Monday, January 26, 2015


Is January almost over already?

At the end of December I started pondering what I envisioned for 2015. This is going to be a year of a lot of change.

But, I want to end 2015 being stronger and more brave.

I took to Pinterest and found some empowering quotes and scriptures. And I'm slowly working to plaster those on my wall.

I could tell you I have a million resolutions---to read my scriptures every day, have perfect Family Home Evening, bake my own bread, save x amount of $$, lose weight, teach my girls to read---but in reality I just want to be strong, brave, and a source of love and comfort to my girls.

This will be the year my girls and I find our new path, whatever that may be.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Emotional Rollercoaster

When I told my Aunt that I was separated, at the beginning of October, she advised me that the emotions would be a rollercoaster. She was speaking from experience.

And a rollercoaster is the perfect description.

I can have a build up of sadness, anger, or joy as slowly as a rollercoaster going up that first big hill.

I can go from feeling happy to sad as quickly as the rollercoaster goes down that hill.

My feelings can get all twisted and turned like those loops in a rollercoaster (and also threatening to make me throw up).

This rollercoaster is never ending right now.

There is no whoosh of wind as the rollercoaster comes to a screeching halt.

Over the summer and fall I took those emotions and was able to start processing them, write about them, and talk about them. Part of the separation was that I was continually being hurt, so the trauma kept coming, and I needed to be apart from him to focus on ME. Recently though, all I have been able to do is complain about the emotions.

Last week my therapist recommended I really focus on journaling those emotions.

Instead of hiding from the feelings or trying to push them away I know I need to feel them and let them be there. Having the emotions are good. They are helping me heal and process.

Lately I have felt a lot of anger and resentment. Others might tell me that forgiveness is for me and will allow that anger and resentment to go away. They might tell me that having those feelings is not helping in any way.

I think otherwise. For right now.

I told my therapist I have been feeling this way and she said, "Well, what do you want to do with that?" I said, "Nothing. Absolutely nothing."

And what she said after was so relieving for me, "Okay."

We then talked about what has been good about having those feelings. I know, weird, right?

Anger & resentment = a "positive thing"?

Divorce is not fun. (Have I said that enough, yet?) In order to not falter or have doubts, I have to be strong. I have to focus on protecting my daughters and myself. I have to focus on the best possible future for our family.

Anger and resentment is enabling me to not let those doubts of "what if" creep in.

What if he is in recovery now? What if he can actually love? What if this is too hard? What if it would have been easier to just stay? What if this is too messy?

Those what ifs cannot get to me right now because I know this is right. And that anger towards this situation, and him, is helping me focus on that fact. It is also is helping me keep that realization that I am dealing with an addict. A narcissist. He does not care about anyone except himself. He will manipulate whomever he needs to in order to get what he wants, whatever will make him feel good about himself and what he thinks looks good to others.

The anger and resentment allows me to protect myself from manipulation, blame, and all the other addict behaviors.

I see right through him and he knows it.

I know that the anger and resentment will end. I know I will let go of it. In time. I know that it will not be something I carry with me forever. But, for now, it is sustaining me.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

What Addiction Looked Like in My Home

I have realized two things (that I'm going to talk about today) over the past several months.

1. While many of the women I have met have different stories related to their spouses being addicted to pornography, the behaviors in the home tend to be similar.

2. Those that do not have experience with pornography addiction tend to want to just make the person stop looking at pornography and do not realize how many other things have been effected. And sometimes people outside of the marriage do not get to see all of the characteristics, so they ignore the ones presented to them.

One of my most favorite articles I have read is this one.

It speaks to me.

The way he describes what a wife first notices in her home is exactly what I experienced. Those are the things others may notice too, but they do not tend to then assume pornography addiction. These characteristics individually do not indicate very much, but having several of them on a consistent basis is when it gets disturbing. And there are certainly other reasons why a person may be that way, but these characteristics are very common in the experiences I have heard from other wives.

Like the article states: the behaviors are predictable.

