Bill of Rights

Monday, August 25, 2014

A Couple Follow-up Thoughts

On Faith

On Testimony

As I continue to talk and ponder this issue of faith and testimony and how certain trials impact both, I'll continue to blog about it.   I feel compelled to because of this:

Luke 22:  31 ¶And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:
 32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
We know in the last day's hearts will fail.  We'll be weary of all the evil, the turmoil of life, the impact all this has had on our souls; souls that are divine and spiritual and holy.   I love this video as a reminder to be patient and to wait.  We won't understand the reasons and purposes for our trials, God does.  He will use them for our good.

While I'm working to develop a few more thoughts for my next post,  I'll share a couple videos that touched me.

1. Abide
2. Hope

One final thought from the amazing Sister Chieko Okasaki, “I do think we should struggle for understanding just as hard as we can. It’s not showing a lack of faith to say, ‘I don’t understand this. Tell me how. Explain why.’ But at the same time, we also need to remind ourselves — sometimes right out loud — that, as the Lord explained to Isaiah: ‘My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways . . . For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts’ (Isaiah 55:9-9). We need to accept and be patient with our lack of understanding. It’s a superb and glowing faith to say, ‘I don’t understand this and I don’t like it very much, but I accept it. Show me how to live with it, how to deal with it.’ The limitations of mortality are so real and so personal that I’m sure one of the things we’re going to do in the next life is laugh and laugh.”
– “Behold Thy Handmaiden: The Answer of Faith,” chapter 13, Disciples

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Wive of Addicts, The Church and Faith

***WoPA Warning: I'm going to take this opportunity to put some of my personal thoughts on my personal cyber journal regarding an issue that is present in our community. These are my beliefs.  They are not meant to offend, rather to help me process what I see, hear and feel.   I'm not judging anyone's path.  I love you all, my sisters. Read warned!  

I'm seeing what I am going to call a "concern".  It could be an issue.  It might be a huge problem even,  in years to come, depending on what the future holds for this issue and these women. I'm not criticizing this, in anyway.  I am concerned because I love these women. They are my people. I also love the Church and the gospel of Jesus Christ. The truth is,  I hate to see pain, especially when it is coupled with a questioning of testimony, principle, church, or _______ (pick an appropriate place to crisis).

But this is getting ahead of my story.

I have been blessed with a very special set of friends. Some of us have never met, yet we speak the same language. The language of a spouse in addiction. This connects us in a way no other association or friendship of my life has connected me -- even (and especially) within my local church affiliations. There is something of having shared a similar horrific pain that makes this connection unique and special. That is how it is for me and I believe many others of us in this world of wives of porn/sex addicts feel the same way.

Lately, in this circle the topic of faith crisis is being discussed.

What is a crisis:

  1. a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger.
    "the current economic crisis"
    • a time when a difficult or important decision must be made.
      "a crisis point of history"
      synonyms:critical pointturning pointcrossroadswatershedhead, moment of truth, zero hour, point of no return, Rubicon, doomsdayMore
    • the turning point of a disease when an important change takes place, indicating either recovery or death.

To be sure the life of a wife of a porn/sex addict is an intensely difficult time. Often there is danger.  Often these times bring the wife to a point of difficult decision.

boiling pointbreaking pointclutchconjuncture,emergencycrossroad(s)crunchcrunch time,Dunkirkexigencyextremityflash pointhead,juncturetinderboxzero hour

Oh yeah! I've been there. All of these emotions and pain lead me to a place I thought I could trust, to a church leader, to my bishop. Except that often those pleas for help were met with even more pain.  The hope I was looking for was elusive at best.  

I know many of my sisters have felt the same.

Is this what has initiated the faith crisis?
    (Remember these are just my thoughts, my musings, ponderings.  This is me trying to work this out so I can feel as settled as I can about this issue.  Please don't shoot me or dog my blog.)

If not, what exactly is the nature and genesis of the crisis of faith?
   Is in in God, in the Savior, or his atonement or is it in the church?
   Is it because people in the church have caused hurt by things they have said or done?
   Is it men (priesthood leadership) in the church doing the hurting mostly?

With the crisis acknowledged - out loud -- among trusted friends -- now what?
  Church attendance is stopped, or limited, or worse (in my opinion) abandoned altogether.

