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How can we Connect When My Partner Acts Out and Then Goes to Shame—Silent, Stoic and Self-Absorbed?!

Updated: Aug 8, 2023


In Episode 184, Mark and Steve respond to a PBSE listener's situation and question. This is a VERY common situation that MANY partners describe who are struggling under the heavy burden of Betrayal Trauma—

"My husband acts out & then completely turns inward about how awful of a person he is & in turn I feel like he pushes me away. How do I as a partner in betrayal react to this? His silence & ignoring me makes me so angry. I know that the opposite of addiction is connection & my husband has said this to me as well. How are we supposed to connect when he is so self-absorbed in his own shame?"

- Why is this situation SO common? It has to do with "legitimate needs" that an addict seeks to fill and also seeks to deal with shame, BUT in "unhealthy, inauthentic, destructive" ways. Nearly always, the addict learned to do this by what was "mentored" or "mirrored" to him through family, peers, the culture, religion, etc.

- WHY can addicts often enter into the "Victim Role" where they go stoic, silent, detach, disconnect, escape, pull away, etc? What are they hoping to gain? What needs are they hoping to fill? How is this a strategy to "cope with shame"?

- How can an addict in recovery break free from these old dysfunctional, disconnecting strategies?

- How can the betrayed partner shift to authenticity, transparency and vulnerability while also setting and holding healthy boundaries?

- How can a couple shift to a place of "healthy connection" in this crazy hard situation?

Learn more about Mark and Steve's revolutionary online porn/sexual addiction recovery and betrayal trauma healing program—"Dare to Connect!" You have live access to Mark and Steve in 3 one-hour sessions every week—addicts, spouses and couples! And live support groups on weekends, facilitated by Mark and Steve! To try a free, 2-week trial, visit—

Find out more about Steve Moore at: Ascension Counseling

Learn more about Mark Kastleman at: Reclaim Counseling Services

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