Our families helped shape our attitudes about emotions, our abilities to identify emotions, our ways of interpreting events, and our ways of expressing emotions. If you are having difficulties in any of these processes and are trying to change them, you may find it helpful to consider what you learned about them from your family. Many people do not recall being taught “family rules” concerning emotions, but such teachings occurred, whether directly or subtly. A subtle example might be where a parent distanced him/herself from you or left the room whenever you got angry, thus indicating that expressions of anger were unacceptable. In other families a parent may yell, “Don’t raise your voice at me,” suggesting a rule against the child’s expressing anger, but subtly conveying the rule that expressions of parental anger are permissible. Identifying your family’s rules can help you change the ways you experience and express your emotions. Some common examples of problematic family rules include:
- Always treat other people’s feelings as more important than your own.
- Never do anything that might cause dissension or negative feelings for someone else.
- Don’t express anger.
- Use anger to get attention.
- Ignore your feelings, or better still, don’t feel.
- Don’t trust others with your feelings; keep them to yourself.
- Never trust your feelings; trust only your logic.
- Be happy all the time.
As a child growing up you may not have been able to experience or express your emotions in ways different than those prescribed by your family. As an adult you have more options, including replacing those rules which are not helpful. http://www.counselingcenter.illinois.edu/self-help-brochures/self-awarenessself-care/experiencing-and-expressing-emotions/
All parents damage their children.
It cannot be helped.
Youth, like pristine glass,
absorbs the prints of its handlers.
Some parents smudge, others crack,
a few shatter childhoods
completely into jagged
little pieces, beyond repair.
Another necessary ingredient for rebuilding a marriage involves the willingness of unfaithful spouses to demonstrate sincere regret and remorse. You can’t apologize often enough. You need to tell your spouse that you will never commit adultery again. Although, since you are working diligently to repair your relationship, you might think your intentions to be monogamous are obvious, they aren’t. Tell your spouse of your plans to take your commitment to your marriage to heart. This will be particularly important during the early stages of recovery when mistrust is rampant. Conversely, talking about the affair can’t be the only thing you do. Couples who successfully rebuild their marriages recognize the importance of both talking about their difficulties and spending time together without discussing painful topics. They intentionally create opportunities to reconnect and nurture their friendship. They take walks, go out to eat or to a movie, develop new mutual interests and so on. Betrayed spouses will be more interested in spending discussion-free time after the initial shock of the affair has dissipated. Ultimately, the key to healing from infidelity involves forgiveness, which is frequently the last step in the healing process. The unfaithful spouse can do everything right; be forthcoming, express remorse, listen lovingly and act trustworthy, and still, the marriage won’t mend unless the betrayed person forgives his or her spouse and the unfaithful spouse forgives him or herself. Forgiveness opens the door to real intimacy and connection. But forgiveness doesn’t just happen. It is a conscious decision to stop blaming, make peace, and start tomorrow with a clean slate. If the past has had you in its clutches, why not take the next step to having more love in your life? Decide to forgive today. By Michele Weiner-Davis, M.S.W. http://www.divorcebusting.com/a_healing_from_infidelity.htm
The saddest thing about betrayal
is that it never comes from your enemies…
It comes from friends and loved ones.
Healing from infidelity involves teamwork; both spouses must be fully committed to the hard work of getting their marriages back on track. The unfaithful partner must be willing to end the affair and do whatever it takes to win back the trust of his or her spouse. The betrayed spouse must be willing to find ways to manage overwhelming emotions so, as a couple, they can begin to sort out how the affair happened, and more importantly, what needs to change so that it never happens again. Although no two people, marriages or paths to recovery are identical, it’s helpful to know that surviving infidelity typically happens in stages. If you recently discovered that your spouse has been unfaithful, you will undoubtedly feel a whole range of emotions – shock, rage, hurt, devastation, disillusionment, and intense sadness. You may have difficulty sleeping or eating, or feel completely obsessed with the affair. If you are an emotional person, you may cry a lot. You may want to be alone, or conversely, feel at your worst when you are. While unpleasant, these reactions are perfectly normal. Although you might be telling yourself that your marriage will never improve, it will, but not immediately. Healing from infidelity takes a long time. Just when you think things are looking up, something reminds you of the affair and you go downhill rapidly. It’s easy to feel discouraged unless you both keep in mind that intense ups and downs are the norm. Eventually, the setbacks will be fewer and far between. By Michele Weiner-Davis, M.S.W. http://www.divorcebusting.com/a_healing_from_infidelity.htm
...there was only one thing
that interested her
and that was
getting into bed
with men whenever
she’d the chance.
