beauty doesn't come from how I look, it comes from who I am. I can promise you that it is NOT your fault he has this addiction and has chosen it. The addiction came long before you. If you had married an alcoholic that was supposedly in recovery when you were married, and then he started drinking again after you got married, would you think that it was your fault? Absolutely not! What our husband's have is an addiction, and it's one that has robbed them of their value to themselves. I ache for the shame and pain this has caused my husband, heaven only knows I've tried to fix him for most of our marriage. I "if only'd" myself all the time..."If only I was skinnier." "If only I was sexier." "If only I could keep the house cleaner." None of that fixed him. I tried to be the porn star I thought he wanted. It didn't change him or his behaviors. All it did was help to make me feel like a dirty and worthless person.
Heavenly Father doesn't want any of this for us. He wants us to love ourselves. He wants us to value ourselves as the daughters of Him that we are. I am so scared of what the future holds, but I know that worrying about it will only rob me of the time I have now. I am working every day to turn my will over to Him. It is scary to think that my "happily ever after" may not look the way in envisioned it. In all honesty, it's never looked the way I envisioned it and I have accepted that. What I won't accept any more is being treated like I don't matter. My husband is a good man and I love him, but I need to feel emotionally safe with him and right now that isn't happening.

Saturday, February 13, 2016


I wasn't sure I was going to post this here, but I feel like I need to. Please know that this is something I am extremely tender about and it incredibly important to me. There are some pretty specific details here regarding my boundaries and their application to our current situation. Some content may be triggering.

Friday night was hard, but not as hard as I anticipated it being. I gave B. my boundaries for in-home separation. I feel so much peace around my decisions. I fear an even harder one is coming to actually have a physical separation...but it's not time to cross that bridge yet. We have to share a room still because we only have 3 bedrooms and our kids can't share (boy/girl thing). He really wants to sleep on the couch but I won't let him because I don't want him in our living room...I already have to work in the living room, it needs to not be a bedroom too. That was the only boundary he pushed back on. I just feel peace and that is such a good thing. If anyone is interested here are the boundaries I gave him (please ask if you have any questions, and I love feedback...I went over them with my therapist and she thought they were great):

-Beds separated (our king size bed is actually 2 twin beds pushed together)
-Complete privacy while I am showering/changing (do not even come in the bathroom while I am showering)
-No physical touch unless initiated by me (hugs, kisses, hand-holding, etc.)
-No sex
-No dating for now
-Assigned nights for dinner each week based on our schedules, including clean-up
-Shared responsibility for kid transportation to be determined weekly based on schedules
-I have complete control over our finances, we will have a set time each week to review upcoming bills and deposits - I will turn our debit cards off unless we need them for a pre-approved purpose, otherwise we need to speak with the other about any spending - Allowances to be negotiated
-We are each responsible for picking up our own prescriptions and making our own appointments, may ask for help as needed, each is allowed to refuse
-Cleaning schedules and responsibilities to be determined
-Decluttering and organization to be done together as possible
Update the day after: You guys, I feel so much peace. I feel like now that in my mind we are officially separated, I have no expectations of him. He can choose to work his recovery, he can choose to be connected to the family. He can make whatever choices he wants. I have just been able to let go of my expectations. It feels like a miracle to me. I have so much more peace and have been truly able to surrender the outcome of my marriage to Heavenly Father.
Today, the day after presenting these to B., I feel so much peace. I feel like now that in my mind we are officially separated, I have no expectations of him. He can choose to work his recovery, he can choose to be connected to the family. He can make whatever choices he wants. I have just been able to let go of my expectations and truly surrender him to my Father in Heaven. It feels like a miracle to me. I have so much more peace and have been truly able to surrender the outcome of my marriage to Heavenly Father.

Separately peaceful,


Friday, February 12, 2016

Editing My Story

I don't want to edit my story to change it or alter it's truth in any way. I want to edit my story to reflect where I am in my journey. My story is ever evolving as I learn and grow...and the beautiful part is that it doesn't have an ending yet and so that means I get to continue to learn and grow.

My name starts with T and I am a WoPA (Wife of a Porn Addict). I am so much more than that though. For so many years my life has been defined by my husband's addiction without me even knowing I was letting it define me. I am choosing to no longer let that be the definition of who I am and how I behave. I am me, and I define who I am and how I behave.

