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Almost two months ago I first wrote out our story of sex addiction and betrayal trauma. I shared it in a few Facebook groups and got some amazing support and love. Not one single person judged us or was unkind, well at least if they did they kept it to themselves.
For some odd reason one of the religious groups I shared with didn’t approve the post until today. Honestly I’d kind of forgotten I’d even submitted it there! I think God may have had a hand in it, however, because we got a few comments that two months ago would have sent me into deep trauma.
Thankfully today I was able to see that they were clearly coming from someone who would rather deny their addiction and blame-shift everything onto their spouse than accept responsibility for their own choices. In fact at one point I actually laughed at the absurdity because, rather than accept the truths my husband was presenting to him he accused me of writing my husband’s responses! Aint nobody got time for that!
You don’t have to live with an addict in denial. Here are five of the most common excuses they use to avoid taking accountability for their choices refuted by my recovering sex addict husband.
Ladies and gentlemen I have to say that the way my husband rose to this occasion literally had me in tears. The validation that he gave to my trauma as well as that of other women was beautiful. It’s not like he said anything new, but the way he said everything all at once without a single smidgen of justification, blame-shifting, gaslighting, or minimizing was exactly what my heart needed to hear today. I wanted to share his words with you because I feel they are incredibly powerful and need to be heard by both the addicts and the betrayed.
I don’t feel it would be right to copy directly the comment he was responding to, so I will just give you a brief synopsis of each point that he responded to as he gets to them.
But did You Have Enough Sex?
The first comment accused me of not giving my husband enough sex. If I was using sex to manipulate him as most women do (his view not mine!) then it’s no wonder that my husband had to “step out”.
Was she sexually active with me? Yes. Not one or more times per week, but three times per week and often even more frequently. For 11 years. Not just for the newlywed/honeymoon phase. She did everything I asked. She took pictures. She tried every position I wanted. She dressed up the way I wanted. She broke down certain techniques and tried to do them just the way I wanted as though she were a student taking a typing class and I was the teacher. She almost never got to tell me no.
Many nights, she would be physically or emotionally unprepared to have sex with me, but I always pressured her, and I always got my way. I wouldn’t call it rape, but I certainly abused her sexually, and often. During the periods in which I acted out in adultery, we were having sex with the same frequency we always had. She and I had sex within one or two days of me being with other women.
After just this one paragraph, you should be able to see clearly that she experienced deep betrayal and legitimate emotional trauma. But let’s continue.
You Can’t Get PTSD From Betrayal Trauma
Next this man took offense to me describing my betrayal trauma as PTSD and said that I couldn’t claim that unless I was officially diagnosed.
PTSD must be diagnosed by a professional. PTSD can’t have occurred unless your physical life was threatened. Think about relationships you have been in where you felt someone else had power over you that you couldn’t break. That person made decisions that were harmful to your welfare, and you felt powerless to defend yourself, change the way you were being treated, or ask for help from someone else.
This happens at many levels: in superior/subordinate relationships at work, peer situations at work and school, sibling relationships at home, and many other situations. I’m sure we’re all familiar with the classic human condition in which one person consistently dominates relations with another person over a long period of time, and for whatever reason, the person on the short end of the stick stays in the relationship.
I have experienced this in work situations myself. I had a boss who lied to me, cheated me out of money, asked me to do unsafe/illegal things, etc. I stood up to him and to his boss with as much vigor, logic, commonsense, and appeal to emotion as I could, but in the end, they would find anyway they possibly could to get their way. I couldn’t leave the situation because no other companies would hire me with the experience I had.
The situation was drastically affecting my welfare. I was operating unsafely. Time was going by and I wasn’t making the money I should’ve been making, and my bills were not stopping. My bosses were making money off my efforts and looking for every opportunity to screw me out of what they should have been paying me. I was getting taken advantage of and I wasn’t getting compensated for it. I had nothing to show for the sacrifice I was making for this company, which included weeks upon weeks of travel time away from home.
I felt like a rat in a cage. I felt like a slave. I was powerless to get what I needed. I was alone. Every time the phone rang, every time a message came through my communication system, my stomach knotted up. To this day, I still have a wave of negative energy flash through my body, stomach knots, and feelings of rage when I think about that situation and those people.
