Betrayal Trauma and Pornography

Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift. – Mary Oliver

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Releasing Winter 2018

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The truth is I wrote this book for you.

The process of putting this journey into writing was difficult. I felt vary raw, vulnerable and exposed. And the intricacies of our healing journey were ones I would sometimes wish to keep to myself. They’re private, perhaps taboo and definitely touchy territory, especially in Christian circles where I find myself. Because lets be honest, sex and pornography make most people squirm, especially Christians!

It wasn’t easy being so open and I was tempted to water things down too many times to count. I would have much preferred to write something that made “everyone” happy. But the truth is, if I’m not ruffling feathers, I dare to say I’m doing no good.

It’s important that you know I wrote this book in the thick of it. Each work was penned in the trenches, from a place of honest emotion, wherever I was at. As we walked the path of healing, I recorded it in real time. I wanted to stop and run away countless time over; to quit life altogether and I pleaded with God to take away the mess we were living in. But the truth is, I knew deep down he wouldn’t do that and I didn’t really want him to. I knew that what he had brought me to, He would bring me through.

While my flesh wanted God to deliver me like the flick of a switch, my spirit wanted to see it through; to take the long way. I wanted to see God and his work through and experience a genuine transformation of my heart and my life. And somehow deep down, I knew the prize on the other side wasn’t just about me and my marriage. Yes, I wanted our relationship to be resorted but honestly, I wanted it to save others just as bad. I wanted it to save you!

And so I ask you. Would it have been better for God to deliver me or to make a deliverer out of me? 

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2009

When I first discovered the porn, I came home to it on the computer; left blatantly there to welcome me after work.

I was furious to say the least.

How could he do this to me? To be watching it after years of being together and in our home on our family computer. 

I was not blind to the fact that Dave had watched porn in the past. But that’s exactly where my mind had left it: in the past! I had naively believed that after we became an item and he was no longer chasing coat tails, that he would have no need for pornography; that I would be enough.

I now sported an engagement ring and up until this point, I believed his interest in pornography had dissipated in favour or me and our relationship. Because my mind saw porn as a substitute to the real deal.  I thought I was his real deal! Why would he still need it if he had me?

I sat down with him later that evening and gave him the opportunity to explain himself. While I can’t remember the details of our conversation, I know that I made it clear he had to stop. He promised he would and assured me it wouldn’t happen again.

And so I believed him.

Days, weeks and months rolled by and I truly thought the porn was behind us…. until it happened again. And again. Three times I caught him red handed and three times he swore he’d never do it again.

I had no idea his habit was a serious one, let alone an addiction and I hated it because I saw it as a personal threat to me. I saw it as my competition for not only his affection, but his time, his joy and his sexual satisfaction. I had no understanding of it being destructive to his health or the intimacy that was beginning to crumble in our relationship.

Still, I knew I had to do something. I needed to know that I was his true love and his first choice; that I was more important than the porn and the other women he was watching. I wanted him to choose me, all of me and only me! And because of my past, I wanted to be chosen for more than just the physical and for what I could give him sexually.

I sat down and prepared to give back my engagement ring. What I was about to say was completely counter culture…

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2016

Hand in hand, we walked the mile long stretch of Pacific Northwest beach. The waves gently crashed, the sound of seagulls sang over head and our shoes crunched through the leaf strewn shoreline that foggy October morning. We had just celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary at an idyllic getaway that felt secluded and far away. While a country away, we were In reality,  only 30 minutes from home. And as we walked hand in hand, we gazed at the Canadian shoreline across the way. 

Minutes before, we had renewed our wedding vows, committing once again to choose each other from this day forward. But this time it felt different. We were different. Our old marriage was dead – we had divorced it– and this one was new because we were new,  both as individuals and a couple.

Divorce was inevitable after what we’d been through. The question was, would we try again with someone else or with each other….

We had survived the hardest year of our lives -a trauma that nearly ended our marriage.

Standing here holding hands and committing to trust, love and respect each other until death due us part, was no small feat. In fact, as our counsellor reminded us a week prior- it was a miracle.

Him, me, our marriage and our story- a miracle; proof that God is alive and active. Proof that he is a God of the impossible made possible; a personal god of relentless love, that cares deeply about the things that hurt us most.  Proof that when we come to him with the busted up parts of our hearts, he is faithful to heal us and give us beauty for our ashes; to give us tenfold for our trouble. 

Friend, I do not say that lightly. I say that from the deepest, most sucker punched part of my heart made whole. I know because God took the thing that nearly killed me and made it my hill song of joy – the thing I count as gift – and warrant now, a blessing. 

 And this here is that story. 

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Betrayal trauma is a condition that parallels the symptoms of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and is caused when someone experiences betrayal and deception within their primary relationship; this betrayal damages the trust and safety of the relationship and calls into question the bond they have with their partner.

If you have been betrayed by your spouse through pornography use or infidelity, you may experience tremendous anxiety, high stress, fatigue, depression, despair, grief, fear, and other serious symptoms. – bloomforwomen.com

If you or your husband is addicted to pornography or are suffering from betrayal trauma, please know you’re not alone!

My prayer for you friend is this: That whatever it is you’re going through, you wouldn’t get out of it prematurely. That you would allow God to finish the work he’s started in you and carry it through to completion. And my belief is that completion means healed and living in the freedom and wholeness Christ offers us, now, here, on this earth!  I pray that you would lean not on your own understand but on God’s wisdom, leaning in to the struggle and embracing the darkness around you. Because in it, you’re never alone. Jesus is with you and when it’s dark, even a flicker of light can shine bright.

God has not left you even when it feels like he has and while I do not know why you’re going through this, I know that God is capable of making the impossible possible. He came to set the captives free, to bind up the broken hearted and to make us new – entirely new! Not a patched up version of our old selves, but an entirely new creation in Christ Jesus. He did it for me and my marriage and he wants to do it for you, too!

He has a plan and a purpose for and he wants to use your pain for good – to redeem the ugly and make your mess, your message. But he’s a gentleman and he waits for us to give him permission to go to work. God gives us free will;  the free will to love him, to seek his help and to choose His way or our own. If you’ll let him, he’ll do far more than you could ever ask or imagine.

God is still in the business of performing miracles, my friend.

My testimony is proof.

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Recommended Resources for understanding Pornography Addiction and How to Begin Healing Personally and as a Couple

Recommended Resources for Talking to Kids about Porn

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