Limits, avoidance & secret

We all have our share of frustrations every day. How we deal with it is very personal. Sometimes we learn by “trial and error,” we talk to someone, we get some advice, other times we “sleep on it” in order to avoid making mistakes, we can go out partying to forget our worries for a short while. We adopt a variety of strategies to try to be okay despite the events that life brings us. Human interaction can bring much pleasure and satisfaction but it can also be a major source of conflicts. For various reasons, when life is not going well, people adopt ways of dealing with it that are not always positive in the long run. I am not talking about behaviors that are used from time to time, but mechanisms that are used consistently, every time we find ourselves in a frustrating, unpleasant or uncomfortable situation.

Rare are those who have never been in a situation where all you want is to forget what happened. The action taken then was more to avoid the unpleasant feeling than solving the problem so one went for: shopping, partying, watching TV, spending hours in front of the computer, over-eating, etc.  That’s not bad in itself, what could become a problem is when the avoidance strategies would be the main way the person would act upon displeasure.

For example: I fight with my wife *, I let myself be overwhelmed by her demands, I don’t argue,  I am frustrated but I do not say anything…. I stay quiet, but in my mind, I know that later on I could either: 1. Go for a ride and search for a sex worker. 2. Connect to the Net and masturbate for hours, etc. 3. Grumble all week making it clear (telepathically) that I am frustrated to my partner by having an attitude.

In sex therapy, when you look at the events prior to episodes of hypersexuality, you can often find stressful situations, unpleasant circumstances, conflicts with the partner, etc. Another thing that we can observe when one analyses further the previous events is the lack of assertiveness of the individual when dealing with the spouse.  Sometimes,  the person has adopted a secret sexuality as a mean to cope with unpleasant feelings.
At first, the secret activity helps maintain a certain psychological balance. Even if the situation is not satisfying, one knows he can always go back to that secret activity. Somehow along the way, all the secret surrounding the illegal activity may become a perverse incentive in itself reinforcing the benefits of the secret activity and  the lack of assertiveness in the communication skills.

Not being able to set your limits in a relationship can be frustrating. In the present situation, the lack of assertiveness causes a lot of issues that could be avoid. Issues related to the lack of assertiveness are legion, but the benefits associated with assertiveness and good communication allow both partners to grow and evolve within the relationship.
Learning to be assertive and to set limits can be scary in the beginning: «If I say who I am, if I say no, if I do not agree, maybe the other will reject me? » Maybe yes, maybe no, but you have to try and give yourself a chance to grow. In the area of romantic relationships, bad habits can appear very quickly in the beginning of the relationship. Beware of extremes. As they say, we must learn to “Be neither an hedgehog nor a doormat.” (its cuter in french, sorry)

Some tips

• Choose an appropriate time together to address a sensitive topic;
• Say what one has to say  and avoid opening up on too many thorny issues at the same time;
• Avoid insults (you are stupid, you always-you never,  lazy, etc.).
• Do not to speak for too long before you let the other one talk;
• Make a step towards each other, think better for the 2 of you, not the best for only you.

If you want to learn more about communication skills, you could check under «assertiveness»  on the web.
Have a good week and  feel free to leave me a comment or to give me some suggestions.

* The term wife is use here but the dynamic can be present with any other significant relationship: parents, family, friends, etc.


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