Don't Get Caught Off Guard By Their Grieving

By Eddie Capparucci, LPC, CSAS

Charlie came into the counseling office looking very despondent. “I don’t understand what happened this week,” he said. “Carrie had been doing so well and I have not seen her angry in more than a month. Then she just exploded. Crying, throwing things, cursing at me. I thought we were good. What happened?”  

Charlie is a recovering pornography addict who has been in therapy for nearly one year and his wife, Carrie, is working on her own betrayal recovery. What Charlie encountered is not unusual for a couple doing the intense work to get their marriage back on track.

What Carrie experienced was another bout of grieve over the betrayal she experienced from Charlie’s use of pornography during their marriage. What happened with Carrie is simply part of the recovery process. Men tend to forget the average recovery time for a woman dealing with betrayal is 12-24 months. But it could take 3-5 years for healing to be complete.

Over the past month, Carrie had been practicing self-soothing when she was feeling angry or sad as she thought about Charlie’s actions. She was trying to reduce the amount of negativity she was experiencing when spending time with her husband.

There is nothing wrong with Carrie trying to stay more positive around Charlie, her only mistake was she should have told him what she was attempting to do. This would have helped set Charlie’s expectations about her recovery.

But he also made mistakes.

Enjoying the stability of a peaceful home, Charlie didn’t take opportunity to ask Carrie how she was dealing with her recovery. If he had, she most likely would have shared any emotions that were troubling her, instead of holding them in.    

His second error was mistaking Carrie’s calm demeanor to indicate she was no longer emotionally or mentally troubled by his pornography addiction. As I tell my male clients, while your wife may be presenting a calm and peaceful appearance do not underestimate the amount of emotional and mental distress that still lies under the surface.

A woman’s grieving is like ocean waves. There are periods in which their negative emotions are large and powerful, and these can feel overwhelming. There are other times when they are smaller and seem calm. This can give off mix messages and lead men to have a false impression everything is back to normal.

Wrong.

First, things are never going back to normal. She doesn’t want to return to the marriage you had. For her, the marriage is tainted and dirty. She wants to take the relationship in a new direction that brings a renewed sense of hope and healing. And you need to go there with her.

Second, she is looking for the “new guy”. Recently, a wife who was struggling to re-engage with her husband after nearly a year of recovery work, put it this way, “on one hand there is my husband who cheated on me with multiple women. On the other hand, is my husband who no longer cheats on me. So, tell me, what’s the difference between them?”

It is critical a partner understands the changes being made by the man in recovery. She needs to know there is something different about him that will enable him to guard her heart and make healthy decisions. And if you don’t explain to her how the “old guy” has changed, you are leaving her in the dark.

In order not to be blindsided like Charlie, take the following three steps in working with your partner:

1. At least once a week, ask your spouse how she is doing with her recovery. If she simply says “ok”, follow up by asking what has happened that she is now feeling “ok”.

2. Make it a point to check in with your partner on a regular basis and share with her what you are learning in your recovery. More importantly, communicate how the insights you are learning are helping to change you to become the “new” guy.

3. Be fully aware of the time a woman needs to heal from betrayal and understand although at times she may seem calm and peaceful under the surface could still be a great deal of fear and emotional pain.   

 

I Fight Too. An Open and Anonymous Letter from a Wife of One Who Fights Porn

This is an open and anonymous letter that we’ve received at MenAgainstPorn.  We believe this is a message that must be heard by everyone.  Please, share this with your friends and family and encourage others to join this worthy cause!

#enoughisenough

I Fight Too

To the man who stole my husband’s innocence,

I know.

You didn’t physically harm him.

You didn’t physically introduce him to the world of sexuality.

You didn’t touch him inappropriately.

You didn’t intentionally steal from his mind. I know.

But the truth is, you did.

For many years I have had nothing but compassion for you. I know your story didn’t just happen. I know that somewhere along the way you were a victim.  I also know that only now, as a mature adult, have you recognised the need and found the willingness to face your greatest battle – your addiction to pornography. You have much to be proud of because you have fought and you continue to fight.

Still, I need to tell you that you are not the only victim in this struggle that you fight daily.

I have stood beside your wife as she cried the tears of a lifetime’s worth of hurt. Standing in my kitchen she explained that she knew she could have walked away but she didn’t because she never felt God calling her to. Her strength to stay with you despite her emotional pain is honestly honourable.

She refuses to give up on you; you are blessed to be loved by her.

Unfortunately, I know how she feels. You stole my husband’s innocence.

He was a child.

A CHILD!

He was exposed to pornography within your home despite your ‘efforts’ to cover your tracks. As I write this, I process the enormity of your failure to protect his mind.

Suddenly, I understand why I have never seen the look of complete passion and desire for me in my husband’s eyes.

He has seen it all before.

Suddenly, I understand why I need to initiate most intimate moments with him Because what I have to offer is nothing compared to what you made available to him.

The difference, though, is that what I offer is real.

What you offered, while exciting, was fake.

He is a man who chose to fight this battle before you did.

He didn’t want to be you.

He isn’t you.

He wanted to hold his wife close to his heart and love her without confusion or blemish. He does a great job, but he can’t do this completely. He loves me more than I had ever anticipated someone could, yes.

But there is a small part of him that I can’t undo.

This is the part that you are responsible for.

Yes.

I!

Blame!

You!

I blame you for not being the father he needed. I blame you for stealing something from him that I too have to live with. I blame you because I can’t experience the freedom of a normal, happy and healthy sex life without thoughts of not being enough.  Many times, I even question if I am a repulsive human being.

