We are now decades into this shitstorm called “Sex Addiction”, and the corpses are washing ashore. As we perform autopsies on these corpses, we are learning one thing for certain: the current treatment system is failing not only the partners of “sex addicts” but the children as well. What we are doing is NOT working!
Who better to bear witness to a storm than those who rode it out? Not the meteorologist sitting in his lofty office looking at computer monitors. Not the reporters who show up days later to snap a few compelling pictures. Not the grief counselors who fly in for a quick presentation. And certainly not the storm itself, as it has moved on, gaining power for its next conquest.
And so it is with “sex addiction”. Those of us sitting on our rooftops surveying the total destruction as far as our eyes can see, having born witness to the entirety of the storm, fully aware of each and every ramification, fully living the before and after, are the only ones competent to report the effects of the storm. Silencing us only assures that more storms form, confident that they, too, will escape moral and legal consequences.
Do you want to know what happens to children when daddy is a “sex addict”? Ask us. We are the ones left alone tucking crying children into bed, trying desperately to protect their little hearts from the storm of a lifetime. We are the mothers who grieve daily and lay awake for years, witnessing the effects on our children even into their adulthood. We alone carry the truth of their childhoods. While we willingly bear that monstrous burden for our children’s sake, our “sex addicts” reinvent themselves as victims, hiding their sins like a cat buries it’s own shit in a litter box.
Do you want to know what happens to us twenty years on? Ask us. We are the ones still triggered by events and memories decades later. We are the ones still occasionally rocked by nightmares long after our storms pass. We are the ones living with chronic, stress-induced illnesses born of the storms. We are the ones whose photo albums lay covered in dust; painful reminders of what we thought was real but turned out to be a sham. We are the ones who know it didn’t have to be this way, were it not for a Trojan horse of a man who cavalierly entered our lives and destroyed us from within.
Do you want to know about our choices? Ask us. We are the ones forced to chose between Plan A – living a lie while risking our health to keep our families intact versus Plan B – divorce with it’s potential financial ruin at the hands of a blame-shifting man hell bent on protecting his reputation even if that means destroying the mother of his own children. We are the ones looking down the barrel of a no-win situation with nothing but hideous choices ahead. Why do we stay for years after D-day? It’s because we’re holding out for Plan C – a marriage happier than ever, as promised to us by the reconciliation industry – a plan we eventually discover does not exist.
Do you want to know what life feels like in the aftermath of D-Day? Ask us. We are the ones lined up on the gangplank of life, watching a never-ending line of abused women jump off the end into the abyss ahead of us. We’re the ones hearing the cries, straining to see which direction those brave women jumped and wondering if they survived. We’re the ones who walk that gangplank in a haze while our brains desperately seek truth, safety, and peace. We old-timers are the ones on our phones until 4 am, comforting the next wave of survivors, gently leading them forward on the long, winding, and treacherous gangplank.
Do you want to know how desperately we attempt to make sense of the whole mess? Ask us. We’re the ones shuttling ourselves and our children off to counselors offices, trying to put together the puzzle of our lives, only to find that half the pieces are being withheld from us. Who holds those pieces? The “sex addict” and the industry protecting him from shame and even prosecution of illegal acts. Everything from purchasing sex from trafficked humans to exposing himself to children is swept neatly under the rug called “sex addiction”, never again to see the light of day.
Do you want to know what it’s like to have a perpetrator blame shift back on his victim? Ask us. We’re the ones who sit in courtrooms listening to our former spouses spin lies about us. Adding insult to injury, we then find that our spouses have spun those lies for years prior to D-day, preparing for the inevitable. And now, decades into this current treatment model, we’re the ones who sometimes even lose our adult children to the lies of our exes, all because we heeded the ill-conceived advice of reconciliation counselors who put our husband’s desire for privacy ahead of our own need for truth and justice.
What if we changed how we approach this whole thing? What if we not only called it what it is – abuse – but actually started treating the partners as abuse and trauma victims? What if we started giving women a full set of tools to accurately analyze this storm and make decisions based on ALL the facts, rather than the piecemeal tool kit offered to us by addict-centered treatment programs; a tool kit that has proven so woefully inadequate that we are now standing on the shores watching corpses pile up.
What if the children could also be treated appropriately and given vital facts. Would those children then come into adulthood fully equipped to recognize and avoid disordered persons and abuse rather than repeat the dysfunction, or worse yet, blame their non-offending parent? Would we be able to stop the cycle dead in its tracks? Would those children find peace and joy in truth rather than pain and confusion in lies? Normalizing abuse by calling it “sex addiction” is simply more abuse.
As it stands, we partners instead are actually being surreptitiously advised to join in the abuse of our own children. We are told to blame shift (Mommy is as sick as Daddy or she wouldn’t have married him), minimize (Daddy broke a promise he made to mommy), and even outright lie to our children (Daddy is sleeping in the other room because he snores). No wonder these children grow up confused. In another 20 years, they and their young families will start washing ashore, too, and I fear greatly what we will see. I also fear that some of the blame will be placed at our feet simply because we followed the advice of a broken system; a system put in place by sex addicts for sex addicts.
It’s time. If we don’t change this thing soon, we’re going to be overcome with rotting corpses. Something stinks and it’s time to clean it up.