Vicki Tidwell
Vicki Tidwell Palmer, LCSW, CSAT, is the author of Moving Beyond Betrayal: The 5-Step Boundary Solution for Partners of Sex Addicts, and a psychotherapist in private practice in Houston, Texas. She specializes in working with betrayed partners, and helping people heal from childhood trauma.Vicki hosts an international online community for betrayed partners, offers several online courses for partners and therapists, and holds 4-day Reclaiming Wholeness Intensives for healing childhood wounds. She has presented at national conferences, for The Meadows Lecture Series, 12-step communities, as well as professional, healthcare, and faith-based organizations on a variety of topics including boundaries, relational trauma, and mindfulness.

Sex Addiction vs. Other Addictions: The Betrayed Partner’s Perspective Vicki Tidwell Palmer

The impact of addiction on a spouse or long-term committed partner is not the same for all addictions. For survivors of chronic infidelity or sex addiction, there are five major ways that sex addiction is different than other addictions, creating unique challenges to the betrayed partner and the repair of the couple’s relationship. 1. Sexual Betrayal Feels Like a Personal Assault If your spouse abuses alcohol or drugs or is hooked on gambling, video gaming, or spending, you are likely to feel intensely frustrated by his or her behavior. You might even be hurt by the fact that your spouse seems to care more about his addiction than you. But you probably won’t see your spouse’s behavior as a personal attack. Sex addiction is different. If your spouse spends hours every day looking at and masturbating to pornography, having sex with prostitutes, having multiple anonymous hookups, and frequenting adult bookstores,… Continue reading

Partner of an Addict? How to Get Your Unmet Needs Met Part II – By Vicki Tidwell Palmer

In my previous post, Partner of an Addict? Getting Your Unmet Needs Met, I discussed the fact that partners of addicts are often unhappy not only because of the addictive behavior itself, but because they are not getting their needs met. In Part I, I outlined the two steps needed to remedy this shortcoming: identifying your unmet needs, and discovering how to get your unmet needs met in healthy ways. The previous post discussed the first of these steps. This post is focused on the second step—finding alternative, healthy ways to meet your needs whenever and wherever your partner is unable to meet them. In getting your unmet needs met, it’s helpful to begin with things over which you have control. I can’t emphasize this enough. You must start by focusing on things over which you have control. Partners of addicts sometimes spend inordinate amounts of time and energy attempting to get… Continue reading

Partner of an Addict? Identifying Your Unmet Needs – By Vicki Tidwell Palmer

  When you are unhappy, depressed, anxious, etc., it’s usually because you’re not getting your needs met. This is especially true when your partner or a loved one is in active addiction. Addicts focus on meeting their own needs and the needs of their addiction, and give little to others. That doesn’t mean they don’t love and care about other people, it just means their addiction has taken over. There are two steps to take in getting your needs met when you’re in a relationship with someone struggling with addiction. The first is identifying your unmet needs. The second is finding ways to get your unmet needs met in healthy ways. The first step is discussed in this post. The second will be covered in my next post. In the 1940s, psychologist Abraham Maslow created a theory of human dependency called the hierarchy of needs. According to Maslow, the most… Continue reading

Myths and Misperceptions About Boundaries – Vicki Tidwell Palmer

If you grew up in a family where one or more family members repeatedly violated boundaries and wasn’t held accountable for their bad behavior, you may believe there are certain people with whom you don’t have a right to establish boundaries. This is simply not true. Often, people think about boundaries as attempts to keep others at arm’s length, or as punishment carried out by rigid, uptight, selfish, or frightened people. As such, boundaries are often thought of as harsh, cold, and uncaring. Because boundaries set limits, they can also be thought of as controlling, repressive, or restrictive of personal freedom. Healthy boundaries are none of these. One of the biggest misconceptions about boundaries is that they allow us to tell another person what he or she can or cannot do. In a parent-child relationship, that may actually be the case. However, in adult-adult relationships, we don’t have a right… Continue reading

Making Your Amends: Why “I’m Sorry” Isn’t Enough -Vicki Tidwell Palmer LCSW, CSAT

Sometimes recovering addicts feel unworthy of respect and love. This feeling can be especially strong with spouses, children, and other family members. Many addicts think they don’t deserve to have loved ones in their life at all after everything they’ve put them through. As a recovering addict, it is perfectly normal and understandable to feel this type of shame (“I am inherently bad, defective, and unworthy of love”) and guilt (“I did something awful that I deeply regret”). In fact, shame is likely the underlying driver of your addiction, and guilt is the result of your addiction-related misbehavior. Although you’ve made mistakes, it doesn’t mean you are a bad person and you are unworthy of love. If you need evidence, consider the fact that you’re working so hard to change and to become a better individual. That, in and of itself, makes you a worthy person. Still, you may be… Continue reading