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By APSATS 09 Nov, 2017

You have just discovered your partners betrayal and you are devastated. You feel like you have been sucker punched in the gut and you can’t catch your breath. Whether you have been married one month, one year, 10 years, or 40 years, it is devastating, because the illusion of what you had … has changed forever. You must be asking yourself, what can I believe, and more importantly what can I do to regain a feeling of safety and stability. APSATS clinicians and coaches have worked with thousands of partners of sex addicts and believe that it is so important to take care of yourself by finding a therapist, coach, or support group who can get you through this incredibly difficult time. And just like this picture, you can feel the calm after the storm, but you need to access the right supports to insure your safety and your sanity.

Maybe you saw his phone come up with some texts that were totally inappropriate. Maybe you had something come up on your computer that absolutely floored you. Maybe somebody called you and told you that your husband was acting out. You are likely going through a lot of emotional reactions as a result of finding out that your partner has cheated on you. You may be experiencing panic attacks, generalized anxiety, or intense anger. Your heart may be racing, you may be trembling, you may not be able to sleep. When this kind of information is discovered, your central nervous system goes into overload, which then sends all sorts of chemicals to the brain. Then you go into self-protection. Am I going to fight, am I going to flee, not fight, or am I going to freeze and not do anything, because I don’t know what to do?

 

You want to tell the world, you want to tell all his family, you want to let everybody know how he has betrayed you, yet there is a part of you that doesn’t want to talk about it to others, because you don’t want them to hate him too. So, you’re protecting him, and you’re wanting to expose him at the same time. It is normal to feel this way. This is the dilemma of discovery. You experience so many paradoxes of what to do. It can make you feel like you are going crazy when in reality it is your amygdala going into hyper drive. That is why it is so important to slow your down and seek safety. It’s important for you to do self-care and find supportive people, because you can’t do this by yourself.

There is much you can do to navigate through this ordeal. There are great resources. There are plenty of books. There are many programs out there to help you with the discovery of your partners addiction. But first, you must find the experts in the field.

The first thing you can do is get yourself to a certified partner’s therapist. “APSATS,” which stands for The Association of Partners of Sex Addicts Trauma Specialists, is an organization that has made it their mission to help you through this crisis. They certify people who have been specifically trained to work with you. They know that you did not contribute to your husband’s addiction …. your feelings are the byproduct of his sexual addiction.  This shouldn’t be happening to you, you didn’t ask for it, you didn’t cause it, you can’t cure it, and you certainly can’t control it, but you feel as it is controlling you.

You are likely asking yourself,” What do I need to feel safe again and who can I talk to that won’t judge me or my partner, and will stay neutral and just hold my feelings for me

APSATS clinical and certified partner trauma therapists or coaches, help you to develop good boundaries, to develop your voice, to keep yourself safe, and to allow you to know when it’s time to make the next move. Maybe that is a therapeutic separation, maybe your partner moves upstairs and you stay downstairs, maybe you both go to marital counseling or seek your own individual counselor or coach, maybe you go to your pastor and talk with him or her, but we help you to make that next move based on who you are, how you feel and what you need.

What we know is nobody should be telling you what to do. That needs to come from your own sense of self, yet right now you’re so flooded with feelings and emotions that you are on overload.  You are “shell shocked” and you need an expert to help you unravel your feelings. APSATS is here to help.

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Written by Carol Juergensen Sheets LCSW, CCPS, CSAT, PCC

APSATS Board Member

Host of www.blogtalkradio.com/sexhelpwithcarolthecoach

www.sexhelpwithcarolthecoach

 


By apsats1 20 Jun, 2017
Myth: My Spouse doesn’t want sex with me and acts out with others because I’m not attractive enough.

