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Addicts feel alone and isolated when battling their addictions. But they don’t realize their spouse feels even more detached and miserable.

How do wives keep their lives (and family) together when their husband has these issues?

My wife Jasmine joins me on this episode to discuss some coping strategies for wives dealing with their addicted husbands. She covers bad strategies that can wreck your marriage. And good ones that can save it—like she saved ours.

Listen to the episode now to discover some of the best ways to keep your life together when your spouse’s addiction wants to tear your world apart.

Show highlights include:

  • Why you’re not alone as a spouse to an addict (even if it feels like you are) (3:00)
  • The insidious way your mind tricks you into concealing your personal issues so you can start healing (4:14)
  • The “forever myth” that makes freeing yourself from addiction’s grip impossible (8:50)
  • How addiction disguises itself as bipolar disorder (and how to know which one you’re dealing with) (9:43)
  • Why it’s never your fault if your husband battles an addiction (even if he blames you) (12:20)
  • How porn, romantic comedies, and even Disney movies give men a failing impression of relationships that can tear apart even the strongest marriages (13:57)
  • The “Nature Trick” for alleviating your toughest emotional burdens (22:43)

If you want to radically change how much control you have over your emotions in as little as 20 days, you can go to https://thefreedomspecialist.com/feelbetternow and sign up for the Choose Your Own Emotion course.

If you or somebody you know is looking to drop the ‘F’ Bomb of freedom in your life and break free from addiction, depression, anxiety or anything that’s making you feel flat-out stuck, head over to https://thefreedomspecialist.com/ and book a call where we can look at your unique situation and give you the roadmap you’ve been missing.

If you’d like to buy a copy of my book, Is That Even Possible?: The Nuts and Bolts of Energy Healing for the Curious, Wary, and Totally Bewildered, you can find it on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/That-Even-Possible-Healing-Bewildered/dp/1512336041

Read Full Transcript

It's time to rip the cover off what really works to ditch addiction, depression, anger, anxiety, and all other kinds of human suffering. No, not sobriety. We're talking the F-word here: Freedom. We'll share, straight from the trenches, what we have learned from leaving our own addictions behind, and coaching hundreds of others to do the same—and since it's such a heavy topic, we might as well have a good time while we're at it. [00:27.6]

Bob: All right welcome back to the Alive and Free podcast. As promised to today, I bring here a very, very special per person, a special guest. Her name happens to be Jasmine, she also happens to have agreed to be the wife of this one, Bob for a period of time. And she is here to answer questions with regard to her own side of the story around the struggle with that she had with me as a husband, her own struggle with everything that she was dealing with along the way, how she's been going through her healing process, how it might differ from mine, things that she might recommend and so on. So, in this series of interviews, we're gonna grab a couple things here and there. Try to keep it pertinent as well to anybody who is dealing, not just with being the spouse of someone who is struggling with an addictive behavior, compulsive behavior. [01:23.4]

In my case, predominantly pornography addiction though, I did spend some time dally, dilly dallying with psychedelic drugs, which she was not okay with. So, she can speak to that a little bit, but also, we're gonna try and keep this pertinent to anybody who's dealing with depression or anxiety. And particularly whether you are the person in it, or you're the person who's there trying to support the person in it, what that journey is like and what it's like to go through that so that, you know, one you're not alone and two, yes, it's possible for life to completely be turned around and you don't have to live like that way forever. If we take the, the proper kind of steps, okay. So, here's Jasmine. Say hello. [02:01.6]

Jasmine: Hello.

Bob: Okay. So, I'm basically going to make sure that I'm talking as little as possible. I will interject if I have follow-up questions, but I'm gonna let her kind of carry the scene. All right, so one of the questions that came along that has come a few times is that there's a lot of the women that come and they feel like they're alone. There are like completely alone in this and, and you and I were going through this back when the, it, there wasn't a lot of talk online. I mean, it was just barely starting to be happening between spouses.

Jasmine: Right.

