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Finally! Therapists that get what a BS goes through.

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shellofme posted 7/29/2019 19:36 PM

There are 6 dimensions the therapist, Marnie Breecker, discusses in this podcast, and I found it helpful to put names to these different aspects of where I was/am hurting and feel confused, and help me understand different aspects I need to heal.

I am about 4 years out, and I am struggling with this dimension, so I guess I agree with her that this dimension takes the longest to heal from. Here is a quote from the podcast page where she outlines the 6 dimensions. She gets into more detail in the podcast.

"Existential Trauma – In this dimension, the partner loses faith in their own ability to make decisions, questions the core beliefs around which they have created meaning, begins to approach this “new world” with distrust and fear, and experiences damage to the relationship with self. This can be the dimension that takes the longest to heal during the process."

shellofme posted 8/24/2019 09:24 AM


Incarnate posted 8/24/2019 23:27 PM

I listened to these two podcasts while I went for a walk today. Covered about four miles in the time it took to listen to them.

I almost wanted to send them to my ex, but I know that she would more than likely either a) turn them against me and say that she was the betrayed partner and that she lashed out to find -her- safety, or that the psychologists/therapists were biased against people who had affairs, and so painted them in a bad light.

Instead, I am just going to keep them to myself. She can watch me improve from a distance, and when her APs end up dumping her and her life falls apart, I will not be waiting.

And that makes me terribly sad.

[This message edited by Incarnate at 11:28 PM, August 24th (Saturday)]

Jimmy1962 posted 8/25/2019 10:37 AM

Great post! I am glad it came back up.

marji posted 8/25/2019 16:00 PM

Shell do the very helpful podcasts you've so kindly made us aware of here include the most recent-August 4, 2019-podcast that is MB together with Dr. Omar Minwalla?

I think Dr. M was MB's mentor and involved in her turning from the codepency to trauma model. I know he's eloquently criticized the codependency model as yet another form of abuse, misogeny and condescension. Instead he writes about the trauma betrayal causes and, contrary to the older models of SA, he holds SA betrayal as a moral failing rather than a helpless reaction to a disease. These resources are here on page one of the latest SI Partners and Spouses of SA so I would think the this latest pod would also be ok.

DeeplyCrushed posted 8/25/2019 18:11 PM

Just listened to both and heard so much good stuff — total validation for my feelings over the past 5 years.

I really love how Ms Breecker wrapped up episode 22 by saying we betrayed can “THRIVE” (her word).

Yes we will! Hugs to all ☺️

gmc94 posted 8/29/2019 00:06 AM

Bumping for RILY.

And if folks haven't found it, these therapists started a series of podcasts on itunes. Only started in May or June of 2019, so not many are up yet, but what I've heard so far is pretty good and includes some good advice for the CS (eg - let's find some damn empathy!)

Somber posted 8/29/2019 07:12 AM

These podcasts have been beyond helpful and supportive. I’ve been suggested the same links before and there are newer ones as Marji mentioned.

I have suffered from this secondary trauma she speaks of too. Where after the initial trauma of discovery, I was traumatized again by my reactions to the discoveries and questioned who I was. I once was proud and valued the Mother/friend/family member I was, after discovery I became withdrawn, isolated, irritable. I seeked that safety she mentioned through monitoring and searching for more details as I was given TT. As she describes this creates another trauma.
Her podcasts allowed me to accept how damaged I felt from my WH behaviours. It allowed me to feel normal once again for my responses to the discoveries. It allowed me to look at myself and my pain from a place of empathy and understanding instead of feeling partly at fault due to the codependency label applied to me initially.
I have codependency traits no doubt! I recognize them now but aside from that how I feel and have acted since is pure trauma. Ignoring that has been more damaging and prolonged my healing.

These are great resources to have resurfaced.

shellofme posted 9/1/2019 08:57 AM

Incarnate: I'm glad you found it helpful. I'm sorry it wasn't available to you and your ex in time to help her understand what she put you through. Some people aren't able to look at themselves at all, let alone in time to help their BS heal. You sound like you are confident you can heal without her help, and it sounds like you are well on your way. Honestly, many times I still wonder if I would have been further along in my healing if I hadn't attempted R. There are many times I've felt that trying to R, and living with my FWS, has slowed down my healing. I'm still trying though for my own reasons. . .
marji: Thank you very much for making us aware of these other podcasts! They need MOD approval before posting the link. If I understand correctly, approval has to do with whether anything is being sold on the podcast/website. The Betrayal, Trauma, and Recovery podcast, which I've found mildly helpful in the past, does sell their own mentor from afar type of program, so I don't know if that one would be okay, but I think the other one is (Helping Couples Heal). I'll give a listen and if they're not selling anything, I'll send a MOD a request.
DeeplyCrushed: THRIVE! I want to. I'm not yet, but I am hoping to get there.
gmc94: What's RILY?
Somber: I experienced the secondary trauma also, and I think it was worse than the initial, because I was quick to believe I'd learned everything and the TT broke me.

