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Made for Love 

“As if the betrayal wasn’t enough, I was too ashamed to tell even my closest friends and family about my husband’s infidelity.  I felt like I couldn’t trust anyone, not even myself.  When you live with someone who is always keeping secrets you begin to go crazy trying to always find the real truth of things.  It took me a long time to realize that I needed support too.  Betrayal trauma is real trauma.  I needed help to find myself again and to rebuild something new with my spouse.  While he was getting help for his sexual addiction, I was rebuilding my world on authentic love and truth.” - Marianne

 

      No one enters a relationship expecting betrayal and infidelity.  When it happens it is easy to feel lost and confused.  Anger and resentment dominate every day.  Betrayal trauma is the real emotional, psychological, and even physiological response to intimate partner betrayal.  Infidelity in the context of a committed relationship is a broken trust that runs deep into the person’s self-identity.  It is essential that the betrayed spouse receive individual supportive counseling throughout this process.  While couples therapy and individual therapy for the partner who has cheated is important, healing for the betrayed spouse is core to the recovery of the relationship and each individual within the family.  There is hope to restore joy and love once again. 

 

“I think pornography started taking over my life fairly quickly, actually.  Some people talk about craving that drink, but for me it was always online pornography.  I would have a bad day and think, I’ll just go online for a while and relax, or having finished a project at work, porn was a reward.  Soon it was my go to when I was bored or lonely or angry.  The more time I spent online, the less time I had for my real relationships.  Eventually, I got caught at work having accessed porn on my work computer.  I had financial problems too, having spent more than I intended on premium sites.  By the time I was ready to get help, I was regularly binging on internet porn for hours at a time.  It had taken over my life.  I was ready to reclaim it though, but I needed professional help.” - Sam

 

      Accessibility, Affordability, and Anonymity are the necessary conditions for the epidemic of pornography addiction.  Simply put, it is very easy to quickly develop a pornography addiction.  There are unique challenges to treating men and women addicted to pornography especially in terms of the very real changes that happen in the brain with high levels of arousal paired with a stimulus (porn).  Beyond the neuropsychological issues with arousal learning (porn addiction) are the relational issues that develop.  As individuals increase their use of pornography, their ability to respond emotionally and physiologically to a real partner diminishes.  Often individuals struggling with frequent pornography use experience significant relationship problems related to their use.  There is hope to reset the brain and maintain sobriety from pornography.  Recovery can renew the relational focus of the human person and encourage greater authentic love. 

 

“I was spinning a fairly elaborate web of lies and always trying to keep one step ahead, but I got caught.  I had multiple sexual conquests in both my professional and personal life.  I quickly began to cross lines and boundaries I swore I never would.  I love my spouse, yet that never stopped me.  By the time I got help I had nearly destroyed my family.  Working through my sexual addiction I had to confront some very early experiences of abuse.  I had never learned to associate physical intimacy with emotional intimacy and vulnerability because of the abuse of my earlier years.  Imagine my surprise to learn so late in life that intimacy was absent from my sexual behavior.  I had to learn the meaning of authentic love by first healing what was broken within me.” – David

 

      Multiple affairs and violating sexual boundaries can be the sign of a life that has spun out of control.  There can be many reasons why sexual addictions develop.  Many have core experiences of sexual violation and physical or emotional trauma.  Early learning experiences that associate sex with pain, violation, and shame form distorted beliefs about self and others.  Sex becomes the addict’s most important need in a world that they believe will never meet their needs.  Love becomes transactional and can overemphasize the victim/abuser role.  Untangling the web of betrayal and self-deception is impossible without the help of a qualified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT).  There is hope in recovery.  Reclaiming one’s life can begin today if you reach out for professional help. 

 

 

Shannon D. Mullen, Ph.D.

 

 

 

If any of these problem scenarios seem to resonate with you an assessment may be in order.  Take this online screening test and consider making an appointment for an initial consultation.  When you call for an appointment (229-233-8009) simply mention the Made for Love program and our staff will place you with the appropriate clinician. 

There is hope in recovery . . . 

 

Made for Love

 

  Shannon D. Mullen, Ph.D.