Bill of Rights

Monday, February 24, 2014

My Secret is Out

It happened quite innocently.

I didn't feel innocent.  It felt frightening.

This time, I just couldn't sit still and fight that feeling of running that happens each time this topic comes up in this situation.  This time, I raised my hand and straightened out a few misconceptions that floated around that room.

Sunday afternoon, in our women's meeting (we call it Relief Society) we were supposed to be having a lesson on mental health, based on a talk from our last General Conference (see reference below to the full talk).  The talk itself is excellent and had to have been very comforting to many members who struggle with this issue.

The discussion didn't stay just on depression.  Addiction was brought up as well.  Along with all the typical misconceptions that more prayer, scripture study, temple attendance, will help the addict (or the spouse) deal with the issue.

It was along about this time that I must have (figuratively) bolted out of my seat trying to contain my  no, NO, NO!!!.

Addiction (like depression) is a condition of the brain and without therapy to re-train the brain all of those best laid efforts to be more righteous will be ineffective.  For the spouse, these efforts about being 'more righteous' will not ease the pain, alleviate the chaos of daily life, ease the lies and deception, or that sick to your stomach feeling that happens each time a discovery or disclosure is dealt with.

I'm sure some of the sisters connected the dots of the years of H's inactivity and my admittance of my latest line of work.

Maybe some in the room weren't paying attention and missed what I said.

Maybe some of the sisters heard,  and those that have been silently judging will have been made aware.

Maybe some of those in the room will think I am wrong and continue to believe that everything can be cured from being more dutiful in the basics.

And maybe, just maybe, one person needed to hear and will be able to find the strength to reach out and ask how I got help.


One of the best resources I've read with an LDS perspective on dealing with addiction is Steven Crowshaw's A Clarion Call.  You can read that here:

Elder Holland's Talk:  The Broken Vessel:

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Accepting The Status Quo

I have a pile of recovery books on my desk every day.
There's one on the little table in the powder room.
I have them next to my bed.

I'm confident H has never looked at one of them.

It's ok.  It's not his recovery -- it's mine.

H is happy now, at least.  Which hasn't been the case for years.  
Even with my distance -- he is happy.

I'm working on my happy too.

The steps I am working in my HTC manual, and weekly at group have helped me accept this place and be ok with it.  I don't like it.  I'd prefer the honesty, the openness, the complete disclosures.  I'd prefer to be able to trust.

Until then --

I have come to understand that I am powerless over this.
I am turning my will over to the care of God.

Each and every day I work my recovery.  Regardless of how H see's his life, his actions and behaviors. Every day -- I work on me.

So that this can be my truth:

“One day in retrospect the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.” - Sigmund Freud

Monday, February 17, 2014

His Silence = My Distance

A blog post landed in my inbox over the weekend that struck me as ironic.  It was exactly the same issue I was dealing with between H and I.

The woman in the post was looking for advice for why her husband wouldn't answer her questions about his affair(s).    She was bothered by the fact that her husband refused to answer her and often became angry.

There are many schools of thought regarding disclosures.  From the 'don't tell' to information overload.  Some wives would rather not know.  Other's need to know -- everything.

I'm closer to that latter.

The author of this blog post held the position that knowing kept her mind from running a muck.  I tend to agree.  I have learned that sometimes (not always) my imaginations are much worse than what actually happened.

Dr Skinner called the obsessive thoughts 'mind chatter.'

Anxiety is the result of excessive mind chatter.
Anxiety is counterproductive to recovery and healing. has a good study on this issue.  She's also written on 'Breaking the Code of Secrecy".  On this topic she shares a lot of good information supporting the need for truth and disclosure.

One of the comment's made that resonated loudly with me was this:
"The process of keeping this information from others increases the feelings of shame and embarrassment (because if it weren't seen as shameful, it wouldn't need to be kept secret). And the longer it's kept secret, the stronger the feelings of shame. So the secrecy and the problem with self-esteem serve to reinforce each other."    (source:

Going through my recovery process has provided me with an opportunity to look outside myself to H and how this whole process impacts him.   I want to believe that his openness would make that so much easier for me to accomplish.  The silence causes me to be distant.

