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Sex, Love, and Addiction

On Sex, Love, and Addiction, Dr. Rob Weiss, sex therapist and author of ten books on sex and relationship healing, interviews global experts like Dr’s. Sue Johnson, Harville Hendrix, Stan Tatkin, and Helen Fisher, among others. This podcast features robust discussions focused on healing from chronic infidelity, cheating, porn, and sex addiction, along with the pain of relationship betrayal. Dr. Rob is Chief Clinical Officer for Seeking integrity Treatment Centers. He is a 25-year licensed therapist, a Ph.D. sexologist, and author Sex Addiction 101, Prodependence, and Out of the Doghouse, among other books. This podcast is dedicated to bringing information, advice, and direction from experts around the world to those seeking answers to some of life’s most challenging questions.

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Defining Love Again After a Betrayal with Michelle Mays

Michelle Mays is the Founder and Clinical Director of the Center for Relational Recovery with offices both in Leesburg, VA, and Washington, DC., where she and her team deliver treatment to addicts and betrayed partners. Today’s topic covers how couples can overcome betrayal after infidelity and why it’s perfectly normal to have an attachment ambivalence pattern towards the person who has hurt you. Michelle dives in on some of the challenges couples face as they build the trust back up again and underlines why the hurt partner needs a support group to help them through this chaotic time in their life.  TAKEAWAYS: [3:35] If a partner cheats on you, how do you define love after that?  [8:00] Dealing with cheating is difficult because it presents itself as a unique type of trauma. You begin to experience an ‘I love you today’ and ‘I hate you tomorrow’ attitude.  [9:35] Our brains give us two contradicting messages at the same time. One is to repair the damage so you can find safety again in your partner and the other is to run away.  [16:55] Things might seem like everything is back on track in therapy, but it takes time for the hurt partner to not be reminded by the pain. Sometimes it gets worse before it gets better.  [19:15] Love becomes a big question mark after infidelity. It is not a given.  [20:25] If you’re going to cheat, tell your partner first. Do it in real-time, not after the fact.  [23:20] Michelle explains the benefits of getting the betrayed partner into a support group.  [29:20] The partner recovering from betrayal is left with a massive hole for which they can get their support. You need a safe base in this chaotic time in your life.  RESOURCES:  The Porn Panic: Is Porn a ‘Public Health Crisis’? Sex and Relationship Healing @RobWeissMSW Sex Addiction 101  Seeking Integrity Cruise Control: Understanding Sex Addiction in Gay Men  Prodependence: Moving Beyond Codependency Partner Hope  Center for Relational Recovery  michellemays@relationalrecovery.com Dr. Barbara Steffens QUOTES: “The person you usually turn to for safety is now the person that has hurt you.” “People who have been cheated on experience attachment ambivalence. The word ambivalence means to feel two opposing things at exactly the same time.” “It starts to feel like when I’m in a safe space, I get hurt. Betrayal really takes the safety out of that.” “Cheat all you want, but ask your partner first. It’s the lying, it’s the disconnection in the relationship. This will kill a relationship.”


28 Nov 2019

Rank #1

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Working with Betrayed Partners with Michelle Mays

Michelle Mays joins the podcast to talk about how the model of working with partners of addicts, her own story of partner betrayal and how it fueled her to make a positive impact in the field, her complex betrayal trauma model, and how partners that have been cheated on finding their way to healing themselves and find peace again. Michelle runs PartnerHope site and has an amazing treatment center of her own, the Center for Relational Recovery. TAKEAWAYS: [1:25] Michelle Mays received her Masters in Counseling in 2001 in Seattle, Washington where she then opened a private practice. In 2005 she crossed the country and moved back to Northern Virginia where she opened a private practice in Leesburg. One of Michelle’s passions is to educate and train other counselors to become excellent providers of care and healing for clients. In 2011 Michelle founded the Center for Relational Recovery, a counseling and training center focused on providing leading-edge treatment to sex addicts, partners of sex addicts, trauma survivors, and those struggling with relationship issues. [2:45] Michelle herself was in a relationship with someone that was a sex addict, so she had her own journey dealing with the hurt and struggle of getting help. She found that many people didn’t understand addiction treatment, and they minimized her confusion, pain, anger and distress. [8:23] When betrayed partners come in reeling from the pain of infidelity, they are in the middle of an unfolding trauma. Michelle realizes that it is a very visceral response, and it’s important for the therapist to realize they are seeing people in the middle of a crisis. [11:23] It’s important for therapists to notice their own stress levels and deal with them appropriately rather than trying to lessen someone’s pain due to their own internal feelings of overwhelm to a strong and emotional reaction. [13:13] Grief counselors know that people are blaming themselves and feeling a lot of remorse. Rob’s experience is that partners coming in who have just been betrayed also are experiencing grief, and therefore remorse. [14:51] Michelle has developed a model for working with complex betrayal trauma, which looks at three different components that bleed together. Attachment trauma affects the way your attachment system has been impacted by the betrayal, and how the healthy bond has been disrupted and impacted. When things are traumatic in the relationship, it deregulates the partner rather than providing a sense of safety. Emotional and psychological trauma which are the result of being lied to and being manipulated in your perception of reality. This creates doubt and is most definitely a form of abuse. Rob says the intention of the cheater is not to hurt their partner, in fact, they are not thinking about the other partner's emotions at all. They are trying to cover their own tracks, without much thought to anyone else’s feelings.   Sexual trauma ranges across the board and affects many facets of the partner’s identity and sexual confidence. [27:23] The betrayed partners must fully understand the depth of the betrayal, so they can know all the information, feel the pain and move on. Michelle says it takes at least a year for the betrayed partner to begin to feel like themselves again in the relationship. [27:48] When partners do detective work, they may find bits and pieces that hurt them more. It takes the other partner to sit down and tell them everything so they can get a full idea of what’s happening. [30:01] The more Michelle looks at research on attachment, the more she understands why such a high number of partners stay together after a betrayal. [30:30] On her website for betrayed partners, Partner Hope, Michelle has written about the shame that betrayed partners feel when deciding to stay. Our cultural story about leaving and never looking back is very different from the reality of what is happening. [33:11] At the Center for Relational Recovery, Michelle and her team treat the addict, partner and the relationship all at one time. RESOURCES Sex and Relationship Healing @RobWeissMSW Sex Addiction 101 Prodependence: Moving Beyond Codependency Partner Hope Center for Relational Recovery michellemays@relationalrecovery.com QUOTES: “There’s this idea that if your partner cheats on you and you’re female, you have either done something or not done something. This causes partners to internalize and feel an enormous amount of shame.” “When you have a partner coming in to your office, there is no post for them, they are usually mid-trauma.” “When people pair up in long-term relationships, they actually become one biological unit. You truly become an organism together.” “Most addicts and cheaters are caught in a dilemma because they have competing attachments, their partner and the cheating or affair partner.” “If you can’t bear to be sexual with your partner, there is something seriously wrong.” “Detective work and sleuthing is a way to have control over an out of control situation.”


