Ep. 19 - Hallmark Movie vs. Real Life

Betrayal Trauma & Addiction Recovery Podcast - Clark N Linda Show Betrayal Trauma & Addiction Recovery Podcast - Clark N Linda Show Betrayal Trauma & Addiction Recovery Podcast - Clark N Linda Show

Audio only for Podcast Listeners! Do you have a parent struggling with addiction or betrayal trauma? In this episode we answer questions from a listener who is experiencing this in her own family and although we do not have grown children of our own, because ours are still young, we address her difficult yet thoughtful questions. How can you support both the addicted & the betrayed when they are your parents or in-laws? And how do their struggles affect you as their child?

It's been an amazing year of growth and change, thanks for taking this vulnerable, awkward, healing, oversharing roller coaster of a journey with us, we are excited for 2020 we have some great things in store. We pray for you and hope you each have a very Merry Christmas, we know that Christ is the reason for all seasons, and is the reason for our healing and recovery. 

Betrayal Trauma & Addiction Recovery Video Podcast - Clark N Linda Show

THINGS DISCUSSED

  • Reading the email.
  • Addressing her questions.
  • Betrayed's Point of View
  • Addicted's Point of View
  • Children's Point of View
  • Is separation a punishment?
  • Example of a Boundary after a lost battle.

Sorry we don't have time codes or show notes, we just wanted to get this episode published ASAP because we know the holidays are hard and didn't want anyone to feel alone because we know this email is not unique to our listener, so time codes will be coming soon! Here are our thoughts separately not in order. 

