Wife of Sex Addict Speaks

Michelle Perra – Appeared on Anderson Cooper

Powerful Eric: Welcome to Porn Talk, this is Powerful Eric. The purpose of this show is to help you end the porn habit and reclaim your power, but this is not just about breaking addictions. It’s about breaking belief systems. We are bound by self-imposed in societal chains, break the chains, get empowered now. My next guest is my friend Michelle Perra. Michelle has appeared on Anderson Cooper; the Katy Couric show and has been featured in Bella magazine. Her life is helping people connect with a life they know deep down inside is possible. Her personal story has touched millions and is living proof that a woman and couple can survive and even thrive, during tough times and come out stronger and closer than ever. She says that she became a coach to help sex addicts after her husband got hooked on porn and prostitutes. Through her kind and inspirational approach, Michelle empowers and motivates men, women and couples to create the incredible life that they truly want to live. Help me welcome Michelle Perra. Welcome Michelle.
Michelle Perra: Thank you very much. It’s great to be here.

Powerful Eric: Great. I’m glad you’re here. Can you tell the listening audience a little bit more about yourself and how you got into all this?

 

Michelle Perra: Craig and I were college sweethearts and we have been married about 20 years now, we celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary this year.

 

Powerful Eric: Congratulations.

 

Michelle Perra: Thank you. But that celebration came from a lot of struggles and challenges and, wonderful times and some really terrible times. So, Craig has always the mindful habit or, you know, our program, our system was really born out of Craig’s major challenges and he likes to say his failures. And I would have to agree with that, but I like to talk a little more positive and say his challenges. So, really, I guess what had happened, we moved out to California, Craig lost his mind, that was it. He imploded and, lost his job, ended up in an inpatient rehab facility, and it was absolutely awful, wanted to kill himself, he was so depressed and so messed up. And you know, his addictions, his challenges were really sex, porn, drugs, lots of them, alcohol, not as much, but socially, definitely. So, anyway, lost his mind, ends up in an inpatient, has no job. We just moved out to California. I don’t work. We have two kids, young kids, and my world was just rocked. And I would think that what got me into it because, really, I started the whole thing, by my blog, which I don’t really update anymore. But, he was an inpatient and I went to them, I said, “okay, well what do I do?”. So, they just gave me a pamphlet for codependents anonymous and I was like, “are you kidding me?”. So, the assumption that I’m codependent because I’m with an addict, really offended me. Not that some people aren’t, not that we all don’t have some codependent tendencies, right? Because as humans we really do, and that’s reality. But just to label someone because you’re with an addict, you are codependent and you are messed up, just really didn’t sit with me well. So, I was really frustrated. So, then I went out and I researched other ways to help yourself. And then I came up with the trauma model, right? Which was first, I was like, “oh my God, this is so wonderful”. But as a partner, it just kept me getting stuck in that place of, that place of “I’m a victim, I’m a victim”. And that didn’t work either. So, I decided I wanted to save the world and I started a blog just to get my voice out there. And, it was actually pretty popular at one point. And people would contact me, and they wanted help and they’re like, “oh my God, your struggles and what you’re going through and how you’re coming out of it, I’m connecting with that so much.”. And so, it was at that point that Craig kind of wanted to be a life coach, and that was interesting. I was like, “okay”. And then through my blog, I got contacted by Anderson Cooper, the show, to go on the show. So, that’s kind of how the whole thing started. And then the Mindful Habit was born from there and it just got bigger and bigger. And we’ve just helped a lot of people, and so it’s been–

Powerful Eric: Yeah. I know you’ve helped a lot of people because I’m one of them, I am now a certified Mindful Habit coach under the Mindful Habit system so, I can’t even put into words, thank you so much because I never heard, I mean, I’ve heard your story, but not in the way you’ve just said it now. So, it’s got to be, I would imagine it’s got to feel really good that you took those lemons and made lemonade and now you’ve helped thousands of people literally around the globe. How does that feel?

