Recovery Fortune Cookie: Clothed with Integrity

Tea Time at McKinney Counseling & Recovery 

“If everyone were clothed with integrity, if every heart were just, frank, kindly, the other virtues would be well-nigh useless.”

 ~ Moliere

Dr Janice Caudill is the founder and Clinical Director of McKinney Counseling & Recovery. MCR offers individual, couples, group therapy and 3-day intensives for partners of sex addicts and wounded hearts struggling with sex addiction or porn addiction, infidelity, love addiction or love avoidance, intimacy anorexia, or relational trauma in the McKinney, Plano, Allen, Richardson, Frisco, Prosper, Carrollton, Lewisville, Dallas and surrounding areas.

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition, does not create a client-therapist relationship, and is not a substitute for care by a trained professional. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors, omissions, losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.
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Surviving Betrayal: Emotional Numbness

Emotional Numbness

Emotional Numbness

 

Most of us experience some degree of emotional numbness as the truth about our partner unfolds. For most of us, this numbness is tempo­rary and protective. We will feel more as it is safer for us.

For others, the numbness has become a key tool for coping with life’s pain. Remaining emotionally numb for the long term is damaging. We lose touch not only with our negative emotions but with our positive ones as well. We may be saved from feeling the raw anguish of betrayal, but a part of us is also shut off from life’s joys.

The real danger, however, is that when we become numb we allow the pain to continue. We do nothing to protect ourselves. We no longer draw back instinctively when we are burned. When that happens, we end up more severely burned.

On this journey, we will find others who understand our circum­stances; we will listen to their stories. We will hear their pain even if we can’t fully understand it. Eventually, we will share our stories. We will learn to use the tools of acceptance and choice and self-examination. Eventually, our numbness will begin to be replaced by emotion.

This hurts. Our first instinct may be to flinch, to retreat into numb­ness again. If we are committed to healing our lives, we will find the courage to move forward. We will be delivered from our half life to a full life. And the joys of a full life outweigh the temporary discomfort we will experi­ence on the journey.

I won’t get from this place of numbness to a place of true emotion without experiencing the pain I’ve sup­pressed. But I can get through it. I can reach joy and freedom.

                                                                                            From Surviving Betrayal: Hope and Help for Women Whose Partners Have Been Unfaithful * 365 Daily Meditations by Alice May

Dr Janice Caudill is the founder and Clinical Director of McKinney Counseling & Recovery. MCR offers individual, couples, group therapy and 3-day intensives for partners of sex addicts and wounded hearts struggling with sex addiction, infidelity, love addiction or love avoidance, intimacy anorexia, or relational trauma in the McKinney, Plano, Allen, Richardson, Frisco, Prosper, Carrollton, Lewisville, Dallas and surrounding areas.

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition, does not create a client-therapist relationship, and is not a substitute for care by a trained professional. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors, omissions, losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.
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Starved for Love: Intimacy Deprivation in Sex and Porn Addiction

bigstock_Barbed_Wire_Around_Heart_8543869One of the least discussed but most painful experiences for partners of sex or porn addicts is the deep level of intimacy deprivation that many endure both before, during, and after their spouse’s recovery. The love-starved often come to exist on crumbs of affection, particularly those dealing with a spouse’s sex or porn addiction that occurs in combination with a relationship pattern called intimacy anorexia.

Intimacy anorexia, first described by recovery expert Doug Weiss, PhD, is a form of love avoidance that  involves the intentional withholding of emotional, spiritual, and/or sexual intimacy from the primary relationship partner. The withholding or sabotaging serves to put the anorexic in control of the level of closeness or distance in the relationship. More importantly, it puts the anorexic in control of the level of intimacy and nurturance his or her partner receives. The anorexic pattern of behaviors dooms the partner to intimacy deprivation.

A recent survey* of the emotional, spiritual and sexual intimacy experience of those dealing with sex, porn, or intimacy anorexia recovery suggests high levels of deprivation in these couples. Over 67% of the participants, primarily the partners of sex and porn addicts, report they experience very frequent intimacy deprivation and 68.6% report feeling ‘married but alone.’

