Although some people are more curious than others, it’s very common to have lots of questions about the marital affair, especially initially. If you have little interest in the facts, so be it. However, if you need to know what happened, ask. Although the details may be uncomfortable to hear, just knowing your spouse is willing to “come clean” helps people recover. As the unfaithful spouse, you might feel tremendous remorse and guilt, and prefer avoiding the details entirely, but experience shows that this is a formula for disaster. Sweeping negative feelings and lingering questions under the carpet makes genuine healing unlikely. Once there is closure on what actually happened, there is typically a need to know why it happened. Betrayed spouses often believe that unless they get to the bottom of things, it could happen again. Unfortunately, since the reasons people stray can be quite complex, the “whys” aren’t always crystal clear. No one “forces” anyone to be unfaithful. Infidelity is a decision, even if doesn’t feel that way. If you were unfaithful, it’s important to examine why you allowed yourself to do something that could threaten your marriage. Were you satisfying a need to feel attractive? Are you having a mid-life crisis? Did you grow up in a family where infidelity was a way of life? Do you have a sexual addiction? It’s equally important to explore whether your marriage is significantly lacking. Although no marriage is perfect, sometimes people feel so unhappy, they look to others for a stronger emotional or physical connection. They complain of feeling taken for granted, unloved, resentful, or ignored. Sometimes there is a lack of intimacy or sexuality in the marriage. If unhappiness with your spouse contributed to your decision to have an affair, you need to address your feelings openly and honestly so that together you can make some changes. If open communication is a problem, consider seeking help from a qualified marital therapist or taking a communication skill-building class. There are many available through religious organizations, community colleges and mental health settings. By Michele Weiner-Davis, M.S.W. http://www.divorcebusting.com/a_healing_from_infidelity.htm
Guilt and no guilt:
these were the worst things.
The only thing worse
than the guilt was
the fear of getting caught.
Love Addicts compensated for lack of nurturing as children by immersing themselves in fantasy. Fantasies of being rescued or being the rescuer abound. Knights, dragons, romance novels – getting high from fantasy becomes habit. When a Love Addict plays with fantasy, they can get high in about 10 minutes, and stay there for 2-3 hours. Endorphins are released into their system, relieving emotional pain. Love Addicts begin relationships by trying too hard to please and connect. They are driven to find someone to tell them they are loveable and loved; to find someone who will rescue them from their inability to care for themselves; rescue them from their loneliness, emptiness, lack of self-love, inability to feel safe in the world without someone to protect them. They look for a relationship to make them feel whole. By Mary Ellen O’Leary, MA, LPCC http://insidetherapy.com/codaloveaddict.html
I liked it. I craved it.
I wanted more and I took it.
I took it like I needed it,
like my life had a limit
and if I didn’t get as much
of it as I could I’d quit
breathing the next instant.
Marriage does not cause Codependency; it is just a place where it is practiced a lot. The roots of Codependency are always in childhood. Controlling, critical, abandoning, abusive and shaming parents and caretakers inflict the wounds in the tender psyches of children that result later in life as the low self-esteem, powerlessness, voicelessness, other centeredness, low entitlement, passiveness and depression that we correctly call Codependency. Many times this damage can seem subtle during the childhood itself. If it is all that you have ever known then what do you have to compare it to? In a healthy family children and teenagers are encouraged to have a voice. They are encouraged to speak up and make their cases. That is a skill that they will need in relationships, in school and on the job down the road. In a healthy family a child gets the focus and the attention and the care that they need. The focus isn’t on dad’s alcoholism or mom’s depression. The parents have the ability to really be there for the kids consistently. Parents can give praise directly to the children and they are lavish with it. Home is a safe and a predictable place. The child does not have to grow up too quickly. They can just focus on being a kid. They don’t become the emotional caretakers of their parents. Women are especially trained in our society to be Codependent, although there are also millions of Codependent men in our society as well. Women are taught to be sweet, supportive, nurturing, gentle, not too assertive and not too opinionated. The message a Codependent gets growing up is that they aren’t quite good enough. They don’t quite rate dad’s attention or his time. They don’t quite measure up to mom’s expectations. They need to try harder. They need to eliminate the self and anything positive that the self could have done for them. They need to live for others. From an article by Mark Smith http://www.familytreecounseling.com/fullarticle.php?aID=278
I have always considered marriage
as the most interesting event of one’s life,
the foundation of happiness or misery.
