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Spouses/Partners of Sex Addicts - 21

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skeetermooch posted 2/16/2021 13:29 PM

And BR, I sensed some judgement in your questions about my ketamine therapy - "had I done this and this" and you "didn't know it was for betrayal trauma." It's a treatment for PTSD (which would include betrayal trauma) as well as depression and anxiety. I'm sorry if you feel I haven't exhausted the conventional treatments or that I'm over here getting high - trust me it's not a "fun" experience. I'm simply trying to get well.

HeHadADoubleLife posted 2/16/2021 14:23 PM

Iíve got more to add later when I have more time, but just wanted to emphasize that I didnít mean to alienate anyone with the opening of the PD thread. That was admittedly poor timing on my part. I had actually been chatting with another member a few weeks ago about opening it back up, and todayís convo jogged my memory and prompted me to request it, but it wasnít meant to be dismissive, I promise!

The opening of the PD thread was because Iíve noticed an influx of spouses of PDs over the past couple of months in general - spouses of SAs, yes, but also the SI community as a whole.

But by no means do I want to shuttle anyone off to another thread! There are a lot of SA behaviors that can relate to PD behaviors, so much of this is intertwined. And of course the discussions here will be fluid and cover a wide variety of topics, including a lot of PD ones.

I figured I would open it up in case there are members who donít identify as spouses of SAs, but do identify as spouses of pwPDs. I just know there are specific patterns of emotional abuse that are PD related and can be confusing until you can put a name to it. I found a good deal of support through other PD forums, as well as info that has helped me make sense of that particular aspect of my XHís abuse. Iíve shared that info upon request with other members privately, but I thought the other thread might be a good place to share links and other support literature specifically for those dealing with PDs, that way Iím not clogging up our SA thread with it

skeetermooch posted 2/16/2021 14:39 PM

That makes a lot of sense - I just didn't want to lose the ability to explore all of the various avenues we go down on this thread because there's definitely a lot of cross over and a process of discovery that goes on that's super useful. I'd hate have PDs be off limits here or SA off limits there kind of thing. Usually everyone gets along no matter what their individual belief system is around those things anyway.

Maybehurtforever posted 2/16/2021 16:37 PM

Iím kind of in the same camp as Skeeter. I donít know if it is SA, a personality disorder, or some combination. I think for me it doesnít really matter. What does matter is how I can protect myself. My husband has a team of professionals helping him and I have stepped back. I donít post much but I do read here and I find all the stories helpful. Skeeter, you give me hope that even the back and forth like me can eventually do what we need to do to protect ourselves. Dee, you show me the light at the end of the tunnel and how much better life can be for those of us that donít have a spouse that is reconciliation material. And, all those that post on the struggles of trying to heal with their partner help me to decide whether that is a challenge I can take on.

So, thanks to all of you from a (mostly) silent reader. I love how you all support each other whatever path you choose for yourself.

MakeMineReal posted 2/16/2021 16:58 PM

Dee, I am in agreement with pretty much everything you post - I'm on the same page regarding our thoughts and feelings about SA's. I do, however, consider my ex a 'monster'... He's had enough therapy, individual and group, to know that HE is the problem in his life, HE is the one who destroys everything he touches (his own words). He goes through life like a wrecking ball, leaving devastation in his wake, and just moves on to the next willing (though unknowing) victim.

I have grown kids with him so must see him occassionally, but refuse to have any relationship with him or even acknowledge him at family events. Why? Because he still uses everyone he can, me or his own kids, to make himself look 'normal'. If I even talk to him, he thinks it gives others the impression that we may be divorced, but we're on 'good terms', which he and so many SA's and narcs feed on - looking good to other people. The abuse he knowingly inflicted on me, emotional, psychological, sexual and financial, for over three decades, has caused me lasting, irreparable harm and I refuse to be used as part of his image management.

As far as sex addiction, I read something years ago that made sense to me, and might help another BS (I don't recall who the author was):

The debate about sexual addiction aside, infidelity causes real and long-lasting harm to the faithful spouse. The underlying cause does not mitigate the damage to the faithful spouse, regardless of whether we accept or reject the sex addiction model
However, staying married to someone who behaves in ways that cause you lasting emotional and psychological damage requires a rethink. When they also offer a reason why they might be Ďcompelledí to do it again, be honest about what youíre prepared to accept and what youíre signing up for.
Even if sexual addiction were well-founded, staying married to it might not be.

