How Men Called Sex Addicts Abuse Their Wives and Partners
After discovery many wives and partners are too traumatized to recognize themselves as victims of abuse. Enter the treatment industry who calls all of it his “sex addiction,” instead. For most of us, that’s a whole lot better than being a victim of abuse. I was sucked so quickly into the “sex addiction” alibi that it took me a while to back my way out. But back my way out, I did, as what I was reading and hearing from the sex addiction treatment industry just stopped making sense.
Along the way I started a list—a list of the offences women face from these men called “sex addicts”. We experience physical, spiritual, emotional, financial and psychological harm that no one seems to name. I realized that if any parishioner came in my office with even some of these signs, I would have concluded she was in an abusive relationship. My first concern would have been for her safety. Only in this farce of a treatment industry is that long list of abuse set aside and replaced with the two words “sex addiction”. Actually, they don’t even bother making a list.
But in this week’s blog we will be working with my list. Please honor your life by going over that list compiled from the last ten years of my experience. Check off what also applies to your experience. Take your time. If you feel vulnerable do some mindfulness breathing to ground yourself again. Chances are you will be shocked at how many things on this list he has done to you. As difficult as it is to get these men to recognize what they do to us, it can be equally challenging for us to do the same. We’ve spent years, even decades, being groomed to put it aside.
Don’t put it aside anymore.
Sex addict inventory of domestic violence that is not episodic, but systemic behaviors in your relationship. In other words these things were not exceptions, but regular elements.
Lies to you without hesitation about big things and little things
Moody and belligerent
Talks with his family about your failings behind your back
Making you second guess yourself/creating self-doubts about your perception of reality
Blaming you or others for his conduct
Personal criticism against you, including but not limited to your body, your appearance, your sexual attractiveness (especially as compared to porn women—-yes, really)
Denies the truth even when presented with evidence supporting it
Emotional affairs—seeking and giving emotional intimacy to others that normally should belong to a primary relationship, thereby sexualizing these other relationships
Sexual activities with others
Ignores you, including when you speak to him
Flirting with others
Forging your name on documents (such as loan applications)
Is often late and won’t provide an explanation
Staring at or watching other women closely while he is with you
Sulks or is furious if you don’t do what we he wants
Cruelty toward you
Offloading household duties onto you
Offloading parenting onto you
Refusing to answer questions
Seems to believe and act as though he’s “better” or “more important” than you (or your children)
Ruining family occasions and holidays
Buys himself expensive clothes while you shop sales for yourself and children
Facial expressions of disgust towards you
Sexual relations are mechanical, predictable, and controlled by him
Compromising your family’s financial security
Rejecting your sexual advances
Playing Russian roulette with your health with respect to STD’s/STI’s
Giving you STD’s/STI’s
Ignoring your achievements or ruining their celebrations with sulking and being in a bad mood
Sends pictures of his genitals to others and post pictures online
Tells you that you smell
Using joint personal assets or children’s savings to fund his sexual and sexualized activities
Acting with arrogant disregard for you and your children
Talks about other people in your sexual relations, or brings their known mannerisms into it
Using joint business assets to fund his sexual and sexualized activities
Humiliating you if you try and talk about your unsatisfying sex life
Involving your children in his lies/secret life activities
After discovery he claims you have to excuse his behavior because he has a disease just like some people get cancer
Asking children to keep secrets from you
Spends excessive amounts of time in the bathroom, often with his phone, and gets angry and arrogant if you ask about it
Refuses to engage the pain he is causing you when you ask or even beg him to
Humiliates you if you try and suggest new things in your sexual routine
Accuses you of shaming him if you stand up for your right to know the truth of what’s going on
Treats you with even less respect since starting “therapy” and “12-step group”
Charms others and creates allies with them he can and does use against you
Makes inappropriate sexually charged comments in social settings that humiliate you
Uses religious values to control you and criticize you
You wake up to him violating your body and he won’t stop when you resist—and you aren’t sure if you are being sexually assaulted by him
Has few or no close friends of his own making but criticizes yours
Too interested in your teenage children’s girl friends
Selfish and self-centered
Likes to inflict pain in your sexual relations without asking permission or warning you
After separation will break into or use other means to gain entry into your living space without your permission
Unable to perform sexually
Tells people he “did some things he regrets” but “you can’t get past it”
Physically intimidates you (grabbing you, blocking your way, shoving you, throwing something at you)
Gives permission and opportunity to interfering/unpleasant/abusive members of his family
Police come to your door with complaints about his behaviors and you defend him because you have no idea what he’s been up to
Insults you, mocks you, and calls you names
Staggers disclosures so he re-traumatizes you and sets you back in recovery each time