Emotionally, it feels like rejection when you discover sexual betrayal. Spouses/Partners of sex addicts, according to the addict, are wonderful partners. While intellectually we know the addiction isn’t about physical appearance, the emotional experience is devastating for the partner.
An addict may act out sexually instead of engaging in sex with a spouse because the addict fears intimacy and connection. Some addicts have past trauma that promotes a believe that for sex to be good it has to be “bad.” These addicts may turn their sexual energy towards pornography, prostitutes, or affair partners. It’s about the addict’s intimacy impairment, not about the physical appearance of the spouse.
It’s important to remember that sexual addiction isn’t about sex. Addicts are trying to use sex to fill holes that only God or a higher power can fill. In a time of brokenness, one addict who had thousands of partners said that no matter how many partners he had, it was never enough. The story of Halle Berry and her marriage to a man she identifies as a sex addict, reveal that even when an addict is marriage to a Hollywood actress, it won’t be enough to prevent sexual acting out.
Breaking out of the comparison trap is difficult in our culture. The feelings of inadequacy caused by betrayal are devastating. As a partner, you are enough. The addicts betrayal feels like a knife in your heart and will make you question yourself and your physical appearance. Don’t let this myth keep you down. You are enough and it will be important for you in your healing journey to be reminded of this often.
Adapted from Spouses of Sex Addicts: Hope for the Journey
Richard Blankenship and Joyce Tomblin
By apsats1 13 Jun, 2017
Myths of the Journey #1
Myth – This wouldn’t have happened if I had been a better spouse.

For many partners, family and friends blame them for their spouses sexual acting out. Many partners get messages that they need to be gentler, more loving, submissive, and sexy. These excuses are a sign of others’ misunderstanding of sexual betrayal. It may be an attempt on the part of the addict to avoid owning the problem and accepting responsibility for getting well. You are not responsible for the addict’s choices. Your behavior as a partner is not what caused your spouse to betray you.
Surveys have indicated that many partners are survivors of sexual abuse. Sexual betrayal is a form of sexual abuse. The feelings of shame and consequences of abuse may keep the partner from accepting her true value. Knowing our true value can protect us from unnecessary self-blame.As the secrets of the past and present can be dealt with in a safe place, the partner can take a powerful healing journey.
Many partners start their journey with false beliefs that can prevent healing the hurts of sexual betrayal. Challenge the beliefs that lead to self-doubt and depression. Reach out to organizations like The Association for Partners of Sex Addicts Trauma Specialists (APSATS). There are safe places that you need and deserve in your journey of healing.
Adapted from Spouses of Sex Addicts: Hope for the Journey
Richard Blankenship & Joyce Tomblin
By apsats1 13 Jun, 2017
Myth #2
We must not be right for each other. If we were meant to be together, nothing like this would have happened.