It’s often obvious that a needy, demanding woman who clings to a man has codependent tendencies. However, a relationship consists of two people, and HE is no less responsible. In fact, his behavior can also be labeled “codependent.” Two people who have codependent tendencies may act in opposite ways: While one is needy and drains her partner, the other may have an enlarged sense of responsibility to his partner, and is overly sensitive to her needs and demands. In fact, people with opposing codependent styles tend to attract each other. These opposing psychological profiles have been termed “takers” and “caretakers.” Codependent relationships are complicated, and they’re often characterized by manipulation, lack of boundaries, repressed emotions, emotional volatility, jealousy issues, verbal abuse, etc. Both partners tend to have complicated back-stories, which often serve to justify abnormal behavior. If you’re a man feeling stuck in a codependent relationship, realize that your happiness is worth the effort it takes to move on. You feel that you’re responsible for her, and it’s your job to make her happy and solve her problems You suppress your emotions and avoid confrontation You have the sense of sacrificing the life you want so that you can be with her and take care of her. You feel trapped at times, and have the sense that you are planning an eventual escape. You feel tremendous guilt at the thought of abandoning her. Being in a codependent relationship makes for a stressful and unhappy lifestyle. And yet, your avoidant tendencies may keep you from following through with a break up or separation. You may be planning to break up for a long time, but you just keep holding off — many men wait years, or even a lifetime, remaining in such a relationship. The longer you wait, and the more time you both invest, the more difficult it becomes. http://www.codependencyfreedom.com/codependency/for-men-11-signs-youre-in-a-codependent-relationship-and-how-to-get-out.html
Fear is the great
enemy of intimacy.
Fear makes us run away
from each other
or cling to each other
but does not create
According to a Penn professor who studies these things, every American man has about a 28 percent chance of being struck by a woman at some point in his life (in related news, the number of girls ages 10 to 17 arrested for aggravated assault has doubled in the last 20 years). And yet no one seems to take the phenomenon that seriously. Maybe it’s because men, generally speaking, are bigger and stronger, and we assume there’s a real limit to the physical damage women could actually inflict. We don’t picture these scuffles resulting in bloody noses and black eyes or a trip to the station house. Furthermore, pop culture has made the idea of a pretty girl whaling on a guy a wacky comedy staple — Angelina Jolie smashing wine bottles over Brad Pitt’s head in Mr. & Mrs. Smith and Cameron Diaz cold cocking Edward Burns in The Holiday were both played for laughs. But the reality of getting hit by your girlfriend isn’t so sexy or hilarious. A male friend of mine — let’s call him Tom — was hit several times by his. “We’d get into these exhausting fights,” he tells me. “Like, 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., where nothing would turn the volume down except sex and sleep. With her, everything was fine in the morning, but I was upset for days. She actually seemed to think it was sexy. I remember her showing me finger-shaped bruises on her arms where I had restrained her from swinging at me — and she raised an eyebrow, made a saucy comment. But I was petrified. I was doing stuff like putting the knives up on the very top shelf. For me, it wasn’t fun at all.” But what, really, does it feel like for the guy? First, there’s the shock of betrayal and a palpable urge to hit back. Second, there’s outrage at the presumption that this won’t happen. This is all perceived through a haze of humiliation at the fact that, yes, you got hit by a girl — and it hurt. The experience tends to bring some deep-tissue change to the relationship. “The second time [she hit me], I started to feel threatened by what she could potentially do,” says Tom. “Not just physically but emotionally. I started not trusting her.” In the end, the best reason not to hit your guy is also the most empowering: You don’t have to. You can hurt us way worse with a withering glance and some choice words. Or by banishing us to the couch, where we sometimes belong. From an article by Chris Norris http://www.marieclaire.com/sex-love/relationship-issues/abusive-women
All violence is the result of people
tricking themselves into believing
that their pain derives from other people
and that consequently those people
deserve to be punished.
