Hang On To Yourself

Truman Burbank: Was nothing real?

Christof: You were real... that's what made you so good to watch.

Lines from the movie called “The Truman Show”, after Truman (played by Jim Carrey) learns that he was the only one in his life who wasn’t acting a part in a world that wasn’t real.

 The Truman Show resonates with my discovery that most of my life had been absorbed into my husband’s ugly deception. The movie’s ending grips me—where, after Truman’s sailboat prow accidentally pierces the fake horizon, Truman climbs out of his boat onto a fake lake, and seeing a staircase climbs up to find the “exit” door. The show’s creator tries to keep him from going through it, and after they exchange some words (including the lines above) Truman takes his final bow and walks through the door into the real world—a dark unknown. What would he feel—fear, anger, hope, courage, grief, doubt? All these, but still he chooses to leave the fake life and hang onto himself—because he’s the only thing in his life he knows is real.

Truman hung on to himself. And that’s exactly what you need to do.

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PART TWO: In My Opinion

It’s hard to write about misogyny. No one wants it to be real. No one wants it to be “involved” in what Compulsive-abusive Sexual Relational Disordered[1] men do, or how the sex addiction treatment industry protects them at the expense of wives and partners. But misogyny is a social default setting.  We grow up in it. We are shaped by it. We work around it if possible. We have to know what it means and how it behaves, because our lives are actually at stake.

In writing these last few difficult blogs, I received messages from women caught in the very topics I’m discussing. They remind me that nothing I describe is “imagined” and I am not exaggerating. Women tell stories of the diseases he gave them, the criticism he levied at them, how he acted like he was “better” than them, how he humiliated them, and how he lied every single day of their lives together. They are not allowed to raise those topics because he and his treatment team accuse them of shaming him. Women write to me in disbelief. Coming face to face with the reality of misogyny can leave a woman speechless. But not me.

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TAKE TWO....Part One: In My Opinion

Sometimes I just try to say too much in one post. It doesn’t work well. So, I took down last Sunday’s post and I’m trying again. I just had to try again after a timely message from yet another woman whose life has been torn apart by discovering her husband’s secret life of sexual and sexualized activities conducted over decades. Devastated by PTSD, she was then traumatized by going to “SA couple’s counseling” (which I have warned women against doing). Her children are struggling with PTS symptoms as well. She doesn’t know where to turn for help so that she and her children will not be harmed further. I wish these stories were rare. They are not. So, I’m trying again.  

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Start Where You Are. Use What You Have. Do What You Can

Counselor and Author Tania Rochelle is my guest blogger this week while I do the 4000kms drive across the country with Marc and our 16 year old one-eyed rescue dog to Eastern Ontario. I’ll plant myself there for the next while, and hope to get some veggies planted, too! Meanwhile, Tania is the inspiration behind offering retreats for wives and partners and you can read more about that here www.sweetwaterretreats.org. She’s a brilliant writer, gifted counsellor and relentless advocate for wives and partners of men called sex addicts. Thank you, Tania.

One of the first clients I ever saw when I started practicing as a counselor in 2012 was a woman who was referred to me by her husband’s sex addiction therapist. After discovery, her husband had abandoned the family, rented a place at the lake, and bought a motorcycle, all the while claiming he wanted to reconcile and that he was working on his recovery. The wife—let’s call her Angela—was left to care for their two kids alone while Maverick cruised around on his hog or his jet ski. When she filed for divorce, her swore he’d ruin her. Six years later, he made good on that promise. He took everything, including the children. 

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