Friday, June 23, 2017

Gratitude helps

My husband told me last night he is back to one day sober. Per my boundary we sleep apart after he acts out. He told me he wanted to sleep in the bed. I slept on the couch, which felt like an added betrayal - First you are going to hurt me and then you are going to put your night's rest above mine... Thanks.

I'm grateful that he told me, and he told me sooner than at our agreed upon once a week check in.

I'm grateful to have somewhere to go today.

I'm grateful for other things to focus on (a sister's wedding, my graduate school research)

I'm grateful for scriptures - I am in 3 Nephi right now while I listen on my commute every day. I'm grateful that I am in the middle of Christ speaking.

I'm grateful for my sons.

I'm grateful that my husband was calm this morning.

I'm grateful for Dr. Pepper.

I'm grateful for dark chocolate.

I'm grateful that I have recently been upping my recovery work so I am a bit more prepared for this.

I am trying to focus on things I am grateful for so that these thoughts might drown out the anger and sorrow and emptiness and apathy and frustration and betrayal and keep me from going down the rabbit hole. My husband refuses to answer any questions about his behavior and will only say that he acted out. I have two questions I ask - where were you and where were the kids? He will not answer anything and told me so before I even had a chance to ask. He puts pennies in the trust jar by telling me, ahead of schedule even, and then dumps out a whole handful by following it up with "But no questions and I won't sleep on the couch"... So, I'm a bit confused.

I know I will be okay at some point. That point is not today. I will focus on gratitude and will work to let myself feel all of the emotions and lean into them so I can go through them.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Shame vs. Guilt

I listened to the first two podcasts at the Connexions Classroom and loved them! Some of it was hard to hear because of how difficult things are at home right now but still good good stuff.

The second podcast is about Shame vs. Guilt and a few things stuck out to me:

Guilt is a motivator for me to change. Shame is a motivator for me to stay stuck.

I liked this because it helps give me another tool to identify shame in myself. I am familiar with some ways that shame manifests in my life (I think we all have some shame) by the "I am a bad person" thought process (for me the default shame mechanisms is tied to physical beauty standards - which are hog-wash). I hadn't really thought measuring shame by whether or not I feel stuck - but I have recently felt stuck and I thought this was good insight.

I felt stuck for over a week when I was trying to do something that didn't feel right but was upon the advice of my therapist. Thinking back I think I was trapped in shame because it wasn't working and I was thinking I must be a bad wife and a bad christian because this was his advice and it is failing miserably so I am doing it wrong. Now that I've let go of following that advice I feel free and unstuck and motivated and I think that is an indication of good!

Another thing that was shared:

When I do something that is in violation to what I believe or what I know to be right for me. I automatically, instinctively, feel bad so if I’m not willing to take responsibility and I want to blame or accuse or hide from it or make it less than it really was, it will move right into shame. If I choose to account for it and move into a proactive response around it and clean it up and make things right then it will stay in a place of remorse and guilt and regret and will motivate me to do something different.

What a great action item to help me stay out of shame!! TAKE RESPONSIBILITY!! There is so much I could say about how I wish my husband would do this - living with someone stuck in shame is a unique kind of hell. However, when I first heard it I thought of myself. In my patriarchal blessing I am instructed to repent daily. I've always pondered on that and I've never been very good at it. We are taught in church to repent often, even daily. Maybe THIS is what God intends when he tells us to repent all the time. Maybe it isn't about us being wicked but it is his guideline to help us stay out of shame and in a healthy pattern of taking responsibility when we feel guilt. Repenting every day is a loving commandment of a God who doesn't want us to stew or let things fester or have us sink down into shame but he wants us to acknowledge our faults, own our mistakes, and move onward and upward. He exhorts us to repents every day so we can feel the joy of a clean slate, of a pure heart, and be free of the chains of shame!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Therapy today did not go super well

This post will probably be some word vomit as I don't have a particular thought to share but lots of feelings.

Today was couples therapy. It was rough. I had put a pin in something until we could discuss it at therapy so we did today. It was about boundaries and safety and 90% of the time was my husband talking very passionately about how he doesn't need to tell me anything, I judge him, he doesn't trust me, he won't tell me things until I have earned his trust (by not being hurt by his disclosures), and I don't respect him, and much more. It is very very hard to not interrupt and prove him wrong on all of his exaggerated accusations but I believe the therapist knows that my husband is viewing it all through an addict lense and the lense of very very very low self-esteem and very high co-dependency so I mostly just let them talk.

