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Understanding Spousal Betrayal and Narcissism/Addiction as Survival

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Title: Understanding Spousal Betrayal and Narcissism/Addiction as Survival


1
Understanding Spousal Betrayal and
Narcissism/Addiction as Survival
  • Robert Weiss LCSW, CSAT-S
  • Director of Sexual Disorder Programs
  • Elements Behavioral Health
  • Promises, The Ranch The Sexual Recovery
    Institute (SRI

Note This presentation will demonstrate methods
utilized to access online sexual experiences.
Explicit images will not be shown, however please
carefully consider if learning such information
might prove harmful to your personal health or
recovery.
2
Working with Betrayed Spouses
3
Diagnose this client
  • Acts out in angry, vengeful, acts superficially
    supportive of treatment while actually
    undermining it.
  • Often shifts from idealizing her spouse,
    therapist and treatment - to devaluing and
    dismissing them. Can be demanding and
    boundary-less.
  • Expresses feeling out of control. Engages in
    compulsive behaviors such as detective work and
    stalking in order to somehow gain a sense of
    control.
  • Often seems to be on a mood roller coaster, it
    can hard to tell what mood will predominate, why
    and when.
  • Mistrustful, suspicious, at times can rage and be
    verbally abusive. Can act out by overeating,
    spending and other compulsive behaviors.
  • Inconsistent and uncommitted to looking at her
    part or her issues - tends to externalize and
    blame.

4
Which one is he/she?
  • An Axis II Diagnosis -Borderline.
  • Extremely codependent. Someone who lost his/her
    fragile self to him.
  • A client who suffering from a profound
    life-trauma and grief reaction without meaningful
    support or direction.
  • A client (similar to folle a deux) who has been
    living with a crazy person so long- they have
    become crazy themselves.
  • It might take a while before you know ...

5
How has he failed her?
  • His affair and hiding the truth has produced
    direct consequences for her and their child
  • He doesnt get honest- she has to drag the truth
    out of him.
  • His immediate need to be understood and forgiven
    is his priority - this is not empathic

6
How Active Sex Addicts Treat Spouses
  • In order to tolerate their own ambiguity and lies
    they devalue and diminish their partners.
  • They externalize and blame their unmet needs on
    the spouse. - thereby feeling entitled to act
    out.
  • They deny their spouses reality - leaving the
    spouse doubting themselves
  • When caught, theyre terrified of abandonment -
    and will use seduction, regret, lies, blame or
    manipulation to try to keep the relationship.
  • Their needs, wants and desires often come before
    relationship and family
  • The dont understand what broken trust means as
    they think of it in limited terms.

7
Recovery boundary problems Addicts
  • Expecting understanding, forgiveness and
    sometimes sex- right away (90 days or less)
  • Expecting the spouse to be more understanding,
    less angry and hurt
  • Expecting the spouse to get over it
    -intolerance of their feelings and moods
  • Expecting validation from the spouse for doing
    basic recovery-work.
  • Demanding forgiveness/sex in exchange for
    disclosure, information and/or good behavior
  • Continuing to lie, keep secrets, act out etc.

8
The emotional state of a betrayed spouse
  • The spouses are experiencing a form of trauma
  • Everything about the past, present and future are
    in question
  • Afraid of further loss and abandonment
  • Ashamed, self hating, self doubting
  • Anxious - easily triggered to previous levels of
    trauma
  • Emotionally unpredictable and feel out-of-control
  • Worried about the future -parenting, finances,
    separation
  • Some have intrusive thoughts and images (PTSD)

