When and how to deal with a painful situation
By maddy
8/27/2011 11:34:22 AM
So, I am not sure if I want to go here, but I've been feeling hope lately that I might be able to deal with a certain issue raised by this addiction rollercoaster my family is on. Though I've been trying to look to the future, I am not sure what to do and am going to take a leap and ask for advice...

Some of you already know this part of my story, but here is the background: During the years and years of my husbands sexual addictions, at one point he came across pornography of my little sister that was posted on the web.

My little sister has been my best friend though out my life. We have chosen different roads but we have stayed close through everything. She knew I was having marriage problems, though I did not disclose the exact details. We talked often about my feelings though she never pressured me to tell her everything that was going on. My sister lives a very permiscuous lifestyle even though she was raised LDS. I am not surprised that she is 'out there on the net' considering the types of relationships she has. But...when my husband came to me a couple months ago and confessed to me that he had frequented the sites where her images were, I was devastated. He called her a few days before he told me and told her about it and apologized to her. She had laughed it off as hilarious because that type of thing doesn't bother her. But needless to more than bothers me.

I haven't spoken to her in months now. You'd think that I would be more angry at my husband, and I am not saying I wasn't, but somehow I can't bring myself to talk to her again.

I understand my feelings of betrayal because of his actions, but I am trying to work through my feelings of betrayal due to her actions too and it is very, very hard for me.

I don't fully understand why I am so hurt by her part in this. I don't know how to or even if I should have contact with her.

Knowing that my husband has had thoughts/images of her makes the idea of putting them in the same room together totally unbearable. All the pornography he has viewed has been 'nameless' and 'faceless' people....but she is real and in my life...she is my SISTER! She was a sanctuary to me throughout my life, but is almost like she is my enemy. Without wanting to, I see her face as the poster child for all pornography. She is like the symbol of this addiction and all the pain my life.

I believe that Christ can heal all wounds. I believe that he knows what it is like to be betrayed by not only strangers but by loved ones too. I just feel like I need to understand my own feelings to make peace with it. Someday, if I ever speak to her again, I am going to have to deal with this. I'll have to talk with her about it. I don't know how to do that in a healthy way. So for now, I am doing nothing. Just not dealing with her. Does any of this makes sense?


"Bless your soul, it is absolutely normal to fell outrage at your sister. Her lifestyle didn't effect you in such a personal way until now. And now her bad choices have invaded your marriage. It is normal to have a resentment. I am so mad at your husband for lacking the class to avoid such a hurtful situation. But I totally understand how the resentment towards your sister would be such a doozy.

So, what do we do with resentments? We put them on paper. In all it's graphic detail. We inventory our feelings towards all parties involved, and then we share this inventory with another sister who has worked through the 12 Steps. Then we get down on our knees, preferably with this trusted confidant, and ask our Heavenly Father to remove the resentment-just for today. Next, we have to do the unthinkable...we pray for the objects of our resentment, every day for 30 days. (This last one is something my sponsor made me do. But it worked) We pray for their salvation. Somehow, in doing this we gain a different perspective.

