Friday, October 17, 2014

mourning emotional trauma

Last night we went to a couples group forum, from a "Lifestar Alumni".  The couple spoke of their story, they had been in  recovery for 3.5 years.  The man was introduced to porn in his early 20's, struggled a few years on  his own, then worked with his Bishop, told his wife, joined lifestar, and is now happy and sober.  It was a dream story.  I understood from the moment he started speaking that this story was going to be VERY different from our story.  But to my surprise, this morning, it hurts.

One of the first questions out of my mouth to her, once their story was finished, was "Did you ever feel like he didn't support you in your trauma?"
And her answer was "NO."

"You mean he never got mad at you?"
Then he piped in, and with all sincerity, and over the course of the evening, with tears in his eyes he said,
"I knew I had caused it."
"I made this bed, now I need to lay in it."
"I would come home and just immediately ask what she needed of me.   A  break from the kids? Time to get out and exercise? To just be there with her and hold her."
"I did worry that she would never want to be intimate with me again, but I knew I had to just be there for her."
"We talked about sex quite a bit, but I never got upset that she didn't want to have sex."
"I knew that she needed time to heal."
"Sometimes I would ask what she needed and she would say, just ride this wave with me, so I did."
"I called every day at lunch."
"I  checked in every night."
"I learned to tell her I loved her all the time, with all the reasons."
"I knew she felt worthless, so I tried to build her up."

It took her 2 years when she finally looked around and felt "normal" again.

And his whole recovery involved supporting his wife to help her heal.

In fact, they overcame his addiction together. She was his greatest support, and he was hers.

And today, I am mourning that THAT never was us.  Never could have been us.

The porn, the addiction. It brought so much trauma.
But the blaming, the defensiveness, the cruelty,  the impatience,  the pressure  to be intimate or sexual before I was ready, the general lack of understanding of my feelings, the big "WHY ARE YOU STILL FREAKING OUT?" that loomed over my head in  just about every interaction over the last year, it hurt worst of all.

His actions sent me a message that said, "My actions really weren't THAT bad." Which caused me to question everything I thought our marriage was founded on, all over again.  I even remember asking him in the very very beginning, right before I kicked him out, how he would feel if he found out I cheated on  him. He responded with saying; he wouldn't really care, which was why he couldnt understand why I was freaking out.  That was his addict brain talking. Barf. It makes me feel like I want to purge.  What about our temple covenants? What about this church that we belong to, and have made covenants to REPRESENT the Savior? What about our eternal family?

Today, I am mourning all the pain that came AFTER the disclosure.  Pain that doesnt include relapses. Pain that doesnt include porn or lust.

Pain that just came  from a broken boy, who had never really stepped  into  his man shoes. For the worst year of my life, he wasnt really there for me. He spent the year recovering so that he could BEGIN TO TRY, to be there for me.

My theory, about the gentleman from last night, is that he DID learn how to be a man.  But, in his manhood, he was caught off guard, complacent, and searching for something.  So Satan craftily gave him porn.  When his covenants hit him upside-the-head, he listened, and stepped up, stepped back into his man shoes, which were worn and familiar. And took care of his shit.  He never relapsed again. He crosses his every thought, action, glance, interaction, just like every man should. He needed very little emotional support, he needed  a very shallow "low" to  have the point drilled into his soul.

For most of our poor husbands exposure came between 8-11 years old and they have no clue how to be a man to their wives. They have tried, they have "pseudomatured". But they have never really awoken their wise  man within them.  They never knew how.

A boy, stuck in the body of a man.

My life right now is very different. Which is why I am mourning.  It is now safe for me to mourn this aspect of our recovery.  My husband has been MORE man and LESS boy, for 3 months. He feels like this stage of recovery is the stage where he can see humans as humans, not objects.  He sees women dressed immodestly as daughters of God, with a face, with a whole soul.  He sees his our children as real people. He sees his business clients as human beings, and responds to them quickly and with respect. He even cares about his home-teachee.  But most of all, most important to me,

he sees me.

Really sees me. 


His knee jerk reaction is to objectify me. For instance,when I got home from Togetherness Project last week, I was in trauma.  I warned him before I got there. I was low, and struggling.  It was mostly because of my relationship with my mom, not my relationship with him. I told him that. But it did affect him because I didnt want to be close to him.  And his knee jerk reaction was to get mad at me.  After a few hours, he changed.  He stopped, and he started loving me, and he started listening to me to  hear me. And of course by then I was deeply traumatized and it took about another 24 hours of him repeating over and over how much he loves me and wants to support me, calling me back quickly, asking me how I am feeling and seeming genuinely interested, before I was able to get my guard down and be close with him again.

But just three months ago, he was so mad at me. I was "emotionally abusive" he would say.  I  was "a hypocrite" he would say. I felt like everything I said or did was twisted and used against me in some form or fashion.  He was sober, but he resented me in almost every thought, word and action.   He was trapped there and didn't know how to get out.

I don't wish I had married the man who spoke last night.
I just wish the boy I married knew how to be a man sooner than he did.
There is lots of room for forgiveness here.
But I certainly am not going to force myself to move on and forgive. Just earlier this week I was so full of fear that he would just return to his old ways and stay that way forever.  He is still working on it.  And I am glad he is.  It isn't fair or right to have to deal with anything else.


Friday, September 26, 2014

A Whole New Kind of Hard

I didnt write what was actually going on here, on my blog, for a few months. I felt kind of crazy. H was on the couch, off the couch, on the couch, off the couch, until finally I gave him his own bedroom.  I would get triggered and dark and awful, but the trauma would last a shorter amount of time.  And then when things were good, things were REALLY good. Better than ever before. Truly the entire summer was an up and down roller coaster like that. On both sides of the extreme.  Part of it was the fact that I still was trying to decide if he was actually serious about this whole recovery thing, as well as helping me heal and restoring our marriage.  Every day, I never knew.

When I was just beginning the recovery journey, I wrote this blog post. I couldn't understand why some people just STOPPED using their blog to process their life just because their husband was sober!! I concluded that things must be going SO WELL in their life and in their marriage that they just don't have time, or the need, to get on their blogs any more. I thought things must just be SO GOOD that no one is writing because none of us, wallowing in the depths of hell, want to read post after post about how life is sooo good.