Uses your things (even clothes or facecloths) so you have nothing personal to you alone
Hides money from you
Withholds child and/or spousal support payments and/or makes you beg for it
Calls police and tells them you are violent. They may even arrest you
Breaks things that mean something to you, or mows down things in the garden you like
Wrongfully accuses you of infidelity or interest in other men
Things, mementos, and family pieces that matter to you go missing
Secretly takes videos of you or other visitors to your home showering/bathing, changing clothes, using the toilet
Secretly takes video of you having sex
Posts these secret videos to internet sites
In couple sessions he “performs” for the treatment practitioner, manipulating him or her by crying and lying, so that he gains sympathy and advocacy
Criminal activities such as solicitation, voyeurism, exhibitionism, stalking
Goes through your closets, drawers, or any personal space
Tries to manipulate you into doing sexual things you don’t want to do—like “swinging” or having sex with someone else while he watches, going to strip clubs
After disclosures about sexual assault with vulnerable populations or animals, the treatment group does not report and he complains about your objections
Threatens you with physical harm, financial ruin, or taking the children
Uses religious leaders and community to support himself and disparage you spiritually
Manipulates and charms counsellors against you
Calls you abusive after baiting you emotionally with outrageous behaviors
After discovery he pretends like everything is back to normal
Presents himself as the victim to his children no matter how old they are
Shows no compassion or empathy for the pain, loss and devastation he has caused you
Had secret sexual and sexualized relationships with people in your family, work settings, circle of friends, church family, thereby ensuring you are isolated from support when you find out
Proactively spreads falsehoods about you to diminish your credibility in searching for support
Uses phrases and vocabulary learned in therapy and support groups to escalate emotional, psychological and spiritual abuse
After discovery he pressures you to have sex with him and bullies you about it
Upon discovery of his secret life his main concern is controlling you and your reaction
Writes lies about you in his treatment workbooks
Tells you that you have to expect less from him because of his “disease”
Only expresses being sorry without specific reference to anything he actually did (such as from this long list or grievous abuse toward his wife/partner and sometimes his children)
Does not invite you to social events related to work, community leadership, or volunteer groups
He will help others in a pinch, an emergency, or with urgent (and non-urgent) problem-solving, while leaving you (and your children) in the lurch to fend for yourselves. You and your children not as important as the praise and appreciation of others.
Grabs and gropes your body without warning, even though you’ve told him you don’t like that, it scares you, it doesn’t feel like intimacy, it’s too rough, etc.
Uses personal information from your life, especially challenges you faced, to undermine your objections to his behavior, accuse you of (or intimate to others) psychological problems and deficits, and diminish the offences he has committed.
Even after you leave him, he tells you and others (even dating services) he must find someone exactly like you because you were his match, his soulmate, and you threw it away—and he often does find a “clone” of you.
Threatens suicide and then gets mad when you call it in and he’s admitted to hospital for 3 days of observation
Threatens to divorce you and tell everyone you are unstable and dangerous
When he sees how angry you are, he primes your closest friends or family with declarations of how much he loves you and will do anything for you and how you are the best thing that happened to him so that when you go to them with your anger, they defend him
These men will even ruin a moment when you tell him you are pregnant with his child—he won’t even let you have a little scrap of joy about that in that moment or in your memory
He uses critical health crises in your life that include hospitalization or immobilization, or even time in the hospital giving birth to his children as opportunities for sexual and sexualized opportunities
Making you “pay” for anything good that happens to you by covertly punishing you with his secret sexual and sexualized activities that you discover later
So, I first posted this with 97 items on the list. We cracked my goal of 100, and the emails are still coming in. I will not be posting the names of those who make suggestions. I wonder how long the list will be once you all have a good look and cast over your personal experiences with these CASRD men (Dr. Minwalla’s correct term is Compulsive-Abusive Sexual-Relational Disordered man—C.A.S.R.D.—rhymes with “hazard”).
Now, originally, I was going to add the list of how these abuse tactics impact us, because that information also in important to know. Unfortunately, the list of his abuses is just too long. So, that second list will be next week’s blog, with additional discussion.
So, how did it go? Did you end up checking more on this list than you thought you would?
The truth of your experience should not have to be diminished, ignored, hidden, or excused in order to “save” him or the relationship. The truth of our experience should be used to save you. Don’t hesitate to contact a women’s shelter, helpline, or crisis service agency if completing this task has brought your need for safety to the forefront. Change begins with your decision to honor the sacred value of your life, and then expecting the same from others.
Next week, I will look at the impact of these abuses on our lives and how to make use of this information in your decision-making and with others. Stay tuned.
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