28 January 2012

If I weren't Mormon-would I still believe pornography is bad?

I've often asked myself if I weren't LDS, would I still feel the way I do about pornography? I've thought much about this and I have to say, yes. I would still feel the way I feel now, about pornography.  I'll elaborate, of course.

It is a difficult question to ask, because my religion is the foundation of my morality.  But my experiences have caused me to be reasonably sure that even if I took religion out of the equation, I would still consider pornography as fundamentally wrong.  It is harmful to relationships, it is an avenue to futher sexual deviancy, and as with all addictions- it can destroy the soul of the individual.  (And that is not even to speak of the souls of those in front of the camera.)

The LDS church preaches strongly that pornography should be avoided.  But it preaches the same about gambling, illegal drugs and alcohol. The church takes a clear stand against all addictive substances and behaviors.  This makes sense to me.  On an intellectual level I concur with these teachings. 

I will admit that in the beginning a significant amount of my emotional pain came from the shame I felt because this behavior is looked down on and condemned so harshly in my religious culture.  But often our initial reactions aren't our hardest ones to overcome, and I believe now that both Pete and I have moved past that embarrassment.  When appropriate we are both comfortable talking about it. 

So I want to address the three reasons I mentioned above, why I think pornography is fundamentally wrong.

1.  It is harmful to relationships.  After desperately searching online for some support from other wives, I came across a forum on Cafe Mom called WoPA.  Wives of Porn Addicts.  Although there are some very kind women who mediate the forum, it can be a very depressing place.  Occasionally I came across women of my own faith, but many were not.  Many doubted their feelings of hurt and wondered if they were over-reacting or unreasonable.  But I've come to believe that pornography is a form of infidelity and it is natural, even scientifically explicable, for wives to feel betrayed.  Issues of trust arise, and once a woman has been wounded emotionally, she no longer feels comfortable in a sexual relationship, resulting in issues with intimacy.  I need not say more about damaged relationships. 

2.  It leads to other sexually deviant behaviors.  I have encountered many women whose marriages have ended tragically or continue to suffer because their husband's pornography addiction led to affairs, molesting children -even their own, and questioning their sexuality.  [Personal beliefs aside, questioning your sexuality may not be a problem, unless you are in a relationship with a woman and you decide you'd rather be with a man.]  Pornography addiction, when unrestrained can lead to financial ruin, prison and destroyed lives.  Which leads me to #3.

3.  I hold it to be true that all forms of addiction canker an individual's soul.  Addiction leads to lives that become unmanagable. Ask any alcoholic.  Self-esteem withers as addicts feel out of control.  Guilt over the hurt the addict causes his/her loved ones becomes so difficult to cope with that often the addict will withdraw, act out in anger or other defensive ways which leads to a lonely and miserable life. I could go on and on, but I think I've made the point.

If you are one of the women who wonders if you are being unreasonable, if your husband is telling you that it is his problem alone, assuming he even acknowledges it as a problem, don't discredit your feelings.  Learn about it, and use your knowledge to communicate with him in a non-confrontational way.  It IS wrong.  Don't be afraid to believe that or to say it.

25 January 2012

What brings you here?

I write this blog for women like me.  (Or men like my husband.)

That's it. 

I am not trying to earn money with this blog.  You will notice there are no ads. 

I am not trying to gain fame.  It's anonymous. 

I don't care if there is only one reader or 100. 

I write because it helps me, and I write with the hope that it will make someone else's burden lighter, knowing I am here.

I welcome anyone who wants to read.  I also welcome anyone's comments.  But please be respectful of our feelings and our situation.   Please don't make judgements.  In our group meetings we talk about it being a "safe" place.  None of us are worried about being physically abused at group meeting- but we are worried about being criticized or rebuked. 

Please let this be a safe place for me, and others, to express my thoughts. 

**If you do not find yourself in a marriage to an addict, or as an addict- what brings you here?

the Therapist

I never thought I'd ever need a therapist.  I don't even like the name "therapist."  I prefer counselor.  But that's all semantics.

I was more nervous for my appointment than I was for my first group meeting.  But it went well.  She didn't knock my socks off with clarity about my psyche- but she helped me.

She helped me to sort out some issues that I conveniently blamed on my husband's addiction, that in fact are very common in marriages without addiction.  I felt both relief and disappointment.  I felt relieved that I was not alone with my baggage, but disappointed that I lost my cop-out.  So much for thinking things would get better if only HE would get better. 

