Wow! I cannot explain how incredibly scary, emotional, and liberating it was to share a part of my journey in betrayal trauma, PTSD and marital infidelity. The emotions were unreal as I published “My Journey Shattered by Trauma”. I had been thinking about how I could or if I would share this story for months. I was scared and insecure because of the stigma and false facts that come from a marriage tainted by infidelity. I checked with Rex over and over before I pressed that publish button to make sure he was ok with others knowing about our predicament. Rex had been encouraging me to share for a while now because Rex feels the knowledge he has about the dark world that is out there needs to be exposed. So our first step was our story through me, because for Rex right now there are too many fears having him take on social media outlets at the moment.;) So we are working together on my story until I can find a more significant distance from the triggers that come with his social media connections.
You are all fantastic, every last one of you for sharing with me about your journey or giving me love and courage for mine. Thank you for listening, I had so many people reach out who are in this similar situation, and I am grateful to be there with you and for you. The love that all of you showed Rex and I, in taking this leap of courage has been extraordinary. I was nervous, but from everything we have been learning, one of the most important things we have learned is that accountability, vulnerability, boundaries, and real connections are the very thing that will keep us on the road to recovery along with everyday hard work, prayer, and applying what we are learning about his NEW drug. As mentioned in “My Journey Shattered by Trauma” I will be sharing what we have been doing to get through our awful situation, and beat through the stigma and shame towards sex addiction, porn addiction, and betrayal trauma.
This Stuff is Real -Seek Help
First off, Betrayal trauma is a real thing, and I had no idea the depths that it can go. I was losing my mind and had no control over my inner thoughts and feelings. I am still in the midst of it but am very patiently dealing with it and climbing my way out. Second, porn and sex addiction are also a real thing, and the shame, lies, secrets, hiding, and self-worthlessness fuel the addiction.
Most importantly porn and sex addiction are a form of pain mismanagement or sexual immaturity if you will. We have to teach our children to cope with real-life pain, to understand that they cannot make it through this life unscathed and unharmed by this drug. Third, there is help, resources, and a lot of people that know things about this new drug. There has been research, books, podcasts, and seminars on this, so we know we are not alone. I am not alone in my trauma and Rex is not alone in his addiction, we have found so much guidance and help, BUT WE ASKED FOR IT. It did not fall in our lap.
The fact that there is so much help out there goes to show that this addiction is a MASSIVE problem and tearing families apart one by one. In taking the opportunity to follow the promptings of my Father in Heaven and share my story, I have the privilege to serve and will continue to do so. I will help through my journey in writing, dance, and everyday life. This subject of sex and porn addiction cannot be swept under the rug if we want it to stop, because exposure to pornography is not avoidable anymore. People that feel shame about being exposed and hiding it will continue to fall. Education, coping skills, knowledge, love, kindness, forgiveness and a plan to deal with it, will get us through.
Don’t Suffer in Silence
So many people suffer in silence, and it breaks my heart because I was there, I WAS THERE! I had no idea what betrayal trauma and PTSD were, and I was dealing with it. All I knew is that it hurt like nothing had pained me before up to this point in my life. I had this beautiful baby girl and this amazing red-headed boy, and I was to the point where I felt the urge to give them to someone who I felt could better take care of them. Those are some of the legitimate feelings I was having. I could no longer make the most simple decisions, and I had a timer for every time my baby needed to eat. I would sit in a blank stare for minutes that would turn to hours and then days, and completely forget things I did, conversations, stuff I planned. I forgot my son at pre-school not just for a few minutes, and I did not even remember that I forgot him other than my babysitter texted to see when I was going to drop him off to her. For a short amount of time, I thought for sure my children would be better off without me, and I should check myself into the psych ward.
Rex was still not being utterly accountable at this moment, and we were a MESS. Someday I will share more of what these moments felt like, but you have had a lot of the doom and gloom of our situation. I want to switch gears for a moment and tell you the small tender mercies that pulled me into recovery and who is helping my recovery along the way. A lot of the knowledge I am gaining I will share through here because after days, weeks and months of hardly functioning I had to make a step out of my black hole or I was going to die. I lost my faith, hope for humankind, confidence in myself, my ability as a mother, wife, friend, employee, daughter, sister, and more. I hit a rock bottom that I had no idea I could hit; this was devastating for me. Those of you that know me, know I was a dreamer, lover, giver, creator, and helper.
