Posts in Post-traumatic stress
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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TAKE TWO....Part One: In My Opinion

Sometimes I just try to say too much in one post. It doesn’t work well. So, I took down last Sunday’s post and I’m trying again. I just had to try again after a timely message from yet another woman whose life has been torn apart by discovering her husband’s secret life of sexual and sexualized activities conducted over decades. Devastated by PTSD, she was then traumatized by going to “SA couple’s counseling” (which I have warned women against doing). Her children are struggling with PTS symptoms as well. She doesn’t know where to turn for help so that she and her children will not be harmed further. I wish these stories were rare. They are not. So, I’m trying again.  

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Intimate Partner Abuse: How Does It Impact You?

Intimate Partner Abuse by men called sex addicts is a taboo topic for the treatment industry and religious-based recovery programs and practitioners. Your response to last week’s blog, however, tells me it’s a topic long overdue for attention. Thank you for your feedback and additional items for the list.

Today I’m talking about the impact and consequences from the abuse we have endured. It’s not a pretty list, either, so please take care of yourself as you read it. Pace yourself. Use mindfulness coping strategies, tapping, and self-soothing strategies along the way. And if your symptoms need urgent attention seek professional help or call a crisis helpline for women.

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