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We talk a lot about the healing process that women undergo in order to cope with their partner's addiction. However, there's one thing I haven't mentioned yet, and that's the fact that this journey you're on will change you.
There is so much to process and take in, so many feelings and questions to parse out, and it's somewhere in the middle of this experience that you realize you're feeling and acting differently. You're making decisions or taking actions that you might never have thought possible. These feelings make sense when you realize why they're happening. When you take your whole life apart and look at it under a microscope, you gain something new: perspective.
The agony and the angst at the beginning of your process seem unbearable. Many women believe that they will surely buckle under the strain of it all. Yet here you are, still surviving. That feeling alone can cause a profound change in you, because now, you've gotten a chance to see what you're made of.
As you work through your own healing process, you will find that you can replace those “why me” questions with something a little more like “why not me?” – meaning you're actually beginning to prioritize yourself.
Your biggest responsibility right now is you. During this process, many women discover themselves for the first time. When you learn to take the focus off of others and consider your own needs instead, you might join the ranks of women who decide to go back to school, or pick up an instrument that's been abandoned for years, or become more social with their peers, or who begin having actual, real-deal fun with their children.
The pain never truly leaves, but the way you react to that pain changes dramatically. You can approach yourself with kindness, and work through feelings constructively, rather than reverting back to your old habits of blaming yourself or feeling unworthy of respect and love.
When I first begin counseling sessions with a new client, she is often paralyzed by feelings of shame. She feels shame at having been cheated on, or replaced with porn, she feels shame about having to explain to her friends and family why the marriage is suffering, and she feels shame at the thought of telling her children what happened.
Shame is a powerful emotion, because it has the ability to stop us dead in our tracks. It keeps us in a cycle of repeating old habits and destructive behaviors if only so we can continue to hide from the world.
So imagine how different you will feel after having faced down the most intense shame of your life, and come out on the other side still standing. At this stage, women can realize the futility and uselessness of blaming themselves for their partner's addiction, and learn to see the situation for what it is. More to the point, they can also see it for what it isn't: their fault.
Women who have been through a relationship trauma like this begin to build a better self-image. When you feel more confident, there simply isn't enough room for shame to live in you anymore. It took up space in the old you, but not now.
When you first entered the relationship with your partner, you were a very different person than the one you've become. At a certain point in your counseling, both you and your partner have to face the biggest question of all: “Can we still do this?”
The answer will be different for every couple, but one thing that will always remain the same is our process here at Compulsion Solutions. As counselors, we work together closely to ensure that both of you are getting the appropriate help, and working towards a better life, whatever that may mean for you both. We gradually build up to getting you and your partner into the same space for a portion of your counseling session so that you can speak to one another in a constructive and open way.
While both of you are rebuilding your lives individually, your counselors are remaining very open to one another. While it's true that many of the couples we work with are able to eventually reconcile, there are always some who realize they've simply changed too much. Whatever the outcome may be, it will happen in a supportive and safe environment for both of you.
If you are struggling with your partner's sex or porn addiction, reach out to us here at Compulsion Solutions. Together, we can help build you up into a stronger, more confident person.
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