Thursday, May 1, 2014


I wasn't going to write about this on my blog. But I can't get it out of my mind, and I feel like I need to process it to death. I'm still grieving and feeling traumatized by it.

I asked my bishop for financial help this week. Because I need a counselor. And we can't afford that right now.

I don't like asking people for help. Last year when I wanted to do this intense therapy program for my back, I had to ask my parents for help. And it wasn't easy to ask them. Not easy at all. We are still in debt to them, but we are paying it off.

I don't like being dependent on people. That's why I don't like asking for help. Heck, it's taken me a while to feel comfortable and confident in asking God for help with this addiction trauma stuff. Because I want to be independent and rely on me all the time. Yes, that's pride. I know it and am working through it.

So, knowing that little bit about me, you can see why it might be hard to ask the leader of my local congregation for some help. I was so scared. So afraid. I even told Ben that, and he said, "He is great. It will be fine." So I said a little prayer for comfort, picked up my phone, and called him.

I don't really know how I could have avoided that traumatic situation. I guess my husband could just not be a sex-addict so I wouldn't have to make phone calls like this.

The bishop was well-meaning, I'm sure. But when his initial response was, "Well, we definitely can't help you long-term with that. But we can talk about short term I guess", (I guess?) or when he led with questions like, "Why do you all the sudden need a counselor?" (ahem: a question you should never lead with when you know the woman you are talking to is the wife of a sex addict and just came back from being separated from her husband for two months. Why would I not need a counselor?) and cut me off while I talked about how Betrayal Trauma is like PTSD, I started feeling really small. Then when he asked if I had asked for help from my parents (I'll answer that question, but is it really your business?), we had to get into all my medical issues too (and is that really your business? You don't want to help out financially anyway). And then he wanted to talk about Ben and how he is doing (excuse me? I did not call you to talk about him. I called to talk about me.). So now he knows more about me. I just opened up about problems I  discuss only with those closest to me to this man I barely know. Because I need financial help.

I even told him I was kind of suicidal a few months ago and that I had to reach out to a friend who is a counselor in Arkansas to help me find a counselor and get my feet under me. I told him I have a history of unhealthy thinking patterns. I told him I need help. In my soul, I was pleading. Begging. For some saving grace that would allow me to see a counselor consistently--because the things going on in my brain are not small issues. They need to be addressed.

With every single question or statement he made, I felt a little smaller and a little more hopeless.

By the end of the conversation, he agreed that the church could pay for half of one month, and I was instructed to sign up for the Obamacare stuff to pay for everything else I might need in the future (but I shouldn't need much help in the future because after one month of counseling, I should be solid). Oh, ps, that Obamacare stuff is almost as expensive as a month of counseling. And doesn't cover it. So...

I'm not writing this to call him out. I'm not writing this for pity points. Or financial help. I'm writing this because this is my life. This just happened. And it needs to be heard.

I feel that he did not react appropriately nor offer enough compassion or concern for my situation.
I feel that the leaders of the church, to whom we are instructed to turn in times like this, need way better training than what they are given. Not necessarily for this financial aspect I'm struggling with. But for dealing with a woman in trauma. For dealing with a sex-addict. This whole situation is delicate.

Don't just say, "Thanks for confessing" and send him on his merry way. (That happened.)

Don't tell the wife, "This is very personal and needs to stay between you two. If Ben doesn't feel comfortable with you discussing his issue with anyone, you need to respect that and keep it within the marriage." (Oh, that happened too.)

And when the wife is crying because of her pain and is asking for help so she can see a counselor, don't ask why she needs to see a counselor "all of the sudden." Don't suggest that marital counseling is more important than individual counseling. And certainly don't insinuate that her needs are not worthy of spending church money on, especially when she has been consistently faithful in paying tithing and generous fast offerings. Don't turn the conversation to talk about her husband instead of her. And don't tell her she needs to be on another insurance. Just don't. At the very least, if you have no clue what to say, you could say, "Wow, this sounds like a very painful situation. I will look into the matter and see what my options are for helping you."

I love this church. But the church leaders are human and make mistakes. The unfortunate part is, we are instructed to turn to them so often. They don't know how to handle this situation. They aren't equipped to handle it.

