My wife and I are going to support groups tomorrow night at our new church. Mine for my addiction and her’s for spouses of sex addicts. I’m excited for her. I’m also very worried.
I’m incredibly excited that she is expanding her support team. This is something that is outrageously difficult for her. Speaking to our marriage therapist about our sex life was hard. Now she’s going to speak to complete strangers about her husband’s betrayal. I know that will be tough for her. I’ll be shocked if she can say much of anything. Don’t get me wrong, she’s no wimp. But I know how uncomfortable this stuff is.
Her only conversations about this stuff have been with me and her therapist. I would expect her to listen a lot and have minimal group input. I hope that’s wrong. I’m hoping she can jump in neck deep immediately. That’s not really her style though.
The possibility of her speaking to other ladies in similar situations is a joyful thought. To actually discuss the crap she’s trudging through is a freeing experience. Once you get over your embarrassment, it’s incredible. I’m very excited that she could be doing just that I’m less than 24 hours.
I pray she can get her hands dirty immediately. I’m cautiously optimistic. I know she can do it. I also know she’s a VERY private person. Hopefully she can see the people on that room are there to help and support her. The only person being judged in those groups are the douchebags that caused the situation in the first place.
My worries concern how her group approaches her role in my addiction. Is it from a co-addiction or trauma viewpoint? She and her therapist (me too, for what it’s worth) have agreed that she is NOT a co-addict. She is the victim of trauma.
The literature she/we are reading speaks directly to her thoughts. She did not bring shitty baggage with her to our marriage; I did. She did not come from a home that had major issues; I did. She did not betray her vows; I did. She did not destroy her spouses marriage concept; I did.
The addiction model, according to the literature, does not address her healing. It focuses on dealing with my addiction. The thing is the co-addiction theory is focused on ME. Her dealing with my problems. Her accepting and getting past my problems. Not good enough. She was the injured party.
The trauma model focuses on her healing. The focus is healing the mental/emotional injury I have caused. She does have to deal with my problems, but the trauma model puts the focus on her.
From what we have read, the co-addiction route sucks. If I continue my addictive behaviors, she is to DISTANCE herself from me as a means of dealing with my failures. Not good enough. That’s not how a relationship works.
For OUR marriage to succeed, she has to rid her mental/emotional traumas.
The book she is reading spoke directly to her mind and soul. The big takeaway, so far, is betrayal, safety and security. When she learned of my infidelity, she discovered she was in love with a compulsive liar. THAT was a fucking nightmare when I heard her read that phrase. I can deal with a lot of things, but that was very tough to listen to.
The truth hurts.
The book goes on to say that discovery of my infidelity leads her to realize the foundation of our marriage was built upon a lie. It further goes on to say that the trauma victim continually seeks out what she cannot have: a safe, trusting relationship.
That’s fucking harsh.
That’s fucking true.
Our job, from this point on, is to build trust and security. Those can only be bought with continual victories in honesty and time.
I will never be able to change what happened. I can only change what happens from here to the end.
The serenity prayer comes into play here.
God, Grant me the serenity to acknowledge the things I cannot change, the strength to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.
We are desperately hoping that her group does not try and say that she is a co-addict. We think that’s a bullshit concept. Just because I have an addiction does not automatically mean she does as well.
This time tomorrow night, I pray we will have a breakthrough. Nothing absurd like, EVERYTHING IS FIXED! While that would be awesome, I seriously doubt it will occur.
I’m praying our breakthrough is a bit smaller in scope. I think that it’s entirely possible she talks with these ladies and gets solid, sensible feedback and information she can use immediately. Afterward, we will discuss these things as she is able. I don’t think that is an outrageous expectation. Hope is a better term.
The thought of her getting, at bare minimum, extra support is tantalizing.
One last thing that worries me: This group meets 2 hours after she completes her therapy session.
Concurrent marriage counseling was asking too much. I’m just hoping her support group does not overwhelm her. It will weigh on her, of that I have no doubt. Too much information on one day is deadly to her. It can seriously retard her progress.
If it’s too much for one day, so be it. There are a few groups at other churches in our area on other nights. We’ll try them until we find the right one.
If you think of is tomorrow, we could use your prayers. We begin at 8:00 EST. Hook us up, we’d sure appreciate it.