Friday, April 7, 2017

Resentment Poisening

One day on my way to the grocery store, I saw a banner that had been unrolled and attached to a bluff for all shoppers and drivers to read. It said, "Shame on the city for raising taxes on the water."  The next week there was another bitter banner with a similar comment. A few weeks later there were 3 banners attached to the bluff with hateful statements towards the city. On that day, I saw what looked like a troll scrambling around on the bluff affixing the banners. His body was bent and his face was snarled and twisted right up to the point of his nose. The poison of resentment had affected his whole body.

I know what it feels like to be self-inflicting this same poison. 

For a long time I felt like I had a black tar-ball in my chest right where my heart was supposed to be located. I couldn't put a name to it. It felt warm at times and like an empty black hole at other times. I could feel it growing like mold under the basement carpet. I didn't know what it was until an angry family member told me that I was "full of resentment". As much as it hurt to hear this, on that day I learned the name of my tar-ball.

We've all heard the saying "Living with resentment is like taking poison and expecting the other guy to get sick." For me, resentment is like a purple poisonous pus that is created in my brain and it pulses through my veins infecting my heart, slowly deadening it against giving and receiving love and feeling happiness. I replay a hurtful event in my head and attach pain to it. Then I replay the new more painful memory of the old hurtful event and I attach even more pain to it and on and on it spins. It continues to grow like green cotton candy in a cotton candy making machine.

I think naming the resentment is one of the first steps to healing from it and realizing that it mostly does damage to me motivates me to let go of it too.

In the AA big book it has a cure for resentment:
"If you have a resentment you want to be free of, if you will pray for the person or the thing that you resent, you will be free  If you will ask in prayer for everything you want for yourself to be given to them, you will be free.  Ask for their health, their prosperity, their happiness, and you will be free. Even when you don't really want it for them, and your prayers are only words and you don't mean it, go ahead and do it anyway.  Do it every day for two weeks and you will find you have come to mean it and to want it for them, and you will realize that where you used to feel bitterness and resentment and hatred, you now feel compassionate understanding and love." 

I have a 17 year old daughter who is smart, beautiful and talented but about 3 1/2 years ago she closed down. She now works very hard to show the world that she doesn't care about anything. For a year she wanted dreadlocks, she doesn't bathe often enough, or do homework and she spends a lot of money to buy clothes that look like they were run over with the lawn mower.

One day I decided that I was going to accept her for who she was and accept that she was doing the best that she could. I wasn't going to allow that purple poisonous puss to deaden my heart towards her. I believe that resentment can't be hidden; it can be felt on a molecular level and when the person who is being resented feels the resentment, it feels like hate. Which is no surprise because hatred is the foundation of resentment.

On the day that I decided to stop feeling resentment towards my daughter, I was tested. First thing that happened was that I got a phone call from the school that said that she was absent during 3rd period. 2nd thing that happened was that she didn't ride the bus home after school. She was supposed to come straight home because her grades were bad. At that point I started feeling resentment seeping in so I went to my bedroom and prayed and work through it.

Then she texted and said that she was at a friend's home. I told her that she couldn't stay because of her grades and that she needed to walk home because she missed her ride opportunity.---I was accepting her but I wasn't willing to rescue her.

She came home and listened to rap music and watched some videos on YouTube that I didn't like.

I continued to accept and feel love toward her.

4 hours later, 5 miracles happened.

1) I came upstairs with a load of laundry in my arms and she smiled at me. I hadn't seen that smile for a long time.
2) The rap music evolved into Disney music.
3) She asked if we could go on a family trip over spring break.
4) She grabbed bath supplies and took an hour long bath.
5) and at prayer-time she skipped her memorized prayer and asked God to watch over her missionary brother and to help us all to be happy.

We can't change anyone but when we change ourselves, miracles happen. I wish I could say that I have not had any resentment in my heart since that day--I have to work at it. 

I don't need the people around me to be perfect for me to be happy. I can be perfectly happy with imperfect neighbors, friends and family. I know that when they feel accepted AS IS and loved by me, they usually accept and love me back--It is easier to grow in the warm bright sunshine then in the cold dark night. Even God sends down sunshine on us all--sinners and saints alike.

 "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." --Matt. 5:44,45

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Getting Back on the Bike

I did something empowering yesterday.

