Question for partners of p@rn addict
By sjanderson
6/22/2014 8:29:56 PM
My wife accused me the other day of being the cause of her PTSD. She is teling me that everytime I am around I am triggering her. I need help in understanding her and trying to help do the right thing. For many years I tried to eqxcuse my behavior because she was this or that, now I am trying to take responsiblity for my actions. There are things though that seem to be deeper than just between the two of us. Maybe I am going to regret asking these quetions, but I truly want to try and save our marriage and I don't know what to do. We are out of money, out of time and seems to be out of hope. My wife doesn't really trust anyone and after she found out about my last relapse she doesn't trust me either. I am trying to step outside of myself reflect about what I have done and also try and change my behavior. Some people have suggested setting boundaries, I don't know how to be honest. for about a year I had some automatic boundaries because I was in school. now that this seems to be on hold I am more free now and able to do more. Anyway I don't know how to go foward. Suggestions woudl be greatly appreciated.


PS she seems to check out a lot into books and online stuff. She will say that she is burned out etc, which 'i get, I try to step in and help all the more and our lives seem together to be going down further and futher. What is scary or frustrating is that we have three young kids who being affected by this situation. Suggestions again would be greatly appreciated


Questions and comments    
"PTSD - Yes. I know I have/had it (trying to recover so I am not sure if I should use past tense or not). Sex addictions of all types are a form of abuse. You are first and foremost abusing yourself, but when there is a partner and children involved it is definitely abusive to them.

I had PTSD from something horrifically violent that I witnessed as a child (we didn't have that name for it back then) and I can tell you that there is no doubt in my mind that the symptoms are all there as it relates to my husband's sex addictions. It's abuse. You've abused her and she is recognizing that she is a victim of abuse. That's good. She needs to walk through that discovery so she can stop acting like a victim and become a hero.

Your wife is correctly describing what is happening and that is hopeful. She said you are triggering her. That is right. Think of it like you getting triggered towards your addiction. Something triggers you....but you do not have to act out. You do not need to indulge. You can choose to go down that road of acting out either with inaction or with wrong action, but you can also choose to pull out your ARP tools and defuse the trigger. You wife is an addict. She is getting triggered. Instead of taking the correct steps (does she even have the right tools?) she is letting the bomb go off, and going as far as BLAMING the trigger! You! That is addict logic.

Let me ask you some questions:

Is she willing to admit that she has a money problem?

Why do you say you are out of time?

Do you need her trust to do the right thing? I know you want it, but do you need it to heal you?

What long term goals do you have to win back her trust?

How do you want to be treated if you relapse?

What did you learn about communicating with her about relapses from this past experience?

What goals do you have in place for if/when you relapse next? (I don't mean that to seem discouraging, but let's face it....only a fool would not put safe guards in place. If you are serious about getting better then be serious about how big the problem is. When I started accepting that my husband might and probably would relapse again, and had a plan for it, it brought me a lot of peace of mind. We all makes mistakes...addicts just have the benefit of not being as surprised about ours because we have a few favorites! lol)

Step one is honesty. None of us knew how to be honest, and that is part of the reason we are here in the messes we make. Just keep practicing that step one (step four will help you with that a lot) and eventually you will build that tool up so you know how to be honest with yourself and by extension, everyone else.

SjAnderson, my heart aches for you. It aches for all of us. But there is hope. I know I've said this before but if my husband and I can find a measure of peace then anyone can. We used to scream and yell and throw things and I was throwing his butt out the door every other day. He slept in his car more than on the couch for weeks at a time. We have a ton of kids too and it REALLY affected them. our oldest knows all about his dad's porn addiction. And guess what?'s been a huge blessing. Being able to talk to my now teenage son about porn and sex addiction and masturbation is such a relief. We got him his own copy of the ARP manual so he knows exactly what we are working on. My three oldest kids know we go to ARP meetings and get the basics of why we go. We'll tell them the full story as they get older. I wouldn't suggest telling your kids unless the spirit guides you too, but for us it was the right way to go. Partially because our fighting and bad behavior had told them anyway, and also because it has been part of being honest and living an authentic life.