I think I was wrong. First of all, I would love to read post after post about how recovery has paid off.  But unfortunately, I can't write that for anyone. Because my husband has relapsed only once in the last year and that relapse was over 6 months ago, but we certainly have NOT experienced only bliss.  All the times he was on the couch didn't have any thing to do with pornography, or masturbation, or infedelity, or sexual objectification, or lusting. But really once sobreity begins settling in, there is this whole other can of worms that is open and spilling out that finally the sober addict and I can begin to work on.  Up until this point, I would constantly come to my husband tryong to get him to address this nasty can of worms but he wasnt really able to see it clearly, EVER, because he was so numb from his addiction.  Now we are here, we are both addressing the can of worms, but H's brain is still broken. He has all these false connections in his mind. He has all these defaults that cause him SO MUCH added pain. And honestly,

THIS period of our lives requires more humility from him than the initial embarking on recovery.

It requires more humility than admitting he has an addiction.

It requires more humility than spilling every horrible deed committed. to his wife, on D-day,

 It requires more humility than the day he submitted and moved out of our home.

It requires more humility than the countless, hundreds upon hundreds of hours that he has spent attending groups and counseling.

This period of our lives requires SO MUCH humility, and without it, we get stuck, we cannot move forward, we literally CANNOT see solutions.

It requires a day by day humility, and that is the real difference.  And sometimes, for a broken addict brain, the humility just can't be found right away!

And from me, this period has required MORE patience.
Patience while he figures things out.
Patience while he tries on different "shoes" to see if they "fit".
Patience while he figures out who he is.

Its one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.

Because let me tell you, patience was wearing really thin the day I kicked him out, a year ago. Patience was wearing really thin the day I received the full disclosure.
Patience was beginning to look more like submission to abuse there for a while in my life.
So to ask any one of us wopas to just be more patient, is seriously asking us to stretch farther than we are able.  And yet, some how we do it. For me it has come through the grace of God, and the little glimpses of hope I receive when things are going really well.

It has also required lots of introspection, vulnerability, and humility on my part.  I have had to find room for forgiveness.  I have had to make lots of room and time, almost giving all my daily effort, to feeling my emotions which have continued to be overwhelming and extremely dark. I have had to accept that trauma takes longer to heal from than addiction takes to recover from.  I OFTEN lag behind my husband right now.  And when H is acting like he is annoyed with my trauma, or is being "a hurry up guy" as Doug Weiss calls it, then I begin to just feel resentful and more and more pain and it feels impossible to heal with that kind of negativity and pressure!!  It is in these times that I would start implementing boundaries and putting him farther, and farther, and farther away from me... All in an attempt to just HEAL!

However, on the flip-side, when H is open to feeling the pain of the fact that he has caused me pain (because of course it pains him), and sit with me in my pain, and do loving things for me when he knows I am in pain then sometimes he takes the pain all away.  Men really like to fix things, and if they are in a hurry to make our pain go away, to "FIX" it, then it hurts really bad and makes it all worse.  But if they do these loving, empathetic, Christlike things, then really,
they can fix it! 
MOST of the time!  
And we end up feeling SO close, closer than ever, literally EVER. I feel closer to him than ever.

My pain is one thing, but the thing H has often struggled with in the past was my fear and anxiety.  This has taken a lot of effort and fine tuning for each of us, and introspection on my part, but we have made these into connecting moments as well.  It requires, a lot of times, that he read between the lines a little bit, and me too. What I mean is that, initially, my fear/anxiety about the future, about him, about what he is going to do today, about how this or that action could lead to a relapse, etc.etc.etc. it would all come out basically as lashing out at him.  I would begin grilling him about his recovery, or trying to get him to see how this or that action is really a BAD idea and should be avoided. He would listen to me and begin to feel really bad about himself and his decisions and begin to doubt his recovery. NOW we are both able to recognize these times as bargaining (as Doug Weiss describes it).  Here is what I really want in those moments:
I want him to recognize what I am doing, sit down, look me in the eye, and lovinging and sincerely say, "Lovely, I really did do all those things that I said I did.  My addiction really was that bad.  I own it, and I also am working and changing it.  I hear your concerns.  Tell me more about how you are FEELING." <Insert me, beginning to cry, HERE> I share my feelings, not "I feel like you...." But the deeper, underlying feelings, like "I feel scared" or "I dont want the pain of the past" or "I'm so sad about ...." and I am able to find what is going on underneath my anxiety-attack-on-him.  And then, he just holds me, and tells me everything is going to be okay.  He reassures me that he loves me, and that God is with us.  And he is COMPLETELY okay with my tears.

Sometimes, I help him in this process by being introspective as I am talking and recognizing when I am going into a fear spiral.  Then I can say, "Can you just tell me everything is going to be okay? Can you tell me what you are doing to reassure me? I just feel....." And begin going into my deeper underlying emotions.  It works so well for us.  But it never works when his default is to blame me, when his addict mind is taking over. I'm telling you its humility to the DUST.

They say emotionally maturity stops when the addiction starts.  I have talked about this a million times on here and I feel like it comes out of my mouth almost every single day when talking to support friends.  So my husband has been a 9 year old trapped in a man's body, accepting a man's responsibility, for years and years.  I saw him mature with no longer running to porn and lust as a coping mechanism, first.  Then, I saw him mature with our finances as well.  I saw him mature in many of his relationships with his family members.  But when it came to me, he was still a 9 year old boy.  A child who couldn't hold my pain, couldn't sit with me, thought only of himself and his own needs (as is the natural way for a child), and wanted to blame me for everything.  The wise man in my husband KNEW the RIGHT thing to do, but he couldn't hold it consistently because his little boy within him would want to take over and default to the blame etc.  So he would be supportive and loving and then leave for work, or wake up the next morning, let some time pass, and he was full of resentment towards me.

He has really learned how to be a man.  I mean that phrase in the most loving sense, let me tell you what I mean. I have seen it more consistently than ever before.  He has had to really listen to his deeper, painful feelings and honor and validate them in order to mature out of this.  It hurts him to know that he has hurt me, so he has to deal with his own pain in a healthy, self-love way, that allows him to:
be a man with me and hold his wife.  
Be a man who isnt afraid to FEEL his emotions.
Be a man who restores his relationship.  
Be a man who commits and follows through with his word.
Be a man who admits his weaknesses.
Be a man who asks for help, and humble receives it. 
Be a man who says "sorry" or "I apologize."
Be a man who puts God and his recovery first.
Be a man who does whatever he has to to fulfill his roles and responsibilities.
Be a man who is sensitive to his wife and her needs.
Be a man who is willing to talk about his needs, and his wants, and his feelings.
Be a man who is willing to be transparent, and really honest in all things.