And I warned her straight.
‘You’ll be sorry one day, my girl,
and wish you’d got me back’.
According to new research published in The Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, one in 10 men are harboring serious sex secrets of one kind or another. “There are two kinds of secrets guys keep,” says Les Parrott, author of Crazy Good Sex. “Things they wish their wives or girlfriends would understand but are scared they won’t, and things they’re just plain trying to get away with.” With that in mind, we polled hundreds of men to learn what they hide at each stage in a relationship and enlisted experts to offer their insights. Some men exaggerate to sound more sexually experienced; others low-ball so you don’t dismiss them as players. “Men know that if they confess to a large number of partners, it sends the message that they’re unlikely to commit to one. That is, to you,” says David Buss, a professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin and author of The Evolution of Desire. According to a study at Brigham Young University, 87 percent of men have looked at some form of porn in the past year, and one in five help themselves to X-rated fare daily. Men like to look at naked chicks—no surprise there—but what is shocking is how quickly they can become dependent on those erotic images. A powerful pleasure cocktail of endorphins and epinephrine (hormones responsible for arousal and alertness) are released while a man watches porn… And that feeling can become addictive. Technology has made it easier than ever to reconnect with former flames. In the past four years, the number of adults with profiles on social-networking sites has quadrupled. Experts say that men may reach out to an ex as a sort of insurance policy. “People like to have backups, not necessarily to form a long-term relationship with now, but to have as a placeholder so they’re not left high and dry should their existing relationship end,” Buss says. From an article by Carrie Sloan http://www.womenshealthmag.com/sex-and-relationships/mens-sex-secrets?page=1
Anything will give up its secrets.
if you love it enough.
George Washington Carver
There are four common traits found in adults who have been abused as children. A person who has experienced severe sexual, physical, or emotional abuse will usually have all four. A person who experienced limited abuse will probably have only some of the traits, and those that are present will interfere with this person’s life in only a limited number of situations. The first trait is the tendency to be triggered by specific events, which has been called time tunneling… The second trait is difficulty modulating emotions. This means that it is easy for a person to become anxious or angry, and, once angered or frightened, it is difficult for this person to calm down. An adult who had to suppress many emotions as a child may also find it difficult to feel emotions at a low-level because the tendency to suppress emotions has become automatic. The third trait is a tendency to view oneself and the world negatively. The three key areas affected are the ability to trust, feel safe, and believe that it is possible to bring about desired outcomes. Two key areas in terms of one’s self image are whether or not one is normal and whether or not one is lovable. The nature of the abuse can greatly affect the form of these negative views. For instance, if a person was abused by a stranger, he or she may feel a sense of safety when close loved ones, and a sense of danger when far away from them. However, if a person was abused by someone who was supposed to protect and give love, the identification of what and who are “safe” becomes confused. The fourth trait is a reduced ability to understand events. People with this tendency find that they often go into a daze or become confused, especially when they are stressed, dealing with conflict, or emotionally upset. When a child is being abused and cannot escape physically, the child often takes the only other form of escape possible: dissociation. The more frequent and severe the abuse, the greater the tendency to remove oneself mentally from the painful experience. …people with abusive childhoods often find it difficult to distinguish unhealthy individuals from healthy ones. Their childhood experiences taught them to ignore the important indicators that to those raised in healthy families became danger signals. Instead, they “numb out” or use an old response pattern that causes them to walk into harm’s way without even knowing it. In addition, an abused child often develops a self-concept that contains beliefs about being dirty, inadequate, guilty, or responsible for what happened. As a result, a person like this often makes up a “cover story” and tries to hide who he or she really is… From article by Reneau Peurifoy http://rpeurifoy.com/Articles/TraitsinAdultswithAbusiveChildhoods.aspx
Not all scars show,
not all wounds heal.
