I received this heartbreaking story in my e-mail today. It is the classic example of how Partners are scammed and abused not only by their SAs, but by the therapeutic community as well. This needs to stop! ~ JoAnn
This month will make one year since I discovered my husband’s sex addiction. Since then he’s been through inpatient for sex addiction treatment, goes to meetings, has a sponsor, does therapy.
I however, have dropped out of therapy because I consider it to be feeding the narcissistic monster! I’ve come to feel that traditional SA therapy babies the addict.
He’s been taught that “he is not his addiction”, which in my opinion is a cop out on taking responsibility. How can one be sorry for something one doesn’t have ownership of? In short, I had more hope a year ago after I discovered everything than I do a year later.
My SA is more arrogant and now self righteous than ever! His therapist has withheld “full disclosure” because I’m not in therapy myself!
A year later, I’m still not sure what I’m dealing with! It’s all so insane and unhealthy. Yesterday, my SA accused me of being abusive and manipulative…& accused me of being “just as guilty” for our marital issues as he is.
Really? Our marital issue ALL stem from his chronic lying, manipulation and cheating. How can a person in therapy and so called “recovery” say this a year into their “treatment”. And what’s worse is that there’s a whole army of therapists and support groups out there that share this addict-centered, poor broken baby, mentality!
My SA’s focus is utterly on himself, there’s no empathy or responsibility taking for the destruction he’s brought upon me… It’s all about him and “relieving” him of his toxic shame? Has anyone else had this experience?
I’m guessing his therapist is also a sex addict.
Probably, especially if the therapist is a CSAT (Certified Sex Addiction Therapist). I tackle that issue on the Sisterhood site. You can read it here:
Your experience is completely consistent with what happened when my ex started treatment for sex addiction. He become overtly aggressive and abusive, and his treatment program and therapists enabled him. if I tried to say anything, I was told that I was trying to sabotage his treatment and accused of being critical, controlling, holding on to the past, etc. Meanwhile, he just needed to find his voice. Even when I showed them proof several times that he was completely lying to them, it had absolutely no impact in how I was treated.
I’m so sorry for what you are going through. It breaks my heart when I see more women going through the hell I went through. Dealing with the sex addiction is hard enough without the therapeutic community piling on. Please know that you are not alone, and none of this is your fault.
Yes, I think most of us have experienced this. My MC even went so far as to say I was sicker than him…based on the aa/alanon model. We tiptoed around his shame.
I divorced him because he did not truly show empathy or remorse. He knew all the right things to say, but my gut said he didn’t mean them. It was only a matter of time until he was up to no good again.
Sometimes I think the therapeutic community makes things so much worse. Maybe due to the fact that SA is not really an addiction, but a personality disorder. They insist on treating it with twelve steps. The bottom line is no amount of therapy can fix his problems.
Ladies, thank you. I was so enthusiastically on board with his getting specific, professional treatment. Now I feel this treatment has fed his narcissism in ways I could not have imagined. He clings to every single word his therapist, sponsor or “peers” spew in their almighty wisdom. My input is “tolerated”, not considered. He and his peers from his support group give each other advice (when they’re not supposed to) and behave like therapists (not that his actual therapist is any better). I’ve never seen any type of addiction treatment where the addict (in this case I call my SA an ABUSER) is coddled, protected and excused as much as traditional CSAT treatment. Its insane. ITS ALL ABOUT RELIEVING HIM OF HIS TOXIC SHAME. If I call any of this out I am immediately labeled as “controlling”. His therapist told me in early sessions that “every human being is worthy of dignity and respect. BULLSHIT. RESPECT AND TRUST ARE EARNED NOT GIVEN. SAs are TAKERS. My husband has received my support and chance after chance and now he wants MORE?!?!? If I curse or yell I’m labeled “abusive.” And I will confess here that I have slapped him out of sheer rage …but mostly out of sheer feelings of helplessness and feeling ATTACKED. Of course, now I am “a domestic abuser” according to my husband. The 10 years of emotional, sexual and psychological abuse he’s subjected me to is…..WHAT? We are stuck in a place where he DEMANDS I treat him with dignity and respect. REALLY? The more he demands the less respect he’ll get from me. The ENTITLEMENT is mind-blowing. HEALTH PROVIDERS agree to do no harm. It is beyond my capabilities to comprehend how any CSAT can allow his client to go a year without disclosing or making amends and to place that ON ME for choosing not to be in treatment? I consider this negligent and have wondered if there are legal avenues to be taken? At any rate I’m sure I would be labeled as a crazy co-addict. All I ever hoped for was to see my husbands many masks fall off and maybe have a shot at getting to know the real him. Sadly, he is comfy in the narcissistic blankets his support network has provided him. I can only make the decision to no longer be by his side. This is madness.
Yes sweetie, we all experienced the same abuse by the so called therapists (CSATS). As someone above mentioned, the CSAT is most probably a sex addict too. They cannot “recover” without you to blame. It’s terribly strange that my husband was doing these things before he ever met me but it’s still all my fault?
The self righteousness exhibited is harder to take than screwing hookers IMO. Get yourself a good trauma therapist and a good attorney. Good luck to you!
I agree Bev. I can honestly deal with the screwing hookers…but the smugness and entitlement, the TOTAL LACK OF EMPATHY OR GENUINE REMORSE and unwillingness to BE HUMBLE OR VULNERABLE IS harder to accept than anything else….