This is not the man I married. I thought for a time, that I was working towards getting back to the man I married.  But no, this is not him.  This is a better man, than the man I married. I am experiencing the best time of our marriage, ever.

Certainly a part of me (did I mention that fear has been my annoying best friend for like a long time?) feels like I am dancing, prancing, through a beautiful sunshiny field collecting flowers in a basket in a sundress.... and eventually I am going to skip right into a trap and fall straight through the earth slamming straight on the concrete... finally waking up from my fairytale dream to reality.  Because this feels better than reality.  But I try to honor those feelings, speak to the little girl within me, and just love myself and be gentle with myself.  Then I try really hard to live in the present moment.  Because if this IS just a fairytale, I don't want to miss a single second of my fairytale.  I want to experience it. I hope it lasts. 


is anyone gagging yet ;)
I'm in love! I'm in Love! and I dont care who knows it!!!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Part 2: how my little girl gives me the best self-care


So you will remember from my last post, that I am talking to myself :) I Listen to my little girl within me.  Once I have identified how I am feeling, I also need to validate my feelings. I talk back to the little girl, out loud if I can, repeating the emotions she is feeling, feeling empathy with her, being compassionate with her, and telling her that I love her and that her feelings are important. After experiencing negative emotions it is important to do self care.  So then I ask, with my hand on my heart:
"What do I need to feel cared-for?"

When I am in touch with my little girl, this opens more doors to self-care.  Sometimes she wants to throw mud, (an anger-releasing activity)
 or play dolls with my 5 year old,
 or look at old pageant pictures,
 or create,
 or sleep on rose petals.

She helps me get creative. Don't you hate it when you go to do self-care, and you can't figure out what you need?! Nothing sounds quite right?! This helps a lot. 
Also, when I am in touch with her, I am more willing to do whatever it takes to really feel cared for. It's not a chore.   I am no longer doing things to "fix" myself or to "save" myself.  It's an act of love, an act of self-love.

Sometimes I am needing connection:
*Connection with God: 
-scriptures, watching a Mormon message, listening to / playing hymns, singing, going on a nature walk, prayer
*Connection with friends:
-I call people. I have every wopa in my phone with an "R" in front of their name (standing for "Recovery" so that I can easily go to that section and call on people until someone answers...) I invite people to meet me at the park. Sometimes I tell my friends, "I really need validation and support. Can you please tell me I am awesome?"  There are so many people who love you. How do I know? because The WORST lie ever that our "bad guy" tells us is that no one cares, no one would want to talk to us, we have no friends, no one knows what we are going through.  This was one of my worst lies that I believed forever!!! Its just not true. We are humans. We are hardwired for connection and I GUARANTEE there is someone waiting to hear from you, wanting to connect just as bad as you do. (heck, if you know me, then CALL ME!!!)
*Connection with a mother:
-A lot of times my little girl within me really wants to connect with my mother.  Its a natural, divine feeling planted within me by God.  But most of the time, my mother really isn't available.  Physically she is, but in every other way, she is not.  So I have learned to look for "mothers" in my life.  Wonderful women in my ward, and in my community who are older than me, who are willing to love me, and who seem lovely.  I have several.  And sometimes, I call them.  I tell them, "I just really needed a mother to talk to about this." Its not the same.  It will never be the same as having my real mother reach through and fulfill her role as mother in my life.  But it helps me, A LOT.  And in the meantime, I form sweet relationships with older women who probably need someone in their lives to appreciate them.  Heaven knows I DO appreciate them.  And no one would deny a little girls need for her mother...

*Physical needs:
-My little girl within me is really tuned-in with my physical body.  Just like I watch my 5 year old go CRAZY when she has to wait 5 minutes for dinner to be ready (she is hungry)... Or when I watch her climb around and rough-house like a roaring wild animal just before bed-time to only 30 seconds later find her sound asleep in her bed (she is tired). Or when my little 3 year old comes to me to show me his "owie" the tiny red spot on his skin barely visible to the eye (he is hurting).  My little girl within me can tell me what I need.  When we are adults, we get all these mixed emotional and mental signals.  But a little child knows what they need.  Sometimes its exercise, MANY times for me it is FOOD (I have an eating disorder).  She almost always chooses healthy foods because she is needing real nourishment.  Not that hand-full of chocolate chips that I would have gone for, had I not consulted her.  And sometimes, it is sleep.  

*Emotional needs:
-Sometimes my little girl within me wants to make decisions.  You've heard this before:
Don't make a permanent decision for your temporary emotion.
-Boundaries:Sometimes I have to reassure her that I care.  Especially when my husband is talking to me.  Now that she has gotten some confidence in me, as wise woman, sometimes she will say, "See you are listening to him again and he is manipulating us.  You are letting him kick me again." To which I will evaluate what is happening, and many times will respond with, "your feelings are important to me. But you are safe.  We will go and do self-care after this talk is over because you are important to me. However, I have also committed to be in a relationship with this man and supporting him is important to me." I have also formed boundaries around certain forms of emotion abuse. Manipulation, blame, victimization, or lying, just to name a few. I just leave the conversation. It is my way of protecting her.  I am really ACTUALLY doing a lot to take good care of her.  Sometimes, she would have me just leave the marriage. Not because she is bad, because she is so very hurt.  But its not her decision.  I accept her input, I listen to her, I validate her.  My wise woman adds her thoughts. The Holy Spirit adds God's thoughts. And THAT is when a decision is made.
+So I have boundaries on her:My little girl does not make decisions for my life, but I accept and appreciate her input.
+I have boundaries to protect her: I will not allow other people to ____,____,_____.
+And I have boundaries to preserve and love her: I do self-care after negative emotions and after hard conversations with my husband and after I feel triggered, and I at least do 2 self-care items every day.

-Validation: Sometimes, when she is screaming within me... You know, when my tears are literally waiting to be spilled at even the slightest thing, all day long, or my heart feels like it is going to burst within me, or every single thing around me makes me boiling mad and I am clenching my fists trying to keep my cool... (those are all her... screaming... "HEAR ME!!!!!! HEAR ME!!!! Like an out of control toddler who can't get any attention from anyone but NEEDS to be HEARD...) Then I have to take time out to hear her.  That may look like journaling, blogging, talking to a trusted/safe support person, praying to God, putting my hand on my heart and just really really listening to her.  She doesn't ever misbehave unless she is ignored or hurt. Seriously.  And I have spent most of my life shoving her into a dark corner and telling her to shut up.  So I try really hard to identify when I am doing that and stop right away!!! Most of all I want to send the message to myself that my feelings are important, and are deserving of my time.