Linda's Notes

The holidays can be such a hard time for the once betrayed and once addicted. Not once have I ever seen a hallmark movie about a couple who struggled with betrayal and then somehow they manage to stay together and have a happy ending, because that would be too hard to watch and no one wants to put anyone through that initial pain on purpose or even for pretend. 
In this special Christmas episode and the last one for 2019, we are going to answer a listener’s email. We know this is not unique to her situation and she gave us permission to share it in hopes that someone else out there would know they are not alone. 
We are going to address these questions and her experiences from our own perspective and experiences, we are obviously not professional counselors or therapists and we always suggest you contact a trained sexual addiction or betrayal trauma therapist if you feel you need help. We know that through prayer and revelation she and her fam can continue to find healing from looking at things in a different perspective. We have changed the names in this email to protect the identity of those involved.
Last of the fam to find out. Why were they the last? Who did the talking? How did the person express it? DId the dad share it or the mom have to tell because dad couldn’t? 
I was so grateful each time that Clark has shared it because it just felt better that way for us. He has also been sensitive to include things like “ mom will need some extra alone time” or “Linda won’t always come to family gatherings because she will need time for self care” and it has helped! And how many family things have I missed?
Parents don’t share a room anymore.- Boundary
13 yrs addiction, mom discovered 2 yrs ago, they were told in July, it’s end of Nov.
2 years clean and lost a battle
What kind of therapist does mom have? I would highly recommend a CSAT therapist one who is specifically trained in this kind of trauma and betrayal. CSAT stands for Certified Sexual Addiction Therapists. It’s something relatively new and not all therapists are considered the same. A family therapist is not specifically trained for this kind of trauma.
New Boundary - Move out. Some think the betrayed spouse is punishing the spouse who lost the battle by “kicking them out” technically it is not kicking out if they have both agreed on those specific boundaries. For example, I have a similar boundary, when a lost battle occurs, I don’t manage what my husband does, I know I can only control what I do and need to take action to provide safety for myself and my kids. I refuse to allow myself to be in an unsafe environment where I can lose my temper, where the adversary can tempt me to take things out unnecessarily at my kids and betray who I am trying to be for them, where I would be subject to heightened levels of emotion and definitely be subject to way too many fiery darts from the adversary, to go to a place where I can heal. So it is not uncommon for the betrayed to say, if you lose a battle I choose not to be around you, I will remove myself from where you are and do whatever it takes for me to provide the safety that I need so I can heal. Then at a later time we can come together again and discuss and talk. I choose to leave because that is what I can control, but if he chooses to leave instead that would be easier for me and the kids of course. I also have a boundary that says I will take my kids to a family members home so I can have time to do some additional self care, because after a lost battle you need more self care, more armor than just the maintenance armor, but of course you have to gauge how much that is for yourself. I could need a year, or just a day. Depends on the lost battle. That being said...if he choose to lie to me, about the lost battle because of my boundaries then I need to assess how much my spouse really values our relationship and my healing. It’s not going to be easy, but 110% honesty, taking responsibility for their actions and then support of your boundaries is so huge and can catapult the healing process.
Clark has been so great at communicating when he is struggling and obviously you all heard the last episode (Episode 18) where he lost a battle and was completely honest and super supportive and knew that I was planning on going to the hotel but he was willing to leave so I could stay home if I wanted. It was a huge help to know he was being supportive of the boundary I had set for myself, and helped me know we were on the same team. I didn’t see him as the bad guy but as someone just trying to help me when I was hurt and that was huge. 
Maurice Harker from Life Changing Services during one of his Q&As (his Q&A's are recorded and they are so amazing!) reminds us betrayed spouses that it is ok for men to be alone, it is not a punishment. That is time if used wisely can connect them to heaven. Moses was alone on the mount. Brother of Jared saw the finger of God when he was alone. Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father appeared to Joseph Smith when he was alone in the woods. Men or spouses can take advantage of the extra time they have alone away from their spouse & family to connect with God and to gain more strength to fight their battles, to learn about who they are, learn what they need to do to serve their family, their community and their eternal companion. We are not punishing our spouses when we make boundaries of space or time alone for ourselves, we are giving them the gift of time they didn’t have before, now what they choose to do with that time determines the kind of man they will become. Some spouses feel comfortable sending their spouse with the kids after a lost battle and some don’t so whatever helps you to feel safe and keep the kids safe too is something you’ll want to pray about. 
Yes, you are so right, the spouse’s trauma after a disclosure of betrayal vs family trauma will be different and it’s so wise to acknowledge that with your mother-in-law. She will appreciate you knowing that there is a difference and you just being there for her will I am sure mean the world to her. The more family who can empathize with her the faster her healing will progress. 
Therapist and Forgiveness
There is such a great article about Forgiveness and the Misconceptions about it in the April 2018 Ensign: 
I can appreciate that everyone in the family knows that forgiveness will free the betrayed from feelings of guilt and pain and help in the healing process. That being said, I don’t know that a therapist can even address forgiveness because they do not provide the healing, the Savior does. Being told to forgive, like when our kids say sorry, isn’t repentance and definitely not forgiveness. LOL I can honestly say my therapists have never tried to tell me when to forgive or not to forgive. That has always been something personal between me, the Lord and my husband. What my therapists have done for me is, give me tools to help me trust my self and how to recognize signs of when I can start trusting my spouse. WHICH Trust and forgiveness are 2 different things. I can forgive my friend for spreading rumors about me, because forgiveness frees me from bitterness and resentment but that doesn’t mean I will trust her to tell her anything else about my life unless she gives me reasons to know she is trustworthy again. Same with my spouse, I forgave Clark early on for things he’s done in the past, and I told him, but that didn’t mean I trusted him at all. I also find myself needing to forgive him again and again when I am triggered or remember something. That is the beauty of the Atonement of Jesus Christ you can use it whenever you need it to strengthen you, to help you when you can’t see a way out, to heal your wounds. When I know it’s something out of my control I have to remind myself to drop it at His feet so that I can not have to continue carrying that heavy burden of unforgiveness and fear. So in a nutshell, her therapist is right, focusing her therapy sessions on forgiveness won’t help because her therapist can’t save her. 
Family members showing empathy, love, validation and patience will remind her of the Savior’s love for her and help her remember that the Savior’s healing is real and available to her. Bringing her to Christ so He can help to heal her wounds is the best family members can do. As she feels her wounds heal she will want others to experience that same healing and she won’t be able to withhold forgiveness because she will freely give it so that others can experience the same healing she is experiencing.
Thanks for sharing these family experiences Bonnie, it has provided for some great reflection and has opened us up to so many different options for different scenarios which we know will bless the lives of other out there because these experiences are not isolated to just your family. 

