To Trust or To Snoop?

from where else? Bing

Trusting your gut. 

Many of us do it without giving it a second thought.  Maybe you did it last weekend when you made your football picks.  Thankfully, my Giants didn’t have to play and I was saved that humiliation.  I can’t say the same for this week.

Let’s take it a bit further. Perhaps you trusted your gut on your way to work this morning and you left a few minutes early.  You don’t really know why, but your instinct told you it was best to walk out your front door five minutes earlier than normal, so you did.  You didn’t question it.  You just got in car and left.  Maybe you avoided a traffic jam.  Or even a car accident.  You’ll never know.

Many moms understand this on an even deeper level.  A mother’s instinct, that gut feeling, can tell you something is wrong with your child.  It can scream at times.  It alerts us before something has happened to our precious little ones.

Then, there are people like me.

I managed to screw up my God given gift.  Not through any fault of my own though. Mine was a wreck thanks to relational trauma caused when I found out about Devin’s sex addiction.  The PTSD from the trauma caused me to become hypervigilant.  I acted on every suspicion I had about Devin.

I never allowed myself time to relax and settle back down.  I lived in an almost constant state of anxiousness.  If I suspected Devin was surfing porn, I’d run to the computer and check.  I’d spend hours wasting away trying to dig up some kind of evidence of him looking at porn or having an online affair.  That led me to forums on sex addiction and betrayal.  I kept myself in a negative mindset.

Then, Devin would do something completely innocent but to me, it was a red flag.  I’d be back at the computer again.  Wasting my time and energy.  Every time I closed my laptop, I felt sad and defeated.  Sometimes, I was even disappointed I didn’t find anything.  At least if I found something, I wouldn’t have squandered away so much time for nothing. 

Eventually, it dawned on me.  I couldn’t trust my gut anymore.  I lost the ability to know when something was “off” with Devin.  Those of you married to an addict know they have “tells.”  Things they do or say when they are headed down the wrong path in their recovery. 

When I wasn’t able to quiet my mind enough to calm it, I knew things had to change.  I stopped being hypervigilant.  It was a difficult journey for me.  It meant entering a world of not knowing.  Not knowing what Devin was or was not doing was frightening.  It meant learning how to trust.  I had to begin placing my belief in him and in myself.

I had to hope he would come to me when things were headed down a slippery slope.  I also had to believe that I could trust my gut. 

In time, my gut instinct came back.  I could see clearly when Devin’s recovery wasn’t going as well as it should be.  I trusted my instincts and talked to him when I felt it was necessary.  Each time it’s been for good cause.  Then came the time I hoped for, he came to me.

I think it’s okay to trust.  It’s also okay to verify, with your spouse’s knowledge…none of this spyware crap unless you’re both on board with it.  To me, if you’re spying on your spouse because you’re afraid they’ll act out again or because they’re not working they’re program then you need to have a serious talk with your spouse. Not spy on them.  You’ll just drive yourself bananas.  If they want to act out, they will.   Not to mention, you’re expecting transparency from them.  Shouldn’t they get it from you too?

Devin and I have an agreement when it comes to trust but verify:  If I have a feeling he’s surfing, or I trigger and it results in me looking at any of his devices or tracking him on his phone, then I tell him within twenty-four hours.

Although, I can’t recall the last time I’ve done either of those things.  My gut instinct has been very calm.  I like it that way. 

The Powerful Subconscious




My weekend was not starting out the best.  Don’t worry, it gets better, but it started crappy, that’s for sure.

Devin and I argued on Wednesday night.  Yes, I’m backing up to Wednesday night.  It’s my blog so I can do that.  You do what you want on your blog.  It was over something very trivial but instead of discussing it before we went to bed, we ignored each other.  The next morning we each waited for the other to apologize.  That never happened.  High expectations led to resentments.

I figured we would sit down and talk about it when he got home from work.  That didn’t happen either.  He texted me and said he had to go to Home Depot, then the book store, then his old school.  He let me know he wouldn’t be home for dinner.  I asked him why he was at his old school but I never heard back. 

I glanced at the clock and saw it was 6:00 p.m.   I reasoned he was probably visiting the guys he worked with.  I was going to send another text but decided against it.  If he couldn’t be courteous enough to glance at his phone, who was I to nag him about it?

An hour later the PTSD from the relational trauma kicked in.  It was like I had Trauma on one shoulder and Healing on the other.  “He’s up there emailing random women right now,” Trauma would whisper.  “No, he’s feeling rejected at home and accepted up there.  It’s part of the sex and love addiction,” Healing would whisper in my other ear. 

For hours the two battled it out in my head but Trauma won.  I was convinced Devin was up to no good although my gut and my brain were telling me it wasn’t true.  I went to bed feeling defeated.  I woke up the next morning, Devin gone for work, and a text message from the night before saying “Sorry, didn’t feel my phone vibrate. I’m on my way home. I’ve been hanging out with my old co-workers.”  Just like Healing whispered in my ear.

The next day, we didn’t speak until he came home from his SAA meeting.  I explained my trigger and he apologized for not checking his phone sooner and causing me anxiety.  He described how being at the college with his friends made him feel like he belonged somewhere when he felt excluded by me.

We decided we have a lot of work to do in the communication department but I feel like we are always moving in the right direction.  He has an updated diagnosis of SLA (sex and love addiction) vs SA (sex addiction).  I really can’t say too much about it because it’s brand new to me too.  From what I’ve learned so far, it makes sense.  To be honest, it’s his journey to explore, not mine.  I’ll do a little bit of research here and there so I know the basics about it but I won’t obsess over it like I did SA.  The days of obsession are long gone.

However, the days of triggering are not.  We went to his company’s picnic yesterday.  For some reason, while I was getting myself all dolled up, I reflected back on his military unit’s picnic a few year’s back.  I suppose it was because this was the first time I was meeting everyone at his new company and that made me think of meeting everyone at his unit picnic too. 

During the time of the unit picnic, Devin was still acting out and I had no idea.  I thought he was just really into porn.  I didn’t realize he was having online affairs.  So, as I applied my make-up, I had to do some deep breathing exercises to calm myself down and then I did my Serenity Prayer and felt much better.

The picnic was very nice, until I met the woman Devin went to lunch with.  I triggered again.  What in the world was going on with me?  On the outside I was still composed and smiling but on the inside I was crumbling. 

When we got home, Devin asked if I was okay. I told him about the trigger and he asked what he could do.  We talked about his “walls and windows” a phrase from a book we both read.  He assured me his boundaries are in place at work. After some time alone, I decided I needed to hand this over to God.  I needed to Let It Go and trust my gut.  I had nothing to tell me anything felt “off” with Devin.  There are no red flags.

Then this evening, I opened up my laptop and saw the date.  It’s hard to believe it’s been three years since my first disclosure.  I guess my subconscious remembered, after all.  At least now I know why I’ve been so triggery!  Now that I know the why, I think the triggers will be old news.

The good news is, Devin and I decided to focus on just he and I this week and have a date night!  Shrimp scampi here I come!!


Being Hacked Taught Me A Lesson

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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?