The Secret Sexual Basement

A deep dive into the truth about why sexual betrayal is an domestic abuse with Dr. Omar MInwall and Anne Blythe on the BTR podcast.

When a man chooses to have a “secret sexual basement”, he is abusing his partner. Period.

Dr. Omar Minwalla, licensed psychologist and clinical sexologist from the Institute of Sexual Health, joins Anne on the free BTR podcast to take a deep dive into why sexual betrayal is a domestic abuse issue.

Listen to the free BTR podcast and read the full transcript below for more.

What Is “The Secret Sexual Basement”?

A man has created a “Secret Sexual Basement” when he has a “deceptive, compartmentalized sexual or relational reality.”

Dr. Omar Minwalla describes this as an “integrity abuse disorder situation”.

Having a “Secret Sexual Basement” is Abuse

When a man chooses to:

  • Manipulate
  • Lie to
  • Gaslight
  • Emotionally neglect and/or
  • Financially neglect

his partner and family in order to keep his secret sexual basement intact, he is abusing them.

Further, in order to have a secret sexual basement in the first place, there is a sense of sexual entitlement.

Sexual Entitlement Is Abusive

“The minute you have sexual entitlement, you’re abusive.”

Dr. Omar Minwalla, the Institute for Sexual Health

Even if a man is fully transparent about his sexual activities – thus having no “secret” sexual basement – if he feels entitled to sex, he is still abusive.

YouTube video

Prioritize Your Safety Now

At BTR, we understand how difficult it can be to accept that your partner’s sexual betrayal is abuse – especially if you have been conditioned to believe that your partner is sexually addicted and needs your support to “heal”.

Anne’s message to you is simple:

“I would say to our community, what this means for you is in a practical way, is that this is not an ‘in sickness and in health issue,’ this is who they are. This is not that they’re just having a bad day, or that they’re troubled for a little while, but it’s how they’re going to act.”

Anne Blythe, founder of Betrayal Trauma Recovery

Choose now to prioritize your safety rather than your partner’s recovery. The Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group can give you the support you need as you begin your journey to recovery.

Full Transcript:

Anne: Anne: Welcome to Betrayal Trauma Recovery, this is Anne.

Our daily online support group has more sessions than any other support group out there. We have over 21 sessions per week for you to choose from. You don’t have to wait for an appointment, you don’t have to leave your home, you can join from your closet or your parked car in your garage. Check out the session schedule; we’d love to see you in a session today.

For everyone who has given this podcast a five-star rating and perhaps even a review on Apple podcasts or other podcasting apps, thank you so much. If this podcast has helped you when you rate it, you help other women find it, so your ratings make a big difference. Today I’d like to address a three-star review that I received that I think is asking an interesting question. It says: helpful, but why so religious? This podcast helped me in times when I needed to wake up to the verbal abuse from my husband but take it with a grain of salt. I couldn’t be totally comfortable with it because of its religious or church-focus. As someone who grew up Christian and quit it all because of all the abuse that takes place in the church, I can’t seem to believe these women actually understand the subject. The Bible advocates for husbands to oppress their wives, literally. So, can you actually help them? It’s beyond my mind.

BTR Is Inter-Paradigm

I cannot disagree perse with a person’s interpretation or their perspective on this podcast, but I would like to say that a church or religious focus is not my intent. So, I would like everyone to feel welcome here: atheists, Muslims, Jewish women, anyone, everyone is welcome here. My focus and the focus of this podcast, in my view and what I try to make the focus of, is safety. Education about abuse and safety. And because I am a woman of faith, and the many women of faith listen to this podcast, or many of them are sharing their stories, it’s not so much their focus as their experience that they’re sharing. So, for me, it’s like, how do I wrestle with a Bible passage, for example, that does say, “women subject yourself to your husbands.” 

I really appreciate your thoughts on it, and I just want you to know that I really want to focus on safety, and I’m grateful for the women’s experience. My own experience as a woman of faith and any other woman’s experience, regardless of what paradigm or faith or non-faith she comes from, and everyone is welcome here. If you have thoughts about this, please comment below. There are some really interesting discussions happening there. Again, I appreciate your reviews and your ratings. Every single one of your reviews helps isolated women find us. 

Dr. Omar Minwalla on the BTR Podcast

I have one of my favorite people with us today. His name is Dr. Omar Minwalla. He is a licensed psychologist and a clinical sexologist who specializes in the treatment of deceptive sexuality, which may include compulsive sexual behavior disorders, sexual addiction, infidelity, integrity, and conduct disorders, including sexual offending and intimate partner abuse. We have had him on the podcast before and his podcasts have been some of the most popular episodes we’ve ever had.

