Have you found us on Instagram yet? A few weeks ago, we took to our Instagram community to collect questions for our co-founder, Rhyll Croshaw, to respond to. Thanks to Rhyll for being willing to share her strength, hope, and experience with all of us.
Here is the first Q&A from our Insta community!
Q: What would you suggest to do with the feelings of betrayal and disgust over the hardcore porn that a spouse spent hours watching in another relapse? How do you not feel sucker punched each time? How do you ever get back to feeling safe let alone even being intimate? The disgust factor is so strong for me as he says he is so sorry and is back in recovery and I am over here wounded and weary and mortified at what he is filling his heart and mind with. His CSAT reminded me in a joint therapy session this week that his sex addiction is not about sex…but it sure feels like it is a sexual betrayal to me.
A: You should feel “sucker punched and disgusted” at the thought of the hardcore porn your husband has been using. I am reminded that in our 12-step work book it talks about the difference between irrational rage and valid anger.
I believe that unless we allow ourselves to experience valid anger at the behavior that anyone is doing within our homes and families, we will enable a life-threatening disease that will continue to destroy our homes and families. In that way we transgress ourselves.
Irrational rage is a different thing. I lose control and choice when I am irrational. However, I am not going to let an addict mind/brain tell me that I am irrational. I’ll take it to God, my sponsor and someone who is experiencing recovery to help me see reality.
A person who continues to relapse is not in recovery. Sobriety is the first requirement for recovery and if a person is not willing to be honest, humble, willing to surrender to God and accountable then there is no recovery.
I do not know the extent and history of your husband’s relapse but I hope that he is not only going to his therapist but actively working with his sponsor who is willing and able to hold him accountable for his behavior. One does not just jump back and forth from addiction to recovery. It doesn’t work like that. Recovery requires humility (not acting like a victim) and total honesty….everyday. It’s not perfection but there is progress and you as a wife will be able to see, hear and feel that progress.
That brings me to the most important point: your own recovery.
As you focus on your recovery you will begin to have a sense of confidence, peace and direction that the addiction has robbed you of. At least that is the way it has been for me.
For so long my husband got into my center. Where is he? What is he doing? How can I help him? How can I be “more” for him so he won’t want to act out? I am so angry at him. He makes me so frustrated…. Him..Him…Him…
The key for me is to learn how to put God in my center and trust that He wants me to be happy and peaceful. And He will help me. Steps 1,2,3. I can’t. He can. I will let Him.
The surrender process has been a miracle many times in my life. On my knees, on the phone, in the box. Whenever I lose my serenity I ask – Who is in my center? Then I get to choose to use my “tools” or not.
Just learning to recognize what I feel when my serenity is gone is the first step. I have learned to “listen” to my body. Tightness in my chest or a pit in my stomach is a sign it is time to put God back at my center..Knees, phone, box.
My sponsor also helps me to see where I am at. We don’t give advice but we do share our strength, hope and experience. What a gift!!
Now, lest you think that I am suggesting that you look the other way when your husband acts out…Absolutely Not!
After I strive to put God at my center, I ask myself: is there a boundary needed here? I can have confidence that with God at my center, I will make and Hold boundaries including the necessary consequences.
When I do not feel safe, I speak my honest needs and emotions (be direct, do no harm) and then I state that for my recovery I must hold the boundary that I have for safety and that means that I must ________.
For me, when I am not feeling safe, my husband and I sleep separately. That gives me time and space (away from being triggered by him) to work my recovery, make a phone call, do some reading or just rest.
It’s true that sex addiction is not about sex. It is a toxicity to lust. Sex addicts do not know how to be intimate. They have used lust to medicate their unmet needs. It is a crutch that they have leaned on for years and often many decades.
The fact that he has an addiction is not an excuse for the betrayal and trauma that he has dumped on you. You don’t deserve it. It’s not your fault. You can’t change him.
As you work your own recovery, things will change in our life. That is a promise. I don’t know what that will mean for you and I can’t guarantee the happy outcome of your marriage (it takes TWO to make a marriage) but recovery is healthy living and the Gifts of the program are real.
Serenity, direction, courage, confidence, loving relationships and many more.
None of this is easy and it is not a quick fix. There is a small army of women who are discovering who they really are and will stand by you as you make this journey.
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2 thoughts on “Q&A with Rhyll Croshaw: Will I ever feel safe with him again?”
I read your book this week. It’s as if you wrote my story. Except for when I finally drew the line, told him to move into a motel until he went to counseling and contacted the Stake President my husband, who is highly respected in our community, played dumb and I was hysterical at this point from dealing with this alone for so long. So I looked like the crazy one. The Stake President didn’t believe me and everyone in the ward who new about it stopped talking to me. Home and visiting teachers stopped coming. These were friends and neighbors who had known me for years. They new my character. It was a very dark time. So much so I wished I were dead. My husband went to counseling for three months because he told the Stake President he would, and then as agreed I let him move back into our basement. But once he was back in the house he quit going to counseling and doing the things he promised he would do and he went back to pretending like nothing was wrong. That’s when I I knew the only one that could help me was God. I finally realized this was not my problem and stopped focusing on my husband and started taking care of myself. It’s been a long difficult road of healing for me. I’ve had to learn to follow the spirit and act. But because my husband isn’t working the recovery. Going to counseling or a support program. He just doesn’t talk about it. So I don’t believe he’s in recovery. But the answer I keep getting is wait, and continue to work on my healing. There have been so many times the last five years that I’ve just wanted to file for a divorce but the answer is always wait. I get so discouraged. To everyone else my life looks perfect so that makes it even harder. I know God is walking with me. I just feel no connection to my husband. I have forgiven him but I don’t know if I will ever be able to trust him again. Especially since he shows no signs of remorse and he isn’t seeking any counseling or help. I know staying has been better than getting divorce for my children but I still feel like I’m holding up the fort by all by myself. I especially feel guilty when my patience is wearing thin and I have no desire to be with my husband. It’s like living with someone who’s physically alive but otherwise dead. I’ve done everything our church’s suggests but it didn’t work. I’ve realized I can’t force my husband to change or to seek healing. He has to want it. I’ve set pretty strong boundaries in our relationship which he’s always been able to over ride with the “I’m so sorry, I’ll never do it again,” part of the addiction cycle. But I’m holding my boundaries. I told him there’s no more to discuss and that I’m Watching for behavior change maintained over a long period of time. There are times when I think oh, that’s good. But it’s never maintained. By getting healthy and healing myself his behavior doesn’t hurt as much anymore. It’s just the longing for a healthy relationship that hurts. I also feel so as because I married into this without knowing. (Lying from the beginning) so I feel like I was deceive and naive. I had 5 kids when o discovered it and then lived in denial with all his lies for 10 more years. It’s such a lonely place and I try daily to understand what God wants me to do but often I struggle to understand what I’m suppose to do and why the loving marriage I so desired and have worked so hard on isn’t my reality. I appreciate your book and your honesty. It’s such a hard thing for people to talk about and to give support . I think my husband feels helpless, and he may never forgive me for telling church leaders but that was the first step, at least for me, onto the road to my own healing. Even if they didn’t believe me. My husband also is one that will never ask for anyone’s help. I have placed him in Gods hands and continue to rely daily on God to hold me up and guide me. I just wonder if the pain and sorrow in my heart will ever heal.