“No problem is solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”
– Albert Einstein
It’s been way too long since my last blog post. Partly, I’ve been slowed down by a medical condition, which however does not involve tapping the keyboard. Apologies for the gap in my posts!
I’ve been thinking about some feedback I received that my last blog post was negative or angry. I certainly didn’t mean for it to come across that way, but 2013 (the time period I was writing about in the post) was not a good year. And any emotions I tried to express would’ve sounded intense, then or now.
I did feel battered around trying to connect with systems that had once worked for me, if decades before – whether those were traditional therapies or in the 12-Step format – and they didn’t or couldn’t help me “shake the pain.”
Further, as I will share later, I already had all the components I needed to begin healing… and you probably do too!
If you read my last post and felt it was in any way negative or angry, I hope this second part softens things for you, and you understand that beginning your healing can be far simpler than you think. 😉
I shared those “thumbnail” lessons in my last post to give you some sense of what any one of us might attempt when desperately seeking relief from the pain of losing a loved one – whether that loss is through the death of a spouse, or a relationship, or both, as I had, and what I learned from them.
In this day and age, I think we all have something of a knee jerk reaction to think we have to “do” something when trauma strikes, or that there’s an expert out there who knows more than our own Wisdom can offer when we’re in a quiet state.
The groups didn’t work out and I wondered if the in-person attention of an individual practitioner would be more soothing, and help me to focus and regain my equilibrium. I was ready to DO anything to relieve that pain!
However, after working for several sessions with several credentialed therapists and finding little resembling compassion, concern, communication, or even basic social graces, I decided that there had to be another way to get the help I thought that I desperately needed.
Of course, none of this is to suggest that traditional therapy or 12-Step programs may not help you… But, they’re certainly not right for everyone, and there are certainly other ways to begin the journey of healthy healing than just these.
So what was I doing day to day to deal with my plight, and did I find respite from all of the pain? No, I did not. But, as it turned out, I inadvertently had been taking very good care of myself… which I will get to in a minute.
First of all, if you’ve just discovered your partner is a sex addict, you should get tested for STDs… immediately!
There are so many details to take into consideration when our lives are thrown into the chaos this betrayal presents, this critical step is often overlooked.
Then there are all of the questions racing through our minds… “Who do I talk to about this?” “What do I do about my partner who’s the sex addict?” “Should I sleep elsewhere? On the couch? Find a temporary apartment?”
And what if you’re already in therapy or couples therapy? Shouldn’t you stop that right away? If there are children involved, what do you tell them? Should you tell their teachers? Should you take off work? Tell the boss? Tell your family and friends?
And while you are trying to wade through these questions and get a grip, the insanity and pain of this new awareness likely keeps overriding any ability to think straight.
Meantime, one has to work and act like nothing happened, hold it together, continue running a household, attend to the needs of any children present, and so on, and so on…
There probably doesn’t seem to be any time or space to calm down and have some quiet time for introspection, even if just for ten short minutes. And how do you suddenly make time to be alone when up until now you’ve never had that luxury?
You may also become confused and forget to do things, which can be quite scary because you feel like you are losing your mind and there’s no one around to tell you that’s the new normal, at least for now.
And, if your partner has been the one person you’ve turned to all these years for solace, and they’re suddenly not your friend any longer… That’s a hard one! They are simply not someone you can trust right now! Whew … and in my case, my partner was deceased and that took the cake! That partner was off the hook!
The first thought most of us have is to locate someone to help us return to “normal” as soon as possible. Even though we now know nothing was ever normal in the first place. And the panic sets in — how DOES one reestablish their equilibrium after such a blindsiding?!
How does one get rid of that nauseous feeling in their gut? How does one eat to keep up their strength to avoid depression? How does one sleep when memories, and intuitive graphic revelations of the lies, keep racing through our thoughts? And of course fear, or anger, or tears spill over into the mix.
In retrospect, what I found most helpful in the beginning was to have friends, family, a journal, a permanent quiet space carved out somewhere in the home like an altar for peace and contemplation, a daily routine that involved making the bed, making coffee or tea for the morning thermos, exercise, alternative healing methods, etc.