As my trauma hit, I lost all of those abilities for what seemed like forever. I stood utterly stripped to the bone with millions of fragments scattered across the room and a broken marriage.
Thank goodness for the massive amount of coping skills my Dad invested in me. His favorite story to tell is about a talk I gave in church. I told the entire congregation “that in my home if you wanted sympathy, you could go ahead and look it up in the dictionary because you were not about to get it from anyone at my house.” At the bottom of my betrayal is where that tough love I had growing up helped put the first small fragments of my broken soul back together.
The Betrayer Needs You
Then there was the incredible amount of sympathy that my Mom taught me. I would come home crying in devastation to my Mom after the mean girls had bullied and did hurtful things to me. My Mom would listen, and instead of getting upset with me or the “mean” girls she would hold me for a while. After I got it out, she would turn my heart to those that wronged me. She would tell me “If they are treating you unkind, bullying you, or hurting you. It may be because they have much more pain in their heart than you. You are a beautiful, strong girl, and if you go back tomorrow and kill them with kindness, show them your love, befriend them, you will be surprised at what will come.” Every time I was surprised because almost every time they would soften just enough that I could see the shock in their eyes when I complimented them or befriended them! I don’t know if my Mom knew the power she gave me, by not getting involved, and taking my eyes of what I did not have but what I did and how I could share it. That power helped piece back together more small fragments of my broken heart in my betrayal journey.
Next, there was the unconditional love that I had for Rex, yes the man that had just betrayed me. Unconditional LOVE filled my home as a child. I was taught you loved everyone, and you treated others how you wanted to be treated; it did not matter their faith, creed, habits or addictions. My parents were examples of that kind of love that had no conditions. Even though I felt conditions as a child, they were natural conditions for a parent-child relationship. My parents showed me the unconditional love by the way they treated others outside my home. One of my best lessons was taught to me by my Grandma Searle; she had battled smoking my entire life. She was good at hiding it, but the day I caught her and was crushed in my 7-year-old mind. She reminded me what good person doesn’t have some bad habits? People with addictions were not BAD people; they were GOOD people with BAD habits.
Most importantly after days of moping and wallowing in my broken heart, I remembered the Savior and how he suffered more pain than any soul could imagine, he felt what I was feeling and more. I remembered my unwavering testimony that he is the perfect soul who was betrayed and crucified by the very people he was sent here to save. He was beaten, stoned, starved, pricked, pierced and hung to die, in front of everyone that he loved. My Savior knew my heart; he knew the pain that I was feeling, which made me realize I was not alone in my suffering. Even though I thought I was. At the depths of my rock bottom, I remembered the Saviors dyeing words “Forgive them for they know not what they do.” Now several more fragments were pieced back together. I honestly felt like Rex had no idea the pain and hurt he was causing me, and if he could feel it, would he have done it?
Picking Myself Up
So here I am stripped to the bone but with a tiny amount of “get over it” from my Dad, that person that hurt you and betrayed you “needs you” from my Mom, an unconditional love from my family of origin, and an unwavering testimony of my Savior’s sufferings followed by his forgiveness. I began to pick myself up. Those small tender mercies were just enough to give me the courage to call Rex and tell him I was getting help because I could no longer live in the HELL that I was living with my CRAZY mind and my BROKEN heart. Rex’s initial reaction was panic because of the shame he felt for what he had done to me, other women, and our family.
Alliant Counseling/Lifestar St. George
A friend of mine had referred me to Geoff Steurer at Alliant Counseling and Education he was also the author of the book “Love Him, Hate the Porn” that Rex and I read a little over a year before his infidelity and affairs came out. So at the rock bottom, I was able to find a small amount of toughness, kindness, love, and forgiveness to swallow my pride and seek help. The Lord and my survival skills lead me to make that phone call to Geoff Steurer and make my first therapy appointment for myself to cope with my broken marriage and betrayal. I wish I could share with you all my knowledge in one post, but you would need several days to read it so I will continue releasing bits and pieces of what is helping us heal ourselves.
Within my the first week of my phone call, Geoff Steurer saw myself and Rex. He immediately introduced us to the program Lifestar that is changing my knowledge and understanding of why and how someone could get to this point in their marriage. Rex and I are currently in phase II of Lifestar, but Phase I was a mountain of knowledge and education. I will continue to share with you what I have learned in these phases that have helped us get to where we are now.