Thanks for mentioning the SA entitled arrogance. Insufferaable blame shifting cowards.Drives me into a very foul mood.
As one betrayed sister told me about my husband, “He is not in recovery.” It doesn’t sound like yours is either. It is absolutely unbelievable how shameless these therapists, groups and our betraying husbands are. The trauma from our husband’s betrayal, topped with those of supposedly professional people and groups is more than one should have to endure. These men are dangerous! Where is our support? I have refused to do anymore marriage counseling because I can’t tolerate the tag-team, two on one approach. How did we become the bad guys? We were betrayed sexually, lied to and deceived. It is not logical. As one amazing betrayed woman (Bev) always says, “They are not normal.” She means the betraying husbands, but I know we could all include the anemic recovery system as well. Best to you.
Every one of these comments is spot on!
I made my discovery almost a year ago, my partner, since I no longer can call him a husband since a husband would not do this to a woman, had gone so far as brining hookers into my home while I was away on holiday.
The trauma, triggers, pain, and anger has been overbearing at times.
I have been seeing a therapist since the beginning , I have also joined Alanon since there is not posa groups near me.
He has stopped his therapy and also has never come to a full disclosure and when I asked his therapist about it he said I like to take softer approach with my clients and find out the true root of the problems first..Really!!!
I totally agree with all the comments here.
I have had enough and want out with my 2 small children, but because of his self centered ways and narcissism I have no idea how to proceed without getting totally screwed over by him!
What type of sexual addiction therapist should my husband look for? The only type he’s found in our area are either CSAT certified or they list sexual addiction as one of many other problems they treat. How do you weed out the helpful from the harmful? Also, why do you say that most CSAT therapists are sex addicts or former sex addicts themselves? By the way, I’m seeing a wonderful therapist who specializes in DBT but he is helping me find someone who can treat my trauma/PTSD since that’s not his specialty. He was very understanding of my needs once I discovered and showed him Dr. Minwalla’s articles and he validated my feelings of being traumatized by my husband. Thanks!
Interesting topic. I discovered my ex-husband’s double life in summer of 2003. Found out in the middle of marriage counseling with a ‘Christian counselor’ that he too, had been a porn addict for 8 yrs. and his wife of 23 yrs. had left him for another man, divorced him, and remarried. That man had NO business counseling us as a couple when he was in the midst of his OWN divorce! I felt betrayed all over again. What a waste of our time and money! I saw on the internet that he has passed away in recent years and actually felt relieved that he won’t be around to ‘help’ other wives stay with the unrecovered sex addict. Mine only went to counseling and cared about his recovery while I was with him. Now that I have left and he is remarried he ‘doesn’t do that stuff’ anymore. I only regret not getting out of the abusive situation sooner. Now it appears, since getting validation that his sex addiction was indeed domestic abuse, that I am going through ‘delayed grieving’. This is all so very difficult to sort through over 10 yrs. later…
Whew! I’m glad it isn’t just me! I went to an s-anon group last night and they just happened to be talking about step #4. The words “defect” and “controlling” kept coming up in reference to the partner of the sex addict. This language that is meant to control the victim and deflect blame. I felt like I was being manipulated. The fact that I came to my marriage with issues (who doesn’t) does not excuse my partner from his actions. Thank God he feels the same way-it’s the only reason we are still together.
Toward the end of the meeting someone asked about “chips”. They have them for this program just as they do for AA. The only “chip” I would have would be my husband’s freeze dried left nut dipped in silver and attached to my James Avery charm bracelet if he ever puts me and his family in danger again. *Feel free to edit.
Thanks for the much needed cathartic belly laugh re: “chips”.
I can’t say how wonderful it is to have found this site. Thanks Joann for spearheading this much needed website. I was married 22 years & am soon to be divorced. I discovered my husband’s porn problem 17 years into our marriage. He traveled frequently for work & it made it difficult to catch on. He assaulted me & sadly I covered up the incident thus enabling him. A year later I connected the dots on how the porn had led to the incident. After picking up books by Patrick Carnes & understanding what I was dealing with, I actually forgave this heinous act. I gave him a chance to address his problem but he never followed through. After reading all the comments here I feel blessed that he walked away. I loved our precious family & would’ve walked through the fire for recovery but he still continued the denial. It seems like most of these men use their childhood trauma as an excuse to hold on to this behavior. It’s difficult to have love & compassion for a person that doesn’t even try to get well & constantly deflects the problems on to their spouse. We have a teen daughter & I’m hoping that he will keep away from her. It seems difficult to get the courts do understand how dangerous an untreated sex addiction can be for a teenager. He has to be evaluated by a CSAT & I’m hoping he doesn’t get visitation without supervision. I must say that as much as I cared for our family, I’m glad to be rid of the madness. I still pray for him but it’s too true that years of therapy & 12 steps can’t change a person unless they are ready to change. I don’t wish him ill will but this man took away my hopes for a happy marriage. I was trying to live a normal life in the midst of an addiction that I never knew existed until 17 years into it. SAs are sneaky, deceitful & masters at manipulation. I questioned my sanity so many times & the crazy making behaviors are beyond words. I always had a career & was independent so a blessing was that I’ll be financially secure. He actually said to me that it would be easier to start over! I shudder to think that another unsuspecting soul could fall into this wicked trap. I feel sad for his out of control compulsions & I have no doubt that he’ll spiral off the Internet porn & go further with his behaviors. Does anyone know what rock bottom is for these men? It seems to me that very few of them change & it’s tragic they ruin so many lives. Anyhow knowledge is power & this site has been helpful in my ongoing recovery.