I've been wary of using the co-dependent term, or idea, since learning where these ideas came from, and the new research and thinking. Dysfunctional FOO issues? YEAH!

Codependent seems to imply blame on the BS for the WS actions though.

shellofme posted 9/7/2019 08:10 AM

I sent a message to the MODS last week, and I'm waiting for a response. I don't think it's okay to post the link until we receive the MOD approval. However, I wanted to let you know that I listened to the podcast Marji and Somber mentioned, that were created by, and hosted by, the 2 therapists in the original podcast recommended on this thread. They are fantastic!

I'm up to # 8 and #6 and #7 were particularly wonderful. I highly recommend. Just waiting on the MOD approval before posting the direct link.

marji posted 9/7/2019 16:41 PM

shellofme The origin of the "co-dependent" concept goes back to the early days of AA and had to do with spouses/partners that joined the alcoholic or drug addict in their habit.

There was an illustrative movie in the 1950s about that, "Days of Wine and Roses." Jack Lemon plays an alcoholic who induces his wife to join him in his habit, his "passion." The idea was the partner also became dependent on the same substance as the spouse and would then would indulge the same way in an effort to find comfort or relief from distress.

But concepts like language evolve and no one nowadays uses the term to mean the spouse or partner is also a sex addict-also engaged in manipulation and dishonesty--classic "co-dependency" traits i.e. the same as the addict. Instead it became a kind of umbrella term that seems to cover everything and nothing or--in some ways, like you say, seems to blame the spouse/partner for the behavior of the addict. The literature is contradictory--the official language of SANON is that we are not responsible for the addict-that the addict has a "disease" but then another paragraph has it that some things the partner did "may have enabled the addict."

So it's liberating that these therapists strongly reject the "co-dependent" model. It seems to me to create yet another opportunity for women to find fault with themselves, another way of blaming themselves when in fact we've been far more sinned against than sinning.

I attend regular SANON meetings because I like and respect the people in the group and find comfort and friendship and humor there. I like having friends I can be fully honest with. But the SANON 12 step program that mirrors exactly the steps of those that have betrayed, that have violated their partners, their marriages, that have exploited women, children, deceived and manipulated, strikes me as odd.

So again, grateful for these other voices and glad to see that women like yourself are taking a different approach.

gmc94 posted 9/7/2019 18:24 PM

ShellOfMe: RILY is an SI member for whom I was bumping the thread. And thank you for getting approval for the original links AND seeking approval for their new podcast.

I gotta say Dr. Minwalla's talk (ep 7?) really resonated, esp the concept that there are TWO things happening in a WS: the sexual acting out AND an "integrity" issue (he described it as a brain tumor vs a blood disorder happening simultaneously - and either one could be the "bigger" issue) . I've said before that I think having a separate, siloed, secret life is far more important to my WH than the sex, which was not very often and - according to WH - not particularly great, at least not after their first time (and absolutely not the "wild monkey" variety - of course, he could be lying through his teeth on this front). I think the sex was an obvious (and forseeable) next step in having a life that was intentionally kept secret for more than a decade before the decade-long PA began. It was a real "aha" moment for me to hear someone else say what I'd been thinking for more than a year. And from my perspective, it's not been the sex that's traumatizing - it's the deceit for soooooooooooooooooooo long. It's the shattering of my reality - THAT'S what sets me off the rails.


But the SANON 12 step program that mirrors exactly the steps of those that have betrayed, that have violated their partners, their marriages, that have exploited women, children, deceived and manipulated, strikes me as odd.
I had the same feeling WRT CODA after dday.

Now, like just about everyone, I've got my share of CoD tendencies that existed long before dday. And I've struggled with new ones SINCE - or because of - dday. Frustrating as it may be to feel further pathologized, the basic CODA message (I only control - and am responsible for - myself) has been helpful to me. So, I've tried to view CODA like SI or anything else - take what's helpful and leave the rest behind.

And a part of me does wonder: isn't a BS is already pathologized if/when we get the PTSD Dx?

[This message edited by gmc94 at 6:27 PM, September 7th, 2019 (Saturday)]

shellofme posted 9/8/2019 12:38 PM

marji: I am a bit familiar with the codependent term, and the history. I read a lot of self help books from the 80's, that referenced it. I do think we all have FOO issues (unless you are in the extreme minority that had perfect parents), and that the new family we create (whether you have children, or not), reflects some of those issues for each partner. We tend to 'work our shit out' with each other, and on each other. The problem I have with the continued use of the term codependent in the context of a BS and WS, is that it implies that the WS' actions were influenced, and/or provoked by the BS' behavior.

