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Mending a Shattered Heart: A Guide for Partners of Sex Addicts Paperback – Jan 1 2008

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 220 pages
  • Publisher: Gentle Path Press; Reprint edition (Jan. 1 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0977440060
  • ISBN-13: 978-0977440061
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 14 x 1.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,142,364 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"I'll never forget my friend's words when she uncovered her husband's sex addiction: "I felt like I was going through a shredder...backwards." Providing much-needed clarity and direction, "Mending A Shattered Heart" courageously meets and helps heal this addiction at the deep level it hits and hurts. Thank you Stefanie for removing the shame and giving the gift of grounded hope."
--Melody Beattie, Author of "Codependent No More"
"A vitally important book written by highly experienced professionals! "Mending A Shattered Heart" will lessen the shame, provide clarity and direction and offer hope to the partners of sex addicts."
--Claudia Black, PhD, Author of "It Will Never Happen to Me"
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Stefanie Carnes, Ph.D., is a highly sought after presenter at both state and national levels. She has extensive experience working individually with clients and facilitating psycho-educational groups on co-occurring disorders, substance abuse, trauma, grief and loss, and addiction to both the residential and extended care clients. She has led numerous research projects on addiction. Dr. Carnes is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, an AAMFT clinical member and approved supervisor. She is also certified through IITAP (International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals) as a sex addiction therapist and supervisor.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9e2fb768) out of 5 stars 57 reviews
89 of 90 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e87bfa8) out of 5 stars Life saver book!! Feb. 20 2010
By W. Shabana - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I started reading this book I was totally at a loss and my life was nothing but a great mess. I didn't know what to do, I didn't understand what I am facing, I was like the king in a chess game who has just been checked!! I was standing in one point not able to move one step forwards, backwards or to either of the sides. The whole situation was devastating for me when I discovered after nine years of marriage that my husband was a sex addict.

I am Egyptian and he is British. In Egypt, the culture and the religion are so very different from Europe or The United States. At the beginning I thought it was just a difference in culture and background that was causing the problems. But then things started to get worse by the day. We, in Egypt, specially girls, don't know much about issues like sex addiction or even about sex in general. I took him to three different therapists in three different situations to figure out the problem but none of them could. In a situation like that, where I don't have enough knowledge, and the therapist are not much of a help, this book was a life saver for me.

The book made the picture clear in my mind. Even if it doesn't solve the problem immediately - as this has to come from within each person according to different circumstances of each case - then at least it identifies the problem, tells you what you need to know about the fight you found yourself in, and leads you to mend your heart and soul that were badly hurt and injured. It was a very useful read in the absence of any help in my country including therapy groups. The subject of sex addiction seems to be new to the whole world, and the few therapist who know about it in Egypt were very hard to locate. Therapy groups are only available for other addictions like Alcohol and Narcotics, but not for sex addiction. The importance of this book for me stems from the lack of any other aid methods in my country, and I think I know now what I need to do to fix myself and save it from a destructive relationship.

I hope it helps other people too, and may God bless the Author who helped from all that distance by taking the time to write this important book. I appreciate the quick and professional service that I got from Amazon, without their help I could never have found that book or read it. I also recommend two more books that I bought from Amazon, for people who have my problem: "Don't call it love" and "out of the shadows" by Patrick Carnes. They are very useful and important to read when you have a sex addict at home.
30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e87d288) out of 5 stars Helping Broken Hearts Heal Themselves Sept. 7 2012
By E. White - Published on
Format: Paperback
I think the best way I can be helpful with this review is to simply tell you what's inside. This book is based on insights taken from the 12-step program. It's written for the partner of the sex addict. The focus is squarely on taking charge of one's own life, and realizing that the sex addict must make the changes in their own life.

This is not a couple's workbook. It's a workbook for one person -- the partner of the sex addict. Part I is meant for all such partners to read. Part II contains information relevant to specific situations: for example, when kids are involved, for gay couples, and when the sex addict is a man attracted to other men.

Chapter 2, "I Need to Know Everything that Happened... Or Do I?" is an especially helpful chapter. It takes a straightforward look at the frequent compulsion of non-addict partners to ask about every single detail of the betrayal, to leave no transgression unturned. The authors take the interesting perspective that a more general outline may be wiser. Using the "real estate" metaphor, the authors suggest that there is only so much emotional room in the mind, and that filling it up with too much detail might lead to more pain and hurt than is necessary. It also might make it harder to move on and forward, by creating associations and imagined memories that take longer to heal. It's an interesting and powerful chapter.