The highest levels of distress were reported by those experiencing sexual deprivation in combination with emotional or spiritual withholding: 59% reported lengthy periods of little or no sex due to their spouse’s lack of interest; 49% reported their spouse withholds sex very frequently; and 60% reported feeling sexually rejected or unwanted by their spouse very frequently. Alternatively, 46% report their spouse does not withhold sex but engages in objectifying rather than relationally connected sex. Results indicate these behaviors are associated with severe distress for a high percentage of the participants.

In addition to sexual withholding or objectification, the survey addresses a number of other tactics for sabotaging intimacy. These include withholding love and praise, unwillingness to share feelings and lack of interest in yours, silent treatment, blame shifting, unfounded criticism or hypersensitivity to perceived criticism, control issues about money, using anger as a barrier or manipulating you into anger so that you pull away, or unwillingness to share spiritual practices.

This is an online survey that allows you to participate anonymously. If you would like to take this survey, click on the link below.

Survey

** Results tabulated with N=78

Dr Janice Caudill is the founder and Clinical Director of McKinney Counseling & Recovery. MCR offers individual, couples, group therapy and 3-day intensives for partners of sex addicts and wounded hearts struggling with sex addiction, infidelity, love addiction or love avoidance, intimacy anorexia, or relational trauma in the McKinney, Plano, Allen, Richardson, Frisco, Prosper, Carrollton, Lewisville, Dallas and surrounding areas.

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition, does not create a client-therapist relationship, and is not a substitute for care by a trained professional. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors, omissions, losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.
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Partner Trauma Training Moves to Webinar Format

Webinar Blue 3D Realistic Paper Speech Bubble Isolated On WhiteThe Association for Partners of Sex Addicts Trauma Specialists (APSATS) will conduct their first webinar training across 4 successive Fridays beginning March 6, 2015.

APSATS, a nonprofit organization, promotes the use of the Multidimensional Partner Trauma Model for helping partners of sex addicts heal from Sex Addiction Induced Trauma (SAIT). It is the first professional association dedicated primarily to training counselors and coaches in the use of a partner trauma model. In addiction to partner trauma, the training also includes a relational trauma approach for the healing of the marital or couple relationship.

The live training began in Dallas and has since been conducted in Cincinnati, Los Angeles, West Palm Beach and D.C.. Expanding to a webinar training across March 6, 13, 20, and 27th allows for a more affordable and convenient method of training. Enrollment is limited in order to provide a higher quality training experience.

Visit the APSATS website for more information.

Dr Janice Caudill is the founder and Clinical Director of McKinney Counseling & Recovery. MCR offers individual, couples, group therapy and 3-day intensives for partners of sex addicts and wounded hearts struggling with sex addiction, infidelity, love addiction or love avoidance, intimacy anorexia, or relational trauma in the McKinney, Plano, Allen, Richardson, Frisco, Prosper, Carrollton, Lewisville, Dallas and surrounding areas.

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition, does not create a client-therapist relationship, and is not a substitute for care by a trained professional. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors, omissions, losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.
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Recovery Fortune Cookie: Well Done

Tea Time at McKinney Counseling & Recovery

“Well done is better than well said.”

~ Benjamin Franklin

Dr Janice Caudill is the founder and Clinical Director of McKinney Counseling & Recovery. MCR offers individual, couples, group therapy and 3-day intensives for partners of sex addicts and wounded hearts struggling with sex addiction, infidelity, love addiction or love avoidance, intimacy anorexia, or relational trauma in the McKinney, Plano, Allen, Richardson, Frisco, Prosper, Carrollton, Lewisville, Dallas and surrounding areas.

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition, does not create a client-therapist relationship, and is not a substitute for care by a trained professional. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors, omissions, losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.
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Surviving Betrayal: Surrender Your Loss

 

Young beautiful woman in depression. Isolated on white background. When we first learn that we’ve been betrayed by someone we love and trust, that event takes on such magnitude that it leaves room for lit­tle else in our hearts. It becomes the sun around which everything in our personal universe revolves.

We define ourselves by what someone else has done. We live our life under that shadow. We forget that the rest of our life continues, and that many parts of it need not be destroyed by this single event.