To come back to this fellowship and family is so comforting, and to read all the posts here reminds me how not alone I sometimes think that I am. “M”, my ex-partner, was so very sweet and loving for years before he fell into this twisted disease. But his disease, to me, is very much like Steven Spielberg’s interpretation of “War of the Worlds”. The martians don’t come from outer space to attack. Rather, they shoot lightning bolts down from space to wake up the attack machines that have been buried deep in the ground for eons. M’s disease was buried, and the lightning bolts were external life and career issues that devastated him and thus woke up his dormant disease and disorder. Over a year later, I still have yet to hear any sincere remorse from him. When I told him how shocked I was to see his online profile on the sex site, I was told that I should not have “looked in the first place”. I told him how shocking it was to see pictures of his body parts on the site, but I was told “But you can’t see my face”. I asked him if he considered how it must have felt for me to know he had not stopped the behavior even AFTER I made discovery. His reply to me was, “But if I had stopped the behavior there might have been consequences to my mental health”. He also reminded me that we are “both sexual people”, as if that has anything to do with an exensive and excessive ritual wherein he lured strange men to his sex site and then had cybersex with them in our livingroom, on his laptop, using my office monitor. It is so sick and so sad, but here on Joann’s blessed site I can let this all out and know that each of you, as individuals and as a group, understand. Here I am reminded that this would have happened whether I was in M’s life or not. Here I am reminded that I did the RIGHT thing by accepting that I had no other choice but to leave him at the altar, so to speak, and give him over to God. The cat we once shared is next to my feet on the couch as I write this. Out there in the world, M is navigating himself through his life without me. So be it. I find it hard sometimes to emotionally move on, especially at holidays or when I am physically ill, with a cold or flu. That is when he took such good care of me, as I did for him. I felt a sense of family with him I had never felt with anyone. But this was just too much, for him to not have been able to stop after I made discovery, and with no remorse, no real sympathy or sorrow for what I felt when I saw what I did, and discovered what I did. I simply have got to keep moving on, and all of you here reading this help me take it one step at a time. -“D”
I know how you feel D. as they all have some wonderful traits. Tragically no amount of intense therapy or 12 steps seem to be enough as their personalities are set early in life. I’m just now learning a lot about this condition & the underlying narcissitic, OCD & Bordeline personality traits that often accompany these sex addictions. I thought he was my soul mate & I even sent him a book on the levels of intimacy which had a section on addiction & the loneliness of those afflicted with it, They are intimacy disabled & I did everything I could to try & be there for him & show him that his core addictive beliefs weren’t true. I lived with this disorder 17 years before I realized what was happening. I was young & naive. He passed it off as just porn & I was too busy working, child rearing & living life until it exploded in our faces with his sexual assaulting me. It was after that incident when I went looking for answers.know how you feel as when I found out it was like a semi running through a stained glass window. I chose to see him as an abused little boy in spite of what he did but he never did seek treatment. In the end when he was out of every cognitive distortion that addicts use, he divorced me. Although I am deeply saddened at the loss of the family that I worked so hard to build, I did walk away financially secure. I’ve turned him over to God. I know the condition is manageable & he’ll never really be cured but I hope that one day he experiences the true joy of waking in the light. I believe we have strong women on this site who will survive through the storm & emerge on the other side. We may be bruised & battered from the effects of living in a sex addiction but at least we are not afflicted with this lifetime of a miserable condition.. I still alternate between anger & compassion. I still play the what if game in my head as in what if I had done this or that and would things be different if I knew sooner etc. but I remind myself that people change when they WANT to change. So none of us could’ve changed our SAs & if they are no longer in our lives then it’s because it was part of a destiny for us to take a different path. I did find a website the other day that said Depo Provera shots bring down testosterone levels in men & reduce sexually intrusive thoughts which lead to compulsive behaviors. Now there’s one thing I didn’t know. I could’ve been injecting him with birth control medicine intended for women……….
If the 12-step program does not work, what will work? This group may be right to point out the flaws of the 12-step but what is a better alternative? Do shaming and degrading the SAs really work? The way I see it the only thing that may potentially work is to help make infidelity illegal – Lock these deceitful guys up and cut off all their opportunities of acting out as a punishment, give it a year or however long it takes for them to truly be in recovery. Don’t get me wrong, the guys that prefer to stay SAs can certainly be that, it is when they enter into a committed relationship under lies and deceit that is intolerable. The modern society and legal system (sex addiction acting out has been largely made legal and unpunished by men) have greatly victimized and done so much disservice to women, it is time to go back to the basics of human decency and think about how love and relationships in our society got to such an unhealthy and uncontrollable state because of questionable moral values and legal systems.
God bless you Cat, I have said the exact same thing, to make it illegal to cheat. The laws changed in the 70’s that people could divorce for any reason “no fault divorce”.
You’re codependent (like you somehow shouldn’t be in a marriage?) but you should stay and be supportive… that’s insanity, cognitive dissonance.
I am currently in denial. I don’t want to leave my SA. He is a liar. I know it. He told me he had stopped all former activity but I caught him again. I don’t want let his SA break up my family.
It already has.
