In this episode I interview Kimberly Day, LMHCA, about how to better diagnose and confront abuse in marriage. Kim says that when we think of betrayal trauma and really understand the dynamics of a relationship when one partner is addicted to porn or sex, it’s important to look at all abuse dynamics to get a complete picture. Abuse is an important and often underappreciated dimension in a multi-dimensional problem.

Download the graph that corresponds with this episode ( and you’ll see that one axis is our typical ‘addict-mode’ behaviors: acting out, lying, even gaslighting (even though that is abuse), etc.- these are behaviors that rise out of the compulsions to act out, keep it secret, addict-mode thought distortions, etc.  Along this axis is where most all addiction and betrayal trauma is assessed and treated.

But there is another dimension that helps us explain and more deeply understand and support a lot of people – that is the dimension of the Abusive Attitudes and Beliefs held by the addicted partner, including entitlement and superiority, out of which abuses of power and control, objectification of family members, and other forms of dehumanizing treatment arise. These are the underlying currents of devaluing and dehumanizing the partner that are the source of a lot of trauma, though they are very rarely fully recognized or addressed.

This perspective/model helps us to explain some of the confusion that both practitioners and partners experience when the “acting out” is dealt with, but the treatment toward the partner does not improve.

In this episode, we dialogue around what it might look like in each of the four quadrants and how the experience and the sources of trauma and safety/lack of safety may be different in each. We contrast the “Acting out High/Abusive Attitudes Low” quadrant from the “Acting out Low/Abusive Attitudes High”- this type of differentiation is what Kim believes is being missed when we blanket cover all addiction as abuse, or when we ignore so many other forms of abuse and clump them all into addict-mode behavior.

Download the chart here:

Kimberly Day Bio:

Kimberly graduated from BYU with a Bachelors in Psychology, served a Latter-day Saint mission, and then went back to school to earn a Master’s Degree from Washington State University in Counseling Psychology in 2007.

She loves to read, cuddle with her kiddos, eat ice cream, and trade stock derivatives. Despite her degrees, she took a fairly circuitous route into the professional counseling field. She worked in Higher Education for several years, at University of Idaho for Student Support Services (while earning her degree), and also Washington State and Boise State Universities in Financial Aid. Later she worked at a financial planning firm where she worked mainly with clients around retirement. But, as thrillingly predictable as risk analyses and investment return calculations, she felt the call to come back to her love for counseling and working with people through life’s challenges.

Her focus is working with individuals suffering from Betrayal Trauma, or other types of complex relationship traumas. She is action and results focused, and believes strongly in each individual’s innate abilities to move them toward healing and growth. She believes in the importance of establishing positive interpersonal connections, practicing healthy relationship patterns, and in owning your own story and personal empowerment as being critical to healing from traumatic life events.

*** This therapist is recognized by the Association of Partners of Sex Addicts Trauma Specialists as being trained in the Multidimensional Partner Trauma Model (M-PTM).

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