Clark's Notes 

  • I have to admit, my first reaction after reading this was not the right one. I wanted to answer a questions she didn't ask and just start spewing advice to the couple. I wanted to talk about the need for forgiveness and maybe question the therapist's advice and a bunch of other stuff that she didn't ask. But her real questions are harder for me because they make me try and take a perspective I haven't thought of a lot. I've thought of things a ton from the addicted perspective. And I've try really hard to think of things from the betrayed perspective because I think that's been really necessary for me to understand what you're going through. I've thought of things from God's perspective and and Christ's but this is a bit of a tough one and I'm going to try and do my best.
    • Kids for mom:
      • There are great resources out there for addicts and for spouses. There are a lot of resources for parents to teach and help children. Sadly, there aren't a ton of resources for children to help parents...and maybe that's the next thing we'll see. But in the mean time, children, especially mature and adult children, can see to understand what both parents are going through by reading the resources for addicts and for spouses, but read with the intent to understand, NOT to judge and council. If you see something in an article and thing, "My parent isn't doing this. If only they'd do that." It's probably not going to be helpful to point that out to them. Maybe it's ok to prayerfully and lovingly share a resource, but I would be very careful.
      • Addiction and Trauma are some of Satan's greatest tools to try and separate us from Christ. Both are extremely difficult to overcome. Both need healing and recovery. Both require our love and ministering. Both require divine help from our Savior.
      • Helping her heal...it's not just the husband.
      • Perhaps a different perspective would help. I don't want to demonize the husband, but we also shouldn't minimize what has happened to the mother. What if instead of a pornography addiction, her husband had anger management issues. He just couldn't control his temper and had blow ups that lead to physical abuse. If their dad had beat her and felt super terrible and wanted to change. He started the process, talked to his kids about his problem and was seeking help...but then he relapsed and hit her again. Everyone would expect her to want separation. Some might even call her crazy for staying with him and trying to help him in the first place. Of course pornography addiction and physical abuse are different, but BOTH inflict severe trauma on the spouse and just because we can't see the emotional and spiritual trauma from the pornography addiction doesn't make it any less real.
      • The children could ask themselves, Am I seeking to understand the perspective of both of my parents? If the separation is hard for them as children imagine how hard it must be for the parents. How difficult is that decision for a mother to make? Knowing that the separation will take not only her spouse out of the home but also the father of her children. The Priesthood Provider. I don't think any wife would come to that decision lightly.
    • From Elder Uchtdorf's talk: The Merciful Obtain Mercy
      • “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.”4
      • Of course, these words seem perfectly reasonable—when applied to someone else. We can so clearly and easily see the harmful results that come when others judge and hold grudges. And we certainly don’t like it when people judge us.
      • But when it comes to our own prejudices and grievances, we too often justify our anger as righteous and our judgment as reliable and only appropriate. Though we cannot look into another’s heart, we assume that we know a bad motive or even a bad person when we see one. We make exceptions when it comes to our own bitterness because we feel that, in our case, we have all the information we need to hold someone else in contempt.
  • For themselves
    • Empathy and ministering for both
      • Our covenant is to mourn with those that mourn and comfort those in need of comfort.
        • How to do it:
          • Then during the following weeks and even months, I often needed to talk. I found that those who helped the most were those who let me talk instead of talking to me. They didn’t tell me to feel a certain way, or to be grateful for the blessings I had. I was grateful for the many blessings I had received, but I still struggled with many emotions. I felt so much better when someone would say, “I understand that you feel that way, and that’s OK.” This allowed me to open up and experience my emotions in order to effectively deal with them.
          • https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/2007/02/reaching-out-to-those-who-mourn?lang=eng
      • The best thing they can do is to Learn the Healer's art
        • 1. Savior, may I learn to love thee, Walk the path that thou hast shown, Pause to help and lift another, Finding strength beyond my own. Savior, may I learn to love thee Lord, I would follow thee.
        • 2. Who am I to judge another When I walk imperfectly? In the quiet heart is hidden, Sorrow that the eye can't see. Who am I to judge another? Lord, I would follow thee
        • 3. I would be my brother's keeper; I would learn the healer's art. To the wounded and the weary I would show a gentle heart. I would be my brother's keeper--Lord I would follow thee.
        • 4. Savior, may I love my brother As I know thou lovest me, Find in thee my strength, my beacon, For thy servant I would be. Savior, may I love my brother-- Lord I would follow thee.
    • From ARP Manual for Spouses and Family, Step3 - Understanding that Change Takes Time:
      • We may find ourselves impatient for change to occur because we are anxious to stop hurting. Even though we do all that we can to seek healing and we acknowledge that the Lord is helping us, we still recognize that the healing and recovery process takes time. While continuing to have hope for changes in the near future, we also need to be willing to accept that some changes may take a lifetime or longer. Elder Dallin H. Oaks stated, “Not all problems are overcome and not all needed relationships are fixed in mortality. The work of salvation goes on beyond the veil of death, and we should not be too apprehensive about incompleteness within the limits of mortality”
      • Step 5. Accepting That We Cannot Control Our Loved Ones or Heal Them
        • Our ensnared loved ones often make poor choices and may suffer significant consequences. It is hard to watch this happen and to feel helpless to prevent it. We might believe that things won’t get better unless we step in and fix it. We may try to persuade, reason, bargain, punish, manipulate, or shame our loved ones into recovery. These attempts may seem effective for a time, but in the end they are not enough. We learn from experience that trying to exercise control only creates a climate of tension, fear, and resentment. Elder Richard G. Scott counseled, “Do not attempt to override agency. The Lord himself would not do that. Forced obedience yields no blessings” (“To Help a Loved One in Need,” Ensign, May 1988, 60).
        • It is natural for us to want our loved ones to experience the healing power Jesus Christ, and we strive to help them in any way we can. However, it is important to understand that we cannot save them. If we try to save them from the consequences of their poor choices, we are wrongfully attempting to usurp the role of our Savior and Redeemer. Some of our efforts and intentions in their behalf may actually postpone their turning to the Savior. For the Lord to heal them, they need to exercise faith and be obedient to His commandments. We cannot do that for them. The Savior asks, “Will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?” (3 Nephi 9:13). All people must choose for themselves to come unto the Savior. In the case of a person struggling, he or she is the only one who can choose to do what is necessary to find recovery.
        • How can we prevent a desire to support a loved one from turning into an attempt to override agency?

