I've been rummaging through my thoughts, trying to decide where to start my words, as I've been dealing with this for the last five years. In that time I've cringed and cried a lot. I've gotten lost in my thoughts and pain a lot. I've shoved myself and my feelings aside a lot. I've felt anger and resentment, betrayal and frustration. Countless hours spent on my knees pleading for help, anything, big or small, deep or shallow, breadth or sliver, I didn't care...something, anything. Not just for my husband to get to the place he is now, but for me to fully forgive, truly be whole, and trust again. What I've found so far is this. It is my responsibility to forgive - by commandment. I am whole as long as I am being an active participant in the atonement with my Savior (recognizing and working on my own shortcomings and weaknesses). And trust, well, trust belongs in one place, and one place only. God. Trust in God that he will guide me, help me, lift me, inspire me, and love me. Love me. He loves me. When in the bitterest of angst that knowledge has sustained my endurance. His love is powerful, healing, and all-encompassing. At times, the dominance of love felt from the Lord has made scars melt away. Scars that felt they would always be there, a wound healed but the evidence still apparent. Gone, because they are obsolete when confronted with the love of God. It is nothing short of miraculous. As is my respect for my husband. To see him so beaten down from literally the only thing he hadn't been able to overcome by himself...so humble and pained, so tormented by this seemingly unshakable object. I've never had so much respect for someone as I do him. Unsure and blindly we forged into this process, so slowly at first but gaining successful momentum. Sure, I still cringe and want to hurl in the nearest garbage when my husband and I walk down the hall of the mall, unable to avoid Victoria Secret. Pornography is like the sunlight, touching everywhere and at some point during the day or year, touching what it hadn't just hours before. It is in a way unavoidable. To put it as my husband does, "You're either fighting it, or condoning it. Not in between." We're now fighting. But it isn't a destination that we are fighting our way to. It is the refining process, the habits, the fully engaged and aware lifestyle. We've come so far, and we have so much more to go. This is where I am. Undoubtedly, I have overlooked and unacknowledged feelings that at times pop up unexpectedly and without being prompted. For future posts, I'd rather not "rehash" necessarily, however, the past is what brought us to where we are now. For that reason, my posts may seem unconsecutive and random, but I plan to delve, heal, learn, and share further.
Saturday, July 30, 2011
I am finding that one of the most difficult parts of this whole healing process is finding who to turn to. Through my whole marriage I have turned to my husband to discuss problems and issues I am having. Now he is the source of my problems (I'm not trying to be mean, I hope you know what I mean) and I don't want to offend him because of my new found feelings. Example. Today my parents took my husband and I to the play South Pacific. I tried to enjoy it but in all honestly I really didn't. Some of the soldiers go to an island so they can meet some "dames" and sleep with them. Arg. It made me so annoyed and physically ill to my stomach. In the past this would never have bothered me, I wouldn't have even noticed it. Now it sickens me. I try so hard not to think of men as these lustful indulging animals (because most are not) but the thought is hard to remove when I am constantly inundated with this. I also saw Captain America this week with the hubs and same thing. It just made me so mad. It upsets me that I can't even go out for a nice evening without becoming upset at what I see. Very frustrating. Back to not being able to talk with my husband. I do tell him most of the time when I am sad or frustrated because of where we are now but I feel awful for hurting him like that. He already feels bad enough and me showing my frustrations is just another burden. I know I can talk with some close friends and family but then I feel like I am hiding things from him. It's a tricky situation for me to say the least. Constantly finding new "joys" HA! to this wonderful adventure I have been put in. Oh, life.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
So every week my hubs and I sit down and go over the previous week. He tells me whether he viewed pornography and/or masturbated at all. Of course you know what I want to hear. I am happy to report that he has not viewed pornography since a few weeks before he told me about this whole problem. Yahoo!! He has had a harder time abstaining from masturbation. He is trying so hard and I am proud of him and know that it is very difficult. I have been trying so hard to be more intimate with him as well not going to bed before him to avoid alone time. He admits that these things help. These are two things that I am honestly trying so hard to improve on. (I have always struggled with intimacy and I like my sleep to say the least). This week he unfortunately masturbated in a weak moment and confessed it to me later in the evening. I didn't know how to react. I was mad at him but at the same time I didn't want him to not tell me in the future so I tried to keep it together. It was rough for both of us. The hardest part about it is not the actual act. I mean I don't like it but it's the emotional pain that really gets me. It is the fact that I am trying SO hard to prevent it and in return nada. I know I can't cure this but it was kind of a slap in the face. I also hate the fact that I have absolutely NO idea I mean NO IDEA that it even happens until he tells me. Same with the first 3 years of our marriage. No stinkin idea! It makes me feel pretty foolish. As if I don't even know him. This is a process and unfortunately it takes time. I am grateful that he is being honest with me and I want to keep it that way. May this week be better than last. :)
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
