I know that at this moment many of you feel overwhelmed because of what you’ve discovered about your marriage. And I am so sorry! There is so much pain in this journey as partners of sex addicts. The grief you feel may still be raw. The lies and deceptions many of you face in your marriage cut to the core of your being. The betrayal is beyond anything you’ve previously experienced. I remember that in my own journey even breathing was hard some days. My heart hurts for you as I remember those days, months and even years of deep, deep pain. It is overwhelming.
And life just doesn’t slow down, does it? Life continues to demand that you show up and meet your commitments: that may include children, a husband, work, financial responsibilities, meal preparation, appointments to attend, and counselors to see. Have you asked yourself, “What about me and my needs? Where do I fit into my day?” It can all be too much to handle. I get that. In the complex mix of emotions and demands, remembering to keep “it” as simple as possible can help.
Keep it simple!
In the dark days of my own heartache, I learned that to keep it simple I was forced to accept that I could only do one thing at a time, and acceptance required a “no guilt allowed” policy. Learning the “no guilt” part required work because like most women, I felt guilty too much of the time, even before discovery.
Can I be honest with you? I just didn’t have the energy or the will to do much early in my journey. My brain and my body didn’t work well during those black days. I had to learn to keep it simple, or I wouldn’t have survived the bomb that had gone off in my marriage. My moto back then was Keep it simple and things get done, one thing at a time. I suggest you write my moto down and put it somewhere as a reminder that this is your life right now. And no guilt allowed!
Give yourself grace
The truth is, we don’t have to do everything on our to-do list. Most of us don’t have very clean houses or cook delicious meals in the midst of this trauma. Keeping up with the laundry may be as far as we get, and that’s okay. Giving ourselves permission to let go of everything that’s non-essential can help us find time to grieve our losses and begin a healing process.
You will also need to give yourself grace if your healing takes an extended length of time. Most of us are willing to give the process three months to six months. But depending on your story, it’s possible it can take two or three years! And that’s okay. It takes what it takes.
Slow everything down
Let's talk briefly about what goes on in our brain when we experience trauma. Understanding what trauma does to our brains helps us understand why we feel and act the way we do.
The prefrontal cortex, which is the front part of our brain, is also the rational part. This is where our consciousness lives, and it’s where processing and reasoning occur. When you experienced trauma, you went into a fight, flight, or freeze state. That caused your prefrontal cortex to shut down. Your brain experienced overwhelm because of your circumstances, and your brain/body automatically went into a survival mode. It’s this shutting down that causes everything to be so difficult right now. You are in survival mode.
Adjusting our lives and slowing down our self-expectations enables us to adapt to our present reality. And to make space for healing, however long it takes. So slow down; breathe; ask for help when you need it; and keep things simple by focusing on one task at a time. Making these behaviors your new norm helps you stay grounded and avoid overwhelm. And they will enable you to slowly move toward healing.
Embrace the reality that recovery is a lifestyle
Our trauma is calling us onto a healing journey. A journey that will lead us to a heart that will be healed and whole. We must embrace and surrender to the process of recovery.
First, we need to acknowledge that our lives are a mess and admit that we can't heal on our own. We need to honestly admit that we need help to heal. It’s not just our husband’s recovery; we need to recover as well. Though our journeys are different, we, too, need a healing process.
It takes courage to admit we are powerless over our pain and to find and ask for help. To let go of our pride, control and accept our limitations. It has been said that recovery is a team sport; it’s not a game you can play on your own. If you are ready, we invite you to fill out the assessment form on our website (Click Here) and receive a free one-hour call with a coach on our team. We would love to have the honor of hearing your story and explaining what you can do to begin to heal.
Your sister on this crazy journey,
Coach Katherine, CPLC
Certified Professional Life Coach