skeetermooch posted 2/16/2021 19:01 PM

The debate about sexual addiction aside, infidelity causes real and long-lasting harm to the faithful spouse. The underlying cause does not mitigate the damage to the faithful spouse, regardless of whether we accept or reject the sex addiction model
However, staying married to someone who behaves in ways that cause you lasting emotional and psychological damage requires a rethink. When they also offer a reason why they might be Ďcompelledí to do it again, be honest about what youíre prepared to accept and what youíre signing up for.
Even if sexual addiction were well-founded, staying married to it might not be.
Yes, to all of that.

siracha posted 2/16/2021 19:28 PM

Sorry if this is repetitive or inflammatory but the crux of this debate seems to be how much free will is involved with people who have PD or SA ?
And i believe the answer is no one knows and its case by case . The same can be said of violent criminals rapists sadists pedophiles etc and i dont think anyone thinks its wrong to call those people monsters .
I think if we are trying to discuss for eg putting people to death for violent crimes in large numbers then yes its best to always remember that there may not be as much free will as we think
However from the perspective of a victim trying to end their abuse its a pretty good idea to not sympathize with the abuser even - as Dee mentioned -an otherwise sweet person who is just making the decision to inflict mental and physical damage on you . If I had a compulsion like this at the very least id make the moral decision to stay single . That part is entirely free will .

BlackRaven posted 2/16/2021 20:26 PM


I'm really sorry you felt called out by this, and I'm afraid I'm not sure what you're referring to when you write "had I done this and this" , as that wasn't part of the exchange (attached below.) I shared with you what I am using/have used, and I think that it's great that there is another tool in the toolbox - and even better if it's one that works quickly. I've only heard of ketamine being used for severe depression, so I think it's wonderful it works for PTSD and/or trauma, and I very much appreciate your sharing the information with us.

That's wonderful Skeeter. I've heard about Ketamine but hadn't heard of it being used for betrayal trauma before.

My psychiatrist put me on a very old antidepressant that worked, and worked quickly, which was really a godsend since ones that I'd tried in the past only made me sick.

Also, I agree with you

It's also ok to call someone a monster who gives you PTSD and blames you for it, who lies and betrays for years with no regard for the impact on the person they vowed to protect, let alone their children.

I think it's appropriate for each of us to say that about the people we know. I take exception to blanket statements.

[This message edited by BlackRaven at 9:30 PM, February 16th (Tuesday)]

BlackRaven posted 2/16/2021 20:48 PM


the crux of this debate seems to be how much free will is involved with people who have PD or SA

The debate I was trying to open was whether it is appropriate for people to make blanket statements about ALL sex addicts that are filled with venom, rather than speaking about their own partners (in whatever way they want), or whether that chases away people who might want to reconcile with their SAs, or are still on the fence, and need and deserve support as much as those of us who have decided to leave our relationships.

To address your free will question: Personally, I believe that everyone has free will. The addicts had free will in each of their choices, and in choosing to seek or not seek help. I also believe that we betrayed spouses have free will in choosing to engage in healthy anger or unhealthy anger.

[This message edited by BlackRaven at 9:06 PM, February 16th (Tuesday)]

BlackRaven posted 2/16/2021 21:20 PM


My therapist has an expression "You can't know what you can't know." And I'm going to caution you not to make yourself crazy. I did for a while. I read about sexual addiction and assumed that if it existed, my WH must have done it because I read articles that said it got worse over time. He passed a polygraph in treatment and I have a pretty good idea of what he did, and so while what he did was terrible, it wasn't as deviant as I feared.

First and foremost, I'm worried about the physical symptoms you described. I can't recall if you are working with a betrayal trauma therapist and if you are in a support group and/or 12 step program for spouses of Sex Addicts. It's imperative to get on top of the trauma to help minimize or reduce the PTSD. Then, a formal disclosure with polygraph will answer your questions, and also let you see how dedicated your spouse is to doing the work that he needs to do to get his compulsive behavior into remission. And you don't need to make any major life decisions now. The focus now should be on doing whatever you need to do to feel safe in the moment. Boundaries will help with that.

You're at the beginning of a long, painful journey, and it doesn't need to be done alone. There are (sadly) lots of women who know what you are feeling and can support you as you sort through it. I remember when I logged into my 12 step zoom meeting and saw women laughing I thought, 'how is that possible. Will I ever be able to laugh again," but healing - in whatever way is right for you - is possible.

Let me know if there's any way I can support you.

[This message edited by BlackRaven at 10:06 PM, February 16th (Tuesday)]

skeetermooch posted 2/16/2021 22:20 PM

BR, in an earlier comment, after I mentioned ketamine you asked if I'd done emdr or brainspotting. So, yes, that's in there too if you want to rehash the thread.