The devastation of betrayal can happen in any relationship. This myth implies that somehow, I must have picked the wrong partner. One of the ways partners have been traumatized is when they are told that they somehow attracted a sex addict (sometimes called the heat seeking missile theory). This sends the message that somehow the partner is culpable and must share the blame for being in a relationship with a sex addict. Nothing could be further from the truth. This jeopardizes the partners healing and the addict’s recovery process.
Most partners did not know about the sexually destructive behaviors prior to the marriage. Even if they did, it still wouldn’t make you responsible for the addict’s choices. In no way are you responsible for his choice to betray you. If he is to get well, he must accept responsibility for the way he chose to medicate himself. Virginia Satir once said “problems aren’t the problem, coping is the problem.” The addict has chosen to cope in a way that will harm himself and everyone in his family. The domino effects of betrayal are devastating.
Part of the healing journey will be making decisions about relationships. For now, please know that the addict’s choices are not your responsibility. The relational impact of those choices is overwhelming. There is hope, and I have seen so many relationships that seemed hopeless turn around and thrive. Yet this only happens when the addict is able to take responsibility and learn to cope in healthier ways. And it’s important for you to take this journey of healing so that your wounds can heal and you can find hope.
Adapted from Spouses of Sex Addicts: Hope for the Journey
Richard Blankenship and Joyce Tomblin
By apsats1 02 May, 2017
By Dan Drake The book I co-authored with Wendy Conquest is officially live. You can find it here! Thanks to everyone who supported us as we were working on this project.
We hope it will help addicts, partners, and couples gain better understanding as they work on healing from the impacts of sex addiction on their lives and in their relationships.
By apsats1 06 Jan, 2017
By admin No New Year’s Resolution!,
Stephanie Wiesman, MS, LPC, NCC
It has become popular to refer to 2016 as one of the worst years in recent memory. And for a lot of us, it was very difficult. There were many high profile deaths of well-loved celebrities, politics that at times were indescribable, and just a general feeling of “What in the world will happen next?”
For those reasons, we all looked forward to 2017, and I even saw some memes about staying awake until midnight “to watch 2016 die.” But just like every other New Year, a lot of people made New Year’s resolutions. They may have been common – lose weight, drink more water, spend less time on social media – or they may have been more personal. This year, though, I did not make any resolutions. Instead, I chose a word that I wanted 2017 to embody.
I did this with the help of Susannah Conway. I had already started her Unravel 2017 Yearbook, and then I saw that she was offering a free 5-day course on finding your Word of 2017. Please go check out her site for those resources, they have been great for me already.
Over the years, I’ve started to think that New Year’s Resolutions can just be another way to feel like we aren’t enough – we aren’t doing good enough, whatever that might mean for us. And one of the most common causes of anxiety and depression can be that feeling of “not enough” – at least, that’s been my experience in my practice as well as at times in my own life.
My word for 2017 is DEVELOP. I want to develop my practice, and develop a more intentional and meaningful self-care routine. My goal for having a Word of the Year is something I can build toward, not something that I might not live up to. It’s intentionally vague – develop can mean anything I want it to or as much as I want it do. I hope to have this word embody most of what I do during the next 12 months.
I highly recommend Susannah’s work. It’s not too late to find your word for the year and set your intention to live it. Good luck, and Happy New Year!
By apsats1 09 Dec, 2016
To our recovery family & friends from APSATS:
By apsats1 15 Nov, 2016
By DrJaniceCaudill Texas’ first therapeutic men’s intimacy anorexia recovery group is set to begin January 2017 in McKinney. Although the Dallas-Ft. Worth and surrounding areas have a strong therapeutic and 12 Step recovery community for sex, love and pornography addiction, recovery resources for those who also struggle with intimacy anorexia (IA) are rare and therapist led support groups non-existent.
The men’s IA group will be the first of it’s kind in Texas. It is led by Dr. Janice Caudill, a CSAT and the first certified IAT (Intimacy Anorexia Therapist) in the state. The IA group will have a work-group format, with members completing workbook exercises specifically designed for IA recovery.
Participants will have the opportunity to practice intimacy-boosting skills and well as learning trigger-busting strategies that help defuse the anger and emotional intensity that intimacy deprived spouses often feel. The men’s group builds in support, feedback, and accountability for strengthening both IA and sexual recovery.
The group will meet twice a month on Thursdays from 7:30 to 9:00 pm. Membership requires an initial evaluation. Contact McKinney Counseling & Recovery for details.
Dr. Janice Caudill is the founder and Clinical Director of McKinney Counseling & Recovery. MCR offers individual, couples, group therapy, webinars, workshops and 3-day intensives for sex addiction recovery, intimacy anorexia, intimacy deprivation and partners of sex addicts, kintsugi couple recovery intensives for wounded hearts struggling with the impact of sex addiction, infidelity, love addiction or love avoidance, intimacy anorexia, or relational trauma. MCR serves the McKinney, Plano, Allen, Richardson, Frisco, Prosper, Carrollton, Lewisville, Dallas and surrounding areas.
