Saturday, October 29, 2016

A Letter To My New Bishop

We recently got a new Bishop (he is our lay clergy, you can learn more about that here). He called B in to his office to talk to him, and they discussed B's addiction. B came home feeling loved and cared for, and he told me that the Bishop wanted to learn about Betrayal Trauma, as he hadn't heard of it before. I have felt prompted to share that email here. I hope it helps someone else.

Note: I have edited it to include the hyperlinks, and I have removed some of the personal details for anonymity sake.


Thank you for your willingness to learn about the impact of sex addiction on a spouse. I have attached a packet put together specifically to share about this for Bishops. It has some good information, but it is a lot, take your time and read it. I will also include other resources that can help you. 

Part of understanding about Betrayal Trauma, is learning about sex addiction itself (pornography addiction is a form of sex addiction, pornography just happens to be B's drug of choice). There are some great resources for this. Each website that I am including has a lot of information, the particular page I am linking is a good starting point, but don't stop there.

Then of course there is the Church website about addiction recovery (this has information for both addicts and family members)

For many years I thought I was alone. I lived in shame. Why would my husband need pornography if I was enough? I have learned through my recovery that I AM enough, and that his addiction is not caused by me. His addiction began long before he ever met me. 

I have a form of PTSD called Betrayal Trauma. Basically what it means is that I get a trigger, that causes me to react physically (I have to be on medication for panic attacks), and it affects the way I process and interact with life. It sounds hokey to some, but for me, and many others like me, it is as real as a soldier's PTSD. I am learning through therapy and recovery work how to handle these triggers and what I need to do to keep myself safe and healthy. This has been a long road for me. B has been betraying me through lust, pornography, and masturbation for our entire marriage. His addiction has affected every aspect of our lives. We have had happy times, it's just hard to remember those through all of the unhappy times. 

Here are some resources for Betrayal Trauma, again, these are just jumping off points:

LDS Addiction Recovery Videos  (I am blessed to call some of the ladies, in these Advice To My Younger Self videos, friends)

The woman that writes the following blog is also a friend, and her blog was instrumental in helping me start on (and continue) my recovery journey.

This is an organization that has also been instrumental in helping me find the connections I need to heal:

This is the scary one, I write a blog myself. B actually wanted to start it together, but he hasn't written on it in a really long time. Feel free to read it if you'd like. (I shared the link to the blog with him, but I figure you don't need it)

I will share a little bit about our story with you. We have been married 21 years (22 years in March). We were friends for 6 months, dated for 2 months, and engaged for 7 months. We were sealed in the  Salt Lake Temple. The first time I found out about B looking at pornography was about 5 years into our marriage, and I was upset and told him that if it happened again I would divorce him. That led to years of lying and deceit, along with many discoveries. By this point I thought, "If only I was skinnier, prettier, kept a better house, made more money, wanted to have sex more, looked like a super model, whatever it was...he wouldn't need porn." The truth is I could've done and been all those things, and he still would have turned to porn. His use of porn and masturbation was not about me, it was about his mismanagement of his own emotions. He does not know how to sit in his own pain or deal with hard emotions, and so he numbs them in the easiest way he knows how. Some choose alcohol, drugs, staying busy, overeating, tv, video games, whatever it is, B chooses pornography and masturbation. The thing that is different about sex addiction, is that it undermines the very foundation of marriage. It erodes the trust that should be the foundation of a marriage. Not only is the wife being betrayed but there is a significant amount of deceit that goes along with it. The shame that accompanies the addiction is debilitating, that, and the deceit make it very difficult to find recovery. It's an addiction that is so rooted in shame that people will go to astonishing lengths to keep it hidden.

I know that recovery is possible, but it takes being cracked open and letting the will of God pour into you. Letting His will be stronger than the demons that are in control. This goes equally for the spouse. We have to learn that unless we surrender our own will to His, then we will continue to live in this cycle of never-ending trauma. We will continue to feel inadequate, try to control our spouses actions, have feelings of worthlessness, and live in chaos. I have chosen not to live that way any longer. I have no control over my husband's actions, nothing I do, say, don't do, or don't say, can change his will. He has his agency, I can't change that (as much as I admittedly would like to sometimes). The only thing I can do is chose to live close to Heavenly Father and follow his guidance for me. He has been with me throughout this journey, and I am learning more every day about listening to Him.

I have worked really hard to try and stay in this marriage and work hard at saving it, I have listened when Heavenly Father distinctly told me to "Hold on a little longer", when I was really seeking His permission to be done. I have stayed. I have continued to work on my own recovery and as hard as possible on my relational recovery as possible. I have had to keep my heart protected as I have traveled this road, because every time I start to hope the things are getting better because B is making an effort at recovery, I would act on that hope. I would relax my boundaries and let him back in as completely as I could, only to have him take me for granted again and relax his recovery effort and act out again. His cycle of acting out has escalated from years in our early marriage to around a month now. That means he will work really hard for a week or so at recovery, he will let things slip for a week, he will end up in a mode of "everything is terrible, and I am a victim of life" and he will act out for a couple of weeks. Then the cycle will start all over again. Sometimes the cycle can be 2 months, but that just means everything is twice as long. 

I am finally at a point where I have realized I am stuck in my own healing. I don't know what the future holds for us, I am not going to try and predict that. I can only stay true to the guidance of Heavenly Father and go on from there.

Thank you for your open heart and mind, and your willingness to learn about this plague that is tearing so many families apart.  Your loving reaction and openness to learning is already a balm, you have obviously learned to listen to the Spirit rather than reacting as a man. I appreciate that more than I can say. 

Humbly and lovingly,


p.s. The packet of information I attached with my email to my bishop can be found here: Owning Our Stories, and the link is in the right hand column


  1. This is a wonderful letter to your bishop! Way to go girl! Your resources are ones that have brought me a great deal of help as well. This needs to be out there so much more so that there can be an understanding of Betrayal Trauma. I would like to put this as a resource on my blog:
    Would you please take a look at it and make sure that is ok with you? Thank you for your courage and may the Lord continue to bless you through your recovery!

    1. Absolutely! You are welcome to share anything I have posted. Thank you so much for your comment and for sharing your blog. It is a great resource!