Tag Archives: brokenness

Trust is the bridge between two people

Coastline Bridge

What happens when you’re consistently lied to? Maybe it’s just one big devastating lie that shreds you to pieces. Sometimes the breach of trust is so big that the bridge blows up in a heated explosion. Other times it wears away, board by rotten board. How do you repair broken trust?  Are you the one responsible to rebuild the bridge?

Trust and forgiveness can walk hand-in-hand, but they are two very separate issues. When you add reconciliation to the mix, it can really get cloudy. Today we focus on rebuilding that bridge of trust and who is responsible for what.

Rebuilding trust – The responsibility for rebuilding trust is on the person who broke it. However, that can get complicated if the person is unwilling to admit they’ve done anything wrong. Lies have a way of clustering like clothes hangers and become so entangled you can’t tell where one ends and the other begins. Lies cover up lies. You cannot do anything to rebuild trust with someone who cannot be honest.

Accept his efforts – When the person who lied to you chooses to admit their wrongs and begin rebuilding trust, be open to their efforts. Rise above the instinct to criticize, punish, or withhold from them. A simple “Thank you, I see that you’re trying” can go a long way in showing that you’re receptive to his rebuilding efforts. You can read here about other ways some wives hurt their husbands, even when they’re are doing the right things.

Encourage him when he’s honest – Breaking habitual lying is tough. When he admits he’s relapsed or slipped back into an addiction, or admits he’s lied again, accept this confession with grace. Resist the urge to shame or verbally punish. When you encourage truth-telling, it motivates him to do so again and again. You become a safe person he can go to when he’s failed.

Listen to your gut and don’t be afraid to call him out when he is lying to you – It’s easy to want to trust without hesitation, but you must not silence what your gut is telling you if you sense something’s not right or that he’s not been honest. It’s okay to confront respectfully. Do not automatically assume that he’s changed if he admits he’s lied once or twice or even a few times. Learning to be honest takes time. If there’s a history of lying in your relationship, you’ve likely muted your gut. Trust yourself and speak up when you need to.

Living in truth is a freedom like no other. When you can both live in truth, it’s a freedom shared.

For help learning how to trust him (and yourself) again contact me. You may also check out Recover.org for support.

From Freeze to Free

Like Queen Elsa in Disney’s animated film, “Frozen” we can “Let it Go.” Fear, that is. And, being frozen.

But, we will need to do more than stomp our feet, wave our hands in the air, and sing a hit tune. It’s time for a real breakthrough to no longer live under the heaviness of traumatic events that have us stuck.

Experiencing fearful events cause us to respond in one of three ways: fight, flight or freeze. Experts say that the “freeze” response is overcome with the help of a professional. With the fight or flight response, the trauma, fear, or painful experience is processed at the time. By freezing, the trauma is internalized and frozen. We can get stuck here.

Flight, Fight, or Freeze

If you’re hiking in the mountains and come face-to-furry face with a grizzly bear, you’d better allow the automatic switch for flight to engage and protect yourself from harm. (To avoid experiencing this fear, hike in groups of three or more. 91% of bear attacks happen to lone hikers.)

If someone tries to steal your bag or your bike, you’ll most likely engage the fight mechanism and hit or chase that person.

If you’ve been abused as a child or adult, betrayed by your spouse, or some other trauma that caused you to freeze, don’t fear the future.

The Future is Yours

It may be tempting to stay stuck in this frozen state. Don’t. The freeze response debilitates us from actually feeling the fear. If we have traumatic experiences that have caused us to freeze, we most likely need to seek professional help to thaw out and move forward.

You can live freely.

Recognize the trauma that caused you to freeze. Talk with someone. Face the fear, process it, and move into a fearless way of life. I’m not suggesting that we forsake caution, or that this process is a quick and easy one, but we can get free from what caused us to freeze.

I know this from experience and I live more freely today than ever (and, yes, I had professional help to get free).

So can you.

Feels Like Redemption

Feels Like Redemption: The Pilgrimage To Health and Healing (My Pilgrimage) is written by Seth Taylor with David Glenn Taylor, his brother. Not only do they share pilgrimage stories of their own, but they encourage readers to take some risks and pursue healing for their inner selves.

