Monday, May 29, 2017

Wait, What? I fixed it and I moved?!


Holy bananas! I fixed the connection issue between GoDaddy and Blogger. I did it! Hooray me! Of course, it's a little late. I've already run around Blogger telling everyone that I've moved to a whole new website:


Just in case you've missed me running around the Internet or have landed here through a search somehow, I'm leaving this site open but will no longer be posting anything new here. All the new stuff is at the website above.

Hope you'll visit and please feel free to email me with any questions you have.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Renovations: New Look, New Name, Now What?


 

If I were a big drinker, I’d open up a beer right about now. My busy time of year is finally over. No more crazy hours at work and I am so freaking happy. I worked Monday, and then handed my boss a vacation request. I'm toast. As I type this, I’m sitting in a hotel room after my traffic-filled drive so I can get my Botox injections for my migraines tomorrow, then I’ll head back home and relax the rest of the week.Yeah baby!

Since I had some spare time in the hotel room and it was too noisy to write (they’re renovating), I decided to tweak my blog again. I also renamed it and bought the domain name, “Helping Partners Of Sex Addicts Heal.”

I don’t quite know what I’m going to do with it yet, I only know that…and bear with me here...I woke up last week knowing it was something I needed to do. I prayed on it for a few days and came back with the same answer: get a new domain name.

I talked to Devin about it, and he asked why I had named my blog such an odd name to begin with and I had to admit it was fear. Fear of being found again by his affair partner. Fear our true identities would be discovered. Fear of failure. His answer, “I thought you started this new [healthy] blog as a way to help people? How are they supposed to find you under your current blog’s name?”

Good question. And since he’s the one who has the most to fear, since I no longer worry about any of his affair partner’s, and he’s okay with me renaming the blog and getting the new domain as a way to be found on Google, well then, I had no reason not to do it.

Where do I go from here? I don’t know. Do I shut down this blog and start all over again? I don’t think so. I’ve been here a long time and it was hard enough getting the followers I have, which isn't many. The new domain name redirects here so I guess that’s good.

If anyone has any thoughts or suggestions, please let me know. That goes for the layout of the place too.

Have your fears stopped you from doing anything?

Friday, April 14, 2017

Feeling "Insane" Is Normal








You know how there are some memories in your brain that you can’t erase no matter how hard you try? You wish you could scrub them from your memory banks like burn marks with a Brillo pad, but you can’t. Those sucker are seared in there real good.



That’s how a majority of my disclosure days are with Devin. There are certain moments I can recall with such clarity, it’s like it happened yesterday, not so many years ago. I’m thankful that some of those painful memories have slipped away, but that ability to recall with such vivid detail what happened so long ago provides me with a good explanation why I felt so utterly "insane" for such a long time.



I had Relational Trauma. I suffered a form of PTSD and I had no idea that all I was going through; the anger, hurt, fear, hypervigilance, nightmares, panic attacks, loss of appetite, hyperarousal followed by not wanting to be touched or looked at, compassion for the addict, hatred of the addict, fear of certain places, and so many other things…were 100% normal.



Not only was it normal, it was expected. My brain was trying to process the fact that someone I had put my complete faith and trust in had betrayed me. I was trying to figure out how to make sense of my new world. In a matter of days, what I thought was my marriage, my future, had been flipped upside down. I was expected to have a whole new way of living. My life had been derailed and so had my brain. I was in shock.



There were moments, literally moments, that I felt compassion, then hatred for my husband in the days following disclosure. I wanted revenge, then I wanted to hug him and tell him it would be okay, we would figure this mess out together. I wanted to make love to him, then would be revolted by the mere touch of his hand on mine.



Those first few weeks were brutal. B.R.U.T.A.L. The myriad of emotions I experienced from moment to moment, hour to hour were so confusing, it left me exhausted, depressed, anxious, angry, confused and devastated.



The only way I know how to explain it is by comparing it to an egg. My brain was the inside of the egg. The shell was my world as I knew it before disclosure. After disclosure, the split happened and the egg cracked. I tried to keep my brain from oozing out.