What I appreciated most, and what I would say to anyone who is considering seeing a counselor, is that she gave me practical tools.  She gave me suggestions, even specific behaviors.  That is what I've been looking for.  General truths and principles of intimacy and relationships are helpful.  But I've been desperate for someone to help me know what to DO.  Counselors are great for this.  And if the tools she suggests don't work? She reassured me that we could try something different next go around. 

She also had skills that allowed her to ask questions that caused me to think.  As I said before- I didn't come away with clarity. But I did come away with some new ideas to ponder.  If this were a critique of counseling I would definitely say YES.


22 January 2012

The Gospel of Jesus Christ

"And since He bids me seek His face, believe His words and trust His grace,  I'll cast on Him my every care."

This morning as I dressed for church I wondered about the gospel.  I wondered, for those who haven't endured a faith-testing experience, I am surprised they even bother.

I don't really mean that.  I have always had a testimony of my Savior, and have had need for the Atonement due to sin.  But I never really understood the teachings of Jesus Christ.  I'm quite sure that I still don't.  But I see it in a new way. 

A woman whose marriage has been plagued by addiction made the comment "I have spent many years worshipping eternal marriage, rather than worshipping God."  I understood exactly what she was trying to say.  There is so much disappointment in our lives because we fall short of the cultural ideals associated with our religion.  But the true principles of the gospel bring us peace and joy in spite of our disappointing failures. 

It has amazed me, as I've felt the healing power of the Atonement on my broken heart, how for years I have been going through the motions of the gospel without allowing myself to truly partake of its liberating message.  I've been so consumed with the way I appear to others and their salvation, that I have neglected my own, and in the process denied myself the joy that comes with gratitude, forgiveness and love. 

Though hard to achieve, the gospel allows me to live a life without frustration, worry, anger, or sadness.  The influence of the Holy Ghost draws me back to my Savior, when I am "prone to wander." 

A couple months ago I was feeling depressed and empty on a Sunday morning.  It was fast Sunday and I knew that if I could muster the spiritual strength to bear my testimony I would be rewarded with the sweet feelings of the Spirit.  I did so, and as I stood at the pulpit I wept with gratitude for the chance to once again feel close to my Father in Heaven.  I told the congregation that what I really wanted, was to just stand there and relish those tender feelings. That of course, is not the point of testimony meeting, so I shared a brief testimony and sat down. 

I know the gospel of Jesus Christ is true.  It is full of truths and principles that are saving me. 

If you are not familiar with my beliefs go here:

18 January 2012


A new world has unfolded to me in the last six months since I turned to the internet for support.  Addiction, and perhaps especially pornography addiction is so awkward to discuss, there is so much shame and fear associated with it.  There is also much that is misunderstood, or just not understood.  I look forward to meeting the women and men I've encountered along my journey, if not in this life in the next.  They have helped me tremendously. 

I want to help too.  I really do.  An opportunity has presented itself and I'm anxious to be involved.  Jessica Mockett is a film-maker who did research on the subject of pornography addiction/sexual addiction and felt compelled to produce a film that addresses the following:

Shamed, a documentary feature, will look at how to remove the debilitating personal and group shame that exists around pornography and sexuality in conservative Christian communities. Those of us who would preach a balanced life of fidelity and healthy sexual relations are being drowned out by the pervasive messaging of an over-sexualized world. Our best protection is open, honest, healthy communication on pornography and sexual addiction, empowering the people we love to "SPEAK, LISTEN, and HEAL."

Shamed Teaser - V2 from Girl with a Curl on Vimeo.

Although I've learned a lot, there are things that I wish I had understood before.  Knowledge truly is power and if there is greater knowledge on this subject I have no doubt it will help those who encounter this addiction to cope.  I am 100% in favor of being a voice of "fidelity and healthy sexual relations" in our "over-sexualized world."

I'm so grateful for the people behind this, who have the courage to come forward and share.  I don't personally have the courage to put my face on camera and share the turmoil my husband and I endure.  But I will put my money where my mouth should be and support the cause.

I know that for some, when there is no money there is no money.  But if you are financially able I am asking you to go to this site and contribute.  Unfortunately movies don't make themselves, and although knowledge is free providing access to it is not.  I think this group with this film can reach a large audience and have a lasting influence.

Kickstarter is a fundraising avenue, but it is all or nothing.   The initial goal for production is $40,000, and if the goal is not reached the project does not go forward.  You can pledge your money now, and when the goal is reached your card will be charged.  You will not have to pay if the project does not go forward. 

For others who have blogs, please help us spread the word.  Email me and I will connect you with the team putting this all together.  hisstrugglemystruggle@gmail.com

You can read much more about the movie here as well.