Sometimes you can’t
always see the pain
that someone feels.
Grief is a natural reaction to loss, and the breakup or divorce of a love relationship involves multiple losses: #1) Loss of companionship and shared experiences (which may or may not have been consistently pleasurable). #2) Loss of support, be it financial, intellectual, social, or emotional. #3) Loss of hopes, plans, and dreams (can be even more painful than practical losses). Allowing yourself to feel the pain of these losses may be scary. You may fear that your emotions will be too intense to bear, or that you’ll be stuck in a dark place forever. Just remember that grieving is essential to the healing process. The pain of grief is precisely what helps you let go of the old relationship and move on. And no matter how strong your grief, it won’t last forever. Don’t fight your feelings – It’s normal to have lots of ups and downs, and feel many conflicting emotions, including anger, resentment, sadness, relief, fear, and confusion. It’s important to identify and acknowledge these feelings. While these emotions will often be painful, trying to suppress or ignore them will only prolong the grieving process. Talk about how you’re feeling – Even if it is difficult for you to talk about your feelings with other people, it is very important to find a way to do so when you are grieving. Knowing that others are aware of your feelings will make you feel less alone with your pain and will help you heal. Remember that moving on is the end goal – Expressing your feelings will liberate you in a way, but it is important not to dwell on the negative feelings or to over-analyze the situation. Getting stuck in hurtful feelings like blame, anger, and resentment will rob you of valuable energy and prevent you from healing and moving forward. Remind yourself that you still have a future – When you commit to another person, you create many hopes and dreams. It’s hard to let these dreams go. As you grieve the loss of the future you once envisioned, be encouraged by the fact that new hopes and dreams will eventually replace your old ones. Know the difference between a normal reaction to a breakup and depression – Grief can be paralyzing after a breakup, but after a while, the sadness begins to lift. Day by day, and little by little, you start moving on. However, if you don’t feel any forward momentum, you may be suffering from depression. http://www.helpguide.org/mental/coping_divorce_relationship_breakup.htm
No, the divorce
It was the marriage
Over the past decade, evolutionary psychologists, neuroscientists, and pharmaceutical researchers alike have begun to shed fascinating new light on heartbreak. The forces that bind two people in union are powerful, but love’s dissolution is more potent still — a trauma to the brain and body that in some cases can be all but indistinguishable from mental illness. For example, in a study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, researchers found that of 114 Americans who had been romantically rejected in the 8 weeks prior to the study, 40 percent remained clinically depressed — 12 percent moderately to severely so. “A heart-broken from love lost rates among the most stressful life events a person can experience,” says David Buss, Ph.D., the author of The Evolution of Desire: Strategies of Human Mating. “It’s exceeded in psychological pain only by horrific events, such as the loss of a child.” The end of a long-term relationship can be extraordinarily traumatic, especially for a man whose mate cheats on him, suddenly announces she wants a divorce, or dies. Researchers have discovered that the flood of stress hormones accompanying such events can weaken the heart, one reason laymen and clinicians alike have dubbed the phenomenon Broken Heart Syndrome. But even when the heart is not literally broken, heartbreak can still prove lethal in other ways. Rejected men kill themselves at three to four times the rate that spurned women do. And the mix of grief and alcohol almost certainly dispatches a legion more men through car crashes, fights, and assorted misadventures, even though they aren’t called suicides on death certificates. From an article by Jim Thornton http://www.menshealth.com/sex-women/pain-lost-love
Yet nothing can to nothing fall,
Nor any place be empty quite;
Therefore I think my breast hath all
Those pieces still, though they be not unite;
And now, as broken glasses show
A hundred lesser faces, so
My rags of heart can like, wish, and adore,
But after one such love, can love no more.