2 Aug 2018

Rank #2

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Hold me Tight with Dr. Sue Johnson

Dr. Sue Johnson is profoundly known for her work on bonding, attachment and adult romantic relationships. She paved the way for much of the work being done now on attachment and intimacy, focused couples therapy, and her work changed the landscape of emotions based therapy. Today, she talks with Rob about EFT, Emotionally Focused Therapy, her best-selling book Hold Me Tight, and why EFT gives people hope, validation, and the connection necessary to heal themselves and possibly their wounded relationships. TAKEAWAYS: [3:04] Sue got a firsthand look at adult interaction as a young child working in her family’s pub. Through witnessing the many people night after night, she saw the power in vulnerability and compassion. This fascinated her and led her to work with distressed individuals, and ultimately distressed couples. [7:05] In a distressed couple, the conflict is just a symptom of the real problem — disconnection. [9:11] Much disconnection comes from one person pushing to be heard and the other partner shutting them out. Dr. Sue works with couples to move from the dance of automatic anger into vulnerability. [12:45] EFT, or Emotionally Focused Therapy, helps individuals and couples look at where they may be stuck in their emotions, fears and needs and then introduces the feeling of love and safety. Through this, bonding occurs and partners have what Dr. Sue refers to as “hold me tight” conversations. [14:05] When therapists first ask how a couple fell in love in therapy, it helps them remember that there once was a connection and may diffuse some of the initial anger. [18:57] EFT first gives people hope, then validation for feeling wounded. Their partner has to understand how their actions caused so much pain, and why their wounded partner now needs safety and predictability. [22:28] After a betrayal when the wounded partner is doing “detective work” they are usually not looking for a reason to leave, they are looking for a reason to stay. [27:03] Technology can drive us apart, or it can call for us to be more committed than ever to human connection. [29:01] Dr. Sue follows the Pro-dependence model, and knew there was something more than the codependence model after working in many clinics and large hospitals. [30:18] Dr. Sue’s work encourages people to get addicted to the natural good feelings that come when we reach out to others as a resource, and experience authentic connection. [33:31] The more we feel connected, the less we turn to behaviors that are addictive and destructive. RESOURCES: Sex and Relationship Healing @RobWeissMSW Sex Addiction 101 Cruise Control: Understanding Sex Addiction in Gay Men Prodependence: Moving Beyond Codependency Rob@sexandrelationshiphealing.com John Gottman Hold Me Tight Hold Me Tight Dr. Sue Johnson https://iceeft.com/ QUOTES: “We are all human beings that need closeness, connection and reassurance.” “You need to help your partner feel safe when you’ve wounded them.” “We need to help people connect. When they feel connected they don’t need to turn to addictions.” “Betrayed partners that do detective work aren’t usually looking for a reason to leave, they are looking for a reason to stay.”


28 Mar 2019

Rank #3

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Betrayal Trauma and Healing with Dr. Barbara Steffens

Dr. Barbara Steffens joins Rob to talk about betrayal trauma and her many extensive years of work within the field. She looks at addiction and infidelity through both the lens of the addict and the partner and works to normalize all parts of what occurs in the addiction and healing process. She and Rob discuss what betrayal trauma is, why some partners may decide to stay, and how they can eventually begin to possibly trust again. Dr. Steffens founded and is President of The Association of Partners of Sex Addicts Trauma Specialists, and helps clients and also therapists work with people experiencing profound trauma and betrayal. She is also the author of Your Sexually Addicted Spouse. TAKEAWAYS: [0:49] Dr. Barbara Steffens has been a specialist in sex addiction and partners of sex addiction since 1999. Her book Your Sexually Addicted Spouse is a lifeline to help partners cope and heal after betrayal trauma. [2:22] Often times people first associate a trauma with abuse, either physical or mental, but there is also a trauma that goes along with a betrayal within a relationship. When there is an expectation of trust, safety, and security that is violated, it can have a profound effect. [10:43] The partner acting out still can have love, attachment and a connection, but the quality of how deep their intimacy can actually be changes over time as they must compartmentalize in order to not feel too much guilt over their behavior. It’s an internal split for the addict, and hard for the partner to understand how the addict can say they love them and yet still betray their trust. [16:15] It is another betrayal when partners are not heard for what has just happened to them, and the addict may even blame some of their behavior on the spouse. [18:12] Dr. Steffens had to first go to the infidelity field to learn about betrayal trauma from the partner’s point of view, as the addict field just focused primarily on the needs of the addict. [19:32] While partners may not be able to trust the way they once did, they can develop an ability to trust the heart, intent and the behaviors they observe along with their own ability to detect lies and deceit. [23:01] Dr. Steffens tells partners that they did not make their partner cheat, and they don’t have the power over how someone else responds. She encourages them to work with their own emotions and speak their truth rather than prescribing a one size fits all protocol. [32:36] Partners sometimes stay with an addict when there is a relapse due to not wanting to ruin the stability and course of what they have built in their life. Dr. Steffens knows every partner has the choice to decide what is right for them, and takes the judgement away from those no matter what they deem tolerable. RESOURCES Sex and Relationship Healing @RobWeissMSW Sex Addiction 101 Prodependence: Moving Beyond Codependency Dr. Barbara Steffens Your Sexually Addicted Spouse Association of Partners of Sex Addicts Trauma Specialists https://twitter.com/APSATSOrg QUOTES: “The best thing that the field can do is really listen to the partner as an individual.” “Over time that ability to attach and connect when somebody is engaging in other behaviors has to loosen because so much of the attachment and attention goes to the addiction.” “There’s no intimacy when there are secrets.” “Traumatized people look messy because they are - their life has just exploded.” “Addicts can look very slick and together, even when they are not.” “The greatest gift we can give to partners when we are helping them is the ability for them to trust themselves again.” “There is no pain-free way to deal with this situation. It’s just what kind of pain and how true to yourself are you going to be.”


