The facts have been slightly changed to protect Carrie. But the bottom line is the same. Meet Carrie. (Trigger warning: masturbation referenced.) Part One: It began as a typical love story. Young girl, 21, meets boy. Her innocent dark eyes, surrounded by luscious black eye lashes, dreamily see the future they will have together. Their wedding will smell of roses and her dress will perfectly represent her heart. She imagines buying a cute home with a quaint front porch, having cooing babies to snuggle with, and being the Disney princess she was groomed to become. There was a little blip in her fantastic dream before she married him. He watched some porn. It bothered her but she figured it was normal. She figured once he married her, it would all go away. She figured she could just ask “nicely” for him to stop. She figured she would be all he needed. She figured he would change. She figured wrong. He just got “sneakier.” Not wanting to divorce and believing there was always hope, she chose to endure the discomfort she felt sharing him with pornography. The only way she could tolerate him was by moving into a separate bedroom room in their home. 6 years after she married, Carrie began what we refer to today as a therapeutic separation. Her grief was exhausting. Her depression was all-consuming. She was only in her late 20’s, but she now determined her life was a failure. She saw no good solutions. He wouldn’t change and she couldn’t bear the pornography. But then, as she was trying to determine if she could leave her marriage, she met HIM. HE listened to her heartaches, empathized with her pain, and supported her soul. He was “what a genuinely good man looks like.” She ended her first marriage and she married HIM in 1999. Maybe this would be her prince. Their marriage was nearly perfect. A few ups and downs but nothing a new couple couldn’t handle. Carrie was spunky, creative, and laughed. A lot. HE was serious, dedicated, and reliable. 7 years later The day started normally. HE was working. Carrie was doodling on her computer, in their home office, when she heard the fan on his computer running. It was an antivirus scan. Back in the old days, 2006, antivirus scans listed all the files being scanned and she started reading them. Pamela Anderson popped up. What? On an H: drive. Instinctively, Carrie knew something was off. She had a background in IT. She knew HE did NOT have an H: drive. After 7 years of a peaceful marriage, she plunged into an abyss of pain. She frantically pulled all her computer knowledge together and discovered porn was downloading into her house 24/7. Tears poured uncontrollably as incomprehensible words spewed from her mouth. Begin the trauma: undiagnosed and unrecognized. She walked out of the room. All her emotions were bleeding into her gut. She couldn’t even form words for the thoughts racing through her head. How could I have not seen this… again? Who and what is he masturbating to? How long has this been happening? Why doesn’t he appreciate me? How often does he watch porn? Why doesn’t he need me? What can I do to fix this? What is wrong with me? Why is this happening? How could I miss this? What did I do wrong? The questions felt like a tornado rushing through her skull, loud and foreign to her. She struggled to maintain any sense of herself and, in her state of chaos, returned to their office, picked up the phone, fingers punching buttons on their own, and called him at work. She heard herself screaming at him. She felt like she was having an out of body experience. Her body was shaking; she did not recognize this woman. Continue the trauma: undiagnosed and unrecognized. She was afraid of herself as she continued to erupt with unpredictable rages. “Who was I and what had I become?” Her initial discovery (we call it D-Day in the betrayal world) was in 2006. She asked him to describe what he was looking at. What type of pornography was he looking at? He told her he couldn’t tell her, “For her protection.” Catastrophic grief and fear overwhelmed her. But she was a survivor and tenacious young woman. She would not let pornography mess up her 2nd marriage. “Are all men like this?” she wondered. She reflected on the wonderful experiences they shared and except for THAT side of HIM, things were comfortable. And, oh, intimacy was rare… Perhaps therapy could save this marriage. She joined a church group specific for women who had husbands addicted to pornography and he found his own therapist. Healing was on the way. Well done! She was proud of herself for having the courage to step away from the darkness of her private doom and seek support. The group she joined discussed numerous ways she could help her husband heal from this porn addiction. · Try dressing more scantily · Watch a little porn with him · Go to a marriage workshop · Learn to communicate better · Give him more attention · Read books on what he needs · Attend marriage therapy · Put makeup on and brush your hair before he gets home from work · Cook better meals for him · Pray for him · Work on not being co-dependent · Join a Bible study And so, she tried. Eventually, she stopped weeping every day. Her head stopped hurting. She began to laugh again. Recovery was a success. Until it wasn’t. Fast forward 12 years… Continue the trauma: undiagnosed and unrecognized. “There is tremendous trauma in the betrayal caused by a perpetual liar as they repeatedly commit psychological abuse.” Cathy Burnham Martin Stay tuned for Part Two.
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