Bob: So, can you talk about what that was like for you? [02:39.0]

Jasmine: So, I am a pretty private person anyway. I, I just don't like to throw everything out there. I like to have all the windows closed at night, you know, with curtains. And if I had my way, if I'd have the pull-down blinds and curtains, just to double, make sure nobody can see in. So, I went through it all by myself. It felt very lonely. We didn't tell anybody till Bob was coming up on the other side, but one of the reasons that I have my video up there and I support Bob in this is because there are far too many women, wives, mothers, sisters, whoever it is, who feel like they are the only one in this predicament. They're the only ones who are going through this. And they have to keep it to themselves because everybody else's lives are fine and theirs is falling apart, and they are inside. Which is absolutely not true. The more we see this, the more we kind of realize that most women have gone through this or know who has, and I think an important step in getting past the loneliness of it is actually realizing that, you know, maybe the person sitting next to you has gone through the exact same thing and you don't even know it. So just being able to talk about it and through it with somebody who's been there is really comforting. Even if, if you don't know the person, you know, just to have someone, anyone who's out there who you feel has gone through the same thing or close to the same thing, knows what you're feeling, know how it's been and possibly knows what it is on the other side is really helpful. [04:13.5]

Bob: So now this is particularly, we're talking about the journey that we were dealing with, where I was dealing with compulsive sexual behaviors and things of that nature. But I do wanna take a moment here to sidestep and say, Hey, this is also pertinent to little tiny things that people deal with in their life. For instance, my sister was going through something where that she was a little bit ashamed of with some, some of her family members. And she just didn't wanna talk about it because she didn't wanna make a big deal out of it, or she didn't wanna be a burden on somebody else. And this was nothing to be ashamed about. One of her children had come home with some health issues from a church mission. And because there were health issues involved, well, they, the doctors there weren't able to take care of it. So, they needed some more expert advice, right? They needed a better setup. And so, he came home, nothing to be ashamed of at all. And yet, because there was this stigma around sun coming home from mission, she just didn't wanna make a big deal out of it and was trying to kind of keep it on the down low and away from most family members of years. [05:09.1]

Now, admittedly, a lot of people like to gossip about things and she's probably being wise to not get the gossip up, but I just wanna point out how easy it is to slide into, oh, I'm having this burden. I don't wanna be a burden on someone else. They probably have bigger issues, or this is too personal and how easy it is to keep quiet about it. Now Jasmine, there's like when we were first starting, like a lot of the people you had to talk to were people who had read up on addiction, had read up on the stories around pornography addiction, had read up on all this stuff and their take on it were, was that it was this horror story or this like thing that was never gonna go away or whatnot. Can you, can you, because you didn't necessarily buy into that completely, though you may have a little bit for a period of time. So can you talk a little bit about what it was like to navigate that space where the only people to talk to were the ones that were telling you, sorry, you're doomed. [06:02.6]

Jasmine: Sure. Like I don't think necessarily people had read up and studied on it. It was just the thing of the day. Oh, you have this addiction. Well, now if you wanna get past it, that's cool, but you're gonna struggle with it for the rest of your life. Maybe not necessarily going back and forth into it, but you know, having to white knuckle it and just fight it every single day of your life. I don't, I really don't think that was something that the people I talked to with were researching and studying and delving into that at all. It was just out there in the universe, in the error that people pick up on all the time. I think I just always figured that, well, I don't think that that's right. It didn't feel right to me. And so, I just thought to mostly to myself, like, okay, you can think that if you want, but there's gotta be some other way.

Bob: Hmm…hmm.

Jasmine: You know, and so always, always having that, I don't know if you wanna call it hope or deeper intuition within myself of no, this doesn't always have to be a fight. It doesn't always have to be a horrible life. That's not why we're here to live life, to have just horribleness around you all the time. And so just kind of clinging to that is, is something I just naturally did, I guess. [07:21.9]

Bob: Hmm. Yeah, and so did you tire of the conversations with the other women? I mean, I know you went into some of those groups, what did you find?