My partner’s infidelity is but one event in my life. I also have work I enjoy, even if concentrating on that work is harder for a while. I have others who love me, as well as others whom I love, and 1 do them and myself a disservice if I suddenly act as if their love means nothing because one person has disappointed me. I have the quilt my grand­mother made, a favorite CD, and my cat’s squeaky voice when she nibs against my ankles, all of which bring me comfort and joy and moments that feel warm and safe. I have a best friend who walks with me and points out the delights in my neighborhood—the purple chair sitting on someone’s porch, the clown face drawn on the sidewalk in fat pink chalk, the tiny crocus buds as they nudge up out of the ground in late winter.

And I still have my faith in the hand of a loving God, acting in my life ease my pain.

Even if something we’ve long treasured has been taken from us—for the moment or forever—our life is still full of gifts and grace.

Today I will surrender my loss and spend ten minutes in a quiet, peaceful place remembering all the blessings that remain.

From Surviving Betrayal: Hope and Help for Women Whose Partners Have Been Unfaithful * 365 Daily Meditations by Alice May

Dr Janice Caudill is the founder and Clinical Director of McKinney Counseling & Recovery. MCR offers individual, couples, group therapy and 3-day intensives for partners of sex addicts and wounded hearts struggling with sex addiction, infidelity, love addiction or love avoidance, intimacy anorexia, or relational trauma in the McKinney, Plano, Allen, Richardson, Frisco, Prosper, Carrollton, Lewisville, Dallas and surrounding areas.

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition, does not create a client-therapist relationship, and is not a substitute for care by a trained professional. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors, omissions, losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.
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Surviving Betrayal: Willingness

Help

Are you willing to change?

Are you willing to ask for help?

Are you willing to do things differently just because other women tell you that doing things differently helped them heal, gave them their lives back?

Are you willing to believe there is some force or being or presence in this universe with more power than you have? And are you willing to believe in the possibility that this power could help you solve your problems? Are you willing to seek that power—whether you can call that power God today or can rely only on something as tangible as the power of other women when they band together for their common comfort?

Are you willing to believe in the possibility of healing?

Are you willing to hope?

Today I will work on answering at least one of those questions with a yes, or I will at least seek the willingness to do so. That will be enough to get me started on the path.

                                                       From Surviving Betrayal: Hope and Help for Women Whose Partners Have Been Unfaithful * 365 Daily Meditations by Alice May

Dr Janice Caudill is the founder and Clinical Director of McKinney Counseling & Recovery. MCR offers individual, couples, group therapy and 3-day intensives for partners of sex addicts and wounded hearts struggling with sex addiction, infidelity, love addiction or love avoidance, intimacy anorexia, or relational trauma in the McKinney, Plano, Allen, Richardson, Frisco, Prosper, Carrollton, Lewisville, Dallas and surrounding areas.

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition, does not create a client-therapist relationship, and is not a substitute for care by a trained professional. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors, omissions, losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.
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Partners of Sex Addicts: Why Do I Have to Recover If It Is His Addiction?

Close-up of female showing red broken paper heart

Why do I have to recover if it’s his addiction? This is a question I hear frequently from the partners of sex addicts I counsel. Once the shock of discovering a husband’s sex or porn addiction begins to wane, the partner typically starts the process of scouting her enemy. The partners I work with are often the most well read, well educated, and intelligent women about the facts of sex and porn addiction. Their brains can generally absorb the facts, although their hearts have more trouble understanding how those facts can be true for the man they thought they knew.

Regardless, they do their research and collect volumes of information. In doing so, they repeatedly run across the advice to seek and commit to consistent individual and group counseling for themselves – not just in the early days after discovery, or as they approach a professionally guided therapeutic disclosure, or when their husband begins to flounder in his recovery, but throughout the entire healing journey. For many partners who feel used and abused by the impact of their spouse’s sex addiction, hearing that they too need to seek help seems too much to take.

This is usually when I hear some version of, “It’s unfair. He is the one with the problem. It was his addiction that upended my whole world, stripped me of everything I thought I believed to be true about our relationship. Why do I have to work at recovery if it was his addiction that shattered my heart?

It is understandable that partners of sex addicts feel blamed at hearing that they too have recovery work to do or resentful that they have to sift through their pain when all they want to do is bury it. It’s even understandable for partners to feel as if, ‘he broke it so he should fix it.”

My answer to their question is a common sense one that goes something like this: the reason you need to seek help is because it’s your heart that is broken. The hurt is inside of you. No one else can fix something that is inside of you. That is an inside job so you are the only one who can heal your own heart!

