Ugh! What do we tell the children? Sexual addiction is a complex disease with consequences that extend far beyond the person struggling with the addiction. It involves spouses, of course. It also involves children. How, when, and why to disclose sexual addiction to children is a difficult question. We have found that long-time treatment professional Claudia Black provides insight important to share.
As the addiction advances, it becomes more and more difficult maintain the false front. Negative consequences multiply. Cracks begin to appear in the image he is working so hard to create. The partner will often experience a growing awareness that something is not right. She will not be consciously aware of this at first. The awareness will slowly rise as a deep intuition — a feeling of growing discomfort.
How does the well-trained sexual addiction therapist address the challenge of boundary failure in the life of a person who struggles with sexual addiction? It is not enough to describe the condition. It is not enough to understand how internal boundary failure contributes to a failure to respect the boundaries of others. Just advising someone to change, does not work.
When boundary violators struggle with sexual addiction, they suffer a similar violation in boundaries inside themselves. This make treatment of sexual addiction particularly challenging. People who struggle with sexual addiction experience a significant split in their Mind/Body experience. Rather than knowing themselves as whole people with healthy Mind/Body integration, they become one person having two parts — a Mind and a Body.
Sexual Addiction is a complex disorder that requires specialized training to treat. In this series of posts we are exploring what one element that makes this disorder so challenging. People who struggle with sexual addiction also struggle with boundaries. A “boundary” defines personal space. When we recognize and honor boundaries we accept the simple fact that the other person is worthy of respect.
Dr. Milton Magness explores the signs and symptoms of sexual addiction. He answers the questions, “How can I tell if someone is a ‘sex addict?'” Although there is no definitive answer, there are clues. Once a person suspects their partner may be struggling with sexual addiction, what should they do? No one can make a person struggling with an addiction seek treatment, but everyone can learn to keep themselves safe. They can learn to set heathy boundaries. They can challenge their partner to seek help.
Many are surprised when they learn that healthy intimacy is not about the absence of conflict. It is the engagement of conflict in a healthy way. You do not normally argue with polite strangers, distant relatives, or friendly acquaintances at work. You save arguments for the people you care about the most. This, for the simple reason that conflict is a very personal and intimate act.