black and whiteSex Addicts live in a rigid, limited world. It’s an absolute black and white existence without any nuances of gray. Their world is either right or wrong, good or bad, all or nothing, always or never. Life is either 100% one way or the other; 50-50 just does not compute. They do not reason, compromise or work things out. Everything is placed in it’s left or right, black or white category never to be pondered again.

This ‘black and white’ thinking is a form of Cognitive Rigidity, a Borderline Personality Disorder that is common to all types of addicts and survivors of abuse. It is a primitive pattern seen in early childhood, which ties in with the emotional immaturity of Sex Addicts.

This type of thinking makes it difficult to communicate with a Sex Addict. If they are confronted about a behavior or action, then we don’t love them and want to leave them. Or their shame kicks in and they are the most god awful person that ever walked the earth. Even the tiniest criticism elicits a catastrophic reaction. If they do happen to change their mind it is a 180 degree flip, they just don’t seem to be able to integrate varied information into the whole and reach a middle of the road compromise. This black and white thinking is just one of the many ways in which Sex Addicts engage in distorted thinking and unfortunately this thought pattern eliminates choices they think they have.

This mindset can also cause serious problems during recovery. If the addict has a ‘slip’ or briefly reverts to acting out they feel that they are a complete failure–thus allowing them to continue the negative behavior because, after all, they are a bad person. It’s one of those irrational ways of thinking that only an addict can understand. Counseling can help the addict recognize when they are engaging in these extremes and learn a more realistic method of thinking.

It’s a long and difficult journey learning to live with a Sex Addict. Not only do we have to deal with their sexual issues, we also have to find ways to understand and deal with their personality quirks without going bonkers.

Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live. ~ Dorothy Thompson

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  1. Why isn’t my husband’s picture listed right after this article? I never really saw it before, but now that I am on the receiving end, I see it plain as day.

    If I got upset that he brought home the wrong stuff on the grocery list, that meant he never did anything right, if I questioned him about the amount of time he was spending on his hobbies, while he ignored me, that meant I wanted him to do nothing but sit at home with me 24/7, if I didn’t want him sitting in a bar, flirting with women after work, that meant I didn’t want him to have any friends.

    We tried therapy (for the billionith time) after he hit me, and I called the police, and he had to move out, and he was telling the therapist it’s not like he pulled a gun on me. And a few weeks later he was still venting that he could see how scared I was of him, and I’d never forgive him, so why should he try?

    I am the only one that knows how badly he will twist things.(well maybe a few others, but not anyone in his life now) He is a super charmer. It’s like he knew when I found out about the addiction, exactly what to say to keep me from divorcing him. Now that I see through the charms, it has been nothing but hell for me. I have offered numerous times to stay married, and battle this with him, but he is back to denial that he is an addict, and it gets worse all the time for me. He is now insisting on the divorce for so many inflated, twisted reasons, and is telling everyone so, when six months ago he was still saying being with me was the happiest time in his life, and even a few weeks ago leading me to think he was still trying, to now, I can’t even send him an email expressing my hurt over how this has turned out, because he contacts his attorney that I am harrasing him, and telling him how horrible he is.

    Otherwise he would never hurt a fly, and is the sweetest, most helpful, caring guy you’d ever want to meet.

    I think if I hadn’t found this site, I really would have started to believe his lies, that I WAS so horrible to him, when I was only trying to have a healthy, normal marriage. This kind of thinking is what drove me bonkers, because I never knew from one day to the next what reaction I would get. I was the best wife in the world as long as I worshiped the ground he walked on, if I was confronting him, or even expressing a need, then I was saying he was a worthless screwup, who never did anything right.

    This has just been so unreal!

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