Betrayal•Healing • 5 minutes to read
“I’ve struggled with pornography for the last few years.”
When I heard these words, it felt like my heart stopped beating and a wave of shock engulfed me. I had never even seen “modern day” pornography. I thought that was something only “dirty men” looked at. I was seriously naive or perhaps terribly ignorant. Maybe both.
My husband told me he had never viewed pornography or masturbated after his teen years, and I believed him. Yet here we were after 13 years of marriage, and he now felt like a stranger. It simply seemed impossible to process what would become our reality—facing the secret basement my husband built around a 48-year porn addiction.
Before this moment in time, I was miserable in my marriage, which was filled to the brim with unresolved dysfunction and already felt broken beyond repair. So, it’s not a stretch to say I would have welcomed this ticket to a guilt-free divorce but that’s not at all how it unfolded. My soul was filled with overwhelming sadness that slowly dug into the core of my being.
It’s hard to believe I’m 55 years old and just now on the path to holistic healing. For my own mental, emotional, relational, and sexual health, I’ve decided to start sharing my story. To embrace my loss and open myself up to love and be loved.
When the trauma of betrayal hit, I had no tools and was completely unaware of my already unmet need to heal in virtually every area of my life.
My childhood was a mess. I was the daughter of a minister and I was taken to church and taught about Jesus right from the start. However, as I grew and witnessed my father preaching on Sundays but abusing my mom throughout the week—destroying our furniture in fits of rage and absent from any type of nurturing—a significant wound was formed. Even my mother was unable to show up in a way that was healthy under this type of abuse. Therefore, I grew up and lived directly from the wound of feeling numb, not real, and severely disengaged.
The trauma of my childhood left me detached from who I was authentically. I even lived detached from God, only giving Him what felt safe. This, of course, was an act of innocence and one I was not even aware of—that is, until betrayal.
Betrayal was the catastrophic tsunami that shifted my foundation and forcefully unearthed all the things. Like it or not, I was now drowning in a sea of confusion, turmoil, immense sadness, and so much heartbreaking pain.
As we walked our journey through counseling, disclosure, and Pure Desire groups, I started waking up to so many needs in my life. Self-care became a new survival tool, comfort became an unfamiliar act I never knew I was desperate for, and my Betrayal & Beyond group became my life jacket—all of which were the catalyst for building a new foundation.
Facing betrayal was like cleaning out an old dusty attic that was filled with family trauma, boxes full of unmet needs, and closets lined with unhealthy coping behaviors. Yes, my husband’s attic was so full but mine was too. I was in survival mode and felt I had an overflowing mess I did not know how to clean up. Being in a group helped me sort it out and find a starting point.
In the beginning, I wasn’t crazy about meeting with this small group of women and sharing our deepest needs. I almost quit more than once. It felt awkward sharing with people I didn’t know and even worse, being vulnerable. This was a word I was not familiar with, a feeling I ran from, and something I learned to avoid at all costs.
I was a professional avoider.
I was a strong unshakable woman.
I chose protection over connection.
I stored pain so deep that even I was unaware how lonely and wounded I was.
But the pain of facing betrayal alone was greater than any fears I had of being real with a small group. So I endured all the uncomfortable moments of vulnerability and something grew inside of me.
I began to understand how brave it was to feel my pain. I learned how to be real through Betrayal & Beyond. I learned how to lean in and allow others to hold my pain. I learned to trust people and depend on relationships. I learned that being able to be strong and rely on myself wasn’t always the healthiest measure of reality. My group leaders (you know who you are) displayed the love of Jesus that engulfed my sorrow. They stood in the gap and I’ll be forever grateful.
We are three years into our recovery story and it’s been jammed packed with ups and downs—filled with hope, doubt, joy, heartache, love, and so much of a mixed bag. Yet, I can say that the amount of growth I have experienced has been incredible! It’s been nothing short of a gift. And my relationships are better for it, especially the one with myself.
I no longer live in pretense. I am real. I am vulnerable. I am human and I can feel.
After completing my first Betrayal & Beyond group, I wanted to be a part of the Pure Desire Team. After a few months, I learned of a job opportunity and promptly applied! It’s been a blessing to work beside some of the most caring, creative, and supportive individuals. Being immersed with the Board and supporting the Executive Director has me in the trenches with the mission and vision of Pure Desire.
As a group co-leader, I’m still amazed at the growth and learning that comes from sharing space with others who are walking this journey.
I am finding my way with God. Trauma has challenged who I thought I was and yet, I know God’s patient with me. He knows where all the shattered pieces of my life belong. I trust Him to complete His healing process in me and continue to restore my authentic soul.
The views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are those of the author alone and do not reflect an official position of Pure Desire Ministries, except where expressly stated.