Before getting to know my little girl within me, I used to think I was so crazy. Literally. Sometimes I would be overwhelmed with my depression and felt so afraid of my emotions because I had no idea what they were, how to control them, and how to control myself!! I would often think, "What is wrong with me!?" I would try to FORCE "let go and let God" without any self-validation or acknowledgement.  It never worked. Now, I listen, I do validate my emotions, I feel. And I still pray. I still give things to God.  And I sometimes have to do that over and over!! But that is real, that is authentic, that is human.  

I will finish this post with a reiteration of how much this is blessing my life.  I have learned there is a beautiful sweet little girl there inside of me.  She is good. She is God's masterpiece. She is sweet and perfect just as she is. Its is her job to enjoy the stars, feel the sand on her toes, play with dolls, play with my children, curl her hair, swing on the swings, play dress-up, and FEEL, just feel.  She is wonderful.  And she is worth listening to, protecting and taking care-of.


What have you learned about the little girl/boy within you? Will you join me in having multiple conversations with yourself? ;)
If you're searching for that one person that will change your life, take a look in the mirror.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Part 1:step by step meeting "my little boy/girl within me"

I have been working on this post for a very long time.  I have picked it up and put it back down again and again.  I have ran into several road bumps while writing it.  But I know this needs to be posted.  I know this tool/understanding/exercise, whatever you want to call it, has helped me tremendously and I am not going to allow any more road bumps to hinder this from getting to you.  Whoever "you" are.

I am going to do this whole thing in the feminine and in first-person for the sake of continuity and the flow of the post.  But don't be fooled that this is only an exercise for women. My husband has used this as well and it has been invaluable in both of our individual recoveries, as well as the beginning to communication and understanding each other in the recovery of our marriage.

This piece has been one of those major "aha" moments for my healing.  I'm sure you will read through it several times before you get the guts to do it, I get it, its not the norm to have conversations with yourself.  But I can tell you, it has been a game changer for me. I understand myself so much more clearly.  I am beginning to know and love myself for the first time....ever......

Place 3 chairs in a circle facing each other.
I sit in one.
The other two are for me also......
We are going to deconstruct parts of me that I probably already knew were there, but I never fully acknowledged their presence.


So we will say, 
I sit in the white chair.
My little girl within me sits in the blue chair.
For now, not to complicate things, we will leave out the red chair but we will get to it later.

I speak as myself, I am an adult, I am a "wise woman".
So, me, sitting in the white chair, as the wise woman.
I say to my little girl within me (who is sitting in the blue chair):
"Hello"
Then I think. I ask myself silently,
"What would my little girl say back?"

Now, I know what you are thinking, this feels forced. This feels a little strange.  Its hard. how do I know what she is saying? maybe you are rolling your eyes, or just reading this and thinking I am a crazy nut. That is okay. Just do it anyways :)
*It may help you to grab a picture of yourself as a little girl and hold it, look at it, or place it in the chair designated for your little girl within you.
*It also may help to place your hand on your heart.  Your little girl within you represents all your pure emotions, the innocent, wonderful you, the playful child version of yourself.  She lives within you, and she influences you.  
It is time to meet her.

So, I said 
"Hello"
And what did she say back?
Speak it out loud.

I say, "its nice to meet you."
She says something like, "I know you very well."
(It all comes out of my mouth. In other words, speak everything that is said in this conversation.  This is a conversation between myself as my wise-woman, and myself as my little-girl within-me.)


Now I talk to her, I have a conversation with her.
Maybe at first I ask her ice-breaker questions.
"What do you like to do?"
"What is your favorite color?"

Everyone loved my post about my experience meeting my little girl within me.  Just as it changed my life, it gave many people food for thought.  Especially the line that my counselor gave me,
"We parent OURSELVES the way WE were PARENTED." The truth is, my wise-woman AND my husband both have beat-up on my little girl for years. (If you haven't read that previous post, click the link above. It will help clarify what is going on in THIS post.)

Maybe now, I get a little deeper.
Was I neglected as a child, was I abused? Was I loved? Was I cherished?
How do I do those things to my little girl within me? 
There is no judgement here, I have done the best I could.  This is my chance to connect with her. This is my chance to rekindle a relationship of love and trust with her; this is just the beginning.
Can I talk to her about it?
My conversation went something like this,
"You had to grow up too fast. You were so sad, so alone, but no one ever gave you a chance to feel your emotions. How do you feel now?"
She responded with something like,
"Thank you for acknowledging me. I take whatever love I can get since I know it won't last."

It took me about 30 minutes before I could really hear what my little girl was saying. In fact I was in the car on the way home from my counseling appointment before I heard it.  Her response shows a major loss of trust in the wise woman. In other words, I don't trust myself.  How can I possibly move forward and triumph in life when I don't even trust myself?
Also, my counselor said in her first conversation with her little girl, she said to her, "you can trust me now, I am going to take good care of you." And her little girl said, "F*** you! You've never been there for me!"

If my little girl within me was crying out one thing, what would it be?
What is the one thing she always tries to get me to hear?
How do I, my wise-woman, respond?

Am I surprised at her voice? 

She is real.

Am I surprised at her emotion? Is she mad? Is she hurt? What is she saying to me?

An invaluable truth I have learned: I don't HAVE TO parent her, the way I have been parented.
"I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better." -Maya Angelou
It is important to re-establish trust in this first conversation, and in most conversations with my little girl.  So I often say to her, "You can trust me now. I am trying.  I will keep you safe. I will take care of you."


Now lets bring in the third chair.


The third chair represents that voice. You know, that one.. It can be ED (eating disorder), it can be Ms. Perfectionist, Mr. Naysayer, the Addict, Mr. Satan's-voice, Mr. Shame, Mr. Liar, Mr. Not-good-enough.  Whoever it is, it is the voice of lies. But it needs a name, and occupies space in your head.  Its time to meet him. (I will be referring to mine as a male, because mine is usually my Eating Disorder and his name is Ed so he is male...)

This is Mr. Liar     (insert the name that best fits this voice for you, here)
Mr. Liar is really really hoping that I don't see him. All the time he is hoping that I don't see him.
If I don't see him, he has more power over me.
He whispers things to me, and I think they are coming from ME! I think they are true! When I can see him for what he is, and recognize another source that is feeding me these lies, then I have power to recognize them as LIES and not truth.

