Everything I need

Malibu, Photo Credit: Jenna Day

There’s a piece of me that belongs to Los Angeles. I’m a west coast girl and have been visiting LA since long before I met my husband, and I met him at 20! Blue Eyes is from The San Fernando Valley, just northwest of Los Angeles proper. He’s a “Valley Kid,” having grown up there from 1965 to 1982, home during University breaks until 1986. He swam in the surf at Malibu on the weekends and played tennis, in January!

People who have not lived in or even visited Los Angeles may have their own idea of what it’s like, based on television and movies. It’s kind of a surreal place, actually. First of all, it’s a huge, sprawling city with lots of freeways and lots of traffic. But it also holds a lot of the charm represented in TV shows and movies, especially in places like Beverly Hills, Hollywood, and Orange County (where A LOT of TV shows have been filmed).

“The sun shines most the time, and the feeling is lay back, palm trees grow and rents are low…” that’s Neil Diamond’s LA. Not sure where the rents are low anymore, but Neil was comparing LA to NYC, back in the 1970’s. That makes sense.

Behind the Hollywood Sign. Photo Credit: Jeremy Bishop

These days LA’s a bit frenetic (still but much less so than NYC however), and expensive, and full of every ethnic group imaginable. There’s great food, especially coming from those industrious immigrant groups, and entertaining people-watching everywhere, but especially at places like Venice Beach where people are there to be watched. LA has great art, great theater, great beaches, great sports, great colleges, and great weather.

There’s probably no other place, other than Japan, well, and my actual hometown, where I feel more at home than in Los Angeles. At one point in time I would have jumped at the chance to live in the valley outside of Los Angeles, but since my in-laws live close by, it wasn’t going to happen. I do love driving out to the valley with Blue Eyes though and getting a sandwich at his favorite deli, grabbing some pastries at the bakery next door to bring back to the boy, and then driving out to Zuma Beach and soaking up the warmth that is LA sunshine. As I’ve aged, I appreciate the warmth of that sunshine even more.

I can fully admit that when I found out that one of the pioneers of the Sex-Addiction-Induced Trauma Model for partners of sex addicts was in Los Angeles (https://theinstituteforsexualhealth.com), and he was going to set me up with a trauma therapist for intensive partner therapy, it gave me a level of comfort knowing I would be in this town I know and love. I cannot think about LA without thinking palm trees, blue skies, and warmth. I spent about 25 hours in trauma therapy in 2014. I don’t have the words to express how life affirming that therapy was for me. I have written numerous times on this blog how there is a place inside me that feels safer just knowing this therapist is there, in Los Angeles, if I need her. For 5 1/2 years I didn’t feel like I needed the help.

Last month, however, I decided I did, need her, and she made space for me. I am so grateful. From the moment I saw her, I could feel my body relaxing. The smile on her face and the warm hug she gave me after 5 1/2 years, was simply magical. Leading up to the therapy I was somewhat apprehensive. I knew I was struggling, but did I really NEED trauma therapy. Would my pain make any sense to her at this point? Could I focus on me, and not on Blue Eyes? I shouldn’t have worried. This woman knows her stuff.

LA Street Art. Photo Credit: Bruce Warrington

I shouldn’t have worried, but I should have done a contest. My kids and I have this contest around my mom… how many minutes before she brings up her favorite store, Costco! I almost always win because the boys underestimate how quickly she will bring it up. Plus, I cheat. I often ask, hey mom, where’d you get those amazing steaks, or truffles, or crackers, or whatever. In the case of the therapist, the contest would have been something like, how many minutes will it take until Kat starts bawling in her therapy session. Whoever chose the 16 minute mark would have won. I estimate it took me little more than 15 minutes to say something that sent me into tears. That’s okay. Tears are cleansing for me. I don’t burst into tears in my real life (at least not very often, anymore), so having that safe space to talk, and cry, and talk, and laugh, and cry, and talk, well, it was nothing short of nourishment for my soul.

Every minute I was with her I could feel my strength returning and growing. We had four hours the first day and it absolutely flew by. It seemed like I had been there for minutes when she looked up to the clock and said, “we need to start wrapping up for today.” I couldn’t believe it. We talked a lot about my personality (and my childhood as a caregiver for my baby sister) and how it is affecting how much energy I have left for me at the end of the day. And it’s not much. I simply give too much away. This is not new, obviously. But I wanted her to validate my desire to talk about how to create space and energy around my own needs.

I also needed to talk about how Blue Eyes struggles with providing me with what I need. HE.STILL.STRUGGLES, after six years. Yep, he is now six years sober. It’s quite astonishing considering how much is written in the SA world about how difficult it is to stay sober and some websites would have you believe it’s impossible. It’s not impossible. Recovering from addiction, however, is actually the more difficult part. The wounds are still there. The need to control his environment, still there. The need for power, still there. The instinct to lie in difficult situations, still there. His own insecurities that drive how he interacts with me, still very much there.

