Enlivening Ourselves

Dear Dr. Norquist:
I am hoping you can help me. I have been married 18 years. I was so very happy and loved him so very much. About two years ago, I got up to go to work, but before I left I went on my computer to check my mail and found my husband was looking at some porn. That didn’t bother me. He has trouble making love, he never feels like it and never really did, even on our honeymoon. We talked about it often and he kept saying he would try – well, he tried looking at porn and cartoon character porn . While I was getting ready to close it, I hit the wrong arrow and found a picture of my grown daughter in between a couple of the pictures. She was fully dressed, but when I saw it, I felt like I just got punched in my gut. I was so hurt and just couldn’t believe it. I was so upset, I called my husband and told him to never come back here. Well, he did, and he swears he must have just somehow got her picture in there by mistake because he was also working on some vacation pictures. I want to believe him, but I just feel like there is this big empty large hole in my heart and I just can’t believe or feel the love for him that I had for him for so long. Can you please help me? I am so confused and hurt. Thanks for anything you can do

Dr. Norquist responds:
I am so sorry for the incredible shock, betrayal, confusion, and deep loss that you have been experiencing for the past two years. To be so trustingly in love and then to experience such a deep sense of betrayal and loss is difficult enough. To also be confused as to what is really true and then to be living with this reality day after day is hard to fathom. Due to the immensity of the shock and the fact that your husband appears to want to sweep this under the rug, there is a stuckness to this situation that is not good for you. Unresolved, stuck emotional trauma can lead to physical problems if not addressed.
It will be very helpful if your husband is willing to engage in and be committed to working this out in couples therapy. If not, you must not continue to wait for him in order to engage in your own healing process. Engaging in your own inner healing process will help to create the life-moving-forward process that is necessary to feel alive and well again. For the past two years, you have been in a state of shock and disbelief. This is a common response to trauma. The healing comes from reinstating movement.
My advice to you is to actively do something to start your own healing. Listen inside for the means that is most right for you. It could be professional help for you, or you and your husband. It could be an activity, a meditation process, a spiritual pursuit, a discipline or anything else that feels right to you. You must choose to take your healing into your own hands, and to actively do something to bring aliveness back into your life. Take an honest look at your current life and decide how you want to create change.

(Dr. Sallie Norquist is a licensed psychologist (NJ #2371) in private practice and is director of Chaitanya Counseling Services, a center for upliftment and enlivenment, in Hoboken.)Dr. Norquist and the staff of Chaitanya invite you to write them at Chaitanya Counseling Services, 51 Newark St., Suite 202, Hoboken, NJ 07030 or www.chaitanya.com or by e-mail at drnorquist@chaitanya.com, or by fax at (201) 656-4700. Questions can address various topics, including relationships, life’s stresses, difficulties, mysteries and dilemmas, as well as questions related to managing stress or alternative ways of understanding health-related concerns. 2011 Chaitanya Counseling Services

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