Treatment for the Partner

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Learning about a partner’s secretive sexual behaviors can be a devastating experience.  When someone you loved and trusted betrays that trust by going outside of the relationship sexually or emotionally, the resulting level of pain can feel unmanageable.  Shock, confusion, shame, self-doubt, fear and rage are some of the emotions that may emerge with overpowering intensity. It can feel like the rug has been pulled out from under you and your new footing is no longer on solid ground.  This can trigger a multitude of psychological and physical responses that may include:

  • emotional turmoil
  • self-protective behaviors
  • obsessing about the addict’s behavior
  • efforts to control the addict
  • intrusive thoughts
  • feelings of hopelessness
  • withdrawal from others
  • panic attacks
  • insomnia

Partners of sex addicts often refer to this experience as the “trauma of discovery”, and it can impact many areas of one’s life.  Your most important relationship is no longer the safe place you thought it to be, your sense of reality has been put into question, and you may even feel you are somehow to blame.  You may be wondering if you should stay or go.

At the Center for Personal Growth & Creativity, our first responsibility is to assess the impact of the trauma and help you to manage the crisis.  This includes:

  • accepting and validating your pain
  • educating you on how to set self-protective boundaries
  • connecting you with people who are in similar situations for mutual support
  • assisting you in choosing who to tell about the situation
  • teaching you about sex addiction
  • helping you deal with emotional shock by providing ways to process pain, manage anger, and release guilt and shame
  • supporting you through your grieving process
  • helping you to recognize inner strengths

Once a degree of emotional stability is achieved, it becomes important to explore your role in relationship to the sex addict.  This is not to imply that you are to blame for your partner’s behavior. You did not cause the crisis!  Rather, it is an opportunity for you to identify any ineffective, self-defeating behaviors of your own that may have contributed to an unhealthy relationship and kept alive dysfunctional interactions with the addict.

These behaviors are sometimes referred to as “co-dependent” behaviors and may manifest in being overly responsible, controlling, or preoccupied with “fixing” the addict, or in the inability to provide healthy self-care.  Co-dependency can stem from trauma and early attachment wounds that create unhealthy core beliefs.  These core beliefs can develop into a pattern of relating that is characterized by a habitual need to seek validation and self-worth from others.  Unresolved childhood trauma often plays out later in life and is at the heart of many dysfunctional relationships.

At the Center for Personal Growth & Creativity, we will help you to get on the road to healing from the early trauma or hurtful experiences that contribute to unsatisfying intimate relationships in adulthood.  In time, you will discover that it is not only possible to heal, but to thrive and to blossom, as you stay focused on developing the most important relationship of all – the one with yourself.

Call for Consultation: 212-868-9761