Presentation on theme: "Steps to Recovery for Partners of Sex Addicts"— Presentation transcript:
1 Steps to Recovery for Partners of Sex Addicts Mending a Shattered Heart & Facing HeartbreakIntroductions – Ask Audience what they would like to get out of this sessionLet audience know Tony and I will present tasks and performables, Mari will bring the material to light with a case example
2 Common Questions from Partners Will this get better? Is there hope?What is disclosure?How do I structure my boundaries?What do I tell the kids?Should I stay or should I go?What are the 12 steps and what can they do for me?Where do I get help?Is my husband a pedophile?Is my husband gay?
4 The course of recovery over time and the parallel path of the partner
5 The Six Stage Model Defined for Partners Stages are fluid and often overlapNo specific time periods for each stageSimilar to addict stages
6 Stages of Recovery for the Partner The Developing Stage (Pre-Discovery)CrisisShockGrief (Ambivalence)RepairGrowth
7 THE COURSE OF RECOVERY OVER TIME DEVELOPING STAGE(Pre-discovery)CRISIS/ Decision/ Information GatheringSHOCK STAGEGRIEF STAGEREPAIR STAGEGROWTH STAGE
8 THE DEVELOPING STAGEPrior to learning partners behavior is an addictionCan last months or more commonly years.Partners either knew of the behavior or were completely “in the dark” re: illicit sexual behaviorsIf a partner knew of behaviors, often would minimize, deny, blame themselves or join in the sexual escapades of the addict
9 The Developing Stage Believe tall tales. Tolerate, normalize unacceptable behavior from the addict (verbal abuse, dependency, unavailability, mood swings, etc.).Self- doubt (second-guessing, not trusting gut feelings).Seek couples therapy to treat the relationship.Unmanageability.
10 Crisis Stage Façade of addict has been exposed. Catalytic event that causes partner to confront reality of the addictionInformation-seeking at its highestTake action/ making decisions (e.g. sending to treatment, joining a 12-step group, read literature pertaining to sexual addiction, separation, file for divorce, seek informationEmotional turmoil
11 Typical Path of Disclosure Deny everythingDisclose what you think you can get away withDisclose a bit moreGet confronted as more things come outDisclose all(REPEAT!)
12 Shock StageFeelings and emotions occur as a result of the initial discovery/disclosure of the addictionEmotional numbness or avoidanceFeeling victimized/ traumatizedSuspiciousFear about slips, futureFeelings of despairAnger (hostility, self-righteousness, blame, criticism)Ruminating/ DistrustDesire accountability/ disclosure from addict
13 Shock Stage Continued Partner Disclosure of ALL previously concealed behavior is desiredReasons cited:To make sense of the pastTo validate their suspicionsTo gain a sense of controlTo assess their risk of STD exposureTo assess their partner’s relationship commitment
14 Grief and Ambivalence Grieving losses. Feelings of depression. Ambivalence about the relationship.Increased introspection and focus on the self.Less focus on the addicts behavior.
15 Repair Stage Introspection. Decision-making stage about the relationship.Deeper insight into possible co-dependency issues.Family of origin themes examined and integrated.Prior losses more fully grieved.Increased strength and coping skills.Boundary setting.Emotional stability.
16 Growth Stage Decreased feelings of being victimized by the addiction. Focus on issues not directly related to the addiction.Awareness of your role in the dysfunction of the relationship increases.Acknowledgement of gifts the addiction has brought to your life.
