“I knew that if I allowed fear to overtake me, my journey was doomed. Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me.” —Cheryl Strayed, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
Journal Entry: January 21, 2015
We returned to the US from Japan two days ago and I have to say, jet lag is a real bitch. The time difference between the US and Japan is substantial, and our flight landed early in the morning. I am never able to sleep on planes, so by the time we arrived home it was the middle of the night for us. It is easy to say don’t think about what time it was, just think about what time it is. Unfortunately, when your body is missing a night’s sleep, and you have spent hours on a plane, the body does not really listen to what the mind is telling it. We struggled through the first day and required a nap in the afternoon. We were walking around like zombies. Then, it took forever to get to sleep that night. Ugh. It did not help my recovering trauma state or my husband’s melancholy mood.
Yesterday was no better as we both woke incredibly early and could not get back to sleep. Blue Eyes had a therapy appointment in the morning and I attempted to work, but the headache and fatigue were nearly unbearable. I was anxious, irritable, and groggy. Somehow Blue Eyes managed to actually get into the office after his therapy appointment and conduct a few meetings. I couldn’t believe he was able to pull it off. By the time he returned home late in the afternoon I was nearly delirious. He sat down on the bed next to me and took my hand. He said he wanted to apologize to me. I asked him what he was talking about (now), and of course, in my jet lagged condition, fear and paranoia took over. I started to get anxious and images flooded my brain, maybe he had remembered another acting out partner, or he had had a slip, or, I don’t even know what all I was thinking.
He said that he had had a really great appointment with The Shrink and he needed to tell me something. He was supposed to be working on talking about his feelings towards his mother. He had been preparing for it and had told me that was what they would talk about in this morning’s appointment. Now it looked like he had something else to say. I hardly ever ask him about his therapy appointments anymore. His therapy is his and we have couple’s therapy and I am trying to move away from thinking and worrying about his sex addiction every day. Things need to get back to some semblance of normal soon, for my sanity. I looked into those Blue Eyes and he said he needed to apologize. That instead of talking with The Shrink about his mom, he talked about our trip and my self-harm. He talked about how could he have taken that horrible woman to a place that meant so much to us as a couple, as a family. How could he betray me so carelessly, when he loves me so deeply? I could feel any little bit of strength that I might have been holding onto disintegrating in that moment. He told the Shrink about our last dinner in Tokyo and how he had said that he had invited his acting out partner on trips in the past to hug and hold him. The Shrink had said the same thing I had said… no, no, no. Stop. He couldn’t believe that Blue Eyes had done the unthinkable. He had not only rationalized his addictive pattern as a literal manifestation of his early childhood trauma and abandonment, but he had said it out loud, to ME. The Shrink immediately became concerned for how I took it, how I handled it. Blue Eyes timidly told him what had happened next. That I had dissociated there in that restaurant. That he had had to guide me to our hotel and get me up to the room safely. That he had continued trying to pursue the conversation, to try and make it better, but he had made it worse. The Shrink said he wanted to get up right then and there and shake some sense into Blue Eyes. Blue Eyes felt worse than ever. Even with my self-harm, he had not realized what he had done, or the damage he had done with his words. He sent me backwards. He was so sorry.
As I sat there and watched him struggle through telling me about his therapy appointment and apologizing to me, I started to drift away. I felt myself needing to be held by someone who had never hurt me. Images of my parents immediately flooded my brain. I felt small and childlike. I hugged my pillow and the tears started to flow. Oh how I wanted to feel safe again. A part of me knew he was making progress, but a part of me wants a partner who instinctively knows what will hurt me, and then never ever does it. Never rationalizes hurting me and certainly never lies and covers up his behavior. I know I can never have this purity in my marriage to Blue Eyes, because he has already betrayed me repeatedly and lied pathologically. The only thing I can pray for is that I have the strength to stick around long enough to see if we can build a new relationship out of the ashes of the old desecrated one.
This afternoon we had a couple’s therapy appointment with Ms. Second Chance. The Shrink had already called her and prepped her with information about Blue Eyes and our troubled night in Tokyo, but she clearly wanted to hear from us what had transpired. I let Blue Eyes tell the story, for a couple reasons. First, I wanted to hear what he would say, and second, I didn’t think I had the strength to tell the story myself. Blue Eyes actually did a pretty good job of revisiting the conversation and subsequent trauma, but he still struggles with why he is unable to filter what he says or understand how I will react the way I do. Ms. Second Chance then turned her attention to me. She, of course, was very sympathetic as I cried in pain when I described how I felt. To me, Blue Eyes insinuated that he had been replacing me, his loving, caring, loyal and nurturing wife, with a horrible woman, not to feed his addiction with the drug of sleazy secret sex, but to provide those crucial needs that he desperately seeks when he is lonely and afraid, and my heart broke. I sobbed.