Jasmine: Yeah, the groups, I didn't spend a whole lot of time in there. I did go to one and I actually think it was a good starting point to be able to go in there. And I think it helped kickstart, you know, a path out of whatever. But what I found in those groups was that the wives the so-called wives of porn addicts, if, if you wanna call 'em that they just got stuck in their own kind of thing. And it, it became, the meetings became more of a venting place where, well, my husband did this and now I'm doing this. And I wanna do, you know, kind of just this circular cycle of never really getting up and out of it, but just husband bashing in a nice way, I guess you could say. They were, they were trying to get past it and to heal from their, you know, emotional wounds and things. But from what I saw, it just wasn't a place I wanted to stay, because I didn't want to participate in that emotional cycle all the time. So, I only went to a few meetings and decided it wasn't a place for me. [08:40.7]

Bob: Okay. So just for everybody listening, is it possible for everything to turn around, just so that you're speaking from your own experience, you know, they're saying it's not possible, you’re stuck with it forever. That's still very, very commonly approached. In fact, the entire industry counseling industry therapy, industry, 12 step programs, all of them say, this is a thing you're gonna be dealing with forever. And then the wives kind of get buckled to that, right. Or spouses, if it's a woman and, and you're dealing with a husband, you kinda get buckled to that, like, oh, Cru, what did I sign up for from your experience for now? And we'll talk about that in another episode exactly of like, what, what things have changed over time, but is it unequivocally yes or no? Is it possible for that whole thing to turn around and go away? [09:23.8]

Jasmine: Sure. Yeah. I mean, I don't sit here today after, you know, our, our journey is husband and wife through all of this. I don't sit here and feel like I have to fight and, and worry about you being on the computer or, you know, things like that. The, what do you call it? Depression and elevated mood swings and things like that.

Bob: She thought I was bipolar folks for a long time. She wanted me to, she wanted me to go and get tested.

Jasmine: I did, because he would have what I thought were, you know, manic mood swings. Like he'd be super excited and ready to go, you know, for a week or two. And then he'd just go into this really low depression of just, oh, hate life and everything and anger and, and things like that. And so, in my head, I just like, dude, I, wonder, he's bipolar, you know, maybe how do I, I suggest we go get it checked out, turns out it was just this other thing he was dealing with. [10:20.3]

Bob: To be fair. There's a lot of people we work with that exhibit, those same symptoms. Some of them have been Dipo, diagnosed bipolar, others haven't and the same processes that I created for me, maybe I was bipolar. I don't know, but it's not that way anymore. So, and it has helped many people, even some of them even completely turn around their condition of bipolar disorder. So, there's that.

Jasmine: Yeah. So, I, we don't, Bob doesn't teach coping mechanisms, right? So, it's not something that you're, you're stuck with forever and here, let me show you how to cope with this horrible life that you are now assigned to. It's, it's a different life, right. We just sidestep that and move, move along so that there is an end to it. Yes. [11:07.4]

Bob: Okay. Eloquently spoken. Okay. So let's look at, like, when you first heard, when you first found out, did it feel like, cause a lot of women feel this way and you maybe, and to the same degree, because you, you had a different sense about yourself, but talk a little bit about this, where they feel like it's their fault or in some way, even, even if the problem existed before they got there, somehow they feel like it's their fault. Or they feel like if they were prettier or they feel like if they could satisfy their husband more and they spend time trying to change themselves trying to match whatever, is there, or sometimes trying to not change themselves in, in response to it. But talk about that, the sort of burden of that and how you dealt with that or what that was about. [11:46.8]

If you or someone, you know, is looking to drop the F bomb of freedom in their life, whether that's from past trauma, depression, anxiety, addiction, or any other host of emotional and personal struggles, but they just don't know how or want some help doing it. Head on over to thefreedomspecialist.com/feelbetternow and check out some of the things we've got in store for you, or book a call so, we can look at your unique situation and get you the help that you're looking for. [12:15.0]

