As part of my early trauma therapy, I was asked to write down my core values and beliefs.
My foggy trauma brain wasn’t functioning at full capacity so I remember writing three or four sentences that included obvious statements like: “Pornography destroys marriages.” “My family is worth fighting for.” I couldn’t pull much from my core because at the time it was enveloped in a dark cloud of deep pain.
Supposedly, my core beliefs were going to help me formulate boundaries. I had written some clear “expectations” before going to therapy, so I thought writing my core values and beliefs was kind of pointless. I figured I would simply re-write my list of expectations into therapese language and voila! My boundaries would be done. No need for all this preliminary writing on bottom lines or core values.
And then a recent situation came up that forced me to ponder my core values, again. I felt the need for a declaration of my beliefs. I wanted a written document that would become the foundation for possible decisions in the future regarding addictions in general, not just sexual addictions. I wanted something that would explain my decisions to anybody that might need to know: bishop, children, husband, other betrayed wives, addicts (not just sex addicts), and therapists, if needed.
These are my beliefs regarding addiction that I have acquired in my two-plus years of seeking healing and peace after experiencing the devastating aftermath of addiction in my marriage. They are living in my core, deep inside of me, so they’re firmly planted. I might change some of the wording or add additional beliefs, but for the most part, I feel like these are solid. It’s nice to have something solid to stand on!
An unexpected reward came from my work. I shared the core values document with my husband. He appreciated it enough to email a copy to others he thought could use it. In fact, my husband and I are creating an additional document that changes the “I” to “we” and sending it off to family and couples we work with!
I pondered on my core beliefs for a long time. I can now see the value of using these as a basis for boundaries in my relationship. Today, I feel empowered because I know where I’m standing.