Mar 20 Sexual Addiction and Betrayal Trauma
You have just made a horrific discovery about your partner’s sexual addiction and behavior, and you don’t know what to do. Undoubtedly, your first reaction is to leave the relationship and call it quits. You feel like running away. Then you start to think, where will you go? You feel trapped and full of shame. You’re full of rage and don’t know what to do with it. You try to hide the secret. Is there anyone you can speak to about your discovery of your partner’s behavior? The person you’re in love with is not the person you thought him or her to be. The person you are with betrayed you, your relationship, and killed the love you felt for each other. Who can possibly understand what you are going through?
Even though a part of you may have known something was “off” or just not right all along, your partner probably convinced you that you were the one going crazy or being unreasonable and irrational. This tactic, known as “gaslighting”, effectively prevents you from trusting your own intuition or instincts, and makes your thinking just as distorted as the sex addict. In addition, the trauma of discovering your partner’s sex addiction can trigger your own past trauma.
Does This Sound and Feel Familiar to You?
If this has happened to you, we’re so sorry for the pain you must be experiencing. It’s traumatizing to discover a secret sexual life of your partner. At New York Pathways, we use the term “betrayal trauma” to describe what is happening to you. After you discover the betrayal, all the shame of your partner’s behavior gets dumped on you, and you carry that shame around even though it’s not your fault. The tragedy of sex addition in a relationship is a very heavy burden to carry alone.
You’ve probably been focused on your partner and his or her behavior for a very long time, which has taken the focus off of you. Your needs get neglected; you may even forget that you have any needs. Everything is about your partner, making you feel invisible. We understand that your partner may have made promises to stop in the past but then reverted back to old behavior patterns.
You can insist that your partner get help, but what about you? You’re in crisis too. Finding and reclaiming the love you felt for each other, or determining if your relationship is even salvageable, may seem hopeless.
Sexual Addiction and Betrayal Trauma – Help for Partners and Spouses
But remember: it’s not hopeless, and you’re not alone! New York Pathways has developed a program to help partners and spouses (even family members) impacted by a loved one’s sexual addiction and behavior. We’ll work with you and your partner to restore the relationship.
In our program, you’ll learn about sex addition and its impact on relationships and families. You’ll work one-on-one with a therapist to process the trauma, hurt, and anger that you’re experiencing. If you choose, you can also attend our partners’ group so that you can talk to others who can understand and provide mutual support. You’ll learn tools to help you clarify what you need to do for yourself going forward in the relationship. Simultaneously, we’ll be working with your partner so that he or she can learn the impact of the sexual addiction and behavior upon you and your family, understand how to stop the behavior, and be on the way to restoring trust in the relationship.
We have been privileged to help people and relationships heal and come out the other side in stronger, more fulfilling relationships. Let us help you do the same. Call today.