Me too! Me too! LOL These are a few of my favorite things…to talk about! Apparently so because this week seems to have been all about those things, which is fine because – let’s be honest – that’s what I’m here to do! I can see that so clearly now that I have been called to be a coach, advocate and educator for women who have experienced trauma due to their partner’s sex addiction and betrayal. I mean, I know that I have pretty much said this before but I have this tendency to want to shrink back from it sometimes because I am afraid that I will make people uncomfortable and I don’t want to make people uncomfortable. But the truth is that it was me who was uncomfortable because I was still struggling with being that vulnerable and I was afraid of being judged and SHAME. I was grew up in a family that was very conservative and religious and I received all manner of shameful messages but the most damaging ones, I think, were the ones I received around my sexuality. Moreover, these shameful messages about sexuality were all wrapped up in the notion of “sin” and whether or not I would be allowed in to heaven when I died. Intercourse before marriage, homosexuality and even masturbation were beyond taboo and considered terrible sins and would put you on a path straight to hell. I mean, it would be funny it weren’t the cause of so much pain for so many of us. If it hadn’t cost me my relationship with God because those shameful messages just didn’t match up with what I felt to be true for me internally and so, sick of being judged, I turned my back on God, church…all of it. It wasn’t until years later when I found my way into Alcoholics Anonymous that I came to understand that God and religion are two different things. And not that all religions or all people in any religion are bad! I would not be nearing completion on a Masters in Spiritual Formation at the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest if I thought that! However, like for many of us, shame was the primary currency of control in my family. I get that my family was doing the best that they could do and they learned it from their parents but the things is:
Using shame as your primary currency of control will always leave you bankrupt.
It will bankrupt you spiritually, emotionally, energetically…in all the ways possible. Shame around our sexuality can lead to all sorts of unhealthy to pathological behaviors. For example, shame and sex addiction go hand in hand. This is true for the addict and for those traumatized by them. Shame makes us not want to reach out to people who loved and cared for us when we are in crisis. Shame makes us keep secrets (ours and the addicts) and it is our secrets that make us sick. So, even though it’s still uncomfortable sometimes for me to say out loud and in print that I was married to a sex addict I am doing it anyway. Because not saying it keeps me in shame and I took a stand on Instagram this week – so you know it’s true – to no longer perpetuate this culture of shame for myself and my family. Also, if I don’t say it, then how are all the women out there right now, reeling from finding out that their partner is a sex addict, know how to find me? How are they going to know that they are not alone? How are they going to know that not only is there healing..there is also hope!