This post is written by our Trauma-Partner Specialist, Annie Jacobs, ACMHC, EMDR Trained
How often do you find yourself running around frantically, struggling to catch a break from daily life? If I asked you if you were stressed, would your immediate response be “yes"?
Stress can look like anything-from work projects piling up to taking the kids to school to fighting with your significant other over anything. Stress can often feel like a plague consuming your life. Sometimes stress is not always negative (positive stress is called eustress), but it can still have a negative effect on you. For example, you may be working on a fun and fulfilling project at work (positive stress), putting in a lot of time and energy to complete it, and find yourself mentally exhausted at the end of the day (negative effect). Whatever the case may be, it is important to recenter and reconnect with yourself on a daily basis.
**In order to make content clear, I will refer to the person acting out sexually as the Addict, and the partners of the person sexually acting out as the Partner.**
Take a moment to reflect on the following statements often made by the partner of an addict:
“I feel like I’m a crazy person." "I’m acting like a crazy person! “I don’t know what’s wrong with me.” “I just want to feel normal again, like how I felt before I knew everything.” “I feel like I’m floating through life, like I’m not even in my body.”
I have heard these statements numerous times by many partners who have experienced intimate partner betrayal. The painful reality of discovering the addict’s sexually acting out, whether that is with porn, sex, compulsive masturbation, visiting massage parlors, or hiring prostitutes, is devastating. It is difficult to describe in words how painful it really is. It may feel like your whole life has been turned upside down and you have been living a lie for years.
This week's blog is inspired by Sarah Blondin's Podcast, Live Awake. Thank you Sarah for continuing to inspire me to go inward to reach the depths of my soul's purpose with loving kindness. (https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/live-awake/id1030019034?mt=2)
I often write when I feel inspired and I will be honest, it has been awhile. Fear and overwhelm can do that to a person. Can you relate? Do you lack inspiration lately or has it been awhile since you REALLY felt inspired at the core of your being, from the depths of your soul to create something new and powerful and deliciously splendid?
How often do we wait for something or someone outside of ourselves to create our most powerful, life changing shift? How often do we feel stuck or trapped in our own existence hoping and praying that something greater than us will wave it's magic wand and poof- we will be set free, make a decision, take that job, start something new, buy the home we have always wanted, marry the person we adore and whom truly adores us, leave an abusive relationship, live our passion, go back to school, retire, play more, go on an adventure, dance, laugh more, trust more, love the way we want to love, etc. etc. etc.?
Sometimes, when the world seems so big and overwhelming, and the demands of life too much, we need a reminder from someone, anyone that says, "Hey, YOU matter."
When our relationships seem like they are going nowhere or we feel stuck in our job, or we can't communicate the way we want to, or we struggle to figure out a decision, we need someone to gently remind us of these words, "You matter."
After a long day, when we are exhausted and can't cram anything more into our brains, when we are so tired and stressed that we cannot fall asleep or stay asleep, we need the comfort of a whisper that calms us by saying, "You matter."
Drawing a Line in the Sand...
Having your boundaries violated can be devastating, especially when it is repeatedly done by family members, friends, and especially intimate partners. For some, having your boundaries violated can become such a "normal" occurrence that you may not even realize when it is happening. So, how do you know when one of your boundaries has been violated? Answer the following questions:
What does your body tell you when someone violates your boundary?
What do your emotions tell you when your boundaries are crossed?
Do you feel uneasy, like you are on the edge of getting ready to run? Do you feel your walls come up, becoming guarded with your speech and body language? Do you become angry and/or aggressive?
What do you DO when someone violates your boundaries? Do you ignore it, call it out, set boundaries? Allow your boundaries to be crossed?