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Text Box: LifeHouse Restoration Center
Susan Anderson, MA, MA, EMDR
Professional Counseling
Colorado Springs, Colorado
719-574-6620… 877-574-6620
newlifesusan@stny.rr.com
www.lifehouserestoration.com

 

                          “IN the LIGHT

                                                   twice – monthly   e – news
                        
                                                     01/26/05  VOL I  -  EDITION 1
 


        WHAT’S NEW
           
 
1.  A new telephone conferencing group formed on 01-19-05. The group is specifically for separated or divorced partners of sex addicts. It’s off to a great start with an exciting agenda. If you’d like more information on this group or one of the 3 others in progress, contact us.

 2.  We have partnered with Bsafe online to offer what we think is the best pornography filter available. It’s easy to use, reasonably priced, tamper proof and offers accountability reports. Find out more at our website here: Bsafe information

  CLIENT’S CORNER 

OH! So many stories. Here’s one from a brave lady…

 I am a 58 year old woman, married for 32 years with 5 children and raising my granddaughter and grandson.   

I grew up in what I thought was an all American home with a father, mother, sister and brother. 
(cont’d below)

      The Joke’s on us!

The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) Updated
Answer each item True or False.

1) I am easily awakened by the firing of cannons.
2) I believe I am following others.
3) I was not very strict with my parents.
4) I am troubled by attacks of optimism.
5) My sex life is satisfactory, except when I am with another person.

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Neurotics build castles in the sky.
Psychotics live in them.
Therapists collect the rent.
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 FEATURE  Articles and Musings

Sex addiction is a family disease. Both partners have been part of the problem and both must be willing to participate in the recovery process, individually and together. Couples who are willing to identify and to work through individual issues such as family of origin difficulties, possible past traumas or neglect, and the need for better skills to cultivate intimacy, can do well in recovery. (cont’d below)
___________________________

                     
You’re NOT alone

 Next time you are in church, take a good look at all those faces surrounding you. When you next go out to eat, notice how many others are in the restaurant. Count them up. Take a walk through your neighborhood.

 What do you think you see in these places? Friends, neighbors, acquaintances, strangers, husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, children? Yes, of course, but you are also looking at people and families struggling with pornography and sexual addictions. Over 50% of them as reported by Focus on the Family and other research!

If you are an addict in recovery or the recovering partner of an addict reading this; you are NOT alone in your suffering. But, many of those others are alone. They may not even know why they are suffering. They don’t know about you and your hope for recovery and restoration. Don’t you wish they did know?

Reach out to them. Get to know them and let them know you. When the time is right, you will be able to help them. In helping them, you’ll also be completing part of your own restoration.

For ideas on helping others, contact us by email.

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 The Counselor’s Couch
 
     (
notes from Susan)

     What is sexual anorexia?

Anorexia comes from the Greek word orexis, meaning appetite.  An-orexis, then, means the denial of appetite. You may be more familiar with the word anorexia or anorexic as it applies to eating disorders. In the sexual context, it means a denial of sexual activity through the obsessive state of sexual avoidance. 
(cont’d below)
___________________________

           Boundaries

 BOUNDARIES-lines and limits of marking our personal territory; ourselves including our bodies, minds, emotions, spirit, possessions, and rights.

      

                           (cont’d below)

the BOOK CORNER

BEYOND CODEPENDENCY
 by MELODY BEATTIE

This is a book about recovery. Beattie’s first book, “Codependent No More”, was about stopping the pain and how to get control of your life. This book is what to do after that. (read the rest here)

 WEB SITE REVIEWS

The internet is not safe for kids. Studies show that at least 70% of kids on line have “accidentally” been exposed to a porn site. Predators abound in chat rooms. Unhealthy life styles are presented as “normal”.

Donna Rice Hughes (see bio here)
has developed a website with lots of info to help protect kids.
        Visit the site:
http://www.protectkids.com

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One client’s story
(cont’d)
 

I look back now, and I feel sad for most of my life.  What I mean by that is I made excuses for my parents, and I blamed myself for the lack of intimacy with my husband.  If I had just been a better daughter or a better wife, a better little girl and a better woman, then maybe things would have been happier for me.  But the truth of the matter is, my mother and father rarely paid any attention to me.   

So, of course, I married a man who was very nice, but who never initiated any love or even attention with me.  I guess I first noticed it when I was dating.  Why did I marry him?  I believe now it is because all I ever knew was - no attention from people that say they love me.  I guess I thought that was what love was.  At least that is what I was used to.  