9
We call this theemotional roller-coaster - think
PTSD
Average time till this ride slows? 9 to18
months if ...
10
Recovery boundary problems - Spouses
  • Expecting the Addict to be 100 emotionally
    available to meet my needs now (because he/she
    owes me).
  • Expecting all of the addicts prior emotional
    issues (distancing, crabbiness, narcissism ) to
    go away right away
  • Not allowing the addict to have a learning curve
    for better communication, emotional availability,
    empathy etc.
  • Questioning erections, inner thoughts, looks and
    fantasy
  • Dismissing addicts needs for solitude,
    reflection, healthy self care (meetings, therapy
    groups etc)
  • Physical or Verbal abuse - this is unacceptable
  • Worried that somehow they can trigger the addict
    into acting out
  • Abdicating their own responsibility for
    relationship healing growth, thereby holding
    the addict solely responsible for the
    relationship 

11
What are the clinical needs of this spouse?
  • Direction regarding self-care, health issues,
    talking to family etc.
  • Education about addiction, disclosure, family
    dynamics, support.
  • Holding and Validation of her reality and her
    feelings
  • Disclosure and clarity regarding their unknown
    history
  • Social support by professionals (peers and family
    where useful)
  • Structure toward moving forward
  • Hope

12
Relationship recovery steps for the addict
  • A committed recovery plan fully shared with the
    spouse
  • Telling the truth and telling it faster (48-hour
    rule)!
  • Staying in touch and not leaving spouses outside
    the loop of your commitments, schedule, feelings
  • Being transparent and non-defensive
  • Being unafraid of the truth
  • Having disclosure in treatment where appropriate
    (lets briefly discuss disclosure ...)

13
What helps spouses feel safe?
  • Being respected regarding sex and intimacy
  • Being allowed to be angry, hurt and emotional
  • Consistency in commitments and agreements
  • No relationship decisions/pressure for six months
  • No sexual pressure
  • Hearing the truth as clearly and quickly as
    possible
  • Receiving disclosure -if they wish it and it is
    appropriate to the situation

14
At the heart of the spouses concerns
  • How do I know if this is all there is to know?
    (Disclosure)
  • How will I know if he/she acts out again?
    (Honesty as a priority -slips will happen).
  • How is trust re-established? (Consistent,
    reliable behaviors over time)
  • Broken trust is like a broken plate, you can
    glue it back together and make it functional, but
    the cracks always remain

15
In order to get out of the doghouse you first
have to get in it! And this aint it.
16
How is couple trust regained?
  • Trust is restored over time through ...
  • Reliable and consistent actions. Love is
    Behavior!
  • Fearless truth-telling - even when facing
    disapproval
  • Keeping commitment to recovery steps
  • Acting as a full adult contributing family member
  • Patience, empathy understanding of the spouses
    anger and hurt
  • Healthy boundaries and self-care

17
Narcissism, Addiction and Detachment as
Emotional Survival
18
The Problem
  • Fmr. President Bill Clinton
  • Fmr. Governor Elliot Spitzer
  • Fmr. Governor Mark Spencer
  • Fmr. Congressman Christopher Lee
  • Fmr. Congressman Larry Craig
  • Fmr. Sports Hero Tiger Woods
  • Fmr. Chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn
  • Fmr. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • Fmr. Congressman Anthony Weiner

19
Why do such smart, powerful men make such stupid,
self-destructive sexual decisions?
  • The intellect and the emotions run on different
    tracks- think about being hungry when busy.
  • People under intense pressure with high stress
    and poor self-care can end up being lead around
    by their emotions. No matter how high their
    intellect - the emotions always win.
  • Some individuals seek positions of status and
    power in the hope that the role will bolster a
    preexisting internal sense of inadequacy. Without
    help, they will not resolve nor soothe this
    emptiness by high status or success, but it will
    remains an unfulfilled part of them.
  • They end-up feeling like victims of their own
    stressful lives and therefore entitled to act out
    - In their minds, they deserve it.