Partners do not necessarily like my answer but they do eventually accept the truth of it. Ultimately they decide that they are worth whatever work it might take to restore their own spirit. So they settle in, surrender to the process and begin their healing journey.

If you are a partner of a sex or porn addict and struggling with the unfairness of your own need for recovery, for counseling, for connection with a community of support – just ask yourself if you are worth whatever work it takes.

Dr Janice Caudill is the founder and Clinical Director of McKinney Counseling & Recovery. MCR offers individual, couples, group therapy and 3-day intensives for partners of sex addicts and wounded hearts struggling with sex addiction, infidelity, love addiction or love avoidance, intimacy anorexia, or relational trauma in the McKinney, Plano, Allen, Richardson, Frisco, Prosper, Carrollton, Lewisville, Dallas and surrounding areas.

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition, does not create a client-therapist relationship, and is not a substitute for care by a trained professional. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors, omissions, losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.
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Partners of Sex Addicts & Infidelity Survivors: Are You Stuck in a Victim Stance?

one-up

The legacy of any trauma is a sense of victimhood. Whether from a car wreck, or a physical assault, or an unfaithful spouse or other betrayal that wasn’t discovered until long after the time of occurrence, in the moment of impact or moment of discovery, we are victims of trauma. Even memories of those events will elicit a painful resurgence of feelings. The memory, or trauma trigger, hijacks us from present awareness such that we feel re-victimized in that moment. We time travel and the past is experienced as the now.

I call ‘victimhood’ the legacy of trauma because the nature of unresolved trauma is that we can get trapped in the victim stance. Sometimes we get stuck in a one-down position and feel helpless, hopeless, or despairing. We may be frozen; we are either unable to comprehend what to do or have an understanding of the steps but are too paralyzed to carry them out.

Other times we get stuck in the one-up position. In relational or betrayal trauma, the one-up position can have different flavors, from an attitude of cool reserve toward the betrayer, to icy distance, to red-hot indignation. Regardless of the flavor, the underlying operating principle that drives the one-up stance is, “I can’t let myself get hurt like that again. ….I will never be vulnerable with you again!” The one-upper’s life mission becomes staying one-up at all costs because coming down off the perch to even ground opens the floodgates of fear.

Both the one-up and one-down positions are results of trauma. However, choosing to live at either location has serious repercussions that actually prevent the survivor from healing and transitioning from trauma survivor to thriver. This principle is often evident in infidelity survivors and partners of pornography and sex addicts.

Although some partners of sex addicts live in one of those extremes, most do some version of fluctuating, transitioning sometimes rapidly, from one-down to one-up with dizzying speed. Recovering couples often appear to be wrestling to see who can obtain and hold onto whichever location is most coveted at that moment. I see this relational dance so often I’ve labeled it as part of the relational trauma dance. Whether it’s the top dog or under dog position, couples waste an astonishing amount of recovery energy jockeying for position.

However, healing for each person as well as the relationship will involve restoring the capacity to intentionally move onto equal relational footing with their spouse. This requires tolerating a sense of vulnerability, which is a much more difficult task than one might think. Partners of sex addicts often feel as if they are living in a helpless position because, after discovering the magnitude of their spouse’s deception, they no longer know what to trust as real. Sometimes they will be deflated by this and spiral into a sense of helplessness, while at other times they firmly plant themselves in the one-up position by protecting themselves with a wall of righteous anger. They feel unsafe in moving from either the one-down or one-up position and have no trust in the sex addict’s words or behavior.

Since sex addiction is at core an intimacy disorder, the recovering sex addict often lacks the skills and/or willingness to move into emotional vulnerability – the very place he spent his addiction avoiding. The early phases of recovery are often characterized by episodes of avoiding, withholding, faking, or sabotaging vulnerable connection with the partner. In fact, it usually takes significant time in recovery for the addict to recognize that experiencing deep emotional fear because his back is against the wall is not the same thing as willingly sharing his vulnerabilities with his spouse. “I feel vulnerable because you discovered my betrayal” or, ‘I’m playing the compassion card to manipulate you into not leaving me” is not the same as, “I’m taking the risk to reveal my inner securities because I want you to know the real me.”