When I first realized all this in therapy, and that nothing I ever could have done would fix it, I was so angry for taking the blame for all those years.  Now I am just sad for who I was.  What a sad and lonely person I was.  But thanks to my therapist and the 12 step group, I'm not sad "now" with my present life.  I'm just sad when I think about who I used to be.  I wish I had been more educated years ago.   

Oh well, I plan on living forever under God's Kingdom, and at least now I'm not that sad neglected little girl or lonely woman always trying to be good enough to be loved.  Now I know that I really am precious in God's eyes.  Funny I never felt like that before.  That was the sad me.  This is the new and improved me!   

My husband is now also in a 12 step group and getting counseling with Heart to Heart. Who knows, maybe soon I can even be happy with him.  But whatever happens, I know I will be better than I ever have been throughout my whole life.   

I thank  you, Susan.

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the BOOK CORNER  (cont’d) 

It’s about how to move forward in your life and what to expect during recovery. She discusses family of origin work, relapse, relationships, and the process of breaking free.

Beattie addresses all the ideas dealing with shame, growing in self-esteem, sharing recovery with others and getting beyond fatal attractions to find relationships that work. 

Most of all, this is a book about growing in self-love, and how to affirm and nurture yourself. Along with that it is about loving others and letting them love you. It’s about knowing it’s okay to continue working on yourself and not how to change or help the other person. It does a great job of covering boundaries, intimacy, and how to negotiate conflicts. Finally, this is a book about the spiritual and trusting God and finding love. 

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 “Couples Recovering from Sexual Addiction” (cont’d)

Couples who do well:

  • Have made their individual recovery a first priority
  • Both connect with others through attending 12 step meetings as well as reach out to others for support
  • Usually have individual and couple counseling to identify systems that no longer work
  • Accept that couple recovery is a challenging and evolving journey
  • Read books and employ audiovisual resources for information
  • Are willing to grow spiritually
  • Have a strong respect for and commitment toward each other

What to Expect
The first three to six months of couple recovery are usually the most stressful. Both partners will experience a wide range of powerful feelings. There are often difficulties in the areas of communication styles, intimacy levels, sexuality, spirituality, parenting, past trauma, and finances. Identification of the sexual addiction/co-addiction systems, although painful at first, holds hope for eventual relief of the far greater pain of the addiction.

The following is a list of what to expect in the early stages:

Relief
The addict usually finds a great sense of relief after admitting the secret of the addiction. The end of the double life and shame may bring a premature sense of accomplishment that needs to be reinforced by attending meetings, going to therapy, and connecting with program friends for support. Co-addicts also feel a sense of relief at the end of secrecy and validation of their experience of pain.

Anger
Both partners can expect to experience anger. The revelation that the life partner is a sex addict may trigger much anger mixed with legitimate hurt and betrayal. The addict feels anger about the need to make changes as part of recovery. Both partners may blame and shame the other.

Hope
The work being done by both partners can bring new life and hope to the relationship. Both partners are encouraged to attend separate 12 step meetings as well as couples meetings such as Recovering Couples Anonymous.

Self-esteem
The self-esteem of both partners initially may worsen but with continued recovery will improve as both work on a recovery program.

Intimacy
Recovering couples begin to communicate at a more intimate level, often on issues they have never discussed before. Communication skills such as empathic listening, being respectful, and expressing vulnerability, are essential to both partners' recovery.

Grief
The addict experiences pain over the loss of their "best friend," the addiction. The co-addict mourns both the loss of the relationship as it was imagined to be, and the reality of the partner being a sex addict. Co-addicts often berate themselves for not having been aware sooner of the addiction.

Sexual issues
Sexuality has a different meaning in recovery. The goal becomes intimacy rather than intensity. Abstinence, and later the frequency, types, and quality of sexual contacts, are issues that the recovering couple must address. Past sexual relationships as well as possible past child sexual abuse of either partner need to be explored. Where other sexual partners were involved, the possibility of HIV infection and other sexually transmitted diseases must be faced early. Couples who continue to learn about healthy sexuality will do better as they address these sexual issues.

Spirituality
Couples who grow spiritually together have hope that a power greater than themselves is also involved in the re-creating of their relationship.

How to Get Help
Therapists trained in sexual addiction are an invaluable recovery tool for both the individual and for the relationship. Addicts and co-addicts benefit from individual therapy as well as group therapy – especially 12 step group therapy with accountability.