Do what is right, no matter how hard and even these addictions and fights can turn to your good and your children's good. You'll be able to have open conversations with your kids about marriage and love and porn and sin and the atonement that most parents can't even dream about.

I believe that God gave us these addictions to bless us. They also gave them to us to bless our kids.

My dad was an incredibly violent man. He was also deeply addiction to porn. There was a lot of junk in my past from him. But today I can say without hesitation that God had a plan for me and I can see His hand in my life from those earliest moments. My dad never got better. I never had the learning and comfort from him that comes with someone in recovery, but I did find it with my Savior's help later in my life. You sound like a good dad so this will be a snap for you. Just have hope and believe that your kids will be blessed by your current problems as you step into recovery. I know this may sound weird to some, but I believe this so strongly. I have perfect hope in ALL off this.

I know it doesn't possible but my advice to you is to have joy in this journey. Be joyful that your wife is angry. It means she hasn't given up. Be grateful you have these addictions. They will bring you to your knees....and that is just where God wants you to be. Be thankful your wife has her addictions because of the same reason. You two can be the best and most beautiful match. Learning compassion comes at a very high price and it is unquestionably worth it. Pay the price and praise God. He is teaching you. Be happy. Don't fear.

Something that helped me immensely was upping my gratitude list. Instead writing the standard AA 5 things I am grateful each day....I wrote 25 and 13 of them had to be about my husband. I did this for a week straight with no repeats allowed. In 7 days my paradigm started to shift. Whenever I feel myself slipping back, I repeat the exercise. It is amazingly simple and very effective. Why not give that a try?"
posted at 22:35:56 on June 22, 2014 by maddy
"I believe that for too long I have wanted to blame my wife's anger on other people and things. She was angry before we were married, she was angry when we got married and it is easy at times for me to say it is her problem, somone else made the mess not me. I have spoken with different people: the counselor, the Bishop my parents her parents and many have said there are two people in the relationship and I have used that as a justification to excuse myself, again because I felt like her anger was because of the abuse and divorce etc from her childhood. Thank you for sharing such deep and personal feelings. I realize that I have a lot of changing that I need to do. I think I may have mentioned it already but when i had over 100 days of sobriety she was still angry and resntful at me, and for about two days before I relapsed when she was ovulating she seemed to be okay . . . I can't use any of these things as excuses. it is just hard to understand what is going on and what I need to do. I don't want to be an addict, i want to be the nice kind person I was as a child. I look back at that kid who was hurt and disappointed and realize now why I turned to addictions, because it seemed like taht would make the pain go away. Just like our relationship now with my wife, I just want the pain to STOP. I told the Bishop hat if it would bring peace to the family I would give up my membership, my priesthood etc. My wife is often saying how I am a hypocrite acting one way in front of everyone and then being unkind in front of her and the kids. It is hard because I feel like i have been giving and extra push to be kind, to be service oriented toward her and them and it doesn't seem to make any difference. As I say this now I think I am trying to fix her, to fix our situation, something I can't do.

Thanks i will give the grattitude a try begining today. Look forward to reporting on my progress"
posted at 05:22:55 on June 23, 2014 by sjanderson
Blown Glass Temple    
"Hi SJ. I've responded to your posts before, just as a reminder I am 2 years and 4 months into my recovery since finding out about my husband's addiction. I agree with Maddy about the PTSD. I didn't know what it was until this. Everything is a reminder to your wife because every part of her life involved you, whether you were present or not. It is very hard for us to be able to find happiness in simple things that we found it in before because when we were in that happiness, we found out about the addiction.

I explained it to my husband in this way:
Our marriage is the delicate blown glass SLC temple that sat up on the shelf. It feels like he smashed it with a sledge hammer and handed me a bottle of Elmer's glue to fix it.

