According to Webster's Dictionary, the word 'redeem' means "to free from the consequences of sin." Although, it was not my sin, I still desperately need to be freed of the consequences.

"Redeemed women of God have tender merciful hearts, backbones of steel, and hands that are prepared for the fight." - Staci Elderidge

"Even though my heart has been broken at times, I want to retain a tender merciful heart- the kind of heart that is vulnerable, open to all emotions, and engaged in honest, intimate relationships. If my heart is hardened, no matter the cause, I cannot live to my fullest potential.

By setting and holding emotional, physical and spiritual boundaries and standing up with courageous determination to what I know to be right, I continue to forge my backbone of steel.

As women, I believe we want to fight against evil, and we have power greater than we've ever imagined to aid us in that fight."
- Rhyll Croshaw

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

That's Betrayal Trauma

Paul left this morning for a business trip.  At 5:00 am he grabbed my hands and whispered a prayer of comfort and safety, he hugged me tightly and slipped out the door.

I was kind of awake.

I have plans to spend the next couple of days doing whatever the heck I want.  Ok.  not really.  I have four kids, if I could do what I wanted.....
I do plan on making macaroni and cheese for dinner.

And being a bit lazy when the kids go to bed.

I'm only slightly anxious about his business trip.  It's a conference and he'll be really busy and acting out while out of town wasn't really his M.O....  But, my marriage has felt very out of sight, out of mind, so I never really know.....

On Friday, we miss each other by a few hours.  I fly out with baby Bubbles for the Togetherness Project (WHAHOO!) a few hours before he flies in.  And I don't come back until Tuesday.

That's what I'm really anxious about.  We haven't been apart that long since D-day.  And acting out because he misses me IS his M.O. (as crazy nutzo as that sounds...).  I'm not even worried about the porn.  What I am worried about the 10 months of sobriety.  I think I am actually more afraid than I have admitted to myself that he has the ability to make choices that could cause vital damage to his recovery.  And mine.  And that is terrifying.

Every where I look, I am reminded of that fear.  It's in his socks in my laundry basket.  It's in the plate he used for breakfast in the sink.  It's in the car when I adjusted the seat and in his toothbrush in the bathroom.

It's in my closet, the couch, my bed.

Everywhere I look I am reminded that I can't control him or his choices and he can, and has, hurt me.  Deeply.  It's fear and pain and hate and anguish.  But, it's also love and connection and joy and hope.

That's Betrayal Trauma.

Wikipedia relates Betrayal Trauma to "Backstabbing".  just saying. 

I love the definition used here Betrayal trauma occurs when the people or institutions on which a person depends for survival significantly violate that person ’ s trust or well - being.

My trust has been significantly violated.

So I am anxious.  Anxious enough that I dreamed last night that I kept slugging and pounding Paul and he barely even felt it.  He was looking at me like I was crazy.

Betrayal Trauma makes me feel crazy.

Because, I guarantee that nothing in my kitchen sink is reminiscent of porn.  For reals.

Betrayal Trauma causes us to obsessively search phone and computer records.  It causes us to have a real moment of panic when we are in the grocery with our husband and we see the perfect cleavage walking towards us.  It causes us to second guess our vacation plans because there is a pool involved or an amusement park in the summertime (or sometimes because we feel that our friend vacationing with us could become a threat to his sobriety).  

Sound crazy?

Or confusing?

Or normal?

Have you ever been angry that your best friend got a boob job?  Or cried because someone mentioned "laser hair removal"?  Did you see your cousin post a pretty picture, that wasn't provocative in any way, and feel a moment of panic because your husband may see it?  Do you hide in the closet when you change your clothes or refuse to fold his underwear?  

I do.

That's Betrayal Trauma.

It's confusing.

It's feels crazy.

But, with this addiction, it is VERY normal.

I am going to spend my evening, digging through my emails, folding laundry, watching tv and reading blogs.  And eating macaroni and cheese.

And for the next 6 days, I am going to acknowledge every trigger and let give them back to Paul.  And God.  Paul is in charge of Paul.  I am in charge of me.  And I am not alone.

I have been hurt, but I survived.  And I could do it again.  Because I am Strong.  I am Brave.  I am Beautiful.  And I have boundaries.

Besides, it's just a stupid plate.  I can break it if I want to.

I am SOOO excited to see all of you at the Togetherness Project.  And if you won't be there, you will be missed.  I'll be thinking of you.

If you are offended or triggered by this post, please don't criticize my journey, read this.


  1. Now I feel guilty that we've talked extensively about laser hair removal. :)


  2. Will reply as anonymous . I understand soooo much how you feel. I confused codependency with trauma for years. I was so releaved when I could stop beating myself up and say I suffer from PTSD. I have been in therapy for 4 months now and medicated for depression. I am finding myself again. Love Elder Hollands talk at this last general conference. After 19 years of this I just take each day one day at a time. I will not go to pool with him. I went every day with my kids. I will not go to a water park. I will go to a beach if we are able to find a spot no one is at. Will not watch much tv or movies with him. there is always a trigger. I have accepted that because of the trauma, I have to be safe an that is OK!!!!

  3. This is exactly what I needed to read while waiting for my flight for the conference. I'm struggling with betrayal trauma too, and I am afraid that the small sobriety streak will end while I am gone this weekend. Thanks for writing this. I needed it. It helped me feel less crazy :) see you tonight!

