Partner's Workshop Stage Two; Lesson Four
Identifying the Consequences
The purpose of this lesson is to assist you in gaining a more complete understanding of the consequences that your partner's compulsive behavior has had on your life. The overt consequences will likely be easy to identify — they will be those that have had a direct and destructive impact on your value system. It shouldn't take you more than a few minutes to list these with great passion and resentment.
But such consequences are typically just what is on the surface. Addiction destroys people and relationships to the core and so, you must consider the consequences that your partner's behavior has had on your life — both the overt and the subtle. The primary and the secondary.
Examples of consequences:
- in the way that you raise your children — especially boys. Being hypersensitive towards signs that they may be "like him" and thus, stifling their natural, healthy sexuality.
- in the changes that occur to your social circle. Who you are friends with; who you are not friends with.
- in the location of where you have chosen to live.
- in your expectations of future romantic relationships. Highly distrustful, hypersensitive to sexual issues.
- in your own promiscuity. One common reaction from the partner of a sexually compulsive person, is their own venturing into such behavior in an attempt to "understand". Often, this leads to significant destruction of their own values...and their own destructive behavior continues as a natural reaction to their partner's behavior. Though they may hate themselves for engaging in the behavior, it is actually a consequence of their partner's sexual addiction.
- in your financial struggles. Sexual addiction often results in enormous energy and time loss. Often, this takes away from the very day-to-day activities that are necessary to manage "life". Previously passed off as "not being good at that kind of stuff"...such procrastinating, irresponsible behavior is often a consequence of sexual addiction. Such behavior is not capable of producing emotional satisfaction, so they spend their energy on other behaviors — more pleasant behaviors. And you pay the price.
- in your own self-esteem. While this may not be a hard consequence to identify, it will be all of the discoveries that you will make along the way that will lead you to an understanding of just how much of an affect the sexual addiction has had on your own identity. This is especially true in issues relating to intimacy, sexuality and your ability to "stimulate" your partner psychologically.
- in the way that you view others — making hasty judgments based on similarities with your partner. Viewing others with anger or resentment for being attractive. Becoming jealous and hypersensitive during social events.
- in the time and energy you have spent "checking" on your partner.
A. One of the first steps on the road to healing is to take inventory of all the ways that your partner's compulsive behavior has affected you. Begin listing these consequences and post them in your Healing Thread..
Given the complex nature of addiction, especially as it relates to family and relationships, this process should take several hours, rather than several minutes. It will be important for you to consider the affects to your physical, emotional, social, spiritual, economic, interpersonal, potential selves — as well as any other area that you feel is relevant. There are no right or wrong answers, only ways that you believe this behavior may have impacted your life.
B. Rate the affect of each consequence from a 1-10. "1" will represent the most significant consequence that your partner's addiction has had on your life. Do not worry bout which consequence might be a "6" and which might be a "7"; or which is "1" and which is "2" — what is important is to gain a general idea of the impact (or potential impact) they have had on your life.