If you are the partner of a man struggling with pornography or sexual addiction, we want you to know that you are not alone, and that most partners of addicts experience hurt, anger, and guilt. Some even feel responsible for their partner's sexual compulsivity. It is important for you to know that your partner's sexual acting out IS NOT YOUR FAULT. YOU ARE NOT TO BLAME! These two important concepts are covered in your treatment. Yes we recommend you come for treatment also. Even if your partner has not admitted to having a problem, or is not willing to enter into a recovery program we recommend that YOU come for help and healing. Now is a good time for you to reflect on your own life, and determine what changes you can make that will help you live a life full of peace and passion, and the happiness that you deserve.
When a spouse learns that her husband or loved one is involved in pornography and related compulsive sexual behaviors, she is flooded with distressing emotions. These include feelings of shock, anger, disgust, deep hurt and confusion. Women also experience intrusive and obsessing thoughts. These overwhelming emotions and obsessive thoughts occur naturally as a result of the betrayal, trauma, and being blind-sided by the disturbing information surrounding their spouses sexual secrets. Often times, the end result is impaired daily functioning and profound powerlessness. The most common request that women seek through therapy is a safe place to sort through this traumatic experience. Because most addicts are disconnected emotionally and tend to deny or minimize their problem, it is not very likely that the partner can consistently provide the safety and support necessary for healing. You need a support system.
We are trained to help the wife of an addict heal from the impact of the relational trauma so she can reclaim her life. You're not crazy, you've just been exposed to the crazy world of addiction, dishonesty, and mistrust.
As the wife of an addict, you may find yourself feeling like you're living a double life or acting as if everything is okay, while separately attempting to keep others (family members, friends, boss, etc.) from finding out.
Managing two lives takes its toll. Your husband's addiction affects every area of his life, which will also impact your life. Relationships with family and friends suffer; hobbies are neglected; finances, church status, employment, and other responsibilities can be compromised. Your husband's recovery-and your own healing-will also affect every aspect of YOUR life. This fact is actually a dual-edged sword - both frightening and comforting. While we cannot guarantee what changes will take place in your life, or what choices your husband will make, we are confident that you can heal.
The spouse of the addict is dealing with the harsh reality of a broken bond. The security and safety of emotional needs are gone. Much of the relationship feels fake; like a fraud. If the addict has been a safe place for the partner in the past, after learning of the addictive behaviors, his wife is left feeling vulnerable and disoriented. She will naturally ask, "Who can I trust? Who will be there for me now?"
The betrayed spouse does not know where to turn and will often struggle alone. The spouse's identity, security and stability are destroyed. This type of trauma shatters the internal world of the spouse of an addict. All aspects of her life are affected. Her ability to function with employment, household duties, and parenting is disrupted. Her sense of self is altered. Often her spirituality is impacted. The experience is overwhelming and her responses to this type of wound is called "betrayal trauma."
Responses to trauma in this sense can vary widely, and may include any of the following
- Fear and/or anxiety
- Outbursts of anger or rage
- Sadness and/or depression
- Hypervigilence (excessive alertness or watchfulness)
- Worrying or ruminating
- Intrusive thoughts of the trauma
- Tendency to isolate oneself
- Difficulty concentrating or remembering
- Feelings of panic or feeling out of control
- Increased need to control everyday experiences (parenting, cleaning, dieting)
- Difficulty trusting and feelings of betrayal
- Feelings of self-blame or responsibility
- Flooding of feelings and/or emotional numbness
- Feelings of helplessness
- Minimizing the experience
- Feelings of detachment
- Concern over burdening others with problems
- Under or overeating (weight loss or weight gain)
- Shock and disbelief
- Diminished interest in everyday activities
- Preoccupation with body image
Please contact one of our highly trained and compassionate therapists to help you begin your healing journey.
We also offer the LifeStar program to provide you with comprehensive education and support needed to make this healing journey.
If you want to learn more about partner betrayal trauma, please read the following articles