Usually adult males who are unable to make emotional connections with the women they choose to be intimate with are frozen in time, unable to allow themselves to love for fear that the loved one will abandon them. If the first woman they passionately loved, the mother, was not true to her bond of love, then how can they trust that their partner will be true to love. Often in their adult relationships these men act out again and again to test their partner’s love. While the rejected adolescent boy imagines that he can no longer receive his mother’s love because he is not worthy, as a grown man he may act out in ways that are unworthy and yet demand of the woman in his life that she offer him unconditional love. This testing does not heal the wound of the past, it merely reenacts it, for ultimately the woman will become weary of being tested and end the relationship, thus reenacting the abandonment. This drama confirms for many men that they cannot put their trust in love. They decide that it is better to put their faith in being powerful, in being dominant. Bell Hooks
Among men, sex sometimes
results in intimacy;
among women, intimacy
sometimes results in sex.
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.
Denial is one of the most difficult human conditions to deal with. The more old pain and feelings we have “stuffed”, the more difficult denial is to break through. It is important to look truthfully at our past and our parents to realize that everyone did the best they knew how. That way, we don’t get stuck in blaming. It is also important to develop skills in conflict resolution so that we can work through the conflicts that emerge from telling the truth and breaking the “happy family” illusion. With good tools and skills, these conflicts can become doorways to creating real intimacy in a family. Weinhold and Weinhold
If you cannot get rid
of the family skeleton,
you may as well make it dance.
George Bernard Shaw
First, take a few deep breaths, relax the tension in your body (perhaps by stretching), and slowly count until you calm down, whether this takes 5 seconds, 20 seconds, or more. Imagine your parents and grandparents, a preacher or priest, a respected and well-loved teacher or boss, your counselor, or several policemen are watching how you respond. If you can’t use a calm tone of voice to respond tactfully and respectfully, start counting again and pretend the authority figures are watching. If this doesn’t help, take a time out. Leave and do something else until you calm down. Be sure to avoid angry thinking when you count or leave to calm down. Repeatedly thinking about the conflict only prolongs the upset feelings. If you tend to blame other people or circumstances for your anger, read or repeat every day, “Nobody makes me angry. I make myself angry over certain situations and only I can change this.” If a man’s anger is intense or explosive, don’t bother with counting: he should leave the situation immediately. If he has ever been violent, he should use time out often, at least several times a week for practice and to develop the habit, even if he feels only mildly irritated and doesn’t really need to leave. Avoid angry thinking during time out by getting things done or doing what you enjoy. You might work on a hobby, read a good book, or work on projects around the house. Practicing meditation or deep relaxation is an excellent way to calm down. Physical activities such as walking, jogging, exercising, or bicycling help by releasing tension. Don’t punish a loved one by leaving for much longer than an hour or two. Be very careful if you drive a car because angry people often drive dangerously. Don’t use alcohol or other drugs when you feel angry. If you return and can’t use a calm tone of voice to respond respectfully, despite pretending authority figures are watching, leave again and do something else. As you gradually improve in dealing with your anger, you should be able to reduce the time you need away from the situation to calm down.
friends are lost
enemies are gained;
anger destroys and changes
anger is blind…
Taken from “Anger”
by Johnny Nathan Botelho
Male attachment needs are somewhat different from women’s. Men generally do not need verbal communication about feelings or “talks” about the relationship. Nor do they need direct, verbal validation of their feelings or needs. Men have a natural, biological proclivity toward interaction with the environment, more so than the verbally based interactions that women desire. They do need to know they are appreciated, respected and loved. And men are often quite satisfied by having these needs met with direct, physically nurturing behaviors by women. Many adult men feel a basic sense of security and even love simply by the very presence of the significant women in their lives. Men also experience sexual connection as a form of nurturance, acceptance, love, and even emotional security. Sex for men is a primary attachment need – compared to women, who need verbal communication and validation. Men also tend to have fewer friends than women, and when they do, they tend to focus on activities rather than verbal interactions (watching sports, hunting and fishing are examples). Recent findings from modern neuroscience and interpersonal neurobiology show there are unique aspects of the male brain (also endocrine and other systems) – quite different from female brains. This includes analytical brain structures (not emotional) designed to solve problems. Men have an inborn, biologically based competitive instinct. They also have an area of the brain designed for sexual pursuit that is more than 2 times larger than females (Brizendine, 2010). The brain circuits for fear, aggression and defense are far more prominent in men than in women. In comparison, women have more prominent mirror neuron systems for emotional empathy. There are no male-specific diagnoses in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The most common diagnoses for men are addictions, personality disorders such as narcissism, avoidant, and anti-social personality disorders, intermittent explosive disorder, conduct disorder, and ADHD. Depression, however, is very common in men. Men also experience complicating medical issues such as stress-related heart and digestive disorders, and they may also present with a variety of sexual disorders. Other medical concerns may result from drug and alcohol addiction. From article by Richard J. Loebl, LCSW, PA http://www.goodtherapy.org/therapy-for-men.html
I would suggest that just as women
who make it in the world of business
need male business mentors,
perhaps men who make it
in the world of emotions
will need female
Treating Codependency is not something a doctor does to or for a ‘patient’. It is more like having diabetes. The patient has to learn how to take care of themselves every day for the rest of their lives. Recovery starts when a Codependent understands and has insight into their condition. It takes hold when they understand that they have never been victimized in their marriage. They arranged the right marriage for themselves in order to work on their unresolved childhood issues of not having enough power, not being heard, not being good enough, not being taken seriously, not getting enough attention, not being nurtured, etc. I always recommend that my new Codependent client read Melody Beattie’s classic book on the subject Codependent No More. Then I almost always strongly encourage them to join one of our Codependency Recovery groups. Group is like the gym. It is where a Codependent goes to lift weights and get stronger. I will talk more about group in a later chapter, but Group therapy rocks – it is inexpensive, weekly, powerful, fun, insight building and affirming. In my practice the wife is many times the Codependent person and she comes with her husband for couples sessions as well as attending the group sessions without him. In the couple work with a husband who is perhaps not in as much pain or in a place of having much enlightenment about his own issues the Codependent needs to come prepared to work hard at naming the issues that hurt her in the marriage. Actually bringing in a written list is a very good idea. It is a safe environment because the therapist won’t allow reactivity, control, manipulation, defensiveness, blaming, rage, massive denial or shaming to happen without it being named and quickly stopped. From an article by Mark Smith http://www.familytreecounseling.com/fullarticle.php?aID=278
It has been said, ‘time heals all wounds.’
