Bill of Rights

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Big "D" Discussion

I have huge pieces of my childhood missing from my memory. I'm not sure why. I've talked about this with several counselors, all to no avail. Maybe it is just as well. Some of the things I do remember are difficult enough.  

I grew up in a good home. Like most families, we had our own issues, my dad in particular. He was born after the tragic death a sister. Naturally, the death was very difficult on his parents. When dad was born, the oldest child in the family was 11 years older than he (a family dynamic I am very familiar with my own children). I don't know a lot of his childhood experiences, but I have the sense they were painful enough that it affected him tremendously. 

At one point in our family history my dad made some choices that tested our family -- more importantly his marriage. I have many memories of those days. I'd just finished my first year at college. I'd gone home to work for the summer to earn money for another year's tuition. This one particular day I was helping my mom with the laundry. In that home, mom always put dad's laundry away for him. This day, I was doing that task.  

It is a day I'll never forget. As I was putting socks in the drawer, I noticed an envelope with a woman's handwriting that I did not recognize. I don't remember the strong impressions that encouraged me to pull that envelope out into clearer view -- but I know they were there. Never in a million years would I snoop in my dad's drawers without that impression.

The words on that paper tore at my heart, and made me sick in the pit of my stomach.  

They made me angry too.

I was angry at my dad. I was angry at the other woman. I was angry for my mom, and for myself and my siblings. I was angry at God and angry at all the rules and principles that we were taught to live -- but that for whatever reason my dad chose not to honor.  

I hated having to be the one to show that letter to my mom.  

I watched my mom go through all the typical emotions a disclosure of that type generates. I watched all the hurt and anger boil up. I watched as all the emotions from all the crap she'd been put through in her marriage came bubbling up to the surface to look at, sort through and to re-live.

I hated my dad that day.

I hated the idea of marriage that day.

I hated cheaters and liars that day too.

I watched my mom go through the process of sorting out what happened from what she needed to do. Many counseling sessions with bishops, stake presidents and family were held. It is no small thing to sort out all that must be worked through after covenants and vows are violated. 

There was a separation.

There were talks of divorce, plans to sell, to move, to divide. 

It's all part of the process.

And then the most amazing thing happened.  


I have a good idea of mom's emotions and the process she went through to get to that decision. I know the issues you have to work through. I'm familiar with the self-esteem issues, the doubting of your value and the questions that seem to never end as to what is really going on in your husband's mind when the two of you are together.  

As I process my own current marriage challenges I wonder how much of what I saw, all the spoken and unspoken messages of my parental examples, has impacted my choices and thought processes in the challenges in my marriage. 

Questions plague me constantly.  Like:

Am I really feeling impressions or is my hurt and despair causing these thoughts?

Should I stay in my marriage and honor my covenants no matter what my husband does?

Is there ever a point you can say enough is enough?

Can you get to the point where there has been so much pain that there isn't enough love?

Am I obligated to stay in the marriage because of H's repentance?

Every time H and I have the "D" discussion (we've had it more frequently during the past few months) he almost always reminds me of the miracle God can work in our marriage. I believe in God's power to work miracles. What I don't believe is that he will work miracles and disregard our agency.  

Truthfully, right now, I don't know what part of that miracle to pray for.  

I just wish like anything there was one side of the divorce debate that did not cause despair. I don't feel good about either option right now. I'm not happily married and I don't want to be divorced either.  

Thursday, January 15, 2015


I like this quote.  On one hand, it feels good to read it.  On the other, I feel all sorts of emotions still coming out sideways and I am struggling with what is required to get "prepared." So If I'm not defined by my past -- what do I do with it when its all sorts of ugly?

There is a conversation that takes place both in and outside the recovery circle about healing.  So many inside the church will tell you 'read your scriptures and pray more'  (insert eye roll/brow lift). and you'll get over it or get through it.

I'll be the first in line to tell you how wonderful the scriptures are for feeding your spirit.  I will also go on record to testify of the power of prayer.  I know from my own personal experience that prayer is the genesis of many miracles.

The truth is, everyone I know looking for recovery and healing is wanting to find a way out, a way through this pain and anguish.  If scriptures and prayer alone were the solution I would have found my way out of my anguish long ago.  Instead, I've spent much of 25 years pleading and praying for relief, for release, for deliverance.

From time to time over the years the Lord will 'throw me a bone' if you will.  He'll feed me little pieces of truth or principle just enough for me to hang on to for a while.

