If you are someone who finds value in educating yourself on mental health and relational issues, then you have likely heard of the phenomenon commonly referred to as “gaslighting.”
Cleverly named after the 1944 Ingrid Bergman film, Gaslight, “gaslighting” is a form of psychological control where one spouse manipulates the other into not trusting their own perceptions of reality. Partners that gaslight often do so in an effort to protect a secret by keeping their suspicious spouse or partner off their trail. After all, what better way to keep your spouse off your scent than to convince her that she* is the crazy one?!
[*Note: Although I do recognize that people of all genders can experience both addiction and betrayal, for reasons of convenience and flow, I will be referring to certain parties in gender specific terms. The “injured spouse/partner” will be recognized as female and the “addict/unfaithful partner” will be recognized as male.]
This disturbing form of manipulation does not limit itself to the sociopaths and psychopaths of the world. It may or may not surprise you that gaslighting is a common experience in relationships where addiction is present. Therefore, as you can imagine, gaslighting is an extremely common phenomenon experienced by partners of sex addicts. Thus, in sex addiction recovery, it is imperative for couples to address the injuries as a result of gaslighting behavior and other damaging forms of manipulation.
“Is it possible that my partner is gaslighting me?” – said every sex addict
In my work as a clinician and facilitator of sex addiction treatment and betrayal trauma recovery, this is one of the most common questions asked by sex addicts – not right away though. Usually, in the beginning stages of recovery, the sex addict finds that he is highly motivated to work a recovery program due to the experience of intense guilt and shame from seeing the pain and suffering his behavior has caused his partner [and sometimes family]. As a result, with the guidance of a recovery professional, the sex addict is willing to jump through all kinds of hoops to ease the suffering of the injured partner in effort to move toward healing. Thus, one of the main requests, or should I say “demands,” made by the injured partner is, “Go get help!” Abracadabra! And just like that, the addict begins his recovery journey. Okay, okay…..it’s not necessarily that clean, but you get the picture.
After several weeks, and sometimes months, of hard work in recovery, the addict starts to experience a strange phenomenon wherein his partner seems to resist his recovery efforts and even may become downright hostile toward him. We explain to the addict that this is normal human behavior. It’s human nature to mistrust new experiences and behaviors especially when they are coming from someone who has historically and chronically lied to us. You can imagine how amplified this form of skepticism can be for the injured partner when experiencing new behavior and energy from the person who wounded them. Although this skepticism is at times expressed in anger by the injured partner, reflection aggression has not yet entered the picture.
At this stage of recovery, the injured partner is likely experiencing a different phenomenon that my colleague and I have termed, Transitional Distrust. Transitional distrust is something that recovering couples experience when learning to trust new processes in the new relationship they are building. This phenomenon is discussed with more detail in a blog I co-authored called, “What Is Transitional Distrust in Betrayal Trauma Recovery?” However, the statement below captures the conundrum of transitional distrust in partners of sex addicts.
“I don’t know what to think. Maybe he is ‘doing recovery’ and becoming the person I deserve to be with. Or….maybe he has mastered the art of deception and figured out a way to fool me without leaving behind any breadcrumbs!”
This fear might seem a bit embellished to you, but let me assure you, it is not! One difficult reality check for partners of addicts is that when it comes to facing what people are truly capable of – all bets are off! The injured partner abruptly realizes that the expression, “My partner would NEVER do that,” is no longer a truth in their new reality. They intuitively know that adopting such philosophies in their new reality would be back-sliding into denial and thereby setting themselves up for more pain and heartache. Therefore, it makes sense that partners impacted by betrayal trauma can’t allow themselves to blindly trust the recovery efforts of their unfaithful partners, which is why addicts experience the initial pushback as they advance in recovery. As the new relationship, and the trust therein, transitions, partners will often test its legitimacy through skepticism, anger, and many other unpleasant behaviors and feelings. But, again, this is not reflection aggression; that comes later.
