Monday, August 25, 2014

What We All Wish Church Leaders Knew About Wives of Porn Addicts:


1. We are simply devastated.  
2. We did not cause this and we cannot cure it.
3. We may feel that if we were prettier, smarter, or more “something,” they would not have this problem. This is not true. In almost all cases, they were addicted before they ever met us.
4. We need to know about our husbands’ actions so that we don’t blame ourselves for whatever feels wrong in our marriages
5. We also need to know of our husbands’ actions to help protect ourselves, our children, and our homes. Keeping someone in a relationship under false pretenses represents exploitation.
6.We have done nothing to bring this situation into our lives.  It feels so unfair that we have no choice but to deal with it.
7. We are baffled that we ended up here. We have tried to do all the things that we thought would bring us our happy eternal marriage.  This is the last thing we expected.  We may feel cheated and angry with God.
8. We feel really ashamed.  We feel embarrassed that we married someone with this problem, or that we didn’t see it sooner. We feel our husbands have made us into a phony, a fake, and a liar.
9. Extreme emotions are normal in our circumstances.  We should not be shamed for feeling them.
10. We may need help remembering that we have worth as individuals, no matter the outcome of our marriages or future choices of our husbands.
11. We feel alone. We feel like no one else has this problem. Isolation compounds our pain.
12. We need support
13. We have experienced major Betrayal Trauma which is a form of PTSD, because of our husbands’ betrayals  This trauma is not an indicator that we are weak or not using the Atonement.
14. Statistically 70% of woman with sex addict husbands have PTSD / Betrayal Trauma
*It is hard for us to reach out for support.
*Other women who have been in our shoes can provide vital support.
*We may need ongoing support from our bishops.  It may be hard for us to ask for this ongoing support.  A little bit of reaching out and following up from our bishops may go a long way in helping us not feel overlooked or forgotten.
*We need to know what resources are available to help us.  A bishop who is familiar with this problem and what these resources are could help us feel better sooner.
*We may want and need increased access to Priesthood blessings.  Our husbands may not be worthy to give those blessings, and even if they are, they might not be the ones we want to ask to give them to us.  It may be valuable to have our bishops help us identify who we can ask when we need this particular type of help.
*Our bishops may be the first people we reach out to after discovering our husbands’ addictions.  It may be hard for us to trust Priesthood holders since our husbands have held the Priesthood in our homes.  If we feel invalidated by our bishops, it will be so much harder for us to reach out for further support.
*We sometimes feel invalidated when it seems that the Church does not hold our husbands accountable for their actions.
*More sex is not the answer. Our husbands do not act out with pornography and masturbation because we give them too little sex; they will not stop acting out with pornography and masturbation if we give them more sex. If we are encouraged to “not withhold sex” we will feel like we are being told that our feelings are not as important as our husbands’ feelings.  Our need for exclusivity trumps their “need” for sex.  Men are expected to remain abstinent until marriage, which implies it is possible for men to survive without sex.  Our having sex with them does not help them to recover.
*We are in no position to be asked to give our husbands support.  If anything we need their support for us as we come to terms with what they have done.
*The best way for us to help our husbands is to hold them accountable.  Being asked to “forgive and forget” too early will hurt us both.
*Letting our husbands off the hook too easily usually decreases the urgency they feel about getting help.
*We need to set some boundaries for ourselves with our husbands to protect ourselves from ongoing harm.
*The best support we can give to our husbands is a healthy wife.  We need to do what it takes to find our way back to our own personal health.