I read your story and I empathize with what you are going through. I am presently married to a sex addict, and have been for 12 years. I am so disappointed in the therapy community and how they treat the addict as well as us as spouses. It is so incredibly disheartening. I want to become a counselor specializing in helping “victims” of sex addicts. It is such a painful thing for us as partners. My husband has always been self centered, degrades me in front of our children, focuses on only himself, and shames me for wanting to leave. Any negative emotions I have demonstrated as a result of his cybersex/porn addiction, he has used against me and actually labeled me as “not being in true recovery” like him because of them. Many therapists jump to labeling the partner as a “coaddict” or “codependent” because of the emotions we demonstrate and our grief response. They immediately feel you are trying to “control” the addict, when the reality is, you need a safe place and you crave safety. You, as every other normal person does, want to trust the person you are married to or in a relationship with, and you have a right to know the truth and find out if you are being lied to. I feel that therapy for a year for my husband has resulted in feeding the narcissist in him and has made him more egotistical and blaming me, all while he claims that I cannot shame or blame him. It is a horrendous cycle, one that is truly heartbreaking.
Mine is fairly new Earth Day, 2015, we have been married for about 13 years and it’s his third time being caught either chatting, porn and the latest response to a bj from another man. Yet, he just wants to see us walking and holding hands when we are 80, seriously? Had him in two of my therapy sessions, the last of which he was asked to leave for saying something inappropriate regarding my ptsd. We have a 10 year old so it’s been interesting seeing how he is acting (like nothing is going on) and I’m on the toilet wretching because I cannot stomach this anymore and the amount of betrayal has taken life out of me, with no empathy on his part. At least I’m going away for a month with my girl. Thanks for all the posts, it’s really good to hear what other people go through and you never know what you may write may help someone else so much. Heal on!
I made discovery in 2008. My husband went to a therapist who recommended a seminar put on by a CSAT that made me feel similar to what you all are describing. While I didn’t feel that I was being blamed for my spouse’s SA, I did get the feeling that the person running the seminar was dismissive of the spouses needs and basically showed a lack of empathy all around. The leader of this group was a self-professed “recovered” SA. It was ridiculous, but it was meant as a couples workshop that only lasted a few weeks. I did learn a lot about addicts but probably not the lessons they wanted me to learn. I was more determined than ever to leave my husband after which was not my goal going in.
What I can tell you is that even though this therapist recommended the workshop, she did agree upon hearing our stories about it, that it was not the right sort of help we needed at that point (or ever). She also disclosed that she was the wife of a recovered SA so she was familiar with both sides of the coin- what goes on with the addict and what goes on with the spouse. My husband made great progress with her. I sought out another therapist for myself and we each worked on our own issues. Once a month we would meet with my husband’s therapist as a couple so that she could see how we were doing and to check up on progress. We are still together but we basically took the bull by the horns and if something didn’t feel right or make sense to us, we didn’t do it. For example, instead of waiting on the “approved ” method of disclosure: meeting at in a room with two therapists and the option of not going home with him after- we decided to just do it at our house together-no one else. He answered all of my questions, let me know exactly what was up and yes, it was painful, but I think it would have been worse with an audience.
I have to tell you that I got more out of the work I did with my therapist and the work that I did with my husband to rebuild our marriage and intimacy. But he had reached a point where he knew it was do the work or get out. There was no other choice.
But if you are looking for a therapist for your SA, I would definitely look for persons who are able to see both sets of needs. Ask about their personal history with SA or other addictions. Ask if they would accept occasional visits from the spouse to check on progress or what they can do to support recovery, etc. Ask what the consequences are of making different choices from their recommendations. (For example the CSAT would have “fired” us as clients if he knew how we did disclosure.)Sit down and think of all the things that are important for you to know or understand before you go to see a therapist. Write them down and take the list with you so you don’t forget. It’s a huge deal and it’s important to find the right person.
My husband got caught a few months ago exposing himself to another woman. He only told me about it because the woman is asking for money through a lawyer. I asked him to leave and I recently filed for divorce. He tells me he has changed. He’s in counseling with a sex addiction counselor and also attends SA meetings. Let me backtrack and say that many years ago I caught him in an affair with my best friend (and through her found out he had had 2 other affairs, which he admitted to). Because our boys were young, I took him back and we worked on our marriage. Well, with this latest incident it made me realize what I lie he was living and therefore made our marriage a sham. His counselor has him believing that his problems are due to him being adopted. He had very loving parents and they gave him everything he needed and a lot of things he wanted. This just makes no sense to me. I told him that sin is ALWAYS a choice. It may be very difficult but it is still a choice. We have been married 37 years. I’m scared about my future but I also feel so free. He is still in denial and is a control freak. Has anyone else dealt with a husband that exposes himself? It’s so embarassing to talk about. I see a counselor and have a few close friends that I can talk to about it.
