Never The Bowl of Porridge That’s Just Right

You’re too angry. You’re too accommodating. You’re too negative. You’re too scary. You’re too assertive. You’re too forgiving. You’re too unforgiving. You’re too trusting. You’re too suspicious. You’re too judgemental. You’re too needy. You’re too nosy. You’re too controlling. You’re too easy. You’re too opinionated. You’re too dependent. You’re too independent. You’re too demanding. You’re too shrill. You’re too compliant. You’re too argumentative. Blah. Blah. Blah.

Have you noticed that we are always “too” something, and never the bowl of porridge that’s just right?

You don’t even have to be the wife or girlfriend of a man called a sex addict to endure this gaslighting experience!  All you have to do is attempt to stick up for yourself or speak the truth that is in you. I guarantee you will be pronounced “too” something. And it won’t be anything nice. But when you are in a relationship with a man called a sex addict, you won’t only get it from him. You will get it from his “treatment team” as well. Here’s why.

The prevailing treatment model is designed to ignore, diminish and deny your lived experience in relationship with this man. Don’t be fooled by a therapist making sympathetic noises for a few sessions. There’s a shelf life on that. Eventually, the agenda comes right back to making you responsible for the ways your husband or boyfriend has abused you. This is because the prevailing treatment model doesn’t believe you have endured abuse. Although they now use the trauma word in all their marketing ploys, they do not connect your trauma with his abusive behaviours. So, eventually, it will be suggested that you are “too” something. It’s your own character deficits and flaws that are responsible for your trauma.

It’s kind of astonishing to see the same approach historically used to blame victims of domestic violence being pulled out again to use against women in a relationship with a compulsive-abusive sexual relational disordered man (Dr. Omar Minwalla’s correct clinical description of men called sex addicts). But there it is. Sure, he gave you an STD that you will have for the rest of your life. Sure, he never kept any of his marriage vows to you. Sure, he lied to you every day about things that mattered and things that didn’t. Sure, he bankrupted your business together in order to finance his penis activities, or used your children’s education savings. Sure, he told lies about you to family, co-workers, friends, in order to make himself the victim in the relationship. Sure, he used rage, physical threats, insults, and demoralizing verbal abuse to shut you up and keep you in line. Sure, he abandoned you sexually and emotionally. Sure, he criticized your appearance and made fun of you. Sure, he used his family as a weapon against you. Sure, he kept you and your children on a tight financial leash while spending lavishly to support his sexual activities and impress his emotional and physical affair partners. Sure, he exposed you and your children to criminal elements. Sure, he took secret videos of you, your children and/or your children’s friends in the bathroom or changing for the pool and uploaded them to the internet where they will live forever as entertainment for other perverts. Sure, he punished you for every success or achievement in your life by escalating his penis activities and ruining any recognition you deserved. Sure, he did all this and more!  But you! You were too needy. You were too angry. You were too argumentative. In other words…you had it coming.

As if that’s not enough to drive us crazy, there is an even more dangerous trap in the charge of never being the bowl of porridge that’s just right. And this trap is that when we are told that the control for this nightmare is within us, we think we can fix it. We can be less angry, less needy, less opinionated, etc. If this is because of a character deficit or flaw within us, we believe we can fix it. So we roll up our sleeves and get right to work as every abused woman gone before has done. We try to learn how to tiptoe around the abuse and avoid triggering it.

That’s not a solution. It deepens the victimization and teaches our children that what he is doing is acceptable. They will grow up to accept it in their life too if we are not smarter than this.

Make a list of the things he has done to you and how your life has been negatively affected. Are you really “too” angry? Chances are you are not angry enough.

When I work with wives and partners of men called sex addicts I tell them their anger is a sign of their sanity. Once women are treated as sane, they can describe what he did to them and face the hard facts of the abuse, and the consequences. I haven’t met anyone yet that is “too” anything. They don’t have character deficits or flaws that are responsible for anything he has done to harm them. Instead of trying to fix problems that don't exist within themselves, they now begin to work on healing their lives and how to offer good modelling for their children.

Have you heard the “you’re too……” script? Your story is safe here.

With you,






Diane Strickland