His silence makes me doubt.  It makes me fearful.  It causes trust issues.  It impacts mood and feelings.  It is a huge intimacy blocker.

Silence isn't helping my recovery or my happy feelings towards H.

It is my position that honesty and truth are foundational to developing intimacy.

I also stand on the belief that honesty is crucial to healing and repenting.

All this, and I still feel stuck.  I cannot compel H to tell me what I need to know.   All I can do is make a request and hope that before too long, before more damage occurs, before further hurt, before more distance -- H will realize that honesty is needful for us to go forward.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

I'm Skipping Valentine's Day

Uhg Valentine's Day!

I'm skipping it.


It's not that I'm in a bad mood, spiteful, mean-spirited or lacking in loving emotions.  This is actually a good time of year for me.  I celebrate the birth of my first child this time of year.

It has more to do with years of a broken marriage.

H is in a good space right now.  Kind, helpful, loving.
But, I'm bumping into all sorts of emotions I didn't expect to feel now that H has this change of heart.

What gives?

It's that trust thing again, huh?
That part of me that wants to believe, wants to let myself feel, but have had so many rounds of nice then crazy.  I don't want to get hurt again.  I refuse to go there again.

I don't want to hurt H either.

I feel like I'm in a tug-o-war between my feelings and H's.

His brain is still broken.  When I share my why's, my feelings -- it lands flat.  He's just not ready to hold any of my side of the past 25 years.

This causes and internal battle for me.   I can't ignore what I feel and I can't share.

Why is empathy and compassion so difficult for the addict?
Why do my feelings have such a loud voice that won't be silenced?

So, yeah, Valentine's Day.  Nah!  I'll pass!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

New Knowledge = More Processing

I attended a webinar  by Dr. Kevin Skinner of Addo Recovery.  It was an excellent meeting.  I took a lot of notes because the topic is something that I have been struggling with a lot since the last big D-day in 2011.

Dr. Skinner was teaching us today on a topic he refers to as "Psychological Intimacy.''  He showed us charts and graphs from all the data he has collected over the years from both men and women on the effects sexual addiction has on intimacy.

I'm anxious to get the slides from his powerpoint so that I can review them in detail as I process through this.

At the end of the webinar Dr. Skinner opened up a Q/A session for questions posed during the meeting.  I was grateful answered my question last, just as he was closing the meeting.

My question was this:  "When love is damaged by trauma, what first steps can I take to help recognize (and accept) love again?"

Here are his recommendations:

"You are an loving being"
"You have a right to feel your pain"
" The way you may have acted is not who you are as a person"
"Look internally to feel recovered"
"Start there -- regardless of whether your your spouse joins you in recovery or not"
"You will be stronger taking care of your recovery"

Each of these points listed above speak to me.  The are the goals I have been trying to accomplish these past three years.  It hasn't been an easy process, but I can see so much personal growth from it.

For so many years I had this all backwards.  For some mistaken reason I believed that I wouldn't heal or progress without my husband.  I'm so glad I was wrong on this.  I'm even more grateful for wise counselors who have helped validate why the path I'm on now was so very necessary.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Why It Is So Difficult To Forget

I'm trying to work out the connection between forgetting and overcoming as it relates to the memories of trauma.  I have an almost constant prayer that the memories or images would just quit coming back into my mind.  

I read once that a negative experience is like velcro while a positive experience is more like teflon.  That made so much sense to me.  Over my life time I know that I've experienced a great deal of happiness.  I also know many of those experiences I'm unable to recall.   It is not that way at all with the experiences that have brought me pain.  Those I have no difficulty recalling.  


Wouldn't getting over it be easier if I could just forget about it and move on?

Emotions are something you just cannot run away from.  You can move away from a place of trauma to place of safety.  You can separate yourself from the individual that caused the pain.  But the emotions -- they come with you.