Dale Carnegie wrote a book entitled: "How to Win Friends and Influence People" in which he was actually asking a question (is) "A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still" (?)  Carnegie doesn't own this phrase, but his book brought it into a more common adage.

This phrase sits heavy on my heart right now, blocking me from reaching out to this issue, to these women I call sisters. Will they hear me -- or will a sister convinced against her will be of the same opinion still?

Is it even possible that we could have an open, honest heart to heart discussion about the gospel, the church, testimonies, facts verses hurts? Would it help them or drive them deeper into their cause?

Is there a want or need to blame all the hurt and pain on someone?

Is the hurt suffered by insensitive bishops and stake presidents going to be the last straw that takes them down the path of faulty beliefs and away from the source of truth and peace?

Please do not think these questions come from a life of ease. I have not been immune to pain and to insensitive people -- ever.

Beginning as a child: I was/am blind as a bat. Back in my day eye wear was NOT cool and was ugly as can be.  I was lucky enough, in fourth grade, to own the ugliest pair of glasses ever sold! Period!  I got some horrible comments about me and my eye wear. Comments I still remember and still feel the sting of.

As a young woman: I was getting ready to go to the wedding of one of my friends, actually, besides me, she was the last one that wasn't married. My dad said to me; "Looks like you are going to be the old maid here." Yay! Thanks Dad. To this day I still hate that term. I didn't need that reminder. I needed his love and support.  It was a huge loss to me to have this friend marry. I suddenly was friendless and had no one loving me at that time.  (This is only one story of me and my dad.  I left out the worst one that I let almost ruin me.)

As a mom: I had just pulled my second mis-carried child out of the toilet. I knew he was going to be a boy.  I just knew it. There he was a miniature version of what his whole self could have been had it been his mission to live here on this earth. A woman, I thought was a friend, had the nerve to tell me while we sat in my home with my curtains drawn and my children in darkness more than a week by that point; "there isn't a doctrine of body/spirit assignment....likely this miscarried child would not ever be mine to raise." That was only one of the remarks I got from her and from countless other insensitive people who were trying to 'comfort' me in my pain.

As a wife: Oh don't let me even go there. That last one was enough of a memory. Most of the bishops who dealt with my issues of an unfaithful husband (prior to acknowledging addiction) just never could say the right thing. You know I was blamed for not being 'enough' in the bedroom.  I always wondered how in the world that bishop knew how I was in the bedroom anyway?  Don't blame my husband's problem on me. Read this (post) if you have more questions on what this life is like.

In each of these scenarios and in countless others that I haven't the time or space to mention I can and could even still let all this fester until it has eaten away at me pain by pain. I can blame God. Blame the church for not teaching people how to be real or true to their commandments not to judge.

Blaming takes the stewardship off of me. It gives me a place to put my pain and the injustices of mortality so that I don't have to deal with them or work through them or allow things to just be a part of this messy earthly probation.

It is easy to be mad too. To be angry with people who won't give you what you hope for in a desperate hour of need.

Let's talk about my acid analogy.

Acid has to be handled in a very specific way ( Only certain types of containers can hold acid without it eating away at what is supposed to be containing it.

Bitterness, hurt and anger are like that in people. If not managed it will eat away at the soul, cankering it. Ulcerating it. From the inside out.

As I sit here writing this post I currently have two horrible cankers in my mouth. I feel how angry they are. It is difficult to treat these. The location of the canker, the moisture in my mouth causes healing to be slow and troublesome for me. The pain from the cankers is causing my head to hurt a lot more than usual.  I suffer from migraines and chronic headaches, add in a couple mouth ulcers and I'm having a rough day today.  I hurt -- a lot.

In a life filled with pain it would be easy for me to feel like God has been an absent Heavenly Father.  His lack of care for what I've gone through could equate to even the Church not being true.

Don't guffaw at me here.

This is not an unusual conclusion to draw.  People I know and love with all my heart have walked me down their story path that begins with choices they made, pains they've felt, then led them to -- God doesn't love them and to the Church isn't true anymore.


Now would be a good time to insert my favorite quote.  I've had this in my signature line in my email for years.  This is quoted in the Healing Through Christ manual in step 1.  It is the teaching of Orson F. Whitney:

"“No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God … and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we came here to acquire and which will make us more like our Father and Mother in heaven.” (As quoted by Spencer W. Kimball, in Faith Precedes the Miracle, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1972, p. 98.)