24 May 2018

Rank #4

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Rebuilding After Infidelity with Hope Ray

Hope Ray does amazing work in helping couples and individuals cope in the throes of a betrayal, and helps give them the opportunity to possibly even develop a higher quality of intimacy if they do decide to continue the relationship. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT), and a Certified Hope and Freedom Practitioner. Her experience has shown there is hope for healing even after the devastation of sexual secrets and infidelity. She and Rob talk about empathy for the partner, developing an intimacy radar and her intensive specialized programs to provide help in a great time of need. TAKEAWAYS: [0:54] Hope’s work is focused on working with couples one at a time in an intensive, specialized environment. [2:27] Hope seeks to take away some of the stigma of addiction, and help both the addict and their partner know that help is out there. [5:39] For the partner experiencing the betrayal and learning to what extent they have been misled, they are often caught between the desire to run away from the situation and their own hurt, and having empathy for their emotionally ill spouse who may need their support to get better. [10:08] Sex addicts typically develop characteristics of entitlement, narcissism, and dishonesty to cover up the guilt of acting out. [13:58] Addicts may be able to balance home and family life with their secret for a while, but will show up in a way that is disconnected and not fully present. [20:14] Rob and Hope support partners in their work by acknowledging their pain and not trivializing the trauma they are experiencing. Partners usually feel shame and guilt that they didn’t know what was happening, even if others around them were aware. [22:14] Hope encourages her clients to be able to detect low levels of intimacy, to express it to their partner and become aware of their own needs that constitute a healthy relationship. [32:14] Partners should be careful who they choose to talk to, individuals who can’t worsen the situation later by knowing the deep dark secrets of the situation. Both Hope and Rob suggest finding a professional in the field that specializes in sex and relationship healing. RESOURCES Sex and Relationship Healing @RobWeissMSW Sex Addiction 101 Hope Ray Therapy Hope and Freedom Intensive Dr. Patrick Carnes Dr. Ken Adams Prodependence: Moving Beyond Codependency QUOTES: “When we are living two separate lives, we develop a lot of poor character traits in order to keep these secrets.” “They may show up, but half the time they aren’t emotionally present.” ---(Rob said “they”, but in case you want to change it to addicts) “Partners are so misunderstood. It’s really important they don’t experience blame for their partner's sexual behavior in any way.” “I believe one of the greatest powers we can give partners is the ability to detect intimacy.” - Hope


17 May 2018

Rank #5

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Narcissism and Addiction with Dr. Rob

In this episode, Rob dives deep on an issue that concerns and confuses many people - narcissism and addiction. He talks about what it means to be narcissistic, the common misconceptions surrounding it, the continuum of healthy to harmful, how to spot a narcissist, what healing looks like for the condition, and how it relates with addiction. TAKEAWAYS: [1:27] Rob defines a narcissist as someone that tends to see the world mostly on their terms, and what they want matters more than what others want. Narcissists will act in ways that lack empathy, consideration, and awareness to get what they want, and say and do things that hurt, disappoint others just to meet their own needs. [2:41] Narcissism is on a scale, and some of the traits on the continuum such as self-assuredness and self-confidence are healthy. It shifts towards problematic and pathological when other people don’t exist for that person, and when everyone is simply a reflection of how they can get their desires and needs realized. [5:51] There is a genetic predisposition towards this type of personality, and some may have self obsessive traits from birth. Others may develop traits after experiencing trauma, and just being an addict by definition is acting in a narcissistic manner. [7:16] To be an active addict, that means that nothing else is more important than your needs and your wants. [10:13] In recovery, addicts must look at their demanding and self serving behavior, and often shame, immaturity and low self esteem is uncovered deep down inside. [12:09] There is no better recovery from trauma than deeply connecting with people in helpful ways and being a part of the human network without expecting and demanding. [12:54] In his many years of work and dealing with hundreds of people, Rob has seen many addicts with narcissistic tendencies and wounding, but very few full blown true personality disorders. [15:55] The child who learns that they need to soothe and comfort themselves is not a child who learns that others will be there to comfort and listen when they need it most. [17:53] Signs that a narcissist is healing includes them showing up on time, considering the feelings of others, taking accountability and ownership for their behaviors.   [21:50] One of the advantages of a narcissist in recovery is that they want to see themselves in the best light, and will want to work on giving their partner and loved ones what they need with truth and empathy. [24:16] The development of shame in a narcissist has to do with needs consistently not getting met in childhood. [25:39] Narcissists lack empathy but have remorse, which gives a foothold to healing. Sociopaths lack empathy and remorse and are not deeply connected enough to others to feel bad about their behavior to others. [28:09] Most narcissists aren’t consciously trying to take advantage of people, and oftentime take the opportunity to grow and learn. [28:39] There are both biological and cultural reasons for narcissism. Narcissistic men tend to get more dates, and have more sex. RESOURCES Sex and Relationship Healing @RobWeissMSW Sex Addiction 101 Cruise Control: Understanding Sex Addiction in Gay Men Prodependence: Moving Beyond Codependency Rob@sexandrelationshiphealing.com The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout QUOTES: “Healthy narcissism is a good thing. Unhealthy narcissism is when the belief in yourself turns into entitlement.” “True narcissists won’t understand why what they said upsets you, or why what they did is bothering you.” “People with narcissistic traits often are the risk takers, or do the impossible things to become known and seen.” “Any addict in full bloom of their addiction looks exactly like a narcissist.” “To look at your addiction, is to look at your narcissism.” “Empathy is what defines the healing for narcissism.” “Narcissism is a great thing - if you are four years old.”


29 Nov 2018

Rank #6

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Focusing on the Partner with Marnie Breecker

Finding out your partner is a sex addict and that everything you have believed to be previously true is a lie can be devastating, traumatic and isolating to say the least. Often times most partners are embarrassed and shameful, thinking they did something to cause the addict’s bad behavior. Today our special guest, Marnie Breecker, explains more on the partner’s point of view. Marnie is a Psychotherapist, Marriage and Family Counselor, Certified Sex Addiction Therapist, Certified Clinical Partners Specialist, and Founder and Clinical Director for the Center of Relational Healing. She talks with Rob about the typical emotional patterns she sees in both parties when dealing with sex addiction, how she helps them get help, and why specialized treatment is so important. TAKEAWAYS: [2:02] Anger, shock, confusion and an overall crisis in all areas of life. Usually, the anger is directed at first towards their partner, and then as the situation unfolds the anger also spreads to their partner’s family and friends that knew their partner was acting out. [4:39] The partner usually has a conflict where they want to help the person they love, but their own anger and fear creates a barrier. [10:48] After the initial stabilization of help, the partner’s anger surfaces not only in regards to the event(s) of addiction but the fact that they feel all of the attention and support has gone to the person with the addiction. [13:30] Working with partners is often seen as a daunting task for therapists. They usually are a sign of acting crazy or unbalanced, but really this is a human that is in the midst of an actual trauma and has usually been denied their own intuition. [21:19] When you are living a lie as an addict, you have the control when you get to decide what truth your partner hears. One of the hardest thing for the addict to realize is that once the spouse uncovers the truth, they are in control. [23:28] Specialized treatment is so important to discern whether someone is an addict and to delineate what type of treatment is appropriate. [28:40] When a couple comes in dealing with sex addiction and/or confidentiality, the first thing Marnie does is assess what measures must be taken for their physical safety. Next, she helps the partner try to find a community of support to deal with their own trauma of the unfortunate outside circumstance. RESOURCES Sex and Relationship Healing @RobWeissMSW Sex Addiction 101 The Center for Relational Healing Marnie Breecker