Two weeks ago I was getting a heavy bag out of the back of my SUV.  Not paying attention, I slammed the door down on to the top of my head.  It about knocked the stuffing out of me.  I wanted like anything to just vaporize.  I couldn't, because I had kids in the car with me.  I was an hour drive from home too.  It was a long hour.  The kids chatty and wanting out and me wanting to find some place to hide so I could lick my wounds.  

The memory of the moment of impact and the long moments following are as similar to me as the moments of disclosure and those subsequent days.  The feeling of being sideswiped.  The realization that I was the only one affected by the impact.  The chatter and movement of life around me that conflicted with the daze I was in.  I was in so much pain.  It felt like the world around me was oblivious of that pain.    As time went on the pain continued.  Still I was the only one who knew and hurt.  Like a wounded dog, I just wanted to hide someplace where no one would see me and I wouldn't see anyone else.  

I can still feel the pain from that impact two weeks out.  I've not forgotten about that moment.  
Discoveries have been like that for me.  Days, weeks, months, years later I can still feel it.

I want the pain to go away.  
I want the memories to go away.

I see the happiness return to my husband.
I want to be happy with him and for him.
Even in the middle of a tender moment -- the thoughts break in -- uninvited -- unwanted.

I keep them to myself.
Wishing them away.

What I'm hoping for -- and praying for -- is that one day I'll find relief.

One day when the last disclosure was so far in the past.
One day when the anger isn't part of my home.
One day when H doesn't blame me.
One day when I look around and realize I feel safe and peaceful.

Maybe then -- the memories will not return with such force.

At least I hope for that.  

Humility and Disclosures

Four days.

It took four days to get through this last bump.
This last lie.
This last disclosure.

When it finally happened.  It was so much easier to work through and accept than day 1.

I was doing some research the other day when I came across a book entitled "The H Factor of Personality: And Why Some People Are Manipulative, Self-Entitled, Materialistic, and Exploitive -- And Why It Matters For Everyone."  A couple of personality psychologists claim there are six personality factors.  There is an acronym for these factors known as HEXACO.   HEXACO means:  Humility/Honesty, Emotionality, Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and Openness to Experience.

The authors of this book explore the importance of the H Factor in various aspects of peoples lives and its affect on individual's approaches to money, power, sex, inclination to commit crimes, attitudes regarding society and politics and religion.

I haven't read the book, yet. I'm wondering if there is any connection to how these personality factors play into addictive tendencies.  I also have a huge curiosity to what they have to say about those two issues of humility and honesty.  Huge issues in my life.  I added it to my wish list at Amazon.  If you've read -- I'd love your input.

In "Spouses of Sex Addicts" by Richard Blankenship he says that, "The disclosure to the spouse must involve the presentation of brokenness and humility if the marriage is to be improved.  Statements like, "I'm sorry, but I was having a hard time at work when I acted out, or "I feel awful about what I've done, but you weren't being very supportive at the time" are examples of statements that reflect defensiveness and justification for one's actions."

He goes on to say that to be in full recovery the addict must have a spirit of brokenness and humility  without rationalization.   He/she must also validate the pain that is caused in a non-minimizing way.

You might wonder why I go to all the trouble to write up research data on this issues H and I deal with.  The answer to that is because for so many years I was caught up in all the crazy chaos of an addict life and felt blamed for everything.  Those words above are words I heard a lot.  It took many years to realize I was not to blame for H's acting out or his cravings or anything that he was doing that caused harm to him, to me, to our  marriage, to our family.

Understanding the addiction as it affects the spouse is crucial to the wife healing.  For me, hearing the truth regarding a disclosure in a humble, non-defensive way goes a lot to me being able to hear it with my heart.  It goes a log way to me being able to accept the incident and find solution for further issues.

Proverbs 15:1 "A soft answer turneth away wrath, but  grievous words stir up anger."

Proverbs 18:2  "Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honor is humility.

No more true proverbs were ever played out in my home this past weekend than these.
Humility is a huge factor in dealing with disclosures.