I’ve long admired those among us who have the courage to “break the silence,” whatever their "breaking the silence" reveals. Nothing helps us slay our dragons faster than bringing them out of the darkness and into the light of day by speaking our truth. So recently, when US congresswoman, Ayanna Pressley, showed up bald in my news feed, I was riveted. And filled with deep admiration. There she was: beautiful, black—and bald.
My mom used to say, “It’s no laughing matter, but it’s no matter if I laugh!” That was her way of always looking for the positive, even in the hardest parts of life. And very few things in life are harder than discovering the one you love has betrayed your trust. Betrayal trauma exerts a consequential negative force on one’s entire being, and often produces long-term damage to your health. And no matter how positive we are, betrayal trauma leaves us with very little to laugh about. But do you know that laughter really is good medicine, just as the old adage says? Even for a betrayed partner of a sex addict.
If we don’t fully understand detachment, it sounds and feels like a loss of control. And when you’re married to a sex addict, loss of control feels dangerous. So instinctively, we do the opposite and strive to control. And in truth, when your husband is involved in inappropriate sexual behavior, much of your life is out of your control! You can’t count on him to care more about you than his selfish behaviors, and because your lives are so intimately entwined, his addiction creates chaos in your life too. And never knowing when you’ll be hurt again is like living through an unending earthquake. The ground beneath your life and marriage constantly shifts, and nothing remains stable.
I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, and like every child from that part of the United States, I learned about Lewis and Clark and Sacajawea in Washington State History classes. If you grew up in the United States, you may remember hearing about Lewis and Clark. But you may never have learned about Sacajawea, so allow me to introduce one of my childhood heroines to you. Her story has bearing on how we heal from betrayal trauma.