Dr. Minwalla is dedicated to disrupting the dominant sex addiction treatment paradigms through his work at the Institute for Sexual Health where he developed the compulsive abusive sexual relational disorders, which is CASRD, and trauma model. The CASRD and trauma model advocates for professionals to recognize and treat the abusive impacts of deceptive sexuality on intimate partners from an abuse victim trauma consciousness. Dr. Minwalla’s practice is currently focused on the trauma model education course for men, a four-day remote learning experience on Zoom, which provides fundamental education on the traumatic impact sexual acting out, patterns of infidelity, cheating, and boundary violations often have on the intimate partner or spouse, the relationship, and sometimes the children and family system. You may find more information about the course and read his most recent publication, The Secret Sexual Basement: The traumatic impact of deceptive sexuality on intimate partner and relationship on his website, which is

Welcome, Dr. Minwalla.

Dr. Minwalla: Thank you, Anne. I’m glad to be here.

What Is Compulsive-Entitled-Sexuality (CES)?

Anne: Me too. You have done so much amazing work in advocating for victims of abuse, and we are so grateful to count you as one of our allies. So many of the women have just been empowered by the things that you have taught. So, we’re happy to have you. We’re really going to focus on the white paper that you recently put out called The Secret Sexual Basement. So, we’re going to talk about some of the concepts that you brought up in that paper. So just to dive right into this. So, in your paper, you talk about CES, let’s start there. What is CES?

Dr. Minwalla: CES stands for compulsive-entitled-sexuality. And so, it’s a hyphenated term, and it’s really two terms that we’re focused on. One is compulsivity, which often in the clinical field, especially around these issues typically refers to a lack of control problem. The E stands for sexual entitlement, which is a psychology of prioritizing a person’s sexual gratification or needs or expression over the basic consideration or human rights of other people. So, both of those terms can describe why someone might sexually act out and why somebody might be prone to create a secret sexual basement. Particularly the entitlement piece in terms of the basement because that has to do with deception, but the term sex addiction really focuses on the lack of control or the compulsivity part. So, if you look at the definition of sex addiction, it will often start with a lack of control or compulsivity over sexual behavior. 

Understanding Sexual Compulsivity

Let’s say if you don’t use the term sex addiction and you use the term compulsive sexual behavior disorder. The definition of that obviously is compulsivity, compulsive sexual behavior disorder means a lack of control problem. Both of those are really referring to the issue of impulse control. Somebody’s not wanting to do something, and then they end up doing it. And they have challenges in the ability to control. So that’s what the C stands for compulsivity. So, we already have a sex addiction model, we already have the diagnosis of compulsive sexual behavior, so those that are already referring to the lack of control. What those terms don’t include in their concept is the role of sexual entitlement, right?

Because sexual entitlement is not an impulse control problem, or a brain problem, or a willpower problem. It’s actually, I deserve to do this, I’m going to do this, I don’t want to control it, no one’s going to tell me to control it. I’m going to do this because I feel entitled to it. That’s a psychology of entitlement, and that’s different than a compulsive impulse control problem. And a lot of people who cheat, who have secret sexual basements, who sexually act out in deception are demonstrating sexual entitlement and might be engaged in those behaviors not because they’re an addict, but because they’re acting on their sexual entitlement, which is a whole different issue. 

Understanding Sexual Entitlement

So, if you’re going to help somebody stop sexually acting out, you may have to work on sexual entitlement and psychology and the unwillingness to control or the lack of care, consideration, or investment. So why not put that into the term? So instead of saying sex addiction, why not say compulsive entitled sexuality because they often both exist. They often feed each other and act and present as a hybrid disorder. Most people that clearly have a very extreme compulsivity issue, if they’re a male, they probably already have a couple of teaspoons of sexual entitlement groomed into them just by being a male in our society. So CES is a much more updated term to really capture and describe what we’re talking about when we talk about what causes people to act out, sexual entitlement, and compulsivity. 

Anne: That’s really good. In your paper, you say it’s an inability or unwillingness. The unwillingness part is something that the sexual addiction recovery community doesn’t seem to really want to talk about very much. Where you have used that term to better describe what’s happening for the victims of this. I have just settled it down to abuse because that seems like the most simplistic but also the most comprehensive term to sort of describe what is happening. Do you think that they claim to be unable as a way to manipulate and a way to gaslight when really, they’re just unwilling? Are any of them truly unable to not act out their sense of sexual entitlement?

Is It Inability or Unwillingness?

