Episode 15: Staying Quiet Protects One. Speaking Out Protects Many
Speaking truth is hard to do and hard to hear sometimes but its the way to living in truth and not continually pushing things under the rug as if its not happening all around us. Staying quiet may protect the one, but speaking out protects many.
I'm kind of excited about today, because we're gonna be talking about why we share our story. And the importance of being open and vulnerable. And sharing things that are hard, yet can help ourselves and so many people. This week, I was inspired to share a post on a large Facebook site. In it, I shared a lot of the story about what I've been through as far as spouse of an addict and the healing that I found through God and how he makes things right, if we let him. I didn't really say anything scathing about my ex husband or anything that was terrible about people with addiction, it wasn't like that it was actually a very positive post.
It kind of just went through the roof a little bit, at least for that page. And it I don't even know what it has right now over 12,000 likes, and about 1000 comments on it. Now in that the majority of the people absolutely loved it felt inspired. And what was so awesome, is all of the people that made comments that they are in the same situation or have been in the situation. And what was so beautiful about that was here's this page that 550,000 people follow. And these people, the majority women were being open about that they're in the same situation, or that they totally understand what I was talking about.
The reason I even wrote that post was because that morning, I was praying with God and asking him how I can share him with more people. And I already talked about him in my podcast. He is totally in every page of my book. That is how I ended up healing. That is how I recovered that is how I ended up where I'm at today was because of him. And so it's no different than what I would normally post. But it felt like okay, this is interesting for me to post this here. But that's what I was inspired to do. So as I did that, the responses started coming in. And really what I thought might happen was that a few people might private message me.
I didn't think very many people would respond to something like that in public. But I was shocked and surprised that they did. Now with that comes opposition. And there were a few posts, not very many that were not liking that I would post something like that. They didn't like that I was outing my ex husband about addiction and talking about that it was pornography addiction. We find that if we're talking about drug addiction or alcoholism, that it's acceptable, and it's okay. And everybody talks about it.
If you say yes, I was married to an alcoholic people aren't Yes, yes, I totally get that. But pornography and sex addiction seem to be different. And there is just so much more shame around that. But that is why I speak out. Because this is real. And it is happening all around us. And it's happening in our families, and it's happening to our friends. And people's lives are being ruined, the addicts themselves and their families. And so these comments, there was nothing really wrong with them, it was just a different perspective. And really, nobody was coming from a place of anger or hate. They were coming from a place of Okay, I hear you I hear your story. And that's really sad. And I'm glad that you found your relationship with God and Jesus Christ, and it's better. But what about the person that is now outed? What about the person in their family that is now going to be affected because you're speaking out?
I don't think this is the platform that you should be sharing this when this group is so large. So that got me thinking because for me the importance of sharing is all about healing, and getting things on the table so that we can look at things truthfully, and what the reality is, and so that people can heal; both the one struggling with addiction as well as all of those affected. And the thing about addiction is that it is abusive. It causes so much harm. With all addiction, there is secrecy. There is lies, there's shame, there's manipulation, there's deceit, there's blame shifting, there's gaslighting.
Those are abusive things, when we try to change the reality of someone else, and tell them that what they are seeing, feeling or thinking is not true, that is harmful and that's abusive. So as I read through some of these comments of some of those people who were feeling like this was not right, and I shouldn't be sharing somebody else's story, I began to ponder and meditate and kind of just think through what I felt about that and what response I would want to give. Because I really do understand both sides. Years ago, before I knew truth, and I knew how to be open and vulnerable, I would have said the same thing.
I would have said, Well, I did say Actually, I didn't tell my story for so long. I knew about my husband's addiction, from six months into marriage, even though I didn't know was an addiction, yet, I knew he had a problem. And it would surface every few years. I didn't tell anybody that. There was not one person that knew that. And so it wasn't until 17 years later, when I knew that it was an actual addiction and we started getting help and I started attending 12 step meetings and counseling, and groups that I started to learn that his choices also affected me. And now that is part of my story.