Granted, I've had amazing experiences with church leaders. But the horrible experiences can outweigh the positive at times. And this is one of those. All week, I've had to stop the train of negative thoughts, "Maybe I'm not worthy of help. Maybe I'm blowing the addiction too out of proportion. Maybe I shouldn't need a counselor. I must be crazy. Maybe I should be able to manage it after one month of counseling. Oh my gosh, I can't believe I would sink so low to ask for help. I'm so unfit of help. I'm supposed to be stronger." All of those thoughts are completely untrue. But, that's what was fed to me.

And I'm still feeling traumatized. Three days later.

The good news is that Ben was empathetic. I love it when he gets it. So thanks for that.


  1. Holy moly. So many things. In so sorry first of all!!!! I've had my share of terrible bishop interactions and it can be SO frustrating. I have my jaw to the ground reading this though. So much insensitivity. Wow. Just wow. I'm so glad you're processing though, and realize that although your feelings are real and valid, that your thoughts have errors. I am sad he wasn't more helpful. Maybe go above? Stake presidents, in my experience, can be even more helpful when a bishop is less supportive than I feel is necessary. Either way, I love you and I'm praying that something will work out.

    1. Thanks, Annette! I don't know what I'll do now. I don't know if it was just timing on this incident along with some other triggers this week, but I am just like, "Talk to no one. Trust no one." I don't even want to finish this process with him to get my one month of counseling... But you know, pray more and read my scriptures more, right? ;) Ha. I'll get over it and then figure out what to do next.

      Thanks for your support! Love you!

  2. Whoa. Whoa. Whoa! I'm so sorry!!!!

    I was just going through this whole thing in my head last night. My former bishop, in a different ward saw that he couldn't help me with marriage stuff and offered me counseling aid because he knew I needed it! I felt so ashamed, but he just responded, "Seattle, there are so many compassionate people in our ward. They give knowing they will be helping people who need help, and right now you need help." It meant the world to me.

    Then when I moved wards, he advised me to just ask my next bishop for assistance (I guess he assumed every bishop was like him). Unfortunately, my experience was more like yours. I had just discovered that I was a sex addict--was switching to a CSAT counselor and needed aid. My bishop, although polite, offered me 6 sessions and I'd pay a co-pay of sorts. He actually implied, like yours, that should be good enough right?

    I asked my parents for help, too during some of those months, but mostly I just staggered or didn't go to therapy because I couldn't budget it in! I have $0! But then I relapsed....had my bags packed, and was sure I was moving back to my parents home. I reached out to my counselor, and he told me to wait. Just wait until Sunday and he was going to come into the Bishop's office with me while I shared what had happened. It just so happened that he was in the stake high council, was a former bishop himself and knows my bishop well. I thought it would be so uncomfortable, but I was SO glad he was there. Why? Because he advocated for me! I don't think my bishop really believed I needed help or that sex addiction was a real deal, until my counselor told him straight up what I needed. All of the sudden, my bishop was nodding and was like, "Yah, yah! We will definitely help you out in any way you can.... You get another counselor set up pronto and just get me their info..." (Because my current one was moving soon).

    Anyway, we're kind of back to square one though, because now my current counselor just moved and I found out that my bishop only told her he'd pay 4 sessions (when I was told otherwise). So now I'm carrying a balance, and have to address this again on Sunday, and I'm freaking out because like you know, these conversations are hard and humiliating!!!, that was a story. But I'm seriously replaying "what's the worst that could happen" conversations in my head for when I readdress money stuff with him this weekend so your thoughts definitely hit home for me. But really, truly, I am sorry. And, I hope that something miraculous comes your way. Just don't sabotage yourself in the process. :)

    1. Seattle, thank you! I'm sorry this hits home with you. Your story sounds so familiar too. We had a great bishop in our previous ward. He offered to help us pay for Ben's counseling. And he always asked how we were doing financially. He was just really great in general, so it's really hard for me now. I think our current bishop is good for Ben, but I've not been impressed with how he handles me.

      I feel your anxiety thinking about addressing your bishop with the current balance. Thinking about it gives me anxiety for you :/ Good luck this weekend! Sending your bishop good vibes. Ha.