Dr. Minwalla: Yeah, let’s look at the way that that was phrased, inability or unwillingness. What that really is referring to is what I just described. The inability part would be referring to a true compulsivity issue. I can’t stop, I can’t control myself issue. The unwillingness part, that refers to the sexual entitlement. I’m not willing to invest in trying to control this all that much, and often they both are at play, and that’s why adding to our consciousness, this term sexual entitlement really opens us up to oh, there are two things that can cause people to act out. It’s not just an addiction and a brain disease. It can also be sexual entitlement, which is a psychology and an unwillingness to control your behavior because you’re not that invested in it. You don’t care, you’re not that considerate of others, or you just want to do it and you feel entitled to it and that’s your belief system. And so, inability or unwillingness is kind of my way of trying to describe compulsivity or sexual entitlement. 

Now, the field and the way science has evolved so far in terms of psychology and looking at these issues and treatment as everyone’s focused on the compulsivity and the inability part. Nobody’s really highlighted and articulated clearly the psychology of sexual entitlement part, and so that’s still sitting in the dark. And this model, in my model, and the term deceptive sexuality, and the term CES is shining a light on both parts. Yes, there can be compulsivity but often, and many times, there’s sexual entitlement, and I think that treatment professionals or anyone dealing with these issues, who really has experience knows that there’s a certain population of guys, let’s say, or patients, or people who don’t really resonate with addiction. And when you talk to them, they’re like, I never really felt like I couldn’t control myself, I just never tried. I just, I never thought about it until now. And now that you bring it up, and I know it’s a form of abuse like it’s not that hard to stop actually, and they don’t have a lot of trouble discontinuing the behavior.

“This Was Driven By My Sexual Entitlement”

For those people, when you talk about sexual entitlement, they’re like, bingo, that resonates with me. This was driven by my sexual entitlement, like 90%, maybe there was 10%, compulsivity or over time it habituated, and it became more compulsive. These things are also very evolving, so something that started out as entitlement can become compulsive. The reverse can happen, something that was very compulsive, someone can groom themselves to become much more entitled to it and have much more justifications and rationalizations for it. 

So, both of those terms often coexist. It’s just that nobody’s really articulated or described the sexual entitlement part and everyone’s focusing on addiction or compulsivity as the only explanation. 

Anne: Yeah, and I personally think they’re also missing that the claim, in some cases, not all cases, but the claim that they’re inable or unable, may just be manipulation and more abuse and more gaslighting. And that that might actually not be the case, but they’re using it to mask their unwillingness. They’re using that to mask their sexual entitlement in some ways. I’m not sure how you feel about that, but you do talk about integrity abuse disorders, let’s segue into that, which is characterized by those sociopathic patterns in the antisocial personality characteristics of things that you list, which are things like pattern of disregard for, or violation of the rights of others, deception, manipulation of the truth. 

Is He Just Manipulating Me?

So, what we see as victims, is sometimes we’re like their claim that they’re unable to control this, is this a real thing or are they just saying this to manipulate me into feeling sorry for them? Because it sounds better than just saying I don’t want to, I feel entitled. 

Dr. Minwalla: Can somebody use this inability-compulsivity as a shield to hide and mask sexual entitlement? Yes. Does it happen a lot? Yes. Is it conscious? Sometimes it can be very conscious, however, think about this. A lot of the abusers, if you want to call them addicts, whatever, the person who has the secret sexual basement, they too, aren’t very articulate or aware or educated or conscious about what’s the difference between compulsivity and sexual entitlement. In fact, most of them haven’t even given them the name sexual entitlement to consider as a driver for their behavior. I find when I lay out both reasons for acting out, people then can start to ask themselves which one applies to me, and many abusers are willing if you logically present them, these are the two reasons why you might have acted out are willing to start looking at sexual entitlement. In fact, they’re very motivated to, especially when it resonates with them as true, and they want to figure this out and will want to get better.

The Danger In Using The Addiction Label

Now, if you don’t give them that term, and they go for treatment. And I’m not taking them off the hook for conscious manipulation, but they are only told, “You have an addiction and it’s a brain disease and you can’t control yourself. And if you don’t admit that, then you’re just in denial.” And that’s the only explanation. And the authorities are saying, and the medical science is saying, hey, this is impulse control, compulsivity, addiction, whatever it is, that’s what it is. No one’s saying, oh, it might also be psychology of sexual entitlement, where you just didn’t really want to control yourself, and you kind of thought you might get away with it and wasn’t a big deal. And so, you didn’t really try, or you weren’t invested in trying as hard as you maybe could have. That’s a whole different education and they don’t have it. So, the only explanation they do have is I must have some kind of addiction. 

So, it can be used in many confusing ways, and it’s going to be harmful to everybody if the real issue is sexual entitlement, and everyone’s labeling it something else and now they’re going down the wrong rabbit hole trying to treat something that they’re missing the actual disorder, which is sexual entitlement and it’s never been an addiction, it’s never been a compulsivity issue. They’ve just been forced into this cookie-cutter model, and there is no other explanation so everyone’s like, it must just be a compulsivity issue.

