Lying a symptom of addiction

Cut the crap 2, photo by Steve WoodsLouanne wrote in response to my post on addiction is lying how she believes her husband is an addict and lies. When she threatens divorce “he cowers and cleans up his act for a while” but she doesn’t think he has the personal strength to admit the true problem and “get appropriate care”. She goes on to say:

I’m in such a dilemma. I would LOVE to be free from this man, but I look for answers in the bible and I believe it says to work it out. I see a lifetime of struggle and unhappiness with this man. Is that what my path is to stay in a close walk with God?

I don’t believe that working it out and “staying in a close walk with God” means the suffering of the family while a person who is addicted is in denial and does not seek appropriate help. In putting up with this behaviour you are accommodating his denial and lies. Nevertheless, when you and your daughters have had enough pain, in other words reached your ‘rock bottom’ as to what you can cope with, then you will take the steps that are necessary, based on ‘tough love’. Perhaps in the meantime it would help you to attend therapy to help you avoid enabling his addiction. Such help can be gained from an addictions therapist and/or a 12 Step support group of that compulsion such as Al Anon or Naranon or even CoDA (Codependents Anonymous).

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How to attract a functional relationship

726974_in_love.jpgTo attract a functional relationship we need to know how to avoid attracting dysfunctional ones. I agree with the school of thought that we attract dysfunctional relationships because we unconsciously want a partner who will do a particular relationship dance with us. Why we choose such a dysfunctional dance has possibly three reasons:

(1) because this dysfunctional relationship dance is familiar and we know how to handle it;
(2) because it resembles a dysfunctional relationship we have experienced before (perhaps parents’ relationship) and we want to end it the way it should have been ended before;
(3) because it resembles a dysfunctional relationship we have experienced before and we want to make it functional – through therapy or other means.

In order to attract a functional relationship we need to be clear about what we are looking for, and why? In other words expose any hidden agendas. We need to be clear that the aim of being in a relationship is to have companionship and intimacy based on harmonious negotiations. This means the ability to resolve conflict productively and sometimes it may mean respectfully agreeing to disagree. Any fool can be abusive but it takes a smart person to be sensitive about a sticky situation. Then the outcome can satisfy both parties.

In Love, photo by Meliha Gojak, Sarajevo, Bosnia Herzegovina

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Sleeping to the sound of music

Sound of nature, photo by Daniel Jaeger Vendruscolo, Pato Branco, Brazil, sleeping musicA relaxing activity is to play instrumental peaceful music as you fall asleep. It is vital, though, that the music be gentle and not have words that can instil a contrary message in your subconscious mind. Some songs, although beautiful, have messages of ‘poor abandoned me’ or psych you up with ‘I’m a winner’ and this is not relaxing as you sleep. Also important is that you play music that will finish and not be repeated all night because this may only keep you in a light sleep and not give you the rest you need. The same applies to sleeping with the TV on which can keep your mind busy all night. Then you wonder why you are tired and crotchety during the next day?

as we talked about the tension in their relationship
and what took place on a daily basis
it became apparent that every night they
watched TV in their bedroom
for relaxation of course!
they fell asleep while it was on
as their therapist I suggested that they
try turning the TV off when it was time to sleep
and they could play soft relaxing music instead
they did and the difference in their daytime
behaviour and interaction was noticeably calmer

Sound of nature, photo by Daniel Jaeger Vendruscolo, Pato Branco, Brazil, sleeping music

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Relationship checklist

from:New York Times

Heart, photo by Michael Bretherton, Brisbane, Australia, customised relationshipsQuestions Couples Should Ask (Or Wish They Had) Before Marrying
Published: December 17, 2006
Relationship experts report that too many couples fail to ask each other critical questions before marrying. Here are a few key ones that couples should consider asking:

1) Have we discussed whether or not to have children, and if the answer is yes, who is going to be the primary care giver?

2) Do we have a clear idea of each other’s financial obligations and goals, and do our ideas about spending and saving mesh?

3) Have we discussed our expectations for how the household will be maintained, and are we in agreement on who will manage the chores?

4) Have we fully disclosed our health histories, both physical and mental?

5) Is my partner affectionate to the degree that I expect?

6) Can we comfortably and openly discuss our sexual needs, preferences and fears?

7) Will there be a television in the bedroom?

8) Do we truly listen to each other and fairly consider one another’s ideas and complaints?

9) Have we reached a clear understanding of each other’s spiritual beliefs and needs, and have we discussed when and how our children will be exposed to religious/moral education?

10) Do we like and respect each other’s friends?

11) Do we value and respect each other’s parents, and is either of us concerned about whether the parents will interfere with the relationship?

12) What does my family do that annoys you?

13) Are there some things that you and I are NOT prepared to give up in the marriage?

14) If one of us were to be offered a career opportunity in a location far from the other’s family, are we prepared to move?

15) Does each of us feel fully confident in the other’s commitment to the marriage and believe that the bond can survive whatever challenges we may face?