B. and I have been married almost 21 years. We met and were friends for about 6 months before we started dating. We dated for 2 months and got engaged. We were engaged for 7 months before we were sealed for time and all eternity in a temple of the LDS Church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints). When we made this commitment I knew that it was forever, I knew that this was the man I was going to be with for the rest of my life here on earth and in the eternities to come. Now, I don't know if that is still true, but I have turned that over to my Heavenly Father as He is in charge and I put my faith in Him. I know that when I married B. I got confirmation from Heavenly Father that it was the right thing to do, but I was also warned it wouldn't be easy...I chose not to listen to that latter part very well.

I knew something was off in our marriage for years before I actually found out what it was. When I found out that B. had a "pornography problem" I had several reactions. I got angry and of course threatened divorce if it ever happened again (which my husband took to heart and so he started lying and hiding things from me). I felt feelings of not being "enough" in anything I was doing. I felt like it was my fault he had this "problem" and that because it was my fault I could fix it. I was so very wrong.

Part of the reason I had felt that it was my fault was because I had suggested we watch a few pornographic movies together to "spice up" our love life when we had been married a few years. Partly because I felt things were off there and I wanted to connect with him through sex and thought that this would help. It didn't, and I quickly realized that I felt degraded and used because of it. The biggest reason I felt like it was my fault though was because of not feeling like I was enough. I "if only'd" myself constantly. "If only I was skinnier." "If only I kept the house cleaner." "If only I initiated sex more." "If only I made more money." The list could go on and on, needless to say I felt worthless. I honestly thought that if I changed my behaviors and made his life easier he wouldn't turn to porn and masturbation instead of me. I was wrong here too.

As the years went on B. got stealthier about hiding his acting out. I would start to feel in my gut that he was acting out again. I would confront him and he would lie to my face and hide any acting out he was doing. I would then think "Gosh, that feeling must be wrong." So then I would play detective and most of the time I could find no proof of anything which only reinforced the feeling of not being able to "trust my gut" (which I now know to have been Heavenly Father prompting me through the Holy Ghost). I stopped asking after a while and most of the time stopped looking for proof because I just couldn't find it, so I figured I would live with how I felt. Instead of living with it though, I numbed it through food, reading and tv watching. I didn't want to think or feel, so I did whatever I could to avoid it.

There was even a period of a few years where I figured "Hey, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em." I watched porn with him, I participated in sexual acts I wasn't comfortable with, I read pornographic books, and I even went to a strip show with him. None of these things are things I am proud of, and are things that I will NEVER repeat again. At the point I was at in my marriage though, it was the only way I knew to have any sort of connection with my husband.

Probably the hardest thing about this addiction (which we didn't realize was an addiction until the last few years) was that I lived in shame and isolation. I was so ashamed of not being enough, and so worried about people judging B. and I that I didn't tell anyone. B. forbade me from telling anyone but I didn't want to anyway. Because of this huge part of my life that was so full of shame and fear, I lived alone with the pain. I did my best to numb it and forget about it, but it was this huge hole in the middle of me that I was always trying to cover up. It was a lot of work to keep it hidden so I isolated myself emotionally and never let people get too close. I was so alone and so afraid.

I clearly remember the promptings I had to tell someone, it took two weekends and a prompting that was almost physically audible for me to have enough courage to share with one person. She is my friend and also my sister-in-law. It was a Sunday afternoon and I finally told her. I said, "I don't know why I was supposed to tell you but I know that I needed to." Her reply was, "So you don't have to be alone anymore." I thought that was true...for three whole days. She called me in tears that Wednesday after finding porn sites in her browser history. She wanted me to tell her it could be something else, that her husband hadn't looked at porn, but I couldn't I just knew. I will never forget how it felt to know that someone else understood how I was feeling. I was so sad and yet so relieved and validated. I thought, "Now I'm not alone." It was a powerful feeling...but it still took me 2 more years to tell anyone else.

When I started on my journey to recovery almost 2 years ago now, I had no idea what hard work it was going to be, I also didn't know that recovery was necessary for me too. I went into it thinking, "If he would just stop, then we would be better." I had no idea how far from the truth that was. It wasn't until I heard about Betrayal Trauma that things started to really click for me. Betrayal Trauma is a specific form of PTSD that comes from being with a sex addict (in all reality porn addiction is just a form of sex addiction...same disease different drug). At first I thought, "There is no freaking way I have PTSD. That is just not me." I was wrong yet again. I have some pretty significant trauma from years and years of being betrayed and lied to. I have worked really hard to find peace amidst the trauma and I have found a significant amount of peace. I still have a lot of work to do and I now know that recovery is a life-long journey and not a sprint to the finish line. I will be working my recovery for the rest of my life...I know as the years pass recovery activities will become more automatic (several of them already are) and that triggers will become fewer and farther apart. I will never be done healing though.