Trauma Mama Husband Drama

Anne: I am going to take a break here for just a second to talk about my book, Trauma Mama Husband Drama. You can find it on our books page which has a curated list of all of the books that we recommend. My book, Trauma Mama Husband Drama, is a picture book for adults. So, it is the easiest way for you to explain what’s going on to someone who might not understand it, it’s also just a good reference for yourself because it shows what’s happening with very telling and emotional illustrations, as well as infographics at the back. When you go to our books page and click on any of those books, it just takes you directly to Amazon and you can throw those books in your cart. After you have purchased the book, please remember to circle back around to Amazon and write a verified purchase review, along with a five-star rating. That helps isolated women find us, it bumps Trauma Mama Husband Drama up in the Amazon algorithm, and even if women don’t purchase the book, it helps them find this podcast, which is free to everyone.

Here’s a five-star Amazon review we received. It says: hits the mark. Wow, I wish I had this years ago. This explains in short, simple, and understandable terms what it’s like to be the traumatized wife of a sexually addicted husband, trying to hold herself together for her kids. If I’d had this 10 years ago, I would have handed it to adult family members, friends, my priest. It communicates the real trauma without the bitterness. 

Okay, now back to my conversation with Dr. Minwalla.

Is Sexual Entitlement Abusive?

Anne: Did you consider abuse to be one of the words rather than sexual entitlement? I’m just wondering like, is sexual entitlement abusive? In your view? Did you consider that word and then think no, that’s not the right word? The right word is sexual entitlement. Do you see what I’m saying? 

Dr. Minwalla: Yes. Yes, yes, and I did think of all of that. So, we have this umbrella term, which is the actual diagnosis, which is compulsive-abusive-sexual-relational disorder. So that’s where if I step back and say, what do we need to call this problem, and it has two parts. There’s the sexual part and then there’s the integrity abuse part, which I’ve said in many other podcasts. So, there are those two parts. So, what can we call these two parts? The word compulsive in CASRD, that stands for the sexual part, the CES, compulsive abusive, the word abusive there stands for the integrity abuse disorder. And then it’s a sexual-relational problem, so the CASRD, the umbrella term for this problem is actually capturing the abuse part in the title. That’s why it’s CASRD. 

Now, what are the two parts? One is the sexual problem, and then the other part is the abuse. So, when we get to the sexual problem, the first thing I think of is what’s causing the sexual problem. It can be sex addiction, it can be compulsivity, and it can also be sexual entitlement.

Anne: Which also happens to be abusive in nature. 

“The Minute You Have Sexual Entitlement, You’re Abusive”

Dr. Minwalla: Exactly. Right, the minute you have sexual entitlement, you’re abusive. But let’s say somebody doesn’t have a secret sexual basement, they just have a compulsive sexual behavior and they’re completely honest about it always. And they’ve never been deceptive. They would just have CS without the E. So CES gives you room to nuance things to people and not push them in a box. It also gives you room where someone’s all 99% sexual entitlement and no addiction or compulsivity. They can still have CES, it’s still a sexual problem, they’re still sexually acting out. 

Anne: And the reason why these details are important to victims in this situation is that they’re trying to ferret out what is going on, because you’ve got these like marriage vows, for better or for worse. So, is this just a sickness that he has? So, do I need to stand by him? Or you know, there’s all these really complex things that women who are in relationships with men. Is this abuse? Is it not abuse? How do I know? You know, they’re all asking these questions, trying to figure out what is the right thing to do because the women in these situations who are in relationships with these types of abusive men, they want to do the right thing, generally speaking, it’s not a selfish thing. They’re not feeling entitled, they just want to do what’s right for them and their family. And so, these little details matter to them, because it helps them make decisions about what is happening. 

Understanding Integrity Abuse Disorder

So, one of the things is that pretty much everyone in our community who is dealing with a man who is acting out like this, who has a secret sexual basement, they’re telling us, the community is saying, hey, they’re manifesting most, if not all of these characteristics that you talk about in the integrity abuse disorder, right? So, deception, exploiting others for personal gain, impulsivity, or reckless behaviors. So, they’re seeing these behaviors in their spouse and they’re very concerned. And we’re seeing it even in mild stories like the lying and stuff. So, does that mean for a woman who is seeing each of these other behaviors and personality characteristics that they would likely be diagnosed with integrity abuse disorder? 

Dr. Minwalla: So, I’ll start with an anchoring reminder right, CASRD, or deceptive sexuality has these two parts. CES, which is the sexual part, and then IAD, Integrity Abuse Disorder, which is the abusive part. And so, you always want to think there are two parts to the problem. Yes, there’s the sexual behavior, it can be compulsive, addictive, or entitled. And then there’s this integrity abuse stuff, the lying, the deception, the gaslighting, the victim-blaming, the cover stories, the psychological manipulation, all the things that you mentioned. Now, the minute you have a secret sexual basement, you immediately have an integrity abuse disorder, by definition, because what is the secret sexual basement it’s a deceptive, compartmentalized, sexual relational reality in the context of an intimate partnership or family system.