15 January 2012

A Good Grief

Some people say that they would rather have their trials than someone else's.  Some people say they would rather have any trial but their own.  I'm not really sure where I fall, but I know God doesn't allow us to pick and choose our trials, they are chosen for us, to accomplish divine purposes.

The following is taken from the home page of a blog entitled "A Good Grief."

After the loss of her two year old daughter, Lucy, in 2008, Molly maintained her family blog, chronicling her grief. Resonating with people from all walks of life, her experience unveiled varied human suffering and like stories around the globe.

Molly started a blog where people share their stories of grief, but in a positive and transformative way.  I sent her my own story of the grief I've suffered as the result of disappointed dreams of marriage and life.  But to be sure, I recognize my grief as good in the sense that I am transforming into a better version of myself. 

I have been inspired by the many stories I've read on Molly's blog, and the strength I can draw from those who also suffer.  You can read what I wrote here or other stories of hope and healing here.

12 January 2012

my dear anonymous readers

There are so many anonymous comments on here, understandably, that it makes it hard for me to address one individually by saying "To Anonymous."  But I received a comment yesterday that spoke to me, because I could have written the words myself.  So I want to address some of her questions here. 

"i want Him to take this burden for me! but, as strange it it may seem, i dont know how!??"

I know what you mean.  I'm still working on that.  But the best way I can sum it up to is to say this.  First- when a feeling of pain, anguish, betrayal, disappointment or anger comes along.  FEEL it.  Let it in.  Cry, punch a pillow, scream, or sob.  FEEL it.  Then, when the exquisite moment has passed, let it go.  If you need a physical symbol of this, write it down on a piece of paper and put it in a box.  A box that is tightly taped up, where you can't get it out.  But give that feeling to God, and be done with it.  It's His now.  Listen to a song or do something to distract yourself and don't dwell on that feeling any more.  He will take it.  He wants to take it.

"im tired of feeling "sick" half of my existence out of fear he's doing it again.

This is one of those feelings you must turn over.  It can't be your burden to carry.  The worry will drive you mad.  This is part of accepting God's will and accepting your husband's agency.  Find a tiny little seed of faith, and nurture it.  Trust God that even if your husband is looking at pornography, it will be okay.  You will find peace. 

"im tired of the incomplete trust, im tired of the intimacy problems,  worse yet, im at the point of asking, "how many times is enough"?"

Hang in there, be patient with yourself and allow time.  All wounds take time to heal.  And intimacy requires feelings of emotional safety.  Remind your husband, in a kind way, that you will require forgiveness and patience just like he does.  How many times is enough?  I can't say.  But if you really are feeling like you can't handle it anymore I suggest a counselor.  He/she can help decide what you are emotionally capable of handling and when it is no longer healthy for you.  As for trust, I'm still working on the difference between forgiveness and trust, but there IS a difference.  Seek forgiveness, it will come and then you are free to give it.  But trust must be earned.  I'm still working on this.  I have learned though, that I must forgive my husband whether or not he abandons the sin. 

To all who are reading- there is a lot of advice out there.  But each of us must work many of these things out on our own. There is a manual, it is a pilot program for the loved ones of addicts.  It has given me many practical tools to help me cope.  In fact, it has been a game-changer for my healing.  If you want a copy I can email it to you.  hisstrugglemystruggle@gmail.com

11 January 2012

Embrace It

I've met some remarkable people in this other world of mine.  I guess I use the term "met" loosely as I haven't actually met most of them in person.  But through Mac I came across the Blog About Love where Mara and Danny share their experiences. Danny wrote a post a few weeks ago that spoke to me.  I emailed him my gratitude for his words and explained a little bit about my situation.  He responded with even more helpful insights.  He said to me:

"And remember that you have a better opportunity to learn about God's kind of love now than probably any other time in your life.  Embrace that, and embrace what it is that He WILL teach you if you let him."

I've been thinking about it since he wrote it, but on Sunday it hit me.  I felt the spirit whisper to me "What are you waiting for?"  I have been given some wonderful spiritual impressions and then just left them by the wayside.  I have not turned my broken heart over to the Lord.  All at once I fell to my knees and told my Heavenly Father that I'm ready now to be healed, to learn and to change.  

The next day, Monday, was one of my hardest days yet.  I called and made an appointment with a counselor for the first time.  I wept as I did so.  It was the moment where I intellectually acknowledged that I am emotionally broken.  I have been hurt and I don't have the skills to heal on my own.  There has been damage that is causing me to have unhealthy feelings and I need my Savior and experts on earth to help me.