I am thrilled to share my story about overcoming the effects of betrayal trauma from my husband's infidelity. It is a topic that is encapsulated in shame for many individuals, yet I believe pornography is one of the plagues that was foreseen for the last days.
It was only in 2006 that the first study was released connecting what spouses go through from infidelity with major trauma (see Barbara Steffens & Marsha Means, Your Sexually Addicted Spouse). Just this year another study was released that honed in on the findings from that original study. Kevin Skinner concluded that almost 70% of individuals who go through the sexual betrayal of a partner experience most of the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD (see Skinner, Treating Trauma from Sexual Betrayal, 7). 5 requirements must be met in order for a qualified professional to diagnose an individual with PTSD. Skinner found that in most cases only 1 requirement was missing; most individuals had the remaining 4. If 1 was missing, it was typically the requirement of exposure to a life-threatening event. Even then, many women still qualify for a PTSD diagnosis because of exposure to Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD's) or physical violence. If an individual has some or most of the requirements, yet lacks 1 or more, they are experiencing Post Traumatic Stress.
This is a land-mark finding in understanding the significance of what individuals, often women, go through as the result of the betrayal. Skinner also discovered that nearly 30% of individuals will struggle with the PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress symptoms for longer than 2 years, but less than 5 years, with an additional almost 25% having continued symptoms longer than 5 years (see Skinner, Treating Trauma From Sexual Betrayal, 29). Again, this is significant in showing the extent that many women are struggling.
I am in the middle of reading a book called Sudden Trauma, by Ross Woolley. Although it wasn't written in a betrayal trauma context, he discusses how healthcare professionals can be trained to interact with patients during crisis situations to prevent major trauma. The patient needs to interact with someone who knows what is going on and can explain it. The patient also needs to be taught what to expect and what may be normal for their situation. Although sex addiction is vile and ugly, we cannot turn a blind eye! Pornography and sex addiction's significance are becoming more recognized, yet Satan is also slipping the wives drops of poison, too! Betrayal trauma has only come to light in the past decade. The voices explaining betrayal trauma and how to heal from it are tiny, but growing. Any even smaller voice at this point is betrayal trauma brought into a gospel context, specifically, explaining how Christ can help. I will wear out my life in bringing the hope of Christ to those battling betrayal trauma!!!
Here are other important statistics from Kevin Skinner:
~77% of individuals report turning to distracting behaviors such as over-eating, over-sleeping, social media, excess internet use, or alcohol, at least half of the time (Skinner, Treating Trauma from Sexual Betrayal, 31).
~Neill F. Marriott offered something that goes hand-in-hand with this statistic. She said, "Our challenges can pull us off [the] course of happiness. We can lose our trusting connection to God if trials drive us to distraction instead of sending us to our knees" (Conference talk HERE, emphasis added). If women don't understand how to turn to Christ through this challenge, they will turn to other coping mechanisms in order to stop obsessing over their husbands' infidelity.
~78% of women believe, at least half the time, it is their fault that their husband is acting out at. 1 in 3 believe it's their fault all of the time (Skinner, Treating Trauma from Sexual Betrayal, 34). I cannot count the mutations of, "You aren't good enough," that were planted into my own mind and heart because of my husband's infidelity. Satan and his minions wait for moments of trauma like this where we are desperately searching for answers in order to make sense of the situation. It is easier for them to feed us lies at these times because we are more likely to allow the lies entrance and quickly adopt them as the "truth" in our vulnerable state.
~69% believe they don't belong in social settings any more at least half of the time (Skinner, Treating Trauma from Sexual Betrayal, 35). Think what a high percentage of our Relief Society sisters this would include! This addiction can be isolating. As we look at those around us, and especially through social media, we think we are the only ones with our life in shambles. Because of the shamefulness of pornography and sex addiction, Satan easily wins here too. We isolate and withdraw from potential connection out of fear (Again, "This addiction is my fault," can have a strong hold on us).
~87% of women are angry at their husbands at least half the time with 32% feeling angry at them all the time (Skinner, Treating Trauma from Sexual Betrayal, 37). Again, think how many of our Relief Society sisters this would be! How can women feel peace when they are constantly experiencing so much anger?
I know I am speaking boldly and directly, but with all my heart, I plead with you to consider featuring my story or someone else's like mine!!! If we are to stop such a high incidence of the trauma developing into major trauma levels of Post Traumatic Stress or PTSD, an important step is for women to hear from other women that they aren't alone, what they can expect or what may be normal, and what to do in order to heal. My husband and I have gone public with our story for opportunities like this! People need to know that there is hope...and that hope rests solely in Christ!
All my love,