This CD has helped me tremendously in my recovery work.  I didn't realize it at the time, because I really wasn't actively pursuing recovery, like I am now.  I was trying to survive.  Any thing that gave me an ounce of strength was manna to my wounded soul.

In this CD Dr Wilcox teaches several wonderful concepts.  He teaches about the fourth watch and what that means in Jewish society.  He talks about God being a fourth watch God and what that might mean to us as his children.

In the scriptures there are so many wonderful examples of fourth watch deliverance.  Even the First Vision we see that God waited until the boy Joseph felt he was 'doomed to sudden destruction' the Father and the Son appeared.

If I've learned anything, I've learned that some trials are not easy to get out of.  Deliverance or relief are not the answers the Lord is going to send no matter how often that plea is made.   This lesson was first taught to me in the long and anguish pleas for more children.  I was promised in my patriarchal blessing children.  Not child.  And yet for 11 years all I had was one child.  In mortality, 11 years is an eternity and so difficult to wait out.  During that time I entertained all sorts of faulty beliefs.  Like; I wasn't a good mom.  I wasn't worthy.  The patriarch somehow mis-spoke in the blessing, erroneously using the more common word 'children.'  It wasn't until years later, when I was finally working my recovery from my H's addiction that I was able to undo those faulty beliefs I had about how that blessing of children played out in my life.

My favorite principle that Br. Wilcox teaches in this CD is a lesson on 'the holding place.'  A holding place is a point we reach in life where our experience and understanding is sufficient that we can hold or accept and understand the instructions from the Lord or the lessons from our trials.  I just love this principle.  It fits so well with this graphic at the top of this post.

All of this leads me to an experiences I had two nights ago.  After all the frustration I've had with H the past few weeks I finally reached to a friend's husband to get a priesthood blessing.  I'm so glad I did. The blessing was beautiful and the spirit so strong it brought us all to tears.  I was given validation for some of the feelings I have regarding H.   As well as peace and comfort and an assurance that the experiences I have been going through are preparing me for the mission the Lord wants me to fulfill. 

All this brings to mind verses of scripture I have always loved.  

Doctrine and Covenants, section 122:

 If thou art called to pass through tribulation; if thou art in perils among false brethren; if thou art in perils among robbers; if thou art in perils by land or by sea;
 And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.
 Therefore, hold on thy way...

Hold thy way  -- all these things shall give thee experience and be for thy good.


Monday, January 12, 2015

What Do You Do When an Addict Says He's Not an Addict?

I've been wanting to write a follow-up post from last week for days now.  I wanted to write how everything went so well when H and I talked.  I wanted to say that we resolved the issues.  I wanted to write how sharing my thoughts and feelings in that letter was so beneficial for both H and I.  I wanted to say how risking and being vulnerable was so worth it.

I can't write that post.
I can't write that post even though H and I did talk.
I can't write that post even though -- for a few hours -- things were OK between us.

I can't write that because as it turns out -- that talk turned into another talk that went something like this:

"I don't have a sexual addiction.

I'm addicted to anger"

He has what?

(insert deer in the headlight look here)

Ok, anger addiction?

So I googled anger addiction to see if I could make any sense of what H is thinking.
I googled it to see if it explained what I've been living with these past years.

The truth of the matter is -- no matter what H calls 'it'

It still happened to me.

I still suffer daily from betrayal trauma.

I still have daily triggers by his presence and by the things that he says and does.

Does it matter what addiction H has?

To H maybe.

Right now...I'm just sick all over again.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Pouring Out My Heart

Today is the first Sunday of the new year, which in the LDS culture means a shift in meeting times.  In most LDS chapels more than one ward (group of members that meet and function together) meets in the local building.  Our meeting times are based on a three-hour block period: 9:00 - 12:00, 11:00 - 2:00 and 1:00 - 4:00.  Yearly we rotate these meeting times among the wards.  We just ended our turn with the 1:00 block in December.  This year we move up to the 9:00 meeting time.  It is a huge shift for those of us who have spent the last year languishing around on Sunday morning.  

For weeks I have been gearing up my family for a shift in weekend activity patterns to ensure that we are all rested and functioning for this new meeting schedule.  Changes such as; no more late Saturday movie/TV time and changes in our showering schedules should have helped make today go better than it did.  

All my well thought out plans were interrupted by last night's bout of insomnia.  Horrible insomnia where I lay in bed staring at the darkened ceiling with a battery of never ending thoughts preventing even the smallest hope of sleep.  