I say hello to him:
"Hello Mr. Liar. I do see you."

What does he say back to me?
Maybe he says, "This is a stupid exercise. You look like a fool. If anyone saw you doing this, you would never be loved."
or
Maybe he says nothing.

I begin to question, is he even there? Maybe I am making this all up.  
I try to remember the last really mean thought I had in my head about myself...................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

Oh! There he is, found him.
(women, If you're really struggling to hear his voice, take a look in the mirror.  He seems to always be standing by our sides letting us know where he doesn't think we measure-up....l.i.e.s.....)

He says, "You are a terrible wife.  Waa waa waa you are always in trauma.  You are not good enough for a better man.  You are not good enough for a real man who keeps his covenants. You are too ________,___________,____________."

This is where I REALLY get to know my little girl.
Before I let my wise-woman speak back to him, I put my hand on my heart, I look to the blue chair and I ask my little girl within me,
"how does this make you feel?"
I really listen to her.  I really look at her.
This is the most powerful form of empathy: Empathy with MYSELF.
Are the things that he is saying true about this sweet innocent little girl?
Now, how do I respond to her?
Maybe I say, "I am so sorry he has talked to you that way.  What he said is not true.  I am sorry for your pain, I am so glad you told me."
Then I look at Mr. Liar and as my "wise woman" I tell him, 
"Those are lies. I have believed your lies in the past, but I won't anymore. I am going to protect my little girl, I am standing up for my little girl."
How does he respond?
Now, how do I respond?
Now, how does my little girl feel?
And so on...

At this point I would like to say a few things.  This conversation does not need to be so structured every time. I have never pulled out chairs before, but I do that in my counselors office and it helps especially when I get out of touch with "WHO" exactly is saying "WHAT"
Another tool she gave me is to simply write out on a piece of paper in columns:

My Little Girl             /               Wise Woman                       /                   Mr. Liar

And hold the conversation that way, on paper. My counselor warned never to put the little girl next to the "bad guy". Made sense to me, so I never asked exactly why.

I don't need to do any seeking to figure out the negative talk in my head, from whoever it's coming from.  The negative voice seems to always scream so loud it's the only thing I can hear.  So, when I recognize it or feel a little "off" I will go to a quiet place, put my hand on my heart, and ask the little girl how she is feeling.  Often the emotions that surface are much deeper than what I would've realized if I had just asked myself how I was feeling.  Sometimes I am able to identify a specific false belief, and my wise-woman will step-in again, to protect my little girl and defend her, because she is worth it.  Often identifying the negative talk and then stating the truth is very helpful, and increases trust between my little girl and wise-woman.  They can work together beautifully.  

This leads into self-care:
Once I have identified how I am feeling, I also need to validate my feelings. I talk back to the little girl, out loud if I can, repeating the emotions she is feeling, feeling empathy with her, being compassionate with her, and telling her that I love her and that her feelings are important.  Then I ask:
"What do I need to feel cared-for?"

(Wait for Part 2, on how meeting my little girl within me has allowed me to really tap into the best self care formula.)

I have learned there is a beautiful sweet little girl there inside of me.  She is good. She is God's masterpiece. She is sweet and perfect just as she is. Its is her job to enjoy the stars, feel the sand on her toes, play with dolls, play with my children, curl her hair, swing on the swings, play dress-up, and FEEL, just feel.  She is wonderful.  And she is worth listening to, protecting and taking care-of.
yep, this is really me ;)


What have you learned about the little girl/boy within you? Will you join me in having multiple conversations with yourself? ;)
If you're searching for that one person that will change your life, take a look in the mirror.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Its been awhile......

I got really comfortable with knowing my husband was reading whatever I wrote here. I had let go of the end result, I was resentful and angry and it was no secret.

Then things started getting better. Little by little. Two steps forward, one step back. And my heart softened.  I saw things that were concerning, I would get triggered, I could write about those things but my posts, and my feelings, were never dripping with the hatred of that first 6 months or so...

So, to write my true feelings now...Now that we are SO DISTANT... Now that there is so much pain AGAIN... has been a huge hesitation.  But this is my place. This is my blog. So write, I will.... My own feelings. Not a subliminal message to my husband. Just me, and what I am going through, and how I am feeling.

So...everything has changed again.  My anger is back in full swing.  The emotional honesty in my marriage is all but gone. "Issues" have been expressed to me in a resentful, controlling way, more than once. And though I might say I have felt some really connected moments in the last 3 weeks, the overarching feelings I have are anger, and those connected moments have been fleeting.  I feel just like I did all those years where he was in full-blown addiction mode and I was the naive-supportive wife.  I am not naive this time, and he is sober, but the emotional disconnection is parallel, it feels exactly the same.

I learned some things. Actually I have learned a lot of things. I am currently rewriting my boundaries.  I realized how hard I was holding onto the marriage and still doing most of the work to ensure a family and marriage that I need.  My boundaries laid out A-Z on good husbandry and Patriarchy and even though the consequences were all truth, I do feel unsafe when I don't have this or that, it left very little room for him to define what kind of father or husband he wanted to be.  I tried to force him to be the husband and father that HE wanted to be, but hurry up about it and tell me exactly what I can expect... That was the basic tone I think.  And it was codependent.
Codependent meaning, I was focusing too much on him, and not enough on my own health, self-care, foundation, roles, healing, beauty, life, fun, freedom and agency.

In fact, the cruelty I felt from some of his boundaries, as well as some of his other fancy papers he has given me since then, made me turn off emotionally. It broke every trust that I had for him except for the sobriety part.  (weird huh...)  He has been really consistent in his progressive victory over lust.  He has been really honest, really hard working, really absorbed in recovery efforts.  That's what I trust.  But it made me question every nice thing he has ever said to me.  Every kind action. Every supportive word.  Because it feels like he just hates my guts underneath it all.  It feels like he was smiling on the outside and flipping me off on the inside, forever.