“Remember, you’re the one that did this to us! You’re the one that did this to me!”
These words typically are not unfamiliar to the sex addict as he advances in his own recovery. His wounded partner has said these words (or something similar) many times over in the days and weeks following the traumatic discovery of his infidelity and secrecy. As a result of intense shame and guilt, the addict often has this same message playing on a continuous loop inside his own head. More often than not, by the time the couples reaches my office, the addict knows he is guilty. Every time he looks at his partner he witnesses an overwhelming amount of evidence of the pain he has caused her.
What is typically puzzling to the addict is that after weeks, and sometimes months, into working his recovery plan, his partner continues to remind him of the pain and suffering he has caused by his infidelities. In turn, he begins to question his recovery efforts – “Am I truly getting better? I feel better. I’m doing what is being asked of me by her. I am following the recommendations made by the experts. Heck, I can even feel myself doing this for me and not just for her. But, maybe these are just more lies that I am telling myself. Maybe my addict is still steering the ship. I feel like I’m going crazy!”
This is a common process for many recovering sex addicts who are in a committed relationship. As addicts ponder on these thoughts and feelings, they often discover a strange familiarity in what they are currently experiencing from their partner in comparison to what their partners have experienced from them when they were active in their addiction. By this time, they are well aware of the clinical term for such behavior – gaslighting. Upon making this connection, they are eager to bring it to my attention – Is it possible that my partner is gaslighting me?
“You are not going crazy, but what you are experiencing is NOT gaslighting.”
What addicts are experiencing from their partners only mimics gaslighting because it produces the same outcome – the questioning of one’s own reality. The difference has to do with “intent.” Gaslighting is a form of crazy-making with the intent to keep others away from the truth. I believe the discovery of gaslighting to be one of the main reasons the wound of infidelity and the impact of sex addiction runs so deep. It’s bad enough to discover your partner has not been faithful; but it feels even more sinister to find out they were willing to make you question your own sanity in order to keep the secret. You don’t have to examine the depths of the injury very long to understand that it takes a lot of courage for the injured partner to even entertain the idea of couple recovery and forgiveness.
This gaslighting-like phenomenon experienced by the addict from their partner may have resulted in the addict questioning his own reality, but partners are not doing it in effort to keep a secret or hide the truth. Remember, in the early stages or recovery, unfaithful partners experience hostility or aggression from their injured partners primarily because (1) they don’t trust new experiences or behaviors from their partners; and (2) they are tired of hurting. But, “reflection aggression” isn’t really seen until after the crises have settled down and the addicts are gaining momentum in recovery. The primary purpose for this type of hostility is because the injured partners don’t want their wounds to be revealed. Allow me to explain.
“If he is going to hurt me again, I at least want to see it coming.”
Damaged trust. One reason the injured partner doesn’t want the spotlight is because it would require her to focus on herself, which means taking her eyes off the addict. This is especially true in the beginning stages of recovery. When someone hurts you in such a devastating way, that person instantly become dangerous. Our brain has one very important job – to keep us alive. Thus, the presence of danger is something that we naturally become hypervigilant to.
“Why do I have to be the one in recovery? All I was doing was being a good driver.”
Insult to injury. I often correlate the beginning stages of sex addiction recovery for partners of sex addicts to being hit by a drunk driver. As in many cases that commonly make the headlines, it is not uncommon for the drunk driver to walk away with mere bumps and bruises, but the person they slammed into is hauled away in an ambulance with months of recovery awaiting them. When we hear about these stories, we can feel injustice making its way through our entire body. Anger and disgust temporarily consume us as we empathize with the unfairness of this situation. We think to ourselves, “All she was doing was being a good driver and trusting that others on the road were also being good drivers. Ugh!”
This is one reason why I believe it is difficult to get partners of sex addicts into recovery – it just feels so damn unfair! Most people in civilized society would adamantly agree with that assessment. Unfortunately, feeling strongly about the injustice of the situation does not change the reality that partners of addicts, like good drivers hit by drunk drivers, have to take responsibility for their own recovery. It sucks! It’s unfair! But, it is necessary for healthy living.