1. Love – Development of self first priority.
* Toxic love – Obsession with relationship.
2. Love – Room to grow, expand; desire for other to grow.
* Toxic love – Security, comfort in sameness; intensity of need seen as proof of love 3. Love – Separate interests; other friends; maintain other meaningful relationships.
Toxic love – Total involvement; limited social life; neglect old friends, interests.
4. Love – Encouragement of each other’s expanding; secure in own worth.
* Toxic love – Preoccupation with other’s behavior; fear of other changing.
5. Love – Appropriate Trust (i.e. trusting partner according to fundamental nature.)
* Toxic love – Jealousy; possessiveness; fear of competition; protects “supply.”
6. Love – Compromise, negotiation or taking turns at leading. Problem solving together.
* Toxic love – Power plays for control; blaming; manipulation.
7. Love – Embracing of each other’s individuality.
* Toxic love – Trying to change other to own image.
8. Love – Relationship deals with all aspects of reality.
* Toxic love – Relationship is based on delusion and avoidance of the unpleasant.
9. Love – Self-care by both partners; emotional state not dependent on other’s mood.
* Toxic love – Expectation that one partner will fix and rescue the other.
10. Love – Loving detachment (healthy concern about partner, while letting go.)
* Toxic love – Fusion (being obsessed with each other’s problems and feelings.)
11. Love – Sex is free choice growing out of caring & friendship.
* Toxic love – Pressure around sex due to insecurity, fear & need for gratification.
12. Love – Ability to enjoy being alone.
* Toxic love – Unable to endure separation; clinging.
13. Love – Cycle of comfort and contentment.
* Toxic love – Cycle of pain and despair.
Love is not supposed to be painful. There is pain involved in any relationship but if it is painful most of the time then something is not working. There is nothing wrong with wanting a relationship – it is natural and healthy. There is nothing wrong with wanting a relationship that will last forever – expecting it to last forever is what is dysfunctional. Expectations set us up to be a victim – and cause to abandon ourselves in search of our goal. If we can start seeing relationships not as the goal but as opportunities for growth then we can start having more functional relationships. A relationship that ends is not a failure or a punishment – it is a lesson. By Robert Burney http://joy2meu.com/codependent2.htm
Some people see the relationship as a Dictatorship, that they will rule, and what they say goes. You could think like this, but you will be ruling over a very, very small Kingdom. A relationship is about two people coming together as equals, and facing the world as two humans as one. Your relationship will not go far if you do not look at each other in equal-eyes, and facing your problems together, as a team. When you join together with someone, you are helpmates; you are two people that will be supportive to each other. Some people come into a relationship not expecting there to be any problems. So when one pops up, they freak out and bail on the relationship without any second thoughts. Though you might be lucky, and never have any problems with your love life, most relationships have there bumps – maybe not huge – but still some roughage. You must realize that this does not mean that your relationship is doomed or that it’s a “sign” to drop him or her. You have to work on the problems, COMMUNICATE with your partner. Talk to them, but also LISTEN!!! Some people foolishly bet on physical attraction, which doesn’t last or simply looses its flavor like chewing gum… If you do this you will be in danger of not finding that person that is genuinely right for you – because, more than likely, this person that you choose solely on “prettiness” will be just as superficial as you are – or more. So, not only will you have a short and unproductive relationship, you are bound to get hurt in the process. And forget about communication, because if you choose this path for finding your partner, you are completely ignoring the communication aspect. Well, outside the bedroom at least. And let’s face it; a good lay will only last so long before it “looses its flavor like chewing gum. Though your relationship may last for a while, if your vision or outlook on life is different, than the two of you will drift apart. By Prior Aphter http://voices.yahoo.com/why-relationships-fail-due-lack-communication-10023.html?cat=41
Anger, loathing, spite, nasty looks,
suspicion, jealously and hate stem
from lack of communication with
the person the feelings are directed.
Eye to eye, face to face
calm conversations are a start .
Empathy is the way to a
peaceful heart, soul and mind.