For you to understand my little triumph, I need to tell you what happened 3 years ago on a day that I set out to ride my bike from my home to the canyon - a 15 mile one-way trek. At about 10 miles into the ride there was a blockade with a sign saying that the bike path was closed. I started following the detour signs but they led me astray and I ended up getting lost---I never found the bike path again. When I called my husband to come pick me up, I learned that he had abruptly left town and had turned off his phone. I felt lost and abandoned there on the trail and also in my troubled marriage. I stood there holding my bike with tears rolling down my cheeks feeling powerless.

I can't explain how it happened, but in my pain I had a born-again moment. I finally realized that I really was powerless ---I could not fix my marriage no matter how hard I tried. That day I looked up to heaven and told God that I couldn't do it any more and that I was giving my people and my problems to Him.

It was the first day of my own recovery. It was almost like I had been stuck on the back of a tandem bike for years going places that I didn't want to go and on that day I got off and got on my own bike and said, "God, I'll go where you want me to go."

Recently I've been thinking that I should get back on my real bike and head towards the canyon for a redo and have my husband come pick me up and erase that memory now that things are going more smoothly in our marriage.

So yesterday I got my grandma body on my 20 year old mountain bike 
and peddled towards the morning sun,
 I rode past American flags,

people walking their dogs, 
a lacrosse team practicing in a field,
 views of the valley,

 a father on roller blades pushing a stroller,
sparkling water spraying from sprinklers,

Little bum bikers whizzed by me.

One of them said "Good Morning" as he passed and then I saw that he only had one leg.
I saw a family of six on 2 tandem bikes built for 3.

 It was a beautiful day.
 When I got to the canyon after 15 miles of riding,
I stopped to enjoy the scenery

 and then I thought, 
 "I don't need my husband to come get me. I can get back home by myself!"

So I turned around and peddled 15 miles back home.

My big bum hurts today and that is okay. I feel powerful, strong and independent.


"Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life." -2 Nephi 31:20

Monday, May 9, 2016

Dear Bishop, Please Help Me


Dear Bishop, Please Help Me

Years ago I found myself in a bishop’s office folded over onto my lap heaving sobs of pain into my knees. I had made an emergency appointment late at night and he was kind enough to leave his warm home and sit in his office with a hysterical woman. I was aware enough to recognize that I was not acting in a dignified manner and I certainly wasn’t acting like the Relief Society president of the ward should act.

I didn’t care.

I couldn’t stop the sorrow from weeping out of my body.

The years and years of being in a marriage with a practicing sex addict had finally taken its toll on my physical and emotional health.
I don’t remember much from that appointment but I do remember hearing my bishop say, “I am just an accountant. I am not sure how to help you.”
Five years before that when I scheduled a visit with a previous bishop, one of the things he told me was to not tell anyone about my husband’s sins.  Saying, “Please don’t hang your husband’s dirty laundry in the front yard for everyone to see.” And about 5 years before that, when I was meeting with even another bishop, he asked me to “pray for a stronger sex drive” to curb my husband’s appetite for pornography and other lustful activities.

I don’t feel any negative feelings towards all the bishops that I have visited with during my 30 years of marriage who sometimes gave me advice that wasn’t helpful. I understand that they can’t be specialists in every area of life. They are accountants, farmers, bankers, UPS drivers, businessmen or cowboys that have been called to preside over congregations of hundreds of people with varieties of problems. I believe that they are truly Men of God and for me they have been my First Responders when my pain and sorrows were more than I could bear alone. After every visit, I felt a little better.

Now that I have been in recovery for over 2 years and have been heavily involved in circles of other women suffering from Betrayal Trauma, I want to share with bishops and other church leaders some ideas on what would have helped me so that they can succor other women (or men) who have been betrayed. These ideas come from my own years of experience and also from other ladies that I am in contact with as one of the admins of the forum at and also the forum at