In his disclosure he admitted to doing that our whole marriage.  Blaming me for everything to justify his addictive behaviors as a victim to my...to use his own terms... "emotional abuse." Really I thought that disclosure, when he answered all my questions about the past, was the beginning of a new relationship.  I believe in change. I believe in recovery. I believe in the Atonement so much that I didn't need to see consistency in all the nice things he was saying. I took his word for everything he said.   If you read that post, you will hear the hope. But you will also hear the fear.  I knew God didn't give me the fear.  I knew God wasn't warning me.  But maybe my own intuition was begging to see his words in action before jumping back in.... 
Anyways,
He said things like how much he liked that I was feisty and passionate when we were dating and that he hopes I will allow that part of myself to resurface. ( something I buried with him because he shut down).
Things like the fact that he realized that all the time when he thought I was emotionally abusing him, he realized he was emotionally abusing himself.
Things like, you can continue to bring up things as you need, within reason, for clarification and healing.

Doesn't it sound nice?

I now feel like a flip switched in me and part of me died.  I don't feel like I got the beautiful picture he painted that day.

Recently, I gave him a slip of paper.  It said quite a few more words, I addressed emotional dishonesty, but at the end it said something like this:
I need a new relationship 
with a new person
The main point I am trying to make is
 I am done fighting to save this marriage.  
If you want to try, then so be it.
I am willing to continue to allow you to be the person of my new relationship if you can give me the above.


I learned that the anger I feel, is a protective barrier.  It is there serving a purpose.  Its purpose is to keep me distance. I need distance.

I need to be a different person just as much as he does.

I need distance so that I can be me, I can learn to love myself and my life again. I need it so I can figure out who I am.  Actually, I think i know who I am.

I think I am just learning to love me for me.

I have increased my self-care so much.  I couldn't do all these lofty goals without self care.  Having my husband in the other room is a devastating fact that could leave me in my bed every day all day. It hurts. I hate it. I absolutely hate it.

But with self-care, and self-love, and gentleness, and determination to heal, and spirituality, and the grace of the Savior, I am becoming someone new. I am free.  Free from the responsibility of saving the marriage.  I had to detach from the marriage, not just from my husband.

So, my personal-practice yoga class started this week.  My yoga teacher training starts at the end of September.  I've began diving into Kundalini Yoga as well, which all I know right now is the kirtan krya but I meditate ALMOST every day.  I am going to become a yoga teacher!!! Isn't that exciting!! I have no idea where this journey leads actually. Maybe I will hate being a teacher! who knows :) But I am doing it.  I am diving in with two feet.  And I LOVE yoga.

My husband asked, and maybe you are wondering too....  

If I feel so dead about the marriage, why am I not getting a divorce?

There are lots of reasons.  Reasons I have told him and reasons I haven't told him.  For one, the grass is not greener on the other side and I know that.  For another, I have no way to support myself and my kids right now, that is no secret.  It would be foolish and we would have to live with someone and everyone in my family is toxic. But really.... I don't WANT to be divorced from him.  I WANT things to work out. I just KNOW they cannot work out they way we have gone so far.

I don't want to be married to a mirror.  I don't want to be married to a stuffed animal. I don't want to be married to a little boy.  I want to be married to a man. Let him be whoever he will be.

Maybe, when we both figure out somewhat who we are as individuals, we can come together and build a healthy marriage.  Or maybe we wont like each other anymore. That is the risk we run when we both have identities and never knew those identities when we made the decision to get married to each other. I act like there is no fear, but there is.  But i also choose not to dwell on it. (I do self-care, like I said before, or else i would be in bed all day every day...)



I could really use any words of encouragement :)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

my secret community

I haven't mentioned this on here very often, but I have a secret community of wives of addicted sex addicts or ex wives. And I think if you are reading this blog, you need to join! We are on Facebook, it is a private, secret group. If you don't have a Facebook account or don't want one, create a dummy account with a different name. If you are interested, email me at chainsoflight@gmail.com with your Facebook first name and last name (or your name as it appears on Facebook) and I will add you. We can be friends:) its so nice to have friends to say, I know how that feels, me too.
We have had a few women who are also mothers or sisters to a sex addict. As well as wives of other types of addicts. Which generally still applies if there was a sense of hiding and betrayal as well as just dealing with the typical addictive behaviors.
This secret group has nearly 300 women currently from all over, mostly U.S., and is in association with the Togetherness Project. If you haven't yet checked this out, go to www.togethernessproject.org. there's even a conference coming up in salt lake city UT, in October!! I am going to be there!

Finally in conjunction with this secret group you have the option of receiving weekly articles pertaining to recovery from trauma or betrayal and there are local chapters in various places around the U.S. country (this program is very NEW but you may already have a local chapter of likeminded friends in your area or city!)
Hope this helps someone. Come join our secret community... Were secretly changing the world ;)

Ps. I wrote this from my phone. Please forgive any errors....

Monday, August 11, 2014

broken heart after I got the boundaries

I find myself today, in the strangest situation.  Really truly bizarre.  My husband appears to be in an excellent place in recovery. Friday he finally completed the 12 step program for himself and became eligible to sponsor.  Saturday he received his first sponsee.  He is sober. He knows the 12 steps. He started them over 3 times to get to this point.

But I thought when he reached this place, there would be many more roses in my life.  This is not a post about how I realized I need to work my recovery.  I've heard those stories. He is sober, but I never worked on myself, so I am still miserable, and maybe I do need to recover. No this isn't one of those. I have worked on my recovery, I have worked hard. I have had some major setbacks (learning that I have an eating disorder as well as new trauma), but I have been diligently engaged daily.

So his recovery has been set, on a good course.

My recovery has been set, on a good course.

But our marriage... is at another all time low.  We have been separated before, so that is saying a lot.  It feels like THAT. I FEEL LIKE THAT.

He has hurt me to the core.  I have cried every day for the last 3 weeks because of either something that he does that is a trigger, or something triggers an action from our past, or just some new real trauma.

I discovered lies.  Not about sex, not about porn, about money.  I confronted him.  And then I have received trickle disclosures ever since then.  Lied a little here. "Omitted information" a little there.  "Covered tracks" here.  "Purposefully hid information" there.  We have a finance council once a week... so it wasn't like we were both just living oblivious to the bank accounts.  No, we were talking about it once a week.  He has owned it, he has apologized. He has been on the couch.

But then, things continue to get worse.