But I have chosen to stay and so I need to learn to deal with his continuing recovery. I need to check my expectations, and learn how to de-value his weak points. They are his battles, not mine. I cannot let them affect me to the point of deteriorating health. I need my own resources. On the second day of therapy, we did somatic healing. I breathed and moaned and she supported my heart, and my head. She could feel the pain and the pressure and she worked to release some of it. She needed me to acknowledge how much of the burden I carry, is simply not my own. I have to release it. This is on me. My responsibility. My gift to my own body.

Going forward, Blue Eyes and I will travel down to Los Angeles once a month for intensive couple’s therapy. She will work with us for a few hours and then give us homework assignments. I need her to see Blue Eyes in action. We have had horrible couple’s therapy experiences. Therapy with her will be worth it. She knows me, and she understands sex addiction. She actually met Blue Eyes in the last few minutes of our time together. She had us do a couple exercises and got an idea of how we are, together. I think she knows I tend to dominate conversation and want to cut Blue Eyes off when he isn’t responding the way I want. And he absolutely uses that as his cue to not say anything at all. I know she will work with both of us, equally, gently and kindly to help our relationship grow even under the burden of sex addiction recovery, and sex addiction induced trauma.

In the meantime, I will practice meditation three times a day. The kind of meditation where I breathe deeply and release the emotional toxins. I will calm my heart and remove myself from stressful situations. I will call time outs when I can’t handle it, versus trying to solve others’ problems. I will be honest with myself and the people around me regarding what I am actually capable of. I don’t have to be everything to everybody. For now, I no longer feel the desire to flee my situation. Being in fight or flight mode is stressful. It’s okay to take breaks and re-invigorate my energy flow. I need to remind myself I have everything I need to take care of myself. I have everything I need.

34 thoughts on “Everything I need

  1. Releasing some of the burden we carry – or handing it off to the party who should be bearing the burden – is tough for us partners who are a tad Type A. (Somewhere Handsome just scoffed spontaneously…) Or really Type A. I hope Trish helps you with the burdens that you carry and that she also helps you learn to shrug off those that aren’t yours to bear. You deserve every moment of peace you can get.
    xo

    Liked by 2 people

    • I hate to associate myself with Type A as it generally has such a negative connotation, but… I do like to control a situation. Mainly it is because I had so much responsibility as a child, I think. But I never did or do anything because I want to control people, it’s just my natural instinct to control a situation, and provide the best outcome for everyone. Anyway, I believe we are both the most positive aspects of Type A personality, BA. :)! BE has always said that I am super competitive. The thing is though, I’m not that competitive (my whole family would be laughing right now, but I think it’s because they love me, but don’t really understand me). I can easily lose a game or a sport without caring at all, but when I am talking about something that I believe in, and I am wrong (which doesn’t happen very often because I only hold my side if I truly believe I am right), it upsets me because it messes with what I consider my reality. I have had such a difficult time with “my reality” since discovery that BE making fun of my “competitive” nature actually really hurts.

      Anyway, Trish is just one of the most amazing people I have ever met and I do feel honored to be able to benefit from her skills. Did you ever go out to LA and see her, I can’t remember? Or did you stay home with the kiddos? She’s worth it! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have a feeling you and I are pretty similar to one another. 🙂 I too am only Type A in the best, most positive ways. lol One of Handsome’s nicknames for me with the Flame was “Boss Lady.” That’s sexy, right? I mean, how awesome is it that my husband mocked the fact that I ran our household and my professional life because if I didn’t it would all be a giant dumpster fire and there would be no milk in the fridge. Awesome. That still stings me too (in case it wasn’t obvious).

        I missed out on Trish. I was on mom duty the week Handsome was out in LA. Maybe I’ll have to make my own pilgrimage at some point. I’m pretty unimpressed with the trauma therapy options in my neck of the woods.
        xo

        Liked by 1 person

        • Honestly, I have never met anyone like Trish. She is well worth the pilgrimage, but be sure to go when your free time can be spent in the sun very near palm trees and a swimming pool! The Four Seasons on Doheny has a lovely pool area. Choose a corner room– with both French doors open and gauzy drapes blowing in a soft California breeze. My happy place. Just sayin’.

          I think we are similar and part of it comes from some people (who shall remain nameless) hiding their darkest secrets, not doing their share at home and then throwing us under a bus! Some days I just want someone to take care of me like I take care of them, without judgment, or anger, or feeling like he needs something in return!

          The funniest story (if there can be anything funny about BE’s horrid, stalking, alcoholic, hoarding, ho-bitch) is when she asked if I was a good cook and BE immediately responded without thinking, yes, she’s a great cook. She became visibly upset and tried to make him a snack, you know, after…. grrrr…. and burned some toast. Well, BE was never much for sticking around anyway and burnt toast isn’t his style. I said if she knew you at all, she would have toasted up a nice bagel with lox and cream cheese, now that would have actually stolen his heart!!! She was just stupid and not even good at the one “job” she had, much less cooking, lol! There is simply nothing like a sex addict in action. It’s the most obvious way to determine if they are an addict… who would want these women they picked??? WHO???

