(written Nov 22, 2020)

 

Bzzt. Bzzt. Bzzt.

 

Groggily I lean over and hit snooze on my cell phone. Seriously, it can’t be 5am already. And why in the world did I set an alarm when I could sleep in?

 

Five minutes later. Bzzt. Bzzt. Bzzt.

 

My inner child starts to resent the adult who crawls out of bed to use the bathroom and brush his teeth. The kid in me starts to argue.

 

“Come on. Go back to bed. We’ve got two hours.” A slight pause as we look at the clock and calculate when we need to be in the lobby to catch the van to the airport. “Wait,” he whines, “we actually have three hours.” The voice in my head gets louder. “There’s NO reason to be up in the middle of the night.”

 

“It’s not night, it’s morning,” my adult calmly clarifies.

 

“It’s dark out!” my inner child screams. “Darkness means bedtime.”

 

“It’s our last night in Hawaii. We’re going to watch the sunrise while doing yoga by the beach.” My adult has spoken. There is no negotiation.

 

We spit in the sink and rinse our mouth.

 

My inner child will not relent. The argument increases to a full debate. “First off, there’s a mountain on the east side of the island. We won’t even get to see a sunrise.” There’s venom in his voice when I hear him emphasize the words sunrise. “Secondly, we did yoga less than ten hours ago watching the sunset. Why do we have to do both? We were up late playing Dungeons and Dragons online with our friends. It’s not like we won’t be back to Hawaii in a few days anyway.” My inner child finishes with a cantankerous wail in my head that emotionally feels like fingernails on a chalkboard. “Go back to bed!!”

 

The debate is one-sided. My adult holds a boundary and does not engage with my inner child as we tie our shoes. Finally, after a long pause he replies, “Trust me.”

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Last night, the day I posted my Wednesday Share Day – February 3, 2021 blog sharing the book A Grief Observed, by C.S. Lewis , I received a call from my uncle.

 

“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.

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