“I look into the mirror and I don’t even know who I am anymore.”
Revealing the Injury. The two aforementioned reasons for avoiding the spotlight are very common reasons that keep injured partners from entering recovery; but, reflection aggression is a phenomenon that happens well after they have entered recovery; and it has the potential to keep partners from advancing.
I came up with the term “reflection aggression” because gaslighting didn’t seem to fit. In thinking about the dance couples do at this stage of recovery, it appeared that partners of addicts were needing the addict to remember that they are the sick one. This made me think of the condition historically known as Munchausen by Proxy wherein a caregiver creates the appearance of health problems in another, usually a parent inducing illness in a child. If you are of my generation, you may be thinking of the movie, The Sixth Sense, that portrays a storyline of a mother with this condition who caused the untimely death of her young daughter by poisoning her food.
Although there are some similarities, ultimately, the Munchausen by Proxy hypothesis did not make sense to me either. Yes, in some ways the injured partner needs the addict to remain “the sick one” but not for the same reasons as someone suffering from Munchausen by proxy. For instance, the primary motive for a mother with this condition is to gain attention. Remember, partners of sex addicts don’t want that level of attention. Why? Because if the true nature of their injuries are revealed, and they have to look at the condition they are in, they are faced with a strong emotional dilemma, which I will explain in the next section.
The origins of the term “Reflection Aggression”
When addicts start bringing this gaslighting-like phenomenon to my attention, I use the metaphor of “holding up a mirror” to help them understand what their partners are experiencing. My goals are threefold:
- To understand that progress looks like destruction in the beginning. I want the addict to learn that progress in recovery (and in other facets of life) is not solely measured by warm-fuzzy feelings. In most cases in life, you have to tear down the old so you can rebuild the new. This deconstruction phase is often unpleasant, but progress nonetheless.
- To learn self-care. No one is typically harder on the addict than the addict himself making this time an opportunity to help him learn to be kind to himself. Being kind to yourself only when things are going well is easy to do. Learning to be kind to yourself when things are hard is a much better measuring stick for self-worth and presents a challenge to practice self-compassion.
- To have compassion for their partner. Remember, one thing that makes reflection aggression different from gaslighting is intent. Recall that partners don’t want the spotlight because (1) they don’t trust the addict, (2) it feels like insult to injury to even suggest they are unwell, and (3) they no longer recognize the person staring back at them in the mirror. These reasons are pure. They are not at all couched in deception, dishonesty, and secrecy. It’s important for the addicted partner to acknowledge this truth.
So, back to the metaphor of holding up a mirror. I explain to addicts that when they are progressing in recovery, they start to become less and less dangerous. Thus, their injured partner begins to have less and less reason to keep such a sharp eye on them. Instead, the partner gets glimpses of her wounded self in him – this new mirror that seemed to come out of nowhere. She sees that her recovering partner is the one holding it up. She doesn’t like the feeling of this new experience and deflects it by reminding him of his transgressions and shortcomings in an effort to get him to put the mirror down, or at least redirect it onto himself. After all, he’s the one that put them in this position, right?
“Why does this happen?”
Dr. Patrick Carnes, who is referred to as the “grandfather” of sex addiction treatment, explains that somewhere in the development of the addict, the addict makes a bargain with chaos, which is like making a deal with the devil. In recovery, I explain to sex addicts that they are now making a deal with Healthy. I tell them to think of Healthy as a separate entity. In recovery, the addict approaches Healthy to ask if s/he will be a part of his life? Healthy says, “Absolutely! But with one condition – I eventually have be a part of every aspect of your life, not just where you pick and choose to have me. We can start with your own individual recovery and then slowly expand to other parts of your life, like your marriage, family, friendships, and work life.”