 

Michelle Perra: It’s really amazing because we were in a really dark place. So, just picture this, so, it’s my nature to make lemons out if lemonade. I mean, that’s just my nature anyway. So, it is easier for me, right? Because, I’m not codependent, I’ll tell you that, I’m not passive, I just, I take a situation and I figure it out, always. But, you know, Craig is having this love affair with somebody else, he loses his job, wants nothing to do with his family, okay? We have no money, and I remember the person that we called to get help and Craig’s counselor was a little different. He wasn’t the traditional 12-step, oh, and also, we, 12-step, Craig’s life, 12-step never worked. He was in 12-step counseling, therapy and it never worked, and it would help for a little bit, but then it just never worked. And he would always keep going back to his addictive compulsive behavior. So, anyway, we are in this dark place, and this guy didn’t do 12-step or–it was just very untrad– it was just different. So, I have to drive him an hour and 45 minutes to get him help, okay? Each way, with these young kids. And so, we’re in the space and I literally, and I’m just giving the backstory, so I can tell you how it feels. I literally was so stressed out, like my legs were numb. I couldn’t feel like from my knees down, I was having a real physiological response.
Powerful Eric: Oh my gosh.

 

Michelle Perra: Yes. I’ve got bursitis in my arms and my legs. I couldn’t move them, it was just physically a toll, I had two young kids. I mean, Craig was literally insane. He wanted to buy a duplex for him and he was having an affair with a transsexual porn star and he wanted to buy a duplex and they were going to live on one side and me and the kids on the other. So, that’s what I was dealing with, okay?
Powerful Eric: Wow.

 

Michelle Perra: But mind you, I didn’t work and so I needed him to get on his feet and get a job so then I can go live my life and he could live his, okay?

 

Powerful Eric: Yeah.

 

Michelle Perra: So, and I guess the story there is when we’re driving so far, and we learned a lot and we started communicating, right? We just kind of learned a different way and started healing that way. But my point is, in that time, I was so stressed out and then he starts getting better and we’re kind of healing, I still don’t know that I’m a hundred percent staying, but I’m here, we’re healing. He is much, he’s healthy at this point. And then he says to me, “I want to be a life coach”. And I’m like, “oh my God, really? You don’t have a job, you can’t pay your bills and you want to be a life coach? That’s so lovely, it’s so wonderful.”. I don’t know what to do with that. But then at the same time, what are you going to be the dream squasher? And be like, “no, you have to work.”? And I guess you could but, watching him be miserable in corporate America for so long because Craig’s a little different, he’s creative, he’s unique, he’s amazing at the things, when he wants to do something. So, what was I going to do? What was I going to say? He’s like, “I want to help the world. I was so messed up and I did so many awful things. I need to– I want to make this right and I want to help other men keep their marriages, keep, you know, like stay married, not leave their kids”. So, what was I going to say? I was like, “okay.”. So, I started my blog because I was frustrated and all this stuff and then to see where that was and the place we were at and how low we were and how scared I was when he was like, “I’m going to be a life coach and I’m going to make– support us on that”, to now and where it’s built and how many families have been saved by us and how many men, Craig is like, helping be the best men they can be and the best version of themselves. I mean, it’s just, honestly, there’s nothing better than to know that you are helping, because that’s why I started my blog, to help. Even though I don’t do it anymore, I’m not really coaching so much because I run the back-end of the business. But to know that, that little blog started this whole thing, it’s amazing that how low and dark we were. We can be at the place we are now and be an inspiration for everybody else. It’s awesome.

Powerful Eric: That’s incredible. That’s an incredible story. Obviously, that was your lowest point. Tell me, what’s your highest point?

 

Michelle Perra: And I can’t pinpoint a highest point.

Powerful Eric: Let me help. Because I saw online, a photo of Craig at a wedding ceremony, there was a couple that was getting remarried.

Michelle Perra: That was amazing.

Powerful Eric: Yeah. Tell us about that.

