“Hello Phoenix. How are things? Is your job doing well? How’s the family?”
I could tell by the tone in his voice, this wasn’t the reason for his call. We’ve played phone tag for years, sometimes connecting on major holidays.
Ok, really that’s the only time we seem to call each other. And even then, we usually end up leaving messages.
I only get the lowdown on what’s going on in his life when my cousin and I connect, his daughter bringing me up to date on her side of the family. Otherwise, living in different cities without my grandparents or our mothers alive to keep us connected, our family has gone our separate ways.
Both my uncles haven’t had the opportunity to watch their two grand nieces grow into the beautiful young women they’re becoming. This realization brings me sadness. My girls have also missed out knowing my family.
With my separation and divorce, my annual Christmas “newsletters” have subsided to sending nothing for the past six years. No one in my extended family knows the trials, the ups and downs, and the lessons I’ve learned. No one in my extended family knows all the accomplishments my daughters have had. No one in my extended family really knows us. With the death of my marriage, my life with my family died as well.
Of course, that’s on me.
My Grateful Sunday posts are a way for me to recall my past years, but these aren’t shared. My family doesn’t know about my blog (other than my ex, my cousin, and my sister). I write with a pseudonym, not only to protect my girls, but more importantly, to keep me from bringing shame due to my actions.
Sex addiction carries the same stigma today as alcoholism did in the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s.
It doesn’t matter that a man got help because he had betrayed his wife not once, but numerous times. It doesn’t matter that he looked deep within to heal the childhood trauma that haunted him all his years, searching for some kind of connection to feel worthy and loved. It doesn’t matter that he tried to understand how his actions affected his wife so he could not only salvage the marriage, but could learn how to help her heal.
Many view sex addiction as an excuse, a “get out of jail free” card. Which is understandable. Those partners who are betrayed end up having to manage their own trauma triggers and reactions; their own world shattered in an instant, overwhelmed by the emotional and physical pain caused by a person they trusted and loved.
As I mentioned in my blog, I Lost My Voice, my family had to show the world we were perfect in all regards. To bring shame upon the family meant risking becoming emotionally abandoned by the very people we loved.
I have avoided bringing this topic to the surface in a family that avoids the deep topics. I have followed in my family’s footsteps of keeping secrets.
And it is these secrets that only perpetuates the cycle of intergenerational trauma.