Insight without action only gets you so far. In order to grow, self-awareness and self-acceptance must be accompanied by new behavior. This involves taking risks and venturing outside your comfort one. It may involve speaking up, trying something new, going somewhere alone, or setting a boundary. It also means setting internal boundaries by keeping commitments to yourself, or saying “no” to your Critic or other old habits you want to change. Instead of expecting others to meet all your needs and make you happy, you learn to take actions to meet them, and do things that give you fulfillment and satisfaction in your life.Each time you try out new behavior or take a risk, you learn something new about yourself and your feelings and needs. You’re creating a stronger sense of yourself, as well as self-confidence and self-esteem. This builds upon itself in a positive feedback loop vs. the downward spiral of codependency, which creates more fear, depression, and low self-esteem. Words are actions. They have power and reflect your self-esteem. Becoming assertive is a learning process and is perhaps the most powerful tool in recovery. Assertiveness requires that you know yourself and risk making that public. It entails setting limits. This is respecting and honoring yourself. You get to be the author of your life – what you’ll do and not do and how people will treat you. Taken from an article By Darlene Lancer, JD, MFT http://psychcentral.com/lib/recovery-from-codependency/00014956
It’s like everyone tells a story
about themselves inside their own head.
Always. All the time.
That story makes you what you are.
We build ourselves out of that story.
Healing essentially involves self-acceptance. This is not only a step, but a life-long journey. People come to therapy to change themselves, not realizing that the work is about accepting themselves. Ironically, before you can change, you have to accept the situation. As they say, “What you resist, persists.”In recovery, more about yourself is revealed that requires acceptance, and life itself presents limitations and losses to accept. This is maturity. Accepting reality opens the doors of possibility. Change then happens. New ideas and energy emerge that previously stagnated from self-blame and fighting reality. For example, when you feel sad, lonely, or guilty, instead of making yourself feel worse, you have self-compassion, soothe yourself, and take steps to feel better. Self-acceptance means that you don’t have to please everyone for fear that they won’t like you. You honor your needs and unpleasant feelings and are forgiving of yourself and others. This goodwill toward yourself allows you to be self-reflective without being self-critical. Your self-esteem and confidence grow, and consequently, you don’t allow others to abuse you or tell you what to do. Instead of manipulating, you become more authentic and assertive, and are capable of greater intimacy. By Darlene Lancer, JD, MFT http://psychcentral.com/lib/recovery-from-codependency/00014956
Who looks outside,
who looks inside,
Carl Gustav Jung
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.
No matter the quality or quantity of sex, some people remain hungry for more and more sex. It’s as though they are sexually insatiable. Most often, their insatiable sexual hunger is related to deep-rooted psychological factors. Toxic early childhood relationships can influence their sexual hunger in adulthood. Although sex addicts can be male or female, for discussion purposes, I will use the female pronouns here. Insatiable sexual hunger is not really a desire ─an act of will─ but rather a desperate need, a compulsion that is experienced as a craving. The need is pursued like a drug. Although sex addicts are enslaved to sex, it is far from their goal. Rather, the pursuit of sex is in service of a different goal─ to dispel feelings of inadequacy, depression, anxiety, rage or other feelings that the sex addict experiences as unbearable. Like a drug addict or alcoholic, the sex addict relentlessly seeks satisfaction from an external source to palliate an internal pain. Here’s a little of what goes on in the brain of sex addicts. The brain’s dopamine receptors ─ the pleasure-reward system─ is activated during sex, drugs, alcohol, or gambling. In the case of sex addicts who quickly slide down into despair after the sex act, their dopamine receptors are left hungry for more sex. These primed dopamine receptor, thus, crave more sex. A craving is, thus, set up biologically and psychologically. Fixes provide a state of ecstasy, calm, nirvana. Alas the shot of nirvana during the sex act lasts only as long as the magic of sex wears off. Result? The sex addict is rendered emptier, distressed, and fragmented. To quell these painful feelings, she is compelled to resume her pursuit for her next fix. As you can see, the sex act is not borne out of love, but performs the function of a drug to satisfy the primed dopamine receptors. Of no consequence other than to provide the sex addict with a fix, the sex object is indispensable. Rather than desiring a sexual partner, the sex addict craves the sexual object─ her fix. She is constantly seeking to repair early deprivations and to palliate depression, anxiety, self-esteem blows. How do sex addicts recover? Twelve step programs work for some people. For others, I recommend deep analytic therapy that focuses on visiting the past, but living in the moment, learning coping skills, finding internal satisfaction, pursuing healthy passions that fulfill the emptiness. From an article by Frances Cohen Praver, Ph.D. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/love-doc/200910/what-drives-sex-addict
that you dated
somebody is just
a polite way
of saying we banged
a couple of times.