10 May 2018

Rank #7

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Betrayal Trauma with Tim Stein

Tim Stein is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Certified Sex Addiction Therapist, engaged in helping couples find the love they are meant to have. Tim is the co-founder of Willow Tree Counseling in Santa Rosa, and works with sex addicts and their partners providing individual, group, and couples therapy. Tim is a bright and rising star in the field of sex addiction, and speaks about the expected betrayed partner responses, along with the honesty that must be present in order for true healing and recovery to occur.  TAKEAWAYS: [3:19] Tim co-founded Willow Tree Counseling in Santa Rosa, and this gives an opportunity to people on the central coast of California a place to go during this time of trauma and recovery.  [5:32] Tim understood addict recovery, and got to understand the trauma betrayed partners really went through after working with a colleague. This folded into the partners sensitivity movement, which also goes along with the idea of Prodependence.  [7:38] When a partner is betrayed, there are certain “predictable unpredictable” behaviors and responses. This individual has just had their bottom fall out beneath them, and also may have felt denied of their intuition and devalued for quite some time.  [11:04] Even before a cheating partner is caught, chances are their energy is less than completely loving and connected with their partner. They may start to be even more forgetful, cold or distant, and may be resentful towards their partner to try and justify their bad behavior.  [16:10] Partners can pick up on this energy can have autoimmune or libido issues before the cheating is out in the open. They can pick up on the possible shame and guilt the addict feels, and these cues can cause real physical and emotional symptoms.  [19:02] It’s not a comfortable thing to admit struggle and vulnerability, and even tougher when the addict is in recovery. However, it is part of the important process of building back true trust with their partner and loved ones.  [23:05] Most of the relationships that Tim sees fail occur when the addict isn’t able to do the rigorous work of total honesty and disclosure to make their partner feel safe and understood.  RESOURCES:  Sex and Relationship Healing @RobWeissMSW Sex Addiction 101  Cruise Control: Understanding Sex Addiction in Gay Men  Prodependence: Moving Beyond Codependency Rob@sexandrelationshiphealing.com Seeking Integrity Tim Stein MFT  Willow Tree Santa Rosa  Out of the Dog House  QUOTES: “It’s hard to love someone and hurt them at the same time.”  “Every lie is going to be seen as an example about how you are probably lying about everything.”  “It’s not a comfortable thing to admit struggle and vulnerability.” 


4 Jul 2019

Rank #8

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When Does Cheating End a Relationship? With Dr. Jennifer Schneider

Dr. Jennifer Schneider, M.D., PhD, is a nationally recognized expert in addictive sexual disorders and in the management of chronic pain with opioids, an area that certainly needs more exposure. She joins the show to talk about what happens when a betrayed partner feels as though they want to end the relationship and a few real-life examples of why someone may want to leave for good. She gives her own personal experience with the subject and discusses the personal growth that needs to occur in order for someone to walk away. She and Rob also discuss the books they have written together, the importance of support groups, and resources for betrayed partners experiencing trauma.  TAKEAWAYS: [1:57] Dr. Schneider is the author of 15 books and numerous articles in professional journals. She and Rob also have written two together, including Closer Together, Further Apart and Always Turned On. [4:00] Dr. Schneider was a betrayed partner herself and discusses the self confidence and awareness she developed to get clarity and realize she was ready to leave the situation.  [5:26] Betrayed partners need support, and they have to be okay with the independence and inner work that comes with leaving a situation that no longer serves them.  [13:15] The partner that acted out may have a totally different story after recovery than while they are in a mode of lying and cheating. It is possible that partners will find out later that there are even more lies than they thought, and they have to decide whether they want to stick around to make that distinction or not.  [15:48] Dr. Schneider found that things shifted for her own personal relationship once she was able to understand the patterns and behavior of her then husband. She took a first step by going to Al-Anon, and began to get the skills and self esteem to build up her own self confidence.  [18:10] There is power in support from others. Dr. Schneider has found it very beneficial to attend support groups and found the benefits one of the biggest gifts in healing. [21:55] Betrayed partners are going through a major trauma, but Dr. Schneider doesn’t see them as solely a victim.  [24:02] By healing our own wounds we become less needy and vulnerable, and are able to make better decisions intellectually about love.  RESOURCES:  Sex and Relationship Healing @RobWeissMSW Sex Addiction 101  Cruise Control: Understanding Sex Addiction in Gay Men  Prodependence: Moving Beyond Codependency Rob@sexandrelationshiphealing.com Back from Betrayal  Sex, Lies, and Forgiveness Closer Together, Further Apart Always Turned On Al-Anon Jennifer Schneider  QUOTES: “The answer comes from who you are, and what you want from life and yourself.”  “As long as it’s too fearful to end the relationship, you will stay and make excuses.”  “All of our needs come up when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable.” 


22 Aug 2019

Rank #9

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What Men Caught Cheating Need To Know with Dr. Rob and Tami

This week, Rob is joined this week by his compadre and sidekick, Tami VerHelst. They discuss a topic and challenge that comes up so often that it inspired Rob’s book, Out of the Doghouse: A Step-By-Step Relationship-Saving Guide for Men Caught Cheating. Rob shares how he wrote a book to help men, but knew that the women in their lives would purchase (and possibly throw at them). Rob and Tami also discuss cheating in the digital age, what men typically do that makes the situation worse, and some steps that will actually heal relationships. TAKEAWAYS: [3:58] Men tend to be problem solvers, and jump in and offer solutions right off the bat. What struck Rob is that the problem of infidelity and betrayal is one they aren’t so good at, and tend to solve it with gifts, and get impatient when that doesn’t work. [5:50] The title from Out of the Doghouse came from the concept of a video where a woman gets an unwanted vacuum as a gift, and banishes her husband to the doghouse. There, he meets other men guilty of similarly heinous crimes, and they conspire on how to get a reprieve and return back to normal life. [6:32] Women buy 95% of all self help books. [7:49] Rob redefines infidelity in the digital age as the keeping of profound secrets in relationships. What tends to break people’s hearts is not that their partner had sex with someone else, but that they were lied to, deceived, or that details were omitted. [12:01] Men are more able to compartmentalize, and women tend to be more holistic thinkers. They may see a one night stand or even an affair as something that has nothing to do with their primary relationship, whereas their partner will be devastated and hurt. [14:03] Tami gets many emails and messages of women catching their partner with another male. It doesn’t matter who or what gender the betrayal is with, infidelity still hurts and can destroy their relationship. [16:11] The worst thing a man can do is blame their woman or partner for their cheating or need to step out of the relationship. The man must take responsibility for their actions, and the outcome of their decision. [17:50] Other things men do after a betrayal that don’t work: asking for forgiveness shortly after while the pain is still raw, giving gifts and financial demonstrations of love, continuing to cheat, blaming their partner for their anger. [21:12] A few steps from Out of the Doghouse that are proven steps towards repairing a relationship: men must have empathy for their betrayed partner, and display an understanding that they have caused the pain. Men should actively disclose the general details to their partner, but make sure it is in a professionally supportive environment. [26:05] It is important for men to be sure they want to stay in their relationship, and are sincere about staying before they jump into all of the healing work. RESOURCES Sex and Relationship Healing @RobWeissMSW Sex Addiction 101 Cruise Control: Understanding Sex Addiction in Gay Men Prodependence: Moving Beyond Codependency Rob@sexandrelationshiphealing.com Out of the Doghouse: A Step-By-Step Relationship-Saving Guide for Men Caught Cheating Beware of the Doghouse Out of the Doghouse for Christian Men QUOTES: “Men just don’t seem to be particularly good at healing a betrayal wound with a spouse.” “It’s important to understand that it’s what is agreed upon in the relationship, and that it is the deceit that undermines the relationship.” - Tami “Cheating is the keeping of profound secrets in an intimate relationship.” “The most devastating thing you can do to your partner is blame them for your cheating.” “If you’ve been caught cheating, put everything on the table.”