I do not agree. The wounds remain.
In time, the mind, protecting its sanity,
covers them with scar tissue
and the pain lessens.
But it is never gone.
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
While men make up about 10 percent of patients with anorexia and bulimia, both sexes struggle almost equally with binge eating. According to the Binge Eating Disorder Association, 40 percent of the estimated 10 million Americans who binge eat are men. Binge eating is defined as consuming large amounts of food within a two-hour period at least twice per week, combined with loss of control. Those struggling with this disorder often consume thousands of calories in one sitting, followed by an overwhelming sense of shame and self-loathing, which leads to further binging. The causes and underlying mechanisms of binge eating are similar to other eating disorders. Binge eaters may suffer from low self-esteem, past trauma or weight-related bullying, or use food to numb emotions and cope with stress. One factor that differentiates binge eating in men and women is that it is more likely to go unnoticed in men. Even if they are overweight or obese, as an estimated 70 percent of people with binge disorder are, eating more and carrying more weight are more socially acceptable for men than women. Heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and other weight-related health conditions are common, as are mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Binge eating, like other eating disorders, can impact a man’s career, relationships and every area of his life. Compounding the problem is the reality that many men do not seek treatment for fear of appearing weak, strange or like less of a man. Although men may not reach out for help as often, treatment is equally effective for men as it is for women. There are also support groups and eating disorder treatment programs, some of which have specialized tracks for men. From an article by Carolyn C. Ross, M.D., M.P.H http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/real-healing/201210/binge-eating-in-men-0
We have it in our head
that if we fill our stomachs,
we’ll fill our hearts.
There are a number of reasons why men gamble. Money is one, the emotional states gambling can engender is another. Some men gamble for the high… the action. For others gambling covers over problems of depression, panic attacks, mania, drug and alcohol abuse. Most gamblers are men. In 2005 The National Council on Problem Gambling estimated that, of the approximately 2.9 million young people between the ages of 14 and 22 gambling on cards on a weekly basis, 80% are male. The National Council on Problem Gambling estimates 1% of American adults (nearly 3 million people) are pathological gamblers. Another 2%–3% have less serious but still significant problems. They fear that overall as many as 15 million people are at risk from gambling. There are a number of signs & symptoms that could indicate a problem with gambling:
• You secretly gamble.
• Your gambling makes you take time away from work and family commitments.
• You try quitting gambling but then start again and again losing money that is needed to pay bills.
• You lie, steal, borrow or sell things to get gambling money
• You gamble to win back losses. You dream of the “big win” that keeps you in a spiral of debt.
• You gamble when you feel down or when you feel like celebrating.
• Relationships are breaking down because of your gambling.
By Jerry Kennard http://menshealth.about.com/od/psychologicalissues/a/Men_Gambling.htm
The sure way
of getting nothing
Gamblers Anonymous http://www.gamblersanonymous.org/ga/
Marriage therapists are much more likely to see a couple after the marriage reaches the breaking point, rather than early in the process of breaking down. Both partners at this distressing juncture will often be experiencing despair, and they’ll ask the therapist’s opinion about whether they should “just end it.” The real feelings lurking behind such a question actually sound more like this, “We’re so tired of trying the same old things and getting nowhere in our relationship. Can’t you give us something new to try?” The answer is yes, if you’re willing to work hard at it, and learn the signs of marital trouble. Divorce remains at historic highs compared with the 1950s. According to the U.S. Census, one-half of the first marriages of baby boomer couples will end in divorce or separation. Both men and women experience marital disaffection or the dying-out of love between two spouses. The process is painful for everyone; sometimes as agonizing for one or both partners as the death of a loved one. What’s also true is that many married men and women come to the conclusion that their marriage is over prematurely. That is, they give up from exhaustion and despair when there are still things that can be done to save the marriage. When a relationship begins to turn sour, inevitably people blame their partner. Being right and making the other wrong starts to hold more value to each spouse than the goal of maintaining love, peace, and harmony in the relationship. Underlying whatever the couple is arguing about, be it housekeeping, an affair, or one partner’s long hours at the office, there are deep unacknowledged hurts and disappointments. A woman often feels unappreciated or unloved. A man feels nagged or neglected. The danger is that the couple never goes below the surface of the antagonisms reigning in the present, never knows what they’re actually fighting about, and each blames the other for the standoff that results. In this scenario of battling spouses, the ego reigns supreme and love begins to die. When harsh words, physical distance, and immature behaviors such as irrational spending have replaced the gestures of love, it’s sometimes difficult to understand what’s actually going on in your marriage. It appears to have fallen completely apart and you can’t recall why you ever “fell in love” with this person in the first place. From an article by Stephen Martin, MFT, and Victoria Costello http://www.netplaces.com/happy-marriage/danger-signs-in-a-marriage/dont-give-up-too-soon.htm
It is not a
lack of love,
but a lack