Dear Bishops,

  1. Please understand that being sexually betrayed hurts deep. Many women have endured years of lies and emotional abuse from her husband and are suffering from symptoms akin to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Listen to her until the words and the tears stop. This is going to take longer than a 15-minute time slot and be sure to validate her pain.
  2. Don’t give her any advice that would communicate to her that this is her fault. Many times these issues began long before she even met her husband.  She didn’t cause this and she can’t cure it.
  3. Please don’t encourage her to forgive quickly. Forgiveness is going to take time as she needs to process her feelings at her own speed so that anger doesn’t come back to haunt her (or her husband) later.
  4. Know that you are the First Responder, not the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). These women will need more resources like a qualified therapist. (It would be ideal if the therapist was a CSAT (Certified Sexual Addiction Therapist) because this problem cannot be cured by a general practitioner—specialists are required.) 12 step groups are good medicine too. Some good 12 step group options for partners are SAL Lifeline, S-Anon, and LDS Family Support groups.
  5. Encourage her to get support from a family member or close friend. You are only in your calling for a short time and she is going to need long-term support.
  6. Assure her that she will feel better but that it’s going to be a long road. The first year is going to be the worst. Every year afterwards should get better if she is working on her own RECOVERY.
  7. If this sister’s name comes to mind, days or weeks or months after her initial visit, then make a follow-up appointment with her. Many times she will feel much much worse before she starts to get better.
  8. When you meet with the addict, be sure to get the rest of the story from the spouse because addicts will usually hide the truth. Include the spouse in your meetings with the addict to the level that she is comfortable. Please don’t think that it is enough to encourage the addict to read his scriptures, fast, say his prayers more regularly and attend the temple more. This is only a good starting point. Overcoming these issues are complicated and recovery is a lifelong process.
  9. Point him to more resources such as an experienced therapist and a 12 step group to attend such as SA, SA Lifeline and LDS Support Groups. It is also helpful if the addict finds an accountability partner or sponsor. (His wife would not be the best option here.) Encourage the husband to give a full disclosure of his secret life to his wife.
  10. The Lord has condemned sexual sins and understands that these sins break hearts. When we are heartbroken, it is hard for us when our husbands come in to visit with you and sometimes there is no consequence. It makes us question everything (What is wrong with us?, Does God love us?, Is the Church really true?….) In Hebrews 12:7-9,11 the Lord talks about how chastening yields “fruits of righteousness.”
  11. One of the most helpful things you can do is to offer to provide us a Priesthood blessing. We need to know that Heavenly Father is aware of us and that he loves us and that we will be okay. In one blessing that a bishop gave me he said that someday my husband would be “whole, pure and white”. That didn’t happen the next day or the next week or for the next 10 years but it’s happening now. Those words gave me something to hang onto while I waited.

Dr Adam Moore, CSAT has written some guidelines for clergy on how best to work with addicts and their partners. He admits that working with a women in trauma can be difficult and that listening to her experience is a good indicator of how her husband’s recovery is going.

When a man comes in with an addiction problem, many times the initial and main focus and support is for him. The spouse, however, has been the victim, and it would be best to support her first. Most of the ladies that I have become acquainted with in my 12-step groups and on the forums, adore their husbands and would do anything to help them overcome this problem. If you are able to support these women, then this will be one of the best things you can do for the addict and for their whole family.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Broken Together

Years ago when I was dating my future husband we attended a dance in a castle-like venue. Towards the end of the evening, we found ourselves out on a torrent that over looked the city.
 It was magical and we were excited about our fairy-tail life together.
 As we were slow dancing alone, he asked me what our theme song should be.

I had no idea.

[Fast forward 30 years]

Yesterday I heard the song "Broken Together" for the first time.

 I love it. I have found our theme song. When my husband came home from work, I told him the news and asked him if he wanted to hear it. He asked me if it was going to make him happy or sad. :-)
 We watched it together and then held hands in quiet silence.

Our life has not been a fairy-tail.
It's been REAL.
Sometimes it's been REAL hard.
Right now it's REAL sweet.
We are broken together.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Morning Glory / Recovery Dailies

 There is a Spanish phrase that goes, "Mala hierba nunca muere" meaning "a bad weed never dies" and I believe this is true when it comes to the weed of Morning Glory in my garden. It does have a glorious name and a pretty white to purple flower but it twists around all my other plants, retards their potential and eventually chokes them to death. Morning Glory spreads rapidly and is almost impossible to eradicate. If you pull it up by it's looks gone for a few days but it comes back and sometimes it can even re-appear years later. The only way that I have found to keep Morning Glory from destroying my garden is by spending a little time in my garden daily--protecting the fruit.