One of the biggest blessings I have gained through recovery is the ability to share my story when I have felt prompted. I am no longer in hiding. I don't share with everyone, only those that have earned the right to hear it and who Heavenly Father has prompted me to share with. Because of my ability to now own and share my story, I have found some of the most amazing women I have ever met in my life. The recovery community is strong and growing. There is room here for anyone that needs it. I have friends now that completely understand and support me and whom I never would've met otherwise. I have found love, support and acceptance. It has been HUGE for me. I have also been able to share with others in my life and have found so much love and support that I never expected. Heavenly Father has truly blessed me with amazing friends.

It has been almost two years ago now since I started my journey to recovery and I still have a long ways to go. You know what though? I am stronger than I remember being. You want to hear the most remarkable part for me though? I have more faith that I have EVER had in my life. This battle has helped me to learn to rely on my Heavenly Father and the atoning sacrifice of my brother Jesus Christ. They have been there for me every step of the way through this journey, even when I haven't been aware of them...I have never been alone. They have sent people into my life that I would never have met if it weren't for my recovery activities. They have answered prayers almost before I could say them. They have pointed me in directions I would not have chosen on my own. More than anything I have an inner peace that I have never known before. I know who I am...I am T and I am strong. I am a daughter of a Heavenly Father who loves me and KNOWS me. He knows the feelings I am feeling and the battle I am facing and he understands. He knows just what I need when I need it and I have learned to recognize those gifts in my life.

My story does not end here, but rather it is just beginning.



Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Tender Mercies

The Lord is aware of us friends. He has us in his sights. He loves us. I used to doubt that, in fact it was something I didn't believe at all. Right now, right here, I cannot deny my testimony of the fact that I personally am loved by my Heavenly Father. His hand is too apparent in my life for me to deny it.

The last few months have been so very hard for multiple reasons. Through them all though, Heavenly Father has walked with me. He has carried me. He has sent people and blessings into my life right when they were needed. He has cared for me and for those around me far more than we could ever deserve. That's the beauty of His love, we never have to 'deserve' it, He gives it to all of us freely.

Things between B. and I are not good right now. I feel hopeless that things will ever be better between us. I haven't however given up hope. I know that seems like an oxymoron, but it's not. I feel hopeless, but I have not let that feeling rob me of my hope. I do hope that we can salvage our marriage and make it strong and healthy. I have also however, accepted the fact that this is where we are right now. Satan really does not want us to heal our marriage and is trying extra hard to prevent it. Despite all of that I can feel Heavenly Father's love for me. His hand guiding me is ever present. His answers for me are clear.

Reach out to Heavenly Father. Talk to Him. Rage at Him. Yell and scream at Him. Praise Him. Thank Him. Ask Him for hope. Whatever you do just know, you are loved by Him. You are precious in His sight. No matter what you have done or said, no matter who you have hurt or neglected, no matter the burden of shame you carry, NOTHING can undo His love for you. Jesus Christ has already carried those burdens for you. Lay them at His feet, you do not need to carry them anymore.

Feeling known,


Wednesday, February 3, 2016


This entry might be brief because I am fighting a migraine tonight. I am feeling a bit like I am staying afloat lately, and that's about it. I don't feel stuck necessarily, but more like I'm treading water to stay up. There have been so many tender mercies from my Heavenly Father. I know he sees me. He knows me. He is aware of my struggles. He loves me.

Even with all the evidence I see of Heavenly Father around me, I am struggling with nurturing my faith and turning my will over to Him. It's not that I am unwilling, it's just that I am so weary that it feels like keeping my head above water is about all I can do. I have stronger faith now than I remember having in my life, and I know it will continue to grow as I nurture it. I feel like at this time in my recovery, He is reaching out to me. He knows how weary I am. He knows how much help I need. It is right now that He is carrying me.

I honestly didn't realize I felt that way until just now, as I typed those words out. I don't actually feel I like am just keeping myself afloat, I feel like He is sustaining me and keeping me afloat. He is helping me keep paddling. He is my life preserver that I can rest on for now.

I will have to work to not become complacent, but for now He knows I am doing the absolute best I can. My Heavenly Father loves me and has led me to rest for a season in his arms as he carries my load for me. If I allow Him, he will always carry my load, this will allow me to work on my recovery and grow.

I am truly blessed and humbled. I am loved by my Heavenly Father and He is looking out for me.

Humbly grateful,