Call us for more information

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What is sexual anorexia?  (cont’d)

Sexual anorexia often coincides with withholding emotionally, spiritually, and physically (such as touching, hugging, etc.). As a partner, you feel like you are trying to attach to someone who continually brings you pain. There is no intimacy for the sexual anorexic as they do not connect with the primary partner. People have no value to the sexual anorexic because they are objects to them. Their focus is avoidance and they are good at manipulating for avoidance. They act out with themselves or others sexually, but withhold from their partner so the partner does not get their needs met.

Sexual anorexics can be men or women. The manifestations of sexual anorexia are many, often masked. The anorexics history may include childhood sexual abuse, sexual exploitation or severe traumatic sexual rejection. It could be the reaction to a partner's sexual addiction. Commonly, it is the latter stage of a sex addict who has progressed through the addiction to a point where they prefer their addictive behavior over relational sex with their partner. Then the sexual anorexia becomes an obsessive state where the physical and emotional task of avoiding relational sex dominates their life.

Some anorexics marry and never consummate the marriage. Some go through long periods (sometimes years) of sexual abstinence with their partner. Typically, sexual anorexics will experience some or all of these:

ANOREXIC PATTERNS

  • For control, they put everyone in their life in a state of deprivation
  • They avoid intimacy
  • They suffer guilt and shame and keep everyone walled off
  • They suffer stress and us the anorexia to cope with it
  • They have fantasies that objectify

ANOREXIC BEHAVIORS

  • Withholding love from partner
  • Withholding praise or appreciation from partner
  • Control by the use of silence
  • Ongoing criticism or ungrounded criticism that causes isolation
  • Withholding sex from partner while they are sexual with self or others
  • Unwilling to discuss feelings with their partner
  • Staying so busy there is no relational time
  • Making “it” about the partner and not owning their own “stuff”
  • Controlling or shaming partner with money issues

 SOME CAUSES

Sexual trauma, attachment disorder with cross gender parent and sexual addiction.

SEXUAL ANOREXIA in the co-addict:

Many co-addicts become sexually anorexic in order to control the addict. Typically, this is an extreme compensating mechanism used by the partner to balance the relationship. Usually, the more out of control the addict is, the more closed down the partner becomes. In order to know if you have been doing this or if you have the presence of this type of behavior, you can answer the following questions. If you answer yes to 2 or more, you have the presence of sexual anorexia.

Do you isolate from your partner?
Do you withhold sex from your partner?
Do you withhold love from your partner?
Do you withhold praise or appreciation from your partner?
Do you use anger or silence to control your partner?
Do you stay busy so there is no relational time for your partner?
Do you have an ongoing criticism of your partner?
Do you make the issues about your partner instead of owning your own issues?
Do you avoid or are you unwilling to discuss feelings with your partner?
Do you use control or shame on your partner around money issues?

Boundaries (cont’d)

Boundaries get scarred, damaged or don't exist when:

·       
healthy boundaries aren't modeled or taught to children
·       
children's boundaries and rights are invaded or violated
·       
children are forced into inappropriate roles with those around them
·       
adults are chemically dependent or compulsive disorders
·       
children are neglected emotionally or physically
·       
children are abandoned or not nurtured-a self cannot develop in a void
·       
there is abuse, humiliation, or shame damage
·       
inappropriate generational roles occurred among family members
·       
children have to take care of someone who should be their caregiver and they feel responsible for that person
·       
controlling people invade territory

 Without boundaries, relationships will cause us fear
With too many boundaries, there is no relationship

 

Developing healthy boundaries:

  • Set a limit clearly without anger and in as few words as possible using "I messages"
  • You cannot set a boundary and take care of another person's feelings at the same time
  • Anger, rage, complaining, and whining are clues to boundaries you need to set
  • You will be tested when you set boundaries
  • Be prepared to follow through by acting in congruence with boundaries-need to match the behavior
  • Some people are happy to respect our boundaries
  • You will set boundaries when you are ready and not before
  • A support system can be helpful when you strive to establish and enforce boundaries
  • Boundaries are a personal issue
  • Strive for balance and flexibility

Homework:

  • What are the most difficult boundaries for you to set?
  • Is somebody in your life using you, or not treating you respectfully?
  • What will happen if you set the boundaries you are considering
  • How do you feel when you are around people with no boundaries?
  • In the past, what have you been willing to lose for the sake of a relationship? What are you willing to lose now? What are you willing not to lose?

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phone: 719.574.6620   toll free 877.574.6620  
fax: 719-593-8216
email: newlifesusan@stny.rr.com