No, No, No, I Don’t Think So!!! Intimate activity intricately entwines the energies between two people. Sex creates a powerful exchange of energy between those involved. These connections, imprints and debris are left upon the mind, soul and spirit for a long time because they are not easily purged or cleansed. ‘Casual sex’ with multiple partners can intertwine the energies and spirits of a lot of people into your own aura if they are not severed and cleansed. You become joined to every person with whom your partner has slept, as well as all the partners those people had. This type of “soul clutter” can be felt by your partner’s subconscious. Even if they are not completely in tune or aware of the extra-curricular sexual activities, they still are able to sense the subtle disturbances of multiple energies and/or familiar spirits that have entered causing restlessness and inner turmoil. The longer and more intimate the contact with another person, the more powerful the reinforcement and the interaction of the bond becomes, and all the more difficult it is for them to untangle and leave. Soul stains, transference of odors, perceptive connections and even mutually formed habits are now left to burden the psyche long after that relationship has ended. There is no such thing as “Casual” Sex or “Friends with Benefits”. http://sylvancruickshank.com/there-is-no-such-thing-as-casual-sex-or-friends-with-benefits/
The secret of acquiring
is to practice it!
It is like a muscle.
The more you use it
the stronger it becomes.
Each time we give in
to a bad habit,
we help to strengthen it.
Dr Edwin Flatto
Codependency underlies all addictions. The core symptom of “dependency” manifests as reliance on a person, substance, or process (i.e, activity, such as gambling or sex addiction). Instead of having a healthy relationship with yourself, you make something or someone else more important. Over time, your thoughts, feelings, and actions revolve around that other person, activity, or substance, and you increasingly abandon your relationship with yourself. Abstinence or sobriety is necessary to recover from codependency. The goal is to bring your attention back to yourself, to have an internal, rather than external, “locus of control.” This means that your actions are primarily motivated by your values, needs, and feelings, not someone else’s. You learn to meet those needs in healthy ways. Perfect abstinence or sobriety isn’t necessary for progress, and it’s impossible with respect to codependency with people. You need and depend upon others and therefore give and compromise in relationships. It’s said that denial is the hallmark of addiction. This is true whether you’re an alcoholic or in love with one. Not only do codependents deny their own addiction – whether to a drug, activity, or person – they deny their feelings, and especially their needs, particularly emotional needs for nurturing and real intimacy. You may have grown up in a family where you weren’t nurtured, your opinions and feelings weren’t respected, and your emotional needs weren’t adequately met. Over time, rather than risk rejection or criticism, you learned to ignore your needs and feelings and believed that you were wrong. Some decided to become self-sufficient or find comfort in sex, food, drugs, or work. All this leads to low self-esteem. To reverse these destructive habits, you first must become aware of them. The most damaging obstacle to self-esteem is negative self-talk. Most people aren’t aware of their internal voices that push and criticize them — their “Pusher,” “Perfectionist,” and “Critic.” From an article By Darlene Lancer, JD, MFT http://psychcentral.com/lib/recovery-from-codependency/00014956
When you give another person
the power to define you,
then you also give them
the power to control you.
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.
Trust has to be a living, breathing entity in order for any relationship to survive. It isn’t an emotion, but a learned behavior that we gain from past experiences. Whether you’ve been stolen from, lied to, misled, or cheated on, there are different levels of losing trust, some more devastating than others.
1. Learn to really trust yourself: If you don’t trust yourself – your ability to have good judgment and make good choices – how can you trust someone else? Once your trust has been violated, your defenses start working overtime to protect yourself. Pay closer attention to your instincts and work on building trust in yourself.
2. Grieve: When a loved one dies, the natural grieving process tends to come in five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. These five stages can also occur when you lose trust in someone. Don’t fight any of these stages. You’ll usually get through all of them – with time. Forgiveness can also be added as the sixth stage in regards to trust.
3. Stop labeling yourself the victim: If you’ve been betrayed, you are the victim of your circumstance. But there’s a difference between being a victim and living with a “victim mentality.” Some people choose to wallow in the sting of betrayal while others make a real effort to overcome it. If you choose to wallow in pity, you’ll stifle your ability to heal because you’ll end up angry and blaming everyone else for something you actually have more control over than you think. If you can find it in your heart to forgive, then you’ll be able to release anger and hurt.
4. You didn’t lose “everything”: When we’re severely betrayed, such as being cheated on in a relationship, we tend to feel like we’ve lost everything that means anything to us. Once trust is lost, what’s left? Instead of looking at the situation from this hopeless angle, look at everything you still have and be thankful for all of the good in your life. Seeing the positive side of things doesn’t mean you’re ignoring what happened. Instead, it’s a healthy way to work through the experience to allow room for positive growth and forgiveness.
5. Keep your expectations high: Avoid the same types of where your trust was violated.
But it’s also important to recognize that just because you’ve been violated before doesn’t mean it will happen again. If you fall into this mentality, not only will you sell yourself short, but you may also throw away the possibility of a new, healthy relationship. Losing trust in someone can have a devastating effect on your relationship, as well as your sense of self-worth, but building trust again is possible. It takes a willingness to work on both yourself and your betrayer, but it’s more than possible. And when trust in a relationship is regained, it is truly healing. http://www.lifescript.com/life/relationships/wreckage/building_trust_in_a_relationship_again.aspx
One error a trust-breaker
makes when attempting
to rebuild trust
to take full ownership
for what they did.
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’.