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Now that my Sex/Porn Addiction is Out in the Open, my Betrayed Partner is Lashing Out! How do we Navigate this?!



In episode 223, Mark & Steve address a submission by a PBSE listener who is in long-term recovery from his porn and sex addiction. At the same time, after many years of gaslighting, lying and multiple layers of betrayal, his spouse is understandably and significantly struggling in the relationship. Here's how he describes the situation—


Hey guys! Recovering addict here, coming up on a year of sobriety. First off, I just want to say I take full responsibility for the complete destruction I've caused in my marriage through my gaslighting and lying about my porn and sex addiction. My wife did not sign up for this when we married and was 100% in on the relationship when I was not. Now that I'm in recovery and have disclosed to her the extent of my acting out, a deep seated hatred has set into her heart. I'm often the target of verbal abuse that she uses to hurt me as deeply as she feels hurt. Threats are another common form it takes, threats of cheating on me, getting revenge, or telling me I'm ugly or worthless. There are times that this escalates to physical abuse such as throwing things at me, spitting on me, or hitting me. She is seeking help for her betrayal trauma through a CSAT and I feel slowly her healing is beginning, but these episodes of extreme rage are difficult to navigate. Can you offer any advice? We have young children which can make it difficult to draw boundaries around stepping out of the situation when they need caring for also Thanks!



What is the Addict's Daily Part in all of this (His recovery and Her healing)?


-  What does leaning in; sitting in her pain; leading out and “loving out” look like?


-  1 year sober vs. at least a decade or more of betrayal—how does this impact the levels of patience and “grace” he should be willing to offer her?


-  How can he practice progressive skills of self-regulation; stepping back; asking, “What is under this;” LEARNING TRUE EMPATHY?


-  How can he become skilled at navigating the line between "leaning in" and "taking a break"?


-  How does he NOT go back to an old shame mindset, co-dependency and/or become a “doormat"? How can he learn to set and LOVINGLY hold "healthy" boundaries? Does he even have the right to do so?



What does a "Healthy" Approach to all of this look like for the Betrayed Partner?


-  First of all, an extra measure of self-compassion and self-patience for herself is critical. In many ways this is all new territory for her—emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually.


-  Betrayal trauma is "in the eye of the beholder"—the thoughts, feelings, symptoms and timing are unique to each betrayed partner.


-  Seeking help that is outside of her addict partner is CRITICAL!


-  The discovery of his years of betrayal will understandably and legitimately trigger deep pain, heartbreak, anger, confusion and many other emotions. These emotions are NOT bad; nor should they be "shut down" or ignored. They should be given a voice. However, there are both healthy, toxic and at times, even abusive ways for this to happen—for her; for the relationship; and for their children. 



What is the Goal/Vision as a Couple? 


-  Start where they are, with ongoing raw, honest, transparent dialogue and sharing—but in a progressively "healthy" way.


-  Each partner must do his or her own independent recovery/healing work so that they can then come together to be "inter-dependent" and COLLABORATIVE. 


-  Remember, that is some ways, you are starting a whole new relationship; you are coming to see and know each other for the first time. You are seeking to place yourselves in the position to "choose each other and the relationship" or not. 



Learn more about Mark and Steve's revolutionary online porn/sexual addiction recovery and betrayal trauma healing program at—daretoconnectnow.com


Find out more about Steve Moore at:  Ascension Counseling


Learn more about Mark Kastleman at:  Reclaim Counseling Services



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