Because I have to do so much recovery and healing on it, it has become my story. Maybe his choices, but his choices affected me. And the consequence of his choices were that I now had to do so much work. And now I had a story as well. So as I started to respond, I just started typing, which is how I do it when I'm writing my book and the same with writing any material or posts that I do. It's all based on what I feel inspired about. I might know the subject line that might come first, like today, I knew what the subject was. But I didn't know what I was going to actually say until I start recording and then it kind of starts coming to me. It's the same with when I write social media posts.
When I was writing my response, there was a phrase that stuck out at me after the fact after I reread it. And that is staying quiet may protect the one but speaking out protects many. And that's exactly why I do what I do. That is what it feels like I am supposed to do. If we only protect the one and we don't share anything, then nothing changes. Our families don't change, the dynamic doesn't change. it perpetuates abuse, because we're not standing up for what's true. And we're not changing the patterns that our family has lived with or seen for the majority of their life.
I am going to read the post to you. It's kind of long, but I want to show you where I wrote things that later I felt like oh, I could have edited that and not said that because it doesn't really matter. But I'm going to share it with you here so that you can see that sometimes we don't always do it exactly right. But it still comes out okay. So this is my response. I understand where you're coming from. However, you don't have all the facts, nor do you need them. My ex knows about my book and gave me his blessing. Before I ever put up a Facebook page I shared with him the first post, he was supportive and even said he hopes I can help people the way I'd like to.
Not that I need his permission. His choices were his he chose the life he wanted. He likes the life he chose. He also shared with so many that our marriage ended because of his choices. It's important that those who suffer from abuse and all its forms speak out to end the stigma and also so others know they're not alone and there is hope and healing. If you read my book, you will see I loved him so much. This was never about love. It's about respecting myself, what I deserve, and understanding that each person gets to decide how to live. He made a choice. And I then did as well.
Addicts cause a lot of harm to their families. Speaking out with truth helps more than it hurts. This fight is not against a person. It's a fight against addiction and the hold Satan has on ourselves or people we love. Being open about addiction and the betrayal it causes opens people up for healing. It doesn't have to be shaming, it's just knowledge and awareness about what's happening around us. speaking truth is hard to do and hard to hear sometimes. But it's the way to living in truth and not continually pushing things under the rug as if it's not happening all around us. Staying quiet may protect the one but speaking out protects many.
Nothing changes if nothing changes. And also look how many people relate to my story. It's a huge problem that is affecting so many. Not counting the 25 so far that have private messaged me with their story and pain they've experienced, there are only a handful that are showing that they don't agree with my post. Compared to the numbers that have liked the post, that number is very few that have your point of view. That would show the great need we have to talk openly about the issue and the damage it's causing. I do appreciate the open conversation you've created. I'm not trying to change your mind rather offer another perspective.
Out of the 12,000 that clicked the like love or sad button, there was not one that clicked the angry button. That is saying a lot out of the thousand comments. There were about 200 that didn't just say thank you for this, they said I relate. This is my story. A lot of them share their story. And then there's been 27 now that have private messaged me, that chose to private message me, not on the page, they wanted me to just hear their story personally. This shows the need for this topic. This shows how many of us are suffering, and that need to know that we're not alone and that there is hope and there is healing.
That their marriages can survive if their person struggling with addiction chooses into recovery, and if they heal themselves. And it's okay also, if they need to walk away from that relationship to save themselves. I thought it pretty fascinating that that post did not get a lot of hate, just some confusion and some people who didn't agree. But not very many. And even with a couple people that started the post of or a comment about not being sure if they like that there were people that liked their comment that they were in agreement with. But for the most part, the responses to those comments, were people on that page that basically defended the position of talking about this. That just shows me why we do this.
