A period of separation can be a really helpful option in marriages attempting to recover from intimate betrayal and sexual addictions. But there are a lot of different types of separation, (some healthy, and some not) and different situations call for different solutions. Let’s cover several of the healthy options available to us and discuss when each is likely the best choice.
Often, when lies have defined a relationship for many years, we’re left wondering, will I ever stop waiting for the other shoe to drop? Even after years of solid recovery, many of us find ourselves struggling to believe we’re not still being lied to. How can we ever know for sure; we wonder? What if we’re being naïve or foolish? What if He got a whole lot better at hiding it? Why didn’t God reveal the truth sooner the first time? How can I be sure He’ll reveal it this time? What if… How could he… Why did He… How will I… The questions are endless and maddening! So how can we put a stop to them before we lose our minds, and bankrupt our faith?
People far wiser than myself have named three stages to the process of healing from Betrayal Trauma, and as a survivor, I can definitely find pieces of my own story in each of those stages. But I’m here to tell you, the journey to healing is not linear. We won’t move through them in one direction or in a straight line. Instead, we’ll circle in and out and in between the three in no predictable manner, and with no assurance that we won’t go back again later. There have been days when I really believed myself much further down the path to healing than I have found myself on the next. If you’re healing from Betrayal Trauma, you’ll likely experience the same, and I want you to know, it’s okay! Not only is it okay, it’s expected, normal, and really even healthy!
Here you are, you’ve found yourself in that terrible place which has become a reality for countless wives across the world. You’ve discovered your husband has a pornography problem. Maybe you’ve known for a while that he looked here and there, or that he “struggled,” but you’ve finally come to recognize that this is no small issue. You’re hurt and confused, and not sure what in the world you should do next. You need answers, but where do you look? Who can you trust?
Sadness, grief, deep sorrow; these are things that make us uncomfortable. We’re quick to call for healing both in ourselves and in others because we don’t want to deal with the painful emotions involved in a time of grief. But the reality is, when we’ve suffered a loss, whether as a result of a death, or a betrayal, or any other sudden life-altering circumstance, a time of mourning is a natural and NECESSARY part of any TRUE healing process. To minimize its importance is to cripple the mourner. It’s not the way God responds to us, and it’s not the way He calls us to respond. If healing is our goal, we have to learn to handle grief as He does.
Being triggered is a very real, very natural, and very agonizing aspect of recovery from betrayal (or any other) trauma. The term refers to the moments when we are very suddenly and unexpectedly reminded of our pain and upheaval in a way that propels us back into the crippling state of shock experienced at the onset of the traumatic experience. Most of us didn’t expect the triggers, and therefore find ourselves completely unequipped to deal with and move past them. But there is hope!
One of the great experiences of this terrible journey through recovery from intimate betrayal has been the opportunity to meet some truly awesome women of God. I’ve had the pleasure of joining/starting several Facebook groups for Christian women in various tough spots. It’s amazing to watch these sisters band together and support one another. I met Kerry in one of these groups.
Several weeks ago I had the great honor and privilege to be interviewed by Anne for the Betrayal Trauma Recovery Podcast. What a pleasure it was to talk to her that afternoon! Click through our link to listen to the whole podcast and get to know me a little better!
I’m excited to do something a little different here today. Hopefully, this will turn into a series over time and we’ll have the opportunity to hear from many Dearly Loved Daughters of the Lord God Almighty who have overcome intimate betrayal through His mighty power.
Star has been a friend of the His Dearly Loved Daughter ministry from very early on. She was one of the first people to find this blog organically (not through a FB group for fellow bloggers) and message me with words of encouragement. She’s about one year ahead of me on the road to recovery, so her encouragement was helpful in those days when I was still very VERY raw.
Have you ever wondered if it’s even possible to win the victory over unwelcome thoughts in your mind? The Bible offers some simple, though not easy steps to show us how to achieve victory.
One of the most difficult parts of recovering from intimate betrayal is learning how and when to start allowing trust to be rebuilt. This becomes especially difficult when there have been multiple betrayals strung out over long periods of time, with periods of believed sobriety in between. How can we ever know what’s true when life has been one huge lie after another? How can we ever believe that the evidences of change are real this time when they’ve been nothing more than a mirage so many times before? While things are going very well for us right now, I’d be lying if I said this isn’t still a huge (HUGE) struggle for me. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 13 that love always trusts; and the life of a Christian is supposed to be defined by love. So, it’s vital that I learn how to find truth and who, what, why, when, and how to trust.
When my mind is racing, and I find sleep impossible, there’s a fun little game I play with God to focus my mind on Him. Often times, this simple act of discipline is all it takes to calm my anxieties and bring rest.
The sin of sexual addiction runs rampant in our world and people are hurting! Families are being destroyed. Hearts are being broken. Lives are being ruined and even lost! The enemy is winning far too many battles. It can be easy to question where God is in all of these stories. To begin to doubt His sovereignty and His loving care. But Scripture reminds us that He is there. He is working, even when we can’t see it. The enemy may seem to be winning the battles, but the war is already won. I would like to share a Psalm that I hope will be a great encouragement to the precious women who are hurting so badly right now because of it.
Well, we’re halfway through the 90 day therapeutic separation. I thought it would be a good idea to give a little update because God has been doing some big stuff! We ended up changing a few of the parameters to the plan after about a week. I’d like to explain those changes and then get to telling you about some of those big ole mountains God has been moving.
I have just read, Your Sexually Addicted Spouse: How Partners Can Cope and Heal, by Barbara Steffens, PhD, LPCC, and Marsha Means, MA. I have to say, I’ve read a lot of helpful books in the last few years, but this one is by far the best one yet! I really cannot recommend it more highly. In fact, I recommend this book not only to the spouses of sex/porn addicts, but also to anyone who is trying to understand or help those partners. This book will offer so much insight into the trauma that the betrayed spouse deals with everyday. Both my love and I read it, and while it helped me immensely, I think the greatest value it offered was to my love. He has a very hard time with empathy in general, but this book really opened his eyes to my pain. It was a Godsend to us both!