Are We There Yet?

trauma shatters our most basic assumptions

One of the awful things about betrayal trauma is it feels like the symptoms just never go away.

They plague you in the night-time and they interrupt your sleep.

Your heart is pounding loudly and you find it hard to breathe.

The sweat is pouring off you and you’re shaking like a leaf.

Your mind and thoughts are screaming – God, I need to find relief.

And that’s just the night terrors.

Days are filled with landmines too.

Who knows what triggers wait us.

There’ll be something, that’s for sure.

Yes, there’s breathing exercises, and some talking therapy.

And there’s always meditation – if you’re able to do that.

At times these can be useful. But recovery is slow.

You’re living in a time warp.

It’s a long and torturous road.

Quote of the Day

forgive yourself

This is why it came as such a shock:

He was hiding secrets from you.

Little secrets you never knew.

Little secrets that grew and grew.

Little secrets that became big lies.

A web of deception that took over his life.

The Knock on Effect of COVID-19

you have no idea how easy it is

I normally write for the spouses and partners of those who struggle with a sex addiction. However, I wanted to highlight a post that was shared this morning by Joshua Shea recoveringpornaddict.com  It’s very realistic and practical.

Usually, an addiction first takes hold when we’re bored, at a loose end, when we’re feeling a bit down, or when we’re anxious about things. Hence, we’re looking for distractions that will help us pass the time … maybe lift our mood a bit … and take the edge off feeling blah.

So, with continents of people stuck at home and out of work, away from their routine, and cut off from all their friends, it is likely that more people will use pornography. I think we must accept that this will likely be the case. And it means a lot more people will become addicted, too.

Also, this doesn’t bode so well for people fighting the addiction. They’re in their homes alone, with powerful triggers everywhere. This is going to make the struggle very difficult for them.

Perhaps there’s little we can do. This situation is unique. But we need to be aware of the real dangers that exist. If you’re partner’s been addicted maybe talk this through with them. It’s much better to be honest and face this thing head on. It could make all the difference to your relationship.

Quote of the Day

I learned not to trust

Claire’s married to her sweetheart. They had met when they were students. They dated for eight years before they chose to tie the knot. Then they built a life together full of love and happy memories. A marriage made in heaven; all their friends were envious.

But then a few weird payments, and some unexpected voicemails, revealed another life – a life she knew nothing about. A life of deep dark secrets, of addiction and betrayal. Was this the man she’d married? Claire was unconsolable.

We’re primed to love our partners, to believe that they’re safe people. Our instinct is to trust them; to accept they’re as they seem. We shouldn’t have to doubt them, or to wonder if they’re lying. Society can’t function if we question everything.

Yet some of us have learned that it is harmful to be trusting. We’ve learned to stop believing those we love are truly safe. We’ve learned we must be careful; and we can’t take things for granted. We need to pay attention. Anyone can be deceived.

What, You Too? I Thought I Was The Only One

friendship is born

I usually find statistics a bit of a turn-off. They just feel too impersonal and detached to me. But I read these figures[1] in a blog recently and I felt they really captured how betrayal impacts us.

In summary, the statistics reveal that:

  • 75% of betrayed partners feel indescribable fear – This is a sudden gripping fear in the pit of your stomach; being overwhelmed by feelings of anxiety; being wakened by night terrors, or adrenalin rushes, and being hit by thoughts or images that seem to come from nowhere. This is frequently a symptom of PTSD.
  • 85% of partners have feelings of being helpless – They don’t feel they’re in control, or they can change their situation. Bad things are going to happen, no matter what they do. They feel they have no power, that their life and destiny are in the hands of others, and especially their partner’s. This may appear illogical or foolish to onlookers; but it debilitates the partner and it kills their will to fight.   Why do we feel so helpless? You’ve been lied to and deceived, and told to doubt our intuitions (gaslighting). We know can’t do anything to make our spouse be faithful. And even if looks as if they really want to change, we know it might not last – so we could be at risk again.
  • 62% of betrayed partners relive the traumatic memory of what their partner has done – This is disturbing and distressing, and it resurrects the pain – for you’re transported back in time to when you first learned of betrayal. You experience the same horror, the same shock and disbelief, the physical reactions and, perhaps, dissociation. You also feel abandoned and utterly alone.

The research also indicates that many of the spouses will experience these symptoms for years – not weeks or months. They are unwanted reactions that are common to most partners. They don’t mean you are crazy – they mean you’re traumatized.

So welcome to the club. Take a seat. We understand.

[1] These statistics can be found in addorecovery.com

 

A Case of Tarnished Haloes

there is no greater trauma

In Canada, people are reeling from the news that one of her most loved and respected citizens has also been guilty of sexual abuse. Jean Vanier was the founder of L’Arche International, the son of a highly esteemed governor general, and honoured with the highest awards in this land.

And nobody is doubting he did tremendous good. He invested his time in enhancing the lives of people who were born with serious disabilities. He provided a safe place where these people could feel loved. A home where they belonged, and experienced dignity.

But today the accolades are being hastily replaced by disbelieving comments like the following:

It’s so shocking when a person you believed in does these things. I never would have thought it. There were no apparent signs. It shakes your understanding of what people are like.”

This behaviour is so awful.  I can’t start to imagine how much these women suffered, and what they have gone through – especially when everyone was praising Vanier.”

This is a particularly hard as it’s betrayal by a friend.”

News like this calls into question the way you see the world. You don’t know who to trust. You don’t know who you can believe.”

Of course, we’re talking of abuse here, not betrayal by a spouse. Even so, there are some parallels that aren’t lost on us. For instance, both situations raise some painful questions like:

1. How do reconcile these very different sides … that someone who does great things also leads a double life?

2. Are all failings equal, or are some things worse than others?

3. Is it ever right to cover up a person’s shameful acts, simply because they are sexual in nature? Why is there pressure to keep these things a secret?

4. How can we determine who is trustworthy and safe, when betrayers are such experts at deceiving us?

I don’t have any answers – just some personal thoughts and views. But I’d really love to hear what any readers have to say.

Quote of the Day

remember who you were when

If you’re feeling battle weary

If you feel you can’t go on

If you feel your heart is breaking

And your few reserves are gone

Close your eyes

Forget the future

Let the pressure dissipate

All that matters is this moment

You’ve survived

And you are strong.