Thankfully on the way home we were driving separately. As I drove I sobbed and I screamed at him. It is not my job to fix him, it is not my job to be his soft place to land when he betrays me - he has a sponsor and a wide net of SA friends for this very purpose. I get to have expectations, they are very low, but I still get to have them. I have a right to share my story when I deem fit. This has happened 4 times, total, ever, by me, and he resents every single one of them still apparently because it came up today. It is his story and I stole it, don'tcha know? It is not my job to shield him from the consequences of his actions. It IS my job to work on my own healing. It is my job to set healthy boundaries for myself to protect myself from the addict that he won't protect me from. It IS my job to take care of myself. It IS my job to seek forgiveness even if it doesn't come with trusting him and even if we don't stay together. Forgiveness is for me, not for him.

I find it so ironic, all the things he said about me, when I could give it back to him 100 fold. He referenced how sharing my story was showing a lack of respect for him but it certainly seems like verbal abuse, emotional abuse, and infidelity in the form of pornography are not showing much respect for me. He claimed I told the whole world, it was four people.  In his eyes he is certainly the victim. Pretty sure I'm the one who has never sought out pornography. I'm the one who hasn't lied. I'm the one who hasn't used him as a sex toy.

Mostly I'm sad. He was doing really well for so long but he has, for a couple months, been pulling back and wanting to withhold more information and wanting me to "be over it" and "accept him". I'm just sad that I currently don't see a way out of the mess. So much trust has been broken. It really did damage when he told me that he has not been reporting on his seeking out of "soft core" videos and images - because I didn't need to know. We agreed over a year ago that he would disclose this information when I found a bunch a watched "dance" videos on his youtube account while he was purportedly sober. Apparently he changed his mind about what to disclose without telling me.

I am not interested in going backwards. I will not go back to a place of not knowing and ignoring and letting myself get trampled. I have no interest in a married without transparency.

In therapy the therapist asked if we could change the wording from "I expect transparency" to "We are working toward transparency" I said no. I expressed that "we are working toward" is too vague and he agreed that it gives room for justification and no accountability.

We are at an impasse where I don't trust him to tell me what I expect to be told in order to continue working on our marriage and he thinks that I am "stuck" and I need to change and he doesn't need to tell me, the work on our marriage is separate from his disclosures. Neither of us have budged in two months of this discussion.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

What I can't control

What I can't control:
1) Whether or not B lies to me.
2) Whether or not I ever find out the truth I so desperately want to know.

"We enable our addicted loved ones when we interfere with the natural consequences of their addictive behaviors by lying or making excuses for them to family, friends, employers, or others. We enable when we do not set appropriate boundaries or fail to recognize the seriousness of the problem."

B has been reverting to addict behaviors, even if not acting out, for over a month. I was in denial telling myself, "this is just a phase" "he is just tired" "we just need to move and then it will be better." Because of this denial I was swallowing the hurt over and over and not upholding appropriate boundaries. Now I am upholding my boundaries, and recognizing the behavior for what it is, and he is pissed because the addict is fighting against the natural consequences of his behavior.

My question today: How do I love B while still upholding boundaries to keep myself safe? I cannot control whether he feels loved or unloved, after all feelings are not facts. He has frequently accused me of not loving him and of judging him recently. However, I cannot argue with an addict - that is crazy making. I believe I have loved him as best I can. I have also needed space to heal from the hurt and the emotional roller coaster and abuse he throws at me. Whether or not he feels it - I would like to find a balance of showing love while still upholding boundaries and allowing for natural consequences. How can this be accomplished?

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The new plastic surgery trend is WHAT? *potential triggers*

On the radio this morning I heard that the expected 2017 plastic surgery trend is... drumroll... nipple reductions? Like, making your nipple smaller. What the what? I seriously did not know that was a thing.

This is another example of the pornofication of our culture because WHY on earth would people even think that their nipples were the wrong size without the prevalence of pornography giving everyone something to compare to? Maybe there is some medical reason this might be necessary for some but certainly not enough to make it a "trend." The trend is certainly cosmetic. I'm still a little shocked... WHAT? I mean, most people won't see that anyway but people are having this changed?