I told her that there is a practical and mature Kat that sees things from a bystander’s viewpoint. I could clearly see that Blue Eyes does not completely understand his addiction, how it was perpetrated, how he dealt with it, how it grew, and how he medicated it. But there is a part of me that is so broken that all it feels like to me is that he was replacing me. When I look at the other woman, I know deep in my heart that it is not true. There is just no possible way that could be true. We have 30 years of loving each other, of growing up with each other, of building a family together. We get along, we enjoy a lot of the same things and when one of us wants something different, we compromise. We have a real working marriage. But when my heart is broken, doubt seeps deeply into the cracks and the trauma breaks my spirit and I want to go away. She asked me where I want to go and I said somewhere where he can’t hurt me. Sometimes I think that is just to a dissociative state, and sometimes I think it is physically much farther away, as in a separation.
Ms. Second Chance thinks I need to go back to individual therapy, but I do not want to. I want to get stronger on my own. I am a healthy self-sufficient adult. I do not have deep childhood wounds. I spent months delving into my childhood with two therapists. Been there, done that. I know what kind of personality I have. I know my strengths and weaknesses. What I do not know is what my husband is going to do, how he is going to behave, and if he is going to recover. Since I cannot change what he is going to do, I stay as long as I can manage it. As long as I am happier than I am sad. The rest is up to him.
24 thoughts on “And then jet lag happened”
I would totally suffer a bit of jet lag to go to japan, that is one of my dream bucket list holidays: Japan during the cherry blossom festival 🙂
Stay strong my friend, i know its a long journey but I am really proud of you. You have come through so much already.
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Thank you so much Caroline. Cherry blossom season in Japan is so worth it. The tradition includes having picnics in the parks with friends. When we lived in Kyoto in 1987, we went daily, so many blossoms, so beautiful. I read your post earlier and did not know what to say, other than I hope you feel better soon. We are all chasing the happiness. ❤
I will get there and so will you. Never give up.
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I have mixed feelings here too, Kat. I’ve got some PTSD symptoms from the betrayal, manipulation and loss of control in my marriage. Not to mention coming to grips with my own addiction as my marriage was ending. 12 step recovery, therapy and medication(when finally prescribed correctly) all helped me make incredibly positive life changes. However, I also spent years in therapy prior to and during my marriage that werent always productive. I know there are limits to its effectiveness. Even now I’ve been on a journey of trying to learn to listen to my instincts and follow the awareness I now have that i missed for so many years…
I applaud you for recognizing and feeling empowered by your own self-awareness. I also feel concern for you as i now know i can’t do it alone. I reach out for support in a way i couldnt before.
Even if you don’t go back to therapy, I hope you have a good support network around you. You don’t have to suffer or try to handle your pain and anger alone. There is strength in numbers 🙂
Here’s to extra self-care in 2015
Thanks A_Female. As I keep saying, we are all on our own journey. Some days are more difficult than others. I write about the difficult days more because I want to get them out. I want to be free of the trauma and writing about it helps me. I have a lot of people in my life that love me and are there to support me. I do not suffer in silence, ha, there a lot of people around me that wish I would just shut up 🙂 . I also belong to a support group and they are great listeners. Even though some might say it is not enough, I spent the whole of last year in intensive therapy and some of it trauma therapy. There were weeks where I spent 12-15 hours in therapy. I still do have a few bad days. As I said in another comment, next month I might be back in therapy again. Today I do not feel like it is the best for me right now. I feel like therapy drains the life out of me. The thing that will send me back to therapy now, is if my husband is in recovery, and he doesn’t cross any of the boundaries, and for some reason I am still unhappy, but refuse to leave him. Then, I will know that I need help to get me on a path to happiness. For now, there are more good days than bad, even though it may not seem like it on the blog. Cheers to self-care for all of us in 2015.
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Hi, Kat. Reading the other comments I’m struggling with exactly what I want to say.