That, my friend is trauma. I was in a situation where I should have been safe, but I found myself alone, fighting a losing battle for my own welfare. It doesn’t matter whether it’s physical safety or spiritual or emotional safety. That is the situation I put my wife in. She knew she was being abused. The way I treated her felt unfair, one sided. But because she didn’t feel empowered to leave or to set boundaries, she couldn’t change the situation. She lived like this for over a decade.
Thankfully, we don’t need a doctors opinion to understand the truth. Her experience being married to me has colored her world in such a way that she now has a hard time trusting others. She is getting much better, but the way I treated her led her to believe she was fundamentally not good enough or didn’t really have anything to offer people in relationships.
Little arguments still set her off so easily because she still believes I am going to drive a freight train through her life and take everything I can from her while leaving her in shambles. I have trained her to live in fear of never being seen, validated, having her needs met, or having her emotions mean something to her husband.
The person who is supposed to make her feel like the most important person in the world, like she is special, valuable, needed, powerful, and beautiful, treated her like a sexual and emotional ATM, and she NEVER (yes, I will say never), ever got her needs met. She was starving emotionally and spiritually.
Hopefully you are beginning to see the kind of trauma she truly experienced and how it doesn’t just go away without a lot of love, support, therapy, and time.
Porn Isn’t That Big of a Deal; Stop Shaming Men Who Look
Yep, a supposedly good Christian man really tried to say that women make way too big a deal of this. If we would just stop shaming them then they wouldn’t have to look because they would feel better about themselves. Basically it’s all our fault they look because we get hurt when they do, and it’s really not that big of a deal anyway. I really didn’t follow the logic on this one, but ok.
Too many women treat porn like an unforgivable sin? First off, what is pornography? Do you realize that there is no such thing as a porn star? They are all in slavery in someway. Even the ones who got into it voluntarily find themselves pressured to do things they don’t want to do (pornharms.com). It’s a lifestyle they wish they could get themselves out of, but there is an abuse cycle that keeps them in it for much longer than they wanted.
That’s the ones that were approached in a bar by some studio owner and went along willingly. The ones who got drugged and kidnapped and are now making videos in some warehouse in Sri Lanka are straight up sex slaves. I remember watching some movies thinking, “Wow, she doesn’t look like she’s having a very good time here.”
Even when I sought out pornography for my own pleasure at the height of my addiction, it still bothered me deeply to watch these women going through this abuse. And at the time, I didn’t understand it. I really didn’t know that that’s what happened to a lot of the women that end up in those videos. But it is.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”‘Every time you watch pornography, you are creating a demand for some woman like your wife or your daughter to be kidnapped and raped in front of a camera every day of her life until she is no longer useful to her captors’ http://muchnessmama.com/5-things-sex-addicts-say-when-they-are-in-denial/” quote=”Every time you watch pornography, you are creating a demand for some woman like your wife or your daughter to be kidnapped and raped in front of a camera every day of her life until she is no longer useful to her captors”], at which point she will be murdered. So, since you to contradicted yourself and said women regularly use porn, I will say NOT ENOUGH women treat pornography like an unforgivable sin.
But that’s not really the point you were making, is it? You were trying to say that porn isn’t that big a deal for the user, without any regard to how it affects the people who create it. But let’s just assume for a few moments that, just like the fantasy world most people want to live in, the women in pornographic material are doing it willingly and are fairly compensated. That’s the best case scenario.
It STILL violates the law of chastity. It’s still violates the social expectation of marital fidelity, whether you made a covenant in the temple with your eternal companion or married in a civil ceremony. It still hurts the women we claim to love. That is elemental and will never change.
If I punch you in the face, you’re gonna be pretty pissed about it, right? Well the same goes for watching pornography. It hurts our wives’ feelings. Period. It hurts them just as much as if we went out and screwed some woman. We are telling them they are not good enough, not beautiful enough.
The women in the pictures will continue to be young, fit, exotic, or somehow fitting a fantasy. The older our wives get, the more they realize they can’t live up to that expectation. We are telling them that when we have sex with them, we don’t do it because we love them and want to give ourselves to them and receive them in the most intimate, vulnerable, complete way possible, but rather because we have a bestial urge that they just happen to have the proper equipment to help us satisfy.
That doesn’t sound like true love. That doesn’t sound like a celestial marriage. That sounds like abuse. So no, I don’t think enough women treat pornography like an unforgivable sin. Maybe if they did, the divorce rate in the church wouldn’t be so high.