Hi Becky. I hope you are doing good and found a balance in your freedom. Yes, my husband of 21 yrs just got caught a month ago exposing himself to women on cyber sex sites. I found naked pictures of himself specifically numerous poses of his enlarged penis. These pictures were taking in mid day while he “worked from home” in our bonus room located next to my son’s room who was at home at the time. Also, pictures of other naked women proposing him to: “Can you come see me tonight”? were also saved on his iPad. The repercurssion of his actions is extremely painful to me especially since I’ve tried so hard to regain trust in him after an affair that happened 3 yrs ago when he was cheating on me with a woman at work. As a result he got fired and the woman’s husband who reached out to me divorced her. Very deceitful, lying, mischievous situation. Only by the grace of God I found out the truth…who ultimately send me free. He’s always been involved in pornography on and off and forced his believe on me to accept it as “normal men behavior”. Never leaved with anyone else before. He’s my first long term relationship although my first boyfriend of 3 yrs prior to marrying my husband was a normal guy. The emotional roller coaster and the emotional abuse sometimes toped with physical abuse brought lots of dramatic and traumatic experience in my life. When my son was less then year old, mind you I’m an attractive, sexy shaped woman who always in shape, I came from work earlier one day and in full day found him naked masturbating to a very disgusting porno tape. At only 25yrs old concussion and hurt sinked in. My reaction was to take the tape out of the VCR, through at in his head and kicked him out. So he did…and we’re separated for 6 long months after he came back. I’m a professional woman who always made more $$$ then he did. Thought maybe this was the cause of his exposure or jealousy. His addiction gotten worse. He solicited prostitutes, women at work who fell for his charm, visited massage parlor and of course lately making our and meeting escort women o cyber/craiglist sites. I’m finally accepting the fact that he’s a narcisist, selfish man who only loves himself. Everything in our relationship is about him…without a feeling of regret, or empathy for my pain or our two children’s feelings. Forgot to mention the fact that when he got caught cheating 3 yrs ago I caught him in the act that’s why he couldn’t lie or fabricate anything else. At the time I was pregnant with our 3rd baby which I lost due to stress and trauma of the situation. So, to answer your question I was told he feels comfortable in his skin??? That’s the reason why he’s done that plus he entered a program to enlarge his penis using all kinds of creams, pumps, meds etc….very sick. In the process he can’t hold an erection for long. Constantly apologized for shortness of time maybe that’s why he tries to validate himself through the size of his organ because the distance from his heart to his head is inexistent.
In 1988 I caught my husband voyeuring/masturbating in a dark corner of the kitchen at 1:00 am in the morning. His target was my neighbor’s 17 year old daughter. This was after I found literally hundreds of dollars in phone bills for sex chat lines. i was pregnant with an 18 month old toddler. I wish I would have/could have ran back then. Instead I stayed and things got worse. Now he sends another neighbor unwanted lewd text messages and calls her at night. She and her husband will be pressing charges if he does it again. The whole thing has me sick to my stomach. I want to run as far as I can- as fast as I can- but now I’m a broken down mess of a woman. I can’t imagine playing the “I’m a recovering addict” games with him and SA philosophy. It just sounds exhausting and miserable.
Wow! I stumbled onto this website just now, and I’m relieved to know that I’m not the only person who has dealt with some of this craziness. I have been married over a little over a year. There are no children involved fortunately, but I currently do not have a job so I have felt trapped in this situation until I can find another job and reclaim my life. My spouse cheated on me prior to our marriage, but I thought it was a one time thing. We went to counseling, and moved past the incident and got married. Less than 4 months after we were married, I realized that our sex life was relatively non-existent (odd for a newlywed), and we also didn’t seem to be doing a lot of date nights or anything that we used to do prior to the marriage. I also noticed a fixation with him and his cell phone so one day I saw that he received a text from this woman who called him baby. I confronted him about it, and then because of my suspicions, I started to monitor anything I could including his Kindle. I eventually found out that he was participating in swinger parties, and was additionally seeing at least 2 married women at the same time. He was also having multiple conversations with various “friends” as well as his ex-wife. A few months later, I found condoms in his pocket and a Facebook page I knew nothing about. That page included over 400+ profiles of different women in various stages of undress or suggestive poses. I have also noticed that he is continuously adding “friends” to this page every month. I have no idea where he’s meeting these people, but my assumption is at swinger functions. I confronted him several times, and he denied it until I finally forced a confession out of him and I discovered that he was dating several people while we were together prior to our engagement and marriage. I cut him off sexually completely due to fear for my health as well as disgust at the situation. I have lost every ounce of trust I ever had for him, and truly just can’t look at him the same way. We went to a Christian counselor, and I experienced the same thing a lot of you are mentioning on here. She was treating him with kid gloves, and trying to make me feel as if I need to be his friend and love him in spite of what occurred. He never truly stopped what he was doing during this time; he just found better ways to hide his actions. I told her everything that was going on, but she continuously found excuses for me to stay the course even though this entire situation has started to make me feel like a complete lunatic. The trauma and continuous hurt are not something I can take into my future. I never told him I knew about the Facebook profile so as a result, he still continues to add people and make comments on random girls pages. I’m positive that he is seeing and sleeping with others, and especially since I’m definitely not sleeping with him at all now. In addition to his apparent addiction, he also has PTSD issues from childhood and his military service so he is now starting the process to see a psychologist. The combination of all of these issues have taken a tremendous toll on me and my physical and mental health. I’m trying to find a group that I can join so that I can get some type of relief from this situation because stress kills, and it’s not worth it to live like this while ignoring your own needs in the process. If I had known all of this information after the first time he cheated, I would have NEVER married him. I truly thought it was a one night drunken event for someone who would have never done that to me otherwise. Was I ever DEAD WRONG. I’m still in complete disbelief that he fooled everyone I know including me, my friends, co-workers, and family. Unbelievable, especially considering this is a second marriage for us both. A waste! I’m trying to get to a peaceful place to handle this while I get myself in order to remove myself from this marriage. I wasn’t sure if he had an addiction because I assumed that if he was an addict then I wouldn’t have been left alone, but I guess I’m wrong about that too! Too crazy for me to comprehend.
