It’s been the wild, wild West when it comes to betrayal recovery and sexual disclosures.…
I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t have to step into one situation or another – big or small, when I don’t have to find my FEARLESS.
Think about it. When things are happening around us that cause us to feel unsafe, fear is a normal emotion.
So, what am I talking about? If I’m afraid, is FEARLESS even possible? What does it mean to be FEARLESS?
We have it in us. I see it in you.
The ancient Hebrew word for women, is ezer which comes from two root words, one meaning “to rescue, to save,” and the other meaning “to be strong,” or “fierce strength.” Crazy, right? In fact, the word ezer is most often used in the context of a battle. It’s in our hardware – wired right into our spiritual DNA. We’re strong. It’s who we are and how we were made. We know it’s true. I watch women fight with fierce devotion, for each other, their families, and for truth. We are life-givers. While we can’t do our husband’s recovery work for them, as it’s their personal battle and choice to make, we do have the ability to ask for truth, establish safety in our camps through boundaries, and call others up. (Intimate Deception: Healing the Wounds of Sexual Betrayal, pg. 201-202)
It’s how we step into what’s right as we fight for truth. It’s how we protect our children or stand up for fidelity in the face of sexual deceit. It’s when we stop tolerating the intolerable and with surgical precision clarify what we need. BEING FEARLESS is not about the absence of fear. Quite the opposite. It’s staring “wrong” directly in the face while we’re standing for what’s “right.”
When we stand our ground, we stand in what we know to be true. It’s uncompromising courage. It’s our ability to hold onto ourselves even when we’re feeling pain, panic, anxiety, fear, or anger. It’s holding onto all the strength we can muster…. even if it’s just for that moment.
I know how you feel. When I’m in a fearful situation my blood pressure rises, my palms sweat, my heart skips a beat, my bladder suddenly feels full, my body shakes, my mind begins to question what I’m doing, and I may have to sit in a bathroom to compose my thoughts in private.
It’s true. These experiences are common to all of us when we’re on the front lines of confronting what’s wrong, calling someone up into responsibility, inviting others into what we need to be safe, setting protective boundaries, and fighting for what we believe and those we love.
Revolving doors in a marriage don’t work.
I was recently moved by a woman’s courage. She was FEARLESS. Her husband was continuing to look at porn and minimized a weekend getaway he took with a women from work. He said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” He didn’t want to acknowledge his infidelity. This couple has three teenagers at home. There’s so much at stake. He’s not working on his recovery. He’s not sober. He’s been unwilling to get into SA and do what it takes to get help for his destructive patterns of sexual acting out.
She told me, “I can’t do this. What will the kids think? They love their dad and have no idea of what’s going on. I’ve never asked him to leave. If I do, how the kids will react.
It was then, I showed her this picture and asked, “What does this image mean to you? Her face flushed red and she started to tear up.
“As a little girl I grew up in a home with a rage-filled dad. You never knew when he’d go off. I was always afraid. Now, I’m scared my husband will get mad. There’s a bull in my house and I’ve been running from it. I can’t allow this anymore. I’m going to ask him to leave until he’s willing to cut off all contact with the other woman, get back into therapy and get some help.”
That evening she went home and set a boundary by asking him to leave. She told him what she needed before she’d consider having him returning home. She was scared, she’d never been on her own. Yet she knew it was right. She found her FEARLESS.
What are you facing today? What bull might be lurking in your home? Finding your FEARLESS may not require a separation. It may mean you ask your spouse:
“Have you sexually acted out since your last sobriety date?”
“Neither one of us are experts in all this. Would you be willing to meet with someone who specializes in sexual compulsivity (CSAT)?”
“I feel like we’re the only ones’ struggling with this. Would you be willing to attend a couples group to get some extra support?”
“I’d like to meet with you and your therapist to get an idea of where you’re at with all this?”
These requests require finding your FEARLESS. Please don’t feel embarrassed by asking for help. We need en-courage-ment when our emotions rev up. Reach out to your betrayal recovery group, ask a friend or counselor to help you while you ask. They will be there to support you no matter what the outcome is. It might be a hug, a high five, or a patient companion as you’re looking for your FEARLESS. When we hear, “Fear not for I am with you,” it’s not about the absence of fear. It’s actually about the presence of another who believes in you, is committed to you and is fighting alongside you.