Bill of Rights

Friday, May 23, 2014

When An Accomplishment Becomes Un-Accomplished, Then What? Part I

 I was blessed to be born and raised in the Latter-day Saint faith.   Born in the covenant to parents who were strong active members.  I have a legacy of ancestors who were instrumental in the early days of the church.   All rich blessings, that while I did not always appreciate,  I now recognize the great honor it is to be in this family.

As a LDS daughter I was taught all the principles and virtues of keeping yourself clean and pure and preparing to one day enter the House of the Lord to make sacred covenants.  All little girl have a version of a Cinderella story.  LDS girls are no different.  Our's just takes a path unique to our culture.  A path that involves the goal of entering into a temple to be sealed for time and all eternity to the man of our dreams.

So yeah, I had a plan, a story I wrote years ago.  It involved someone tall and handsome, a beautiful white dress, and family watching on as I kneeled across the alter from the man I wanted to be with for ever.

The real version did involve someone tall and handsome.  Just not the white dress, or the temple or the family.  It was a quiet ceremony, just the two of us.  I was scared to death.  He was a lot of the things I hoped and dreamed for -- except one huge....huge...huge piece.  He was not LDS.

Years before that day that went totally against my plan,  I met a guy at work.  He walked into my office expecting to speak to someone else.  Instead, he got me.  As he stood there staring at me, a voice, I'd long since recognized, said to me, 'You will marry him one day.'

Of course I thought I was an idiot for thinking that. (Those kinds impressions I automatically discount the first time even if I recognize the source, because they seem so unbelievable.)  Of course I doubted and questioned.  He wasn't LDS and that was one of the boxes that needed checked off.  Actually, it was the very first box on the list.

I filed away that little message and went on about my life.  I was busy working several jobs at the time.  I was busy making a life for myself when this man came into my world.  At first, nothing happened between us, making it easier to discount the message.  Before too long, an opportunity presented itself for us to talk.  That was the beginning.

I skipped past a couple other boxes on my list too.  The one for the temple was another huge one to overlook.  Skipping those two big important factors to have in a companion was hugely upsetting to my parents.  They were very unhappy with me and my choices.  I was a return missionary, for pete's sake.  Still, that message from many, many months earlier hung heavy on my heart.  Prayers that I offered also pointed me to this man that was missing the pieces to check off all those important boxes on my list.

We married anyway, in a little chapel in Lake Tahoe.  The missing pieces of a familiar temple sealing that I'd witnessed others make were noticeably absent -- for me only.  Still, I felt good about the decision and was determined to love this man and create a beautiful and happy home with him.

It didn't quite work out like I thought it might.  It took years of patience and doubt and prayers and temple sessions by myself before H joined the church.

And then everything went down hill from there.

I spent the next 4 years asking God why?  Why did you tell me that I would marry him?  And why would you send me down this path of pain and addiction (though I didn't call it that then) and betrayal?

Fast forward a few years, past a lot of pain, and almost divorcing,  the pieces of the puzzle finally fall into place and my dream of all dreams finally came true.  With my mom and dad looking on, I knelt across the alter in the Nauvoo temple to be sealed to my husband of more than 11  years, and our two children.

I'm not sure if its just that I don't have good dreams or if it is more that I need to learn life lessons through very difficult circumstances.  That dream of mine has been dashed so many times as addiction and serial cheating became the cross our marriage bore.

Now instead of celebrating 11 years of being sealed together as an eternal family, an important piece of that sealed unit had his blessing stripped from him last month.

Here I am today, embarking on an anniversary of what should have been a sweet reminder of promises and covenants and I'm sealed to someone who is no longer known upon the records of the church.

The day is bittersweet.  H will be home in a few minutes.  D is shuttled off to other caregivers and we will try to celebrate the day in spite of all broken pieces.

   Marriage can be mended.  Priesthood blessing can be restored.

But today, pieces of me feel sad on a day when I should be giddy like a new bride.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

History Assignment From the Therapist

In our session Tuesday we hashed out one of the bumps we hit this week.  It wasn't a pretty one.  When H starts in on his weekly report, I find myself fighting feelings of being tattled on like when I was a kid.  H was loud as he told his side of the story.  I wanted to run a couple of times.  Instead, I took a big breath and sat there as present as I could while H talked.