How did those characteristics look in my home?
  1. More self-centered: Everything is about him. He loved to talk about himself--where he went to school, how well his teachers/bosses like him, the projects he had accomplished, what new thing he learned, sports teams he liked, etc. But, the second you talked about something else those eyes just glazed over.
  2. Irritable: He would become irritable about little things. The house was too messy, the girls had too many toys, the girls were being too loud, the dog wanted him to pet him, the internet wasn't working, I was on the computer and he desperately needed it, etc.
  3. Moody
  4. Impatient
  5. Less focused time with the family: This began with more and more time on the computer (red flag, anyone?!). It progressed into me taking our girls on outings like a balloon festival on a Friday night while he stayed home, spending the day or weekend with family while he stayed home, him not attending soccer games, and going to church activities while he spent the day doing something else.
  6. Seeks out more distractions: My husband sought out more and more time watching sports, listening to music on his Ipod, and spending hours looking at youtube videos on a number of topics.
  7. Mentally and even verbally devalues marriage
  8. Becomes critical: My husband's main subject of criticism was me--what I was wearing, something I said, an opinion I had, or something I had done. He also criticized others on various topics--education, money, parenting, their opinions, or things they had done. We all do our own share of judging and I am not saying I am perfect and never criticize or judge, but he sees himself as superior and speaks of others with that attitude.
  9. Spiritually empty: My husband has had zero testimony for 4+ years (he was the one that brought this topic up 2 1/2 years ago). He still blessed our girls, went to the temple, attended church half of the time, and acted like he believed. He stopped praying, reading scriptures, serving in his callings, and having any interest in discussing doctrine.  There was/is no Priesthood leadership in our home.
  10. More stressed: He would get incredibly stressed with schoolwork, and now with projects at work. He gets so stressed that he cannot sleep and gets sick.
  11. Dissatisfied with work
  12. Bored with things that used to interest him: When I met my husband he had all sorts of hobbies and interesting things he liked to do. He pretty much stopped participating in them, but would watch videos on the computer.
  13. Restless: Even though my husband can spend hours on a computer, he would still get bored and restless while spending time with family or basically anywhere he could not be on his computer.
  14. Resentful: If something was a problem or something had happened in this past there was a resentment attached to it. This went right along with the blaming.
  15. Blaming: I am blamed for everything. His pornography problem=my fault. His lack of parental involvement=my fault. His stress=my fault. It was never ending. I felt like I was walking on egg shells often because if I tried to discuss anything I was blamed.
  16. Manipulative: His #1 tactic in any situation. He is a pro at manipulation and I am still trying to figure it out. He has a way with words and twisting every little thing.
  17. Emotionally disconnected: I am not sure I have ever felt a true emotional connection to him. But, the disconnection was more apparent to me in the relationships he had with friends and his family. The connection gradually grew more distant with many dissolving completely.
  18. Isolated himself and family from friends and family: As I have reflected this began even when we were engaged. I was pulled away from friends with excuses of avoiding interaction and then to criticism of them. The isolation from family was intensified when we moved closer to my family. It began with complaints of the driving and the amount of time spent with them. And gradually became him not going at all and I would take the girls with me.
I do not say these things to bash him or share all his dirty little secrets. I do this because when I came looking for help, as a spouse, I needed to know these characteristics. I have reflected over and over, discovering something I had forgotten before, remembering a moment I had hidden from my memory, and finding that there were signs. I had always felt like things were off. Something was wrong, but I could not quite put my finger on it until I discovered the addiction. Then it all fell into place. I wanted a list like this one of what exactly the addict was doing besides the pornography.

Reflection is helping me heal. I am addressing the characteristics that have damaged me. I am taking those moments and growing from them.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Life Forever Changed

In the past two months my life has forever been changed.

On October 6, 2014 I asked for a separation. I asked my husband to leave our home.

He refused. I spent the night in a hotel with my mom and my daughters.

I was angry. Frustrated. Heart broken. But, trying to keep it together for my two, innocent little girls.

