I remember hearing about boundaries, relationship-with-self, self-validation and similar things in the early weeks and months after I found out about Husband's sex addiction. But I had little idea what those things looked like in real life, no understanding of how to start practicing them, and no idea where to get that information. After reading and asking around, I was still confused about where to begin. So I decided to start by asking myself once simple question: What do I need to feel safe, peaceful, and serene?
The follow-up to that was what can I do that is within my control to make sure I create safety, peace and serenity for myself?
The things that are within my control are the boundaries I set, and the consequences I enforce when they are broken.
Consequences must not be confused with punishment.
- I define a consequence as an action I will take if my boundaries are disregarded to change something that is within my control, resulting in a greater sense of peace and serenity for me.
- I define a punishment as an action I would take in order to change someone else's behavior when they aren't doing what they should be doing.
I found that once I started to set boundaries about what I needed to feel safe, "I" started to emerge. I began to have more of an understanding of and relationship with myself - and a better ability to define and validate myself, rather than relying on the judgements and evaluations of others to understand myself and my place in the world.
I don't feel like a ping pong ball anymore. I feel more grounded and secure in who I am than I ever have in my life. That's what I've gotten out of discovering my husband's sex addiction. And there are so many stories like mine, so many stories of recovery and hope from so many who've resisted the temptation, one day at a time, to run, fix, or control others when it felt as if their worlds had exploded into a million unrecognizable shards.
Looking back, I'm grateful for all those who have shared my journey thus far. Looking forward, I'm excited about all the things that are possible for us that weren't possible before.