When it was my turn to reply I was pretty proud of myself for how I answered the questions, explained my beliefs on the issues without it sounding like we were in a 'he said, she said' scenario like two kids  at the principal's office.   I wasn't called out either by this therapist like I have been by others.  Was that a little victory or another witness that I need to keep seeing this guy for a while as odd as it is without the LDS aspect?

Wrapping up the session,  we were asked to bring back a little history of what had been going on between us that brought us to him.  Six session in and we are finally getting to this.   (A comment I made about how many times H and I have been separated this year must have ignited this assignment.)

I'm going to use this forum of my blog post to type out the requested outline.

Aside from all the affairs in the early years of our marriage.  This history begins with the last 6 years of trauma. 

2009 -     H started attending online classes to finish his degree
               H started getting involved in  porn, hook-up sites, wives wanting affair type sites, etc
               Found H's sexting convo with another woman.
               Attempted to clear out all the profiles on all the dating sites he joined
2010 -11 struggling/avoiding/spent most of these 18 months on the couch.  I didn't do any policing, but I'm pretty sure I could have found evidence if I looked.

2011 -   I was out of state tending to my parent's final effects - 
              - caught H calling women off craigslist -- and 800 sex lines
              - Found more email when I got home from craigslist ads.
              - Attempted an in-house separation -- which ignited H's acting out sexually with several
October 15, 2011 - Found all the evidence on his cell phone (email, text, pictures)
                 -  planned to kick H out and file for divorce
                  - tried some reconciliation/counseling

Jan/Feb 2012 - received a card in the mail from a woman H met on
June +/-   caught H on the computer looked at poem
                tried to deal with it with counselor - H quit
October 2013 - purchased second home
                         found more online evidence
                         asked for separation

December 2013 - attempted reconciliation

January 21, 2014 -- 20 days back together before separating again

January 28, 2014 - Back together again

February  - Found more craigslist evidence left again for a couple weeks

March 11 - H left again telling D that he would not be back this time
                  Gut feeling -- not evidence

April 6 -   Home again...
                 -  Evidence - carried on with a women for the past 2.5 years online
                 -  Never got off the dating sites even thought he told me he had
                 -  Went back to seeing one of the women he had sex with back in 2011
                 -  Added about 7 more women's names to the list of people he was sexual with to one        
                    degree or another
                 -  lied about private email accounts and instant messages services

I'm feeling a lot of trauma as I go through these dates.  I'm having to go through email, and blog posts to be sure the dates I'm entering are the correct dates.  My heart is racing.  I hate this.  I am praying this is helpful information for next week's session.  This is pretty intense pain.  I wasn't expecting it.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Bumps in Recovery -- Or Is Is It Sobriety or White Knuckling Or....

A couple weekends ago H and I had a great weekend.  We connected on a level that hasn't been there in a long time.  It felt good -- and a bit frightening at the same time.  I managed to stay present with the emotions.  For the most part, it felt good. just doesn't always stay that way.

Recovery or sobriety for both of us rides a wave or roller coaster of ups and downs that can be tricky to navigate.

Defining sexual addiction sobriety is a little more complicated than what one thinks of in terms of other addiction sobriety.  Alcohol or drug sobriety carriers a clearer visual.  Except for temporary situations, most people do not plan to stop being sexual altogether.  Some place in the middle of all of this is where a sex addict works towards sobriety.

I found helpful information on this site:

To help us define our sexual sobriety, many of us use a tool developed within SAA called The Three Circles.
We draw three concentric circles, consisting of an inner, middle, and outer circle. With the help of our sponsor or others in recovery, we write down various behaviors in each of the three circles. In the inner circle we put the sexual behaviors we want to abstain from, the ones we consider “acting out.” These are the behaviors that we identify, with our sponsor's guidance, as addictive, harmful, or unacceptable for us. In the middle circle we put behaviors that may lead to acting out, or that we are not sure about. In the outer circle we put healthy behaviors that enhance our life and our recovery.

I'm planning to work on this with H this week in conjunction with an assignment from the therapist we see.  We've had a rough week with our own emotions and processing the relationship needs and changes.  When emotions run high the typical reaction is to return to the past behaviors.  We're trying to prevent that -- but it's tricky for H.  All the addiction language and information is overloading his circuits.  He wants to try but he also just wishes it would all go away so that he can just go forward without having to think about it again.