Now, the reason I wanted to share the whole thing with you was because if you notice in the first part, I shared the fact that my ex husband gave me his blessing to do this. Now how that started was I knew my book was going to come out. I actually had written it when we were still married, but I finalized it and finished it three years later. And so it was coming out and we were at my daughter's tennis match. And I I knew I was going to tell them about it just so that he was aware so when blindside him.
But regardless of his response, the book was still coming out. But out of respect for him, I wanted to share it. So I said, Hey, I wanted to let you know, my book is coming out and he smiled, he goes, Okay, I figured at some point it would. I showed him what the cover looked like and he said. - he's married now-. And he said we support you. We totally want you to be able to be as successful as you want with this and be able to share it the way you've always wanted to. So that happened then. When I first started my Facebook page on cutting ties, I messaged him my first post. And I said, this is the first post that's coming out. I just wanted you to be aware it's coming out on social media.
I am posting but if there's anything in here that feels weird to you, or you'd like me to reword it, I am open to fixing that. So that's all awesome. So there's nothing wrong with any of that. I feel blessed that in those moments, I was directed to say those things to him in exactly specific times. But I was grateful that that's what happened, at least for my story. I know that's not for many. I'm sure some of you are thinking my ex would never do that. There's no way. But you have to remember that at this point, mine had had a number of years of 12 step, he had already been through rehab, so he does know what recovery is. And he does know what the tools are.
He has shared his whole story. He did his disclosure, which gave me everything about his addiction that he could think of. So he has been open, he has been vulnerable. And he does share with people why his marriage ended. So there is a little bit of a difference maybe in my story and in yours. But regardless, what happened, what I'm thinking about about that post is I did not need to defend my reason for posting. I didn't need to add in that my ex husband supported what I'm doing. Because it doesn't matter. It really doesn't. Because he doesn't have that choice.
It's my story. And I feel like I need to share. For whatever reason, we don't mind when people share their stories about abuse, or kidnapping or addiction when it doesn't have to do with pornography. But because it does, it makes people feel uncomfortable. And that uncomfortable is scary. But that's where we start to change. That's where we start saying hey, this is an addiction, just like any other. If we look at it for what it is, and we noticed that this is Satan trying to take our families down and people that we love, we can start talking about it like it is drug addiction like it is alcoholism. The more we talk about it, the more it comes out of hiding.
Anytime addiction is out of hiding, there's more hope. There's more possibilities to recover and heal. There's more understanding that what a person is going through, let's say it's your child that has seen pornography and was tempted by it, because of course they were, who isn't tempted by those things that our body naturally wants to do. But it's obviously in the wrong context. And it's inappropriate, and it doesn't help them, it hurts them. But as we talk about it, and we we have those open conversations, they don't have to take on that they're the worst person in the world. Our 10, 11 year olds, sometimes even 5, 6, 7 year olds that come across pornography, they hate it, and they like it all at the same time.
They don't understand what their body's doing. Why is my body responding that I like this? And why do I feel so ashamed and feel guilt because I know I shouldn't be doing this? So we're open. We can talk with them about those feelings and about that it's normal to, to feel those feelings that you like that, but why we don't do that this way. And that open conversation can help them understand themselves and also start fighting off those temptations by using more healthy tools to do that. And especially communication, if they know they can come and talk to you, then that's so much better.
When someone is struggling with addiction, like an adult, and their addiction could come out in the open, they feel a huge burden lifted off their shoulders. It's something they've been carrying around forever. It's been stuck in there with shame and guilt, and they were going to take it to their grave, and they're never going to tell anybody. But when they finally do open up, it's like they're like, ah, I feel free. Now of course there's so much work to do after the fact. They have to heal and recover and get counseling for why they chose those behaviors in the first place. But addictive behaviors aren't usually about the addiction.
They're just more about numbing, and what it is that they need for that high, that gets them through whatever void they have inside. Pornography feels different sometimes to the spouse because it's so personal. You know, I think back and I think I gave you my life I gave you all of me. And I feel like somehow I've been violated. And that's a real feeling. And that feels true. And there are truth to that when somebody is not being faithful. But addiction, pornography addiction does not mean it's about you. Or about that you're not good enough, or that you're not cute enough, or that you don't know how to meet his needs. That is not the issue.
