Posts in self-care
Lessons Children Learn from Fathers Called Sex Addicts

Such a strong response to my guest blogger last week—thank you! She has provided a second piece which I am posting today. I have added some “lessons learned” from my family life and from clients. This may be difficult for some mothers to read but is not intended to inspire guilt. Rather it is a caution to those who assume preserving the “family” is the best course for children. It also makes it clear that men called sex addicts are not just abusing the wife or partner. They are harming their children and negatively impacting their development as human beings. The sexual and sexualized behaviors of these men are not just impacting their relationship with wives or partners. It is a family experience of harm largely unexamined by the treatment industry.

Thank you to last week’s guest blogger who is providing another important piece of this puzzle!  I am respecting her and her daughters’ need for anonymity. Here then, are her additional insights about the harm done to children of men called sex addicts.

 Also—important news about Tania Rochelle’s next retreat for partners—with an early discount opportunity! See details at the end of the blog!

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My Family, Eight Years Later

Last week’s blog generated significant response. Thank you so much for letting me know when topics help you validate your experiences and ongoing concerns. One reader sent me the following piece about her family’s trauma and how they lurched along together and ultimately chose to put themselves and each other first instead of the man who continued to lie, gaslight, blameshift, and deceive them all through his fake “recovery” years.

The author and her daughters require anonymity but the daughters, in particular, want other kids to know they aren’t crazy and they deserve better from him—and to ask for counseling trauma care support! Don’t count on the treatment industry to be proactive on anything that might suggest their men called sex addicts may have harmed the family so deeply that children should receive immediate and ongoing attention for trauma care. FYI: This not an account of any father sexually abusing children within his own family.

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The Whole Family. His “Addiction.” We're Soaking In It.

Hello again! I’m glad to be back posting after two weeks absence due to other professional commitments. As my earlier post said, I also was dealing with technical bugs at the same time.

But there’s always lots stewing on my front burner, and it took some time to decide where to begin. One of the questions I’ve been thinking about is whether the almost singular focus on the relationship between the man called a sex addict and his wife or partner is actually how everyone avoids facing the damage to the family as a unit and treating it. In so many cases there are children in the story. The whole family is affected by the man’s behavior, not just the relationship with the woman. Little is said about this. What do children suffer? What does their father teach them about family when he uses it to protect another secret life he values more than them? Is salvaging something of the family wreckage yet another task that falls to the woman, so that he can continue to present as “normal” instead of the deeply damaged human being that he is? What if he involves them in his “operations” of deceit and risk-taking? I’ve heard more than one story of how he used the children as “chick-bait”, securing coffee dates, play dates and shared rides to events. I know from my own experience that these men will blame porn on the computer on sons and quickly offer to have “the talk” with them.

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Standing up for yourself: When practitioners say your symptoms are "trauma like", is that the cue for "treatment-like" care?

After discovery, we can be confused about our trauma symptoms and by our trauma symptoms. Memory and concentration problems, self-doubt, numbing, intrusive memories, hypervigilance, and unexpected triggers are compounded by gaslighting, denial, lying, personal criticisms, silent treatment, rage, etc., from the man called a sex addict. Then, after a hard-fought battle to have our trauma symptoms correctly identified, we can still face practitioners who call us codependent and co-addict. But when “experts” talk up partner trauma to gain our trust, and then tiptoe backwards by saying our symptoms may “sound like” trauma symptoms, or that we have “trauma-like” symptoms…you’ve probably had about as much as you can take.

Research says when things look like traumatic stress symptoms, act like traumatic stress symptoms, and sound like traumatic stress symptoms—they’re traumatic stress symptoms. And in our case if they meet the criteria and last longer than a month, nearly 70% of the time they also indicate Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. That means we need something a little more than “treatment-like” care. We need informed and competent clinical care. And yes, it also means we’re right back where we were—having to stand up for ourselves and demand a correct assessment of our real symptoms and a correct treatment protocol.

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Hang On To Yourself

Truman Burbank: Was nothing real?

Christof: You were real... that's what made you so good to watch.

Lines from the movie called “The Truman Show”, after Truman (played by Jim Carrey) learns that he was the only one in his life who wasn’t acting a part in a world that wasn’t real.

 The Truman Show resonates with my discovery that most of my life had been absorbed into my husband’s ugly deception. The movie’s ending grips me—where, after Truman’s sailboat prow accidentally pierces the fake horizon, Truman climbs out of his boat onto a fake lake, and seeing a staircase climbs up to find the “exit” door. The show’s creator tries to keep him from going through it, and after they exchange some words (including the lines above) Truman takes his final bow and walks through the door into the real world—a dark unknown. What would he feel—fear, anger, hope, courage, grief, doubt? All these, but still he chooses to leave the fake life and hang onto himself—because he’s the only thing in his life he knows is real.

Truman hung on to himself. And that’s exactly what you need to do.

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