In other words, “Healthy demand healthy!” I explain to the addict that this means eventually Healthy will demand to be a part of your marriage, which will require your partner to also become healthy. I also explain that this will feel like a dick move (i.e., insult to injury) to her when it happens. Injured partners usually want nothing more than their addicted spouse to get well. However, they often don’t quite understand the emotionally chaotic journey they are about to embark on in experiencing their unfaithful partners truly recover.
“Information is found contrast” – Dr. David Fournier
Reflection. A major part of sex addiction recovery requires that the addict take a deep look at himself and the traumas experienced in childhood, which ultimately led him down the dark road of addiction. The sex addict usually discovers that at the helm of the problem is a strong disdain for self, otherwise known as “shame.” In treatment, the addict starts to embrace the freedom and peace that comes with recovery, learning that a true love for self is the only way to keep him out of the shackles of addiction. As he embraces this new reality of love and self-care, maybe for the first time in his life, he begins to find meaning and joy in his recovery.
Now, imagine you are the injured partner witnessing this process of transformation. Experiencing the unfaithful or addicted partner progress in recovery creates a contrast that is nearly impossible for the wounded partner to ignore. She is forced to look at the depths of her own injury, which exacerbates her pain, amplifies her sense of injustice, and intensifies her anger.
“How dare you get better when you are the one that did this!”
Aggression. This reminds me of the classic Hollywood scenes where a troubled character finds herself staring into a mirror. Her anger begins to well up. Her body gives her away to the viewers as her face contorts, her breathing intensifies, and her fists clinch. We know what’s coming. Then, it happens – an alarming scream followed by a strong punch to the face in the mirror splintering it into a thousand shards of glass that refuse to fall! After a sigh of relief, the tortured soul looks back into the mirror, seeing a more accurate reflection of how she truly feels. Shattered. Unrecognizable. Defeated. This, in essence, is reflection aggression.
If we truly empathize with the injured spouse, we can see how any one of us might experience reflection aggression when faced with the reality that we have been unjustly wounded. No matter which direction she turns, she finds herself staring at her own face, her own body, her own pain. The mirror doesn’t hold back either. It provides an overwhelming amount of detail. She can see the gaping wound of infidelity. She can see it’s depths; and she understands that it will destroy her if she doesn’t stop the bleeding, close the wound, and apply the right kind of meds for healing.
“How dare you force me to face my childhood trauma without my permission!”
Unfortunately, the wound of sexual infidelity isn’t the only culprit at play with reflection aggression. As the injured partner examines the person in the mirror, she notices that surrounding the gaping wound created by partner betrayal are many other wounds, some large and some small; she is puzzled, unsure of how they got there. In her own recovery, she is troubled as she learns that these wounds existed, in many cases, long before her partner was even in the picture. As you can imagine, this reality can be quite overwhelming for partners because there is an underlying message they can’t escape – the wound of betrayal trauma isn’t a hundred percent responsible for the pain I’m experiencing. This revelation sucks! And what fuels the flame even more is that partners often feel like the decision to work through this pain on their own time was stolen from them, which can lead to more aggression toward the unfaithful partner.
I hope this information helps you see how gaslighting and reflection aggression, although similar, are vastly different. Reflection aggression is not about convincing someone they are crazy in order to keep secrets, it is more about partners putting the brakes on and redirecting the spotlight, because it is just too damn difficult to look into a mirror and not recognize the person staring back at you.