*If our husbands have been caught instead of voluntarily disclosing, they may not actually have any desire to get better, no matter what impression they may give a bishop when discussing addiction.
*If we are asked to make changes to help our husbands overcome their problems, and they don’t change, then we feel like we didn’t try hard enough or lacked faith.  It may increase our shame.  Only our husbands are responsible for their own behavior.
*Most addicts lie or minimize when asked about their addictions.  We and their bishops are not likely to have heard the entire story from our husbands.
*Many of our husbands will continue to act out and to lie to us (and to their bishops) after their initial meetings with their bishops.  It may not be appropriate to encourage us to trust them yet because they may not be trustworthy yet.
*Our husbands are incapable of giving up their addictions if they keep them a secret.
*Our husbands’ lies have harmed us at least as much as the actual betrayal.
*We need to eventually forgive our husbands.  We may not be capable of forgiving them as early as we may be asked to do.  We will do our best to leave a place in our hearts for forgiveness to come.  
*Forgiveness does not mean tolerating evil or harm.
*Trust and forgiveness are not the same thing. Forgiveness is a benefit for us; trust is a benefit for our husbands.  Trust needs to be earned once it has been lost.  We will probably forgive before we trust again.
*We will not get over it quickly.  We would if we could, but it will take time and effort to find our way back to emotional health.
*We need help regardless of our husbands’ desire for help.
*We will not automatically get better when our husbands stop acting out. Our progress may actually lag behind theirs.  The history of deception keeps us from being able to trust that we are now safe, even if they say that they have not relapsed in a long time. Some therapists believe it takes 2 or MORE years for the wife to recover after her husband gets sober and in recovery.
*Our husbands have not been good husbands. They have been selfish and lacking in empathy. Addiction results in other bad behaviors that have been harming us.
*Our husbands’ actions in no way decrease our own worthiness.
*Our husbands have most likely been trying for years to overcome their addictions by fasting, praying, reading the scriptures and attending the temple.  These are vital components in their repentance and in building their spirituality.  However, in most cases our husbands need more help than this to get into Recovery from addiction.  They often need knowledgeable trauma/sex addiction counselors.
*We most likely need outside help to heal, just like our husbands do. Knowledgeable trauma/sex addiction counselors and regular support group meetings can help us tremendously.
*Even addicts dedicated to the recovery process tend to relapse several times before achieving lengthy sobriety. But relapsing is still very serious and NEVER OK.
*We would like our bishops to not assume they know everything they need to know on this topic. Be open to good information. Do not be afraid to admit what you don't know. Please ask us what you can do to help us.
*We should not simply replace all negative thoughts with positive ones. That shows denial of the impact this problem has in our lives.  In order to heal from these difficult emotions, we need to allow ourselves to feel them.
*Many marriages that fail from this problem actually fail because of the continued lying more than the continued acting out.
*Our husbands' dedication to complete transparency in our marriage will help us to feel that we know everything we need to know. This transparency may include ongoing access to all email, social media, bank accounts, cell phones, computers and electronic devices. Transparency may also include an agreement on future disclosures.
*Despite our best efforts, our marriages may not survive.
*This addiction has caused us to doubt ourselves, our own intuition and the guidance we are receiving from the Lord.  
We need you to support us as we seek for our own answers from the Spirit and make our own choices going forward.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Warning Signs That Your Partner Might Be Addicted to Pornography

