To pick up the thread of my last post, “Looking Back,” there are two important things I want to share about how I survived the early, heavy, stupefied months following the death of my partner, and then, five months later, discovering her secret life as a sex addict – a life that spanned the 27+ years of our illusory partnership.
First, nothing in my repertoire of spiritual teachings, mental health tools, Three Principles education, or psychology studies could’ve prepared me for the blindsiding that occurred following the discovery of my partner’s sex addiction.
One of the few things I could remember to do each day – each hour really – to keep going forward was from my Three Principles studies, and the reminder that my thoughts, like all thoughts, would pass. What a relief, given that the content of most of my thoughts is not printable here!
If you’ve discovered your partner is a sex addict, or even believe he or she might be, then I’m certain you’ve had similar torments (demons) take over. Really, they’re just our own thoughts. But, if you are like I was, those thoughts can become both frightening and infuriating.
Oh, and the Serenity Prayer… I said it out loud countless times a day for at least two years. Although these words were soothing, the wisdom to know the difference eluded me. To me, wisdom meant finding out why my partner did what she did. What had I DONE to deserve this? I wanted instant answers and explanations. I wanted to blame someone; to focus those headlight beams on my sex addict partner. I could not imagine what I’d done “wrong.”
These were about the only tools in my box at that time: the conviction that my thoughts would pass and that Serenity Prayer.
I muddled through fairly well… at least as well as I could at the time. I had access to plenty of essays and online talks by Three Principles master teachers.
I’d lost a case twice with the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) to remove the license of a therapist my partner and I called upon over a period of 18 or 19 years… A therapist I believe carried out a secret relationship with my partner until the day she died and who withheld my partner’s rampant, lifelong, sex addiction from me, exposing me to potential STDs for nearly 20 years.
It was in this frame of mind that I spoke with Elsie Spittle for the first time.
For those of you who don’t know, Elsie was a good personal friend of Sydney Banks and it was Sydney who had the epiphany that brings us this marvelous, spiritual Understanding of mind, thought, and consciousness, and which will help you to heal more quickly from the devastation you’re suffering.
Before Sydney Banks died, Elsie was one of two people whom he appointed to keep the Three Principles teaching as pure and simple as possible.
When Elsie and I finally spoke, I was strained, furious, and launched into the above story about my trials and tribulations with the BBS. She immediately asked me to stop talking and said Sydney didn’t want us to return to memories because doing so only recreates old feelings and takes away from our peace of mind – which is what we really want and need to begin healing.
I was taken aback! How could this be?
Should a therapist be allowed to carry on unethically and I’m to act as if nothing happened?!? Why do we have rules and laws, if victims are expected to slink quietly away and eat crow? To be sure, this was not the “help” or answer I was expecting.
Elsie is a patient, soft-spoken woman whom I care for and respect. I tried to “hear” what she was saying, but it fell on deaf ears. Except for one point – she said not to get upset about the BBS situation because we cannot create change inside of institutions. Change has to come from outside of systems.
That stopped me in my tracks and gave me a new perspective, and helped to calm me down. But I didn’t have the depth of understanding about the power our thoughts and thinking have to affect our feelings that I have today.
I didn’t know, as Mark Howard points out, that we have deep, deep feelings that will heal anything. It is accessing those feelings inside of us – instead of looking outside ourselves for explanations and wisdom – that give us the hope and healing we seek.
As Sandra Krot points out in her essay, “FEELINGS: WHAT ARE THY GOOD FOR?” inside is where the wisdom, intelligence, and new thinking lie.
In other words, we already have the innate mental health and resilience we need to commence healing.
I’d heard the words, but they didn’t sink in for the longest time, and I didn’t know how to access that level of consciousness.
“Access” really isn’t the best word. I now realize that I thought going deeper and quieting my mind would only be more painful and lonely than what I was trying to get away from.
I can now see what I was trying to get away from were my own thoughts! They were creating even more turmoil for me than the original incidents, replaying like scratchy, old 78 LPs.
I’ll try to paraphrase something soothing that Mark Howard shared in a teleseminar a couple of years ago and that is, yes, discovering these betrayals is very real and there’s no denying the suffering. Yet these experiences cannot touch the spiritual wisdom and Intelligence we are. It cannot do away with the fact that we are Mind and Intelligence and the Wisdom of Creation that we are all a part of. That can’t be taken away from us.
Some people say they don’t like “the god stuff” or “spiritual stuff” and their eyes glaze over if you broach the subject as a way out of misery. However, what’s to like? We are already a part of the divine or spiritual energy that is life! And we have that deep feeling within us, which is love and understanding, and at any moment it will show us a way out.
And on that same teleseminar, a participant added, “We are already okay, we just don’t know it! We have to sit and be quiet … the Three Principles ARE there and knowingness will come to us. Things will work themselves out.”
What a great message of hope.
I want to close with a poem with something Ellen Bass captures in her poem, “The Thing Is:”
…to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you’ve held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands…
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Isn’t that stunning “… and everything you’ve held dear crumbles like burnt paper in your hands…”
So… We are not alone in our suffering after all. Poetry like this steers me back to center and softness even if it’s still a very tender center that never quite heals over. I hope this all makes sense and helps, as these Principles and the concepts they embody will help speed up your healing and recovery! Questions? Comments? Please don’t hesitate to share them below… I’d love to hear from you!