It doesn't matter what you do, or how you do it, or who you are, It's about him and his own lack and his own self esteem. Now, of course, here I am publicly sharing my story. This doesn't mean everybody has to publicly share their story. This just means as we become more aware and comfortable and healthy ourselves; as we're doing the work for ourselves, and we start seeing clear what addiction is and what we need to do and how we can heal, we can talk about it in our families. We can talk about it with friends. We don't have to post it to the world.
But talking about it with our families helps them understand what it is they've been living under, even if like my kids didn't know about their dad's addiction for a really long time. And they love their life. They love him. But there are things that when somebody is living a secret life, that does affect a family, even if they don't know it. And I have shared that story about my daughter finding out about his addiction and how she had thought all this time that he just didn't know how to connect to her. And she was sad about that. Why does he not connect with me the same way as he does his her sister? Or why do I feel this way?
She thought it was her. What's wrong with me that he cannot connect with me this way and the way that she was feeling that she needed. And that's because addiction was in the way. There's no way for someone struggling with addiction, any type of addiction to have that really deep connection. Because if you go really deep, you have to look at the truth. And it's really hard to look at the full truth and the reality when you have something that you numb with. So if you think smaller scale than what I'm doing, and you just think Okay, first, I'm going to accept this for myself that this is what's happening.
I'm going to choose into doing the healing that I need so that I can see clear so that I know how to help my children or help my family members help my siblings help my parents so that we can start talking about things like this, so that they can be open. Now, maybe your family isn't affected by pornography specifically, in your own personal family. But I guarantee that those around you or your family members do have it in their home. And as your kids grow, they will have it in their homes. And so it is something that is so prevalent, that it's happening around us. So the more we're open and clear, and we can see, when those things happen, or when someone comes to you with their story, you too will have more understanding for what it is.
You won't come up from a place of fear or anxiety or shame, or oh my gosh, you need to get out that is not okay. You'll come from a place of understanding of what this is and that your friend needs some help and guidance so she can figure out what she's supposed to do for her life in her family. Because there are so many people so many that struggle with addiction that choose into recovery. And people who choose recovery are some of the greatest people that I know. Why? Because they've been through hard things, they've chose to be honest and open, and now you can trust that person.
There's not a lot of people in life that we feel like we can fully trust. And with addiction, I guess you can't say you can always fully trust them 100% because addiction kind of can sneak its way back in. But when someone is living in recovery, they are more accountable and more honest, than the rest of us. That's what I've seen. That's what I've noticed. That's what I love. I just think that there is so much depth to a person that has gone through hard things. That can be the same for the spouse of the addict that goes through the process of healing or recovery. Because you change so much in your perspective is so much broader, that you are not now limiting yourself to past or old beliefs that aren't even true.
As you're thinking about your story, it's a good thing to look at it as the past, the present that you're in, and where you see yourself in the future. Not even what you wish would happen. Because we all know that we all wish our marriages would work. We all wish the addicts in our lives would choose recovery. We all wish we wouldn't feel so brokenhearted that we had to cry on our bathroom floor or in our closet or in our car. We all wish that things would be back to the way we wanted them or the dream that we had felt in our mind when we first started out. So looking at it realistically, though, what is actually going on in my story?
What really is the truth? Am I seeing clear of what this is? Am I choosing healing for my own self? When I look at my spouse or partner that is struggling with addiction, are they doing what they can to get rid of it? Are they being open, honest, accountable with me? are they treating me kindly? And are they comforting? And do they understand that the pain that you carry is because of the consequences of their choices. So accountability and honesty. Do you continually have to monitor check up on spy on to figure out what the truth is because they're constantly covering their tracks? Or are they an open book? This is the reality you need to look at. Because whatever it is that's happening, that's going to be your future as well. So we have to look at it with true clear eyes.