Sometimes I'm more like this:

Some times,  I just need H to get it NOW.  No more deer in the headlight look.  No more silent treatment when I try to share my feelings.  No more disappearing into the other room.  No more anger.   Can we just get to a place where we can talk about what happened in our marriage and look at those scars as life experiences not as a chance to criticize or shame?

Monday, May 12, 2014

Small Victories - Working Through Triggers

One of the most challenging pieces of recovery for me is learning how to deal with the triggers that throw me back into the pit of pain.

A trigger is a response to a stimulus.  It is anything that increases feelings of anxiety, fear, or pain experienced in a previous traumas.  It is often explained as "reliving a previous painful experience".  Triggers can be brought on by sounds, words, places, people, or behaviors.

Of all the triggers I've death with over the years, the one that flairs up often for me comes from places that I know that H has been with another woman.  It could happen passing through a town that I know one of the women lives in.  It happens almost every time I pass a particular hotel sign.

This explanation helped me understand what was going on inside of me at the point a trigger happened:

"When you are in the middle of a trauma betrayal reaction, you are actually under the control of a different part of your brain. This part of your brain is like an emergency override system that takes precedence over your higher reasoning centers when danger is sensed. Your body’s go to responses when activated by that part of your brain are flight, fright, or freeze. Unfortunately, once activated your brain and body are flooded with chemicals that impel you to some version of those go to responses."

There is both an emotional and a physical reaction to a trigger.  It's painful. It's confusing.  It causes conflict in the brain resulting in a fight, flight or freeze reaction.  Triggers can happen internally and externally.   The body response is the same no matter what initiates the trigger.    

This graphic give a good visual of how triggers work:

I've explain the physical sensation I experience as an electrical current that runs through my body system.  It feels like a shock.  As the emotion runs through me I can physically follow its course through my body until it settles in the pit of my stomach.  Shaking starts immediately.  I feel my blood pressure rise.  Breathing is unsettled.  At times this all happens before I can connect to its genesis.  

When the trigger hit this weekend H and I were traveling to an event for our business.  This area is a good 90 minutes from our home.  It's not a trigger I run into frequently, like the hotel sign.  Still there it was.  This time,  instead of me fighting it through alone.  H, realizing that I might be having trouble, reached over and apologized for the pain I might be experiencing.   

He let me ask him a few questions.  He offered a way for me to replace the trigger so that if we ever travel this way again the pain would  be lessened.  I wasn't ready to take him up on his offer, but I appreciated it in spite of my unresolved fears.  

I'd like to think that this helped H too.  Even though it required a lot of him to step out of his comfort zone and bring up the issue.  I'd like to think that being able to talk about it without shaming helped us both.

I know not every trigger situation will be as easy to work through.  Often they happen when I'm alone requiring me to fight them off without H's support.  I recognize also, that H might not always be in a good place when  trigger happens.  Those times might exacerbate the triggery feelings.  

But this time -- this weekend -- this trigger --  this was a huge victory for both of us.  

We needed this win.  We needed an experience to bond us together in this test.  To prove that we can rise above.  

Today -- I am celebrating a small victory.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Where Do I Go From Here?

H has been reading "Out of the Shadows" by Patrick Carnes.  (

He doesn't like it.
He doesn't agree with it.
He can't see himself in it.

What do you do when your sex addict husband doesn't think he has an addiction?

Where do I go from here?

Where do I take 25 years of sexual acting out, porn, masturbation, affairs, double lives, Craigslist, online dating and hook-up sites.  Where do I put all of that when H is convinced that addiction is NOT his issue?

This site had an interesting article for partner's of sex addicts here ( that has validated what I'm living with.  Regardless of what H thinks or not.  Addict brains are broken.

Its time to review Steps 1- 3;
  1.  "Come to understand that we are powerless over the addiction of a loved one and recognize that our lives have become unmanageable."
  2. Come to believe that the power of God can restore us to spiritual and emotional health.
  3. Decide to turn our will over to the care of God the Eternal Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.