The harder I fought, the more the egg white slipped through my fingers. I feared that my inner core, the yolk, would be next, so I held on as tight as I could to my emotions and tried to keep them from spilling out of the egg and through my fingers.



However, that Relational Trauma just doesn’t go away on it’s own. The nightmares persist. The anxiety attacks continue. The fear of going to places that trigger you still remain and I stayed stuck and thought I was bananas for feeling this way, until I read, Your Sexually Addicted Partner.



Inside was a list of all of my symptoms and then some. Ka Bam! I realized I’m not alone! I’m not "crazy" to feel the way that I do. I was elated! Beyond words. It gave me courage to move into action and not wallow with the people I had chosen to surround myself with. No more Negative Nancy’s for this chick. They were doing more harm than good.



Now it was time to do something about that egg I was trying to keep control off, but what? The hatred of Devin had gone away after the first few days…thank God. So did the desire for revenge, but I was struggling terribly with hypervigilance, anger, guilt, distrust, and my all time favorite: control.



I found that I needed help. I couldn’t travel this road alone. I sought out S-Anon, counseling, shut down my old curse-filled, negative blog and opened up this new one and the rest is history. I found that the egg didn’t need me to hold it together. That sometimes, when we break a few eggs along the way, add ingredients like a healthy recovery, the end result is a beautiful cake.



I only wish I had known that the emotions I’d been experiencing immediately after disclosure and for months afterward were totally normal.



What do you wish you had known?








Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Facebook Distracts Me - An IWSG Post


 

Happy April, everyone and good luck to all of you A-Zers out there! I’m elated that spring is officially here and the days are longer. I can’t wait to spend some time at the beach, stroll through some nature trails, and head off to the amusement parks.

Of course, warmer weather means less time spent writing, but that’s okay with me. I’m in no hurry to finish my books. I’ll find the time to write when my last child is at school, work, or out with friends. Right now, it’s important to spend quality time with the family before I have an empty nest. (Say it ain't so!)

It’s really about making the most of the time I have and using it properly. I found that since I chose to stay away from social media because of the negativity, it opened up free time. A lot more free time. I didn’t realize just how much time I wasted on things like Facebook and Instagram. It disrupted my writing flow. 

I've learned to "just say no" to Facebook and Instagram on my days off and it gave me an extra hour in my day to write. It may not seem like a lot to other people who are cranking out 1,000’s of words a day, but to me, that one hour may lead to another or be just enough time to get a good idea down on paper.

Does the warm weather change your schedule? Does social media side track or distract you?

Scheduling Note: I’m working today so I’ll be by to visit either this afternoon or tomorrow. Happy IWSGing!
 
I'll continue with my series After Disclosure (Compartmentalization, & It's Not Personal) next week.

This has been a post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. It's a chance to talk about our fears and doubts, or inspire others by sharing our success and happiness.  We’ve got a great bunch of people in this group and we’d love to have you join in on the fun too.  A big thank you to it's creator, Alex J. Cavanaugh.
 
Don’t forget to stop by and say hello to our fantastic co-hosts: Christopher D. Votey, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Fundy Blue, and Chrys Fey 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Some Pho & Some Horses


Finally! It was warm this week. I don't know what crawled up Mother Nature's rear end last week, but she was a cranky witch and it barely climbed out of the 40s. I was not a happy turtle. Let's hope this is really the start of spring. Of course, today it's back in the 50s, but this weekend it'll be nice again. Maybe.

I've decided to take a break from the heaviness of my series After Disclosure (Compartmentalization, & It's Not Personal) and share some pictures I took while picking up some pho last week. Isn't pho the best? I love it! This police officer just trotted by as I was walking out with my bag full of food. You can see said bag o' food in the reflection if you look real close:



He was kind enough to stop and wait for some kids to snap pictures with their parents before he joined his partner and went into a nearby neighborhood. 


I've seen them exercise the horses in our neighborhood several times before because we have woods and a small farm adjacent to us, but this is the first time I've seen them go through a strip mall. I thought it was a great way for the police to not just make their presence known, but also do a meet and greet with the public while training and exercising the horses. 