Michelle Perra: Well, this couple had come to the Mindful Habit and they were in a bad place and through the Mindful Habit system, and I’ll tell you what’s really cool about this story too, through the Mindful Habit system and all the coaches, because they’re in the group coaching program. So, they work with everybody and they are at the place where they were renewing their 10 year wedding anniversary and they said, they came to Craig and asked if he would officiate the ceremony because they felt that the Mindful Habit system and Craig and the coach– that their marriage was saved because of the program and the work that they did and the transformational change that had developed through the program. And what was so cool is, they kept saying its new marriage, same spouse. So, it wasn’t like, “oh, a relationship”. It was a clear recognition that things had to be different, and we’re remarrying each other, but this time it’s different. It’s a new marriage. And that’s kind of what we say. Like when people are at these really, really low points and you know, the partners are like, “how could anything, I will never recover. I mean, I’m destroyed. I can’t move on. How can I ever trust again? Or how can I ever be in this relationship again?”. My instinct was to say the neat thing, but the neat thing about crisis, rock bottom, something that just can’t keep going on the way it’s going, it’s destructive, t’s bad. If you look at those things as opportunities and challenges and see where you can be different, where things need to be done differently on both sides, right?

 

Powerful Eric: Yeah.

Michelle Perra: And obviously on the man’s side, lots needs to be done different. That’s true, right? But on the partner’s side, there is a dynamic that we bring through our fears and insecurities and challenges and traumas and whatever it is, you know, and that’s why we also have our partner program because there’s growth that we as partners need to do. And when that’s done together, it really can be this new, amazing, wonderful thing. And the interesting thing is that without that crisis, you may never have took the time to work on yourselves, to the point where you’ve grown to where you are. So, I like to say sometimes, and it sounds awful, like I don’t think I would change anything, even though I wouldn’t want to go through it again. Like, it really was awful, at times, like, really. I wouldn’t want to go through it again. But at the same time, if things were different, we wouldn’t be where we are.

 

Powerful Eric: I totally hear what you’re saying, that that adversity actually made you guys stronger. It reminds me of a story I heard about a bodybuilder and he was asked, you know, how did you sculpt this body? And it was by, his answer was by going up against tremendous resistance, you know, tremendous resistance, every day. And so, that adversity is that resistance, and I love what you also said about, you know, turning those perceived failures and opportunities, and also, I like what you said about the marriage. How did you say, the new–?

 

Michelle Perra: New marriage, same spouse.

 

Powerful Eric: Yeah.

 

Michelle Perra: That was their, like tagline and they said, “we don’t want to do, renewing our vows, because this is a new marriage” and it was amazing. And so, when they emailed Craig and said, “we want you to officiate because we owe this to you”. It was like, “Whoa, that’s amazing.”. Or you know what another high point is? When you read, like when people review the program and when you read it and you read how much it has helped, our program. You know, Craig, and me, I downplay me, but no, and me, how it’s helped people. And now, what I find is really cool too, is okay, so you’ve got the men’s program, the addict program, and that’s been around a long time. Over the past year, we developed a specific partner empowerment program. And to watch these women heal in different ways, to watch them focus on their own growth and where they can do better for themselves and not just be reactive to their husbands’ challenges and whether you stay or go, there’s that growth that needs to be done. So, to watch these women do that and to watch, you know, what else is so super cool? I just have to say this and I just, when you said high point, actually I know for me what has been so awesome, when I hear him on the group coaching calls with the women, the partners, I hear him supporting them and empathizing with them in a way that he didn’t give me at the time, ever. Now is different, but at the time I just sometimes I get choked up because I’m like, “wow, that is so cool.”. Because when I was looking for help, I, it was nice to hear from a man who had gone through it and now is better. Like I liked hearing from women, but I wanted the man to say, “yes, I was– I did things wrong, but now I can do things different, and this is how I do”. There was something powerful about hearing from the guy as well. And the women I think do enjoy hearing from Craig and our other coach Tara. But there’s this power in Craig and when I hear him being so supportive of them in such an awesome way, I’m always like, it just recently, it’s just meant a lot. And it’s interesting, it’s almost like a next phase of healing that trauma that like I had gone through that I’m totally, I’m okay with it. I’m at a totally different point, but there’s this extra level of healing that has happened recently that’s been just, I would say that’s one of my high points because it just makes me feel so good because I started all of this to support the women. You know what I mean?