So, recently he gave me his boundaries.  Boundaries that he wrote for himself.  Previously I have encouraged him to take this measure.  Here is the thing, I believe in boundaries. Wholeheartedly.  And I believe that every addict needs to define boundaries.  Actually, I believe ALL PEOPLE need to define their rights and boundaries in this life.  We need to.  We need to determine what is ours, and what is theirs. What we will tolerate, and what we cannot and will not tolerate.  What we are willing to do, where we are willing to give, and where we are not.  What we believe in and stand for and what we are willing to do in order to stand for those things.  It helps us so much in life, in relationships, and in tapping in to our divine potential, to the plan God has intended for us. Writing my own boundaries was extremely spiritual. It felt like an awakening of rights that were always there for me, but I never knew I could claim them.  I have even said, and truly feel, that boundaries are our way of reaching into heaven and claiming those rights that God has already had in place. The boundaries are not my boundaries, but God's boundaries that I am now claiming.  Finding my worth. Finding my voice. Finding where I stand and who I am.

These boundaries, well, they didn't feel like that.  They felt mean. they felt spiteful.  And they hurt me to the core.  The attitudes in these boundaries specifically contradicted the attitudes and expressions that my husband has come to me with, regarding my healing, regarding my parenting, regarding my role as wife, my role as mother, my role as home manager.  He has expressed compassion, understanding, love, support with these things to my face. He has come to me with empathy, understanding, owning his part, with my healing.  He has expressed humility and a desire to be on the same page with me throughout our lives. He has expressed a desire to be fully self-reliant. He has expressed unconditional love and hope in me as a mother. And these boundaries completely contradicted all of those expressions.  They have made me feel COMPLETELY unsafe. Because of this document I now look at him as just a really good "charmer," who has learned through counseling and resources to be really good with his words and what he says, but in his heart he means something else.  I already feared this, but this document, seemed to confirm my fears.  In his heart, he still blames me. In his heart, he still is fault finding and not at all trying to work together as a team. In his heart, maybe he really does want a cage around me.  At least that is how it seems.  And I currently believe nothing that he says.

And here is another thing, he copied and pasted parts of my boundaries into his.  Some make no sense at all because I HAVENT BROKEN ANY COVENANTS.  This hurts me so much because I thought he understood-to a degree- the gravity of what his addiction has done in our family.  But this makes me question that.  He doesnt need to seek for "safety" from me, because I have given him nothing but safety. Oh.... I could go on and on.. maybe I will in another post, itemizing the pain from the document.  Not in this post...

So over this weekend, he gave me the boundaries. I gave them back and told him that I didn't believe they were true to his loving and empathetic nature, that they were full of contempt and vindictiveness which didn't seem true to who he really is.  (So I lovingly gave him a chance to do it over, even though I was in so much pain, to prove to me that he really meant all those nice things that he has said to me in the last 6 months...) Then he came to me later and defended them. Then later I sobbed to him.  Then later he came and sobbed and apologized to me and wrote this blog post, asking for feedback because he has "realized" that he has been a jerk.  I didn't believe his tears, I didn't believe his words, but it did stir SOME HOPE and emotion in me.  But THEN within an hour of that, we started talking about the actual boundaries and what hurt me and what angered me and he left madder than ever, and defended every single item that I brought up. That doesn't sound to me like he really meant his apology.

I am left feeling so confused and hurt.  And It seems that war has been declared in our home.  I have asked him to move into the spare bedroom.  He is sponsoring someone.  I am so mad and hurt. He is like acting like he is all good (after all, he is a sponsor now...). I am so confused.  How can this be? SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME HOW THIS CAN BE?

He used to blame me all the time when he was viewing porn.
He used to resent me, and flip me off behind my back, all the time when he was viewing porn.
He used to objectify me, feeling my only worth came from my ability to cook and clean and care for the children and make him happy, all the time when he was viewing porn.
He used to make stupid emotional purchases before recovery.
He had no responsibility for what he spent or what he made, before recovery.
He lied about money, before recovery.

So when I received the disclosure about the porn a year ago, it hurt like hell, but it provided an explanation to his behaviors, his actions, our disconnection, and we had a plan, a "RECOVERY" that would make things better...

Now, he isn't viewing porn.  I really believe that.  He has been fully engaged in recovery.  And we talk pretty often about lust and he has technically had "a continual progressive victory over lust."  But everything feels like it used to.  I am left wondering who he really is?  I cant understand it.


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Triggered

You may have heard this term before, if you have been in recovery for a bit, you've heard it a lot.  An addict can see an image, or person, or situation, that can trigger the addiction cycle to begin to take place. He is encouraged to identify his triggers and avoid them, but when they are unavoidable, he is encouraged to follow certain steps as soon as he recognizes that he has been triggered to keep him from fully acting out in his addiction.
A wife of an addict, who has had her entire life shattered, obliterated, when she discovered the porn/sex addiction of a spouse, can also be triggered.  D-day, as we call it, discovery day, the day that you learn that everything you knew up to that point, was a lie, is an EXTREMELY traumatic event.  I was diagnosed with PTSD, we ALL experience PTSD symptoms after going through this event.  Then, when we see a half-naked billboard, or a familiar attitude in our husbands, or even just a thought from our past relating to the uncertainty of our past, or the disgusting acts of our spouses in the thick of addiction, WE get triggered.  Not for the addiction cycle, but for our trauma.

Being triggered, means the whole realm of trauma and despair and broken-ness we felt on D-day, comes back to us.  It can be heavy and feel like we are reliving that moment.  It comes with all kinds of emotions as well as physical symptoms.  You are now in trauma.  It can last days, hours, moments, months... I swear after my husband moved out and then told me the extent of all his heinous actions, I was just living one big trigger for about 6 months.
So now, lets break it down.. What do you do when you are triggered?

When a woman is triggered she should:
1. Keep it to herself
2. NEVER lash out at your spouse.
3. Coddle and support your spouse.
4. NEVER say no to sex.
5. NEVER say no to ANYTHING, it would be unsupportive.
6. Remember that you have no rights.
7. Remember that if this marriage ends in a divorce, it is your fault.
8. Remember that your healing has a time limit.
9. Try to keep your trauma from happening in inconvenient times, its best to save it for the therapists office.
10. Do everything you can to speed the recovery process.
11. You WILL NOT be allowed to have these trauma-triggered moments after 3 months time.
12. THE ULTIMATE GOAL OF RECOVERY IS THIS: GET TO A PLACE WHERE YOUR HUSBAND CAN TELL YOU THAT HE HAS RELAPSED AND IT DOESN'T BOTHER YOU AT ALL.



is anyone pissed yet?



But if you are a WoPA, and you are in recovery, can you honestly go back to that list and tell me that you have never been told these things, by your spouse, or by your Bishop, or by your Mother-in-law, or worse, told yourself these things, in your own mind?  Tried to live by these rules in your heart?

I have. 