The Table of Contents gives you a clear outline of what else you'll find in the book:


Part I -- For All Partners of Sex Addicts
1. What Is Sex Addiction
2. I Need to Know Everything that Happened... Or Do I?
3. Is This Going to Get Better
4. Should I Stay Or Should I Go?
5. How Do I Set Boundaries and Keep Myself Safe?
6. What About Me and My Sexuality?
7. What Can the Twelve Steps Do For Me?
8. How Can I Begin to Take Care of Myself?

Part II -- Specific Situations
9. What Should I Tell the Kids? (For families with children)
10. What Does It Mean If My Partner Has Shown an Interest in Minors? (Specifically for partners of addicts with an interest in minors)
11. How Does Sex Addiction and Infidelity Affect Gay Couples? (For partners in same-sex relationships)
12. Straight Guise: Is My Partner Gay? (For partners of male addicts with an interest in other men)
13. I Have Decided to Go. What Do I Need to Know?
14. Can We Make It as a Couple? A Couple Talks about Long Term Recovery

The Twelve Steps of Sex Addicts Anonymous
Resource Guide
Recommended Reading
About the Authors


This book is recommended to partners of sex addicts who have yet to find their own healing. It's ideal for those who are at the beginning of the healing process, who are perhaps still reeling from the pain. It's not for those who will insist that their partners read along with them, or will change along with them. It's definitely oriented towards the self-work that needs to be done for healing and change to occur.

Another book which might be helpful that also focuses on self-work is The Couple's Survival Workbook: What You Can Do To Reconnect With Your Partner and Make Your Marriage Work by Olsen and Stephens. It takes a different tack, focusing on problem interactions, but again the emphasis is on changing one's self, first. For a healing and philosophical perspective to help deal with the trauma of learning about a partner's sex addiction, readers also might find The Soul of Sex: Cultivating Life as an Act of Love by Thomas Moore to be helpful.

I hope this review was helpful to you.
135 of 162 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e87d4c8) out of 5 stars This book causes further harm to already traumatized partners! July 26 2011
By KAS - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The only useful (and non-harming) chapter in this book is Chapter 4: "What About My Sexuality" by Omar Minwalla. Through the use of the inappropriate "co-addict" label by all of the other contributing authors, further harm is done to any partner who seeks potential comfort and guidance from this book. To label a partner a co-addict just because she/he unknowingly ended up in a relationship with a sex addict (all of which are accomplished compulsive liars!) and imply that they have any role in the sex addiction of their spouse or are in anyway "diseased" because of this relationship, is treatment induced trauma and it must STOP! Not one of the listed references provided in this book sites research findings that validates the use of this label in any situation. And that is because there is NO research based evidence that justifies the use of this very damaging label. Mental Health professionals have an inherent responsibility to do no harm. Therefore, the use of the co-addiction model in the treatment of partners suffering from a devastating relational trauma, which was induced by the sexual addiction of their spouse, has to stop. In its place, the evidenced based trauma model must be employed by all mental health professionals when treating the traumatized partner in order for there to be therapeutic healing, not harming, from sex addiction induced trauma. I encourage all partners and anyone who treats them to read "Your Sexually Addicted Spouse: How Partners Can Cope and Heal" by Barbara Steffens and Marsha Means. The paradigm shift that their book describes should immediately become the gold standard in partner treatment!
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e87d66c) out of 5 stars Really bad, potentially damaging advice Sept. 6 2012
By Agates and Amaryllis - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was recommended to me by Brian Zamboni, a sex addiction therapist. It is horrible. I have tried to finish it twice, and can only get a few chapters into it. THere is so much damaging information here. A better therapist called it "a recipe for codependency."

As an example, the beginning talks a ton about being careful who you share the truth about sex addiction with. While I agree that it can sometimes make sense to be cautious in sharing, the book takes a very shaming tone.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e87d540) out of 5 stars Moving On! April 17 2013
By D Sparrow - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Gives you great insight into how a spouse justifies their actions. Helped me decide to move on in my life without him.