The divorced individuals in the study who blamed ex-spouses, or even themselves, had more anxiety, depression and sleep disorders than individuals who blamed the way that they and their partners interacted. Those who held on to anger were less likely to move on, build a strong new relationship and address future problems in a positive, proactive manner. It’s hard not to blame. In the study, 65% of divorced individuals blamed their ex-spouses, with more women blaming an ex-husband (80%) than men blaming an ex-wife (47%). And 16% of men blamed themselves, compared with only 4% of women. Dr. Orbuch (Dr. Terri Orbuch (psychologist the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research) says the men may simply accept their ex’s view of the breakup. More men than women admitted to an extramarital affair. How do you blame in a healthy way? Say “we,” not “you” or “I.” Say, “We are both so tired lately,” not “You are so crabby.” When you remove blame, it’s easier to come up with a solution. Ask your partner for his or her view of a problem. Say, “Why do you think we aren’t getting along?” “There are multiple ways of seeing a problem,” Dr. Orbuch says. “By getting your partner’s perspective, and marrying it with your perspective, you get the relationship perspective.” From “Divorcé’s Guide to Marriage” by Elizabeth Bernstein http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444025204577544951717564114.html
People do not get married
planning to divorce.
Divorce is the result
of a lack of preparation
for marriage and the failure
to learn the skills of working
together as teammates
in an intimate relationship.
Children learn how to be in relationships from their parents through a process of social learning, and especially observational learning. They adapt the behaviors they see their parents do. The children in the family watch their parents and learn positive as well as dysfunctional coping styles in dealing with stress and threat. Research studies show that there are three social skills that create happy marriages: problem solving, emotional distress regulation and conflict management. Expression of positive words, maintaining a pleasant attitudes and the avoidance of conflict and negativity are other major skills in creating happy unions. People, who have poor coping skills in handling internal emotional distress, often become anxious or angry. Aggression is learned behavior. Children raised in families with above average in rates of violence are at greater risk for being physically aggressive toward their romantic partner. Violence is passed down through the generations. Parental physical punishment of the adolescent has been associated with later dating violence. Increased risk for overall antisocial behavior in general in turn increases risk for aggression toward a romantic partner. Children, who aggressively fight with their siblings, can carry this destructive fighting pattern over to their adult years. Parents who discipline their children by emphasizing positive interactions and inhibiting negative behaviors promote skills in conflict management. Parents who do not monitor their children’s behavior or give inconsistent discipline create children who do not have the social skills to succeed in happy relationships. Achieving emotional intimacy is a necessary developmental task of young adults. Close social ties promote personal well-being. The failure to establish or maintain positive relationships sets up physical and emotional distress in the individual. From “So You Love An Angry Person” by Lynne Namka, Ed. D. http://www.angriesout.com/family2.htm
There are two things
a person should never
be angry at,
what they can help,
and what they cannot.
Sibling sexual abuse is as traumatic as sexual abuse by a parent (or any other form of sexual abuse) and has a lasting impact on the victim. Studies have shown that sibling abuse often includes the most serious forms of abuse. However, in spite of this, sibling sexual abuse is more likely to be overlooked, normalized and discounted by families and the wider community. This minimization by others can mean that survivors themselves are less likely to view their experiences as abuse and also find it more difficult to talk about. Like all forms of sexual abuse, sibling sexual abuse (sibling incest) is an abuse of power, where the more powerful sibling abuses the less powerful. Power can be physical, intellectual or emotional. Sibling abuse is sexual contact between siblings who are of a different age, size, strength or developmental level. Sibling sexual abuse often, but not always, involves some form of force, manipulation or intimidation. Sibling incest can involve forms of non-contact abuse, such as forcing another to view pornography or exposing of genitals. In most cases, sibling sexual abuse does not occur in isolation but alongside physical and/or emotional abuse. The term sibling includes all children who grow up together in the same family, including step, foster and adopted children. Survivors of sibling incest often describe spending their childhood in fear, unable to tell anyone of their abuse for fear of being blamed, not believed or suffering retaliation. This fear, along with shame surrounding the ‘incest taboo’, can mean the victim’s silence extends over the years of childhood, and for some, continuing into adulthood. For those who did speak out, many report being further harmed by their families response, with the abuse being ignored, excused or worse still, the victim blamed. http://www.secasa.com.au/pages/sibling-sexual-abuse-information-for-adults-abused-as-children/
In my family, you can rot to hell
on the inside as long as you’re
flawless on the outside,
which is really sick,
but also hard to unlearn.