15 Nov 2018

Rank #10

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The Difference Between Addiction and Physical Dependence with Dr. Jennifer Schneider, M.D., PhD

Dr. Jennifer Schneider, M.D., PhD, is a nationally recognized author and expert in both the management of chronic pain with opioids and in addictive sexual disorders. She returns to the show to talk about the important topic of the difference between addiction and physical dependence, and what each experience looks like in terms of diagnosis and treatment. Dr. Schneider also talks about what physical dependence is, the signs of addiction, and why the two continue to get confused. Dr. Schneider and Rob also discuss how we can manage situations as consumers truly looking for effective pain management, and provide resources where people can learn more and reach out for further help.   TAKEAWAYS: [4:53] Dr. Schneider defines physical dependence as the drug-producing a change in your body as a response to no longer taking the drug.  [6:48] When you stop taking a drug suddenly, you will not only experience withdrawal symptoms resulting from your physical dependence, but you will likely also resume the symptoms responsible for taking the medication in the first place.  [8:20] Opioids have two different effects. One is that they cause physical dependence, or your body’s response of adapting to them. The other is they cause addiction.  [9:55] There is a misunderstanding when using the term “chemically dependent” and referring only to an addict. Physical dependency happens to everyone that is on an opioid after a few days, and the body adjusts to the prescribed dosage.  [13:42] Dr. Schneider categorizes addiction into these following descriptions:  The loss of control and inability to stop, or to use the medication as prescribed.  Continuation to use despite significant and adverse consequences.  Preoccupation with use of the drugs.  [19:48] Although it is harder than ever to get a prescription for opioids to manage pain, the drug-related overdose deaths are at an all-time high. This is for many reasons, one being that now people are starting to get their drugs on the street, leading to them taking drugs that could be mixed with dangerous and even lethal substances.  [22:14] There have also been some findings that opioids may treat depression and anxiety, and people may find themselves feeling better not only because their pain is treated, but their mood may be better than ever.  [26:10] Tolerance is still a concept that there is much misunderstanding about. With opioids, some side effects people develop a tolerance to, and some people continue to have the same effects. Dr. Schneider shares a personal story on how pain isn’t the same due to the disease progression, not the opioids.  RESOURCES:  Sex and Relationship Healing @RobWeissMSW Sex Addiction 101  Cruise Control: Understanding Sex Addiction in Gay Men  Prodependence: Moving Beyond Codependency Rob@sexandrelationshiphealing.com Back from Betrayal  Closer Together Further Apart Always Turned On  Jennifer Schneider  The 5 Most Misunderstood Terms in Pain Medicine QUOTES: “There’s been confusion about the word ‘dependent’.”  “We need to avoid the word ‘dependent’ because it’s good to rely on a medication that can save your life.”  “Addiction is about behavior.”  “There are people who are in genuine pain and now the response is ‘You are just going to have to deal with it’.” 


26 Sep 2019

Rank #11

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Managing Relationship Heartbreak with Terri Real

Terry Real offers workshops for couples, individuals, and parents around the country along with professional training of the Relational Life Therapy method for clinicians through his Relational Life Institute. He also is the best-selling author of I Don’t Want To Talk About It, Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression, and his new book The New Rules of Marriage is out now. Today, he chose the topic of healing betrayal, the added challenges that addiction brings in to the situation, and the roadblocks that must be moved in order for real healing and change, and possibly even a transformed relationship better than it was before.   TAKEAWAYS: [2:43] In order for it to count as infidelity, there needs to be two elements: a violation of contract and trust, and deceit. [5:14] The partner usually has two questions: how can you do this, and how can I know you won’t do this again? [5:47] The three phases that generally occur when coming back from infidelity: The Acute Phase - the partner is in a true state of trauma, blind fury, crisis, and shame. Everything they believe to be true has been pulled out from underneath them. The partner that has acted out needs to come clean, step up, and end all of whatever the involvements are. The Understanding Phase - what did the infidelity do to the betrayed partner, and what it meant for the betrayer. This is the phase where we assess the relationship, and look for narcissistic character traits that may have overridden loyalty and trust. Recommitment and Transformation - fix and transform the characters, and look at changing accommodation patterns there may be in the hurt partner and a realistic look at the relationship in all it’s positives and negatives. [11:38] Reassuring behavior will help to regain trust, and the need for it differs couple by couple. [19:42] The harmony phase is the innocent “love without knowledge” phase, the “knowledge without love” phase is the dissolution phase, which then flows into experienced love where you know what is at stake, but it is an informed choice to stay. [26:40] The same type of narcissism that gets the partner to betray in the first place, also keeps them from successfully being accountable and trustworthy to their partner in the healing stage. [29:44] Personal empowerment is based in individual power, and relational empowerment is to bring your full strength into the relationship. RESOURCES: Sex and Relationship Healing @RobWeissMSW Sex Addiction 101 Cruise Control: Understanding Sex Addiction in Gay Men Prodependence: Moving Beyond Codependency Rob@sexandrelationshiphealing.com Terry Real The New Rules of Marriage I Don’t Want to Talk About It How Can I Get Through To You The Golden Bowl Beyonce Lemonade Sex and the City QUOTES: “Trauma sweeps away the underlying beliefs that you don’t think about.” “There is a bit of Tiger Wood’s spouse in all of us.” “You have to ask them, why they wouldn’t cheat?” “Wholeness and connection feels better than the lack of wholeness and connection.” “I don’t like the word forgiveness.” “The unfaithful partner needs to get it and really move into empathy and remorse.” “Most couples that I work with do not go back to the same relationship, they go back to a better one.”


