Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Triggers . . .

As Ed and I move forward together I find that I can get triggered by something (his actions, his words or even a place) that reminds me of those bad times.  It's like I am brought right back into that moment of craziness, sadness and feelings of betrayal that I had during the "rough times".  These triggers of "insanity" as I like to call them, can be so subtle that I don't even realize why I am feeling so emotional, angry or maybe even resentful.  Or the triggers can be so blazingly obvious that I actually find it hard to breathe!

So, here is an example of something that triggers me all the time . . . ok - there is this path by my house.  It is a great path, a relaxing path where my kids and I ride bikes and take walks.  I LOVE that path!  Well, so does Ed.  When Ed's addiction was starting to crumble and he began to see that life couldn't continue his way, he walked on the path a lot.  He agreed to stay home this particular weekend but that was sooo hard for him at that point.  He was actually withdrawing from his "drug" . . . SEX. 

This is the part that still to this day sends my mind into a damn tailspin.  So, I woke up one morning and I couldn't find him.  That feeling of panic arose in my chest!  I freaked out thinking he went back out to do drugs, have sex with someone or I don't know drive himself off a bridge or something.  My kids were sleeping and I searched around our apartment building and texted / called him about a billion times!  Finally, he was so annoyed with me that he texted me back telling me to stop and that he is on the path breaking up with the girl that he had been having an intense affair with  (she was actually a Tranny - yes, a transexual guy that wanted to be a woman, oh and a hooker as well . . . and that is another great story for another day!).

Ok - so I will never forget looking over and seeing him on the phone with her.  I could see how much he suffered breaking it off, I saw the expression of pain that his body was going through as he talked to her and how it was almost too much for him to handle!  I stood there frozen, sick to my stomach and just couldn't look away.  It was like a fucking train wreck that I had to look at. 

And afterward he couldn't even be near me . . . he had to take a ride on his scooter to who the hell knows where just to be by himself.  I was there supporting him through this and he still couldn't be around me,

And right there my heart just about broke, for me and for him.  Intellectually I understood that this was his addiction, it is like taking a beer away from an alcoholic (they might even get violent and fight you for it) but when it is another person that he was choosing to be with instead of me  . . . another person that he loved in a way . . . it was just almost too much to handle.  That memory stays with me . . .   

Here is where the trigger comes in . . . when I see Ed on the path by himself now.   We can go together and I love the time we spend there.  BUT if I see him there by himself or if he tells me that he is taking a walk (especially if he is on the phone - our cell phones are too choppy in the apartment so the path is a good place to talk) I have an instant reaction of panic.  And it is panic . . . it is so weird, I actually panic!  He may smile, wave happily, run over to me and hug me . . . it doesn't matter what he is doing . . .  Just seeing him there triggers my body to react.  It's crazy!

I really try to work on being aware of those emotions and using that awareness to open myself up and truly feel them.  Fully feeling and accepting all of my intense feelings (and I mean all of them - the good, the bad and the ugly) and not trying to push the pain away allows me to deal with it and heal from it.  It feel so much better when I accept my pain and stop swirling around in it.  For me it really deflates the impact of it and that is so important as Ed and I try to heal together!


  1. Thank you so much for sharing this. Sometimes I feel like I'm all alone on the island of crazy with some of the acting out behaviors I've had to cope with. Glad there are courageous women like you out there who are willing to talk about the horrifying realities of this addiction and its effects on us.

    1. Thanks so much for listening, that means a lot . . . and I hear ya on the island of crazy, although mine has often felt like a crazy train! I am following your website and I think it is wonderful too. It is so real how you tell your story . . and I know it will help others! Keep up the fantastic work . . . and always feel free to come on my website and bitch to me, I would love to listen!!!

  2. Triggers happen for both parties. As a recovering addict, I have triggers that take me down the path to acting out. I just have to avoid the triggers if I can or divert myself to happier or more productive thoughts.
    Your blog is very raw. I've never seen such candid writing from the wife of an addict.

    1. Thank you so much! I have a lot that has been bottled up for so many years, it feels so empowering to let it out! I have learned so much about myself and how to deal with such strong emotions through my own therapy work. I wish our world didn't make the issue of sex addiction so hard to talk about. I am hoping to bring awareness to the the world of the spouse's who suffer so much through this addiction too.

      Thanks for your support! I checked out your website and it's great. I put a link from my blog to your site . .. keep up the great work!!!!!

  3. That has ben one of the hardest things to deal with. The triggers. Finding out 8 years of your life have all been a lie takes a toll on you. I needed to know every detail of my husbands sexual acting out, and I'm paying for it now. Usually a few hours don't go by without something setting me off again. But I guess it's better than a few months ago when I first found out. I couldn't go 30 seconds without having a panic attack for nearly that whole first month. It was insane. Living on this roller coaster of emotions still feels insane, though. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing!!!! It is so hard, I know! I like to know every detail as well but I find it comforting because the lying for me is the WORST thing. That creates honesty for Ed and I. But I understand that it is hard to hear and some people don't need the details.... you think you do and then the visuals stick in your head and refuse to come out! It is almost like a knife slicing you in little bits and pieces.

      First, just remember that your whole life with him has not been a lie. It can seem like that ..... since you aren't sure what was real and what was just him going through the motions. But Ed and I have had many AWESOME times that I know were real. He explains to me that an addict has almost a separate personality. SO, they can separate how they feel for you and the part of them that acts out! Not that it make anything ok .... but it just helps to not taint the good times.

      I understand that roller coaster of emotions ... but I have learned to sit with my emotions (the awful ones and the great ones) and that has helped. Letting myself feel the pain, binging it in, sharing it with Ed, connecting with it, giving myself compassion and love, and accepting those feelings has made all the difference this time around. Feeling it all is real ... so allow yourself that,

      Good luck with your journey! You will get through this ... just make sure you take care of yourself, first!!! What do you do for your own healing?????

      Always feel free to vent to me! Being HEARD is often times much needed on this journey of ours! I find it is wonderful to be heard and have people listen!!!!