I read that post, and I hear so much pain. You are in a place of pain, and that’s entirely understandable. You’re right, learning of a spouse’s infidelity is traumatic, and absolutely a trauma.
In S-Anon, I’ve heard stories that range from suicidal thoughts to homicidal ones.
The day I went to my first meeting, I’d gotten so angry at my baby girl, because she wouldn’t stop crying, I punched the fridge. I know I was really angry at my husband, not her, but it came out in the wrong place. This pattern continued, and worsened (generally around her reluctance to nap!), and scared me, until I finally went on anti-depressants.
I’m not saying I think that’s the answer for you (only you can know what is)… Just that it took a lot for me to finally ask for help.
This last year, every time I’ve been willing to ask for help my life has gotten so much better. I had a huge pile of shit dropped in my lap, and recognized that I could not handle it alone. What’s more, is that I shouldn’t have to.
This comes from a place of caring, and concern, and also having worn similar shoes. I would suggest finding something that helps you, because I think the self-harm is evidence that what you have in place now is not sufficient.
Is that a support group? Therapy? Medication? Something I’m not thinking of? All of the above? Only you can answer that.
To me, asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength.
I’ll leave you with this link, which I’ve been meaning to share on my own blog. It’s pretty much how I view therapy in general (even if I’m not suicidal).
I even printed it out and gave it to my therapist as a sort of Christmas present.
*hugs* love, and gentle self care. ❤
Thanks for your support, Dee. I appreciate it. We all have a story and we all do the best we can. I feel like I have been brutally honest in my posts. I am not suicidal and I thought very briefly about anti-depressants, but felt the potential side effects outweighed the benefits in my particular situation. At the time that anti-depressants were talked about, I had three therapists including a trauma specialist out of state that I was visiting nearly weekly. I only wrote about a couple of our sessions as I have focused a lot on this blog about my journey with my husband. Honestly, I have only posted about half of what I have written since a year ago because some of my journal entries were me rambling on. I much prefer when I feel like I have either really struggled, or had an epiphany (of sorts). Anyway, my MD was the only one who felt like anti-depressants were a good option for me, and even she suggested I give it a little more time before resorting to the drugs. I am currently in couple’s therapy with my sex addict husband with the same therapist I went to individually last year. She knows me and my situation. Right now, I am fine. I had a bad episode in Japan, but I am not going to let that define me. I realize therapy is a real lifeline for a lot of people and it was certainly that for me last year. I was the one reaching out. I was the one who sought out trauma therapy… and I did that before I harmed myself. I do appreciate the advice and I do not think going to therapy represents a weakness, at all. I just do not think it will be helpful to me. It drains me. I spent most of the time in therapy talking about my husband because he is the only thing in my life that I do NOT understand. I know I cannot change him, but if he wants me to stay married to him, I will require certain things from him. If he cannot provide those things, I will leave. I anticipate having a few bad days here and there. He is in recovery and hasn’t crossed any of the boundaries, but he does get very close to them quite often. I am generally not angry, I am sad and in pain on some days. I have had exactly three, what I would call, significant harming incidents in 12.5 months: Hawaii the first week of February 2014, May 2014 (the worst one, which required medical treatment), and Tokyo January 2015. The therapist suggested we stop traveling 🙂 . Do I use my blog to express some of my darkest emotions, yes, because that is one of the reasons I started the blog. I really appreciate all the advice and support I get on here and I love meeting people like you who are taking accountability for their own life. You are an inspiration. Who knows, I may decide to go back to individual therapy next month, but for now, couple’s therapy it is. ❤
Ok, Kat. I’m going to have to step away, too.
Harming yourself, and the dissociation that goes with it, is a clear sign that something is very wrong, and whatever support system you have in place is insufficient.
I wasn’t saying you need therapy, specifically, I listed a few other options, but you do need to find some form of help.
Also, manipulative is too strong a word. Whether it was intentional or not, remember that your self harm is traumatic to those around you, especially those that care about you most (I’m talking about Blue Eyes here). It affects other people, whether you mean it to or not.
I just cannot watch you hurt yourself, especially while you don’t see that it’s a big problem.