The glass temple - is our marriage, the smashing of it is the addiction and acting out.
The bottle of glue - sometimes is his recovery and other times it is my recovery. He sees himself working hard (which he is) and thinks that it is making a great difference in that pile of glass. I see myself working hard (which I am) and I think it is also making a great difference on that same pile. The truth is that neither one of us are making great progress on rebuilding the temple. Sifting through the glass for me is PTSD and I end up with injured, bleeding fingers. When he sifts through the glass he feels my hurt, anger, mistrust and other negative feelings that stem from the addiction, also resulting in injured bleeding fingers for him.
The realization that neither one of us has the ability to put that temple back together takes steps 1-9 of the ARP and then full surrender of all the pieces to where the temple came from in the first place. The Maker. He is the only one that can melt down that glass and reform it to its original beauty. The process takes extreme temperatures (refiner's fire) and us letting it go into someone else's hands (true surrender and trust in God). We have never given up ownership of the temple, just loaned it back to the one that made it in the first place and made him an integral part of the healing process. At the end of all of this he doesn't even ask us a price, but reminds us that he paid for it long ago. Through this we are able to feel love and gratitude for him and from him. Then, if we are willing, we can start to feel the love for each other and begin to fill that repaired, renewed temple with steps 10-12.

I am convinced that the ARP is a process of learning how to love.

I have recently found a great online resource with lots of very helpful FREE articles (links are at the end of this post).

I have also suggested Strengthening Recovery Through Strengthening Marriage CD's found on

That is the cheapest place I have seen them. Some of their books are cheaper on Amazon, but this set has only been cheapest on their site.

Giving up your membership and your priesthood would not give your family peace. Living worthily every day of both will.

Your comments are always so thoughtful and insightful, I know that you have the ability and strength to do this. I also know that the Lord loves you. Don't worry about her bottle of glue. :) Sweep up the pieces together and hand them to our Maker. />"
posted at 21:44:00 on July 13, 2014 by 1stepatatime
"Me likey! 1Step that was awesome.

Totally stealing that analogy about the glass temple. Spot on!"
posted at 23:11:45 on July 13, 2014 by maddy
"You sound so keyed in to the solution and awesome! You've always had great posts but it sounds like you are finding some real serenity in your journey. I'm glad!"
posted at 10:56:03 on July 14, 2014 by Anonymous
Thank you 1Step    
"Thank you...needed to read this today. I'm not good at letting go and complete surrender to my maker. It's so so hard for me to do. I've done it before and my husband keeps making the same mistakes. Over and over, year after year and I just can't let that happen to my heart again. I think I am trusting in God, but I just can't trust my husband. Trusting my husband is an integral part of my marriage which has been next to non-existent. Where does that kind of faith come from? Feeling really frustrated with my husband and with myself for not being able to let go and let God. Your analogy helps me see some things clearer and it is comforting. I'll hang on to that for now. Thank you"
posted at 15:50:36 on July 14, 2014 by Anonymous
Thanks for your comments    
"My wife and I had a discussion the other day, yesterday to be exact. I asked her what she thought about my going back to school to continue the education/job change career adventure. She answered she would want me to continue school to get me out of the house and away from her. After that though she opened up to me sharing her concerns and worries about our family, more about what sees as an impending s@#$ storm that is coming. It hits her especially hard because we live in the Nation's capitol and for her she I guess feels in the cross hairs. I feel some similar anxiety, but more from the fact that I have had the same job for 11 years and I have no opportunity for advancement or promotion. Realizing that we were sort of talking about the same thing really helped a lot. I tried really hard to see the world from her prespective. A husban who is a p@rn addict and physically disabled to one degree or another with three young girls. it would scare the daylights out of me if i were in her situation. I have an appointment to go meet with the Bishop tomorrow evening. I hope that by getting this all off of my chest I can begin to move forward. I realize that she has been trying to fix me to one degree or another. As I reflect on the last four months or so I haven't been completely honest with everyone. I haven't realized how deep this dishonesty goes for me. I hope that going to speak with the Bishop tomorrow will help me rid myself of whatever has been holding me back and that the Spirit will be here in our home more abundantly. We really need our Savior's help. I had always thought we were too far gone or that we had already hit rock bottom, only now I think we have sunk to new lows. I am just hoping that things can work out with the Savior's help"
posted at 20:56:10 on July 14, 2014 by sjanderson

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"If it were possible to make your road very easy, you wouldn’t grow in strength. If you were always forgiven for every mistake without effort on your part, you would never receive the blessings of repentance. If everything were done for you, you wouldn’t learn how to work, or gain self-confidence, or acquire the power to change. "

— Richard G. Scott

General Conference May 1990