Around 3:00, when I couldn't turn off the debate in my mind any longer, I got up out of bed and went downstairs to rid my mind of what was plaguing my heart.

For hours I poured out my heart to H, explaining in as authentic and vulnerable way why I was struggling so with him -- and with me.  When the words finally stopped it was nearing dawn. I read through the pages a couple times, then took them upstairs to H.  I told him about my night, and that I was going to soak in a hot tub to ease my fatigue.  I asked if he would read my notes and then come talk to me.  

He never came. 

In fact, he didn't say a word to me all morning as he was getting ready to leave for church with little D.  

My sleepless night, and a week-long migraine made my decision to stay home from my meetings today pretty easy.  As I sit here while my family is at church I'm wondering if any of the following would warrant the silent treatment from H.

Here are some of the thoughts I put into my notes I shared with H.

* Eight months after my last D-day, I am finding myself in incredible turmoil.  H's and my daily interactions are painful.  In my attempt to find answers to my turmoil I need to go back to the beginning to see what I did wrong and to find solutions for going forward.

* The notes began with an acknowledgement of H's value and my desire to see him return to the fold with membership in good standing.  I also acknowledged the difficult road this has been for him, and the great amount of work it is taking. 

* Looking back I can see that agreeing to have H come home so soon after such a painful disclosure was largely due to my fears and lack of trust.  In a way, that was very controlling, as well as dangerous for myself and H.  I did not know how to think about staying married to H and not living in the same house.  With so much pain and trauma to sort though, I couldn't, at that time, think my way through boundaries to creating a way to start over -- separate at first -- giving us each time to heal on our own before re-uniting.

* I realize the error in not going with H to see the bishop and hear part of H's disclosure to a priesthood leader.  The mistake here was that we did not get priesthood counsel or discuss the best method to reunite.  I was also not afforded the compassion and empathy I should have received from the bishop as he heard how the depth of H's acting out destroyed so much of me as a wife, a women, a daughter of God, a human being.  (To this day my bishop has never asked to talked to me about what happened.  Once, when I asked for a blessing, my bishop asked me why I wasn't 'over this yet'.)

* One of the biggest mistakes I made prior to H's return was in not praying about it.  When I think about that now I know it was fear and trauma that kept me from it.  I was so numb, so dead emotionally.  I couldn't even feel.  I still struggle feeling.  Looking back, I felt that if we just give it 'one more try' I would be able to figure it out, pray about it as we go -- and then I would know what the Lord wanted me to do.  

* I wrote about the lack of emotion and connection between us.  I thought that separating bedrooms and taking a break from any sexual intimacy for a while that the need for connection would draw us closer together.  I has done the opposite.  

* For the past few months H has been working his 12-steps with a local ARP group.  Recently in conversation I asked if he was planning to let me read his step 4.  H told me it was not my business and he did not have to let me read it.  Those comments were a pivotal point for me. H has kept things from me our entire marriage, preventing me from being able to make informed choices about him, about our future, and even about the value in continuing in this marriage.  It is my position that I have a right to a full disclosure.  I have a right to know everything about him now.  I have a right to make an informed decision about my future with him.  I shared my thoughts on this unresolved issue with him in my notes.

After H left for church I went up into the room he's using to look for the note.  I wanted it back.  I felt like an unacknowledged note, even a small acknowledgement that he was still working through it, is appropriate civility.  He must have the note with him.  I could find it no where.  I'm a little concerned about that knowing that one of the guys from his ARP group is in our ward.  Those pages contained some very vulnerable feelings.  Feelings that I was being very brave to share with H in our current circumstances.  Part of me feels violated.  Right or wrong, faulty are valid, I feel possible betrayal at H's silent treatment and the lack of acknowledgement.  

I've been praying all morning Heavenly Father will help impress H to privacy for the time being and for guidance as to whether to ask for the note back.  I'm not sure I even want a reply at this point.  

In my note this morning I also shared my feelings about divorce.  I'm not looking to divorce.  In truth, it does not fit in my personal value system.  What I don't want to do is continue to force a marriage that is beyond repair or rule out the gain that could come from a divorce. It could be very possible that we need that kind of space to find our own personal healing.  Presently we have nothing of value to add to the marriage as damaged and in pain as we both are.  

I'm expecting the door to open at any moment.  My stomach is in a knot.  I just hate this.  I know that I'm supposed to have faith and trust that the Lord knows what He is guiding me to.  I just wish, for once, I could figure out if any of that involved me and H. be continued