Maddy, I am so sorry you are going through this stuff. I don't know you but I have grown to admire you anyway."
posted at 15:14:20 on August 27, 2011 by Anonymous
I agree with anon....    
"Maddy, what you are experiencing is absolutely normal. The trauma that was inflicted upon us with the disclosure of the SA in our marriage causes us to react in ways to preserve our safety. We avoid situations, people, TV, movies, places, many many different things, we are hyper vigilant about everything. This is normal for someone who has experienced a life changing trauma. I understand the pain you feel for the loss of another important relationship because of this. Unfortunately your SA made some very bad choices. What addict doesn't. Give yourself time.... need to heal. Love to you!"
posted at 15:43:34 on August 27, 2011 by Hero
I am also sorry    
"I think I've already shared with you that my husband had for years fantasized on my little sister. Even as she was very young, barely a teenager and living under my roof. He did not need to see porn pics of her. She's had a ruff childhood and has been less active for ever. So she dresses up the world's way. I just blame my husband 100%. I am so disgusted by what he did and thou I feel like I could forgive everything, I feel I can not forgive the line he crossed there. And it stays between us. Every family gatherering if I feel unconfortable, I want him to go because I do not want my sister to suffer even more in her life because of what he did. I just feel like it was such a lack of respect for me. And if family ties are not a no no, what is? I am still upset about this thou I have felt my anger almost gone for sometime, this brings some of it back. I have to try to let it go so it does not hurt me anymore... but how? (I 'd like it gone forever)"
posted at 21:02:15 on August 29, 2011 by crushed
all i can say is this    
"this demon goes out by prayer + one can walk this for you, this is a hard place to be. but the lord will walk with you + the answers will come slowly in little pieces. theres a lesson to learn + only you can unlock it + learn it. :) you have my support!"
posted at 22:50:40 on August 29, 2011 by skyteamst90
"Maddy, I appreciate the comments you made on my story. This situation does seem to be a painful one... I have been thinking about it and how I would deal with it. I am not the best at dealing with these sort of painful things as is evident by m y personal problems, but I have learned to surrender those things I have no power over. I accept the things I cannot change. I surrender the fact that my dad drank, my parents fought, and my sister is a drug addict. Those things are in the hands of God. Surrendering the things that bother me so much but that I have no power over has become essential to my recovery. I am thankful for the peace I feel and I am happy to have found this site. Be well."
posted at 23:26:26 on August 29, 2011 by cactus
A prisoner    
"Thank you all for the love and support. I can talk to my therapist about this, but it isn't something I can talk about anywhere else. I appreciate being able to try and sort through it here.

Crushed, I am so sorry that I triggered you. I've had that happen on this site where reading something just peels off the scab of a wound because it is too similar and sometimes I feel like I am reliving something. When there is a happy ending and tools to get there, it gives me hope, but I don't have a happy ending to share right now and really, really don't want to have hurt you. I am so sorry.

You know what is odd to me? This spring, as my husband and I tried to really get help for the first time with his addiction, there were so very many things that collided at the same time. Within the first few weeks of working with a therapist, realizations from the past started surfacing that were trully horrible. Trying to step onto the road of recovery was just like the manual says: it was going into a dark scary basement that was full of terrifying things. At lightning speed, the abuse I faced as a child surfaced again. I have worked with therapists over that before and had readily admitted the violence that happened growing up....but the one thing that I had never talked about was the sexual abuse. For 30 years and all the 'talk therapy' I'd been through, that never came out until I was trying to heal from the feelings that my husband's addictions brought on. It was a rough couple months, but in what I consider a relatively short period of time, I am feeling very much at peace with those issues from the past.

I felt like I was able to surrender up the abuse from my father, just like Cactus talked about and using many of the techniques that Anon talked about. It was liberating and the healing came. I don't think about anymore unless I consciously choose to bring it to my mind, like I am doing now, but it doesn't weigh on me. It is not who I am. It does not touch me. It makes me sad, but I am not hurt like I was and I am not afraid of it. I feel at peace. The disclosure about my sister came from my husband about the same time as he was also trying to rid his life of secrets too. For some reason this issue is the one that sticks and wont let go of my mind and heart. In my logical moments I do not understand why I have been able to let go and find peace over a violation from my father against me as an innocent child, but not from my sister and husband.

I know I can let trauma go. I've done it. I've knelt and surrendered and found peace. I know the recovery path, but as much as a walk it, this issue is not leaving me. Maybe it is just a matter of time and faith testing - I don't want to question God's reasons...but it is such a heavy burden and I don't want it anymore.

I try to think of all the examples of people in the scriptures who are in captivity. Sometimes it is their fault and sometimes it isn't. Sometimes the Lord saves them. Sometimes He doesn't...or at least not temporaly and not right away. I feel I am in captivity with this. I have done everything I know to do, that has worked before and yet there is no freedom from it. Some times I catch myself thinking "How long Lord?". Right now, as I type, my thoughts are considering that maybe I need to consider that He wont deliver me at all, or at least for now. Because sometimes that seems to be His way.

