Partners of Sex Addicts: PTSD – Sex Addiction Induced Trauma

Partners of Sex Addicts: Sex Addiction Induced Trauma

McKinney Counseling & Recovery specializes in individual, couples and group therapy for partners of sex addicts and intimacy anorexics in the McKinney, Plano, Allen, Frisco, Dallas and surrounding areas.

I recently came across an article in The National Psychologist by Dr. Omar Minwalla. Dr. Minwalla is a psychologist, clinical sexologist and clinical director of The Institute for Sexual Health (ISH), a treatment center in Los Angeles that specializes in rehabilitation and psychotherapy for sex and porn addiction. Importantly, ISH focuses on the healing needs of the addict as well as the spouse, and is one of the few sex addiction treatment programs that conducts research on the traumatic impact of sex addiction on the addict’s partner.

According to Dr. Minwalla, partners of sex addicts often experience Sex Addiction Induced Trauma (SAI-T). SAI-T is a specific type of  trauma that results from the direct impact of sex addiction, including the impact of the sex addict’s chronic pattern of sexual acting out, relational disturbance, emotional abuse, deception, betrayal, manipulation and compartmentalization.

According to Dr. Minwalla, partners of sex addicts often present to treatment with symptoms similar to rape trauma syndrome (RTS) and complex post-traumatic-stress disorder (C-PTSD). This includes a re-experiencing of the trauma, social and emotional constriction, frequent triggering and physiological and emotional reactivity, anxiety, emotional arousal and hyper-vigilance. Some partners experience fears of exposure to sexually transmitted disease or concerns for the safety of their children. Social isolation, shame, and disruption in the ability to trust their spouse, self, or others is common.  Psychological pain for partners of sex addicts is particularly intense upon new discovery of sexual acting out, deceit, or relationship betrayals.

Dr. Minwalla indicates that the traditional field of sex addiction treatment often ignores the partner’s trauma symptoms. In fact, few professionals are familiar with Sex Addiction Induced Trauma and, therefore, remain largely unresponsive to addressing the healing needs of the partner.

The co-addiction and codependency model of treatment that is frequently used by sex addiction treatment specialists is described as “inadequate, clinically contra-indicated and wrought with ethical and moral challenges.” In fact, Dr. Minwalla describes traditional therapy models that focus solely on co-addiction, while ignoring trauma, as potentially harmful and re-traumatizing .

As a psychologist who specializes in helping partners of sex addicts recover from sex addiction induced trauma, I wholeheartedly applaud Dr. Minwalla’s efforts and look forward to the day when the sex addiction treatment community heeds his call for  ”compassionate and responsible action” for partners of sex addicts.

Dr. Janice Caudill, founder and Clinical Director of McKinney Counseling & Recovery, is a psychologist who specializes in helping individuals and couples heal from sex and love addiction, intimacy anorexia and intimacy deprivation, and relational trauma. McKinney Counseling & Recovery serves the McKinney, Plano, Allen, Frisco, Carrollton, Lewisville and Dallas 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.

April 26th, 2011. Scared and alone. Would rather die than live this way.

I did not get much accomplished today at all… I made some phone calls to business owners and to my school to try and get some direction on which career path to pursue that will enable me to enjoy what I do.  I am scared to death right now because Erin and I just had a huge blow up, and I am embarrassed to even post this.  It is insanity for me to think that things have or will change.  She didn’t answer her phone today for over an hour while working and her story changed twice.  She told me she went to the bank and was there for a “half” hour.  Later she said that she just got some ten’s for her drawer… I hate to say it, but it does not take a “half hour” (quote) to get ten’s for her drawer, and that still doesn’t account for the other 45 minutes.  She told me lost her phone and called me from her work twice and I do not have a single call from her work on my phone.  She then told me didn’t call at “all” because she was “in a hurry” (quote), completely contradicting herself.  I texted and called her more times than I can even count and she did not respond once.