A quick rundown of what has happened since then:

My in-laws flew in on the red eye as soon as they found out. My husband told family and friends that he was blindsided and that we had grown apart. That left most people very confused.

I spent the week explaining to people that had no idea this was coming. For them, the situation was fresh. For me, it felt like I was telling a story that had been going for years and the wounds were only getting deeper. It was exhausting.

My husband and I laid out a general parenting plan so that he could see our girls on a regular basis.

He moved into an extended stay hotel. In the smoking section.

We discussed the girls staying the night with him. And decided it was best to let them get used to the change and the routine, then readdress them staying the night with him.

A couple weeks went by until the night of what I now call "the incident".

My husband crossed a line. A line that I, personally, could not go back after it had been crossed.

The Monday after I got a protection order and filed for divorce.

And it has not been easy.

It has been ugly. Emotionally draining. Frustrating beyond belief.

Divorce is not fun.

I have a long road ahead before the divorce is finalized. I anticipate lots of push back.

But, the one thing that has not waivered throughout the past month is that divorce is right.

In my situation, divorce is the right thing to do. I can now work on healing. Focus on raising my daughters to have healthy relationships, be strong, navigate this broken world, and love themselves. I can continue to show them that I love them and am always striving to improve in my mothering abilities. They are my number one priority.

I want them to know that they can do hard things.

One day at a time.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

D-Day 2

Read the rest of My Story here.

About three months ago I knew I was ready for change. I had another life changing experience, where I found myself feeling similar to how I did the summer before my Senior year in high school when I considered my future (read that story here). Although, this time it was built up over time and not a one moment event.

I had spent the past year slowly letting myself be brought down by the trauma I so desperately needed to recover and heal from. And I knew that was not what Heavenly Father would want for me and I knew I could do better.

I wanted to be in a home that cherished family time, read scriptures together, prayed as a family, served others, spent less time watching TV (& computers), and wanted to be better individually and as a whole.

I wanted a marriage where we read scriptures together, prayed together, and enjoyed teaching our children about the Gospel. I wanted to have conversations about the Gospel, our day, parenting, finances, our future, our struggles, and our dreams.

I deserved that.

Every woman and man deserves that.

I slowly started changing myself. Because, really, how can you expect others to do something when you are not already doing them?

I repented. I picked up my scriptures more often. I journaled. I knelt in prayer. I listened to more Primary songs so I could teach my girls new ones. I listened to General Conference again. I turned off the TV. I spent more quality time with my girls--painting, coloring, building with legos, going on walks, and being silly.

While doing this I also confronted my husband. I asked him point blank whether his addiction was still an issue. I got the answer I expected.


We went through a similar scenario as D-Day 1 where I asked many questions, but did not get very in-depth answers. But, I told him things had to change.

He said he wanted to change, but did not know how.

And I knew from the last time that I could not fix him. I could not tell him what to do or how to change. He had to choose for himself to seek out those answers. And when he did and then acted on those answers, then I would know he was ready for recovery.

This time was not as traumatic in terms of how I found out. I already knew so it was not as shocking. But, it still left me feeling very hopeless of what the future of our marriage would be.

During that d-day conversation my husband said he would start reading his book he got from that one time at the therapist. The one about stress, not about addiction.

Two weeks later he was not reading that book consistently and was not interested in talking to our bishop or anyone about it.

I went to the bishop on my own and received very wise counsel. I had been reading about how to heal myself. That this addiction has nothing to do with me. That I only had control over myself. And that my husband had to choose for himself to overcome and change.

My bishop was compassionate, sympathetic, and wanted to help me. He did not focus on how to fix my husband or what he would need to do, but rather, wanted to know what made me happy.

Many things have happened since that first meeting with my bishop. We got a new bishop that my husband and I both started meeting with individually and then together. My husband started going to recovery support meetings, says he is abstinent, and committed to reading his book daily. Sounds great, right?

The behaviors, the side effects, have not changed. The willingness to seek out what else can be done is not there. The isolation and unkindness is still there. He is still emotionally distant and true remorse has yet to be shown.