Jasmine: Yeah, so I didn't find out till, I don't know, a couple years into our marriage and I was pretty naive. So, it wasn't really, even a couple years after that, till I started feeling kind of negative emotions about it when I knew the full extent. But I always had, and I don't know how, but I always had more self-confidence I think, than most women or maybe people in general do, I don't know. I just always realized that it wasn't my fault that Bob had this addiction or whatever. And that I, I realized that there was nothing I could do about it. However, I did feel pressure to, you know, act a certain way, do certain things or, you know, wish like, oh, I wish I was prettier, or I wish I was more fun or, you know, these other things. But for me it was kind of like, well, I wish that, but that's not me. And so, I'm not gonna change. I'm not gonna do something that I'm not comfortable with or that I don't wanna do. So, it, it was kind of a balancing act for me between I know who I am and I, I like who I am. I'm comfortable with that. And oh, but what if, you know. So, I, I didn't, I definitely felt the pressure, but my personality is more like, oh, well too bad for you. I'm gonna do what I want. Like, I'll have you, but if it's gonna be detrimental for me, you know, see ya, sorry. [13:51.6]

Bob: Which definitely ticked me off. There were times where I was like, come on woman. And, and for you guys to know, like, there are great many men that we work with myself included who was just like, I just wanna feel like I'm wanted for who I am. Now, woman is feeling the same thing.

Jasmine: Hmm…hmm.

Bob: A 100%

Jasmine: Definitely. Yeah.

Bob: And yet the guys, many of us, because I, my mind was trained on pornography, the idea of what it would look like for me to be wanted had that kind of imagery with it, had that kind of expectation with it. Even Disney movies and like flirty movies and romantic comedies, like that's how I was trained to think that a woman would want me. So, Jasmine shows up on the scene.

Jasmine: And I, I kind of think I'm like one of the biggest prudes ever. You know, like I just that's who I am. Anyway. I, I was trying to, in the way that I could show him that I did want him, and I did love him for who he was, but our ideals didn't match. So, what I was doing and what he thought it was supposed to be his picture of love and romanticism and all that stuff was so different that it basically, you know, it didn't work for either of us. [15:05.1]

Bob: Yeah. And it, it created, and this wasn't in like sexual matters. It was like all over the place.

Jasmine: Right, yeah.

Bob: This was topics of conversation. This was like, I would do things that I felt were showing Jasmine that I loved her, and she would dismiss those because her way of estimating that kind of value is a totally different way than what I grew up with. And where we ran into trouble was, we would go then of coming together to solve the problem and actually talk about it, write about it, think about it, be with each other, however, it turned out she would go to her family, and she talked to her family a lot and I would go talk to friends. And I don't know what it looked like with your family and you, but usually she kept it. Do you wanna talk, talk about that, like how you found refuge in that situation? [15:51.5]

Jasmine: Well, I didn't really talk to my family about what was going on. My family was.

Bob: Right.

Jasmine: We're, we're pretty close. And so, I would just go hang out with my family and, you know, have a safe space to be happy and kind of put all of that stress on the, on the side. So, I didn't have to deal with it. It was like my, my refuge, my safe Haven, where I could go have fun instead of having to deal with every, all the baggage and everything back at home.

Bob: Right. And I did something similar. I don't know that I necessarily complained about life so much. I mean, maybe from time to time, but mostly it was like, well, I'm gonna go have a place where I don't have to deal with all the difficulty of having another human being who's allowed to be themselves.

Jasmine: Hmm…hmm.

Bob: And has no it to be any way that I desire them to be or to change it all. And so that difficulty was there that proved to be problematic later on in our relationship.

Jasmine: A lot like years and years later, how we just kind of built up this. Well, we're at an impasse we're angry, so let's give each other space kind of thing, go work it out, you know, to change your mood, go hang with family, friends, whatever, and then come back and we're okay. Yeah, years, years later, that almost [16:59.7]

Bob: That blew up because then we had to be like, this is what I'm really feeling. And there were some rough conversations ahead. We can talk about those at, at another point, if we need to. Let's talk about some of the things that you did in order to just keep everything together. So, you're in a space where, what you didn't, you said this many times, like I never signed up for this.

Jasmine: Oh, I did not.

Bob: She did say that. She didn't sign up for it.

Jasmine: Right. I, I, I don't know if I ever actually said that out loud. I know, I probably wrote it to Bob a few times in the email.

Bob: She did say it out loud. I've heard as many times.

