Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Being Hacked Taught Me A Lesson


It happened fast.  My email account was open through my Mac when suddenly my inbox went from zero to over twenty in less than a minute.  I clicked on the Mail icon and watched as the number grew to thirty than forty new emails.  All were error notifications that an email I sent out titled, “How Are You?” had been rejected by the server. 

The only problem was I never sent that email.  I’d been hacked.  I quickly logged onto my Yahoo account and changed my password.  I was confident I solved the problem.

In a sense I had.  The hackers no longer had access to my Yahoo account but they had my contact list.  Now my recipients were vulnerable to being hacked too.  I was bummed but I knew it was the sad reality of being in the cyber world.  People in my mailing list would know I would never send an empty email with just a hyperlink.  They wouldn’t open a link to whatever spam or virus the hacker was trying to direct them towards.  I decided to Let It Go.

Then it came right back.

“Elsie, have you seen this?”  Devin asked me.  He handed me his cellphone. 

I glanced at the “How Are You?” email he had opened. I let him know I had things under control.  No worries here, my dear.

He handed his cell back to me and said, “Look at the top of the email.”

As I looked, a knot grew in my stomach.  I may have been able to stop the hackers from doing further damage with my email but they injured me in a whole different way.

On Devin’s phone, the email had the option to see all of the recipients on the list with a simple click of a button.  One press with his thumb displayed my entire address book.  Seemingly not a big deal for most people but for me, this was a nightmare. 

Devin’s attention had been captured by an email address about infidelity.  He hadn’t scrolled down far enough to see the ones addressed to sex addiction groups along side my aunts, uncles, friends from out-of-state and worst still, our kids.  Right after disclosure, I didn’t create separate email accounts.  I kept everything the same.  Big mistake.

I shared with him the email addresses on the list he hadn’t noticed yet.  He asked what my plans were for damage control. My first instinct was to jump into action like he wanted.  I thought I should send out a mass email, let everyone know I’d been hacked and tell them to ignore the email.  Maybe even include an explanation about the wacky sex addiction email addresses.  That was the old me thinking that way.  The need to control the situation.

The new me decided to let the chips fall where they may.  The only people I told were the kids.  I let them know if they received a forwarded message from me to delete it.  They did just that.  The only people I heard from were a spammer and my daughter’s real father.  The spammer wanted to hook up.  My daughter’s father said he was doing just fine – IN ALL CAPS, that’s how he types.  He’s not the brightest when it comes to the computer and I’m thankful.

Slowly but surely I’m learning I don’t need to control everything.  They manage to work out just fine without me.

How about you?  Do you like to take control of things?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Out To Lunch

“I’m going to lunch.  Headed to that Italian place I found last week.  My co-worker, Rachel, is coming with me.  I love you.”

I read the text Devin sent again and took a deep breath before I responded.  I wondered if Rachel was a supervisor that needed to talk business with him.

“Have a good lunch.  Why is Rachel going to lunch with you?  I love you.” I texted back.

“She wanted to tag along.  Don’t worry, walls and windows.”  He answered, using a phrase from one of our favorite books, Not Just Friends.  It assures me he is aware of keeping proper boundaries with females. 

Usually this phrase makes me feel at ease and keeps my mind from going to dark places.  This time it didn’t work. Rachel wasn't his supervisor.  My mind flashed back to Devin’s old behaviors.  I let him know I didn’t think going to lunch with Rachel alone was appropriate.  I would never go to lunch with a male co-worker alone and I didn’t have a sex addiction or a past like he did. 

Thankfully, before my texting got out of control and I said something I’d regret, my phone rang.  It was someone from my S-Anon group.  She hadn’t been able to attend in a long time and we had catching up to do.  We were on the phone long enough for me to relax.

I understood I didn’t like Devin going to lunch alone with a female.  It made me feel very uncomfortable.  However, I realized communicating via texting wasn’t the proper format either.  It was too easy to miscommunicate our thoughts and feelings.  I let Devin know I’d rather see his handsome eyes when we spoke.  He agreed in person was much better.

When we spoke face to face, I explained my feelings to him. At first he didn’t understand.  He explained he was a different person now than he was several years ago.  He pointed out his honesty about going to lunch with Rachel.  This was something he’d never consider doing in the past, he'd just go.  I let him know I appreciated his transparency but it still felt inappropriate to me.  I didn’t think it was okay for him, or  me, to have social outings with people of the opposite sex.

I shared an experience I had with my best friend, Tasha.  I was single and worked with her husband, Doug, at his shop.  We used to brown bag lunch and eat at our desks.  One day Doug and I decided to eat at a diner.  Tasha was livid.  She let us know that under no certain terms was it appropriate for Doug and I to eat lunch alone. 

I was much younger then and didn’t understand Tasha’s reasons but now I do.  There should be no opportunity for a line to be crossed or mixed signals to be sent.  In Devin’s case, where cheating already happened, that lunch should never have occurred.

Devin understood my point and promised he’d never do it again.  I felt relieved but I also felt controlling.  I knew I was setting a clear boundary for myself and that’s something I have to do with Devin because of his addiction.  Yet, I felt conflicted for setting it.  I wondered if the problem was with me.  Was I so damaged from Devin’s acting out that I felt the need to control him outside the house?  Or was I making a reasonable request?  Since I have taken a look at my character defects, I am well aware that being in control is a biggie for me.

I decided to let it go until I could talk to my S-Anon group.  Devin talked to his sponsor about what happened.  His sponsor felt it was fine to have lunch with a female as long as Devin was keeping his guard up.  Frankly, I was shocked but I didn’t say so. My S-Anon group felt my boundary request was a fair one.  Then again, they’ve been through the same damage I have so they are just as biased as me.

I guess I know what my next counseling appointment will be about. 

What do you guys think?  Is it okay to have lunch with people of the opposite sex when you’re married? 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Treat Yo Self!

I am a fairly new subscriber to Netflix and I’ve fallen in love with it.  I don’t know why I was so resistant to signing up for so long.  I’m saving a ton of money by getting rid of premium channels once Directv ends my promotions next month. 

My son recommended I watch Parks and Recreation and I’m so glad he did.  It started out a bit slow but once it picked up, it had me rolling.  Two of the characters reminded me of something very important.  They reminded me to Treat Yo Self!
 This is something I am quick to tell other people yet I neglect to follow my own advice. I feel it’s important for everyone to take some time throughout the week and be kind to themselves.  Sometimes I think it’s okay to be a little selfish.  This way when things get a bit stressful, you’ll be in a good place mentally.

I had been so busy with other things I’d forgotten about me.  I love to visit the beach and I’ve only been once in the past three weeks.  I enjoy reading quietly in my comfy, leather chair but that’s also been abandoned. Another favorite luxury is a warm bubble bath and I can’t remember the last time I’ve soaked in the tub.

For someone like me, a person working on her recovery, I need to remember how important self-care truly is to my mental state. I never know what may be headed my way.  I just know I need to remember:

Treat Yo Self!