Feeling "Insane" Is Normal




Today I’m continuing on with my series After Disclosure. The first two installments can be found here: 




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?








Don’t Give Up


I wondered several dozen times if I’d ever get to a point in my self-help book where I’d stop doubting myself on every page. I had so much insecurity about my message and how to deliver it, I stymied myself. I wanted the reader to relate with me without it becoming an autobiography but I was failing miserably. 

When I doubted my choice of sharing personal stories, I went back and deleted much of what I’d written. It left me with a husk of dry, boring, and unrelatable (ß how is that not a word?) piles of words. The reader would put it down before they reached the second chapter, if they even made it that far.

But how could I help the reader unless I shared my experiences? I couldn’t. So, I’m starting to add some meat to those boring bones and it’s turning out much better than I hoped. Perhaps I’ve even created a new genre for the self-help folks; Bio-help? Hmm. Not so much.

I’m in a comfortable place as I write. My voice is strong and my message is clear (at least to me. We’ll see what my CPs say when I’m finished!). I’m in the writing groove and it’s such a relief to be there after having those ugly self-doubts bouncing around the ol’ skull.

If you’re feeling at bit on edge or doubting your ability – hang in there and don’t give up. You may just end up surprising yourself like I did. The more we write, the better we get.

And, don’t be like me, don’t let those seeds of doubt take root and stop you from trying. You never know what you’re able to accomplish unless you constantly push yourself further than you think you can go.

Keep on writing, baby! Challenge yourself!

~Note: I’m working today but I’ll be sure to pop in on everyone this afternoon or tomorrow. Be well, my friends!



This is an Insecure Writer Support Group post, come hang out with us!  It’s a time 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:    Eva Solar, Melanie Schulz, Lisa-Buie Collard, and Stephen Tremp!

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!!