Understanding the effects of sexual addiction, betrayal, and infidelity on partners as a traumatic experience is essential to full and empowered recovery. Often partners reach out to me during or following the initial crisis of discovery. The dramatic sense of betrayal and devastation can have them spinning in terror and adrenaline, and unable to make healthy decisions.
Many partners of sex addicts have difficulty finding the help that they need. Partners may be described as “co-dependent” implying that they were or are part of the addict’s problem—that something is inherently wrong with them to have chosen an addict. There are plenty of treatment venues that support recovery for the addict. Partners are often enlisted as part of the addict’s recovery, while their own plight is overlooked.
There is nothing inherently wrong with partners. They have been betrayed, lied to, and traumatized. At the February 2014 IITAP conference, relationship specialist Julie Gottman stated that, “100% of betrayed partners experience symptoms if PTSD.” If a partner’s trauma experience is not appropriately addressed the symptoms will worsen over time.
Too frequently, the system that supports the addict further wounds partners by denying or minimizing the impact of the addiction on their own sense of self-worth. Partners are asked to move into forgiveness, understanding, and support without any efforts to heal their own part of the crisis.
Together, we will begin to:
provide immediate support and validation
re-establish a sense of physical and emotional safety
create a formula for self-care and self-protection
discuss and create meaningful boundaries
begin to process the overwhelming sense of betrayal
work to restore your own resiliency and empowerment
As an instructor and cofounder of APSATS (Association of Partners of Sex Addicts Trauma Specialists), I treat Partners from a multi-dimensional trauma-informed model perspective.
You didn’t choose to be betrayed. In our work together, you will find your voice, and heal from the traumatic effects of sexual addiction.