Thanks!

So grateful for your comments and feedback about this Clark n Linda Show passion project, we have been through a lot and sharing our story has been so hard yet so healing for us to share so openly. You will never know how much it has meant to us to hear your testimonies of strength and your experiences of healing through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It seems we don’t just have my mom as the only subscriber anymore LOL she is joined by many others, always remember you are not alone in these struggles, satan has tried this on everyone and your struggles are actually more similar than they are different. If you have a minute we’d appreciate any last minute comments and feedback on iTunes to help spread hope during this Christmas season and let others know they are not alone in feeling this way especially during the holidays. Our lives may not be like Hallmark movies now, but oh how they will be infinitely more glorious than our mortal minds can imagine through and because of the Savior. I know He is the reason for this season and every season of our lives, Merry Christmas and Happy New year! Go and light the world! 

*A Lost Battle - is described more in the FREE Like Dragons Did They Fight book by Maurice Harker who founded the Men of Moroni Program as well as Life Changing Services. Check them out HERE to learn more and get support. If you are the once betrayed or currently betrayed, you WANT to hear Maurice, he is so validating.

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Feeling alone was the WORST, share this with someone you think will benefit. Listen in or watch the ugly crying on 20 raw conversations from our first season!

Betrayal Trauma & Addiction Recovery Podcast - Clark N Linda Show Betrayal Trauma & Addiction Recovery Podcast - Clark N Linda Show Betrayal Trauma & Addiction Recovery Podcast - Clark N Linda Show

Disclaimer: The Clark N Linda Show includes thoughts, opinions, experiences, and testimonies of hosts Clark & Linda Winegar. The information shared is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional sexual addiction therapy, betrayal trauma therapy, marriage counseling/therapy or legal advice. Please seek professional help for recovery & healing. You know, like from people who actually went to school or have had more than just 1st hand experience with this. Also, said thoughts, opinions, experiences, and testimonies represent those of two individual members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, BUT we do not claim to represent or speak for The Church in any official capacity. Expressed views and opinions should not be construed as official church doctrine—though we’ll certainly try not to stray far from it and hope someone calls us out if we do.

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