You are going to be okay, part one

A very pretty day in the neighborhood

WordPress reminded me last weekend that this blog is now six years old. I started writing about nine months into my healing journey. I had been journaling for months and it took quite a while to put all those words into legitimate, readable blog entries. I finally caught up to real time somewhere around mid January 2015, three months on WordPress, and more than a year post discovery. Some of my journaling was handwritten, some typed in random places on my computer, some in notes on my phone. I remember sitting on the ground in the garden of an old Episcopal church in downtown Portland, after a particularly difficult dinner conversation, sobbing and scribbling on a piece of paper from my purse.

What I haven’t done, however, is spend much time going back through my entries–unless someone comments on an old post and I need to refresh my memory. Reading what I had written was simply too painful to re-visit, for a very long time.

Recently, I did finally feel ready to go back and read a few of my old posts, ones from the very beginning, and I realized that there is no way I could have done this healing process any differently. At the time, there just weren’t a lot of resources for wives of newly diagnosed sex addicts and what WAS out there… I’m pretty sure I found it, all. AND, just because it’s out there, doesn’t mean it’s good or helpful information. If I had known someone personally who had gone through something even remotely similar, you know, being blind-sided by your best friend and then finding out he’s a closet addict with any number of questionable habits, after 30 years together, children, houses, businesses, I’m not sure I would have been able to really hear what that person had to say anyway.

There is nothing that prepares you for the devastation of finding out your partner is a sex addict. We are all unique and our lives and our partners are unique and all that goes into how we respond to not only betrayal, but also, in my case, decades-long lies about who my husband really was. As I have said before, in some ways he is the same guy, and in others, he is very very different from who I thought he was. What a mess.

PLEASE MAKE IT STOP

The entry above was the first I read that really got me. I remember that day like it was yesterday. Approximately two weeks post phone call from the last other woman/acting out partner/hoarding whore, etc… I had been crying almost non-stop, experiencing leg cramping from the dehydration. And when I wasn’t crying, I was a zombie, unable to focus, completely non-productive, hadn’t slept or eaten much in days. Most practical people who haven’t actually gone through this process might say, geez, that’s a little over the top isn’t it? All that drama because your husband cheated on you?

Nope, it’s not over the top. You can’t tell trauma to just STOP. You can’t wake up in the morning and tell yourself, “buck up sunshine, it’s a beautiful day, everything is going to be okay.” Trauma doesn’t work that way. Trauma doesn’t listen. As a matter of fact, all my mature, educated, practical attributes disappeared. I honestly didn’t recognize myself… or more accurately, I felt split in two. There was the old me, and there was the new, broken me. The old me tried desperately to comfort and take back control, however, the new, traumatized me turned out to be pretty persistent. There was legitimate fear involved and new me wasn’t gonna let old me pretend like nothing was wrong.

And when I felt like I needed to pretend like nothing was wrong, like on that day in January 2014, it took such a huge toll on me. The stress of the lies and betrayal were so heavy on my heart that day, that I didn’t want to live anymore. As I say in my journal entry, “another little piece of me died,” BUT, I didn’t die. I never wanted to die. The lessons learned on this healing path, however, have changed me. I’ve lost some of my natural sense of humor. I’ve lost some of the innocence I didn’t realize I had.

My son turned out to be right, on that January evening. I am okay. The mom he knew, would be okay.

Processing this kind of trauma, and this level of pain isn’t something we can prepare for. We all do the best we can. I know all the experiences I had been through prior to that day shaped me into who I was on the day my reality crumbled before my eyes. New me is now a culmination of everything I was that day and everything I have gained in the process of healing from this trauma. Before, I took for granted how I felt about me, and my little world. After, I really had to evaluate how I truly felt about everything… about my husband, about where I was in my life, and about myself. Could I stay with someone who betrayed me and still respect myself? Was I actually worthy of my own self confidence? All the not good enoughs haunted me for months. How could HE, do this to ME.