“If He Has a Secret Sexual Basement, He Is Abusive”

And so, the minute you have a deceptive compartmentalized sexual or relational reality, otherwise known as a secret sexual basement, you have now created and are in an integrity abuse disorder situation. So, by definition, because deceptive compartmentalization is an integrity abuse violation, it’s an integrity abuse behavior, deceptive compartmentalization. The word deceptive already is describing the lack of integrity and abuse. So, the minute you have a secret sexual basement, boom, you have an IAD, you don’t have to think twice. It’s just in the definition. Now, the minute you have a secret sexual basement, you also have CES because you have entitled sex. So, you automatically have CASRD, boom. That’s why the minute you have a secret sexual basement, you can diagnose CASRD with the two parts. It all goes right away, and that’s why I use the term deceptive sexuality and secret sexual basement, because it really just snaps people out of the acronyms and takes them to the heart of the matter of what I really am trying to say and what I really want to shine a light on. 

Anne: Okay, so I’m going to restate in the words I would use. I realize they’re not the words you would use, but the gist of it would be that if he has a secret sexual basement, he is abusive. Would you agree with that statement? 

“A Secret Sexual Basement Is A Form of Intimate Partner Abuse & Domestic Abuse”

Dr. Minwalla: Yes, and those are the words I would use. You got it. You hit it on the head. There’s no difference. That’s exactly what I was trying to say. You just said it much simpler. Yes, it’s the secret sexual basement. Don’t get caught up on addiction compulsivity and how to describe CES.

Anne: And the reason why I want to simplify it to our listeners is you are in an abusive relationship, the man that you are with is abusive. I really want to hit home to them, like this is not a for better or for worse situation and he’s in sickness and in health. Right? So, this isn’t his sickness part where you need to stay by his hospital bed because he’s had cancer. Like this is actually an abuse situation and I want that to be very clear to women to make it easier for them to make decisions on what they need to do to be safe. 

Dr. Minwalla: Yes. So, let’s reiterate. A secret sexual basement is a form of intimate partner abuse and domestic abuse. A secret sexual basement automatically is an integrity abuse disorder, which is an abuse problem. 

Is Integrity Abuse Disorder an Actual Personality Disorder?

Anne: Now, is this an actual personality disorder? Would you put this in the same category of narcissistic personality disorder, or borderline, or something like that? 

Dr. Minwalla: Okay, so integrity abuse disorder I made up, so it’s not an established term at all. And so definitely, it’s not an established personality disorder at all. Now, integrity abuse though, the characteristic of it can show up in two different areas. It can be structural, which means it’s in the personality, which means it’s a template that exists in the psyche, and what that means is it’s going to show up as a habitual pattern in how the person thinks, feels, behaves, and relates to the world. So, if something’s in your personality, it’s going to color a lot of how you show up in life. Just like if you have a narcissistic personality disorder, that’s going to color a lot of how you think, feel, behave, and relate to others in real life. So, people can have integrity abuse disorder in their personality structure. And let’s say in the future IAD could very well be a known personality disorder with its own description. It’s definitely potentially a characteristic, and it can exist in the personality. 

Narcissism & The Secret Sexual Basement

Now, you can also have an integrity abuse issue that is what I would refer to as clinical symptoms, which means it’s not in the structure or the template of the person’s psyche, however, they do have problems with integrity abuse in real life in terms of how they treat people, and it can cause problems and it can become a clinical issue. It’s just not in the structure perse, which is a deeper level of how the psyche is organized. So that’s a pretty technical answer, but it can exist in the personality, and it can also exist outside the personality and still be a clinical problem. 

Anne: Well, and from the list on your secret sexual basement white paper, I think a lot of these are also markers for actual personality disorders. So, for example, a lot of these same things are markers for narcissistic personality disorder or antisocial personality disorder. So even if they’re going to just your run-of-the-mill therapist, for example, and they don’t use the term integrity abuse disorder, they still might be diagnosed with some other really problematic personality disorder. 

“This Is Who They Are”

Dr. Minwalla: Yes, and I’ve done testing for years with this population and written reports every time and given the actual patient the feedback of their diagnosis. And so, for most people with CASRD or most people who are patients for sex addiction or compulsivity or having secret sexual basements, they often have personality pathology. That’s like, very, very common. It’s not common to have nothing, you know, even traits or features usually show up, maybe not the full-blown disorder, but at least traits. 

