Her Story

I know I have shared parts of my story on the blog, but after reading more on recovery, I feel the need to share my whole story, or my whole story up until this point. 

I have recently edited my story (2/12/16). I didn't want to edit my story to change it or alter it's truth in any way. I wanted 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.



1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for posting your story. I thought that I was in recovery the last 5 weeks from my husband's betrayal until I uncovered more dirt. Then more dirt on top of that dirt. The past 2 nights have been very heavy disclosures.