  4. It's crazy how NORMAL the crazy is! Does that make sense? Ha. For me, the betrayal trauma is the worst. That trust can't easily be repaired. So even though I know I'll be ok. I know I'm strong. I know I can survive it all. Because there's broken trust with the one person I'm supposed to be able to rely on as my faithful partner, there's always the potential for crazy to creep out of no where. Enjoy the conference! I'm thinking of all of you this weekend as well. So wish I could be there!!

  5. I begged and pleaded for 8 years, explained how it made me feel and he would look me in the eye and say he didn't care and he wouldn't stop for me. It took me leaving with our son for him to realize that it was a problem. The whole time it was happening I did not keep my body from him I just dealt with it. Now "as far as I know" he is 6 years clean. Since I am not dealing with his issue I realize I am far more broken than I realized, having kids distracted me for a while but now to him I am just an unforgiving, evil woman who can't just let the past go. I cannot be in the presence of a tv or movie that has nudity or provocative movements, if he has unaccounted time, not answering the phone or when he cannot sleep at night, any time he has to be home alone. All of this makes it hard to breathe my chest hurts and it's like it just keeps happening over and over again. I feel crazy, I didn't know what to do. I am a christian and I have looked to God to fix it and with my husband things are good but I have problens. I can have sex with him without thinking about it but if he asks for other things it takes me back to those times and anxiety takes over I can't breathe and a wide range of emotions go over me. I want our marriage to work, I do love him, so I am glad I found this and realize I am not crazy and I need to seek professional help.

    1. This is a very delayed reply. I am reading your post from 2016 and you remind me of myself. I was feeling all those feelings and beating myself up for it. But...have you thought that it could be because your husband isn’t clean and is just telling you he is? We have intuition. I blamed our disconnect on the fact we’d been married 20 years and that maybe him finally fighting back with me (he usually just agrees with me...and everyone else) was just old patterns we hadn’t fixed. I learned later that my husband had been doing porn again for 3+ years and I had no clue. He hid it and lied about it. I think he was ready to go down with that ship defending himself. I’m thankful I caught him so I had proof. I’m sorry to bring your worst nightmares into focus, but you could still be feeling crazy because being married to an addict leading a double life makes you crazy. Your partner has a lot more work to do than just staying clean and stopping porn. I hope he’s done that work on himself to address the roots and build skills to deal with anxiety and life! If he has and your still struggling I recommend the book: I Love You But I Don’t Trust You. ❤️

  6. Thank GOD I read this. I thought I was seriously crazy, and I feel so much better, because I'm either not crazy or we are crazy together. Thank you!!!!!

  7. Im having a super crazy day and asked God to help me. And this came up. Thank you for again showing me im not alone. Everything i read describes exactly what im feeling and suffering with. I cant breathe most days. Knowing im not alone helps.

  8. I have been married 21 years. When I found the porn he denied it. Angrily. Made up stories. Lied. That killed me. I am devastated. Confused. Hurt. Angry. In shock. I go from zombie like feelings to smashing things. I feel crazy. I demolished the computer and his phone. And then he fell to his knees. This is a nightmare. I don't know if I will ever get over this.

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  10. Wow! So my psycho behavior has a name!
    Married 35 years, he physically cheated at our wedding reception, I tried to pass it off as one last fling, stress, or anything. During my 1st pregnancy I burned 136 porn magazines in my front yard.
    In March it was porn.....again, not that it ever stopped. Last month it was dating websites.
    Recovery? Not likely. He sleeps on the couch downstairs, I demanded the master suite. I go between wanting the comfort I thought I had with him, to wanting to go all Loraina Bobbit!! I pray, I cry, I swear, I pray. Not much else I can. Therapy is hard, the constant reliving 35 years of lies and betrayal. Wondering if I will ever trust again. Will I ever stop hating men?
    You ladies are all an inspiration that healing maybe possible. God bless you all, you are in my prayers

  11. You would think after dealing with this for 30 years, I would get a clue. I've brought two pastors and a counselor into this, thought things were good. Then he got sick. Really sick: strokes, a heart attack, then cancer that almost took his life. I got lazy, and got blindsided again. Every single time, he blames it on me. Now, I finally realize it's not me, it's him. But I am 65, on disability, depending on that extra income. Yes, he says he's embarrassed. But also reminds me I can't make it alone..I don't even know. I just want to spend my life in denial sometimes, ya know?

  12. Been married almost 40 years. I discovered his porn use about 3 months after we were married. It has continued since then. D day was almost 2 years ago. I gave him an ultimatum. Said I was leaving unless he stopped. I guess he took me seriously...for a while. I discovered porn on his phone a few weeks ago. He actually denied it and doesn't know how it got there. He thinks I am so stupid. Last night I put a porn blocker on his phone. A man almost 60 years old has to have a porn blocker on his phone. It's astounding. And why have I stayed all these years? Honestly I don't know. I have discovered a new word...codependent. That's me to a tee! I look back on my life and see how much time and energy I have wasted trying to fix him. Like the lady posted above, my husband got sick...twice. 10 years ago he had esophageal cancer and almost died. Last November he was rushed to the hospital by ambulance and 14 brain lesions were found. He wasn't supposed to be alive after all this either. I don't know what it is going to take to get through to him that we can no longer keep up with this charade of a marriage. I'm ready to throw in the towel. My problem is I don't work, and we only have one vehicle. I have no where to go. So I am going to work on me and the hell with him. Sad that it's come to this, but he has left me no choice.

  13. I've experienced this recently. I thought I was going crazy. Feeling so hurt and betrayed..but he acted like I was the crazy one for questioning his behavior! It's just time to take care of me and make my own choices. I cannot control him and have to accept that he makes his own choices and I have done absolutely nothing wrong.