If someone makes a blanket statement, those who agree agree, those who don't ignore or politely discuss. We've done fine with that approach for the last year plus that I've been here. When you critique a person's rhetorical choices it is a judgement, which is not helpful in this space. This is space to share freely, to be generous and tolerant of each person's process and raw emotion.

I'm not sure why you think you're the arbiter of which anger is healthy and which isn't, but I don't wish to have my trauma judged by you. So I would ask that you please ignore me from here on out. I feel harmed by your passive aggression, and I would like it to stop as this group is very important to me.

BlackRaven posted 2/16/2021 22:40 PM

I'm wondering if anyone has had experience with brainspotting, specifically in a telemedicine setting?

My therapist is a proponent of it and I thought it might be useful after disclosure, but it's expensive, so I'm wondering how effective it can be remotely.


Maybehurtforever posted 2/17/2021 00:15 AM

Iíd never heard of brainspotting so I just looked it up. Iím going to ask my therapist about it. It looks interesting and it appears the science is there to back it up. Iíd be interested to hear from anyone who has personal knowledge of this.

DevastatedDee posted 2/17/2021 01:21 AM

I think it's clear that if you're trying to R with a serial cheater or SA, I am not the person to help with that. We all have different perspectives for sure. For me to be supportive of that would, in my mind, be no different from supporting someone to R with a guy who hits her and is promising to stop. I cannot in good conscience be a supportive voice for that. I feel it would be harmful and assisting in someone's abuse. That violates my moral code because that is truly how I see it.

We will not all agree on that, so luckily there are multiple perspectives here. Someone who wants R with a sex addict is going to get very little out of my thoughts on this.

Stayorgo2021 posted 2/17/2021 12:21 PM

I really hope I'm doing this right. I'm not completely hopeless, but technology does not come easily to me.

I need some help, please.
I've been working with two different therapists now (sequentially) and I don't know if I'm on the right track. They have both been very nice. The first wanted to talk about WH exclusively and never seemed to care about what was going on with me. The second has been very supportive and telling me that I'm doing great... but I want some tools to help me feel better. Am I expecting too much? D-Day was Christmas 2020 so I'm still in pretty early days.

So, my question is... how do you find a therapist/counselor that is most qualified to help with relational trauma/betrayal trauma? I'm lost with the abundance of acronyms after therapists' names. There are no CSAT therapists in my area. Are there specific certifications that would suggest a therapist is trained in trauma therapy? Should I just telehealth this thing and work with a CSAT therapist that's hours away? I'm working my way through the literature on the first page of this forum and I've had some meaningful insights and gotten some great advice. Maybe I have missed something on that page that could help? Am I being too impatient? With this second therapist I tried to find an EMDR therapist, but she didn't have space in her calendar. What a mess...

BlackRaven posted 2/17/2021 12:40 PM


If you google the International Association of Betrayal Trauma Therapists, the website has a pulldown menu that can help you find specialists in your area. (Alternatively, most CSATS can refer you to a trauma specialist.)

It's concerning to me that your one therapist is talking about your partner and not about you. Now is really the time for all of the focus to be on yourself and your healing. Have they tested you for PTSD? taught you grounding exercises? had you work on boundaries? If not, then it's my opinion that someone more specialized could possibly offer you better tools. (I had been seeing a therapist before I learned about my betrayal. She had a background in trauma, but it was with burn victims, and she was very up front with me about this being a completely different area and beyond her scope.)

In terms of the telemedicine, my trauma therapist is about 90 minutes away. She required me to visit her in person a few times (though not all do) but since then, the visits are by a secure video conference system (not zoom). I don't find it distracting, but I don't have to fend off kids who might be running into the room, and I have reliable internet.

The downsides to having someone far away might be if you're planning on a full theraputic disclosure, the logistics might be complicated, though I have heard of people flying in for it.

Another issue to having someone far away is that my therapist has a woman's group that is in person. I go once a week, but it would be a lot more convenient if it were closer. That said, there is online support through 12 step groups (I like SAL lifeline) and I believe that there is an online women's group attached to one of the Christian recovery groups. I can't recall the name right now, but others on this forum might.

My therapist cautioned me about doing EMDR too soon in this process. She said it can add to the trauma if the client isn't ready for it. (I think her feeling is that we need to have good grounding skills in case something in the EMDR triggers us ) I've been seeing my therapist for six months, and we are just talking about it now. That being said, I didn't just white knuckle it. I saw a psychiatrist who put me on an antidepressant that really helped, and prescribed some mild sleeping pills.