 

Powerful Eric: It’s incredible because it all started from your blog.

 

Michelle Perra: Yeah. And you know what? It’s really basic and that was probably in 2011. Yeah. When I started it and my blog spurred me going on the Anderson Cooper show.

Powerful Eric: Tell us about that, tell us how was the experience going on Anderson Cooper on national, I’d say, well CNN really is international, to tell the world about how your–

Michelle Perra: I don’t think it was on, it wasn’t on CNN because it was his talk show, it wasn’t his news show. So, he had a talk show at one point. It was very popular. It was like the Katy Couric show, it was very popular.

 

Powerful Eric: Okay, so national television. So, you’re going on national television to interview on a TV show.

 

Michelle Perra: And mind you, it was at the very beginning. So, one of the big things in this space is, you know this, is being open, being honest, letting people in, letting them know my husband is a sex and porn addict and has, you know, had sex with not one or two hookers, prostitutes. You know, letting them know all the awful things my husband did and why I’m still there, right? It’s just a whole, anybody listening I’m sure can completely empathize. It’s terrifying. It’s awful. You know, you fear the judgement, you fear the view on your kids, you fear rejection from your family and you fear the people just, “why you staying? Why would you do this? Why would you do that?”. The telling you what to do. I mean, it’s terrifying. So, when I was asked to do it, it was a big decision whether or not I decided to do it. I remember saying, “Oh my God, it’s going to be on TV.”. And I had to call now. So, I’m from the east coast, we’re in California, Anderson Cooper is taping in New York. I can’t go to New York and not tell my family and I mean, I guess some people could, but I couldn’t do that because that’s lying, and I don’t like lying. Okay. Obviously, I don’t like lying. So, I had to call my parents and be like, “hi, I’m going to be in New York for two days and I’m going on the Anderson Cooper show. Do you want to know why? Because my husband had sex with prostitutes. So, I got to go, bye!”. Awful, and I remember actually, them being pretty supportive. We just decided not to talk about it too much, but to support me going on the show. At this point they knew that Craig had lost his mind and was getting better and healthy. So, they just chose not to dive too deep out of respect for me, but I hadn’t really told people in the community, I know I’m in a close-knit community. And I would say that the fear of being out in the open probably was my hardest thing that I dealt with through all of this. And I’m serious about that. That was like re-traumatizing my wounds every time I’ve thought about it because it’s terrifying for everybody to know, right? And in my head, if too many people know, Craig’s never going to get a job again, right? Because financial security is a very important need of mind to be able to pay–

 

Powerful Eric: Sure.

 

Michelle Perra: I don’t need to be rich. I don’t need to be going to Hawaii every other day, but I need to pay my bills, okay? Have a car, you know, those things. So, the experience was terrifying, but once I did it, I said, “okay, that wasn’t too bad.”. And then the show aired, a few people saw it and they were like, “cool.”. And it really wasn’t that big a deal. And every single time we’ve been on a show, it has gotten better and better. And over time, again that’s been, Craig has been wanting to scream it to the world and be like, “I’m done lying. I’m done with the shame. I want to help.”. I was the one holding them back for– every year it got better and better. But now, I mean, it’s so freeing now, to be able to just be open and honest and feel really confident and powerful about, “yeah, this is what happened, and this is where you could go”. And I found that people in the community at the beginning, there were a few people that were judgmental, I will agree. But in the end, nothing happened. And even one of them that stopped talking to me for six months, a very good friend of mine, and just over time, she forgot about it, didn’t care and, you know, whatever. And it just, I realized that the more people got to know us, the more that they really respected what Craig was doing and what we were doing and actually found it– they actually were extremely, they found it very inspiring. And–

Powerful Eric: It is inspiring, it’s very inspiring. And I want to thank you again because, by doing this show, Porn Talk, a lot of my friends are going to find out about this through this show and so, I can relate to what you’re saying about that fear of like, how are people going to judge me? How are people going to react to all this? So, thank you.