Don’t forget how vehemently President Hinckley denounced unchastity in ALL its forms. Teachings of the Presidents of the Church, Pres Hinckley, pp 217-219. Go read his comments there, then ask yourself if you aren’t guilty of that type of abuse? Claiming that women have too big of a problem with men who view pornography and that their hurt feelings over OUR egregious sin make the problem worse? God have mercy on whatever man spews that vile drivel in public like you just did.
But Women Have Porn Too!
He then said that women have their own porn, mostly in the form of romance novels and movies, but they just aren’t willing to admit that is what it is. If they indulge then why can’t I?
Women ignore their own versions of porn. Yes, they do. Women of the world who have not made covenants with the Lord. But how can you compare those women to the women in the church who by and large do not indulge in that stuff?
I know there are women who don’t wear their garments on cruises with their husband while they’re wearing immodest dresses. They went to see Fifty Shades of Grey. They lost weight and posted immodest pictures of their new bodies on Facebook. But I also don’t see those women in the church anymore.
The women in the church don’t do that stuff. But the men do. So you can’t justify pornography usage based on the fact that “everybody’s doing it, even the women who claim it’s such a big problem for them.“ Besides, even if that were a correct premise, try saying that to the Savior when you meet him and see how far past the gate that gets you.
Men are Visual, Women are Emotional
Men are more driven by their eyes and women by their emotions. It’s just sooooo hard for men not to look and they aren’t capable of the emotional connection that women want.
This comment highlights the type of emotional retardation for which men are infamous inside and outside the church in this day and age…Probably since the beginning of the world.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”‘Men and women are created exactly equal both in terms of sexual drive and desire for emotional connection’ http://muchnessmama.com/5-things-sex-addicts-say-when-they-are-in-denial/” quote=”‘Men and women are created exactly equal both in terms of sexual drive and desire for emotional connection'”].
See, once you start figuring this stuff out, you realize that what you were looking for all along in all the ways you acted out was an emotional connection that made you feel loved, important, and secure. Sexual relations are the pinnacle of such a relationship with a member of the opposite sex.
Satan knew what kind of havoc he could wreak if he were able to confuse us into believing that sex was the beginning point in seeking out emotional satisfaction. And he is winning that battle quite handily at the moment.
Satan wants us to believe that men are built for watching football and drinking beer and fixing stuff and slapping each other on the back and hurling jestful insults at each other while women were built to connect and talk about their emotions. But that is false.
Men were created to talk about their emotions and connect with other men and with women just like women were built. So long as Satan has us believing that we are fundamentally incompatible, he will continue to tear apart our families.
If you can accept that you will feel happy and free when you really get in touch with your emotions and feel a connection to yourself, God, and others all at the same time, it becomes so easy and so clear to see that we are all the same. Male and female, we are all worried that we aren’t enough, that nobody will love us, that we are really a fraud.
Relationships with others in which we reveal ourselves and lovingly accept what others reveal to us gives us the true freedom and security from all of that negative self talk Satan wants us to buy and sell every time we have a lustful thoughts or commit an unchaste act.
Be 100% Accountable
Here’s the thing ladies and gents; an addict is ALWAYS 100% responsible for his/her actions. It doesn’t matter if you came from an abusive home, were assaulted, bullied, shamed, didn’t get enough sex, oh I could go on and on. You are always capable of making a better choice. Always!
The only thing an excuse can do is keep you stuck in a pit. IF you want to get out you have to be willing to do the hard work to change. Sure God throws a ladder down there in the form of 12 step groups, books, therapists, community, and more, but it’s up to you to grab hold and climb out one rung at a time.
We all have trials. We all have bad things happen that hurt us. It is always our choice to grab life by the reigns and move forward with grace and dignity or wallow in the mud feeling sorry for ourselves. This speech by Lynn G. Robbins is an excellent read on the subject of taking responsibility for your life regardless of the circumstances.
Now please don’t think this means you have to stuff down any negative emotion and pretend life is a bed of roses. Nope. You cry. You rage. You process. Then you move on. Healing and growth are lifelong processes. They never stop, so we shouldn’t stop either. You got this. You just have to be willing to do it.
If you are ready to move past the excuses and start working on healing check out the Ultimate Betrayal Trauma Resource Guide where I have compiled my favorite resources for both the betrayed and the addict.