I believe that a WS choosing to deceive and betray his/her spouse is all due to the WS' issues (lack of integrity, entitlement, conflict avoidance, addiction), regardless of any relationship issues and patterns. Who doesn't have relationship issues? Oh, maybe those who had perfect parents and then have a SO that also had a perfect childhood?

I am relieved and thrilled that there are ground breaking therapists like these 3 working in the field. Do BS' have issues? Yeah, who doesn't (maybe those with the perfect childhoods again?). Should the BS' issues, and the resulting patterns in the relationship get worked on? Yeah, after the BS has healed from the betrayal trauma, but they are separate things. I was retraumatized by therapists that didn't get what these therapists understand, and the therapists tried to help us with our relationship issues and patterns, but it was while I was still 'bleeding out'.

I hope people that find these podcasts earlier on in their journey can avoid the therapists that retraumatized me, seemed to validate my WS' actions as a symptom of our co-dependent pattern, and slowed down our R.

gmc94: Me too, and I love that he's this rebel pioneer out there telling people that infidelity is a form of domestic abuse. RIGHT ON!!

leesi4321 posted 9/8/2019 14:27 PM

Thank you for the update on the podcasts. This is one of the most helpful resources I’ve found. I never would have guessed how much trauma infidelity causes until experiencing it myself.

Jimmy1962 posted 9/8/2019 16:13 PM


You haven't checked back in on this thread, or it looks like any other. How are you doing?

I am better than I was. The realization of what my wife did has helped a lot. For the longest time I could not accept that she really did it. Realization of the whole affair has helped. I keep weighing my choices, leave or stay, and staying seems to be the better choice now. She made a few poor choices for about one year in our marriage, we have now been married for 37 years. I have to compare the bad, which was terrible, to all of the good. It sucks, but it is what it is!

deena04 posted 9/8/2019 16:57 PM

I had missed this post before. I’m listening to them.

OwningItNow posted 9/8/2019 17:29 PM

Good podcasts! I do wonder about the role of the WS as the betrayed works through the trauma. The trauma is there whether the WS is doing everything right, doing everything wrong, or completely AWOL. The head spinning trauma is still there as the BS works through the new reality. Does trying to reconcile with an unremorseful WS increase the trauma, extend the trauma, or neither?

The problem I have with the continued use of the term codependent in the context of a BS and WS, is that it implies that the WS' actions were influenced, and/or provoked by the BS' behavior.

I have done a lot of therapy dating back to the early 90s, and I was never made to feel that my codependency was causing or contributing to others' dysfunction (although I am aware of the AA origination in that the spouse often allowed the partner to continue to drink). I was made to feel that tying my emotions and mental wellness to someone else's love for me or need for me or approval of me meant that I did not have emotional agency over myself, thus I needed their positive feelings to feel positive about myself. This continues to be what I identify as codependent behavior here on SI, the need for validation or love from a harmful, disrespectful, or detached WS. That is a dysfunctional, codependent position to stay in. But looking at phone records, asking questions, researching, feeling lost? You are far too raw to be deemed codependent. And you certainly caused none of the WS behavior! I was shocked when MB said that the codependent model often treated betrayeds this way! Wow. Such a toxic treatment plan for traumatized individuals.

Good podcasts. Spot on. I have had great therapists and their attitudes about trauma have been shared by my ICs and MC. Thank god.

[This message edited by OwningItNow at 5:34 PM, September 8th (Sunday)]

shellofme posted 9/9/2019 15:30 PM

leesi4321: Me too! It's hard to imagine all the different levels and aspects of how devastating it is, until you live through it.
Jimmy1962: Good to hear from you. It's a lot to go through.
deena04: Glad you found it! Check back and tell us what you think of them.
OwningItNow:I think the codependent partner is viewed as the enabler, and part of the problem, and then that is twisted around by therapists who diagnosis the partner as a coaddict, or co sex addict (specifically), or other labels that don't recognize, or help the partner heal from the betrayal trauma.

shellofme posted 9/26/2019 09:30 AM

This MOD approved link is supposed to take you to 1 episode of the Healing Couples Heal podcast.

For those of you who haven't been following this thread:
The therapists that lead the helping couples heal podcast are the 2 therapists on the original podcast episode (about betrayal trauma) that that this whole thread started about, and now they have their own podcast specifically about betrayal trauma!

I have listened to all of the episodes they have put out (as of today), and I would recommend them all, but I've been approved only to post 1 MOD approved link per post. The sound quality isn't great, but the information and support are. Please post back here what you think of the podcast, and if this link doesn't work (then I have to message back to a MOD).

Approved Link

shellofme posted 10/14/2019 06:36 AM

bumping for folks who haven't listened yet

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