Morning Glory reminds me of pornography--it too spread rapidly and is almost impossible to eradicate. I believe that pornography is Satan's atomic bomb. It destroys a soul's potential and blows families apart. Is it a coincidence that Son of the Morning (Satan) and Morning Glory share a common name?

You hear many women talk about "D-day" which means the day that they discovered that their loved one has been cheating and deceiving them. In the military "D-day" means the designated day that a military attack is to begin. Either way, for a woman who loves someone who is addicted to lust, the discovery feels like a personal attack causing her to experience symptoms of PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). Many woman talk about D-day like it was a one-time event. For me it has happened almost every 5 years of my 30-year marriage and it blows the ground out from under my feet every time. This last time it took me a while to climb back out of that hole. Now that I am out, I am going to counter attack the effects of pornography and lust doing just what I do to keep Morning Glory out of my garden, by tending to my "garden" daily.

 Here is my action plan:

Maintain my Support System--

Tomato plants need cages to support them. Green beans need a trellis to climb up on and Loved Ones of Lust Addicts need safe people to stabilize them. Isolation is lonely and static. I have spent years keeping secrets and not letting anyone look into my eyes for fear they would see my black hole of pain. It's a lonely dead place. Reaching out is how we grow and heal. Our support can be our 12-step groups, our sponsors, private forums, a therapist, a clergy leader, close friends or family members (or all of the above!). This support system can hold us steady when we have to communicate TRUTH to our loved ones and we know that we will be gas-lighted, blamed and punished in response. Having support helps lift us when we have to make hard decisions that feel like we are defying gravity. Consider a grape cluster without support-- The plant would collapse and all the fruit would rot on the ground.

Build and Maintain Boundaries-

 Boundaries help keep the good in and the weeds out. They are complicated and involve hard work. Most of the time our boundaries need to be unique to our own circumstances. Boundaries also help keep us from trying to weed others' gardens where we interrupt the law of sowing and reaping for them. This just slows down the recovery process for everyone.

Regularly Prevent Weeds-

Filters help keep weed seeds from entering the water system. The best filters to keep pornography out of our homes are love and connection with our loved ones. After that it is good to set up some commercial filters on our computers and devices. I like Open DNS because it is free and it helps filter every Internet device in the home. I have set up several filters, I check them regularly. There is no way to block all bad content from coming into a modern-day home. I have to accept that because, if I run around trying to plug every hole and policing everyone, it sends me to the Crazy House. If God wants me to know something, He will show me but having some basic filters is being responsible and gives peace of mind.


 I nourish myself daily by trying to eat real food, drinking lots of water, being active, doing lots of self care, serving and making lists of things that I like to do and doing them. For years I lost myself in this addiction while I was consumed with trying to keep my husband happy and sin-free. I never succeeded. This is not my job--I am not his clown or his Holy Ghost. It has been an exciting exploration process as I have been nurturing, strengthening, un-thawing and finding me again.

Seek Sunshine--

 FEAR is a God blocker--I try to surrender (and re-surrender) to God the things that are out of my control. I pray daily, I read my scriptures before I get on any social media....daily, I journal and try to enjoy God's creations to the fullest...especially food.  ;-) I try to find as many ways to let God's light into my life as possible. Having a healthy garden takes a lot of work!

I have tried and tried to give Morning Glory and Pornography a slow, painful and agonizing death. The only thing that works for me is to spend time everyday protecting the fruits of my life and garden. I can still see the weeds outside of my garden but I am going to do my best to not let them in and let the Master Gardener take care of the rest.

Today as I was out in my garden hoeing, my husband came out and joked,

 "Are you OUT-STANDING in your field?"

As a matter of fact, with daily work, I AM!  ;-)


I have a garden, a secret garden, 
Where thot's like flowers grow day by day; 
'Tis I must choose them, and tend and use them, 
And cast all wrong ones like weeds a way.
 Goodness and love are seeds that I sow;
God up above will help me I know,
To keep my garden, my heart's own garden,
A place where beauty will always grow.
--From the old orange Sing With Me primary song book.
Written by Maryhale Woolsey

*All photos from my own little garden.  :-)