First Things and Second Things

Thank you, subscribers, for your ongoing interest in my blog about topics arising from my life and work with wives and partners of men called sex addicts.

This hard work is also holy work to me. It draws on “first things” of what it means for me to be a human being in this world—being true, investing in people, seeking justice, and finding humour in the midst of it all. These are first things for me. But l also want to introduce you to “second things.” “Second things” are the epiphanies that break through all our life survival patterns and success strategies and show us what we need to understand in order to be more than we have been in our lives. “First things” seem like a part of us. “Second things” are about going deeper in our lives because of how our life unfolds.

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Diane Strickland
Everybody Breathe

I need to stop and take a breath.

The focus I have put on whole family care in the last five blogs has been tough. It hit home to so many women. It meant many of us looked back at those years of discovery/recovery/non-recovery and could see that our children—no matter what their age—were not factored in for attention, gentle inquiry and careful listening.

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Diane Strickland
In My Opinion, Where Do We Go From Here?

Over the last ten years I’ve been pulling back the curtain on the strange and ongoing train wreck of treatment options for compulsive-abusive sexual relationship disordered men and their wives and families. In my opinion there is no evidence-based publishable research available to back up what was being marketed (I searched and searched and am still searching after ten years.) Religious-based versions soon sprang up around it and are now closely allied to it. “Believers” already enrolled in faith-based organizations may be seamlessly transferred into affiliated treatment programs that are easily shrink-wrapped in the religious propositions of the day. Once there, the theories and methods go unchallenged by women who are desperate, traumatized and already conforming to their religious community’s direction and authority.

As long as the compulsive-abusive sexual relational disordered man is reinstated as some version of the spiritual and authoritative head of the household, success is declared. The women and children are there to do what they are told. Meanwhile his true core values that actually run the show are never named or unseated. And in describing that situation I am reminded of a New Testament professor from seminary days (now in Glory) who used to say in his thick Irish accent “Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus…vaguely in our minds.”

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Living Differently into These Hard Truths

After four weeks of examining how men call sex addicts harm their wives, partners, children and step-children, we need to hit the pause button, catch our breath and see what we’ve learned. So, in today’s blog I’m going to talk about how we live with the truths that we have found the courage to speak, face, hear, and validate.

Before I do that, I want to honor that remarkable courage! Your persistence in reading the blog and validating the hard stories shared over the last four weeks bears witness to your commitment to the value of your lives and your children’s lives. Please don’t lose sight of that! Keep it in front of you at all times. Say it out loud. Talk about it to yourself and to your children. Validate and affirm over and over again. The power of his fake life to make you all doubt yourselves and feel less than “enough” must be undermined by the power of your real lives as a loving wife/partner and loving children/stepchildren.

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What’s With Adult Children Turning Against Their Mothers?

For the last three blogs, we’ve been looking at family impact of the secret life of sexual and sexualized activities conducted by a father or step-father. In creating and protecting this secret life as his priority we have seen the devastating consequences to children and teenagers. It is clear that he abuses the whole family, not just the wife or partner. He does this with his deceit, misogyny, lies, blameshifting, gaslighting, denial, abandonment, humiliating behaviors—betraying the family unit as the primary priority for authenticity, intimacy, safety, respect, nurture, honesty and love. He violates the family’s core values multiple ways, multiple times, with multiple destructive consequences to the other members.

This week we are dealing with an outcome that is the second trauma for so many women. This is about adult children who turn on them while protecting and supporting their compulsive-abusive sexual relational disordered fathers. Why does this happen? How does this reveal what is truly at stake for families? And what can wives and partners who are innocent victims of these men do to avoid becoming fresh victims of their misguided adult children? How much loss are wives and partners really absorbing?

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