Erin does not go anywhere without her phone.  The other day she had me bring her pants to her work because her pants were splitting.  I did.  I stayed at her work out in the common area that day and did some coaching sessions.  I walked up to her booth to surprise her and there was a girl there who was acting really funny with her… I almost thought they knew each other or something… Erin gave the girl a discount and the girl said, “That’s so sweet of you…”  The girl then asked Erin for her name, and flirtatiously smiled and said “Thank you” and looked back at her while walking away… Erin looked at me and acted shocked and surprised.  I said, “What was that all about?”  She said, “I have no clue…”  Erin then fed me some line about how she told the girl to save her 20 cents etc. so she could get to the last two customers.  It’s a long story, and I don’t want to get stuck in the details, but I basically about broke up with Erin at this point because I had had and seen enough.

The simple fact remains I do not trust her, and I am living with this every day.  Some days are good, some days are bad.  I never know what to expect.  She is unpredictable and inconsistent and yet I cannot seem to walk away.  I feel trapped, especially now since I do not have a car.  I am in this crazy situation and too emotionally wrapped up to walk away.  I feel sick to my stomach.  Today I thought about how I’d rather be dead than live with this… today was probably the worst day I’ve experienced in a long time, and I haven’t thought these thoughts in a while.  I am usually a pretty optimistic person, and so it’s pretty bad when I experience this.

I feel like my life is once again (like last summer) spinning downward into a hole.  I am sitting here and reminiscing about the past and all of the “lovers” I have had that were deeply troubled and disturbed, ie:  Annie, Katey… and I am in shock at how things ever came to this.  I am seriously beginning to question and doubt myself and my own decisions.  I am afraid for my life and afraid I will never have “normal” relationships again.  I am afraid that the early relationship I had with my mother has ruined my life.  I am now, whether I like it or not, attracted to really screwed up people with a lot of psychological problems.  I am tired of the baggage and very afraid.  I do not know how to move on with my life and it’s eating away at my self-esteem…

This relationship has caused me to lose my mind.  I feel like all the life has been drained from me a long time ago and I am just a zombie… I have not felt safe with Erin, Annie, or Katey, as they all had some major psychological issues and addictions – sex and drugs.  I am wanting to pick up the pieces to my life and am sick.  I am so afraid that when I feel like this I want to honestly check myself into a hospital.  I have no one to reach out to me, no friends here… I am too afraid to get out and meet people… I have tried… I am a 30 minute subway ride away from the nearest college campus… without a car, which I don’t regret, but I am now limited to just my feet.

I would die twice right now to have an old close friend help me out, but unfortunately we’ve all gone our own ways, and I am on my own… people have given up on me because they’ve given up on themselves… and maybe I too have given up on my-self.  I do not feel supported, loved, or nurtured in any way.  I keep choosing partners who are not right for me and who are unavailable.  I do not expect them to make me happy I don’t think… I just want someone that shares similar values and interests.  I feel disconnected from God.  I am ready to die.

I felt connected in Vermont, but even then, I lost myself when I started dating Erin, and things haven’t been the same since.  She tore me apart and isolated me from friends and family.  She never supported my endeavors and was clearly jealous, ie: of me going into business for myself, etc., of me having friends, etc. — everything threatened her.  She pressured me — to move in with me, threatening if I didn’t she would “replace” me with someone else, etc., threatening this, that, etc.

I need help.

April 25th, 2011. Loneliness and tough times (insecurities).

As of April 22nd Erin and I have decided to get “involved” again.  This is probably the biggest mistake ever.  I am currently at Erin’s work because she told me to come and bring her clean pants since her’s ripped, and it’s an absolute nightmare.  A huge public area like this is a breeding ground for cheaters — an absolute playground.  I am angry at myself for trusting her.  The fact is, I don’t trust her; I am just being forgiving and naive again.  I am not in a good mood right now.  I am hot and miserable.  It is 85 degrees today, smoldering and sunny, and I am highly uncomfortable — physically and emotionally.  I have been watching people come and go at Erin’s workplace, and it’s honestly, as I said, a playground for a cheater.