Partners will have difficulty assuming the vulnerable even-ground position because quite often that is where she thought she was when she was blindsided by betrayal – or perhaps more accurately, that is where she thought her spouse was when he blindsided her. Now, even-ground doesn’t seem emotionally safe, and may even be a trigger. How ironic that her healing requires restoring the capacity to assume a position that may feel the least safe. Lack of trust in her ability to accurately detect the danger in her own relationship complicates true willingness to move to even-ground. Yet this is exactly what healing will require of her.

To come down off the high ground or to climb up from the low ground and face the fear of meeting her recovering spouse on even footing will take not only courage, but the willingness to honestly evaluate the negative consequences of remaining in the one up or one down stance. It will take the awareness that in moving to the even-ground position she will not be trapped there regardless of her spouse’s actions, that she can easily return to a safer position at any time.

In learning to discern the difference between the voice of empty fears and her wise intuition, partners empower themselves. Fear tries to convince her that meeting her recovering addict on equal footing will inevitably lead to further victimization, while her wise intuition reminds her that she can’t truly assess the sincerity of his recovery until she knows how he responds when they are both on equal footing – that if she is unwilling to ever test a return to equal ground, she is allowing fear to dictate the quality of the rest of her life. That is not healing; that is a lifestyle of victimhood.

Ask yourself the following questions to determine your response to betrayal trauma:
• What are the ways you have felt one down in your relationship?  Are there times you have used the one down attitude to avoid dealing with difficult realities, punish your spouse, or to not take responsibility for your own healing?  What are the ways you have remained one down by declining opportunities to take healthy risks?

• What are the ways you have taken a one up position in your relationship?  What is the resulting impact of your spouse of being in the one-down position?  Does your spouse feel less than, devalued, controlled, or emotionally abused?  How does staying one-up prevent the vulnerability required for true intimacy?

Dr Janice Caudill is the founder and Clinical Director of McKinney Counseling & Recovery. MCR offers individual, couples, group therapy and 3-day intensives for partners of sex addicts and wounded hearts struggling with sex addiction, infidelity, love addiction or love avoidance, intimacy anorexia, or relational trauma in the McKinney, Plano, Allen, Richardson, Frisco, Prosper, Carrollton, Lewisville, Dallas and surrounding areas.

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition, does not create a client-therapist relationship, and is not a substitute for care by a trained professional. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors, omissions, losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.
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Surviving Betrayal: When The Pain Is Raw

beauty girl cry 

What do I do now? Where Do I turn? What am I supposed to feel?

When we first learn of our partner’s actions, we are so shocked or numbed or disbelieving that we hardly know how to behave. Asked what they wish someone had said to them when their circumstances were fresh, women had this to say:

“There is hope. You can survive this. It’s not an overnight thing, but hang on to that hope. That’s what people did say to me. And when I left my first meeting of our support group, it was the first time in months I’d really believed I could survive this.”

“It’s not a good idea to make decisions while you’re bleeding to death. Give yourself six months, and don’t make any decisions about your situation, unless you’re in danger. At first, most of us don’t know what we want, and we don’t have the strength to do it if we did.”

“Find someone who has been where you are and ask questions and listen. It’s a comfort just knowing we aren’t crazy, that our emotions are normal under the circumstances.”

“Cry. Throw things. Talk until you’re hoarse. Let your feelings out. I kept it all bottled up because I still thought it was important to look in control on the outside. It isn’t.”

We all want answers today, but sometimes the best help is in knowing that we aren’t unique in our circumstances or our feelings. There is com­fort in hearing from women who have survived. There is comfort in their experiences, in their strength, and in their hope.

Today I have more options than I realized. I can deal with my emotions openly, I can talk and listen to others, I can wait before making decisions. And I can have hope.

                                                                                             From Surviving Betrayal: Hope and Help for Women Whose Partners Have Been Unfaithful * 365 Daily Meditations by Alice May

Dr Janice Caudill is the founder and Clinical Director of McKinney Counseling & Recovery. MCR offers individual, couples, group therapy and 3-day intensives for partners of sex addicts and wounded hearts struggling with sex addiction, infidelity, love addiction or love avoidance, intimacy anorexia, or betrayal trauma in the McKinney, Plano, Allen, Richardson, Frisco, Prosper, Carrollton, Lewisville, Dallas and surrounding areas.

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition, does not create a client-therapist relationship, and is not a substitute for care by a trained professional. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors, omissions, losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.
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