Why else would he squirm when I touch him?

Why else would he shy away from compliments or comments of desire?

You’ve confused him and I blame you.

I!

Blame!

You!

Marriage is supposed to be a place of exploration – of one’s self, of spirituality, and of sexuality. I’ve had some truly beautiful moments with your son but intimacy has always been and may always be a struggle.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve googled ‘husband not interested in sex’.  This has become my secret. Generally, it is the woman who is less interested in sex. But I struggle with not understanding why the opposite is true in our relationship.  I feel rejected.  For years now, I have wondered, ‘What is it about me?’ I see things more clearly now and I have decided to free myself of this burden. I now embrace whatever sexual activity I’m invited to explore and I understand that my husband’s innocence was taken.

I’m no saint. I had partners before your son. Perhaps the remembrance of those relationships is the only way I’ve kept myself sane some days. To know that I was once wanted in a sexual way is somewhat reassuring. But in those relationships, I wasn’t wanted for the person I am. I was wanted more for the fun that was shared. When your son doesn’t want me, I now know, it’s not me.

Sadly, it’s what you did to him as a child.

I.

Blame.

You.

But, I forgive you.

My relationship with your son hasn’t been without hurt.

On two occasions, I’ve found evidence that inappropriate websites had been viewed. Additionally, your son has confided in me that he was tempted to go elsewhere for a bit of ‘stress relief’ too. God knows how much I hate those ‘massage parlours’. He broke me completely when he told me about that. Why was it okay for a stranger to touch him when I have to defend myself when I simply rub his back? A great comfort for me at that point in our marriage was that I had begun feeling sexy and confident. I still don’t know what brought about the change in my self-confidence, but I look back at photos of myself at around that time and I see someone who felt good. I had confidence in myself regardless of his ability to see me that way.

My point is this: our marriage hasn’t been perfect but it’s been good. Really good.

Much of our expression of love has been tainted though. For the first time in our marriage I am freeing myself of the sadness and the self-imposed responsibility I have carried. I can see that this is bigger than me.

I can see that I have a man who was broken as a little boy because you didn’t protect him.

I forgive you. But I need you to know, you are not the only one who fights this battle.

I Fight Too!          

IS PRETEEN AND TEEN PORN CONSUMPTION LEADING TO SEXUAL ASSAULT IN SCHOOL?

Over fifty million students, K - 12th grade, attend public schools every day in the good Ol' US of A.

Parents hope they send their kids off to learn important subjects like math, reading skills, science, the arts, etc.  More and more, however, it seems that learning how to be a porn-star, or sex-slaves subservient to the uncontrollable desires of teen-aged (mainly male) porn addicts, is also a part of the national curriculum!

At least, that's the case in one Brooklyn school where a thirteen year-old boy lured a seventeen year-old girl with learning disabilities into a bathroom to an ensemble of 6 boys-in-waiting, ready to have her perform sex at their command.

Yeah, you heard that right.  A thirteen year-old boy lured a female student (one struggling with disabilities) into a bathroom and watched as his cadre of porn-induced criminals demanded sex and assaulted her at the very core of her being.

Parents, do you know where your daughter is right now?  

In school?

Learning what, do you suppose?

This is the type of thing (preteen/teen sexual exploitation and assault) that happens to a nation that's been tolerant of pornography for so terribly long.  This is, as it were, a natural outcome of a generation hooked on porn.

Some might argue that porn and porn addiction may have nothing to do with this case.  And, while the facts are still pouring in on that case, let me present some other facts that help us see just how desperately addicted to pornography the children of this nation have become.

  • Studies show that nearly 50% of children ages ten to seventeen are consistently consuming porn online.
  • Twenty-five percent of all internet searches (about 68 million) are related to porn.
  • Of the forty-two percent of teen-age boys who admit to viewing porn within the last twelve months, sixty-six percent of them report it as unwanted exposure.
  • 116,000 searches PER DAY are related to child pornography.
  • Ever thirty-nine minutes a new porn film or video is created.
  • Nearly thirty percent of teenagers admit to sending nude photos or emails, which is a form of porn-production in its own right.
  • Thirty-five percent of all downloads are pornographic.

Sick to your stomach yet? 

Well, we've not even begun to consider the full ramifications of behavioral disorders such consumption is producing.  Ramifications like an innocent young girl being sexually assaulted by her classmates while attending school.

Consider, for example a 2016 meta-analysis of porn which revealed that teens who regularly consume porn reported experiences of reinforcing gender stereotypes, earlier sexual debut, experimentation with casual sex, and, most importantly, increased sexual aggression against others both as perpetrators and victims.

We may not all be addicted to porn, but we're all porn-addicts now!

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that these boys who abused this girl have been and are actively consuming porn.  It's odd that the paper refers to the girl as the one with the disability.  It's clear, to me at least, that it's the boys who are acting in sub-human ways.

While, as a dad, I'd like to see these boys punished to the fullest extent of the law.  What I'd like most is an investigation into what fuels this behavior and then hold the guilty parties responsible.

The guilty?  The folks who are producing and distributing porn at a break-neck clip.

Join the fight today.

Let's see these boys held accountable as well as those who have profited off of their addiction.

Let's live to see the end of porn in our lifetime!

Biz with MenAgainstPorn

Sources

http://enough.org/stats-youth-and-porn

https://www.webroot.com/us/en/home/resources/tips/digital-family-life/internet-pornography-by-the-numbers

http://www.thedailybeast.com/witw/articles/2013/10/04/how-much-porn-is-your-kid-watching.html