17 Jan 2019

Rank #12

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Addiction Treatment: What We Do and Why We Do It

It’s a solo show today as Rob discusses treatment and the crucial healing elements that must be in place when working with addicts. He talks about his experience running the Seeking Integrity treatment center for over 25 years, and how groups can model the closeness and connection that addicts may miss in their upbringing. He also discusses the role of integrity, and how addiction is not an excuse for bad behavior but rather an indicator that one is struggling with issues and trying to work on them. TAKEAWAYS: [1:58] Often times someone will say they are entering themselves in a treatment center for one reason, but first we have to really understand why they are coming in. While being a better person is certainly an appropriate goal, it’s really about having integrity and living in a way that doesn’t harm yourself or someone else. Integrity is so important to healing, that is why Rob named his treatment center Seeking Integrity.  [4:05] Addicts are usually unable to get their needs met in healthy and positive ways, and this leads to them living a separate and compartmentalized life, and getting what they want through manipulative behavior. Healing will begin as they start to take care of their own emotional needs and the needs of others instead of slipping into behavior that allows them to disappear into fantasy.  [8:33] Many addicts did not have a model for healthy families or intimacy from their own family while growing up. Understanding that this would cause trauma is called Trauma Informed Treatment. Therapists will understand they have a deep and enduring problem with intimacy and closeness and perhaps are using drugs as an escape.  [11:26] Trauma is not an excuse, it is an opportunity to honor and acknowledge triggers and emotional touch points that keep us disconnected and separated from true intimacy and connection.  [14:33] One of the most important elements of healing is relationships. Groups and programs can give addicts the kind of family experience they never had growing up, and for the first time ever they can learn to depend on other people.  [25:02] If treatment is done right, the clients will get a deep sense that people can be there for them and still give them support.  [29:08] Integrity comes from integration and bringing separate parts together into a whole. Recovery is about not having anything to hide.  RESOURCES:  Sex and Relationship Healing @RobWeissMSW Sex Addiction 101  Cruise Control: Understanding Sex Addiction in Gay Men  Prodependence: Moving Beyond Codependency Rob@sexandrelationshiphealing.com Seeking Integrity QUOTES: “The primary problem is not sexual addiction or drug use — that’s the symptom.” “Groups bring isolated people together in a place to talk about painful topics and get support — that’s almost like a healthy family.” “If you put me in the right environment with the right support — I will get better.” “You don’t recover alone.” “Being an addict is not an excuse, it’s a responsibility.” “In order to receive love you have to live a life of integrity.”


27 Jun 2019

Rank #13

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The Human Magnet Syndrome with Ross Rosenberg

Ross Rosenberg, psychotherapist, international speaker, author, and professional trainer joins the show today to talk with Rob about codependency, narcissism, and sex addiction. Ross explains his model of self-love deficiency disorder and talks about the work that he is doing at his Self Love Recovery Institute and with his Human Magnet Syndrome books. They also discuss what Ross defines as the core of codependency, the dance of SLDD and narcissism, the difference in getting help for women and men, and resources of how someone can begin to move from self-love deficiency to self-love abundance. TAKEAWAYS: [1:25] Ross Rosenberg is a psychotherapist, an international speaker and best selling author. He is a professional trainer who is considered an expert in the field of narcissism, trauma, codependency, and narcissistic abuse. His Human Magnet Syndrome has sold over 70,000 copies. [5:25] Ross explains that codependency is really a problem with self love deficiency that traces back to early childhood trauma, core shame, and the addiction that one has that drives them into unhealthy relationships. The first step is to meet them where they are at, and affirm their experience in a way that resonates. [7:40] Codependency is a symptom that will repeat itself, and Ross helps his clients understand that they are both the victim for what happened to them, along with responsible for their treatment and future. [9:30] The “human magnet syndrome” is an unconscious dynamic that plays out no matter how much we desire to change our choices. Once one acknowledges it and heals to experience self love and hope, the true change of relationships can begin. [12:29] Codependence has never been a diagnosis, and both Rob and Ross are finding strength based ways of healing rather than looking at our deficits and negative parts. [19:23] The rules are changing on how information and help is accessible for people that may typically not have abundant resources. Ross and Rob both give out a wide amount of information for free or low cost on podcasts, webinars and YouTube videos. [19:59] Although Ross sees females as 75% of who gets help as an SLDD, it really is more like 55% women and 45% men. It is exponentially harder and more shameful in our society for a man to admit and seek help for neglect, abuse and gaslighting in his relationship. [24:19] Dependency is a good thing, and it is our nature and part of the human condition to long for connection and partnership. [25:53] SLDD is an addiction, and the pain of being alone connects them to the core shame, that connects them to the pain as a child. They find a person that fits them best, which is most often a pathological narcissist or someone equally unavailable, such as an addict.   [26:37] Ross’s 4 Categories of Pathological Narcissists: Borderline Antisocial Personality Disorder Addict RESOURCES: Sex and Relationship Healing @RobWeissMSW Sex Addiction 101 Cruise Control: Understanding Sex Addiction in Gay Men Prodependence: Moving Beyond Codependency Rob@sexandrelationshiphealing.com Self-Love Recovery Institute Human Magnet Syndrome Ross Rosenberg YouTube QUOTES: “People must understand the problem for what it really is, not what people have told them it is, or what they have been believing it is.” “It’s not a problem of bad decisions or bad thinking, it’s a problem of self love that is anchored in core shame, a fear of pathological loneliness and a powerful addiction.” “I don’t give people easy solutions, I give them the truth.” “We repeat patterns in which we get to the original template of which our relationships began.” “It’s much harder, and the shame is deeper for a man.” “The person with self love deficit disorder does not know what to do with a healthy person.” “Once the person solves the problem that keeps them from loving themselves, they will finally get what they deserve - someone who can love, respect and care for them.”