Because lemme tell ya, it wasn't just the kids that were excited to see them, it was the adults too, present company included. Lots of grown-ups stopped them and asked to take their picture, and some of them reached out to shake their hands and thank them for their service. One of them was in his military uniform. That was cool to see. It gave me the warm and fuzzies inside. One service member thanking another. Selfless.

Have you seen mounted police in your neighborhood? What have you seen lately that's given you the warm and fuzzies?

 


On a side note, I checked out my seller's rankings on Amazon last weekend and look where I was!




Steps Along My Shore: My Personal Tale & Tips When Discovering You're Married to a Sex Addict Kindle Edition by Elsie Amata (Author)


See all 2 formats and editions


Product details
  • File Size: 538 KB
  • Print Length: 141 pages
  • Publication Date: June 8, 2016
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01GT52Z4I
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled 
  • X-Ray:
Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
 
 

Not bad for someone who doesn't advertise, huh? Sure, I know it'll change by tomorrow, but hey, it's still awesome to see at this very moment. I'm still not sure how people hear about my book, but I'm not complaining. I make enough to pay half my Netflix bill each month, and more importantly, I think I'm actually helping people. I might really be making a difference in people's lives. That gives me even more warm fuzzies! Woot! Woot!

And still another side note: I'll be at work this morning, but only for a few hours, so I'll be by later this afternoon to see everyone. 




Thursday, March 23, 2017

It’s Not Personal



I’m continuing with my series, After Disclosure. My previous post was on Compartmentalization. If anyone would like to suggest a topic, please feel free to post it in the comment section or send me an email and rest assured, you will remain anonymous.

This week I’m going to try to tackle a topic that was very hard for me to wrap my head around: It’s Not Personal.

Sex addiction isn’t about the sex. That’s what they tell you when you go in and meet a C-SAT (Certified-Sex Addiction Counselor) for the first time. It’s an intimacy disorder. Um, what? It’s got the word sex in the name, how can it not be about sex? Was this doctor we were seeing off his rocker? Was he really certified in this crap? Then, to top it off, my husband was telling me it wasn’t personal: the porn, the online affairs, the chat rooms, even the two encounters he had with women in person…none of it meant a thing to him.

How was this even remotely possible? Because I had been stuck in such a state of hypervigilance for so long (I don’t recommend this for anyone because you can’t un-see what you find), I knew that some of those online affairs had lasted for a year or more. How was that not personal? Yet, he insisted he had no feelings for any of the women he’d been involved with. Of course my immediate reply was B.S. You can’t talk to anyone for that long, in that way, and not feel something.

Still, he continued to insist he felt nothing. That the women were merely objects to him. It wasn’t until I sat down with him one day and we went over what I dubbed, “The List.” It had all the women’s names and information on an Excel spreadsheet. Let’s just say I wasn’t exactly in a healthy place after disclosure. I mean, who would be, right? I had Relational Trauma. I had PTSD from this mess. 

Each cell on the list contained what transpired between the woman and Devin. When a question popped into my head, out came The List and the interrogation between us began. And Devin put up with it because he was doing anything to try to repair our broken marriage.

During one such discussion, I asked him about a woman he’d exchanged emails with for a few months. The emails were pages long. I felt he must’ve invested hours thinking of her while he composed them. When I asked about her, he couldn’t remember her name at all. We were at a point after disclosure where there was no reason for him to hold back anything. I already knew the worst of everything, so I couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t be forthcoming about a person’s name. Then, I gave him her email address. Light bulb moment. That’s how he remembered her. Her email address. Just another email in his inbox. And he didn’t spend a ton of time on the emails. They’d been cut and pasted from somewhere.

Now it was my light bulb moment. He really didn’t put any emotional investment into these women. They were a means to an end. A way for him continue to numb his emotions the way I numbed mine with drugs before I got sober. It started to make a bit of sense that this disease truly was an intimacy disorder despite the name it had been given.

