Thursday, June 7, 2012

I have Tourettes

finally talking about his sex addiction
Follow the story. 
Read the previous entry here.

May 2011

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.)

My delirium was fading and that's when I got Tourettes. Not literally, but I just opened my mouth and all the words finally came out.  The dirty sock had been puked up.   The heaviness was no longer mine.  The secrets and silence were gone and couldn't hide his addiction.  He became accountable.

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.  

Picture of heart carved on a tree with declaration of love. Man meets nature.

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.


  1. Your love gives me hope...

  2. I have not told anyone but my sister and our Bishop and both of them have been loving and wonderful. I think it is so important to share with someone that will love you. I am sorry that you now regret telling some people. I know the feeling I once told a neighbor something VERY personal and have regretted it ever single day after.
    April, You are amazing. You have more Christ like love in your little finger than most people do in their whole body. I really admire you.

    1. I make all kinds of mistakes all the time!! I've done some stupid things! lol.. but live and learn, right? Thanks Olives, you're always so kind and encouraging. What would i do without you?

  3. This is such a beautiful post. I have struggled with who to tell. Immediately after d-day I asked my husband to call his parents and tell them. If we split up, I wanted them to hear from him exactly why. His dad has been so supportive and loving, but I regret telling his mom. In the middle of finding out, I kept thinking of one of my closest friends and in the midst of my sobs I told my husband I needed to go for a minute and make a phone call. I called her and she just knew. She has been so fundamental for me in this process. After that, I also told my husband's sister one day when she started talking about someone she knew and it triggered something inside me. She could tell. I told her the rest and she said exactly the right things. I love her so much for that, not that I didn't already adore her. I have also talked to my only married sister very vaguely, although I think she's figured out more than I told her. She replied with things like "I don't know how anyone could do that" and "didn't you ask him about it before you got married?" She doesn't understand, and I don't yet feel free to share more details.

    I keep waiting for there to be "more healing" before I feel like I can share a story that isn't fully mine. But you bring up a good point and maybe it is something I should share more about. Certainly there are others I know that might benefit from knowing my story.

    1. We are an enormous community of women! And every story should be heard. I've seen how this garbage has webbed it's way into so many lives...all of it having the same destructive effect. And this addiction thrives in silence and shame. I really feel if we take those two things out of the equation, we have a real chance at healing and even squashing the addiction. This was just one thing that loosened the addictions hold on me and even Mr Scabs.

  4. Hi, I´ve been reading for a while. You give me hope. I dont know what will happen... as I am very dissapointed right now... but... i know one day I´ll be just fine.

    I related to this post. I told a lot of people. Even a complete stranger at a restaurant. It felt good. To talk with another human being. I guess i forgot what it was like to reach out to another human cause my husband acted like everything else except a human.

    Turns out the stranger at the restaurant was very supportive and even asks me to come over and chat more when i get the chance. Its a weird way of becoming friends with someone. But hey! whats not weird about this whole mess?

    Love your blog!!!

    1. Kara I love that- "It's a weird way of becoming friends with someone, But hey! What's not weird about this whole mess?"

      Seriously, so weird. All of it. But good for you!

    2. Kara, sounds like we're a lot the same! Sometimes and little too passionate...I would think, "what am i doing? why would i tell a total stranger?"

      And now I find myself telling the whole world. And, you're right! it's a crazy way to make friends But I'm so thankful for all of you.

  5. (2 thoughts to share)

    Wow, what a power to finally make HIM accountable! It's not YOUR burden to bear. You were forced to, and it's not fair that it all rests on your shoulders. I bet it feels so nice to have so much love and support.

    I'm so happy that I read this post, because I feel like that is the hardest thing for me. HE won't own up to anything, so I feel like I must take it all -- like somehow I caused it so I must fix it -- and I can't! It's driven me mad a few times. When people treat him poorly on the streets, he'll reply, "You don't know the full story." He is right... They don't. But I do. And I wonder if there will ever be a day when he realizes what awful decisions he made that led to this! I feel like if he could just acknowledge one tiny simple flaw in himself, I would feel so much alleviation for how HIS choices ruined MY life. But that may never happen, so I have to just find my own peace.