It was another wonderful day of therapy! haha Those words don't belong together in the same sentence. Today went well, I am not nearly as physically exhausted as I was last week after the meeting. Today I met with the counselor without my husband and opened up a little more. I have been struggling whether or not I should research pornography extensively or just leanr about what I am specifically dealing with. She told me to try different outlets and to see how they feel. That sounds so therapy like doesn't it? At this point I feel like researching it extensively would be a hindrance to me. I don't want to read the horrific gruesome stories that people are dealing with. I have enough tears shed on my own situation let alone someone elses. There is so much heartbreak that people are dealing with and I don't want to place even more on me. Another thing that I am working on is recognizing my emotions and not putting them aside. Usually when I feel sad or mad I put it aside and eventually explode weeks or months later. I let everything build, even the tiny things, until they completely explode out of me without warning. I am trying to say to myself "I feel sad, I want to cry and so I will." It's strange but is going well so far. I am also trying to feel more "empowered" if you will. I like to throw myself pity parties and think, "I do this this and this for everyone else and what do I get in return? Nothing." This is so not true but at the same time I am trying to let myself do the things that I want when I want them. Today I bought some eyeshadow. I know that sounds absurd but those are things I just don't do because I think I don't deserve them. That truly sounds ridiculous but it is true. Through finding out about my husbands pornography problem, I finding a lot of flaws in myself and realizing that I need help figuring them out. I still keep hoping this will go away and that I won't have to deal with it anymore. I keep thinking that I have been dealing with this for over a month, shouldn't I be over it by now? Boo for non quick fixes. This takes time and patience. 2 Things I am not super thrilled about or good at. Hopefully as I work on my own honest emotions I will be able to overcome. Speaking of which, what does overcome even mean? What determines this being over with? Those are annoying thoughts (sigh). How do I know when life is "normal" and "all better" again? Will it ever be?
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Yay for a much needed girls night. The hubs is out of town for a job interview so I decided to put my kids to bed and invite the girls over. SOOO much fun. Good food, tons of laughing, and my kids even stayed asleep through it all. After everyone left, my best girlfriend stayed and we chatted about more serious things in life. I didn't share with her the actual situation I am going through but gave her a vague understanding of what I am dealing with. We were able to laugh and cry. It feels so good knowing I have friends who love and support me and will cry with me. I don't want her to judge my hubs, which she totally wouldn't, so I haven't told her exactly what we are dealing with. I am mad that I won't just admit it. Maybe she is dealing with it too, maybe she will someday, or maybe she won't but could just be a support. I hate that this is something that is part of my life and that I don't want it to be hidden in the world but I am still too afraid to tell my best friend. I just want to protect my husband's reputation. He is an amazing man and I don't want anyone thinking otherwise. I hope to tell her one of these days so that she can prevent it from entering her life. Something that she said I really liked. She told me that sometimes we have to go through trials not to make us better people but to somehow help our children. This trial is definitely making me better as well as strengthening my marriage. Because of this trial I have really started to pay attention to the world around me. I am doing my best to protect my kids from Satan's grasp. There is so much I can control that I have not been controlling. Television viewing has decreased significantly in our home. Commercials and sitcoms are filled with subtle inuendos and trashy scenes, degrading women and families. We are also very cautious to what our kids wear. We want to teach them modestly from the beginning. Satan is grabbing hold of families without us even knowing it. Be aware of the world around you and start controlling what you allow and don't allow in your home. Make sure it is a safe haven for your precious family. Small inuendos and immodesty can evenutally lead to bigger problems that could have been avoided.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
So today we went to couples counseling. It was... interesting? Let's me honest I wasn't super thrilled about how it went. The couselor is super great don't get me wrong but I felt like it stirred up all the emotions that I thought were behind me. Maybe they're not behind me? Or maybe they really were just rekindled. Either way not super enjoyable but hoping it will be good in the end. I realized tonight that something that is super frustrating to me is that my husband will rid this of life (halleluah) but how do I truly overcome my hurt? I have forgiven him but I am still hurt. Ugh I once again feel lost and confused. I wish someone would just tell me what to do but it's not happening any time soon. Somthing the hubs and I talked about tonight was that this might just be something that I have to overcome on my own with my Heavenly Father's help. This is a hard realization for me because I like immediate fixes. I have felt like there is so much help for men dealing with pornography related issues (thank goodness) but very little for the spouses. Society has shunned the topic of pornography but the truth is that it is far more spread than any of us can even imagine. How sickeninig to know that it is a billion dollar industry. I hope one day that I will be brave enough to share my story and be a strength to those dealing with it. I also hope that more talk and awareness will evolve so that this addiction can be avoided all together.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
