Healing for Partners

Partners of porn or sex addicts usually experience a range of difficult thoughts and emotions including betrayal, anxiety, depression, self-blame, revenge, deep sadness, anger, self-loathing, regret – and sometimes even thoughts of self-harm.

Research has shown that partners of porn or sex addicts often exhibit symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which is the same debilitating disorder seen in many battle-scarred soldiers! Individuals with PTSD can experience flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, hyper-vigilance, depression, mood swings, and an inability to focus on and manage basic tasks of day-to-day life. 

A common contributing factor to a partner’s PTSD is what therapists refer to as gaslighting. Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse that involves the presentation of false information followed by insistence that the information is true. 

    Gaslighting – What is it?

    Many people are familiar with this term thanks to the movie Gaslight, a 1944 film starring Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer. In the story, a husband tries to convince his new wife that she’s imagining things, in particular the occasional dimming of their home’s gaslights. This is part of the husband’s plan to rob his wife of valuable family jewellery. Over time, the wife, trusting that her husband loves her and would never hurt her, starts to believe his lies and begins to question her perception of reality and even her sanity.

    Gaslighting is a form of abuse from which you and your relationship will need to heal. The Oak Centre provides support for ‘injured’ partners through a structured program that includes education, emotional management skills, clarifying needs, expectations and boundaries for the relationship (and for any future relationship) and importantly, building a ‘road map’ for becoming your healthiest and best self.