It is still hard for me to understand why the “deck” is stacked against spouses in such a formidable way. I watched a youtube video today with John Gottman, who said that healing from an affair involved couples therapy and -wait for it- individual sessions with the cheating spouse to help them “grieve the loss of the affair partner.” Peter Levine, who is a renowned trauma expert, is a Fellow at the Meadows…also where toxic Claudia Black works as well as Patrick Carnes. I would have expected more from Dr Levine.
My husband’s therapist has taught him that he is addicted to shame, and that I am addicted to shaming him because of my traumatic childhood…and that this is NEUROSCIENCE (in fact it is not neuroscience). So I cannot say ANYTHING at all without being attacked viciously. Omar MInwalla is not doing partner programmes now and AAPSATS has a bunch of sex addicts running the show. Why is the deck so stacked against the spouse? I am asking seriously. How is this outrageous behaviour allowed to proliferate in this day and age. Why are spouses so marginalized? Why does the industry collude to take a broken person and stomp their head into the ground? How do they get away with it? How can it be stopped?
I found this online today- explaining the blame the victim mentality of therapists :
“In the 1890s, when Freud was in the dawn of his career, he was struck by how many of his female patients were revealing childhood incest victimization to him. Freud concluded that child sexual abuse was one of the major causes of emotional disturbances in adult women and wrote a brilliant and humane paper called “The Aetiology of Hysteria.” However, rather than receiving acclaim from his colleagues for his ground-breaking insights, Freud met with scorn. He was ridiculed for believing that men of excellent reputation (most of his patients came from upstanding homes) could be perpetrators of incest.
Within a few years, Freud buckled under this heavy pressure and recanted his conclusions. In their place he proposed the “Oedipus complex,” which became the foundation of modern psychology. According to this theory any young girl actually desires sexual contact with her father, because she wants to compete with her mother to be the most special person in his life. Freud used this construct to conclude that the episodes of incestuous abuse his clients had revealed to him had never taken place; they were simply fantasies of events the women had wished for when they were children and that the women had come to believe were real. This construct started a hundred-year history in the mental health field of blaming victims for the abuse perpetrated on them and outright discrediting of women’s and children’s reports of mistreatment by men.”
? Lundy Bancroft, Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men
I, too, fully attribute my recent separation with my partner to the CSAT model of recovery. It was in Feb 2013 while using his computer that I discovered porn. I typed in a couple of letters in the address field and a porn site appeared. He was sitting with me and I asked him about right away…big mistake as I should have instead went directly to his history. He lied, of course, forwarded a birthday greeting email from a friend which he altered to include a porn link and said he simply looked that one time out of curiosity. I was pissed but believed him. Then June that same year, I looked in his briefcase for the Internet stick and found a cheap second cell phone with phone numbers to escorts. I woke him and completely lost it on him. He confessed a fraction of his acting out, said it started a little over 2 years ago, midlife crisis, etc. He said he would stop and again, I believed him. Still, I had a difficult time and sought therapy. Started with a regular therapist through my EAP which was a complete disaster and then on to a therapist that “specialized” in partner betrayal. I didn’t know anything about sex addiction at the time and guess what, to my misfortune, my new therapist was a CSAT candidate and when I told him about the 2 discoveries, he never suggested that my partner be assessed for SA. It wasn’t until months later after the biggest discovery, findings escort reviews of binges in German brothels which he tagged onto his business trips to the Middle East, that my therapist thought there may be a problem of SA. You think??? I saw him early in the morning before work after the latest discovery and he gave me the Stephanie Carnes workbook, but then called me asking me to return it because he didn’t want my partner to see it because there was no confirmed diagnosis. I refused to drive back. In hindsight, I see that it was about protecting my partner.
My partner said he would get help and at his request I asked my therapist for a referral. My partner starting seeing another CSAT candidate therapist and I started seeing another therapist for EMDR who also specialized in addictions, but refused to get CSAT certification. My partner has been sober since the last discovery but I started to experience rage attacks. My therapist is very well known in the addiction community, but his therapist insisted that I need to see a CSAT therapist and that I’m codependent and abusive.
We saw a couples therapist recommended by my therapist and she called him on his BS every single time which he soon got very frustrated with. We stopped and he insisted on a CSAT couples therapist. We went to 4 sessions and he had 5 group sessions and now we’ve separated because his thinking is now just as distorted as when he was active in his addiction. He constantly plays the victim card and whines about his shame and how I continue to shame him and how detrimental it is to his recovery. When he wasn’t forthcoming about plans to go the rock climbing gym on a Sat night, which by the way, I’ve never had an issue with, he was told by his group therapists and members that I was being controlling. Before he started this group, he always told me when he was going to ask his friend to rock climbing. They always planned days in advance as his friend has family responsibilities. This time, at dinner when I ask the usual, “do you have any errands to run tomorrow”, he tells me he’s going out in the evening. He didn’t deny that he had planned it in advance, but couldn’t get why I upset. When I brought it up with our couples therapist making clear that I had asked before that he be forthcoming as a means for restoring trust, she still said, “so, there’s an expectation that you spend the weekends together” and then later asked, “what’s your fear, that he going to act out again?” I went into total trauma mode and she did nothing. And this was actually the lesser concern that I brought up in this session!