Jasmine: But not when I was feeling it, is the thing.

Bob: No, no, no.

Jasmine: It was after, it was always after the fact.

Bob: Yeah.

Jasmine: But I've, I've thought it so many times. Like I did not sign up for this. I, if I had known what was coming, there's no way I would've done this, you know, that kind of thing. Many, many times and what was the question? [17:53.5]

Bob: So, what did you do? What were the things that you did, some of them that didn't work well, and some that did work well that allowed you to just keep it together for the kids, for life to get things done? What, how did you maintain your sanity when I was going through my manic moods or when I was in the middle of say, like going to pornography or something like that, what, what were some of the things that you did to maintain your sanity in that regard?

Jasmine: So, when I think of like the heart of the addiction, like the time period, that was the core time when we were kind of in the hole in this, I think of Seattle. And it was, it wasn't all just Seattle, it was kind of spread across Seattle. We were only there for two years and then we moved to Mesa and so it was kind of spread across that timeframe. But Seattle was where it kind of all initially blew up and we didn't have any family close by. The closest relatives we had were my mom's cousins, who'd, I've never met before until we went there. And they were great, they, they really took care of us while we were there, but they were still like 40 minutes away or something. So, it was just us. Our first time being away from family trying, we had two little babies essentially, and of a city that is not very kid friendly. It was dark and rainy. We lived in the worst apartment ever. It was the bottom floor, nasty carpet, you know. [19:21.6]

Bob: Behind a 7-elevn.

Jasmine: Behind a 7-eleven. It got 10 minutes of sunshine through the door, crack, the door window panel a day if we were lucky. It's just dark. Like the whole image I have is dark and gloomy and lonely and hard. And so, you know, two little kids with a husband who's going to grad school. So, he's not there a lot. And I'm by myself with these babies, I kind of just became really controlling over the way I ran my family. Like bedtime has to be at this time, eating time has to be at this time, nap times this time we go on a walk at this time, like I, I just started to control whatever I could because I, I had zero control over Bob and what he was doing. And so I just tried to control every other little aspect my life and my kids' life that I could. And that was kind of my coping mechanism. The thing that saved me was there was this beautiful trail behind our apartment complex, The Burt Gillman trail in Seattle. And I would take the two boys, we had a double jogger, and I would push them up the hill and then we'd just go walking along the trail pretty much every day, unless it was a hard rain, which doesn't happen very often in Seattle. So, we'd go walking in the mist rain and it was beautiful, and it was kind of my sanity place just to walk it out, you know, just be active, move my body, be out in the beauty, in the fresh air where things were just calm and peaceful. [20:50.5]

Bob: So, there's a couple points there. Did the micromanaging, while it may have helped you cope, did it in the, is it in the end, something that you would recommend for people?

Jasmine: No, but you know what? I didn't even know I was doing it. I had no idea I was doing it until years later when we told our family and then I had a conversation with my mom about it and she was like, oh, now I know why you, you were this way and this way with your kids. And I was just like, oh, I didn't know I was doing that. And you know, that was years later. And, and so it was just, it was an unconscious thing that I did just to try and stay afloat.

Bob: Okay. So that, I think that important, there's a lot of unconscious behaviors that everybody does in order to cope with their environment and to cope with what's going on. So, if you're a spouse of someone who's dealing with bipolar or depression or addiction, or, or you're a spouse or a loved one, dealing with somebody who's in hospice care or is at home with medical issues and you are the one that is there in it's incumbent upon you in some way, shape or form to hold things together, one of the things that was very, very powerful yes, being honest about the fact that it's not your fault, especially with porn addiction, I could have married any woman in the world and that wouldn't have changed the fact that I was still into that regardless. So, it doesn't matter what woman would've shown up. That was me still dealing with that. [22:08.0]

So, it is not your fault that your spouse has issues. They may blame it on you. They may try, but that's them coping with something that started long before you showed up. These are deeper core issues, root issues, ways they see themselves in the world. Ways they think things are fair ot not fair. Whether they like themselves, don't like themselves and all the other stuff. So, it's not your fault. Jasmine naturally was pro, inclined to think that way anyway, thankfully.