These are my grounding steps.  I have progressed further in my actual step work, but it seems almost weekly I come back to these first three principles.   I can't do it on my on.  God can.  I will let him. When my spirit is lost and broken I go to these pages for relief and peace.

When my trauma is flaring there are other places I tend to go.  

Addo Recovery, Rowboats and Marbles and Maurice Harker are my go-to resources.  Maurice Harker often does a lunch hour webinar on Monday's that have been very helpful

For me it takes a balance of both pieces to stay in recovery.  I need to work the spiritual side as well as the trauma side.

We've also been seeing a CSAT therapist the past few weeks.  It's a little weird -- for both of us.  Too many years of LDS Social Services, I'm guessing.  At least this therapist isn't in denial about what addiction is.  So many of the previous counselors we've sought out to deal with this issue gloss over this like "you've got a dirty little habit."   don't get me started on that one......

This week's session was helpful in opening up some underneath causes for issues we have in our daily interactions.   I'm trying to trust the process.  We have years of life crap, childhood crap, addiction crap to wade through.   Its going to take time.  A lot of time.  H's mom was a mess and left him pretty scared.    H has been a mess.

I keep telling myself, "Give it time."

Time is my gift right now.

I came across the following quote one day as I was working my recovery.  It lays heavy on my mind a lot right now while I try to give all this over to the will of God and let the time we have ahead of us work to our good.

It’s not the load that breaks you down; it’s the way you carry it.
~ Lena Horne

If I don't want this next season to break me I need to be mindful of how I carry this load.  The changes H is trying to make, the therapy, my recovery work, all need to be carefully balanced.  

The is me -- learning to balance.  It's going to be tricky.

Emma Smith said, "Strength isn't something you have -- its something you find."

I believe that.  I've seen evidence of it is my life, in the lives of women I know who have endured horrible things in their marriages.  I admire those strong women.  I know they see me in the same light as I see them.

I've got this.  The balance.  The strength.
I can do hard things!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Pity Party and The Passive Aggressive Period

Why did I believe change would happen this time?  Something about me wants to believe in hope and change, to see the good, the possibilities.   I hang on it for fear that not hoping will prove that I've made a series of stupid decisions.  Or worse, that I'm gullible and believe a pathological liar.   Neither of those options feel good to me.

Then there is the belief that God can rescue the most broken soul and make them whole again.

H has changed, in some areas, however, this one particular piece, this behavior, this attitude, this cycle -- this one drives me nuts -- and it is not changing the way I would like to see.

I'm weary of the cycle.  Pieces of me feel (maybe wrongly) that after all H has put me through I shouldn't have to deal with his pouting, sulking, blame-shifting, or anything else.  Seeing those behaviors feels contrary to the sorrow I would hope to see and feel for what he's done.   It comes across as though H is the victim.   It is like if he has to be nice then he can't feel sorry for himself and all his poor life choices.  All the ugliness won't just sweep itself under the rug so he never has to look at it (a very sought after hope of H's).

I'm struggling with this:

"Passive aggressive behaviour takes many forms but can generally be described as a non-verbal aggression that manifests in negative behavior. It is where you are angry with someone but do not or cannot tell them. Instead of communicating honestly when you feel upset, annoyed, irritated or disappointed you may instead bottle the feelings up, shut off verbally, give angry looks, make obvious changes in behaviour, be obstructive, sulky or put up a stone wall. It may also involve indirectly resisting requests from others by evading or creating confusion around the issue. Not going along with things. It can either be covert (concealed and hidden) or overt (blatant and obvious).
A passive aggressive might not always show that they are angry or resentful. They might appear in agreement, polite, friendly, down-to-earth, kind and well-meaning. However, underneath there may be manipulation going on - hence the term "Passive-Aggressive".   (

I spent the weekend dealing with this.

While H was gone in March I picked up a little job to give me something to do and help bring in a bit of extra money.  Part of this job involves vending at different shows and events on Fridays and Saturdays.  We had one of those shows this weekend.  H  planned to come along to spend the day together.

It didn't quite work out that way.  H was bored.  H sat in the chair, hung his head, bored and pouting. It's a bit off-putting to potential customers to see someone like that behind the booth.  I really tried in a nice way to encourage H to just relax and try to enjoy being together.  I got more sulking.

