I'm a wife dealing with her husband's addiction to pornography. I hope to be a resource for wives (and family members) dealing with similar struggles. Please join in the conversation and leave comments--even if you are here for curiosity's sake and are just learning about this kind of struggle! You can read my story here and the 4 things I think every addict's wife should know here.
Thursday, December 8, 2011
What I've Learned: Part 1
I've learned that this problem will be with us forever. How's that for depressing? ;) Actually, although the realization of this fact was depressing, it has also made things so much easier for me to deal with. Let me explain.
I want this to go away. I want it to be GONE. To never have to deal with it again. Unfortunately, that's not the case. Addiction doesn't go away. The addict can become "sober" and stop "using" but the addiction will always be there.
I'm someone who likes to plan for the future. This understanding has made planning for the future so much easier. Relapse will most likely happen. Once I got that into my head, I was able to prepare myself for the next relapse instead of just praying and praying that it wouldn't happen. I was able to assure my husband that I would be supportive and understanding if he would just tell me when something happened. And the next time he admitted a relapse, I kept my cool. I hugged him. We talked about it. We made a plan. I didn't break down. I didn't get angry.
He actually cried when we were done talking. He was so scared that I would lash out at him and not talk to him for days. He wants to tell me but is so afraid of hurting me. Knowing he can trust me as a support and not just as someone who will yell at him and cry and ignore him every time he messes up has helped him open up to me.
You see, the trust issues go both ways. I have trouble trusting him because he lies. He doesn't trust me as someone who will actually help him, because he knows how hurt and mad I'll be. He admitted that he needs to start trusting in my ability to love and forgive and support him. Would you go tell your Bishop you made a mistake if you knew he was going to start yelling at you and give you the silent treatment every time you saw him at church? No. You would never go talk to him.
Realizing that my husband was going to relapse some day made me realize that he would need my support when that day came.
I've learned that supporting him means listening to him, helping him, loving him. It also means being firm with him and being honest about his behavior and my expectations for him, but that feedback needs to be positive and constructive.