Anne: And I would say to our listeners, what that means for you is in a practical way, is that this is not an in sickness and in health issue, this is who they are. This is not that they’re just having a bad day, or that they’re troubled for a little while, but it’s in how they’re going to act, how they’re going to perceive things. It is very different than just they’re having a health issue. 

Abusive People Operate From a Template That Is Not Easy To Change

Dr. Minwalla: Yeah, and just to add to that or help a little there. A personality, all it really means is these are the habitual methods of thinking, feeling, behaving, and relating that the person is going to use. We all have a personality; we all have habitual methods. A personality disorder or pathology or problem are maladaptive habitual methods of thinking, feeling, behaving, and relating, and if somebody has certain maladaptive or harmful or problematic patterns that are habitual of thinking, feeling, behaving, and relating, and that’s a template that’s not easy to change. That’s what you’re trying to say is this is not just a bad day. This is a template in the psyche, and it represents the person’s habitual methods of acting and behaving and thinking and feeling, and those templates developed over years and years of development.

Anne: Yeah, and you can’t just explain it to someone, and they’ll get it because of that template. They are perceiving everything in a certain way, and so you can’t just be like hey, this is abusive, you need to stop, you know, and they’ll be like oh, it is, thanks for letting me know. Like, it’s not going to work like that because of their template. 

“These Are Patterns That Have Developed Over Years”

Dr. Minwalla: Yes, you’re really hitting on something I think that’s so important. I’m so grateful for your questions because a lot of people, including partners and victims, especially in the desperation of wanting treatment and healing and getting out of this, will say well, don’t be like this, or now that we pointed it out all of these characteristics should just change and go away because, you know, we pointed them out and you know that they’re harmful. And it sounds really logical, and I like the way you described it. That’s not what’s going on. These are patterns that have developed over years. They have shaped templates in their psyche from childhood and developmental experiences, often harmful experiences. 

“They’re Neurologically Habituated”

Personality is the outcome of complex trauma shaping. So once those templates are set, they are now habitual patterns. They’re neurologically habituated, they’re part of a person’s personality, and they often don’t change. And science has told us personality disorders don’t change easily. And I’ve seen it in real life, they don’t change easily. So, you know, logic and just explaining it doesn’t change a personality template at all. 

Anne: Exactly. Or even believing that they can change, it does not change them. We have so many religious listeners, I myself am religious, and you want to say, oh, through Christ, all things are possible, or you know, miracles can happen or things like that, which I truly believe in. But when it comes to this, it’s like if that person isn’t willing to drop those entitlements, if they’re not willing to drop those templates, if they’re not willing to sacrifice the way that they view the world, it’s impossible. Because they’ve sat through the same church services with you for years. It’s like they didn’t grow up on Mars and you grew up in Venus. You both grew up on Earth. You both grew up in the same, generally speaking, world where these things were unacceptable. So, they interpreted this, all the lectures they heard at church or all the, you know, healthy books that they read on sexuality or whatever, the way they interpret it was much different than the way you interpreted it. 

Support the BTR Podcast

We are going to pause this discussion right here but stay tuned because next week Dr. Minwalla talks about this very topic, so stay tuned. 

If this podcast is helpful to you, please support it. Until next week, stay safe out there.


  1. K

    Thank you for sharing the words “Integrity Abuse Disorder,” “compulsive abusive sexual relational disorders”(CASRD), Compulsive-Entitled-Sexuality (CES), the statement “A Secret Sexual Basement Is A Form of Intimate Partner Abuse & Domestic Abuse,” and the closing comments about neurological habituation. Dr. Minwalla’s explanations, and Anne’s applications for women who are in this situation are so helpful! I have been wondering about what is wrong, why it is wrong, and what to do about it, and this podcast reflects my situation so strongly! As Anne says in the podcast, it is very helpful to have these details as a resource to use in deciding how to take action, and what step to take next. This podcast is very, very much appreciated!

  2. M

    This podcast is something *EVERY* woman that is in a relationship with a lying, cheating husband needs to hear!!! Especially if she is trying to decide whether to stay or to go. I consider Dr. Minwalla the prime expert on this topic. Thank you SO MUCH, Anne, for having him on your show! Dr. Minwalla is the only one who truly understands the dynamics of these relationships, better than any CSAT ever. I only wish I had heard from him 10 years ago when I really needed to hear this… With deep gratitude to you both!!!

  3. Anonymous

    I found BTR while doing research after the end of a relationship.

    I never thought “betrayal” was abuse. When my partner confessed to meeting and being in a relationship with another woman, he did not “confess” because he was feeling guilty or ashamed. He told me he was not going to end the affair. He was “entitled” and was going to continue seeing this woman.

    I had no choice but to accept the situation because I was trapped by this time in the relationship. It did cause me massive emotional damage and what has happened since has caused further grief, trauma and psychological damage. It was worse post-separation I’ve ever had.