Partners of addicts experience an immense amount of change in what seems like a moment’s time. They are stressed, scared, and overwhelmed in ways they have never experienced before. They need to take their recovery in stride and with professional direction and insight. Reflection aggression is a way of telling themselves and their partners, that “I see it! I recognize the condition I am in. Please put down the damn mirror and let me take one thing at a time!” It looks and feels aggressive, which makes it unpleasant; and, yes, if it goes unchecked or ignored, it can even be further damaging to the relationship; but, make no mistake, it is not the same as gaslighting.
|Shifts spotlight off of self and on to another||Same|
|Results in partner questioning own reality||Same|
|Embedded in deception & dishonesty||Embedded in pain and injustice|
|Intent is to keep the truth hidden||Intent is to pace healing and recovery|
|Deepens the betrayal wound||Communicates the depth of the wound|
|©Joshua Nichols 2019|
I’d like to give a special thanks to Dr. Alexandra Katehakis for the time she spent helping me edit and organize my thoughts for the article. Dr. Katehakis a licensed therapist, certified sex addiction therapist, certified sex therapist, published author and the co-founder of the Center for Healthy Sex in Los Angeles. I am truly grateful for her wisdom, expertise, and generosity.
Licensed Marital & Family Therapist
Certified Sex Addiction Therapist
My 10 year old daughter never ceases to amaze me. She informed me last week of why women cheat. Allow me to set the stage before I hit you with her unmatched wisdom. I was sitting in the pick-up line, waiting for my daughter to be dismissed from school. I know, lots of fun, right?! Anyway, to kill some time, I turn on Joshua Nichols and Erin Bellamy’s RecoveryTV segment on Why Women Cheat (which is a great video by the way, you should really watch it). Well, about three-fourths of the way in, the car line starts moving so I stop the video, put my phone down, and pull forward to let my daughter in. A couple of minutes go by before I hear, “why women cheat… hmm. I know why women cheat…” As a mother who is also a marriage counselor specializing in betrayal trauma, I just couldn’t wait to hear her reasonings. Upon first hearing them, I thought they were kind of silly; but, then I really began thinking about them. In all honesty, they have quite a bit of merit.
So, without further ado, here are the 4 Reason Why Women Cheat from the Mouth of My 10 Year-Old
BECAUSE THEY WANT TO. Maybe women do. However, in most cases, I don’t believe that most women set out to intentionally cheat on their partners. Infidelity by women is typically emotionally driven. They may feel unappreciated or neglected by their partner; or, they may feel disconnected and lonely. When an opportunity presents itself, these empty feelings can turn into excitement and comfort as the woman is now being seen, heard, and wanted. Often, the newness of these emotionally driven relationships result in furthered attention-seeking behaviors, validation by others, and connection that tend to fill these voids, even if for only a short period of time.
TO SCAM HIM. I’ve heard of this going in two different directions. The first being women who play on the emotions of others, “building the romance of a lifetime.” Once they have gained the affection and trust of the scammed individual, the women will slowly begin to ask and expect gifts, money, or even bank account/ credit card information. The second is blackmail, typically in attempt to keep an affair going or to keep the affair or some knowledge of the affair partner a secret. Exposure of the affair can be threatened with several gains in mind: money, continued emotional relationship, continued sexual relationship, or career advancement just to name a few. To my daughter’s credit, it was a clever answer. However, rarely, if ever, have I worked with a couple in my practice where the female partner was unfaithful to in effort to scam her affair partner, although I am sure it has and does happen on occasion.
THEY DON’T LIKE THE GUY THEY ARE WITH BUT DON’T WANT TO HURT HIS FEELING EITHER. Although, I’m not convinced that a typical woman just no longer likes her partner, I do believe a similar phenomenon is occurring. Have you heard the phrases, “We just aren’t in love anymore,” “I feel like we are just roommates,” or, “he no longer sees me?” A lack of love or lack of feeling loved can be a strong motivation for some women. Often, women who leave the marriage experiencing emotional longing before cheating begins. For some women, cheating is a means to transition out of a bad or affectionless marriage. For other women, cheating is a cry for help within the marriage.
TO BE MEAN TO THE GUY SHE IS WITH. Revenge sex is on the rise. Retaliation is too common of a response after finding out that a spouse has engaged in their own extramarital affairs. The desire for retribution can be intense for the injured partner. She may feel justified and even driven to hurt her partner with the intent of getting even. She is angry and may feel the need to teach the partner a lesson. To ensure the partner feels the same hurt and pain, some women will even go out of their way to make certain their partners find out.
