When most people think about sexual compulsivity/addiction, they think about the ways in which someone is being compulsive outside of his or her primary relationship. And for many sex addicts, this is the way that compulsive sexual behaviors manifest. However, some sex addicts are compulsive with sex inside their relationship, seeing their partner as another source of the sexual high and the emotional escape provided by that high.
This week we are going to look at the sexual injury created by sexual betrayal. We are going to break the silence around this issue. My hope is that this series of blog posts will empower you to begin talking about this issue—to your therapist, to your support group, and to others in your situation.
What is the least addressed topic when dealing with sexual betrayal? The topic that is often left completely out of couple’s therapy? The topic that often gets almost no focus in addiction treatment? The topic that betrayed partners can hardly find a book or article about? You got it. It’s sex.
Today, I want to give you a little present, to help you get through this Valentine’s day, whatever your situation and wherever you are in the process.
Joy is one of the most difficult feelings for us to allow ourselves to feel, because it automatically makes us incredibly vulnerable. When we allow our hearts to fill with the indescribable feeling of joy, we become vulnerable to the possibility of it being taken away, our hearts being crushed, and our hopes dashed on the hard ground of despair.
I often have partners who come to see me ask within the first session or two, “How will I ever trust my cheating spouse again?” My answer to them is that this is not the best question to be asking. The better question to ask is, “How will I rebuild trust with myself? How will I learn to trust my gut and know what I know?”
This week we are going to look at what happens to betrayed partners when they are lied to and manipulated chronically over time in order to keep secret behavior hidden.
There are four primary types of gaslighting behaviors: the straight-up lie, reality manipulation, scapegoating and coercion. Last week we looked at the straight-up lie and reality manipulation. This week we are going to focus on scapegoating and coercion.
Many of you have contacted me to ask, “What were the four types of gaslighting?” So, to answer your question, I’ve decided to write a series of posts where I will define gaslighting and unpack the four types.