I believe this to be true and cling to the promise that all that I've been through, and all I will go through here on earth will make me more like my Father and Mother in heaven.

If you are in a faith crisis and struggling it is difficult to turn your thoughts towards these principles.  I don't think the Adversary wants you to anyway. He's likely helped feed the thoughts that prove to you the church is a mess and couldn't be true, nor the feelings you had when you were baptized or receive that special witness.

Here are a couple of good articles to read on these points I'm making:

1.  In Your Time of Crisis
2.  Converted to His Gospel...

(A special thank you to a WoPA sister for pointing that second one out to me.  I was in search of that very talk myself in my own personal study on this issue.)

If I can make one plea to anyone who struggles with what they believe or used to believe or their religion, wait for a clear day to come to any resolution.  Dark days lead to even darker decisions and action courses.  The light of the gospel and the Church will always be a battle ground for the Adversary. He wants nothing more than to take us all down to his level of nothingness. It is easy to find controversial or 'anti' LDS articles on the internet these days. It's easy to be swayed by it, to question it and it is even more difficult to prove wrong. It's easy to see the elderly men who 'run' the church as problematic too.  It's easy to see what is wrong in our individual wards and call the Church wrong or bad or misguided. The Adversary loves it when we do this. He grabs hold of these thoughts we have and runs them as fast as he can away from the light and truth we once knew, felt and believed.

As a missionary I was taught to never banter or argue with people about the gospel. I learned early on the wisdom in this. Pondering upon the Saviors last days, and the day he stood before Pilate (video)  and the crowd of believers and accusers, I see the example he set.  He could have tried to convince the crowd, yet he stood silent. Some things just do not require proof. They stand on their own merit.  You choose to believe or not.

Dieter F. Uchtdorf:
What we sow, we reap.

God’s harvest is unimaginably glorious. To those who honor Him, His
bountiful blessings come in “good measure, pressed down, and shaken
together, and running over. … For with the same measure that ye mete withal
it shall be measured to you again” (Luke 6:38).

Just as earthly seeds require effort and patience, so do many of the
blessings of heaven. We cannot put our religion on a shelf and expect to
harvest spiritual blessings. But if we plant and nurture gospel standards
in the daily life of our family, there is a high probability that our
children will grow up to produce spiritual fruit of great value to them and
to future generations.

("God&# 39;s Harvest," Ensign, Aug. 2014)
There is so much about the Church and the Lord's plan that we cannot see. Not having that vision clear and living with the pain from the choices of an unfaithful spouse does put us in a place of questioning.  Hold on to those witnesses you had before your soul and your faith was tested to the breaking point. One day, all this will become clear and one day you will look back on all of this and see the wisdom of the plan.

Before I hit publish, I want one more time, to tell each of my WoPA sisters how much I dearly love you, how often I pray for you, and how very, very sorry I am that you have to live with the hurt your husbands cause. One day this will all make sense. Today it just sucks.


Thursday, August 7, 2014

What is Love Anyway?

Most of the conversing between H and I lately are happening by text.   Not the best forum.  Lots of things get misunderstood there.  It just feels safer -- at least, until yesterday.  I was in a particularly open place and let H know how dead I feel inside right now.   Spurring this question from H:

"So does that mean that you don't love me anymore?"

My breath stopped when I read that question.

How can I be authentic with myself and not hurt H?  

I said the only thing I could think of that wouldn't hurt either one of us...

 'You know, love is a funny thing.  It comes and goes.  Right now, mine is just stuck some place in between some horrible nightmare and what I hope might be true in the future.'

Maybe today, honestly wasn't such a bad thing.  H came home less distant and less stuck on how hard recovery is for me.  He let me fuss about about my hard day.  He offered to let me sit while he made dinner.  He sat with me while I watched Criminal Minds, and he hates that show.  He read a book (at my suggestion) but at least he didn't leave the room for a change.

This morning on his way out, he said, "I know you are having a hard time, but don't throw me out."

It never crossed my mind to 'throw him out.'   

I guess I just wanted him to know all this stuff I'm struggling with is because I'm having a hard time.

It reminds me of that conference talk by Elder Quentin L. Cook:  "Hope Ya Know, We Had a Hard Time"  ( )

This reminder came across my Facebook page yesterday around the same time that I was struggling  that text conversation with H.   (I have to wonder if the Spirit can reach me through this forum sometimes, the timing has some irony for me.)