And every time I ever enforce a boundary,
every time I ever experience trauma,
every time I feel triggered,
every time I begin questioning my husbands behaviors
this list starts playing in my mind.
STILL.
Even though we have been at this whole recovery thing for almost 9 months.
This list is a lie.
And actually, especially lately, now that it HAS been almost 9 months, now that my husband IS doing really really well with his addiction, I have been feeling the timer tick-down, I have been expecting perfection out of myself, I have been trying to speed this healing process... I have been, at times, denying myself of triggers, denying myself of feeling sad, denying myself of allowing myself to go to trauma. (Its a bad idea, it turns into anger... you can't run from it... DON'T DO IT!!!)

Doug Weiss, Helping Her Heal DVD set, seriously, is the most amazing thing.

First of all, he is a hottie.  He looks like he is close to most of our husbands age. And he has been in recovery from sex addiction for over 20 years AND he is a Licenced Sex Addiction Therapist (LSAT).  He speaks to our hearts, he says everything we wish our husbands would say, he truly melts our hearts.  It is to the husbands.  And he tells the husbands what they can "EXPECT" from us, their wife, as we heal from the devastation of their addiction.

There was nothing like what I put on that list up there.  NOTHING!
He said things like,
if she screams, remember how much she loves you.
When she is sad, be with her, try to understand her.
When she has been triggered and needs to leave an outing, leave with her, support her.
He even said that WHEN YOU RELAPSE, YOUR WIFES HEALING STARTS OVER.
In fact, he even basically said, if this marriage fails, it is because you were NOT supportive of her healing.  MOST women don't leave because of the betrayal, they leave because of the rudeness of their husbands as they try to heal OR they leave because their husband will not commit to total honesty.

So, here's the real list, in my opinion:
When a woman feels triggered she should:
1. Listen to her own emotions, honor them by saying them out loud, or declaring a "sad hour" or a "mad hour" or a "trauma DAY". Just Let Yourself Feel.
2.  Remember her worth.  Do things to take care of YOU, because YOU are worth it.  Ask yourself TWICE a day, at least, "What do i need to feel cared-for?" And do those things. If it means you are reaching out on social media ALL DAY and avoiding your responsibilities, then so be it.  If it means loading up all your kids in the stroller so you can go for a run, then so be it.  If it means HIRING A NANNY to come once a week to clean your house and take care of your kids while you go to yoga, then do it.  If it means driving to Disney Land with your daughter and spending all of your husbands money there, then so be it. (I got that one from Scabs, I never did it, but she did!!!!!! Hooray!!) Also, if it means you need space, then SO BE IT, that can mean saying no to sex. That can mean he moves out of the bed or out of the house.
3.  Never put a time limit on your healing, and don't let other's opinion of a time limit get to you, this is not their healing, they probably have NO IDEA what you are going through. Also, there is no such thing as convenient triggers and its okay.
4.  When you DO lash out at your husband, and I am certain that at some point YOU WILL, remember this ONE IMPORTANT THING: this is not who you are.  You are not a violent raging lunatic.  You are in trauma.  Don't beat yourself up for it.  Try to learn (about yourself and your feelings) from it and then move forward.
5.  Its okay to hate him and love him at the same time, or only hate him, or only love him at any given time.
6.  Its okay to feel numb for whatever length of time, in waves, or whenever or whatever.
7.  It's okay to have crazy dance parties when you are so sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.
8.  When you feel determination, whether it is for a minute, or a whole day or more, start thinking about your rights.  Your rights are so important. YOU have rights. And likely you have lost them because of your marriage to an addicted spouse.  Find out what rings true to your heart, who you really are, and write them down, one at a time.  Then, claim them, hold them sacred, find the determination to live true to them no matter what.  This is the beginning of being able to write clear, distinct boundaries to keep you safe from any further abuse that ANYONE might try to inflict upon you. You are worth it.
9.  Remember this:  The road to healing is FOREVER LONG. The journey TOTALLY SUCKS.  But you are going to amaze yourself at the end of it.  Whether you and your spouse recover together or end in divorce, at the end of this tunnel, there is a more confident, more radiant, strong, more amazing woman who you will find within you.

Some days, I feel like that woman.

But today, I feel triggered.



Saturday, July 26, 2014

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The chokey;connection when one persons soul is dark.

Preface with: the chokey, refrencing Matilda, just to clarify.

 He wanted to connect.  I was willing.  He asked what was wrong.  At first, it was about him.  "are you doing okay? We havent seen each other much the last week, how are your thoughts? What are you thinking now? How have you been DOING?"  He responded with confidence and I felt a bit better.

I wanted to connect.  He says, "whats wrong? Is something still bothering you?"  
Well yes, this week has been really hard and he has known that.  So I say, "ya, just all my own stuff..."  You know, you can't fully connect when there are things cankering your soul.  But you can try.  

It seemed like that would be a good warning sign to him.  If you don't want to be in darkness, if you are uncomfortable with pain and sadness, don't enter.


But he agreed, he still wanted to connect.  I agreed, I still wanted to connect.  Not only did I WANT to, I NEEDED to.  I needed to let someone in to my sacred, dark place, and know that they still loved me.  And know that I am still loveable.  And know that I am enough.  Even when I am dark and broken.  

So I let him in. 

I tried to connect.

It's not pretty, but it's me. Right here.  Right now.

Come on in, the door's open.

How do you think that went>?

I can assure you, it didn't go really well.

"Its dark in here, lets brighten things up.  It's cold in here, lets warm things up.  You need to take care of this.  You need to get rid of that spike. You need to change."

But he stayed.

He stayed until responsibility called and then he had to go.

But up until that time, he stayed.

Atleast he stayed.

It is so hard when you want to connect, but if either of us are in a bad place, it makes it almost impossible.  If we are both feeling really real, and the person doing well is on a solid foundation, then that person can come into the dark with the other person and feel it with them, and just sit in it with them, and just accept it for what it is.  And I think true connection can be achieved.  EVEN if some of the spikes were CREATED by the other person.  Even if some of the darkness is BECAUSE of the other person.  When they are on solid ground, they can feel WITH us and just accept.  We can comment on the dark and cold and dampness.  We can pray together. We can cry together. We can encourage each other.  Neither of us LIKES it in there, but the one with all the darkness holds the keys to get out.  They don't need criticism, they don't need instruction, they just need love. And then eventually they can be set free.


"If they really knew me, they wouldn't love me" 
becomes 
"when they really knew me, they loved me."