At my therapist’s suggestion, I called her the next day. She was defensive and in the end said that this sometimes happens because SA’s learn to become more assertive through the group therapy. Unf***ingbelievable.
I have seen a lot of good come from the programme. But I have also seen addicts go from sex addiction to recovery addiction. And whats worse is its all justifiable. I mean why would I not want my husbands recovery to be of utmost impotance?My husband has been in recovery for a year and a half. He has turned into an amazing man. Really raised the standard on what men can be and how change is possible. He was recently given the position of the person with the final say on child discipline, as I am apparently too soft. It was a very unnerving feeling allowing him this power. He looked like a kid in a sweet store. Do I truly believe that because he is with this fantastic programme and working so hard that he is as incredible as I think he is? I started with a COSA group but left before I started the 12 steps. The women in the group didnt feel healthy. Like they were addicted to remaining victims. Something I will have to live with forever is no matter how great he is he will always be a sex addict in recovery. I don’t know if I can live with that forever. How amazing would it be to be with someone normal.
Ooooohh yeah, I hear you all. My husband moved out 6 weeks ago and I’ve been waiting to see who his next target is. I am sick of his excuses, justification, blame shifting, projection, triangulation and denial. These are all very real methods used by narcissistic sex addicts. I emailed the psych I tried to get to help my husband in 2012, “let me cut to the chase. He is a narcissistic sex addict who is incapable of empathy or respect,” know what he did? He showed the email to my husband. Nice. I feel for you. This is a neurological condition. They are shells of people who expect others to make them happy. Nothing will make them happy. They will roam this planet miserable for life. Move on. Onwards and upwards. Avail yourself to mutual love. Real intimacy. Hugs all…
Yes this has been my experience as well, our couples therapist told me to lay off him! I was so shock and can’t go back. He has tons of support from aa to his two other therapists who are all there to support the adict but not those that have been tramitized by his actions
Im glad I finally found this article. I am struggling and just about to go through a painful divorce with my husband. Its been 6 months since I found out about his addiction. He went to outpatient intensive treatment and came back and things were going well. Then it was my turn to go do partners work. I left with our baby to do one month of outpatient for my family of origin stuff and all of a sudden he stopped talking to me and put up “boundaries” of blocking my phone number, no talking or working on the relationship so that he could feel “safe.” Any tiny sense of anger from me is immediately considered “scary” to him. When I got to my spouses intensive they told me that I should feel angry! That he needs to recreate saftey in the relationship! I called his therapist and she said that he didnt want me to speak to her anymore, so now I couldnt communicate with my husband or his therapist!!! He said that he has trauma work to do and needs to be in a bubble, and the whole month I have been gone did not ask about his baby or how I was doing, I STILL DONT KNOW WHAT OR WHY HE STOPPED COMMUNICATING WITH ME and his therapist said it may take MONTHS or YEARS for him to begin to work on the relationship and that disclosure was not in the near future! ANd thats after I flew cross country to do a spouse workshop so we could repair our relationship!!!!!!!!! I think that he is playing the victim card, and painting me as an abusive, raging wife, and his CSAT is helping him do it!!! My husband told me, dont call my therapist anymore, she can’t handle your unsolicited calls” (I called her 2x, on seperate occasions, left a message once and she called me back). This whole divorce process and therapy process just feels like more gas lighting!!!
Does anyone have a case were there was a partner that cheated on and thro therapy did change? It just seems like it’s just the same thing over and over. It’s hard to take serious when you hear the same thing over and over…
Yes, it is hard to take. This site has been up for over a decade and the Sisterhood site has been up for 6 years. No success stories yet except for the women who have recognized that these men do not change and move on. ~ JoAnn
That’s very sad
So if you say there’s no hope for the addict why not have the site dedicated to getting the spouse to leave the addict and recover on their own?
That is basically what I am advocating. ~ JoAnn
Thanks for sharing your life with others. I am trying to deal with living with a sex addict and I am experiencing electronic violence which I believe was done by a doctor which shows how far these sick individuals will go. Funny my husband used to go to the same dr and now refuses. I believe I have been implanted with a chip. This allows the controlling person to assualt me 24 hours a day which causes further trauma. I never knew anything like this existed until this past year. I have changed therapist to one who treats trauma and helps me. We have been married 42 years and going to therapy for over 4 years. I feel I am being blamed for his problem which is extremely crazy.
I am so excited and comforted to read the comments here. Those words, “controlling”, “sabotaging”, “abusive”, all words applied to me by my soon to be former 74 year old sex addicted, narcissistic, bi polar husband and his CSAT “therapist”. And yes, of course, his CSAT therapist is a haha “recovered” sex addict!! My shock and trauma clouded decisions, and I sent him off to a CSAT residential facility, recommended by his family doctor, from which he emerged with new tricks and new thoughts on how all this was my fault… I was told to butt out, to give him his privacy of all things, to stop trying to “control his recovery”. Sorry, there was no recovery at all, and yes, the “treatment” just gave him a platform for his narcissism to flourish.
I threw him out. It has been hell. He moved away and has found a new community of people to fool, and is killing himself with his addictions, which now include alcohol and drugs. Me, I found a great therapist who specializes in the trauma mode, opened the door to new friends and experiences, wallowed in my grief over losing the love of my life, cried a river, then found new joys and things to look forward to. I still have terrible days, but mostly, my days are peaceful and happy now.
I do not believe there is any true recovery from this addiction. They might stop for awhile, but at the first sign of trouble, back they go to comfort themselves. And the images, compulsions and fractures in their souls never leave them.