 

Michelle Perra: Well, you’re welcome because what I found is the more we talk about it and I love talking about it now, because it’s my life, this is reality. The more we talk about it, the more people start coming to you with their own problems.

 

Michelle Perra: I don’t need to be rich. I don’t need to be going to Hawaii every other day, but I need to pay my bills, okay? Have a car, you know, those things. So, the experience was terrifying, but once I did it, I said, “okay, that wasn’t too bad.”. And then the show aired, a few people saw it and they were like, “cool.”. And it really wasn’t that big a deal. And every single time we’ve been on a show, it has gotten better and better. And over time, again that’s been, Craig has been wanting to scream it to the world and be like, “I’m done lying. I’m done with the shame. I want to help.”. I was the one holding them back for– every year it got better and better. But now, I mean, it’s so freeing now, to be able to just be open and honest and feel really confident and powerful about, “yeah, this is what happened, and this is where you could go”. And I found that people in the community at the beginning, there were a few people that were judgmental, I will agree. But in the end, nothing happened. And even one of them that stopped talking to me for six months, a very good friend of mine, and just over time, she forgot about it, didn’t care and, you know, whatever. And it just, I realized that the more people got to know us, the more that they really respected what Craig was doing and what we were doing and actually found it– they actually were extremely, they found it very inspiring. And–

 

Powerful Eric: It is inspiring, it’s very inspiring. And I want to thank you again because, by doing this show, Porn Talk, a lot of my friends are going to find out about this through this show and so, I can relate to what you’re saying about that fear of like, how are people going to judge me? How are people going to react to all this? So, thank you. PpppYeah. And also–

 

Michelle Perra: And that I found neat.

Powerful Eric: Right, and also, this is helping people that are, you know, alone with this and think that, “I’m the only person in the world going through this, I’m addicted to porn, addicted to compulsive sex, no one will understand, I’m a freak.”. They’re judging themselves. And you know, there’s a saying that says, “we are as sick as our secrets”, and by us talking about this now, hopefully this will empower others to reach out for help.

 

Michelle Perra: Well, it does because I did my blog, right? And then I went on the Anderson Cooper show, and then we decided to start a podcast, that the whole, our podcast started with us together on the podcast talking to couples, because helping men and women from the couple’s perspective was really important to us from the beginning. So, we had a podcast and the more we talked about it and people would then connect with us, they were like, “wow, I’m not alone. You guys know what I’m going through”. And it really, really was powerful. People still listen to those old episodes and they, they find it very helpful. So, I mean, it’s powerful to put yourself out there because there are so many people going through what you’re going through or what you went through. And, it really helps people say, “I don’t have to be ashamed. I don’t have to hide. I can get help and I can, own it.”. Because you have be able to own it, right?

Powerful Eric: Yeah, you do have to own it and, I like to talk about a study that was done by the University of Montreal in Canada. They attempted to do a study at the university on the men that were acting out the porn and the men that were not acting out the porn and they had to abandon the study because they couldn’t find, they couldn’t get a control group. They couldn’t get a group that was not acting out actively to porn. So, this is, that’s not to say that those all those guys are addicted or– but it’s just show that this is a huge problem.

Michelle Perra: Yeah. And it’s an issue we don’t talk about and you know, we don’t talk about it. It’s kind of like when, especially when I first started, when people would ask what we do, even when I was comfortable with it, I’d be like, “yeah, you know, we own an international life coaching company and you know, my husband’s– the niche is like”, and then my voice would go lower, “porn addiction”. What am I doing? Why would I do that? Again, I was the one that was a little weirder about being out in the complete open, not with people that I wasn’t weird with people that knew, you know, I had a bunch of friends that were super supportive. I wasn’t weird about that at all, but with everybody in the community and everybody in the world, you know, my voice would go lower when I would say it. And, I really had to consciously say, “you know what? I’m not going to do that.”. But that’s reacting off of other people being weird about it.