I have read so much information and stories of couples dealing with a pornography addiction and some have literally brought me to tears. My heart aches for these men and women. The women did not ask for this burden, did nothing wrong and are still forced to live a "normal" and "happy" life. It is completely life changing and extremely difficult and unfair. The men who live with pornography addictions in no way ever wanted to live double lives or hurt and sometimes destroy their families. My heart, along with my husbands, aches for this awful disease that is so rapidly ruining people and families. Satan is a bugger isn't he? I say this next part very tenderly in hopes not to offend or discourage anyone. My husband thankfully has never spent a dime on pornography (good thing because we have plenty of schoold debt as is) and has not had any communication with another person besides me. For this I am eternally grateful. I am so sorry for women forced to deal with extreme pornography viewing, sexting, cybersex, and physical infidelity along with anything else. This must cause excruciating pain. My husband goes to weekly group meetings and we are starting couples therapy this week (not sure how often we will be going). We are still happy even though we do have a new burden that is discussed frequently in our home. We have had a few lifestyle changes that so far have been a good change. We watch significantly less tv. After finding out about this problem I realized how sexfilled our world is and suggested to my husband that we watch less tv. Every show we watch and even the commercials have some inappropriate scene or comment it seems. We now try to spend more time chatting or doing something productive after our kids go to bed. It has been a hard change because we LOVE watching tv at night but it has been good. We also have set aside a time every week where I ask how he did that week. It is motivation for him to stay 'clean' because he knows I will be asking. He hasn't viewed any material since he told me. :) We know that we can overcome this but at the same time it is something we will always have to be aware of. This annoys me but I am trying to accept that it will forever have an effect on us. I hope that some day I can inspire and teach other women about this awful plague, teaching them how to avoid it and if it does enter their lives, how to overcome it. I am truly grateful that the severity of my husbands problem has not reached a more extreme level. I encourage you women suffering with whatever degree of addiction that you have been handed that you can do it. Whether you stay and encourage your husband or go your separate ways, you are amazing and will be blessed. You can and will be happy again just like I will be. When I think life is unfair and why me? I remember Heavenly Father doesn't give us anything we can't handle so just remember how strong and tough you are. Sometimes I wish I was a wuss and got some other easier less permanent trial but we didn't and it's because we are so strong and amazing. Remember that. Heavenly Father loves you and will provide and comfort in times of need.
Monday, July 11, 2011
After the initial shock and sobbing episodes I realized that I could not live this way. My children needed a good mom and my husband needed a good wife. At first I torn between "Do I punish and shun my husband," or do I "Love him unconditionally and support him?" After lots of thought and prayer and some advice from my sister in law I decided that I needed to be Chirstlike and still love and support him. It was a very difficult decision because I wanted to punish him for his actions. I didn't want to cook for him, or be nice to him, have sex with him or anything else that put a smile on his face. I decided that I could and had to choose to be happy. He needs my support and love. My kids need and deserve a happy mom and dad who love each other.
And so I chose to be just that, happy.
This doesn't mean that it isn't hard. I find myself wishing so badly that this never happened to me, or I will question why I still go to church and try to do what it right. Then I remember that Heavenly Father loves me more than I can imagine. The purpose of this life is go through trials and to become better. Plus, I have a strong testimony and know that the Church is true. My husband and I have been enormously blessed with so much and I know that Heavenly Fathe truly watches over me and protects my family. Life is full of trials. This is not the first trial I have ever experienced and unfortunately it will not be the last. Trials are given to us to make us better people and for us to help others in return. I hope that I can help other wives who are suffering that my husband can someday help other men avoid this plague of pornography. This month in the Ensign I read a wonderful message. I hope that it will help you in choosing happiness. Life is hard and it's ok to have rough times and moments. This is a horrible rampant problem that is very unenjoyable to deal with but... we can still choose to be happy regardless of life's circumstances. I hope you read the article and are able to choose and honestly be happy admist life's sometimes awful circumstances.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
On June 1, 2011 my world got turned completely upside down. Finding out about my husbands pornography addiction was the most heart breaking experience of my life. The events leading up to this night are very interesting as I now look back and I am truly grateful for how it was all uncovered. A few months earlier the Bishop in our ward advised the women to directly ask their husbands if they suffered from this addiction. On the way home from church we talked about pornography addiction but I did not directly ask and he didn't fess up. I put it behind me. The weekend before I found out we were at his parents house, who are pornography recovery specialists, and they talked a great deal about it to us. I was informed of many statistics and stories that seriously shocked me. I was very naive to how rampant pornography is in our society. I once again didn't even think it would EVER effect my family. Then 2 days before my husband told me that his brother, whom we greatly admire, suffers from this addiction. I was SHOCKED. He is one of the most amazing people I knew, how could he of all people succomb to this evil I thought. I was saddened by this information but once again disregarded it. However, this time it wouldn't leave my mind. Finally on June 1, I asked my husband if he suffered from an addiction and he admitted that he did. I was so surprised and heart broken. How? Why? Why me? I have lived a righteous life and we were married in the Temple. You went on a mission. We go to Church. We help others. How in the world could this have been secretly in my life without me even knowing. The emotions that I felt throughout the next few days were beyond anything I had ever felt before. I sobbed for hours on end. I was completely disfunctional and unable to parent at some points in my day. I thought through my options and discussed with my husband for hours. I wanted so badly to run away and pretend it never happened. Well, life doesn't work that way. I had to deal with this. I knew it wasn't going to be enjoyable or easy but I knew that I could do it. I knew I HAD to do it, for my family and for my kids.