20
It is thus impossible for this person to cut the
tragic link between admiration and love. In his
compulsion to repeat he seeks insatiably for
admiration, of which he never gets enough,
because admiration is not the same thing as love.
It is only a substitute gratification for the
primary needs for respect, understanding and
being taken seriously Alice Miller The Drama
of the Gifted Child
21
Sexual Addiction Cycle
Ritual
Acting Out Shortest part
Fantasy
CONTROL
RELEASE
SHAME
Despair
Numbing
Shame/Blame/Guilt
Any strong emotions generate and stimulate our
dependency needs
Fossum/Mason/Carnes/Weiss et al.
22
(No Transcript)
23
What are the Survival Needs of Infants?
  • Food and Water Nutrition
  • Dry and Warm Shelter
  • Holding, Mirroring and Stimulation Love

24
What happens to the infant if any one of these
three are missing?
  • Absent Food Death
  • Absent Shelter Death
  • Absent Love Death (failure to thrive)

25
So how long would any of us survive today without
...
- Food/Nutrition - Shelter - Love
  • We Need Love to Survive Throughout the
    life-cycle

26
Learned shame prevents us from fully experiencing
adult intimacy and love
  • Shame is a feeling of being defective brought
    about through early attachment deficits,
    unresolved character disorders and trauma.
  • Shame is learned as essential dependency needs
    are denied or subverted and the child turns upon
    themselves as the source of their own pain.
  • Shame is reinforced by secretive behavior and
    acting out - drugs, sex, spending etc.

27
How does the self become shamed?
  • Primary Narcissism

28
So Who is the Problem?
  • Not Mom
  • Not Dad
  • My Needs are the Problem . . .
  • The Self is Shamed (

29
Attachment and Addiction
  • Early attachment disturbances appear to be a key
    root cause of both narcissism and sexual
    addiction. Compulsivity and obsession offer some
    relief from the pain, rage and fear of the
    disrupted, empty self in those who never learned
    how to find comfort in healthy relatedness. The
    compensating compulsive behaviors eventually take
    on a life of their own.

30
Intensely stimulating activities suppress and
distract from unmet dependency needs (love)
  • Addictions (substance and behavioral)
  • Intense Self Focus, Self Blame, Suicidality
    (shame)
  • Pathological Care-taking /Co-dependency
  • Thrill Seeking / High Risk Activities
  • Dissociation / Fantasy
  • Rage / Abuse
  • Passivity / Helplessness and/or Drama
  • Seduction and Objectification

31
What does your addict have to say about the need
for relationships and intimacy?
  • I hate myself for being so needy
  • I hate my neediness
  • I hate my addict
  • My needs are SHAMED and the connection between my
    emotions (call to action) and dependency needs is
    broken, but I still have quiet my needs because
    they are shouting in me. Acting out appears as a
    logical, useful sane solution to this dilemma.

32
Maladaptive or Survival Based Coping Skills
Provide
  • Self soothing
  • Calm
  • Distraction
  • StimulationIn the absence of, fear of or
    limited experience with, healthier, more
    integrated relational means of self stability
    like intimacy the ability to down-regulate
    under stress (self-soothe)

33
In Summary ...
  • Addicts dont learn about their emotions
  • Addicts dont know what they need or how to get
    their emotional needs met, they just want any
    uncomfortable feelings to go away!
  • Addicts learn to disavow their needfulness
  • Most addicts would rather eat dirt than ask for
    help (acknowledge need)

This guides treatment
34
At-A-Boy!
35
The child who is used emotionally by their
parent has the chance to develop his intellectual
capacities undisturbed, but not the world of his
emotions and this will have far-reaching
consequences for his well-being. Alice Miller
The Drama of the Gifted Child
36
Treatment
37
Elements Behavioral HealthSexual Addiction
Assessment Treatment Options
  • The Sexual Recovery Institute (SRI) - Los
    Angeles- 2-weeks of Outpatient Intensive
    Treatment (IOP) - Structured, manualized
    programming. Clients reside in mens recovery
    residence - Cost 7,950 plus housing.
  • Also provide Psycho-sexual and Fitness for Duty
    Assessment, approx. 6,500 www.sexualrecovery.com
  • The Ranch in Tennessee - 35 Days of Residential
    Sexual Addiction Treatment with Extensive Trauma
    and Family Component - cost 24,500 inclusive
    www.recoveryranch.com
  • Promises Malibu or West Los Angeles- Primary CD
    Treatment with a focus where needed on Sexual
    Disorders and access to SRI clinicians or full
    IOP where needed. www.promises.com