Maybe I have to bow my head and just learn to serve Him in captivity."
posted at 15:45:50 on September 1, 2011 by maddy
"I don't have any new pearls but I just wanted you to know that you're not alone. I am having such a hard time myself. I can't help but feel your pain. My cross is depression and a recurring anger at my parents. It sounds so pathetic and infantile to have these feelings at age 40 but it annoys me to no end that they are oblivious to the damage they inflicted on us kids. They take no part of the blame for the pathology of all three children. I hate it when I hear someone say that children are "resilient". They are quite the opposite. They may be able to weather the effects of abuse in the short-term but it has been my experience that the damage always rears its ugly head later in life. For me it is anxiety attacks, suicidal ideation, addiction,inability to trust,etc. In times like these I take a little comfort in remembering that "this,too, shall pass" (only a little, though)

I am sorry for making this post all-about-me. (talk about self-centered!) I just wanted you to know that someone out here in mormonland is going through the ringer with you. I loved your last sentence, "Maybe I have to bow my head and just learn to serve Him in captivity" This sentence sums up why I admire you so much. In the pits of hell you somehow keep the faith. Amazing. You inspire me to hold on."
posted at 14:24:51 on September 2, 2011 by Anonymous
my opinion    
"In my personal opinion I don't believe your husband needed to say anything to your sister. In fact I see that as being more harmful than good. She has chosen a certain path, so has your husband, just because their paths crossed in some other way other than a family relationship is of no consequence. Putting more shame and guilt on your husband because he looked at her is pointless. Sure you didn't know before hand that those pictures of her were available, but now that you know, does it surprise you that your husband looked? That is what addiction is. Addiction knows nothing of class or respect or morality. This is just two peoples' lives coming into contact in a way that most people, especially religious people, are not prepared for or used to. That is just my thought."
posted at 17:44:00 on September 3, 2011 by blindman
Is of no consequence?    
"To who? Do think it was of no consequence to Maddy? Geez! How is she putting more shame and guilt on her husband??? Your pseudonym is accurate. Blind as a bat! And insensitive as they come! You have no class."
posted at 18:36:00 on September 3, 2011 by Anonymous
It's ok    
"Thank you for coming to my defense makes me feel amazed that total 'stranger's' care so much about my feelings. What a great place this is....but it's ok what Blindman said. I asked for thoughts and Blindman is just sharing his and I don't mind. I actually agree that I wish that my husband hadn't said anything to my sister, but he felt he needed to and I've never questioned him about it.

I don't know if this is the same Anon in each post, but I so appreciate the validation and the support. I don't know how to untangle this mess, and it doesn't fix it that others are going through rough times as well, but it does make it feel less alone."
posted at 19:59:41 on September 3, 2011 by maddy
Thanks, Maddy.    
"I shouldn't have reacted like I did. I apologize, Blindman. There's never any excuse for insults. Your comments caught me sideways and I am the one lacking in class for letting my anger get the better of me. If Maddy wasn't offended than my anger probably has everything to do with what's going on in my own personal life. Please forgive."
posted at 20:26:37 on September 3, 2011 by Anonymous
I think Blindman    
"it is of no consequence for you as an addict. But it means so much for the betrayed wife. It is personal. It is my family. You can do whatever you want with women I do not know but not my family. My family is sacred. I felt so disrespected and it ruins family gathering for me. I hate porn, I hate how it has destroyed beautiful moments for me, even family moments, I hate how it came between me and my loving sister. I hate what it has turned my husband into, a man so selfish whom I can not trust, who did not care about how sacred family is for me, who would do anything including ruin our relationship to satisfy his hunger for lust. A liar. You are right for him it was just another girl. For me it was my little sister. I need to feel safe when I am with my family. I wish it would have had a stop at family at least. And I worry... Blindman, if there is no limit, no boundary.. for those who have teenage age daughters, or grown-up daughters.... how do you justify that....just another girl? My daughters are still young.. but still the question has crossed my mind, it is like a secret fear, I am almost afraid to express. Even as he recovers, what if he relapses.. when they are teenagers, can he be tempted by his own daughters, seeing as there are no limits and no boundaries in addiction?