As time progressed, I realized his actions weren’t about my behavior as a partner, or my worthiness as a human being. My pain was nearly unbearable, but my healing wouldn’t truly begin until I acknowledged his addiction was and is about him.

16 thoughts on “You are going to be okay, part one

  1. We will definitely be ok.

    Trauma really sucks, and you are right, unless a person has been through trauma, and especially this type of trauma, they just don’t understand. I’ve been going over some of it again lately – trauma circles back at times. This time, it’s all the stuff from the psych hospital when my husband was suicidal and post-attempt (2 admissions). And his attempt – so graphic – that came back too.

    I’ve been working with a psychologist (anger was really coming up in me again – and I think it’s partly the “bigger situation in our world” adding to it, but I thought I should see someone). I saw her in our previous state (she uses Minwalla’s model) – and so that’s why this stuff is coming up. I am really angry (valid anger – my psychologist calls it egregious) at the psychiatrist who released him home to me even though he was unstable – then he almost ended it a few days later. His psychiatrist in the unit treated me with horrid disrespect. Long story. I need to process that a bit more. Turns out – I was right and she was so very wrong about his stability.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s so strange how we could know them so well, and not know them at all. I have often looked back and wondered how I could have been so wrong. I totally believe that you were right and the “experts” were wrong. Deep down we know who our partners are and what they are capable of even if we didn’t believe they would cheat and lie. I’m glad you are getting continued help. The suicide situation is so very traumatic and must hold incredibly devastating PTSD for you both. I hope you are in a slightly better place now that some of the political stress has eased… and I say some because, well you know. Much love to you from across the country. Give the pup a big kiss from me! xoxo

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      • Hub is in total denial about any trauma his attempt on his his caused for him. He says he doesn’t remember. Bullshit -= he remembers enough and didn’t;t face it. I said, “Look at ME then and SEE.”

        I can truly say I NEVER thought hub would be capable of breaking apart the way he did. He was so responsible. So calm. He freaking LOST IT. Everyone has a breaking point. I saw his, sadly.

        My psychologist I am working with again (uses Minwalla’s approach, works with many issues, but also betrayed partners, betrayers, and couples), says it shows how strong I am b/c most people would have ended up in the psych hospital after what I went through (like he did). There is NOTHING wrong with that – but it does say something about me. I held stuff together. Now, I need some care and at other times, I need some care.

        I won’t let this poop bring me down though, b/c it’s his poop and he needs to take care of HIS POOP. I had absolutely no idea he would have broken the law and did what he did with those women. Risk-taking at a high level – not uncommon with docs, ER docs, and other high-risk docs (and other professions like that). It doesn’t make me feel better to know that. But one little pearl of hope – she (my psychologist) told me how FEW men confess. That says something. he couldn’t hold it in anymore and he broke. There were other factors contributing to the “breakdown” for sure, but that was big.

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        • In the beginning, BE claimed he didn’t remember. Therapists let him off the hook saying they block stuff, try desperately to forget what they don’t want to face. Well, I call bullshit. Sure it was easier for him to “not remember,” but he was just continuing to feed his own selfishness. They said remembering caused him shame. Well too effing bad. I knew he remembered and he just didn’t want to face all the bad acts. Eventually he did—face it all. If he feels shame, that is 100% on him. I have my own needs in the relationship and if he can’t fulfill his part, well then he’s not the partner for me. He eventually realized this and learned how to open up, be more honest, but sometimes it’s still a struggle. I wrote, so many times, if he can’t do his share, why am I busting my ass. I can walk away. He absolutely doesn’t want that, so he tries, at least. Some days, still, I just shake my head and walk away. I no longer contemplate how I didn’t see what he was doing. People go to great lengths to keep their secrets. I want none of that. I’m glad you are continuing to get help for you. You’ve been through enough! xo