J K Hobgood
People who won’t leave a bad marriage because it scares them too much are afraid of independence. Dwelling in a bad marriage is a form of need wrapped up in resentments, which can get very ugly. Remember that drama always obscures the real issues. It is important to learn to stop the drama and learn to soothe yourself. It is too often true that the work and struggle of solving relationship problems is avoided. Ask yourself: What are new ways to give yourself comfort? As difficult as it can be to make new friends reach out and build up your support system. Don’t tally up the rejections while licking your wounds, but instead learn how to be able to be alone. Try going to a bargain matinée or eating lunch by yourself; tolerate the anxiety that this may provoke by knowing no one is really paying much attention to you. Learn what your triggers are for anxiety, the ones that make you lurch into retreat and old patterns of hiding. Remember that transitions are the hardest parts of life and that they must be faced in order to grow. From “Anxiety, Control & Codependency” by Rhoda Mills Sommer, L.C.S.W. http://therapyideas.net/anxiety.htm
In a consumer society
there are inevitably
two kinds of slaves:
the prisoners of addiction
and the prisoners of envy.
Codependency is a term that originated in work with addicts. It has become a cultural phenomena, way beyond relationships with addicts. Daughters are codependent with mentally ill mothers, sons with fathers who won’t let go and insist on adherence to their own value systems. Codependency is about mushy relationships to keep the scary world of anxiety at bay. Sadly enough, the ultimate outcome of codependency is the damage done by a lack of respect in these relationships. Codependency is about being unhappily enmeshed with someone else’s agenda. Codependency means that you have a lack of imagination for yourself and your are too focused on others. One example would be the wife who is a martyr to an alcoholic husband. He numbs his anxiety/dread with the obliviousness of drinking and she is in hyper drive by controlling all the details of living that he ignores. So she becomes entitled and self-righteous with all her vigilance. It’s important to recognize that interrupting codependent behavior requires that you define yourself and your wants. So many people scramble to fill the empty hole within, by focusing on the care-taking of others while ignoring themselves. So where does someone begin, to build their own identity? Fill the emptiness with more and more layers of authenticity. Risk disagreement which makes things more interesting. Practice the truth with your therapist or your best friend. Stop swallowing your real opinions, choose when to go along, instead of always being a pushover. From “Anxiety, Control & Codependency” by Rhoda Mills Sommer, L.C.S.W. http://therapyideas.net/anxiety.htm
is a 200 lb. shield.
Unhealthily dependent relationships have serious consequences, both psychological and physical. Feelings of anger, resentment, irritation, emptiness, conflict, guilt, rejection, low self-esteem, insecurity, lack of respect or appreciation are all at risk to become manifest in the various forms of dependent relationships. Emotional consequences include chronic anxiety and stress, suppression of feelings, and the diminishing ability to trust and experience true intimacy. It is not uncommon for physical illness to arise as a result of the persistence of anxiety and stress. So how can this be fixed? It’s not an easy process. One of the most difficult ideas to grasp and accept is the fact that you are not responsible for someone else’s feelings, nor can another person be responsible for yours. Your thoughts, your feelings and your behavioral choices are yours and yours alone. Nor do you have control over someone else’s feelings. Believing that someone “made me feel guilty” is among the most common refrains to surface in therapy sessions. No one can MAKE you feel anything you choose not to feel. True, you are always entitled to your feelings, no one can take them away from you, and we can be affected by what others say and do to us, but if you decided you weren’t guilty in a particular situation, then you don’t have to feel guilty. And if someone is mad at you, it doesn’t mean you are “bad.” It just means the person is angry. The emotion belongs solely to the person in whom it arises. That person is entitled to it, and also responsible for it. This is a very tough concept to accept. It’s so easy to think that someone else made you feel as you do. But the first step in having healthy, interdependent relationships is being willing to be responsible for your own (and only your own) emotions. Learning to use true “I” statements (as in “I feel guilty about…” instead of “you made me feel guilty about” or “I was made to feel guilty about…”) will be crucial. From an on-line article by Katherine Rabinowitz, LP, M.A., NCPsyA http://www.therapycanwork.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=49&Itemid=99
makes slaves out of us,
especially if this dependency
is a dependency
of our self-esteem.