  4. Anonymous

    The most validating part of this article for me was They’re Neurologically Habituated. My spouse (unknown to me) had wicked parents. His Father was a cross dresser and sex addict.

    I honestly believed they groomed my spouse how to get a wife. My spouse did not date much. I am sure his addiction/entitlement began early in life. He showed up at church looking for a specific “type of person” one who would not Lie, Cheat, Steal and would be Forgiving and probably would not want a divorce but instead do anything to avoid it. I was that sucker.

    He was well taught. He had a PHD in deception/gaslighting/DARVO. A description given by Lundy Bancroft, a person who can fool everyone around them. He is loved and esteemed by all who meet him. I have often said he makes the enemy look like a child in Pre school. His Godless Hypocrisy makes me want to vomit. He has no intention of changing.

  5. Pam N

    Hi, Anne. I have just started listening to this podcast and had to stop at the point where you addressed the three-star review regarding too much focus on religion. Oh my gosh, the bible absolutely does NOT condone/promote/support/encourage/command the oppression or abuse of women! When people have this opinion or perspective, it’s usually because the text has been misinterpreted or taken out of context. Often people take biblical truths or texts and misapply or weaponize them. So, so sad. This book is an absolute must read for anyone who struggles with the perceived oppression or inferiority of women in the Bible.

    Men and Women in the Church
    by Kevin DeYoung

    I will now continue listening to the podcast :). Thank you so much for your valuable tools!


  6. confused?

    “The Danger in Using the Addition Label”… “… if the real issue is sexual entitlement, and everyone’s labeling it something else and … they’re missing the actual disorder, which is sexual entitlement and it’s never been an addiction…”

    Does this imply that pornography doesn’t always become an addiction?
    (I hope my editing doesn’t cut out anything crucial!)

    • Samantha

      I’m not sure if that’s what it’s implying – but the intent seems to be: Is pornography addictive – sure. And what’s more – it’s abuse. And the thing we need to focus on and worry about is the abuse. It changes our perspective to know that if we’re married to an active pornography user, we’re in an abusive relationship. So to us, it shouldn’t matter whether he’s an addict or not. All we need to know is that we’re being abused, and begin to make our way to safety.

  7. Kate

    How many of us have been with an abuser who can be a fantastic guy in front of EVERYONE else? If it was a problem with their personality, then you’d be able to see those problematic behaviors in all aspects of their life. If you only see those problematic behaviors after you’ve been in the relationship a while, and he only acts that way with you or the kids, then it’s not a personality disorder. That’s just called “choosing to be abusive”.

    Statistics show most abusers don’t entirely fit the criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or any other personality disorder. (Though some abusers do, and are even less likely to change). Childhood trauma also doesn’t cause them to be abusive.

    According to the D S M 5, Personality Disorders are biological, and the behaviors are “enduring”, “stable over time”, and “pervasive and inflexible” . The D S M 5 states :

    “The pattern in personality disorders is maladaptive and relatively inflexible, which leads to disabilities in social, occupational, or other important pursuits, as individuals are unable to modify their thinking or behavior, even in the face of evidence that their approach is not working. ”

    (**Note “unable to modify their thinking or behavior”. This further attributes to the d s m’s belief that personality disorders are not choices, they are a part of who the person is)

    You would see the disorder in all aspects of their life. Ie. Interaction with boss, coworkers, parents, wife, pastor, friends, strangers, etc. But as most of us have experienced with our husbands, they are generally only abusive to us and/or kids, but can put on a happy smile and act like a saint whenever they want to, when they want to impress someone, or when it’s important to them. This proves that their harmful behavior and mistreatment is a CHOICE, not a biological dysfunction and disorder they “can’t help”.

    I really love what Response Based Practice says :

    “Part of treating offenders with dignity … is that with very rare exceptions, we see violence as deliberate, and people who perpetrate violence as already possessing all the skills and awareness and ability to be completely respectful and non-violent before you ever meet them.

    “People who perpetrate violence are not perpetrating violence all the time… If we begin to look at that then what we’re saying is, firmly, ‘your actions are deliberate and you are responsible for them. And we know that you’re completely capable of behaving differently and we can find out that you’re capable of behaving differently by looking at your excuses, your justifications, your denials.’ Because people would not bother to deny they’ve been violent if they didn’t already know it was wrong.

    “It’s much more dignified to treat men as capable, competent, social actors than as people who are just stupid, hapless, are driven by forces they don’t understand and need us to tell them how to behave. From our point of view that’s humiliating and you don’t get people to be responsible in that way. So we treat men as capable.”

    – Dr. Linda Coates & Dr. Allan Wade

  8. Blessing

    Regarding subjection to husbands. I am Catholic, and I am so sick and tired of this verse being manipulated, misunderstood and weaponized.