It allowed me to start to see the things he’d done in our marriage in a new light. Yes, the pain was still there, but it helped me gain a better perspective on his disease. The escalation of his addiction had caused him to do some damaging things, but now it was time to learn how to heal from that betrayal.

Have you ever had a profound light bulb moment?






Thursday, March 16, 2017

Compartmentalization


 

I recently found a new site (more info on it when I’ve had time to settle in on it), and it got me thinking…I know, how scary is that? Me thinking. There were so many questions I had about sex addiction after Devin’s disclosure, but I didn’t know who to ask, or even what I needed to know.

I decided that I’m going to do a series of posts called After Disclosure. If anyone would like to suggest a topic, please feel free to post it in the comment section or send me an email and rest assured, you will remain anonymous.

My first topic in the series is compartmentalization. Big word. And it should be because it plays a big part in the addiction. Sometimes, compartmentalization can be a good thing. Like keeping work separate from home. But when it's done to live a secret life...well, not so much.

The definition from The Meadows, a treatment center in Arizona, defines it as:

“When someone has a sexual addiction they "compartmentalize" their feelings and behaviors which means that they categorize the feelings, behaviors and thoughts and try to keep them separate. They may get up in the morning and have breakfast with you and the kids, get ready for work and then have every intention to "be good" and not "act out" that day. The second that you leave... the addict takes over and convinces the person that looking at porn just this one time won't hurt anyone and the addictive cycle begins. Two hours later the addict runs off to work and tries to be the good employee he/she wanted to be. The only way they can tolerate their behavior is to tell themselves that they are still a good spouse, or employee and simultaneously they feel self-hate and shame.”

Then the cycle begins yet again.
 
For me, it was difficult to wrap my head around the fact that my husband could kiss me goodbye, and then spend hours looking at porn, chatting with women online, or when his addiction really escalated, meet up with someone, and then come home to me as if nothing were amiss.

It was only in hindsight, and with months of recovery under my belt, that I was able to see that that wasn’t quite true. There were red flags. Nothing that screamed, “Hey, Elsie, I’m having online affairs!” Rather, warning signs that our marriage was in deep trouble.

That compartmentalization changed him. He was no longer the happy, go-lucky guy I married just a few short years before. He was distant, angry, and isolated himself from everyone. A dark cloud had settled over our home. I just didn’t know the storm coming was sex addiction.

The only way I was able to finally understand compartmentalization was by comparing his addiction to my own. Otherwise, I was constantly taking his addiction personally. Who could blame me? It was personal. It was hard not to compare myself to the other women, but every time I did, I came away hurt and with less self-esteem than when I started, and when your self-worth is on the floor, you don’t have much further to sink.

So when I began to use my own addiction to empathize with his addiction, it helped me make a bit more sense of everything. It gave me something to grasp on to, even if it was tiny, and it reminded me that he didn’t wake up thinking, “How can I hurt Elsie today?” Because I never woke up thinking, “How can I break my dad’s heart today?”

I never intended to hurt people while I was active in my drug addiction, yet I did just that. I lied. I manipulated. I blame-shifted. I also recovered and made amends to those I hurt along the way. I felt I should give Devin the same chance.

He had to learn that while he had been compartmentalizing for all those years, what he’d really been doing was lying to himself. If he could accept that and make the changes he needed to make, than I could walk beside him while he recovered and I’m so grateful that he did.

Compartmentalization still showed herself a few times after disclosure. She’s a sneaky little thing and was difficult to break free of, but with time and a good recovery, eventually she finally went away.

Do you compartmentalize anything in a healthy way? Like work and home?

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A Space of My Own - An IWSG Post


from Google

March really is going to roar like a lion this week. We’re expecting some crazy weather. Hopefully it will go out like a lamb. Heck, I can’t complain too much though. February was like a fluffy bunny the last couple weeks. My electric bill is going be shockingly low because of how often I was able to keep the windows open and the ceiling fans running. Sweet!

No insecurities this month. I’ve been setting up a spare bedroom to be my recovery room/writing room since one of our kids moved out. It’s perfect timing. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll miss having my child around, but they didn’t go very far and the bed is still there so the happy couple can spend a night when they want. But it’s nice to have a space dedicated to me and my healing and my writing.