I reminds me of a few years ago on some talk show (I think it was the View) a doctor was on who does surgery on va-jay-jays to help make sex more pleasurable. He described that basically the woman masturbates in the office to identify where the spots are so the doc knows where to adjust the nerves. A woman who had gotten the surgery was there too to share how great it was. Oh my goodness. I was like 13, it was an education.

The world is messed up. I'm so glad I didn't find this out that nipples can apparently be the "wrong" size until after I had some healing and recovery under my belt and have worked on my body image because seriously, one more thing for women to be judged about for their appearance, it is ridiculous. As if size, skin, hair, lips, eyebrows, eyelashes, boobs, butts, legs, nails. cellulite, etc. weren't enough.... nipples can be the "wrong" size? I'm still just so stunned at the absurdity of this "trend".

Anyway, this is just more evidence to me of the ways in which pornography consumption is damaging to individuals and relationships.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A New Normal

It has been a while... but I felt like it was time for an update on life.

Life is good here. B is over a year sober and 1 1/2 years into recovery. He is still on step 4 (his sponsor is very, very, very thorough) but continues with lots of things to keep sober and progressing in recovery.

But this blog isn't about that, it is about me and my healing!

I'm doing pretty good too! There are still moments, and still scars, and still triggers, but I would say I am happier in my marriage than I have ever been, I am a more intentional parent, I am more patient and empathetic, I use my recovery tools in all aspects of my life and that is great too.

So, confession, I watch "Sister Wives" on TLC. I don't know, I just love it. The recent episode had a "newlywed" game of sorts - you know, where you ask one spouse and see if the other spouse matches the answer? Well, we kind of played along. and it was fun. One of the questions was, "What would your spouse say is the most important thing in a marriage?"

Me: "What do you think is most important to me?"
B: "Honesty"
Me: "YES! And yours would be to have someone you can be open and vulnerable with, with no judgement"
B: "Yes, openness, and understanding"

It was not a big, deep conversation. The next question was probably about a movie or food or something superficial. But to me, that is the beauty of recovery. THIS conversation happened without trying, without effort, without tears or accusations, without a need to process or put a pin in it until therapy or rehash bad memories or deal with triggers. He knows he must be honest, I know he needs a safe place to land with his hard stuff. We both know that sometimes I am that safe place but for other things it is his sponsor, or our therapist, or any one of the many men he has connected with through ARP and SA.

I love recovery.

In other news, we welcomed baby #2 six months ago. He is perfect, and trying and tiring and poopy and all things baby in the best way possible and his big brother took to him right away and has stayed steadfastly his biggest fan.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Sacrament Meeting Talk - Shame Busting!

This past Sunday the theme of the remarks in our sacrament meeting was "The Word of Wisdom."

One speaker who is new to the area got up and gave a great talk about the word of wisdom. He included that he struggled with drug and alcohol addiction as a teenager and young twenties and that although that is not longer a struggle for him, he struggles with pornography addiction and still attends the ARP meetings. He even gave a plug for them with the local time and location of the meeting. WHAT! In a congregation full of people he doesn't know but whom he will continue to see as he just moved here, he admitted to being an addict - to having more than one addiction! His delivery of this information and the other thoughts and insights he shared was humble, honest, transparent, and genuine. It wasn't the most profound talk or the most articulate or moving but I was moved simply by his humility. It was SHAME BUSTING! You go dude!

My husband, who has seen this guy at group and knew of his pornography addiction but not the drugs and alcohol, was grinning from ear to ear in happiness at the shame-busting nature of the words being spoken. He (hubs) took notes and said he gleaned a lot of good, applicable insights.

I'm sure there were people in the congregation who weren't pleased with the speaker's candor, but I was. Everyone I spoke to about the talk (about half a dozen people) were all pleased as well and loved his remarks and were refreshed by his honesty. Isn't that so great!

I know there is a long way to go, but little by little the shaming culture can be removed from our lives and replaced with an honest, understanding, genuine culture that knows nobody is perfect and we are all trying.

The talk included a great quote from President Uchtdorf:

"Don't judge me because I sin differently than you" (April 2012 General Conference)