17 STAGE MIX IN RECOVERY Crisis/Decision Developing Shock Crisis/Decision GrowthDevelopingRepairShockGriefCrisis/DecisionDevelopingRepairGriefShockGrowth3. Fifth YearCrisis/DecisionShockDevelopingRepairGriefGrowth2. Third Year1. Early First Year
19 Trauma model for partners Research shows partners experience PTSD symptoms and symptoms of acute stress disorder post disclosure (Steffens and Rennie, 2006)Sexual Trauma Model (Minwalla, Chapter 6 Mending)More practitioners acknowledging partner’s experience as trauma
20 Trauma Model for Partners “Relational Trauma” triggers a multitude of trauma responses:Emotional TurmoilFear that manifests as protective behaviorsObsessing about the traumaAvoidance of thinking about or discussing the traumaIntrusive thinking about the addiction or acting out behaviorsSleeplessness/ nightmares
21 The Level of Trauma is influence by… Amount of deceptionLength of time of deceptionGaslighting/ covert emotional abuseType of acting out/ offending behaviorExposure to the acting outPublic EmbarrassmentImpact on the childrenImpact on finances
22 Developing Therapeutic Alliance with the Partner Validate TraumaTypical “Joining” strategiesAllow for narrating of story and painEmphasize the importance of their own therapeutic processBoundary workChallenge cautiously – do deeper, more introspective work, after initial trauma symptoms have decreasedAbandonment, FOO issues, past traumas
23 Traditional Codependency Model Approximately 50% of partners self-identify as “co-dependent”Many partners will not want to be “labeled”, especially initially.As therapeutic alliance grows may be able to challenge them moreCouples nicely with addict’s 12 step work – partner “works their own program”
24 Characteristics of Co-Addiction/ Co-dependency DenialPreoccupationEnablingRescuingTaking excessive responsibilityEmotional turmoilEfforts to ControlCompromise of selfAngerSexual issues
25 Criticisms Trauma Model Codependency Model Addict is “sick” and partner is “healthy”Does not challenge partner to get out of “victim” stanceDoes not challenge partner to take responsibility for their own behaviorsCodependency ModelDeveloped in Patriarchical Addiction culturePathologizes family membersTraumatizing to partners – when they feel misunderstood
26 Influence on Partner Sexuality Relational Sexual DifficultiesSexual AversionSexual ShameBody Image IssuesSexual SecretsObligatory SexBroken Trustto take PSS
27 Support for Partners Therapy Trauma work Task Centered TherapyTrauma workGroup support (facilitated group therapy)NormalizesDecreases ShameTwelve Step SupportSpiritual SupportFamily/ Couples work when appropriateBibliotherapy
31 The Seven Tasks for Partners Cope with the Trauma of Discovery/DisclosureManage the CrisisDevelop a Plan for Support and Self-CareUnderstand the Nature of AddictionDeal with the Emotional AftershockCommunicate Effectively about the AddictionCreate a Recovery Plan
32 Task 1: Cope with the trauma of discovery/ disclosure Recognize the TraumaLearn About the Toxic Dance of the Staggered DisclosureToxic Flow: The STEPS of Staggered DisclosureIdentify Lies and MisinformationIdentify Level of TraumaRecognize the Difference Between Big (Big T) and Small (Small T) Traumas in your LifeRecognize Trauma SymptomsLearn to Tell Your Story of What Happened
34 Task 2: Manage the crisis Establish SafetyCreate a Safety ShieldSet Non-Negotiable BoundariesSet Healthy Emotional BoundariesSet Healthy Physical and Sexual BoundariesSet Healthy Boundaries for People, Places and ThingsDevelop a Communication PlanStef 13
35 Mari cover safety sheild – through slide 17 - 22
38 Task 3: Develop a plan for support and self care Establish a Support SystemBuild your Support NetworkFind a TherapistLearn About Group TherapyGet Involved in a Twelve Step CommunityCreate a Self-Care PlanFind Other Methods of Self-CarePractice a Relaxation TechniqueLearn to SootheTony
39 Task 4: Understand the nature of addiction Learn key concepts about addiction in generalLearn about Sex AddictionLearn about Addiction and the BrainRecognize Current Beliefs About AddictionUnderstand the Concept of Cross AddictionUnderstand Criteria for Addictive IllnessLearn Risk Factors of Addiction
40 Task 5: Deal with the emotional aftershock Identify your EmotionsIdentify your LossesDeal with GrievancesManage your PainCope with your AngerDeal with the Shame and GuiltCope with Feelings of Numbness and Efforts to DistractDeal with ConfusionFind HopeStef
44 Task 6: Communicate effectively about the addiction Write a Partner Impact LetterIdentify Your Communication StyleExplore Communication Roles and the Karpman TriangleCreate a Communication ToolboxWrite a Letter to Sex AddictionIdentify Toxic Ineffective Communication Strategies and Coping BehaviorsIdentify Hot Topics in about Sex Addiction in Your Relationship
45 Tony 36 – 38 Tony goes through impact letter in detail here
47 Task 7: Create a recovery plan Personal Craziness IndexComplete Forgiveness ExerciseComplete Forge Ahead ExerciseComplete a Sexuality SurveyUnderstand Partner’s Impact on Your SexualityCreate Sexual AffirmationsIdentify Negative Beliefs About Your Body and Your SexualityFind Alternative Reactions to Destructive BehaviorsStef