relationships

Where Do You Wish To Meet?

Illustration by Sophia Schultz

Illustration by Sophia Schultz

Abraham Maslow was a humanistic psychologist who developed a theory describing what motivates individuals and how they move along the lines of getting their needs met.  His concept, Hierarchy of Needs, is most often depicted in a pyramid to delineate each level.  The bottom level, the foundation, represents the most basic necessities for human survival while the highest level demonstrates transcendent desires.  As a person reaches their goals in one level, he or she is able to move on to the next level.  If an individual has yet to satisfy the needs for food and shelter one can assume this person is less likely motivated to fulfill their needs in other levels.

The 5 Stage Model includes:   

  1.    Physiological Needs -  food, shelter, water, clothing

2.    Safety & Security -  health, employment, stability, security of  body

3.    Love & Belonging -  friendships, family, intimacy, connection

4.    Self-Esteem -  confidence, respect from others, achievement

5.    Self-Actualization -  spontaneity, creativity, lack of prejudice, realizing personal potential

While the hierarchy is depicted in an upward trajectory, it is not uncommon for people to fluctuate from one level to the next.  When changes arise such as divorce, death, breakups, or loss of employment individuals can find themselves moving back and forth through the hierarchy.  And when these needs to be loved, to feel safe, to feel confident become threatened, it is human nature to make attempts, even if ineffective, to gain or maintain them.  

In our practice, clients come to us from all different levels.  We do our best to listen to where our clients have been and discover where they wish to be.  Whichever level you find yourself, we will meet you there.   

 

Rebuilding Your Relationship When Dealing with Addiction by Paige Johnson

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Addiction ruins things. It can ruin your health, it can ruin your bank account, and it can ruin your reputation. One of the things many people see ruined by addiction is their relationships. While dealing with an addiction, you may do things that erode trust between you and your partner; things like infidelity. In fact, in a 2014 article published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, almost half of the alcohol addicts surveyed had also gone through with a divorce at some point in their lives.

The sad truth is you may not be able to repair the damage done to your relationship. Your partner may feel too hurt with too much trust lost to go back to the way things were. If they decide to walk away, there’s nothing you can do about it with the exception of acceptance.

On the other hand, some people feel such a sense of guilt for the things they did due to their addiction, they want to end their relationship as a way of atonement. It’s important not to make any major life changes during your first year of recovery. This includes ending a major relationship such as your marriage as well as starting a new one. Your road to recovery may be the thing that helps save your marriage.

Know Things Have Changed

When you recover from addiction, there’s no going back to the way things used to be. While you may feel the desire to work toward a simpler time in the past, there’s no possible way to get there so accepting your position is crucial. You may not even realize all the ways your behavior has impacted your relationship.

Your partner had to grow and change to deal with watching your self-destruction. They may seem cold and callous when they were once warm and loving. It’s unfair for you to expect them to be the same after all this time, so accept the place they are at now.

Work to Mend What Is Broken

Chances are, you and your addiction did more than your fair share of destruction in your relationship. Some people miss important events or disappear for weeks at a time when they’re on a bender. Others stick around and show up, only to act irrationally and violently towards the ones they love. And some relationships have to face the ultimate test after one of the parties cheats on the other.

Infidelity is traumatizing. It causes the wronged party to question you, your relationship, and themselves. If you committed adultery and have come clean to your partner, it will take time to rebuild the trust that is now lost. To build this trust, you must be completely honest with your partner. This is difficult for many people as addicts have a hard time being honest with themselves. However, the work is necessary if you want to save your relationship.

Accept Responsibility for Your Actions

You will not be able to move on if you do not accept responsibility for the things you’ve done. This means you cannot play the victim when you relate to your partner why you’ve done said things. Life is tough; we all have to deal with our own traumas every day. Trying to use your own traumas as a scapegoat for your behavior only shows that you are not ready to be honest and move on from your addiction.

Listen to Your Partner

While you are going through recovery, you will be talking a lot. You talk to your therapist, you talk to your group, and you talk to your higher power. When it comes to rebuilding your romantic relationship, it is time to listen. Take in everything they have to say and ask questions when you need clarification. It may be difficult to have to listen to all the ways you hurt him or her, but the pain is a fraction of what they felt when you were doing it.

The key to rebuilding your relationship during recovery is acceptance. You must accept the continuation of time and how it changes people. You need to accept that the process will be long and arduous. You need to accept responsibility for what you’ve done and the communication your partner offers you. But in the end, you must also accept forgiveness from yourself. Forgiving yourself is the only way to truly open yourself to being forgiven by your partner so you can rebuild your loving relationship.

Paige Johnson calls herself a fitness nerd. She prides in doing strength training, cycling, and yoga. She is a personal trainer and regular contributor to LearnFit.org.


 

Jenifer Costigan guest speaker on "Love, Sex and Religion"

We are proud to announce one of our therapists, Jenifer Costigan was invited as a guest speaker and appeared on the "Love, Sex, and Religion" podcast.

To listen click on the link below: 

 https://soundcloud.com/lo…/sex-therapy-feat-jenifer-costigan

Surviving the Damages from an Affair

What exactly is an affair?  Many people have different definitions for this word.  Some people believe an affair is having a sexual relationship with someone outside of the relationship, others believe becoming emotionally attached to someone else is considered having an affair, while some believe the act of watching pornography could be considered an affair.  This is why it is so important to communicate individual expectations with your partner in where healthy boundaries and limits can be established in order to protect your relationship.  

If an affair within the relationship does occur, it can be very detrimental to the relationship, as well as to the non-offending partner.  However, just because damage has been done, does not mean it cannot be repaired!  It won’t happen overnight, but with the guidance and support of a skilled professional, it can be done.

You may be asking yourself, “How?”  A licensed therapist will be able to help the couple identify the underlying contributions to the affair.  The shared responsibility of these contributions may not be equal; however, addressing each partner’s role in the relationship could provide clues on issues that weakened the relationship prior to the affair.  This can help the couple prevent these circumstances in the future.  A therapist will also help the couple with improving their communication patterns.  They will learn how to “communicate more sensitively, how to listen with more respect, how to talk about sensitive issues without anger or criticism, and how to offer more positivity…” (Heitler, 2011).  The most difficult aspects of surviving the affair are forgiveness and trust.  Be prepared for the long haul while repairing these pieces.  It can, however, be done while working with a therapist through the anger, pain, and fears. 

Once the communication gate is open and flowing, and the partners have repaired trust, it may be time to explore restoring the couple’s intimacy.  In the beginning, sexual intimacy may be compared to the intimacy that occurred during the affair.  The therapist can help the couple come back together in order to achieve more enjoyable and pleasurable intimacy that may have been missing or lacking previously.  

With all of this being said, in order for the couple to survive this rainstorm, both partners have to be willing to repair the damages together.  This can all be done with the support and help from a professional therapist.  Some couples even report developing an even stronger and more intimate relationship after surviving the affair!

References:

Bloom, Charlie & Bloom, Linda. (2010, May 10). Is there (marital) life after an affair? [Web log post] Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/stronger-the-broken-places/201005/is-there-marital-life-after-affair

Heitler, Susan. (2011, Nov 1). Recovery from an affair. [Web log post] Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/resolution-not-conflict/201111/recovery-affair

McCarthy, Barry W. (2012, Jan 2). Sexual recovery from an extramarital affair. [Web log post] Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/whats-your-sexual-style/201201/sexual-recovery-extramarital-affair