Thanks to our guest poster, ElizabethH, for submitting this post. We are continuing our series this week for wives of those struggling with pornography/sexual addiction. The hope is to reach out to those who are struggling with a loved one in addiction, and to also let these wives share some of what they are learning — both for the sake of other wives in their situation, but also for those who may know a WoPA. WoPAs need support as much as the ones in addiction do. Becoming educated about how addiction impacts a spouse can help those who want to help wives heal. Here are a couple of articles that might be worth a read, one by Dr. Jill Manning and the other by Geoff Steurer, both sex addiction experts. There is also a great and free PDF book by SA Lifeline called Understanding Pornography and Sexual Addiction.

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Mormons believe in the importance of prayer

This Addiction Isn’t About You

by ElizabethH

I wish that it was easy to believe the people who say that my husband’s porn addiction “isn’t about you.”  But I struggle to believe them because, of course, it is about me.  Isn’t it?  If he loved me enough or valued our marriage enough or valued my feelings enough he would never have started looking at porn.  Let alone watched enough enough porn to become addicted to it!  So it must be about how skinny I am, or how I look, or because I stay home with our kids rather than pursuing an impressive career.  How could his porn use not be about me or about our relationship not being enough?

Watching my husband struggle through three months of withdrawal symptoms has been educational.  He’s had a cold for three months, minor panic attacks, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, insomnia, poor concentration, feelings of worthlessness and says that his heart “just pounds all the time.”  I read online that an addict said that it was easier to give up heroin than porn.  I’m shocked that my husband’s symptoms are continuing and I guess I’m starting to believe that statement “It’s not about you” is true.
It’s ironic that as my husband is starting to have the ability to feel intense love for me and a desire to be close to me that I do not reciprocate.  At any other time in our marriage I would have been giddy for him to feel and act the way he now acts around me and would have been delighted by how he now treats me, but not now.  I learned that I have been married to someone who can look me in eye and lie convincingly.

What I mourn most about my marriage is the damage it caused to my inner voice.  The voice I ignored when it told me “that’s a lie,” or “you’re worth more than that.”  How do you recover a voice that you can’t even hear anymore because you’ve refused to listen to it and numbed your feelings for years?

When I told someone last night that “It isn’t about you!”  I meant it.  I knew it was true.  It’s true because her husband is a sex addict and a liar who convinced her, and perhaps himself, that his addiction was about her.  But my inner voice surfaced to call that belief a lie and know it was a lie.  Part of my recovery is to learn how to apply that compassionate part of my inner voice to myself.  To allow my inner voice to drown out the toxic shame that threatens to overwhelm me.  To allow my voice to be compassionate to myself; because I can not control my husband’s addiction I can only control myself and my voice.