All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition, does not create a client-therapist relationship, and is not a substitute for care by a trained professional. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors, omissions, losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.
By apsats1 08 Oct, 2016
By Dan Drake I’m often asked, “How do I get my [sexually addicted partner] to get it?!”
This hugely important question by partners brings us to the “E” word: Empathy . . . Empathy is such an important issue to talk about, yet such a painful one. A partner’s world shatters before her/him after discovering their partner’s sexual secrets, secrets that may have spanned decades. This betrayal trauma is so painful, and causes an enormous rift in a relationship. Healing this rift takes plenty of patience and a commitment to recovery from the sexually addicted partner. Healing also takes a commitment to openness, honesty, and empathy in the relationship.
Unfortunately, so many sex addicts have narcissistic tendencies (after all, sexual acting out in the relationship is an inherently selfish act). Narcissism and empathy, as you can imagine, don’t go together very well. It’s like going to a foreign country where you’ve learned the basics of the language but aren’t fluent. You can learn the “words” but it’ll be clear very soon to a native speaker that you really don’t get the language. All too often, sex addicts can learn “formulas” of things to say but these phrases quickly ring hollow to many partners, as they really want their partners to FEEL the pain that they are experiencing.
Developing empathy CAN be done, but it does take time. It will take some patience on the part of the partner, as this is a new language being developed by the addict.
So what are some ways that addicts can start to learn the new language of empathy?
Brene Brown has an excellent short description of empathy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Evwgu369Jw
I’ve often found “indirect” resources to be really helpful. Many addicts can start to “get it” as they hear the words of others. When they hear the words of other partners in a non-threatened state they can better gain empathy for their own partner’s pain. Wendy Conquest has a great book of letters that helps addicts gain empathy: Letters to a Sex Addict.
Doug Weiss also has an excellent video called Helping Her Heal. This is an important resource from a man in recovery, talking to other men, helping them to understand the impact of their behaviors on their partners.
Jason Martinkus’s book Worthy of Her Trust is another good resource.
I’ve also found it helpful for addicts to draw out a scene of the destructive impact of sex addiction on their relationships, families, and worlds. This isn’t meant to shame the addict, but rather to help them feel the impact of their behaviors on others around them. This can be a powerful exercise done in a group.
Speaking of group, therapy groups are invaluable – other recovering addicts can provide support and feedback, as well as perspective to help sex addicts “get it”
In addition to group therapy, targeting underlying abuse or core wounding can help an addict develop empathy. If the addict is completely blocked off to their own wounding and has no empathy for the wounded parts of themselves, I find it very difficult for them to find empathy for their spouses or others around them.
Impact letters, or other such letters written by partners can be very helpful for addicts. As they read and absorb the impact of the pain they have caused on their loved ones they begin opening their eyes more and more to the pain of their partners.
Working the 12-steps and giving a 9th step amends is another way an addict learns what impact their behaviors had on others around them, and challenges them to take responsibility for their actions. An emotional restitution exercise in response to their partner’s impact letter is another exercise that an addict can do.
Finally, I often find it helpful for addicts to carry around a picture of their partner as a young child. So often, anger is the first protective emotion that partners express. Addicts brace for battle with their partners as the “enemy,” all too often losing sight of the wounded little girl/boy that was devastated with the betrayal. Seeing the young child part of their partner and being reminded of that innocence can help some to better feel the impact of their actions on their partners.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of empathy-building tools, but it’s a way to help addicts start developing the new language of empathy. Again, this will take time and patience, but with dedication an addict CAN learn the new language of empathy if they are committed to learning it. If you have other tools or suggestions, please let me know so I can add to this list.
By apsats1 30 Sep, 2016
By Dan Drake There’s so much to say about this project, but I’ve been fortunate to be working with Wendy Conquest on a sequal to her first book, “Letters to a Sex Addict” – http://www.wendyconquest.com/MyBook.en.html .
We’re excited to announce that we’re getting closer to finishing our book, “Letters from a Sex Addict,” and hope to release it in early 2017.
I’m grateful for the chance to work with Wendy, and we hope that this book will help men and women struggling with sex addiction to “get it” better, and to give some hope to those in relationship with these women and men.
Stay tuned!
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