My advice? Run for the hills, starve them of their “needs” by your inattention and self discovery. They will find someone else to scam, but know that you will soon feel safe and happy. I am 62 and happier than I have been in a decade…
It is chilling that your story is so similar to mine, except my now ex-husband and I are both 62, and he simply refused help. He was simply going to come home, change his behavior and everything was going to be fine. Nothing will be fine ever again. My therapist says I am trying to make sense out of something that makes no sense to a normal rational human being. He is now living with yet a “new” woman after 38 years of marriage to me, because he cannot be alone and wants to feel safe. I pity whoever this woman is, because he cannot stop with this life of sex-addiction. I went to COSA and SAnon and it was horrifying to see people just living in their misery of co-dependence and living with his “acting out”. Call it what it is. I have been victimized and traumatized, in love with a man that did not exist, and in a marriage where I obviously was the only one in the marriage.
This is so sad. I’ve heard this story so many times. One bad therapist can seriously make everything worse.
I encourage spouses to interview their therapists and not trust a therapist solely based off the fact they are a “CSAT” or they say they treat sex addiction. ANY therapist can take the course to become a CSAT, ANY therapist can say they can treat sex addiction….but that doesn’t mean they are good and actually know what they are doing. I’ve sadly come across tons of sex addiction therapists that are AWFUL and who enabled the addict horribly.
Some of my absolute favorite therapists have actually been psychologists who specialize in childhood trauma and EMDR. ?
Over the years I have had very poor counseling. Part of the reason why is because I could not articulate what my husband had done (voyeurism directed at a teen aged neighbor, hundreds of dollars worth of sex chat bills, stealing from his employer). The first counselor was a pastor who meant well, but his focus on “how I should forgive” made me feel as though the pain, suffering and shame I had gone through meant nothing to God. I was supposed to somehow turn all those horrible feelings off- and forgive. As the years progressed, I developed anxiety, depression, low self esteem and I had nightmares and flash backs. I could not understand why this was all happening to me. I thought my husband was right and that I was crazy.
The next therapist I met with focused on my childhood. Yes, my childhood was terrible, but it had nothing to do with why my husband was sexually acting out. I wound up on several psychotropic medications that incapacitated me with side effects. My husband didn’t seem to mind at all. After a while, I decided to ditch the medications because I could barely make it through a day with the kids without falling asleep. My husband was annoyed that I no longer walked around like a quelled zombie with glazed eyes and a foam like substance in the corners of my mouth (dry mouth). Looking back at pictures of myself drugged up like that made me cry. Again, I did not get any help for the trauma my husband put me through.
The next therapist determined that my husband was mentally, emotionally, and physically abusive. I did not divulge his deviant sexual behaviors to her because I was unable to articulate them. I felt ashamed to even discuss my husband’s sexual behaviors in fear the therapist would think I am sick or weak. I was not able to describe how it felt to be lied to, deceived and manipulated into believing I was crazy or stupid.
I can see the writing on the wall with CSAT counselor. My husband firmly believes that I am the cause of his sexual addiction. If I had been nicer, sexier, made more money, etc. he would not have had the need to send unwanted lewd texts to my neighbor. He would not have masturbated in the yard while sending her those texts. He would not have the mountain of pornography on his cell phone, he would not be on hook up sites- if it wasn’t for me.
This board has helped me more than the COSA group and the church in deciding what to do next. I made up my mind that I would rather die an old woman in poverty- than spend my life with a man who treats me so horribly. Wish me luck…….after 31 years of being married to a dark twisted soul, I have finally found the courage to leave. I have a fear of the unknown, but it is not as bad as the fear of living with a man who will never stop being what he is- a dark, creepy pervert. No CSAT counselor games for me. I have already been through hell. It’s time for me to find my way out of it.
My husband and I have been married for 23 years, plus we went together for four year before we married.
Three months ago I found out that my husband has been posting pictures of himself, both partially clothed in swimsuits, bike shorts, etc., as well as fully naked (showing his penis) on gay websites for over ten years. He also had secret email and yahoo accounts with explicit porn related names that I didn’t know about which he claims he has since deleted. I also found out that he registered on swinger websites. His profiles were very explicit regarding what he would do. In addition, at the start of this new life 10+ years ago, he stopped having relations with me. He claimed he didn’t want to hurt me because I was going thru vaginal atrophy, and even though I remidied that, he kept using the excuse….”I don’t want to hurt you.”
Upon my confronting him about the gay websites and the swingers website, he said he just did it so that he would receive accolades about his body and private parts and that he never ever cheated on me. However, he did confess to going to at least three men’s residences. He said nothing sexually happened with these men….he just masturbated in front of one of them. I also found out in one of his emails that he asked one gentleman when he would be ready to ‘play again’ …….what am I missing here????
I have filed for divorce but am so confused regarding his actions. I asked him if he is bi…he said no! I am so distraught!!! He keeps saying nothing really happens…and he loves me beyond words and wants me to stop this divorce action. Help…please….I have no more love for him…..I am in my late 60s but I just want out…..but he is pleading with me to stop the divorce proceedings. How can I when he has deceived and betrayed me for 10+ years?
He has since gone to a counselor who says he is a sex addict so therefore my husband feels since he is getting help and has stopped all actions (he says he is cured and ‘sober’ of all sex addiction) that I should forgive him and stop the divorce proceedings.