    And the 2nd thing I wanted to share is-- I totally know what you mean about having tourettes! It's like you tell a couple people that you totally trust, and then all of a sudden you can't keep it in! Those instances would always make me feel so vulnerable, and I kick myself. But then I think, "Well, I have a story now. Unfortunately. And it's a part of me. So everyone can just deal."

    P.S. I think you are gorgeous too, and I so wish I had your style!

    1. There's something RAD (yeah, that's in caps) about final being free of their junk. I don't know why or how this happens but in a dark twist we take on all their mistakes and heaviness---letting it affect our feelings of worth and worthiness. It's another one of those lies we have to escape. Once we're free of it. That is how we find our own peace, by letting go of them. You're right. You may never hear him say sorry. But we can let go of their projected guilt like an overcooked 'hotpocket', drop it to the floor and let the dogs eat it up. What am I saying!!?? lol! What a strange metaphor. I don't ever eat hotpockets! Anyway, you get what I mean, right?

  6. Absolutely incredible post ! You have opened my eyes to a whole new way of thinking. I had determined in the past that because I had been accused of trying to "out" my husband that I was in the wrong. I don't want to tell the whole world, but to have an army of people (and I don't even mean a "army" persay) willing to help how him accountable - that it isn't my burden alone to shoulder. What a refreshing for a change.

  7. I just wrote a short post & linked back to you here, woman ! Hope you don't mind! This post really spoke to me ! Thanks a million for sharing this discovery !

  8. This is so good. This whole element of how to tell who and why and what happens next is so huge and complicated and can be such a breeding place for shame and isolation...but there's no manual for how to navigate that. I guess if you make a mistake in telling someone you shouldn't have told, what's a little more collateral damage at this point, huh? But to be able to cipher out a tribe of support is really important. Thank you for sharing your experience, I'm so glad you did!

    1. Unconditional love is a potent thing to discover. Nope, there is no manual. I just did what I felt like I needed to do. Sometimes I did it right, and sometimes I did it wrong. Just glad I stopped at wanting to spray-paint his truck with some colorful words. :)

  9. Did you ever find that your husband was upset with you for telling certain people? Or that he asked you not to tell? When I first figured out what he was doing, my world was turned upside down. I was dying. I told both of my sisters, then my parents. I had to. I needed someone so desperately. Within 24 hours he was mad. Said I didn't need to involve my family, and since then has gone on to say that he "doesn't really care for my family now that they know his business". It's like he's already decided that he'll hate them before they can hate him?? Thing is they will still be just as kind and loving to him. It just reeks of selfishness that he is more worried about who knows than if I have support. I just wondered if you experienced this at all?

  10. And I thought I was crazy for telling the pharmacist and a stranger in the Kleenex isle....I am finding so much comfort in your story!

  11. Ha ha...I was thinking the Tourette's had to do with spontaneously spilling our an huge thread of bad words which, before d-day, you had never said out loud before. Like on "What About Bob" when Bob and the psychiatrist's son have a pillow fight and yell obscenities because they have Tourette's Syndrome. I had a bad case of it myself for a while.....You ladies are wonderful in sharing. I can see how having support in this journey of healing is imperative. After holding it in for years, I finally fell free to share and my husband is finally ready to face the music. He told me today it hurts his feelings that I'm staying at my parents for a few days to sort things out. I'm trying hard to detach and be on my own path of recovery without the confusion of a sexual relationship with him right now. I'm done with thinking I have any control over this situation at all by being there for him physically. I just don't care at this point what he does, that's up to him. I just know I won't be the one to soften the blows (no pun intended) and make this easier on him while it's harder on me. Is this okay!? For once I feel like I'm driving the bus now.........



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