I hate that she’s obsessed with work, and I hate that our line of work is so different.  I am angry at myself for ever coming to this stupid city.  I am feeling really negative right now.  I am angry that my more introverted, creative qualities are not appreciated, much less shared with any local like-minded people.  I am angry that I cannot find like-minded people here, and that I am just on the back-burner with Erin.  I don’t mean anything to her, and lets face it, we’re not “right” for each other no matter how hard we try.  I am so angry right now I could cry.  I think more than anything I am sad because of her experimental and unethical behavior.  I am angry at her for her tendencies and for her lack of commitment to overcoming her problems.

She continually says she’s not going to “hurt” me, etc., and I just feel like it’s a fucking time bomb I’m awaiting.  She has every opportunity at this highly public area to meet anyone she damn near chooses from any state, region, etc. and yet I am supposed to trust her?  You have to be kidding.  I am just a senseless joke to her.  I am really sad and angry and not happy right now.  Life just seems pointless.  I will be honest, I am not happy here and with my life right now.  I do not even know what’s going on with my lyme disease… my test results for babesia and bartonella from Quest came back negative… apparently though IGENIX thinks I have lyme.  I obviously have something because I am losing my freakin’ hair and my nails won’t grow anymore, etc.

My thyroid results are showing that there’s digression, and I am not sure why because I take the thyroid medication to make my thyroid think it’s working every day.  I weigh 120 lbs and am tired some day and others super energetic.  I do not know what’s going on.  My physical health issues are driving me nuts.  I am sick of everyone.  Sick of all of these people who do not care and all of this ignorance.  I feel so alone here and once again surrounded by people who do not care.  There are loud noises, pollution, yelling, Rick doesn’t want the air conditioners in, yet I received 3 phone calls today alone, excluding emails, from people saying they’re interested in an air condition I am selling for Rick because it’s hot enough for one!  The house smells, the bikes have to sit in the back yard and collect rust and fade and be wheeled through dog shit with huge flies on swarming on and around it that come inside the house right through our kitchen door.

I am just so tired of this shit, lack of quality, life and having to worry every day about Erin cheating, knotting up my shoulder muscles.  She doesn’t give a rat’s ass as she has her way in this public arena doing “whatever the hell she pleases” as she so beautifully puts it.  I would go on a dating site and look for another relationship, but I don’t even trust my ability to attract a sane person anymore.  I seem to have my ‘professional’ life together, but that’s about it — all my relationships seem to be dysfunctional and in shambles.  I am just not happy.  I was happier in Vermont, yet it was time for a change.  Now here I am, and I don’t know what to do.

I have looked into many options, ie: teaching in South Korea, etc. but what I want to do is coaching — full time, and I want to build my practice, but how can I do that in these conditions?  I feel trapped… I am lonely and sad and need support once again.  I don’t think I will ever step foot in Alanon again, as the program virtually keeps you dependent on the person you are trying to break away from, as they preach over and over, “Just ‘detach.'”  I am sorry, but I do not want to hear that and make my problem worse when I am going somewhere for help, health, and empowerment!

I am about to honestly just shut off from the world, and I can only imagine that’s not much healthier either… yet this whole situation just seems so hopeless… I can’t tell you how long it’s been since I’ve felt the fire and lived passionately.  —Vermont, before Erin, before Annie, before crazy fucked up Katey.  I think I was the happiest when I first moved to Vermont before Katey started getting involved with porn on Craigslist and when I lived alone and single for 5 months in the spring and summer of 2008.

None of it matters anymore.  I am alone.  There isn’t anyone to reach out to.  I cannot trust the very person I am close to, and Rick doesn’t do anything but control the house and everyone else.  He didn’t even awknowledge my birthday like my own mother who said she sent me a card and never did.  She sent me a card late after I had told her 3 times that I never received anything… the only person who awknowledged my damn birthday was Jen, my ex, and she’s flaky and unreliable… she can’t stay in one place for too long.  She’s always in and out…

Three words:  I am alone.