 

Powerful Eric: I mean, that’s why I named this show Porn Talk, I wanted to make it very clear, we’re going to talk about compulsive use of porn, compulsive sex, it’s porn talk.

Michelle Perra: Well, I mean, it’s a hot issue. It’s a problem that so many families and people are just struggling with. And again, like I said, I mean, the more and more people come and talk to me or it would be like, “I have somebody that needs your program”, you know, and it’s just like, it’s wonderful to be out there because then people can feel more comfortable starting to own up to their problems and they come to you and, I’ve just realized that there’s no reason to hide with this, because it’s such a big problem.

Powerful Eric: So, what would you say to the guys that are struggling with the compulsive use of porn and sex? On how this affects their partner, and we’re not trying to give anybody a guilt trip or anything like that, but just, how did it affect you as the partner of the sex and porn addict?

 

Michelle Perra: Well, I mean, in lots of ways that’s a very, it’s a very loaded question because there’s a lot. But, the hardest thing is the lying, right? So, the biggest thing is really, when do I believe what comes out of your mouth? When do I not believe what comes out of your mouth? You know, like I look out the window and the sky is blue, that’s what I see. But, really it was green this whole time. So, how do I know if what I’m seeing is the right color or not the right color. And that’s terrifying. And that’s the big, it’s the lying, that’s a big deal, and the partner just not knowing, when I can trust, when I can’t trust, and you know, you leave the house, I don’t know what you’re doing. And this, I mean, and it depends on the level of, you know, someone who’s a porn addict is a little different than somebody whose husband, well, you know, is buying a duplex for their significant, I mean–

 

Powerful Eric: Yeah, that’s a whole other level.

 

Michelle Perra: And he thought it was a good idea. He thought it was a brilliant solution. “I’m going to buy a duplex.”. And I like when he tells the story because he gets really upset, I laugh because to me, it shows how messed up he was. Like, you can’t not laugh at that.

 

Powerful Eric: Yeah, it’s so absurd.

 

Michelle Perra: It’s so absurd that it’s funny. Like, I’m not even going to be upset, I’m gone. But, when he tells it, it’s a lot harder for him because he remembers being in that really, really dark place. But the lying at the time, it’s just the lying, the lying is really hard. And men who have addictive behavior, tend to lack some empathy. You agree with that?

 

Powerful Eric: Yeah.

 

Michelle Perra: There’s a lack of empathy,

Powerful Eric: Empathy being, putting yourself in the other person’s shoes.

 

Michelle Perra: Right. So, instead of seeing me as being annoying, because I want you to get help, I need you to get help, I can’t take this. Let’s grow, let’s get help it grow and be better people, right? To have empathy, for where the partner is coming from, because empathy is a big thing. Empathy in the lies.

 

Powerful Eric: Great. So, what would you suggest to guys that are having challenges in their marriage or their primary relationship, to do or not do to repair the relationship?

Michelle Perra: Honestly, partners, they want to see you doing something about it. So, it’s the people that say, “well, I can just do it on my own”, and some can, but a lot of times you can’t, if you’ve tried over and over again, it is really hard. So, I’m getting into a program, and not just taking the easy way out, “oh, I’m just going to get a book.”.

Powerful Eric: If I may, I was talking to a sex therapist that was on Oprah and he said, well, “I’ve never worked with any addict that was able to recover on their own.”.

Michelle Perra: And it’s true now that the strength of 12-step is the community, right? The problem that I have with 12-step and that kind of stuff is, it kind of keeps you stuck in that, “hi, I’m Michelle, I’m an addict”, right? And we don’t want to keep focusing on the negatives on–

 

Powerful Eric: No.

 

Michelle Perra: You can go, you can speak to this very well.

 

Powerful Eric: Oh yeah, I was always into self-development stuff and big names like, Tony Robbins and things like that. And then, I go to the 12-step meetings and basically kind of learn the opposite instead of saying, you know, “I’m powerful Eric”, I’m saying, “hi, my name is Eric, and I’m a sexaholic”. And then we go on to describe the most, the worst behavior that we’ve done, that’s how the beginning of every meeting would start. And it was totally dis-empowering, and I agree with you.

