Is this what trauma looks like? Feels like?
It’s been almost a year and a half from discovery. From the day my world shattered. You probably know that feeling all too well. Like the floor got pulled out from under you and you fell into a giant black abyss. Along the way, during the fall, depending on your own circumstances, you might have been hit by unseen objects or even people you loved.
And the descent continued. The air was sucked out of your lungs. Your whole body felt the fall and no matter how you might have resisted, this was and is your reality.
At some point you hit the bottom. At some point I must have hit the bottom. But now I’m not sure. Because I’m a year and a half out from discovery and it’s like my body is feeling, all over again, the experience of that fall.
So here I am, writing, trying to process this new season I’m in. This season of being a year and a half into recovery.
To be gracious I’ve only fully known my husband of 10 years for the last year. Full disclosure with a polygraph was a year ago. I tell people that was our “ground zero.” Maybe that was the black pit at the bottom of my fall.
Since discovery, my husband got an individual counselor, got a sponsor through SAA, and began attending weekly meetings. He went to a 3-day intensive for addicts and meets once a week with that brotherhood he found there. He did Conquer for six months with three other men and still is in contact regularly with them. And he has changed. In subtle and other significant ways.
I got into individual counseling as well, went to a 3-day intensive for wives of addicts, and started attending a women’s support group. Following disclosure, we also started couples counseling with a CSAT (Certified Sex Addiction Therapist) twice a month.
We have done a lot of work individually and as a couple. Yet here I sit, writing about the fall, and my body remembers it all like it was yesterday. Why am I here? Why am I struggling now?
There is no playbook on how to walk through this betrayal trauma, but walking I am. I have my fears. I’m waiting for the downcast eyes, folded hands, head-low-stance of my husband as he reveals a “slip” or “relapse”. I’m having dreams about it and my body is in panic mode. In this place I just want to shut down, focus on all the horrible things he has done, and live in that angry spot to protect myself. I’m waiting because all this progress doesn’t mean he is “fixed” or even that I am healed. It means we are further along, have more tools, and have hope of how life can (and has been) be different.
When I was in shock after discovery, I penned the truth of who God is to ground me. I think I have to do that continually because the lies are what keeps me at the bottom of that pit; immobilized and without hope.
- God is the truth.
- He can NEVER lie.
- He is the ONLY ONE worthy of my worship.
- He is gentle.
- He is kind.
- He is GOOD.
- He loves me more than I will ever fully comprehend or know.
- He is my shield.
- He is who I should long for.
He sees me - El Roi.
Then it hits me…along that horrible descent into darkness, into the unknown…He was right there. And He still is right next to me. It’s when I panic and try to control that I lose sight of that. He wants me to stop looking down and instead into His eyes. This is where peace surpasses all understanding. This is where all the wounds I’ve suffered, even outside of my marriage, are healed. Completely. There and only there is where my true love is.