27 Dec 2018

Rank #14

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Addicted to Internet Porn with Noah Church

Noah Church is an expert, recovery coach, speaker and author of Wack: Addicted to Internet Porn,  and evolution of the porn addiction treatment world. Today, he talks about the difference between addiction and dysfunction, his own personal experience and struggle with porn addiction, the ways porn and sex addiction differ, and what he is doing to make a difference. TAKEAWAYS: [2:12] Noah himself began using porn at age 9. At 24, he realized how much of a negative impact his porn use had on the rest of his life, and knew he had to seek help and change things around. [3:41] In both porn and sex addiction, there is a stigma to fight, and people that need support. In sex addiction, Rob has seen a deep early trauma, and a pervasive intimacy disorder that affects their dating life and general ability to function in any sort of healthy relationship. [5:51] Noah has the perspective of someone that both has gone through porn addiction, and someone that helps others recover in their own struggles. [9:25] When Noah was 18 and in his first long term relationship, he experienced difficulty with sexual intimacy and what he would later learn to be was porn induced erectile dysfunction. The pattern repeated up until Noah had graduated from college, and he confronted the issue and recognized it was something he needed to leave behind. [16:53] It was when Noah watched Gary Wilson’s TEDx talk on “The great porn experiment” that he began an understanding of recovery and a light at the end of the tunnel. He began sharing his experience online, and even shared his experiences with his romantic partner. [21:54] If you were exposed to porn in an excessive way before puberty, it’s going to cause damage. Fetishes typically develop around ages 9-11. [25:25] Noah sees a blurry middle between a sex addict and a porn addict. Some of his clients have a primary porn addiction which has escalated into engaging in destructive sexual behavior, and some have never had sex. [28:12] Virtual Reality porn will present a whole new host of issues and challenges in both porn and sex addiction. While VR may be more addictive than the state of porn now, we will have to wait and see how it affects real life intimacy. [32:37] Only 20 states in the nation offer sex education, and of those 20 states, 12 require parental permission. RESOURCES Sex and Relationship Healing @RobWeissMSW Sex Addiction 101 Cruise Control: Understanding Sex Addiction in Gay Men Prodependence: Moving Beyond Codependency Wack: Addicted to Internet Porn by Noah B.E. Church The great porn experiment | Gary Wilson | TEDxGlasgow Your Brain Rebalanced Addicted to Internet Porn QUOTES: “Over time, curiosity became compulsion, and it began to replace my drive to actually connect with the people in my life.” “I didn’t have any trauma that led me to pornography, but the pornography led me to trauma.” “It’s not about what you are looking at or how often, it’s about how it’s affecting your life as a whole.” “Addiction thrives in isolation and secrecy. It feels good to break down those walls.”


11 Oct 2018

Rank #15

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Addiction, Impulsivity, and the Commitment to Change with Paula Hall

Since Paula Hall’s work in the field began over 15 years ago, she has seen many shifts in the way we treat and educate surrounding sexual addiction and sexual impulsivity. She is now a leader, and between her own work at The Laurel Centre, her 9 published books and her team of 20 people in growing locations, she is a voice for change and empathy for both men and women struggling with addiction. She talks today about the difference in approach that the UK has towards addiction, gives a sneak peek into her upcoming book Sex Addiction: A Guide for Couples, and what she sees for the future of giving individuals and couples hope and direction. TAKEAWAYS: [2:09] At a time when she was working in private practice, Paula attended a sex therapy conference and saw there were just a handful of speakers on the subject. Once she saw it was being recognized as an addiction with pragmatic relapse strategies and recovery work, it made sense to apply this model. Since she was familiar in working with the model of drug addiction, she decided to further her training in sexual addiction. [4:08] It took Paula four years to get her first book published, as every publisher she went to said there was no market in sex addiction. [7:55] The US and UK come from different directions in the field of sexual addiction. Awareness of sexual compulsivity and addiction came in America through the lens of addiction. In England, the concept came out of sexology, where sex in all of it’s non offensive forms are considered healthy and normative. In the UK, the 12 Steps are used in chemical addiction treatment, but not heavily for sexual addiction treatment and recovery. [10:56] To Rob, the word “addiction” means access to a lifelong resource of free support, examples of recovery and shame reduction. If we de-stigmatize addiction and the connotations that the 12 Steps must be done in accordance with religion, that may help the negative associations that go along with the treatment. [14:15] In Europe they are more liberal in certain ways, but when you have more choice it brings more responsibility. The challenge Paula sees is one of seeing moderation as prudish and limiting. [16:38] Writing Sex Addiction: The Guide for Couples was the hardest book Paula has ever written, primarily because working with couples is a multi layered and complex experience. There are two people with different perspectives and fractured agenda on the past, present and future. Paula reminds us there are some things you can not compromise on - two examples are values and children. [22:04] Paula uses the metaphor of a ship that has been hit by a tidal wave to describe what happens to couples when there is a betrayal or sex addiction All crew members must scramble to safety, and drag the relationship back to the harbor to assess the damage without creating any more damage. Then, it is hard work and dedication to get every aspect of intimacy back, building it up from the ground floor. RESOURCES Sex and Relationship Healing @RobWeissMSW Sex Addiction 101 Cruise Control: Understanding Sex Addiction in Gay Men Prodependence: Moving Beyond Codependency Understanding and Treating Sex Addiction: A comprehensive guide for people who struggle with sex addiction and those who want to help them by Paula Hall Sex Addiction and the Partners Perspective A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding and Surviving Sex Addiction For Partners and Those Who Want to Help Them by Paula Hall We Need to Talk About Sex Addiction - TEDx The Laurel Center QUOTES: “Conservatism and moral issues in American culture make it so much easier to pathologize or call things sex addiction that aren’t”.  - R “In the UK we aren’t pathologizing sexual diversity, because most of us are trained in it.” “Couples work has been the hardest work I have ever done. There is nothing like the couple with sex addiction.” “If you do really good work as a therapist, you are no longer needed.” “Quite literally, often times one partner finds a freedom at a the cost of their partner.”


20 Sep 2018

Rank #16

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Not Living The Life That We Want to Live — Sex Addiction Recovery with Jason Swilling

Jason Swilling is the Program Manager at Seeking Integrity and works alongside addicts at the treatment center. He is on the ground working one-on-one with individuals seeking recovery from sex addiction and shares his experiences with Dr. Rob on today’s episode. How is a treatment center different than a support group? Does drug addiction differ from sex addiction? All these questions answered and more!  TAKEAWAYS: [2:35] Jason has worked with addicts in some form for over 20 years.  [3:35] Is there a difference between patients who are recovering from sex addiction vs. drug addiction? [4:55] Older patients take recovery much more seriously than a 25-year-old in recovery because they have established a stable home life and they are completely scared to lose everything.  [7:15] What’s the difference between going through a treatment center vs. a support group?  [11:55] Jason explains the differences between people who experience guilt vs. self-hatred for their actions. [15:15] There’s something magical about treatment where everyone develops a very strong bond within a short amount of time.  [16:35] The body will heal if you put it in the right circumstances.  [18:30] In this therapeutic environment, the first thing people learn is how to be intimate in this safe environment.   [21:05] When people go through treatment, their hearts begin to open up for the very first time.  [23:20] How does spiritual work help with recovery?  [27:15] By hearing each other’s stories, people going through recovery are able to grieve and really reflect on their own journeys and decisions that they’ve made.  [31:35] Jason shares a story of a man feeling comfortable enough to reveal a trauma that he has held on to (and never told anyone) for 50 years.  [33:25] The goal at Seeking Integrity is to develop healthy lives without shame or guilt.   RESOURCES:  The Porn Panic: Is Porn a ‘Public Health Crisis’? Sex and Relationship Healing @RobWeissMSW Sex Addiction 101  Seeking Integrity Cruise Control: Understanding Sex Addiction in Gay Men  Prodependence: Moving Beyond Codependency QUOTES: “The opposite of addiction is connection.” “The person who is sharing realizes they’re not alone whereas when we’re isolated in our addiction we do feel like we’re alone.” “Our body seeks to heal. The body will heal if you put it in the right circumstances.” “As an addict, in our addiction, we have this lack of intimacy, this inability to be intimate with others. We have to hide.”