 

Michelle Perra: And kind of traumatizing.

 

Powerful Eric: Yeah. It was traumatizing, and I agree with you. The strength of it, is the community for sure.

 

Michelle Perra: Absolutely.

 

Powerful Eric: But I was in and out of 12-step programs for about 20 years, did not work for me. And then I found the Mindful Habit system.

 

Michelle Perra: When you think about it, right? When you’re constantly like, I like to say it like this. If I tell you don’t think of the pink elephant, think of anything else besides the pink elephant, don’t think of the pink elephant. What are you going to think?

 

Powerful Eric: Of course. Pink Elephant.

 

Michelle Perra: And in your question that I totally veered from was, what should these men do? Find a program that helps you grow, helps you be a better person. Because really as we know, the addiction is the symptom.

Powerful Eric: Yes.

Michelle Perra: It’s not what’s really going on. So, when we focus on the symptom, you’re putting a band-aid on it, it’s kind of like, you know, it just, you’re putting a band-aid on it. You’re not dealing with the real problem, and so, my suggestion is what partners and women want to see, we want to see you being a better person. We want to see you taking care of yourself, when you as men are doing something to better you, working on “why am I doing this? Why am I, you know, not able to control myself? Why am I stuck in this pattern?”. And when we work on it, we become better people. Which is one of the things that Craig was passionate about creating this program.

Powerful Eric: That’s the perfect segue. Can you tell me how has all this strengthened your relationship with Craig? How has this made you better people?

 

Michelle Perra: Okay, that’s a good question. Really, it’s brought us to a completely different place. So, it takes the addictive behavior and kind of puts it on the side and said, I’m going to be a better person, that’s the goal. Now, and stopping the behavior happens as a result of that. Craig, being able to own his mistakes, stop hiding from them, us learning how to communicate, me taking responsibility, not responsibility for anything wrong or anything really wrong in the relationship, but I was bringing a dynamic to the relationship as well. That wasn’t fitting with Craig, even though I didn’t do anything, right? I didn’t do anything wrong. He did it all. He did everything, I did not. But the reality is, I was reacting in a way that was not helping, or it wasn’t working with the man who was pissing me off. So, I could just fight that battle all the time, and we did for, you know, I don’t know how many years that was, like, you know, I got married when I was, you know, 23 and there was a cycle that would always happen because I was reacting to him in a way that was just fueling him in a way. So, I had to take it upon myself to say, you know what, “I can only control myself. I can’t control him. I’m going to stop trying to rely on him and I’m going to grow myself”. And he did the same as well. And we just learned two be in a different place, communicate together.

 

Powerful Eric: Yeah, so can you–

 

Michelle Perra: I’m sorry, own our behavior individually.

Powerful Eric: Can you expand on that, so, you said you learned to communicate better, how did that come about or, how did you do that?

 

Michelle Perra: Well I, you know, we were just tired of that same cycle, right? So, like we’d get into a fight, and Craig can be vicious when he’s, you know, which a lot of people can, he can be vicious. So, then I would go in the bedroom and I would just start crying. And then he would, the same sort of pattern every single time. Then he would come in and I’d be like, “oh”, and he’d be like, “ah”. And then, we would have this communication, but it was based on this, him putting me in this one down position and then him coming in and being bigger than me and saving this, you know, and bringing me up. And then we would make nice-nice. And then we’d be okay for a while. But it was that same cycle. So, we were tired of that cycle. So, we had to learn a different way to communicate. We had to learn to communicate where both people had a perspective and neither one is wrong or right. It’s how they feel and learning to stop and listen and me learning, even though he is a complete ass, and Craig can– ugh. But I trigger him, my face triggers him, my voice triggers him. It’s like the projection of his mother that he’s put on me. It’s very challenging for me, but I’ve had to learn to step back and say, “okay, well I am– obviously this isn’t working, so I need to learn to own my part of the–“, even though I’m just acting and frustrated because he’s annoying, right? But that’s my perspective, and so learning to be on the same level and having empathy for the other person’s position and learning what makes each of us feel emotionally safe in a communication, in life and really, trying to respect that his needs are as valuable as mine and vice versa.

