It’s been 13 months since my husband confessed the extent of acting out in his addiction. I refer to that as our “informal disclosure”. We had never heard of Formal Therapeutic Disclosure at that time and I didn’t have a therapist, so I was left to muddle through the range of emotions that followed. I thought I was going insane. I was overwhelmed with anger and sadness. I couldn’t sleep, barely ate, couldn’t concentrate, and had almost constant intrusive thoughts.
I could barely stand to go out in public because any woman or even magazine cover showing cleavage sent me into a near-panic attack. At the time, I didn’t know I was experiencing PTSD symptoms from betrayal trauma. I was hurt and ashamed. How could I not know what my husband had been doing? How could I be so stupid and blind? I felt so alone because I didn’t think there was anyone who would understand. Eventually I found Bloom for Women and started listening to the courses that explained what I was experiencing. I joined the Bloom community and started communicating with other women who understood what I was feeling. It helped to know that I wasn’t alone. My husband started listening to the courses with me and began to understand why I reacted the way I did and that his actions were truly traumatizing for me.
Thankfully I never fell into the codependency trap. I found an EMDR certified trauma therapist who helped me process the intrusive thoughts and become more functional. She helped me shift the negative self-belief that I was stupid. We’re still working on the nagging self-belief that I’m not good enough. It’s a long process. Six hours of my husband’s confessions have taken a year’s worth of therapy, workbooks, journaling, tears, and even rage to process. I remember last year when my husband would refer to a day when we didn’t fight as a “good day” and I corrected him that it was a “less crappy day” for me. Eventually there were more “not so crappy days” than “crappy days”. In the past two months I’ve found myself actually laughing and having good days. I’m starting to feel a little more like myself and see some hope that I may start enjoying hobbies that I used to someday soon. It’s taken a lot of work on my part to recover from something I was thrown into, but I can say I’m regaining my sanity.