26 Dec 2019

Rank #17

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The Paradox of Intimacy and Hurt with Dr. Leon Seltzer

Dr. Leon Seltzer joins the show today to speak about his work in intimate relationships, early wounding and healing, and the paradoxical relationship of intimacy and independence. He and Rob also discuss how defensive behavior and betrayal mirrors the world of addiction and the role that a family attachment bond later has on picking relationship partners. Dr. Seltzer describes the qualities he sees in couples able to work their way through great difficulties, and what seems to be missing in those unable to overcome betrayal. TAKEAWAYS: [1:07] Dr. Leon Seltzer has two doctorates, one in English, and the second in Psychology. He is also a prolific blogger for Psychology Today, and has written over 400 articles for the website which have resulted in over 30 million views. [3:24] Those that grew up without a secure attachment bond to their family may have a tougher time trusting their partner. When people aren’t secure within themselves, they are in self protection mode rather than truly able to feel vulnerable. [6:09] A child needs to feel that they can be themselves in their relationship, and yet secure enough to go out on their own and develop self confidence without their parents. [9:49] In order for people to really know us and connect with us on an authentic level, we must pursue an intimate relationship that also includes us being independent. The paradox is that to be completely intimate, we must be able to be independent. [12:03] We want to give the wounded partners time and space to feel angry, hurt, and betrayed, but if they decide to stay in the relationship there is a certain point where the punishing becomes detrimental to moving forward and healing. [15:13] Emotional resourcefulness, empathy without shaming, and ability to express vulnerability are key traits that Dr. Seltzer sees in couples that are able to work through betrayal. The partner acting out must recognize how their behavior has hurt their partner. They also must endure guilt deep enough that they really get how much harm they have done to the other person, so much so that it is unthinkable to do it again. [18:54] If the acting out is due to fear, the partner acting out must learn ways to make them feel less ashamed without going back into the addictive process. [21:08] A large part of betrayed partners healing is recognizing their own behaviors that may be in place to distract or disengage from their own emotions, and to have more compassion for avoidance and defensive behaviors. [25:36] It is common for couples dealing with infidelity to be so focused on the betrayal that they miss opportunities for growth and connection beyond the hurt. You can never get trust back fully right away, rather by degrees in a process that takes time. RESOURCES: Sex and Relationship Healing @RobWeissMSW Sex Addiction 101 Cruise Control: Understanding Sex Addiction in Gay Men Prodependence: Moving Beyond Codependency Rob@sexandrelationshiphealing.com Paradoxical Strategies in Psychotherapy Evolution of the Self Psychology Today: Leon Seltzer QUOTES: “All intimate relationships are going to be challenging. To have an intimate relationship, you have to be willing to both trust the other person and make yourself vulnerable.” “We all have the innate drive to influence others. That can’t happen unless people can confide in us, without feeling us sitting in judgement of them.” “It’s synonymous to be authentic in your relationship with others, and to be courageous enough to be vulnerable in your relationship with others.” “To have an intimate relationship with another person, you need to feel independent from them.” “Addiction thrives in isolation.” “We live in a world where we can trust only ourselves, or we can trust others.”


24 Jan 2019

Rank #18

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About Disclosure with Mari Lee

Mari Lee is an author of best-selling books Facing Heartbreak and Healing Betrayal, speaker, and LMFT, a Sex Addiction Therapist, Specialist, and Supervisor. She also is the founder of Growth Counseling Services and Shine Women’s Retreat. She talks with Rob about what it is like to be a woman in her job working with both partners and addicts healing from betrayal, and how she helps her clients feel heard, resources for hope and healing, and why she loves working with addicts. TAKEAWAYS: [2:37] Mari didn’t always want to work with sex addicts. When she came into the work, her passion was about supporting traumatized partners. There wasn’t a lot of support or knowledge about working with betrayed partners, and much of it was based in codependency rather than prodependence. [4:31] Mari began to understand that the choices the addict was making had little to nothing to do with their partner. [7:25] Mari does a lot of psychoeducation with her clients about what is going on in the limbic and nervous systems. [8:55] If a partner grows up in an environment where there is shaming and much negativity, hiding and deceit become coping mechanisms and they develop a core belief that they are unloveable. Their actions then reinforce that behavior, and they need to first get help for the relationship they have with themselves. [13:18] It is often more difficult for the partner who has to look at their spouse as troubled because they want to have empathy but they are so hurt, shocked and angry. [16:45] The disclosure process, or “clinical formal disclosure” can be a very painful and traumatic time. This is a very thorough process where the addict and partner agree to come into a sacred healing space to disclose all the betrayals and hidden secrets. [17:43] Over time, a partner that is being gaslighted feels fear, obligation, and guilt. One of the most healing tools is for the addict to work with a therapist and give their partner full disclosure and truth, and the power to decide if they want to continue the relationship. [26:45] Mari wrote Facing Heartbreak for partners who can’t afford to see a therapist, or are unable to see one due to logistics, insurance or financial means. [30:14] Mari refers to her clients as survivors and thrive-rs. They may be scared at first, but she helps them move away from the idea of victimization and towards empowerment and understanding how to set tangible boundaries. RESOURCES: Sex and Relationship Healing @RobWeissMSW Sex Addiction 101 Cruise Control: Understanding Sex Addiction in Gay Men Prodependence: Moving Beyond Codependency Rob@sexandrelationshiphealing.com Shine Women’s Retreat Growth Counseling Services Facing Heartbreak Healing Betrayal QUOTES: “I knew I wanted to be somebody that created healing spaces, materials, support, and community for partners in pain.” “Therapists need to educate their clients in what is going on in their nervous system and brain.” “I help a partner understand how she can share her truth.” “The intuition of human beings is one of the most powerful gifts we have. When you send a woman out in the world doubting her own intuition, you make that woman very vulnerable.” “We need to have a focused roadmap for the treatment team.”


4 Apr 2019

Rank #19