The first books my therapist had me read were TINSA: A Neurological Approach to the Treatment of Sex Addiction, and Vicki Tidwell Palmer: Moving Beyond Betrayal: The 5-Step Boundary Solution for Partners of Sex Addicts (She also has a good website and a podcast.)

The boundaries will help you feel safe and lower your trauma, and the TINSA book should help you understand that this had nothing to do with you. You didn't cause it, and you can't fix it. Only he can do that.

Let us know how we can support you.

[This message edited by BlackRaven at 1:25 PM, February 17th (Wednesday)]

skeetermooch posted 2/17/2021 13:45 PM

Stay or go,

Sometimes it takes trying out a few, or more, therapists to find one that fits. There's nothing wrong with you. And as you pointed out, it's very early days. Don't be reluctant to move on if you don't feel like the ones you have are working for you.

Hurtmyheart posted 2/17/2021 14:17 PM

Damn, I'm back to being and feeling disappointed in him again. It's just not who I am and I feel that I was forced into a lifestyle (without my knowledge) that I NEVER would have agreed to in the first place.

HeHadADoubleLife posted 2/17/2021 15:08 PM


I felt the same. My initial reaction on DDay was that I felt like I had been raped.

Throughout our relationship he talked a lot about how his dad had always taught him to be a good man, and that hitting or raping a woman was the worst thing a man could ever do, and he would never do that.

In one of our last conversations I told him that I would never have consented to having sex with him had I known what he had been hiding, and that he absolutely knew that based on the numerous conversations we had surrounding infidelity, sex workers, etc. throughout our relationship. And since he withheld that information from me, I wasn't able to consent, and since he absolutely knew that I wouldn't have consented had I known it, that he had no excuse. I sneered at him, "That makes you a rapist, and I hope the thought of that keeps you up at night." I knew that would hit him where it hurt, and even if it was only a fraction of the pain he had inflicted on me, I wanted him to get some sense of the pain I was living in.

Now, I don't mean to diminish the experiences of assault/rape victims. There are actual instances in our marriage where he did teeter on the line of assault, and one instance in particular where I woke up from a dead sleep with him inside of me that technically meets the criteria, and I still have a hard time even identifying as an assault victim, because I feel so many other women experienced far, far worse.

When I come at it from a calmer, more detached place, I do still believe that this is a form of rape, or at the very least, fraud. Similar to when someone is too intoxicated to consent. In our cases, it's taking something by deceit that would not otherwise be offered. There have been cases regarding this, rape by deceit is the term I believe that was used.

But no matter what lies he had told himself to justify his behavior, whatever mental gymnastics he did to convince himself that what he was doing wasn't hurting me, I felt it was necessary to point out that the acts he committed against me were absolutely egregious.

I had and still have a hard time identifying as an abuse victim, because I feel like other people have endured worse. I go through periods of feeling like a fraud, like I should just suck it up and get over it because other people have been through much worse than me (this is not uncommon amongst trauma survivors btw, the feeling that your trauma "wasn't bad enough".) And my IC has gently reminded me over the years that what I experienced is terrible, and it doesn't need to be "as bad" as anyone else's trauma to still be traumatizing to me.

Even recently, I had an episode with an intensely exaggerated startle response that really threw me for a loop. I told her that it confused me, because "it wasn't that bad, I shouldn't react that way." And she reminded me, actually, you're reacting that way because it was "that bad" for you.

If someone else came to me and told me that the exact same thing that had happened to me had happened to them, there's no question in my mind that I would consider them an assault/fraud victim, and I would gladly support them in seeking justice and healing from that very real trauma. But it's much harder to see when it's me and my own story.

Hurtmyheart posted 2/17/2021 16:25 PM

Wow HeHadADoubleLife, I am so sorry for you too! And yes, I also feel violated because I never consented to this lifestyle in the first place. And if I was wise enough at the time to recognize the truth of what it really was, then I could maybe have made my own decisions. I would have opted out of the marriage.

I remember when he brought his swinger friends (didn't know at the time) over to our house to swim and have a barbecue. I knew that I wasn't fond of her because I had met her previously at a family concert in the park with her husband and kids. She was dressed soooo inappropriately that at first I told him no way do I want them over or to go camping with us.

He convinced stupid nieve me that she was dressed "that way" for her husband. And I was gullible enough to believe him. And, we ended up having them over to our house and it turned into a disaster, the two of them were flirting and I had had enough of it, told H the swingers needed to leave and he ended up taking thirty days off from work to "prove" to me that he was so loyal. Right.

Like I said, at times it's unbelievable that I went through these type of situations with him. And worse because he also had a couple long term girlfriends. So, so disappointing.

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