Maddy, do not worry about having triggered my anger. You did no such thing, but give an opportunity to see that I was not alone dealing with this. Also, I have family gathering coming up in the weeks ahead, so the issue is coming back. I do not want to avoid it, I want to deal with it. I do not want to pretend it is not there and it doesn't hurt. I want to find the healthiest way to deal with it. Thou, I prayed and I want to let go. I feel I can not trust him. I am constantly on my guards with him. Sometimes, I just want to be free. I know if my kids were not there, I would not hesitate at all. I would forgive and go. I am so tired of dealing with it. I do not see the end of it ever. For me there is nothing in this relationship, even if he heals and becomes the prophet, that would compensate for the pain. When I stop and think of the future, I want out. Even thou, I want the best for him, and I want him to succeed in his life and go on, etc. I just want peace in my life. And I have greater peace, as I work the recovery program, but I long for the peace of not having to deal with this and sometimes I associate that with not having to see him again. He has brought Gethsemane, and I now longed to be delivered out of the bondage that this marriage has become (not all the times, but sometimes).
posted at 13:30:27 on September 4, 2011 by Anonymous
My apologies    
"To Maddy, anonymous, and anyone else going through similar circumstances. I now realize that what I wrote was rather blunt and I only gave a little, yet poor, explanation. My intent was not to hurt, anger, or offend. My only intent was to shed some light on the nature of this disease. To the lustful natural man who falls victim to his basest desires without hesitation, there are sadly very few things he will not do if he is given the opportunity. Class or not, love of family or not, sacred covenants or not, concerned wife or not, the addiction is a selfish and egocentric monster that cares only about one thing. The worries, concerns, and feelings of others come second.

The process of recovery is realizing the impact it is having on the self, others, and relationship with God. The actual path of recovery is individualized, there is no cookie cutter method to get on that path. It is a matter of seeing where one is and where they want to be. Is what I am doing helping me get to where I want to be? If not, then what steps must be taken to change that? This is where a loving support network, therapists, bishops, friends, family come in to offer non-judgemental help on how this person can reach their goal. It is not a as simple as go to church, read scriptures, and pray; those things may be part of it, but what those things are aiding in is the person's relationship with God. Addiction dulls one's sensitivity to the Spirit and choices made in acting out by natural law remove them from the Spirit.

Realizing the emptiness that has engulfed my life I have to make the choice, often daily, to choose God, to let Him have my pain, sorrow, and temptations.

Everything I say is simply what I have discovered on my own personal path. It applies to me first, that way I can try to avoid hypocrisy. Life is a process, a learning experience, a growing opportunity. The trials we face do seem unbearable, unthinkable, or outright unfair at times, but they are for our good. Our trials are meant to teach us something which we currently lack. While the process may seem difficult, I am reminded of that saying "I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it." If we were to go through this life without being tried with something so intense, how can we honestly have any claim to the celestial kingdom?

I do not mean to down play or minimize the feelings of all the spouses, parents, friends, and loved ones who are touched by this, their trials created in response to one person's actions are unfortunate. However, it is also an opportunity. A chance to try one's faith and come closer to God. Without evil there could be no good, without pain there could be no joy. This does not make experiencing the pain any easier, I just mean to say that it is part of life.

It is difficult to not get buried under all of the pain, remorse, suffering, shame, guilt, and other side effects of life's choices. It is what we do with what we are given that determines who we are and where we are going.

I do hope that something good has come from this. People coming together and sharing thoughts is one of the best ways to learn. Again everything I say here I say to myself first. Enduring to the end never meant much to me until this addiction reared its head in my life. Enduring it well, now that is a challenge. The way to God is not easy, but it most certainly will be worth it.

Hang in there, all of you. You can make it, the process of getting there may be different than what you now expect, because we are all being changed by the choices we make and the trials we face. If we remember to build our relationship with God our understanding of life and its events will become more clear. We will learn to appreciate life in all its tragedy and splendor. It is just a matter of perspective.

Article of Faith 13; "we hope to endure all things," God's people will not gain eternity easily.

Go with God and may you find peace."
posted at 14:24:59 on September 4, 2011 by blindman

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"Brothers and sisters, let's sell that summer cottage in Babylon. Let us be not "almost" but "altogether" Latter-day Saints. "

— Larry W. Gibbons

General Conference October 2006