38
Treatment vs. Therapy
  • Behavioral problems REQUIRE behavioral forms of
    intervention and treatment
  • Structured steps and tasks
  • Problem behaviors have to be contained FIRST
    before psycho-dynamic therapy and trauma work
    begins in earnest
  • The attachment maladaptations are the slow work
    of long-term therapy, living honestly and 12-step
    involvement (2-3 years)

39
Elements Behavioral HealthAssessment Treatment
Options -
  • The Sexual Recovery Institute (SRI) - Los
    Angeles- 2-weeks of Outpatient Intensive
    Treatment (IOP) - Structured, manualized
    programming. Clients stay at a mens recovery
    residence - cost 7,950 plus housing.
  • Also provide Psycho-sexual and Fitness for Duty
    Assessment, approx. 6,500 www.sexualrecovery.com
  • The Ranch in Tennessee - 35 Days of Residential
    Sexual Addiction Treatment with Extensive Trauma
    and Family Component - cost 24,500 inclusive
    www.recoveryranch.com
  • Promises Malibu or West Los Angeles- Primary CD
    Treatment with a focus where needed on Sexual
    Disorders and access to SRI clinicians or full
    IOP where needed. www.promises.com

40
Initial Sexual Addiction Treatment
  • Is Cognitive Behavioral
  • In Outpatient- we dont delve deeply into trauma
    or transference until 90-days sober at minimum
  • In Residential - we can delve into deeper issues
    sooner and more directly - but still stay focused
    on the primary goal - establishing sobriety and
    relapse prevention

41
Regarding TreatmentThe six required treatment
steps when working with Sex Addicts
  • Do a thorough psycho-sexual history/assessment
  • Identify the treatment goals of the client and
    then align a sexual sobriety contract with those
    goals.
  • Hold clients accountable to all their
    agreements!
  • Confront denial and teach relapse prevention
  • Spouse, job family crisis resolution
  • Refer to long-term 12-step, therapy or
    faith-based group support

42
What is Sexual Sobriety?
  • A mutually agreed upon clear, written and
    signed, behavioral contract based on client
    goals.
  • Sobriety plans dont change without prior
    discussion.
  • Similar to how we handle eating disorders

43
SexualSobriety Contract
  • List of Behaviors I Want to Stop
  • A
  • B
  • C
  • D
  • E
  • F
  • List of Behaviors I Want to Add
  • A
  • B
  • C
  • D
  • E
  • F

44
12-step Groups for Sexual Addicts and Partners
  • Partner Support
  • S-Anon
  • Alanon
  • COSA
  • CODA
  • RCA - Couples
  • Sex Addict Support
  • SAA
  • SA
  • SCA
  • SLAA-Women
  • SRA

45
Sexual Addiction Information
  • The Sexual Recovery Institutewww.sexualrecovery.c
    om
  • The Ranch www.recoveryranch.com
  • IITAP - International Institute for Trauma, and
    Addiction Professionals www.iitap.com
  • SASH - The Society for the Advancement of Sexual
    Health www.sash.net
  • Esummits www.esummits.com

46
Understanding Spousal Betrayal and
Narcissism/Addiction as Survival
  • Robert Weiss LCSW, CSAT-S
  • Director of Sexual Disorder Programs
  • Elements Behavioral Health
  • Promises, The Ranch The Sexual Recovery
    Institute (SRI

Note This presentation will demonstrate methods
utilized to access online sexual experiences.
Explicit images will not be shown, however please
carefully consider if learning such information
might prove harmful to your personal health or
recovery.
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