          Love you, BA! xoxo

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I think it’s wonderful that you are pursuing trauma counselling and focusing on yourself, sounds like you are already benefiting from your having your own therapy. I also believe that SA’s can stay sober, regardless of what is written. I asked my husband if he truly believes that the men in his group have been sober for as long as they say they have (the longest attending group member has been sober for 16 years) and he said that he does believe them and strongly feels that they are being completely honest. He said if he didn’t believe them, there would be no point in him attending SA as they are proof that there is a successful path to sobriety and remaining sober. They are his inspiration. And I love LA as well, it is one of my favourite places in the world!

    Liked by 2 people

    • My husband feels exactly the same way about his group, Catherine. These guys are for real. There are men there with many years sobriety, and some who relapse sometimes, most often with porn, but they are there for each other and they get the struggle. I’m really glad he found a group he could relate to, and one where he has made some truly good friends.

      I have been through many many many hours of therapy at this point. Some of that therapy was further traumatizing. Some of the therapists were not good for me. This LA therapist is really special. ❤️

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Yay Kat! Your world sounds so much brighter again. Your resilience is inspiring. And so much of what you’ve said here was helpful in framing some of my current challenges. Releasing the weight of burdens that aren’t ours to carry…Thanks for that! Great reminder.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’m a master at carrying other’s burdens I guess, not so great at managing my own. I really needed that refresher. I’m so glad I am able to experience a kind of therapy/therapist that is this healing to me. It was so worth it! xo

      Liked by 3 people

      • Thank you very much! I’ll be on until the 18th, then taking a break while my brother is here. I’ll be back on the 30th to close out the year. Good luck with all the stuff you have going on. I hope you guys have a nice time during the holidays too!

        Liked by 1 person

        • We will have a good time. Our older son is flying in from Brooklyn on Saturday with his girlfriend and they will be here for almost a week. He keeps me on my toes for sure, but I love it! My Tokyo brother has decided he wants to spend Christmas in the city this year, which saves me lots of work as the alternative is the beach house where I do almost everything. I am pleasantly relieved at his decision, although my parents probably aren’t. This should be a magical time of year and I intend to make it so. Lots of quiet meditation, a scented candle or two, and my herbal tea! Cheers to you, Dave!!!

          Liked by 1 person

  4. It sounds like you knew where to go for what you needed. You are wise. I think I know of the therapist you are mentioning (T?). She is highly, highly acclaimed by a friend and another psychologist we worked with (who sent me to your blog). Small world. I hope she has time in her busy practice to train other therapists (that’s the educator in me, speaking – pass on skills, experience and knowledge). She clearly is gifted. Good for you to choose to see her as a couple!

    I’m curious about the “somatic” stuff. I’ve had some of that therapy (minimal – Somatic Experiencing), and have read about it. There is touch involved, right? Not like massage, but touch. Energetic regulation and healing? The hypnotherapist I worked with (originally from the NE, then San Fran many years, and in my area now, uses light touch while I’m in a relaxed hypnosis state, processing and it’s soooo healing. I need to get back to work with her. So much medical stuff for me for so many months, but now I can do that again.

    Good for you, Kat. I’m smiling big for you and sending xoxoxo.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep, beleeme, it’s Trish. She’s amazing. I hope she is training others. Regarding the somatic therapy yes, there is touch. I was lying on cushions covered in blankets. The room was dark and she used breathing exercises, touch on different parts of my body, especially under my back, under my heart, plus some aromatherapy. The combination was very relaxing, and freeing. I’m a pretty controlled person and a bit obsessive, so letting go is somewhat difficult, but once I do, it’s very liberating. I can feel the stress sort of melting away. It was very healing. Yes, you should schedule it!

      I feel a lot better, better equipped to handle the ongoing storm. Plus, I’m actually looking forward to couple’s therapy! ❤️🤗❤️🤗

      Liked by 1 person

        • Nice! Venice Beach has SO MUCH personality! We were just in Tarzana (Reseda-ish) on Saturday grabbing chocolate chip danish from Bea’s for our sons. My MIL introduced them to us decades ago and they are a bad habit now. Bea’s is an amazing old school bakery. So good! BE is from Calabasas/Woodland Hills, which when he grew up was horse country. Now it’s nowhere near the outer burbs. When we’re in LA now, we stay in Santa Monica or Beverly Hills, or West Hollywood, which are very nice and unique in their own way. The traffic is a bitch, but just part of the price paid to be in one of the coolest cities in the world.

          Liked by 1 person

            • Ha, probably. Lots of celebrities out there. I remember when Britney Spears bought her house in Calabasas. Michael Jackson as well. You get more for your money in the burbs. You definitely should carve out more time in LA next time, especially since you have a place to stay that doesn’t cost you anything! 🌴☀️

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              • My issue is that I hate flying. I’d rather drive out there. I may actually skip this summer since they’re having a baby in June. I still need to hit my Utah/Colorado/Alaska goal to get all 50 states. It’s high on my list before I die. I need a headline for my obituary.

                Liked by 2 people

                • Wow, those are some beautiful states you’ve got left there! Utah has some of THE most amazing national parks. I have quite a few states left, 7 I think, all in the East Central region. I was thinking road trip/steamboat river cruise/train ride might get me through them all in a fun way. Tennessee is next on my list.

                  I started your book last night. I’m only a few pages in, but it has already prompted a post…

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