I knew I was hurting. I knew my life seemed turned upside down and unmanageable since I discovered the true extent of my husband's pornography addiction and its effects on our lives and my feelings of safety and security. But my pain and trauma was large, looming and as ominous and vast as a frighteningly dangerous storm rolling in as thick black clouds. For months I tried to find the edges of the pain, so I could classify it, gather it, group it and contain it. But for as far as I could see, it was dark and endless and that made it that much scarier.
After awhile, I learned to live under the cloud. I accepted its size and effects on my life, and doubted I would ever be able to understand the extent of my pain, mistrust and fear. I limped along, coping the best I could with life in the dark abyss of my trauma. As I went to 12 step meetings and met amazing women that I opened up to in my life, the cloud didn't seem as dark or ominous as before, and I even saw the light break through it more and more often. But still, I would be knocked off my feet when the simplest thing seemed to make that storm cloud rage and plunge me back into the dark by myself; my fear and anxiety endless and undefinable once again. I had never heard of betrayal trauma -- I'd been focusing on boundaries and codependency, but no matter how 'healthy' I was trying to live, seemingly small things would flare up and make me feel small and frightened and anxious all over again. It was around this time that I first heard of Addo Recovery's free online 6 Week Betrayal Trauma Course. In our first class "Why Do I Feel Like This?", Dr. Kevin Skinner addressed the science behind betrayal trauma -- explaining the PTSD-like symptoms and making sense of my deepest fears and anxieties. For the first time there was a clear understandable explanation for why I felt the way I did -- why I was dealing with near crippling anxiety and depression for the first time in my life. Why tiny seemingly inconsequential things left me hurting and fearful. Learning about betrayal trauma and some of its PTSD-like symptoms changed everything in my recovery.
One of the most surprisingly healing things to me was taking the different tests and assessments Addo offers throughout the course. I'd never thought of taking a test as healing or helpful -- but as I worked through my feelings of each question, then read through my results (and the accompanying articles addressing my results) I was flooded with the feeling of acceptance and understanding of myself. My feelings were coming from a place of real trauma -- I wasn't just 'overreacting' or acting 'crazy' or 'coping poorly'. I was reacting fairly normally to what I had been through, and I could see through the assessment questions why I was where I was. There was a real sense of self-acceptance and empathy and compassion for myself as I moved through the assessments.
And for the first time, I could see the reach of that dark cloud. I understood it better than I had -- I knew why it was there, where it was coming from, and I felt like for the first time I had some real direction to the way out from under it. And as I've found tools and resources that address the specifics of what made my cloud so heavy and oppressing, I've been able to work out from under it in a way I didn't know how to before. When we know more, we can do more -- and when we know more about why we feel the way we do, we can more quickly address the issues that are most directly affecting us.
Taking assessments was a surprising part of my path to healing and understanding for me.
Have you had a similar experience? Have you taken any tests or assessments that helped you?
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Inventory for Partners of Sexual Addicts - developed by Dr. Kevin Skinner and Dr. Shondell Knowlton
This test is designed to help assess the trauma and stress affecting individuals dealing with a loved one's pornography or sexual addiction. This will help the partner identify key areas in which they're being affected, and see that those feelings are not unique to them. These results can be taken to a therapist, so they can better understand what the partner is dealing with. The test also offers feedback of what can be done to start addressing the key issues.
Assessing Pornography Addiction -- developed by Dr. Kevin Skinner.
This test is to help those struggling with pornography identify the extent of their issue. It can also be used by counselors, clergy, and family members who want to help support, and better understand, those dealing with addiction.