Wow, to say I am shocked by your comment is an understatement. I guess I just do not communicate well. I actually have numerous support systems in my life that I utilize daily. My husband’s lying to me for 30 years and cheating on me for 15 when I thought all along that he was a faithful, loyal partner was potentially the most traumatic thing I can think of (other than something happening to my children) and that is what prompted ALL of my agony. I realize two wrongs do not make a right (i.e., him perpetrating all he did on me and me learning about it all in one absolutely horrifying moment, and me going through some difficult days because of what he did), but my pain has been diagnosed as C-PTSD and I have received hours and hours of trauma therapy, sometimes up to 15 hours per week. My entire life last year was devoted to healing and figuring out if I could even stay with him. We go every week to a couple’s therapist. Do I have a couple bad days a month, yes, and they are always prompted by something he does because I am scared that he cannot recover and I will waste another 30 years of my life. This is my own fear and I work every day to manage it, with the support systems I do have, but most of my days are good now and I am not going to let comments on my blog change that. Since the beginning, Violet questioned everything about mine and my husband’s situation, called my husband a sinner, and from my perspective, questioned the validity of sex addiction. My husband suggested I not post her comments versus spending my time trying to educate her, but I decided early on that I would post all comments. My husband and I work very hard every day to be stronger, better people and have a stronger marriage. I have the right to stand up for myself and what I believe. I thank you for support of me in the past.
I am really sad that you think walking away at this point is the answer, but I respect your decision.
You are, quite literally, hurting yourself. That is very scary. Especially given that this was not a single isolated incident. All I was trying to say is that, out of concern for you and those close to you, you may want to find some way to prevent that from happening again. I don’t know what that answer is, only you can figure that out, but it’s pretty clear that whatever you have now is not enough. By your own account it’s happened three times in the last year or so, and I suspect it is likely to happen again if you don’t do something about it.
It does not sound like you are considering it, but don’t edit out your honest account of your ups and downs in order to avoid judgment of strangers and unsolicited advice. Keep moving forward!
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Wow, B. I am not considering editing myself but I do have to say that I am shocked that followers are choosing to leave because they cannot control me with their advice? At least that is the way I am reading it. When I see people struggling (on blogs or wherever), with whatever is going on or with whatever support system, I just try to lend words of encouragement. I have received so much of that here on this blog, that I am a bit shocked that people that profess to want to help, walk away when they think a person is struggling. That is what leads me to believe it is about control. Who would walk away from someone they perceive does not have enough support unless they just didn’t want to be supportive. I am confused. Thanks for sticking with me 🙂 . I am moving forward, and doing fine!
My opinion with respect to commenting on blogs with “advice”: offer it if asked. If you write “what do you think about…?” or “how would you handle…?” then you are communicating a request. Otherwise, you’re not asking for advice. Simple.
As for the judgy comments , a la “whatever support system you have in place is insufficient”, I say bullshit to that. 🙂
I am learning a lot from your blog and I appreciate you for that!
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I want to append this comment by saying that I personally think it is a little ridiculous for anyone to think that an anonymous blogger would actually act on unsolicited advice from equally anonymous commenters. Particularly on the topics you write about.
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Self mutilation is never, ever an acceptable way to manage your life, no matter how bad your problems are. It is dangerous to yourself and manipulative to others. I spent my entire psychiatric career working with self-harmers and it is not something I can take lightly…I feel this is a situation of grave seriousness.
CrazyKat, I wish you the best of luck on your journey, and hope you and Blue Eyes get all the help you need to find peace. I think it’s best I stop commenting and reading at this point.
Yours truly, Violet
Violet, I respect your decision to stop reading and commenting. I was honestly going to delete your comment, but my husband suggested I keep it and say what I want to say as that is why I started MY blog in the first place. I started my blog to share my experiences with others in hopes that it might help me understand myself and heal, and maybe I could connect with other people having the same feelings. I am a very open and honest individual and I have been honest on this blog. Since you are not a betrayed spouse, or involved in betrayal at all, I am not sure how either of us found each other’s blogs, but my husband suffered from juvenile rheumatoid arthritis for decades, so that may be the connection.
I think you are implying here that you are some kind of expert in the area of self harm? I do not understand your professing to be an expert and then calling the side effects of betrayal-based PTSD “manipulative.” Manipulative is a negative word implying selfish and scheming behavior. You may be overestimating your expertise in this area if you are insinuating that I harm myself to try and influence the emotions of my husband or others. I have explained my self harm here on my blog a few times. Your words are damaging to already traumatized individuals and I, frankly, do not understand anyone in your field being so careless. No one asked you to take anything lightly. I am merely speaking about my own experiences here, my own body, my own trauma. Just because you state your opinion and give advice, does not mean I have to take it. This blog barely touches the surface of who I am and what goes on in my life. Getting upset and calling me manipulative and then deciding to “clear out” does not make you sound like an expert, and me expressing to other commenters that I appreciate their understanding of my choices because I believe they understand my pain, is not taking my situation lightly.