Is He Secretly Viewing Pornography?

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1.      Suspicious activity found on computer (even if they deny it) Note: Pornography doesn't magically appear. Its clicked on. So if you find it in the history, then someone clicked on it. 
2.      Deleted browsing history or NO browser history at all (HUGE red flag).
3.      Lying (or less honest than before), minimizing, or omitting truth.
4.      Defensiveness, quick temper, irritability, mood swings, defiant, blaming, critical or has anger outbursts
5.      Isolation/withdrawal/ or hiding (could include working too much or being overly lazy or not wanting to be around people).
6.      Excessive computer/smartphone use, spends a lot of time online, or spends time on the computer after everyone else is in bed.
7.      Leaving the bedroom in the middle of the night.
8.      Excessive video, computer, or app game playing.

Warning Signs Of Approaching Relapse


1. Engaged in the Addiction Cycle (link)
2. Slowly reverting back to old behaviors
3. Lying, silly lies no matter how small, minimizing, or omitting truth
4. Defensiveness, irritability, mood swings, defiance, blaming or anger outbursts
5. Passive Aggressive behavior!!
6. Lack of communication and full transparency, even if THEY think they are communicating and being transparent. Ie. Saying "I'm good", or saying they are frustrated, upset, or triggered but not explaining WHY they feel that way---and then turn around and say "what do you mean, I am communicating, I told you I was upset"
7. Selective Forgetfulness. Forgetting things they once knew a day, week, month, or year ago. Ie. Having a great conversation about honesty & recovery and feeling like they finally "get it", only then to later have then act confused as if they have never heard it, or play stupid "What? I know I am supposed to disclose when I relapse, I just didn't know you wanted to know right away and how many times." ...(like seriously?...u didn't think id want to know even tho I've told you a million times? ) ;)
8. Increased mistakes and not being able to follow simple directions. The "I never do anything right" mentality. Ie. Always being late, not helping around the house or with the kids, never getting the right things at the grocery store, becoming careless, unmotivated, apathetic, etc
9. Lack of common sense
10. They are emotionally disconnected. Not being able to find attachment with them. They are there but not really "there".
11. They blame, redirect, become defensive, become sleepy or get the confused "deer in headlights" stare when trying to talk to them.
12. Becoming overly stressed for whatever reason.
13. Lack of vulnerability - VULNERABILITY IS CRUCIAL! CRRRUUUICIALLL!!
14. Lack of empathy, ie. Becomes oblivious and clueless to the fact you are hurting and how to help you.
15. Slowly isolating or spending more time doing mind numbing behaviors and unimportant things while online. Ie. Browsing movie trailers, news stories, games, etc "yellow light" behavior.
16. Getting wrapped up in secondary addictions like work, gaming or food
17. Using a wife's safety Boundaries as their own, out of spite. "Oh ya, well I have a right to leave when u get upset TOO"
18. Slowly missing meetings and/or counseling appts. Slacking on recovery work, and becoming frustrated or resentful of recovery work. Thinking they don't NEED to do as much recovery work. Ie. "How much of this do I REALLY need to keep on doing? Come on, it's been a few months, I feel better. Can't I stop?"
19. Neglecting self-care. Self-care is critical to maintaining recovery (and sanity).
20. Slacking on scriptures & praying
21. Becoming emotionally needy, insecure, and codependent. Ie. Never wanting you to leave, getting jealous when u hang out with friends or do recovery work, needing constant validation that you love them.
22. Self-Delusional: They twist things to make themselves right ie. "I quit going to therapy without talking to you about it as a way to help you".
23. Complaining about not getting enough sex or having everything revolve around sex again.
24. Not being interested in sex or not being interested in intimacy with OR without sex.


MOST IMPORTANTLY!!! : LISTEN TO YOUR GUT. If you feel something is not right, 99.9%your most likely right. A good thing to ask yourself is "What do they spend their time on?". Being in recovery is about sobriety and continually improving QUALITY of life and the quality of one’s soul. If your spouse is spending more time on things that can't actually make them a better person and improve their life....then which direction are they going? Forward or backward?

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Emotional Abuse: What is it? Signs and Symptoms

Info I put together from some great articles :
Psychological abuse, also referred to as emotional abuse or mental abuse, is a form of abuse characterized by a person subjecting or exposing another to behavior that may result in psychological trauma, including anxiety, chronic depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder. Such abuse is often associated with situations of power imbalance, such as abusive relationships, bullying, and abuse in the workplace.
Emotional abuse is "based on power and control", and defines emotional abuse as including rejecting, degrading, terrorizing, isolating, corrupting/exploiting and "denying emotional responsiveness" as characteristic of emotional abuse.

Signs You’re In An Emotionally Abusive Relationship, but not limited to:

Eating Disorder (Ed): Eating with shame

4 years ago this is a scripture that opened my eyes to something that deep down I always felt was true: When I feel guilt and shame when I eat, it harms my body, and I usually will gain weight by what I eat.

I have proven this theory for myself many times in the past. Maybe as a form of self punishment when I "eat with offence" my debilitating negative beliefs lower my metabolism or stores all the fat in the food instead of using it for energy? Which would make sense considering what the body can go through while in fight or flight mode. When I ate what I thought to be "bad foods" I literally would go into a type of fight or flight panic "oh no oh no oh no I just ate something bad" and I would feel immense shame for LIKING the "bad" food because it tasted so good, and I would feel weak that I wasn't strong enough to say no.
And then there were random times that I felt good about myself for whatever reason, and didn't even think about the food as i was eating it. There was zero guilt or shame, and I would always notice after the fact that I never gained weight from it. No matter what I ate. I didn't physically do anything different. I just didn't feel shame and guilt when I ate.