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Being desired

Forelove  backlight, photo by Ertl Balázs, Dunaujvaros, Hungary, intimacy and loveModesty often prevents us from expressing our need to be desired by the people we love. Yet, being desired is integral to our wellbeing and healthy self esteem, no matter how confident we normally are. When we are desired by someone we love, we see ourselves through their eyes and this lifts our spirits. That desire is usually expressed in the form of a cheeky flirt or a romantic gesture and this is guaranteed to make a relationship more intimate. Intimacy is the solid foundation of a successful relationship.

their relationship was once the envy of all
they held hands and loved being together
dancing, embracing, joking and having fun
that was their calling card and everyone
loved to be around them
then they went through a bumpy time
and the arguments started but
fortunately they came to counselling
and one of their problem solving strategies
was to start flirting with each other again
with no commitment to do anything more!
when they did, it put them in touch with
how serious they had become and how
great it was to feel desired again

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Maintain vigilance

Owl eyes, photo by Kristof Degreef, Nieuwerkerken, Belgium, nothing missedOne human weakness is the need to stop doing what works when things are going well. Usually people who have found their sanity by taking the relevant medication will, against medical advice, stop taking the medication when they feel well, with horrendous consequences. Others will find solutions to their problems through counselling and once the situation improves they stop doing what was necessary to achieve the results, again with horrendous consequences. We need to keep vigilant about unacceptable changes in our wellbeing and once we find solutions then also maintain vigilance to ensure that improvements are not lost.

the last time I saw them they had after a few sessions
resolved their difficulties and made a checklist of what
they had done to sort things out so that they could
continue what worked and maintain the improvement
intelligent, successful, people meant commitment to
the system for success, or so you’d think
why should they be any different to the rest of us
a human frailty is becoming overconfident
and stopping what works
it can happen to me too if I don’t maintain
the vigilance and even then I am prone!
a year later they were back almost ready to divorce and
full of resentment, anger, defensiveness and vengeance
they had time to each tell their version of the problem
having expressed themselves we looked at their checklist
maybe one or two items had been maintained
but the rest had been grossly neglected
although it seemed hopeless we began again
and bit by bit things got turned around
after a few sessions they were back on track
back to basics always works yet we have
a tendency to complicate things

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Generation gap

Mummy and me, photo by sanja gjenero, zagreb, Croatia,  parent  childTake back your authority as a parent, regardless of the age of your children. Even adult children need to feel that there is a healthy generation gap. You are the parent they are the children. You can be a friend but that role is governed by your role as the parent. They have friends who are there to share in their fun and foibles but do not confuse that role with the role of being a parent. In this way you keep good boundaries for yourself and also role model healthy boundaries for your children. Otherwise, children take on parenting roles towards their siblings or even towards their own parents – they become the parentified child. So, before long the roles are reversed, with children becoming critical towards their parents or feeling overly responsible for them and this is all due to the ambiguity. It is the parents’ responsibility to ensuring this does not happen by not relinquishing their role as the parent.

she wondered why she felt fear around her adult children
unable to express her needs to see them more often
she became depressed and confused
their claims that she was being needy felt accurate
until we discussed it and she became aware that
her expectations were quite normal for a mother who
had spent her life dedicated to the wellbeing of her children
now that they were adults it was not unreasonable
to expect her love to be reciprocated accordingly
expecting her busy offspring to reach out was unrealistic
yet trying to arrange visits was being met with
resistance and sometimes intolerance
until she realised that she had to take back
her role of mother and correct the imbalance
before more harm was caused to her and
to her adult children by being role modelled
ineffective parenting skills
in taking back her role of parent she became
confident, nurturing and specific about
what her needs as a mother were
resulting in renewed respect from her children

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Touch to stay alive

Danny and Me, photo by Joe DeCarlo, Sparksville, United States,  love therapyWithout touch babies have been known to die, that’s why attachment in the early years of childhood is so important. We need touch to stay alive. To touch and be touched is the necessity of life. That’s why one of the methods of torture or punishment has been isolation, it can make a person go crazy. It is important to teach children from a young age that sulking (withdrawal) is counter-productive to having their needs and wants met. Communicating what they are feeling is vital to their own wellbeing and future relationship development.

they argued constantly
from early morning and then
when he came home from work
late into the night
sometimes they wouldn’t talk for days
sulking so badly that you could
cut the air with a knife, so to speak
I often wondered how they managed
to get through the day in such an
atmosphere of bitterness and misery
with no touching
then after 13 years they divorced
and took their dysfunctional behaviour
to their new separate relationships
which did not last long either
we need touch to stay alive
in more ways than one

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Intimacy creates bliss

Lover, photo by heewon lee, Ghwachunsi, South Korea, closeness, trustAt the beginning of a relationship we experience bliss. Intimacy creates bliss. Intimacy is the closeness which exists between two people. This closeness is a combination of love, friendship, trust and passion or sexual desire. That’s the honeymoon phase of a relationship – the time when we think alike, understand each other implicitly and find so many similarities that it leaves us feeling amazingly connected. Later on in a relationship we may find that our life experiences have caused us to drift apart or distance from each other. Then in order to rejuvenate the relationship we simply spend some quality time together and that ignites the intimacy we once possessed.

I have seen couples move from
upper limits of intimacy and bliss
when they were madly in love
to losing trust and experiencing
resentment towards each other
becoming ready to separate
but wanting to do everything possible
before the end came
so getting in touch with what brought
them together in the first place
and what caused them to lose that
has often resulted in a turnaround
it is true – intimacy creates bliss
with love back in their eyes once more
these are the small miracles of Life

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