The commitment he made to read his book daily, is more like twice a week. The computer use is still many hours a day. He still stays up late. He never talks about his pornography addiction or recovery and if I bring it up the conversation is usually emotionless and closed off.

I am not seeing recovery in him.

But, I am starting my journey of recovery and healing.

I have made goals for myself. I try to go to the temple twice a month. I started reading books for enjoyment. I talk with a supportive friend and her husband daily about the struggles, the mundane, and the good. I strive to make healthier choices physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

I sought out a therapist, which has made a world of difference. I can talk about my feelings, what is going on, and what needs to be done without judgment. I have gained insight that has been valuable to my healing.

I developed boundaries. I needed boundaries.

I gave my husband a copy of my boundaries along with a very vulnerable letter. This letter explained how the addiction has affected me and the feelings that have come from the trauma. 

All of this leads to the present.

My husband has chosen over and over again to not be in recovery. He has been given many opportunities to choose to save his marriage and family. To save himself from this addiction. He has been given tools to do so, but is still choosing to not make it a priority.

I know this can change tomorrow, next week, next month, or it could be years from now or, even, possibly never. 

But, for me to be emotionally safe and continue my healing I have to hold to my boundaries and do what is best for my happiness and the happiness of my daughters. If this means separation because he is choosing not to understand how the addiction has affected me or be actively in recovery then that is what will need to happen so I can be emotionally safe. 

I am not going to keep the lies going. I am not going to enable him. I am not going to go back to denial. I am done with all of that.

I am going to be happy. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

My Story: After D-Day 1

Quick note: You can read the rest of My Story here. And make sure to at least read, D-Day 1.

The first couple weeks after D-Day 1 went seemingly well. Or so I thought.

We were being intimate. We were talking. And we were doing our normal day to day routine.

I pretty much stopped reading about pornography addiction and ignored the things I had read about what we should both be doing to get us out of this mess.

Skip ahead two months and things had gone back to what they were before.

This time I knew why. 

I was depressed. I felt isolated and like this problem was weighing me down. It was holding me back. 

I had no one to talk to about it. No one.

I still didn't do anything about it for several more weeks.

Then an answer to a prayer I'm not even sure I had specifically asked for came to me in the shape of a friend. 

This friend and I went on walks almost daily in a cemetery (joke all you want--it was peaceful, beautiful, and still my favorite place to go on a walk). We talked about all sorts of things. Our children, school, food, memories, babies, clothes, the future, our homes, people, our families, our trials, our happiness. But, I had never talked about the biggest struggle in my life. 

My husband is a pornography addict.

My friend brought up the topic actually. And I knew in that moment that I needed to tell her. I so desperately wanted to tell her.

I told her. I cried. And she walked with me for a long time as I talked about it all. 

We continued to talk about it. She has been there with me through many times of happiness and sadness. But, this time specifically I knew that Heavenly Father was utilizing her as a means to help me. To comfort me. To bless me. To show me I didn't have to do this alone.

I will never forget that first conversation and the weight I felt lift from me as I let everything out. She continues to be there for me through all of the chaos, sadness, frustration, and heartache. And for that I will be forever grateful.

At the end of August, with that same friend's encouragement, I decided to go to the bishop. At this point, my husband had not spoken a word of confessing to the bishop. Up until I made the decision, I thought I couldn't go until he had told the bishop about the addiction. I was so wrong.

I was dealing with this too. I needed help and support. I wasn't going to tattle on my husband. I was going so I could start healing.

An hour before going to the bishop, I told my husband what I was doing. He said he wanted to go with me.

The next month is sort of a blur. But the short story: My husband spoke with the bishop alone saying he had told him everything, the problem was minimized, and my husband was told he could go to the church recovery meetings if he wanted to. I started seeing a therapist, but only went a handful of times. I started going to recovery support group. My husband went to two recovery meetings and met with a therapist once. The therapist gave him a book about dealing with stress. 

A couple months after the initial meeting with the bishop I thought things were going well. 