Good advice for me and my current concerns. (I know a lot about waiting and being patient in my life's trials, it just doesn't hurt to be reminded God's timing and my timing are never the same.)

Monday, August 4, 2014

Why Don't They Get It?

There are so many times over the last 25 years I have felt like I was speaking Greek or something when I talk to H.  Seriously!  Twenty-five years together hasn't made this better either.  He still looks at me with that 'deer in the headlight' look.

I honestly think sometimes reason and truth rattle them.  At least it does H.

When this happens, H will reach into his bag of tricks and start the gas lighting and blame shifting.

One of the bumps I run into all the time talking to H is defined this way for me:   In order to discredit a victim, an abuser will often blame the victim for their own actions, even going so far as to say the victim is in fact the one who committed the abuse. This may cause the victim to feel defeated or like they are losing their mind. In a particularly weakened state, the victim may even believe they are at fault. Abusers often claim friends, family, mental health professionals, church leaders or other authorities are in agreement with them, which has the effect of isolating the victim and preventing the victim from getting help. Now the abuser has all the power and control over the victim and their relationship.

It happened again last evening (not quite as bad as this statement above -- but it happened) when I realized H had breached another boundary yesterday during Sacrament meeting.  

Before H came back in April I went over the boundaries and my non-negotiables.   One very important non-negotiable:  "There were to be not games on his phone.  He wasn't to play games, on  my phone or any other phone.  He's not to download, play, delete either".  No games!

Maybe this seems harsh.  I guess you would have to know how addictive and compulsive H's behavior is.  During the last few years of the serious acting out, H also became an addicted compulsive gamer.  He was on his phone ALL the time, even at work.  (I discovered that checking the bill one day and seeing all the data come through on work days, during work hours.)  At night, when H was home, he wouldn't even talk to anyone.  His face was in his phone from the minute he got in the door.  He'd often go in the other room with his phone and when I'd come in he would turn it upside down or try to hide it.  On weekends he would be up until 3 or 4 in the morning 'playing games."  Now, I knew it wasn't just games.  He had a hidden IM'ing ap and he had several other ways to chat with women or look at porn.  Three years of all of this, made for zero tolerance when H came home again -- promising he would turn his back on all of 'that.'

Except that he conveniently forgets these promises.

Yesterday during Sacrament he thought he could try out a 'math' game.  Aside from that the fact that we were in church,  he rationalized that it isn't really a game.  (I'm not sure what kind of math game ap, played during Sacrament meeting, for a man who works with huge numbers and algorithms all day long was educational or improvement based and not a game --- but I don't know -- my thinking could be off.)

Last night while trying to discuss and sort out the issue, he decided that I also have compulsive issues with my phone and that justifies him being on his phone.  

To a normal-minded reader, all this might seem stupid and nit-picky.   The reality is, you just don't put an addict in front of a trigger and expect them to just turn away or to not look at other options when the first hit isn't as satisfying.  In the same way you don't send an alcoholic, trying to recover, to a bar.   The end result is usually a slip and 'just one' drink.

I imagine it is difficult for H.  The littles are often on one of the devices we have here.  It's in his face all the time.  Just like women -- there they are -- every store he walks into, when he drives down the street, at work (which is a favorite MO of H's).   H has to decide what he's going to do with those thoughts and impulses. 

Games, to me, are an interesting kind of fix for H's addiction.  They seem fuel juices that open desires for more addictive behaviors.  Games aren't enough after a while and you need a bigger hit.  

It's sad, but it is so very real and true.  

I read once on about slips and relapses:  "Even a brief return to substance abuse is a big mistake for people trying to recover from addiction. A slip is a setback, but it doesn’t have to progress into a full-blown relapse... A slip can be the turning point in recovery because it indicates that people have been doing something wrong. If these individuals can learn from the incident it may mean that their recovery will be stronger than ever before."

Right now, H is still furious that he got 'caught'.  He's still furious that I set boundaries.  He acquiesces, but angrily, which is very dangerous.   

I don't know why H doesn't get this yet.  I'm searching today for answers.  I need some help explaining things to him, because right now, it seems like all I do is 'mother' and I don't want that kind of relationship.  H doesn't want to be where he feels 'told' what he can or can't do.  There has to be a better way to understand and work through all of this before that 'wits end' of mine (or H's) crash into each other again.  


