Trust me on this one. (We’ll look at God’s perspective at the end of the day.) It is very necessary for you to take a good long look at the painful stuff in order to remain in truth and walk with integrity on this journey. The opposite of acknowledging your losses and the pain they are causing you is denial. This is the aspect of the grieving process I want to focus on today.
What exactly is denial? A look at the dictionary will tell you that denial is a disbelief in the existence or reality of a thing or a refusal to recognize or acknowledge. All of us as wives of guys struggling with sexual addiction will experience this aspect of the grieving process in some form.
You may be thinking, “Wait a minute, Mel. I’ve never buried my head in the sand about his addiction. Since I found out, I’ve been more concerned about his recovery than he has!” Okay. What about the months or years before you found out? All of those times your gut told you something was really wrong and you dismissed it? What about the “choice” you made just to forgive him and let the past be the past? What about the fact that you rarely cry and struggle with a little bit of anger or a lot of anger all of the time?
There are a myriad of ways we protect ourselves from facing the reality of the situation. Many of us suspected for years (or were even certain) that our husbands were relating in inappropriate ways to us and others sexually. Only after sexual sins became public knowledge or some behavior was so offensive or hurtful that we couldn’t ignore it anymore did we really face the fact that the worst was really true. All of that time we spent telling ourselves things like, “No, I’m just crazy. That can’t be true;” or “He would never hurt me like that. I’m just being overly sensitive.” All of those times, we were experiencing denial. Our instincts and God-given discernment were screaming at us to take notice, to act on truth, but we dismissed them for whatever reason—a husband telling us that we were just over-reacting, feeling unable to face the pain of the truth, having our own agendas that were more important than the truth, being scared that no one would take care of us or love us if we acted on the truth.
–Melissa Haas, The Journey: Book One