Now, let's just say your spouse is not being accountable open that you do have to look for evidence or that he is trying to cover his tracks. Does that mean that just needs to be over? Absolutely not. Of course not. There's no way for someone else to know what the ending of your story is or what the future is supposed to look like. However, seeing it clear that way lets you be in the place to make the correct decisions for yourself. You don't want to be in a future of abuse. So if your situation is currently not in a good place, what is it that you want to have happen so that you can stay; so the marriage can stay together?
What feels good to you and feels best, of the life that you want to create for yourself? That's kind of where you go. Then you take your healing and you work towards being strong enough that if that is true that your partner does not choose recovery that you will actually feel okay, about making that choice to leave. Maybe your spouse doesn't ever choose recovery but you still feel okay to stay. Make sure look deep inside that that's really true for you. That you really can have a life like that that. That really is best for you and your children or whoever else is around you. That those things are good positive choices and not choices out of fear, or the possibilities of things being worse, if you do choose divorce.
Coming from a place of fear is not from God, that's from Satan. So as you work on you, and you work on your relationship with God and you look at what is really truly happening, you will be able to come to a place of strength, that whatever it is that you're supposed to do, stay or go or separation or whatever, whatever it is that you will feel strong and empowered, and you'll feel good about how you're moving forward. The one thing I noticed with me moving forward was, I was on this track to healing, I wanted to do everything I possibly could. I had lots of setbacks, I had a lot of pride, and a lot of control issues of wanting it to be a certain way.
But as I kept healing and kept doing the work and kept going to God, he kept directing me, line by line, inch by inch to this path of healing. And what happened was my husband, even though he was doing recovery work, he wasn't choosing into the behaviors. And so he was not moving forward, kind of in that same avenue that I was in the same direction. And so when I felt so good, and I turned around to look where he was, he was not close to me at all. And that's where I had to look at and go, Okay, he's not choosing recovery in a way that feels comfortable to me. And I'm here now. So that's when we had a conversation.
This is what I need, this is where I am. Do you want to do that? And that's when he told me you can fast and pray all you want, and you can have the kids fast and pray. But ultimately, it's my decision. And I don't want to. So he was making his choice as well. I made mine. And with that I felt strong and empowered that I had done enough work, that I knew what the answer was that he was stating what he wanted. I could no longer try to change his mind, fix his behavior or pressure him into any more recovery. He knew what to do. And he only wanted to do it his way and in his time. That was his choice. And that then gave me a choice. He didn't get to decide for me.
I didn't choose to stay just because he wasn't going to do anything anymore. I was looking to my future and thinking to myself, can I stay with this person If he doesn't ever do anything more than he's doing right now? If he doesn't change any more than he already has is that going to be okay for me? And for me, it wasn't. And as I prayed about that, that confirmation, spoke to my heart and soul that I was to move forward. So nobody else can know the answer for you. Only you get to decide and figure out what that is supposed to be.
So as you do that, know that you are strong enough to make this decision that you will find the answer you need, doesn't matter what it is. And that it doesn't matter what anybody around you thinks you should do. Just keep working on you keep choosing into healing, and you will find exactly where you need to be. And whatever that is, there is happiness there if you are choosing in with God and He is directing your path, and you are letting him show you what he wants for you rather than holding on to only what you want to have. And as you continue working on you that way you will be able to start sharing your story and what's happening to you. Because you will no longer feel that you need to protect somebody else that you will actually start wanting to protect you and those around you.
Even though it might hurt or make somebody in your family feel uncomfortable. Uncomfortable is where the change is. Uncomfortable is awful. And it feels terrible. It feels the same way and healing. The uncomfortable spaces of finding out my own weaknesses are awful.It's hard to look at yourself and see what it is that you have to do and have to change. But that's where the healing is. That's where the surrender is and that's where the peace is. I wish you well this week figuring out your truth, your story, what your present situation is and where you want your future to be. And we will see you next time.