    It is not what Jesus taught or intended.

    This verse, when understood as the Catholic church teaches it is a loving submission in imitation of Jesus and how He served. Out of love, not fear.

    A woman cannot submit herself to evil. The purpose of marriage is to help each other become less selfish and more holy. It does not mean we deny our own God given dignity. God loves us! Submitting to evil would be a rejection of God’s love and grace because being in proximity to evil blocks us from feeling and receiving God’s love and care.

  9. tania

    My ex husband was very supposedly super religious, but he just used it as a cover for his deviant behavior. The whole ordeal was hyper hypocritical. He and his mom were extremely preachy, but they were the most vile acting human beings I knew. I grew up in a church, but I abandoned the church in adulthood, becoming more spiritual than religious.

    One day I was curious about all the denominations of Christianity, and I did a deep dive about the history that they different factions were formed. It was very interesting and one main thread that stands out, is how one denomination broke out in other denominations. How different groups have different views of the human spirit. Like one group would believe that all people are inherently evil, and bad, and you are just assumed to be a horrible person, and need to go church to do right, and another group would be the protesters of other groups, and on and on. What really stood out, is how there seemed to be a man, that would stand up as some leader, and start making up rules, and break off into another church, and so on and so forth. And that really sticks out to me. That it was typical a group of men, making up rules for everyone else, putting women down as second class citizens.

    Most of the church leaders that I have PERSONALLY met, have SERIOUS personality defects and ego issues. It pains me to learn that so many people take these men seriously, and when in need of help, they are there to shut down a woman’s intuition. They only seem interested in protecting the man’s standing in the community – rather than assisting victims of abuse.

    It seems to me that formal religion, at least in the US, was built for this VERY INTENT, to strip women of their rights and freedoms. And in this way, the man could NEVER do wrong, and as such, the man has no motivation to EVER do right.

    That is why so many different forms of abuse aren’t considered abuse, and women think that the horribly unsafe vibes they are feeling are in direct conflict with the church. It’s because the are!!! The church doesn’t care about women’s safety or the abuse they are experiencing. They just don’t care!

    I left my ex three weeks after my child was born. He did some horrendous things and later on I found out he had a criminal record. His religious family was ACTIVE in enabling him and hiding his past. They gaslit me that it was all my fault.

    They may look at it this way, because men, including her son, are treated like they can’t control themselves, and so anything they do wrong is their wife’s fault. I don’t believe that. But under the model that men are uncontrollable, I guess this is why she blamed everything on me, even though he had a violent past before we met and he continues to be violent past, even after I am out of the picture.

    I’ve cut ties with my mother-in-law, but she has stalked me for 22 years now demanding contact with me and my son. I swear that woman is a lunatic.

  10. Elaine

    My husband is seeing a CSAT therapist 6 months now and attending SLAA. But I still don’t trust and have many of my own issues from being raised by a narcissistic mother and alcoholic father. After reading this I really don’t have hope for my husbands recovery. I’m 65 years old and feel like 40 years of my life has been wasted on this man. He has no empathy for my hurt. He just wants things to go back to normal. Like me believing his lies all the time.

  11. betrayed for 36 years

    You can call it whatever you want, the crux of the issue is treatment. What is the best treatment therapy for victims of sexual betrayal?

    • Anne

      At BTR we don’t believe that victims need “treatment” per se. They need skills to get to safety. And they need to be safe. Emotional, psychological and sexual safety IS the treatment. Do you know what emotional and psychological safety would look like? Are you making your way to safety? For more info on how to do that, visit to see Your Next 5 Steps.

  12. S

    All these resources and counselors aware of Minwalla’s work are available to the betrayed spouse. In an attempt to avoid my husband is wasting time with a CSAT that isn’t aware of the abuse piece and Dr Minwalla’s white paper, who can or should he see to get the RIGHT treatment. He’s actively seeking help and wants someone who’s familiar with what he’s really dealing with. Remote or in person. Anybody?

    • Anne

      Before you look for treatment for your husband, we recommend taking the BTR.ORG Living Free Workshop, so you can understand exactly what’s going on. Also, have you read Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft. We’d recommend you start there and then come back around to considering a program for your husband after you’ve been educated about abuse.

  13. Tricia

    In your opening comments, Anne, you say, “So, for me, it’s like, how do I wrestle with a Bible passage, for example, that does say, ‘women subject yourself to your husbands.'” This is said in the context of a husband loving his wife as Christ loves the church. I don’t believe that God ever intends women to submit to ungodly leadership. When the three Hebrews were told to bow to an idol, they disobeyed because God’s law trumps man’s law every time. So, if a husband is abusing you and saying that you have to help him hide his sin, that’s just not Biblical.


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