I did not enjoy the weekend with him at all.  Several times, in fact, I wished I could send him to his car so that I didn't have to look over at him and see his head down and his bored look.  (Is it just my husband that acts like a child? )

Passive-aggressive behavior is a form of emotional abuse.  (AND) It pushes buttons for me, making it really difficult to keep myself in check.  I know it won't help H resolve his inner issues so that he can make more positive connections with me (or the family) if I call him out on it.  Honestly,  I'm struggling here.  I'm struggling with the cycle and no solution or resolution.

I copied this list (found on the same site listed above) to send to H.  I have another show this weekend.  I'm hoping for a more positive experience at my next show.  Part of H's passive-aggressive behavior is evidence in "not getting" what these behaviors really look like and what causes them (living in ignorance is a huge piece of H's PA behaviors).  I'm hoping this list illuminates a few things, opening up an opportunity for dialogue and repair.

Some examples of passive aggression might be:  (from
Non-Communication when there is clearly something problematic to discuss
Avoiding/Ignoring when you are so angry that you feel you cannot speak calmly
Evading problems and issues, burying an angry head in the sand
Procrastinating intentionally putting off important tasks for less important ones
Obstructing deliberately stalling or preventing an event or process of change
Fear of Competition Avoiding situations where one party will be seen as better at something
Ambiguity Being cryptic, unclear, not fully engaging in conversations
Sulking Being silent, morose, sullen and resentful in order to get attention or sympathy.
Chronic Lateness A way to put you in control over others and their expectations
Chronic Forgetting Shows a blatant disrespect and disregard for others to punish in some way
Fear of Intimacy Often there can be trust issues with passive aggressive people and guarding against becoming too intimately involved or attached will be a way for them to feel in control of the relationship
Making Excuses Always coming up with reasons for not doing things
Victimisation Unable to look at their own part in a situation will turn the tables to become the victim and will behave like one
Self-Pity the poor me scenario
Blaming others for situations rather than being able to take responsibility for your own actions or being able to take an objective view of the situation as a whole.
Withholding usual behaviours or roles for example sex, cooking and cleaning or making cups of tea, running a bath etc. all to reinforce an already unclear message to the other party
Learned Helplessness where a person continually acts like they can’t help themselves – deliberately doing a poor job of something for which they are often explicitly responsible

I'm thinking this is a good topic for today's counseling session.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

My Unconventional Piece of Healing

Some times the trial and recovery of betrayal trauma requires a physical response.  I can read all the recovery books I can get my hands on, and while that gives me an explanation I can sink my teeth in.  

It doesn't do this!

(yeah, I can sing a little too much Carrie Underwood about now….)
Don't judge me if I've watched this video a few too many times too….

I don't' recommend being violent or destructive.  
I don't recommend retaliation either.  

The pain of betrayal can cause a person to do something like this:

"Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned…"
  (credit -

I recommend a healthy way of venting.

I've heard of plate smashing parties...
Bonfires for particular items….

Whatever it takes -- done in a healthy way -- I'm all for it.  If it helps purge out the negative emotions.

This was my chosen course of action…

   No!  I didn't use it on him…..

I used it on a particular item in our home H was living in during the separation.

H was there with me.

I stabbed it like it was her    them     him.  
I stabbed all the anger.  All the hurt.  All the betrayal.  All the addiction.

I felt it.  
And then I let it go.

I know it doesn't change anything.
I know it doesn't' take away what it really is.
So, maybe its stupid thing to do?

Or maybe not.

Like I said in the beginning, some times this kind of healing needs an a physical response.  

All these pictures aside, I do know -- all the restitution we really need does come from the Lord.  I know this, I blogged about that here ( 

It can be difficult to feel that or believe that in the middle of all of the pain.   

This favorite quote of mine helps me keep this sometimes wayward emotion in check:

Mark Twain

“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”

― Mark Twain

Recognize that anger as a valid part of the recovery process.  However, it is easy to get lost in it, mired in it even.  Until like Mark Twain said, more harm is done to the one carrying the anger than the one the anger is aimed at.  

With these two truths in mind...
and in a constructive, healing way, with H,  we had our own little purging/venting/smashing party.  We let our own individual pain pull us together and help us begin to trust and own and heal.    It helped us.  It connected us.