 

Powerful Eric: Yeah, well, tell us what resources are out there for the partner of the addict. You were talking about the partner program.

 

Michelle Perra: Yeah. So, we have created now, a partner program, which is a program for the partners of someone dealing with, you know, compulsive sexual behavior. And, it’s been really, really powerful. So, it’s an online program, just like the men’s program. But it’s strictly for the partners, and what’s neat about it is that, they walk through the Mindful Habit system, just like the men would, just like the addict would. And what’s neat about that is, well there’s two things in that. First of all, like we talked about, the addiction is really the symptom, right? Really in the end, it’s born out of our traumas, our fears, our insecurities, all that stuff, we develop bad habits, right?

 

Powerful Eric: Mine was fear. Yes.

 

Michelle Perra: Right, and insecurities, I’m sure. And it’s this place where we develop bad habits and negative and harmful and destructive ways of coping with our life. For you, it happened to be porn or for Craig, everything. But, and for a partner who was like, “well, I’m not an addict”. There are other bad habits that we have created, maybe our emotional reactions or responses, the way we deal with stress, we might not be, you know, acting out sexually like our partners were, but we are doing things that have created an extremely negative response because we’re not reacting. We find ourselves in this position and we’re traumatized. We can’t get out of bed, we’re like, our life is over and none of us should ever feel that our life is over for a man.

 

Powerful Eric: Right.

 

Michelle Perra: Nobody’s dying on my watch. There are no partner that is going to crumble and die on my watch. So, there’s an empowerment piece because if your man wants to get help, great. We have the Mindful Habit system. And what’s amazing is that you then go through the program together so, you can each be learning the tools and the techniques and the lessons at the same time. So, that’s how you learn to communicate from the same backbone, I guess, from the same perspective. And that can be powerful because when they do the exercises and they talk about it and they can communicate, they learn that communication, they learn all that stuff. So, that’s really powerful. But then at the same time, let’s say your partner doesn’t want to get help or doesn’t want the Mindful Habit system or whatever, it’s a place for you to get help from a place where we teach you to be empowered and not a victim, not traumatized.

 

Powerful Eric: Yes, absolutely.

 

Michelle Perra: You’re not codependent. You don’t have to stay traumatized, you’ve suffered trauma, you have been victimized, but you’re not a victim. And so for me, it’s just such a healthier place to be, and that’s what our program is all about. And what’s great about it is, there’s videos, there’s step by step, there’s worksheets and Homework and exercises and group coaching calls and a forum. It’s really a community, it’s been quite powerful, and women have really, really loved it and that’s been awesome.

Powerful Eric: Michelle, how do people find the program? What’s the website?

Michelle Perra: The website is the mindfulhabit.com, and you can find under programs, I think, you can find the different programs that we have. Yeah.

Powerful Eric: Well, Michelle, I am just thrilled to have you on the show and again, really, like I said, I’ve never really heard your whole story and I really owe you a great deal of gratitude for starting your blog, starting the Mindful Habit system. Now, I’m a coach under your guys’ program. Thank you. Thank you for being on the show.

Michelle Perra: Well, thank you for having me and thank you for being an inspiration and being powerful. Powerful, Eric. I love it. It’s awesome to again, like you asked before, to have been a reason why you’re where you are today, and your family is together, and you have kids and it just, there’s nothing better. So.

 

Powerful Eric: Awesome. Well, Michelle, we’re closing the show and I always like to close with, I love Zig Ziglar. I don’t know if you’re familiar with them at all or not, but he’s deceased now, but he’s a great guy. He’s done a lot of awesome material and I like to close with this quote from Zig Ziglar. Zig says that you are designed for accomplishment, you are engineered for success and you are endowed with the seeds of greatness. Stay powerful.

Listen to this episode: https://www.spreaker.com/user/10565137/porn-talk-session-1-episode-4-with-miche

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