Three hours had passed since I first picked up this book. I picked it up and could NOT put it down. Few books hook me like this one.

As a woman, I didn’t really think this book would impact me as deeply as it did. The authors are men and the book seemed like it was written specifically for men who want to break the habit of watching porn. I’m not a man, and I don’t watch porn, yet it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read.

Maybe you’re like me and get stuck over-thinking stuff. So much more productive to take action to get un-stuck from whatever holds us back.

Taylor said, “When we forsake a demand for certainty and satisfaction in our own intellect, we can begin to learn something new.” A helpful insight for those of us who think more than we feel, or more than we do. Although challenging, it’s better to be open to learning new things.

The book stimulates the reader to action. We can think thoughts, and even feel feelings, but without action things don’t change. Taylor’s words, and those of his wife and brother, inspire readers like me to take action. And, when you add Switchfoot lyrics to the mix, well, you can’t go wrong.

I’m glad I picked it up and spent the morning with it. May it feel like redemption to you as it did to me.

PTSD in Spouses of Sex Addicts

You can’t think straight, you withdraw from people, you feel crazy. You love your husband, but what you’ve discovered about his sex addiction shatters your world. You feel betrayed and traumatized.

Our sexuality is the most intimate part of who we are as humans. Few people engage with us on that deep of a level, so when the person you trust most betrays that trust, it completely rocks your world, right down to the very core of your being. That is where post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) lodges itself.

Judy Whelley quoted Dr. Barb Steffens in an article about PTSD in Partners of Sex Addicts. “Dr. Barb Steffens is the author of Your Sexually Addicted Spouse: How Partners Can Cope and Heal. Dr. Steffens explains, ‘Once disclosure happens, and her [the partner of the sex addict] world is shattered, she is still expected to be wife, mother, she’s working, a professional person, on the job. You don’t get time off for this. We are lucky in our society to get three days off if we’re grieving the loss of a loved one. We get no time off when our lives have been shattered due to sex addiction and this kind of betrayal.’”

So, what do you do if you find yourself in this situation? First of all, be honest with yourself and don’t discount or invalidate your feelings, anger, or desperation. Those are appropriate reactions. It’s important to seek the support and counsel from people who are experienced in caring for sex addicts and their spouses/families.

Dr. Omar Minwalla states in his article, “Partners of Sex Addicts Need Treatment for Trauma” that, “partners [of sex addicts] often present with a set of symptoms that match symptoms similar to rape trauma syndrome (RTS) and complex post-traumatic-stress disorder (C-PTSD). There are many, many partners and spouses who continue to be further harmed, confused, disoriented and re-traumatized by traditional co-addiction treatment interventions that focus on educating and helping partners with their “own disease” called co-addiction while ignoring the treatment of trauma and C-PTSD. In fact, the co-addiction model as it manifests in the treatment of partners and spouses of sex addicts, and applied most often to women, is a form of gender-based violence.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, (Mayo, 2011) PTSD typically starts within three months of a traumatic event. In a small number of cases, though, PTSD symptoms may not appear until years after the event.

Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms are generally grouped into three types: intrusive memories, avoidance and numbing, and increased anxiety or emotional arousal (hyperarousal).

Symptoms of intrusive memories may include: (Mayo, 2011)

  • Flashbacks, or reliving the traumatic event for minutes or even days at a time
  • Upsetting dreams about the traumatic event

Symptoms of avoidance and emotional numbing may include: (Mayo, 2011)

  • Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event
  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Avoiding activities you once enjoyed
  • Hopelessness about the future
  • Memory problems
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Difficulty maintaining close relationships

Symptoms of anxiety and increased emotional arousal may include: (Mayo, 2011)

  • Irritability or anger
  • Overwhelming guilt or shame
  • Self-destructive behavior, such as drinking too much
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Being easily startled or frightened
  • Hearing or seeing things that aren’t there

Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms can come and go.

There is hope.

Get the help you need now.

You will survive this trauma.

Feel free to contact me for further support or resources.

Find support from other spouses of sex addicts by joining a group here.