Betrayed partners consistently want the addict to understand the depths and devastation of their pain. Part of the partner’s healing process is for addict to remind the partner that he sees the pain and can link it back to the reason for the pain.
Betrayed partners consistently want the addict to understand the depths and devastation of their pain. Part of the partner’s healing process is for addict to remind the partner that he sees the pain and can link it back to the reason for the pain. This process must happen consistently for her to feel safe enough to trust the recovery process. She wants to believe that her husband will never do this again, but she has no guarantee. Her heart wants to trust you, but her head and experience is telling her it is not safe to be this vulnerable, so she keeps her guard up and looks for reasons to reject your attempts at honesty and authenticity. This is going to require that you consistently practice empathy in all sorts of ways. Using AVR assures her that you are linking up your previous actions to her feelings. It also reminds her of what you are going to do to rebuild her foundation of safety. Often in therapy, the addict needs a formula to help him respond to his spouse in a way that shows her that he realizes the damage that he has caused and how his sexual addiction has affected her. We have been trained to know that the quickest way that an addict can redeem himself and prove to his spouse that he will do whatever it takes to build the trust back is to recognize the pain and remind her that he knows he caused it. It is then important for him to validate her feelings and make sure he can assess her feelings appropriately and then to reassure her that he will do whatever it takes to rebuild the confidence she once had in him.
ACKNOWLEDGING THE ISSUE:
Practicing AVR requires that you acknowledge the situation and accompanying pain. (It makes sense to me that you would be concerned that __________________.) (I can imagine that _________).
VALIDATION OF HER FEELINGS USING THE FIVE PRIMARY FEELINGS:
I can see as you discuss that issue that you feel (Anger, Sadness, Loneliness, Happiness or Fear.)
REASSURANCE THAT YOU WILL HELP HER HEAL:
I want you to know that I am working on my recovery skills, and I never want to go back to that old addict behavior again.
Sheets, Carol; Katz, Allan. Help Her Heal: An Empathy Workbook for Sex Addicts to Help their Partners Heal (p. 94-95). Sano Press LLC.