Friday, August 1, 2014

Double Whammy!

*Possible Pain Warning -- Trigger Warning -- Vent Warning

I totally understand if those red warning flags send you on your way today.  I am not always in a place to read or hear other's pain.  I would totally understand, which is why the warnings are in place.  I am also so grateful for those that read on and comment.  It blesses me in this journey.

Today is a pain day for me.  On days when the pain is bad I come here to my blog to purge and work through the issue.  This is my place of healing.  

Today is Day 89.

89 days since H turned his back on all the people he was sleeping around with.  
89 days since H quit IM'ing and sexting other women.
89 days since H quit searching hook-up sites and connecting with those women.
89 days since H quit looking at porn.

89 days for him.  
89 days of being a changed man.

On the flip side.....

89 days of trying to tell myself this shouldn't hurt me to my core this much.
89 days of trying to give it all to the Savior.
89 days of not doing it very well.

At least not for H.

H sees an unhappy, distant, wife.  He senses I'm not happy to see him or be around him.  

H sent me this text today:  "I will find a way to show you what you need, and ask Heavenly Father to give me the stamina to last with little to nothing in return for 1/4 of a century or more."


It's a double whammy for me.    (It's also emotional eating time after reading that.  Don't judge me while I sit here and eat Triscuits and chocolate and hurt.  Recovery sucks sometimes!)   

First the betrayal and now the lack of empathy.

It's obvious (to me now) that my marriage has been one sided where love, connection and commitment are concerned.  For 25 years I have loved a man who only loves back if he feels loved first.  

That really hard to deal with.

Now, after all I have been through, I pretty much have to beg for the same consideration.

I don't plan to hurt for the rest of my life.  I don't plan to feel anger and betrayal for the rest of my life.  I don't plan to want to run out into the middle of the road headlong into traffic every time he touches me -- for the rest of my life.

I do hurt now.  I feel all these things.  That has to be ok.  I need to acknowledge this so that I can let it go and move on.  For so many years I stuffed, I denied, I pretended.  It showed on me physically with weight gain.  I hurt physically from all the stress of this life.  I hated myself for not being true to me and for all the shame that came with this addiction.  

It's not ok with H for me to be in this space.  H feels rejection from it.  He gets quiet.  He stays in separate rooms.  He avoids coming home again.  All this does is trigger me and make my recovery worse.

I hate feeling guilted about this when I try to explain that I'm not rejecting him, I'm hurting.(Excuse me, Bud!!!....but you do remember why I hurt, right?  This isn't about a bill you forgot to pay, or some large purchase you neglected to inform me of.)  Please, can I just have a little time to hurt, to grieve over the loss of this life, relationship and marriage?

Maybe I am stuck in the anger stage of my grief cycle.  Even if I don't really feel angry, I do recognize I am not all settled with all of what happened.  

For me, I need to keep processing this trauma.  Keep doing my step-work...keep doing..keep doing...It's all I know to do right now.  

I am trying to get past it.

Now that H is back to church it feels like I'm expected to work things out with him.  We've been together all these years.  I've stayed through all of this -- why end things now?

I don't know that I want to end things. Right now, I just don't want to be intimate.  I don't want to be touched.  

H feels rejected.

I feel pushed.

I also feel like this relationship is conditional.  I feel like I have to perfectly accept and move on from all that has happened, show H love physically, and not let any of my hurt or pain show.   

And all of that feels freaking unreasonable right now!

Maybe I'm having a little tantrum here and one of my friends will call me out on this.  

I can't just 'get over this' just like an addict can't 'just stop' acting out.  

In step one in the "Healing Through Christ" manual Elder Russell M. Nelson is quoted as saying; "Addiction surrenders freedom to choose.  Through chemical means, one can literally become disconnected from his or her own will."  Elder Marvin J. Ashton went on to state that our addicted loved ones are; "prisoners within their own bodies.  Many feel totally helpless, dependent, and desperate."

In so many ways I feel the same about my side of things.  I still have my agency to choose, but so many of my thought processes and reactions are hampered by the life experiences I have had.  The length of time I've dealt with this issue has added to the prison I feel I am in.  

To my credit, I do know and see healing within myself.  Just as much as H says he's a changed man.  It's just not visible to each other yet. 

This video speaks to what I hope for -- one day.

Can I just have the time I need to get there without being pushed?