Jasmine: Yeah.

Bob: The natural world, and I think this is something that for both of us.

Jasmine: Hmm…hmm.

Bob: Was very, very good. The more time spent in the natural world, it naturally.

Jasmine: Hmm.

Bob: Pun intended.


Bob: Actually, accompt alleviates the, the burden of all the thought processes that are creating all this emotional stuff in the first place. So, with Jasmine, it was The Burt Gillman trail, wherever we moved, she went walking, she went outside.

Jasmine: Yeah.

Bob: And listens. [23:04.1]

Jasmine: I mean, even, even the kids, you know, the kids love being outside. So even at to young age, they can feel that connection with nature and, and how it just allows them to play. And the possibilities are endless and, you know, just being able to breathe, things like that.

Bob: Yep. And for me, it was, I started getting outta my depressive funks when I just started watching, I made an appointment to watch the sunset. Every, it was the sunrise I and sunset for a while.

Jasmine: Hmm…hmm.

Bob: But then the roof frosted over when I was up there for sunrise, and I almost died getting off the roof. So, then I just moved, cause I had to climb a tree to get on the anyway. So, then I had to, I just switched to sunsets, but I would for months at a time, just that 20 minutes before the sunset, I would sit there and watch the orb of the sun. No, you won't go blind. Going down beneath the horizon. And I watched track the horizon from north to south and it really put a lot of things in perspective. And some days I would just sit there some days I would and rave and vent. Some days I would just, I would pray, somedays I would do all kinds of stuff, but I had that appointment where my job was to just sit there on the roof and watch the sun go down. [24:11.6]

And the exposure to the sunlight, the being out in a natural world, watching these natural things, literally put some things in place for me, where I could see these people down below, cause I was on the roof. They were tiny people in, in tiny cars and tiny houses and like it started to make all the problems just feel a little bit smaller. And the first time that I felt just unreasonable, happiness blow through my body, I was sitting on the roof and just enjoying things and something else changed inside my system. So don't discount the natural world. Cause if you get stuck in your bubble, you're, you're bubble of thoughts, your house that reminds you of things, the energy that's in your house, open the windows, rearrange the furniture, get some fresh air, some good sunlight, make sure you're outside whether it's winter, summer, spring, fall get some kind of exposure to the natural world daily because it can put things in perspective and it can eliminate a lot of, so including special to physical contact with the earth, it'll eliminate some of inflammation in the body too. And as your body becomes more stable, the emotional stuff, doesn't pull you this way and that. So that's our first interview, as we're talking about how Jasmine put anything, kept things together and held things together. You got any last-minute thoughts around suggestions you might give to people who are, are, you know, support roles of those that are struggling. [25:29.9]

Jasmine: I think my main suggestion would just be to realize that you're not alone in this. There are a lot of people going through the same thing and you know, just find one person, even if it's just one person who you can talk to that you trust, like that can make all the difference in the world and just helping lift that burden a little bit more than you just feeling like you have to carry the weight of yourself and your husband and your kids and the house and jobs and everything on your own shoulders. You know, just having that one person as a support friend around. [26:05.3]

Bob: And just make sure that if that person and is gonna tell you how hard it is or reinforced how long you'll be struggling with it, or they're gonna reinforce it.

Jasmine: That's not really supportive.

Bob: Right. That's not a suggestion, right. So, if they do mention things like that, just remember somebody telling you, anybody telling you it's impossible is somebody who's telling you they don't know how to fix it. They're not actually able to tell you whether it's impossible or not. All they can tell you is that they don't know how to do it. So don't trust them on the advice in that regard, but do, do love them for being there to listen and.

Jasmine: Yeah.

Bob: And care. [26:36.6]

And that's it for todays “Alive and Free Podcast.” If you enjoyed this show and want some more freedom bombs landing in your ear buds, subscribe right now at wherever you get your podcasts from. And, while you're at it, give us a rating and a review. It'll help us keep delivering great stuff to you. Plus, it's just nice to be nice. [26:54.6]

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