You will notice that these are nearly all self-care and highly personal activities that can help point you inward.
We no longer had friends, which only became obvious to me much later. After reading up on the habits and behaviors of sex addicts and how they manipulate our lives, I began to understand the subtle evolution of isolation that becomes apparent when we most need friends! I was really alone!
Actually, we did have one friend, Marilyn Wendler, who’d known us for 17 years of our 27-year relationship. She was spiritually supportive during my partner’s struggle with cancer for that last year of her life, and wrote almost poetic emails that took us to a level of consciousness where we could navigate the throes of cancer and perhaps death without ever using that vocabulary.
When I was widowed, she suggested that I move down near her so we could walk and talk. Marilyn was a gift. We walked once a week for five or so miles and talked about the spiritual and metaphysical aspects of healing.
Marilyn is a gem, a gifted teacher. She’s an old hand at mentoring both 12-Step newbies and coaching everyone from an understanding of the Three Principles that Sydney Banks introduced. She opened my eyes to the attachments, thoughts and unrealistic expectations so many of us have in relationships. I began to see how I enabled my partner. Boy! That was painful and actually took several years for me to face.
I simply did not need a coach or therapist or 12-Step group, despite the fact that I kept searching and wasting money trying to find someone to relieve my pain. And, as it turned out, a lot of that pain was the normal bereavement process of losing someone — whether through betrayal or death.
In my case, much of the pain was from old abandonment issues I didn’t know about. How did I learn that? From a psychic/intuitive healer!
I’m a big believer in alternative healing methods – they can save a lot of time and money. How? Because, sometimes an intuitive can give you answers in an hour that might take weeks with a therapist.
I did not have family to speak of… However, my business manager, Sean Armstrong, turned out to be a staunch, loving friend who nudged me along daily and steadily urged me to help other partners of sex addicts. This has not been an easy path for me. I’ve suffered a lot of shame and embarrassment about the topic and gotten many strange and unfriendly reactions from people.
So, as it turns out, I did have at least a couple of friends!
That’s really the first thing we need to begin our recovery and healing. People who know what’s going on and with whom we can talk and cry. It is so important not to isolate!
Additionally, there were core tasks that I did every day to maintain a sense of order and calm during this unstable time. I always made the bed, wrote in the journal at least upon waking, and usually several times throughout the day.
I cannot stress how much writing can help as an outlet for your chaos and as a channel to your higher self for the answers you’re seeking.
I also read something spiritual daily — for example the work of Sydney Banks, or Yogananda, or listened to tapes or read essays from Three Principles Masters. I had a library of metaphysical and spiritual masters collected over decades and they too were my friends.
And I walked a lot… Easily five miles a day! And I dragged myself to yoga at least three times a week. Why? Exercise is paramount to avoiding depression!
This was it for me, daily, for a long, long time. I barely socialized at all, yet I did not isolate. I did attend SLAA meetings as stated earlier. That offered tremendous love and camaraderie with others going through the same raw feelings around discussing this topic.
There you have it.
These simple, routine activities, helped build a new foundation for living and interacting with others, for the world had changed a lot while I was married for 27 years. And, take it from me… in the long run it is going to be far more rewarding if you spend as much as time as possible in the first months after discovering this betrayal, getting to know yourself.
Then if you still want a coach or therapist, you’ll be in a much better position mentally and spiritually to have the discernment you need to make choices and to interview prospective therapists, coaches, and feel them out – don’t make a decision about whom to work with based on a professional’s degrees and certificates or years in the field. Rather, you should decide whom to have help you based on how you feel about being around them.
However, the importance of practicing self-care first and foremost – before running out to join a support group or see a therapist – is that you really need to get in touch with your innate wisdom first.
Because no matter how you eventually find the answers, those answers all lie within each of us… You already have all of the resources you need to heal, and all healing comes from inside, not outside, of ourselves!
So, how have you been struggling? What’s been most difficult for you? Are you currently involved in any support groups or seeing a therapist? If so, have they helped? Have you been practicing any self-care? If so, what kinds and how have they helped? Be sure to share your thoughts and questions below so we can all learn from each other… I look forward to hearing from you!