  3. Well, Kilee, you know me and my mouth. What I feel like doing is typing out a bunch of swear words in your honor---but that wouldn't be very Christlike now would it?
    Our bishop was similiar to this when my ex and I needed marriage counseling. He offered to pay for 2 visits and from there, we had to do it on our own. Luckily, my parents were more than willing to help pay after that but it still felt humiliating, especially when my friend said the same bishop is giving her 6 months of help for counseling so her and her husband can "fine tune" their marriage that isnt on the brinks of failure. What the hell?!! The problem is, my bishop is part of the "in crowd" and he only associates with the cool people at church---I swear I'm not making this crap up. I try so hard to trust and sustain him but it hurts so deeply that he has never made contact since my husband left our family. He never says hi at church and he has never asked me to come speak with him to see how things are going for my situation.
    I thought about talking to him about the fact that I'm a newly-discovered WoPA and then I laughed at the thought because why would I tell him? He wouldn't care.

    Sorry, this is me being super negative. I'm just SO SAD this has happened to you. I hope you are able to get some good counseling and figure this out. I love you!

    1. A bunch of swear words in my honor would make me laugh. Does that count for Christlike? ;)

      Our bishops need some help.

  4. Meh… I have no words for this but "meh"… does that count? I am so frustrated for you and that you had to go through this. I'm so frustrated that bishops can be so ignorant in this day. Don't give up. Keep hope in you. Somehow. I love you friend.

    1. I feel pretty meh about it too. It's frustrating, but now that I've gone through the whole emotional whirlwind about it, I am more calm and feel like...whatever. Meh. That's a great way to sum it up :)
      Love you too, Alice!

  5. Wow...sounds like he needs some counseling. He could sharpen his skills on "soft openings" and validation! It is so frustrating to see bishops like this. Situations like this have turned so many people I know from the church. And it isn't fair. I know that we shouldn't base our entire testimony on an insensitive person, but it definately cuts deep, and makes you feel smaller than you already feel, with problems you already have! I really hope you are able to get the help you need and try to not feel guilt and shame from your experience with the bishop.
    I definately feel you!!

    1. I agree with all of the above! I'll admit, it was tempting to turn away from the church for a bit. It brought up a lot of personal struggles and such. But, I decided I'm not going to let him ruin this for me. The church is true, the people may not be... It will be okay. When I'm less emotional about it (I'm still emotional and untrusting of him because of other things that have happened since), maybe I'll get up the courage to talk to him about it. And maybe educate him on some things. Who knows?
      Thanks for your support! You are a beautiful person, Danielle!

  6. Hi Kilee, I am a new follower to your blog, my friend shared it on FB. Thanks for sharing your experience with this, I know for me writing/blogging/ journaling really helps me express my myself and work through it. And I have even see others get help from personally things I share. And I know that's why you blog, to help yourself but to always help others and make us aware. Your story is beautiful and heart wrenching at the same time. Prayers for your sweet family. In regards to your bishop's lack of help, I am not sure if things Have changed since I went to LDS family services for counseling. But when I needed help and talked to my bishop he sent to LDS family services for free counseling. I went for several sessions. That was in high school, then in college after I got married and suffered from postpartum depression I was able to get on Medicaid and receive counseling for free. Now that my husband has graduated I am on his company insurance and I get free counseling twice a week via webcam or phone calls. I hope there is something you can do to find something. I majored in marriage and family therapy in college and I am all for it. And I hope you aren't offended by this suggestion, but even with my therapy I was prescribed anti depressants to help me and it has really helped me physically and emotionally. I believe with proper dosage/prescription coupled with therapy, life takes on a better perspective

    1. Thank you so much. And thanks for your input, Jenna!

      We talked about LDSFS, but the sessions there cost just as much as the sessions at other places I'm looking. I've also been told by many people I don't want to go to LDSFS because they likely won't be able to meet my needs due to not being really trained in the type of counseling I need.

      We have also looked into different insurances, and it's just not working out. If worst comes to worst, I can do phone-in counseling through my parents' insurance, but I don't want to because I want an in-person meeting, and I'm also afraid through my parents' insurance, they won't be able to really meet my needs. Or won't consider pornography and masturbation part of sex-addiction (many don't).

      But, seriously, thank you! I have been thinking about possibly trying anti-depressants and stuff, so we will see.

  7. Oh, dear Kilee. I am so sorry. You indeed need your needs addressed and I hope and pray you will find a solution soon. I will share this so that more people will understand what it is like to go through this and hopefully so that bishops can be better informed.