Here is an excellent educational video on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Virtually every partner who discovers her husband’s or boyfriend’s use of pornography experiences symptoms of PTSD. Women experience feelings of anxiety, shock, anger, numbing, intrusive thoughts, panic, and other symptoms that disrupt their lives. This video explains the seriousness of PTSD and the need to seek help for this condition. The good news is that it’s treatable. Partners need a chance to tell their stories in a safe and supportive environment. 12-step groups and group therapy are two excellent ways to help partners find support and direction to help them heal their symptoms. One of the most powerful ways to help partners heal their trauma symptoms is for their husband or boyfriend to commit to full recovery and over time learn how to hear her pain and learn how to stay emotionally connected to her. This is very soothing to her and lets her know that she’s going to be safe. This can be difficult and often requires professional help, as the addict is both a source of pain and comfort for her. If the partner has experienced previous traumas in her life, such as abuse or abandonment, she will have more difficult recovering from the impact of his sexual addiction without some professional intervention.
Many men who struggle with sexual addiction are also trauma survivors. Many of them are abuse survivors and many have been physically and/or emotionally abandoned in their families. The addiction creates trauma as well since the addicts experience tremendous powerlessness and consequences. Understanding trauma and it’s impact on our brains, bodies, and relationships to others is a critical part of individual and couples recovery.