I wrote this blog because I was amazed by the level of insight displayed by my 10 year old. I thought it would be interesting to share her answers to give the readers of glimpse into the mind of 10 year old girl when it comes to topic of betrayal trauma by females. I appreciate you reading, but I would also encourage you, once again, to watch the RecoveryTV segment on “Why Women Cheat,” as Erin and Josh outline 4 more common reasons for female unfaithfulness.
Although, these reasons only touch on why a woman might cheat, the principle of the matter is that a majority of people engage in infidelity because they are looking for something, whether it is love, affection, sex, money, connection, or revenge. Affairs are almost always the result of relational problems and/or emotional emptiness; however, affairs don’t fix marital issues, hurt, or emptiness. Instead, affairs also almost always result in feelings of violation, rejection, and mistrust. If you and your partner are experiencing conflict, lack of intimacy, disconnection, or any other issues, I would encourage you to seek a couples therapist specializing in betrayal trauma recovery. Thanks again for reading.
Licensed Marital & Family Therapist
Certified Sex Addiction Therapist
Many of our clients have reported that the pain stemming from a betrayal trauma is one they wouldn’t wish upon their worst enemy. For those who have experienced this type of relational trauma – infidelity, secret addiction, double life – broken trust seems to be at the helm of the heartache. Adding insult to injury, this lack of trust tends to linger well after the secrets have been revealed and the initial crisis is over. It is common for partners who have experienced the trauma of infidelity and/or sex addiction to battle with the question, “Will I ever trust again?” The simple answer to this question is “yes, you can learn to trust again.” However, relationships are more complicated than that, especially after being wounded by betrayal. In this article, we hope to unravel some of the complexities of the trust-distrust phenomenon in couples following infidelity.
Maybe ‘NOT trusting’ is exactly where you are supposed to be.
Injured couples who want to stay together and heal their relationships after the discovery of infidelity might long to go “back to how things were,” but they intuitively know that this is not in cards. For a couple in the throes of betrayal trauma, “going back” is not only risky, but not very smart either. Going back to the old relationship (i.e., how things were), also means going back to the old way of functioning. If a couple tries to reestablish the old ways of functioning in their relationship, then they are destined to repeat old patterns. And where does that lead? I think you know the answer. So, if the couple can’t go back, where does that leave them?
You must grieve the loss of the old relationship in effort to make way for the new coupleship. In this transitional space is where trust is reborn.
When a couple decides to create a new relationship with one another, this also means creating a new trust. This doesn’t mean they forget about the past; in fact, it is just the opposite. Couples need to remember their history, because their past informs their present, and the present determines the future. It’s sort of like building a new house on an existing slab. The slab, which represents a couple’s love for each other, is the foundation. However, most people want more than a slab for a home; they also want walls, a roof, a floor plan, and many other things. Therefore, in order to determine a floor plan, the couple not only needs to remember the old floor plan, they also need to remember that it didn’t work. But how do we know the new plan will work? You don’t.
You don’t get to have a fully developed trust right now; but, what type of distrust you experience is vital in determining progress or the lack thereof.
When a couple in betrayal trauma recovery begins to actively work to transition out of the old and into the new, there are two types of distrust they may experience. Both types are functional in that they help couples measure progress. But, there is one type that we want couples to experience less and less of as it represents backsliding, while the other type represents forward movement. Let’s begin with the first and less desirable type.
Remember, distrust does NOT feel good despite which type you are experiencing.
The first type we call REACTIVE DISTRUST. Think of this type of distrust as a red light, a no-go experience. This kind of distrust is best described as feelings, actions or behaviors that are all too familiar. It feels and looks like the old relationship. You know – the one where secrecy gained a foothold which led to infidelity. These actions or exchanges represent “more of the same.” And, as we say, more of the same will only get you more of the same. Examples may include: hiding money or keeping purchases secret; blocking or hiding screens from the view of the other person; time and whereabouts unaccounted for; and finally gaslighting behaviors that distract and distort reality. In our experience, the betrayed partner is astute in recognizing these patterns and is quick to react and say some version of, “No way! Absolutely not!” This type of “red light” reaction draws a clear boundary suggesting that the old patterns are not welcome in the space of the new relationship.
