Read the previous entry here.
One day I broke it.
It's not a good place to be, keeping his secret. Telling myself that it wasn't my secret to share. Hiding behind my own shame.
There's a lot of shame when you're the wife of a sex addict. Doesn't the world tell us it's our fault? Somehow, our sexuality was to blame. Somehow, we drove them into the arms of prostitutes and porn and mistresses. Somehow, we're defunct as women.
I had been silent, frozen by the degrading scandal that had taken over my life. No one knew. Shut up in my house, I avoided everyone.
Only my best friend knew. She'd found me despondent and lost on my front porch the day after d-day. With dark blood-shot eyes, I'd spent a sleepless night bawling, hysterical! She held my hand, called him a "bastard" and held a straw to my lips coaxing me to sip down a vanilla coke. My life had changed, my arm had been cut off and there was no getting it back. By the time she found me, I'd been awake over 31 hours.
The words wouldn't come, caught in my throat like a dirty stock. Gagging and unable to spit it out. As best friends do, she knew. She guessed the truth. For many months, her ears were the only ears that heard my pain.
As the darkness of my insanity faded, I made my second most important discovery.
(If you haven't already, read my most important discovery, read it here.)
As I dialed the number of a different best friend, my heart raced! I couldn't! I slammed the phone down and walked away. I couldn't tell her. Stepping out on the back patio, I slid into the Adirondack chair. My husbands hands built this chair. The same hands that cheated on me and stabbed me in the back. He cut and sanded the wood and lovingly put it together. Then he carved our names in a heart on the left arm of the chair. My name plus his name. My fingers smoothed over the letters and heart he had carved. It felt like another lie.
I dialed her number again. Said hello and told her my story. She was disgusted, angry and had all the right reactions. Then she told me she’d be by my side no matter what I decided to do.
I told another friend at work. Surprisingly, no judgement.
Then, a different work friend told me to run, pack my bags and never look back!
I told Grandpa Scabs (Mr. Scabs' father). He was sick but supportive. Reaching out to his son he hoped to save our family.
I told his sister every gory detail. She asked, "Why does he hate himself so much?". Shocked at his self-inflicted destruction
I told the neighbor and wished I didn't
I told all our close friends. Every single one of them reached out with compassion to Mr. Scabs and I.
I didn't tell my parents or my brothers and I still haven't.
The Tourettes spilled out of my mouth. Over dinner with a neighbor, I told complete strangers! I told a woman on the phone at work! I regretted those. But among my mistakes, I was able to tell those who were important in my recovery. I began to be smarter about choosing the right people to tell and built an army of supporters.
Sharing released the secrecy and loneliness. He's become accountable to an army of supporters.
This is my second biggest discovery.
There was another best friend I couldn't tell. She'd been part of our lives for over 5 years. Our children were the same age. We had been neighbors and became friends. Sharing weekday dinners and weekend camping adventures. I couldn't tell them. I was afraid to break them with the terrible turn of events my life had taken. For months I avoided contact, until one day it was time.
Packing a lunch in the basket of my bike, I rode through our city streets to her house. Riding my bike is about as liberating and free as I ever feel, talking out loud to myself the entire way. How could I tell her? I knew it would hurt.
She sobbed as if it were her own husband. When she got a change both her and her husband faced Mr. Scabs with the boldness of true friends and shared with him their pain, disappointment and love.
Despite the terribleness of Mr. Scabs crimes we could both see that there is still love. Just like the heart carved into the wood of our homemade patio chair.
Rain, stormy winds and grimy hands had worn it down but it's still there. Strong and deep.