And believe it or not, I’ve had time to write. I don’t know how because I’m super busy at work and I’m still getting hammered with migraines, but somehow I’m writing. I think it’s having the private place to do it. I often toyed with the idea of going to Panera or a coffee shop (and I don’t even drink coffee) to write, but never did it because it was too loud…and well, I’m too lazy to get out of sweatpants. I mean c’mon, I have to dress up for work, isn’t that enough?

But now, now I just walk to the other side of the house and it’s amazingly quiet over there. No wonder each child battled one another to get that room. It rocks! And now it’s mine. As each week passes, I find things to inspire me to write or work on my recovery: plaques, wall hangings, photos, etc. I’m really having a blast decorating it.

Question of the month:

Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?

I haven’t been writing long enough to pull out an old story. What about you? Do you have a special place to write or work on any projects you enjoy?


Scheduling Note: I’m working today so I’ll be by to visit either this afternoon or tomorrow. Happy IWSGing!

This has been a post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. It's a chance to talk about our fears and doubts, or inspire others by sharing our success and happiness.  We’ve got a great bunch of people in this group and we’d love to have you join in on the fun too.  A big thank you to it's creator, Alex J. Cavanaugh.
 
Don’t forget to stop by and say hello to our fantastic co-hosts: Tamara Narayan, Patsy Collins, M.J. Fifield, and Nicohle Christopherson.

And a thank you to: sitehoundsniffs.com for their kind shout out to my blog. Muchly appreciated. 


Friday, February 24, 2017

The First Beach Day...In February?


 

You guys know my battle with Mother Nature. She can be quite cruel to me at times. If she decides she wants the barometric pressure to rise and fall too rapidly, it means I may get a migraine. But thanks to the addition of  the medication Diamox, I can prevent some of those migraines.


That’s what happened a couple of weekends ago. Saturday was a bitterly cold day, but by the time Sunday afternoon rolled around, it was like a spring day. Since I knew the pressure change was happening well in advance, I took my Diamox and was able to enjoy a day at the beach with my youngest child and our dogs.


And we weren’t the only ones. Lots of folks had the same idea we had. Dogs ran up and down the shoreline, people were out fishing, and some people were even in the ocean swimming. Personally, I think it was bit too cold for that!

Even last weekend we had spring like temperatures, so I say to you Mother Nature, bring it on, I’m ready!

What about you? Have you been getting some warmer weather where you are?

Thursday, February 9, 2017

What is the good?



I’m going to be one “those” people today. The one who posts on Facebook, “Worst. Day. Ever!” But then never actually tells you what happened when you ask. I’m going to be super vague and share that I had a flashback of a childhood memory over the weekend but I’m not ready to share what that memory was, and honestly I don’t know that I ever will. So, yeah, I’m going to be that chick.

However, I’m not going to be that chick because I’m seeking attention. Rather as a way to say that while I know I have a long journey ahead of me to heal from the memory, I also discovered what a fucking rock star my husband is. Yeah, I said it. A fucking rock star. Because while I was an emotional puddle in the kitchen (again in the kitchen…what is it about that room?), he was my emotional rock.

His recovery has amplified his listening skills and his ability to empathize to such amazing levels, I am truly astounded. And blessed. Not only did he hold my hands, wipe my tears, and listen while I wept and shared my memory; he offered words of wisdom and insight too. Things he’s learned from his own recovery.

For me, it was another reminder of why I stayed with him through all the turmoil of his sex addiction. His recovery, my recovery, and our recovery together was what made this weekend’s discovery a bit easier to navigate.

While it’s easy to say, “what good is it?” because whenever I think I’m done digging through the muck of my traumatized brain another hurt reveals itself, I’d rather say, “What is the good?” And here it’s definitely my husband. My hero. Because this time, I have him here to lean on while I process through all of my emotions. I know I don’t have to go through this hurt alone. How cool is that?

 Who's your hero? Do you know someone on Facebook who posts something dramatic but never tells you what's actually wrong?