Reactive distrust helps you recognize relational backsliding. As mentioned, unfaithful partners, being driven by guilt, shame, and fear, would love nothing more than to just “go back to the way things were.” On the other hand, the injured spouse, being driven by intense pain and suffering, often recognizes these behaviors as soon as they are out of the gate. We often say that this type of distrust is couched in CERTAINTY. These behaviors are dangerous to the injured partner, that is why the betrayed partner is “certain” they do NOT want to go back! Thus, when s/he responds to this type of distrust, one can often hear or feel the certainty emanating from the betrayed party – “HELL NO!”
’More of the same’ only gets you more of the same; whereas ‘different’ gets you something different.
The second type of distrust is CAUTIONARY DISTRUST. This is the yellow light type of distrust. This type is different from reactive distrust although the both feel unsettling, which makes since because cautionary distrust is still a form of NOT trusting. This type of distrust is more about confusion and the fear of uncertainty. This often sounds like “What was that?” and “Is this real?” This can look like healthy communication, openness, transparency, and integrity, which sometimes feels too good to be true to injured partners. This leads injured partners to question if they can even believe what they see, much less what they hear and feel. One of the most confusing behaviors is when the injured partner experiences the unfaithful partner beginning to love and forgive self. Why would this be alarming to the injured spouse? Because in most cases, s/he has never seen it before – it’s different!
We don’t know if it’s a ‘good different’ or a ‘bad different,’ but ‘different’ is what we are going for.
While these examples are acknowledging a deficit of trust, they reflect an effort in moving the couple forward as they work to rebuild their new relationship together. The lack of trust is part of the growing pains of healing. Reactive distrust, cemented in certainty, informs the couple that this path is sure to bring them more heartache and disruption. Cautionary distrust, on the other hand, recognizes a new relationship on the horizon. And although they don’t quite trust it yet (i.e., uncertainty), the couple is hopeful that they can learn a new dance together. As couples therapists working in the area of betrayal trauma recovery, we are eager to build upon these new experiences as our goal is to promote change. Thus, we expect our couples to proceed with caution.
We hope that these ideas spark reflection for any reader struggling to heal after a betrayal. Recovery is a painful and expansive process that often leaves one unsure of how their emotions are helping them. In this case, a lack of trust is a very appropriate and natural reaction to the wound of betrayal. Our goal is to help couples be intentional with their transitional distrust so they can grow and build their new relationship.
|Reactive Distrust||Cautionary Distrust|
|A.K.A., The Red Light||A.K.A., The Yellow Light|
|Embedded in: Certainty||Embedded in: Uncertainty|
|Feels familiar; looks familiar||Feels familiar, looks different|
|Reflects: More of the same||Reflects: Different|
|Example: “HELL NO!”||Example: “What the HELL?”|
Please join in LIVE on Facebook to be a part of this Q&A session. Please be advised that Facebook LIVE is a public forum, thus, if you submit your questions through the LIVE feed, you cannot remain anonymous. Thus, if you choose to remain anonymous, Josh welcomes you to submit your questions via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are a current client of Josh’s or any therapist at FSC, we request that you submit your questions via email.
Josh welcomes questions on the following topics:
- Sex/Porn Addiction
- Individual/Couple Recovery
- Couple Recovery
- Betrayal Trauma
- Affair Recovery
- Shame Reduction
- Sexual Health
- Couple Relationship Health
DISCLAIMER: This LIVE Q&A Webinar and the information discussed is intended solely for educational purposes and does not constitute a professional therapeutic relationship. The information discussed is not intended for the purpose of providing psychological, medical, legal, or other professional advice.