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          • My grammar / wording was bad in my last response. Eeek. Anyway, what he said he forgot was his attempt on his life. He was having a true psychotic break at the time, so, it’s possible. My psychologist said she has experience with people (in hospitals) who’ve had psychotic breaks. Some people remember some of it, some remember nothing, some remember quite a bit. He was also ashen-gray from the carbon monoxide and he had two zip ties around his neck – so — lack of 02 to the brain could have been part of the memory loss as well. It’s really something I need to process WITH HIM though, b/c of how much it affected me. It was worse than any horror I could imagine. It’s not about blaming him for that event — I just need him to understand what I went through and feel it. He knows he wouldn’t be here if I didn’t do what I did. He’d be dead. I suppose I’d like a bit more gratitude for putting myself in a dangerous situation to help him and for installing that GPS on the car when he was in the hospital the 1st time. I knew he’d need monitoring b/c they didn’t stabilize him. The police officer (one of them) was really kind to me and told me if I hadn’t done what I did, he’d be gone. He said he was 4 min. from death. He even drove hub’s car home for me (seat covered in blood) and put it in the garage so I didn’t have to deal with it being towed home. I guess I just need my husband to understand more what I went through. He was being cared for by medical people (and was out of it) and I was all alone at the house freaking out. I hope this wasn’t too graphic. This is what I meant about “remembering” the attempt — he does sometimes say he doesn’t remember other things, but if it’s something I really need to know, he’ll tell me. Hugs to you, Kat.

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  2. “There is nothing that prepares you for the devastation of finding out your partner is a sex addict.” So very true. I don’t think any one us can ever imagine what it will do to us, or how we will react when we find ourselves in this situation (including whether we will stay or go). It’s a day by day journey of processing, making sense of things, and designing a very different life for ourselves. But, as you say, one of the most crucial pieces is really grasping in our heart of hearts that this about them and their issues. It isn’t about us – in any way at all. Thanks for sharing so much of your story and being an ongoing source of encouragement and strength.

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  3. “As time progressed, I realized his actions weren’t about my behavior as a partner, or my worthiness as a human being. My pain was nearly unbearable, but my healing wouldn’t truly begin until I acknowledged his addiction was and is about him.”

    Kat, I know this is not the same but it is nearly identical in effect. When I read these words just now, it perfectly described the very very long road I have walked to accept to the greatest extent possible my father’s complete abandonment whien I was 3 years okd. He left and I never saw him again. He is long dead now. But I can say the very same words: As time progressed, I realized his actions weren’t about my behavior as a CHILD, or my worthiness as a human being. My pain (and its resulting self destructive thoughts and behaviors) was nearly unbearable, but my healing wouldn’t truly begin until I acknowledged his ABANDONMENT was and is about him.

    Through therapy and reading so very much, I have learned a lot about how we learn to subconsciously believe we are much more powerful than we are. I didn’t make my father leave, though I lost many many years “believing” I did. And you did not make BE do what he did.

    Much love to you.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Life’s lessons learned. Sometimes it truly takes a lifetime to learn some of the most devastating truths, but hopefully we are able to come to terms with them while we still have a lot of life to live and then maybe that life is more honest and fulfilling because of those lessons. Unfortunately children aren’t generally equipped to deal with neglect, abuse, and abandonment and learning those skills can take great effort. I see it every day, all around me. Much love back, b. ❤️

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  4. So nice to hear from you and your update is wonderful. I’m several months out from my 5 year D-day. I never thought I would be where I am today either. I have changed in so many ways that are only noticeable to me and I am much more grounded than ever. Eyes wide open. This was always about him and his irrational thought process and choices. It is still hard at times to look at him and realize that the black line I thought we had drawn in our marriage just kept getting greyer and greyer for him as he cheated and lied until it disappeared completely. The longer he went without getting caught the more risks he took until it crashed. There is no magic anymore in my marriage but I do think the more authentic life suits me much better. I am much happier making choices that make me happy and not worrying about what he thinks about what I do or don’t do. I am entitled to my life too. Looking forward to more posts from you.

    Liked by 3 people

    • It takes a while, but we do learn how to live a more authentic life. We’ll never really know what they or anyone else is thinking or doing, so we must focus on ourselves and what gives us joy and contentment. 🤗❤️

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