My husband kept saying he was doing fine. 

Then things gradually started going back they were before. The meetings stopped. The conversations on the topic of pornography addiction stopped. My desire to keep attending support meetings was looked down upon by my husband.

He said he was fine, so why did I need to go? 

I believed him. And I stopped going. I stopped reading about it. I stopped talking to my friend about it saying everything was good. I kept myself in isolation.

I went into the stage of grief known as denial.

And stayed there for almost a year and a half while life flew by me.

My husband graduated. He got a job. We moved 1000 miles away. Our girls had two more birthdays. I filled my life with being a mom.

But, our marriage still wasn't what I dreamed it would be. And I knew why, but wasn't ready to confront that reason until this past June. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

My Story: D-Day 1

Read more of My Story: herehere, and here.

In May of 2012, my girls were turning ONE. I planned for many weeks and was so excited to have family and friends celebrate with us. 

Their first year was tough. We dealt with the NICU for two months, a colic baby, a reflux baby, low milk supply, slow weight gain, avoiding public places, and a lot of other bumps in the road. 

Having a baby (or babies) takes a toll on your marriage. 

I put 150% into being the best mom for my daughters and to making sure they were developing without any concerns. I was stressed. I was exhausted. 

During that time I noticed how our marriage had changed. I thought some things were unusual and promptly ignored them. 

My husband spent a lot of time on the computer. He always stayed up late. He was emotionally gone. He didn't want to be around my friends. He was irritable. He was rude. He didn't seem to want anything to do with church. He stopped giving me compliments or doing nice gestures. He got bored easily.  

Three days before the big first birthday, one day before my family came to visit, I had one of the worst moments of my life. 

I went to bed as usual. My husband stayed up watching YouTube videos and reading ESPN articles. I had spent that day baking cakes for the birthday party. 

I woke up about an hour after falling asleep with the thought I don't think I turned the oven off.

I got up (without glasses on), walked to where we had a baby gate in the hallway and asked my husband "Will you check to make sure the oven is off?"

He was sitting on the couch with his computer in front of him. He awkwardly said yeah. I walked back to my room. I thought to myself that something was off. Something was weird about that situation. But, I went back to sleep.

The next morning I woke up thinking about that moment.

I knew I had caught my husband doing something I found so disgusting, revolting, and humiliating. I started looking online for more information. I wasn't sure what to do: ask him about it or not?

I started having doubts and questions: did I really see something? Did I make it up? Was I looking too much into it? What will happen if I ask him about it? What will happen if he says yes? No? Gets mad because I would even think that? How do ask? 

But, as I read more about the signs and watched videos from recovering addicts and spouses I knew. I cried the entire afternoon. 

I sent a text (trying to keep it serious, but light-hearted): Were you doing something frisky last night when I woke up?

He said: What? No? What do you mean?

I responded: I thought I saw you doing something you shouldn't. Maybe it was nothing. Sorry.

He then said: No, I wasn't doing anything.

I was confused. I was so sure.

He got home from work a couple hours later. I was doing the dishes.

He came into the kitchen and I apologized for the text saying I must have just been seeing things.

When I finally looked at him, his face looked strange and he said: No, you were right. I was doing something I wasn't supposed to. I'm sorry.

I had caught him.

Even though I had caught him and knew, him admitting it still shocked me. I was angry. And when I'm angry I tend to want to be alone and not talk about it.

From my reading that day I knew a little of what was going on. But, not enough to be strong. 

After our girls went to bed we stayed up most of the night talking. Our conversation basically went like this:

How long have you been having this problem? I dunno, since I was younger

Have you ever stopped? Not really

Why do you do it? I dunno

Where did you first see pornography? I dunno

I had a million questions and received very few answers.

The next few days was more of the same. Except I started to be blamed.

We don't have sex enough. You never want to have sex. You never initiate sex. You are always too tired. I don't think you find me attractive. 

So what did I do? 

Blamed myself, also.

I made myself do things I did not want to. I thought I could fix him by having sex with him.

And we all know that did not work.