Likewise, Violet, I hope you find some peace in your life.
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The “Wild” quote is brilliant. I devoured the book and sobbed for hours after the movie. She fixed herself by listening to her inner voice, pushing herself to her own limits, and at times observing herself as though she was someone else. Only you know deep in your own soul how capable you are of harming yourself past the point you already have experienced. Only you know truly how self-destructive you are capable of being. If your ultimate goal is to thrive as a human being, as distinct from all your roles (mother, friend, wife) then keep listening to your inner voice, and when and if it becomes either more urgent or mute, then do what you need to in order to thrive.
I am with you, that therapy has absolute limits, and that if you have authentic self-knowledge you can be your own best therapist.
Thank you so much, B. I appreciate that you get me, and the quote. Maybe it is because, in your own unique way, you are viewing this from a very similar place as I am. Obviously our stories are different, but I appreciate you backing me up with a vote towards my own self awareness and strength. And yes, I LOVE Cheryl’s brilliant words. I chose that quote because I felt like it could apply to me, and Blue Eyes… and everyone else I know (male or female). Fear is an overwhelming emotion that prompts other emotions and behaviors and we must master it to be truly strong. Thanks for being strong with me!
You’re welcome. I have survived plenty of my own trauma and grief and therapy never really made a life-changing difference for me. At the risk of sounding arrogant I will say that I never really found a therapist who I thought was smarter than me. ..
I get it. Thankfully, I had a great trauma therapist last year and wish we lived in the same city. I probably would not still be going to her either, but I would have been able to go to her versus that other crazy lady. The couple’s therapist we are going to now is very good and understands my husband very well and is very respectful and intelligent. My husband is the elitist here as he has a pretty keen brain, although he did use it for evil, ha. He thinks she is pretty brilliant, but she also does understand him, so that goes a long way. I understand the therapist wanting to see me individually, if even just temporarily (I have seen her individually before), but I know myself pretty well and I am not going to do it. When we left her office last week, my husband even said, “I know you are okay and that you are not going to go back in to individual therapy. My two cents, I do not think you need to. Thank you for sticking by me at all.” I totally understand people needing therapy and feeling like it is their lifeline, I wish more of them could understand how it is not that for me. Thanks for understanding.
Every single therapist on this earth will tell you to get therapy if you’re self harming…I’m shocked she didn’t make it a requirement before she continues sessions with you. Any self harm is not an acceptable way to cope because it is one short step away from an impulsive suicide attempt. I believe you’re minimizing your multiple episodes of dissociation and self-harm and do need help ASAP. The fact that you’ve never self-armed in the past is not relevant…you’re self harming now. Also there is no way Blue Eyes can be expected to deal with this type of dangerous behavior alone. Please get yourself some help and support during this difficult time. You may be self sufficient 99% of the time in your life, but this is the 1% you’re not.
Thanks for your recommendation, Violet. I will take it into consideration.
I don’t really agree in full with shrinking violet. No not good on the self harming but not like you’re hiding it. That (to me) diminishes the panic outside help seriousness of it. I’m in the same boat as you just a couple of months behind and can so relate to the emotional pain. Chin up, we WILL get past this.
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Thank you so much for your kind and supportive words. I think it does make a difference in how we can relate by having walked in the same betrayed spouse shoes, so to speak. I am so sorry you are suffering too. Trauma induced by being betrayed by your life partner is very painful, but depending on what other baggage we are carrying around, I think some of us are strong enough to understand our own behavior (once the shock wears off and we learn it is PTSD) and work through some of the darker moments. If someone was suicidal, of course, I would suggest they run, not walk, to their therapist/psychiatrist/ER, but that is not the case with me and only I can define that for myself. I do blog in order to help me release the pain from the behavior that I know is not healthy. But for me, unhealthy is not life threatening. If I felt like I did not know why I do what I do, I would go back to therapy. I am more self aware than that. It scares my husband and I’m sure that is why he shares with his therapist, so that he is better equipped to deal with it, not so they can all lock me up, ha. Hugs to you on this difficult journey.