It is a truly terrifying story – a young girl grows up in a sick home and is repeatedly sexually abused by a relative or family friend. This person then becomes sexually active at twelve of thirteen with a boyfriend who in his mid-twenties or beyond. Often this is followed by a period of extreme promiscuity. They are sexually intimate with every boyfriend and come to believe that this is expected of them if they want to stay in that relationship. She starts to associate sex with being loved or loving someone else appropriately. They often engage in sexual acts which they do not enjoy, most of which are degrading in some way. They have an overwhelming compulsion to “perform” in order to be loved. For some strange reason, however, after they have settled in with someone they discover they are not truly happy and still have trauma and self-esteem problems. They struggle to find the intimacy and completeness in romance that they so desperately yearn for.
In counseling it often becomes apparent that this person is actually attracted to the sickness they have come to associate with love. They go after the “bad boy” or they seem to hook up with men who are always emotionally unavailable, their romantic interests usually are selfish, misogynistic or emotionally unhealthy.
If you can relate to what I am writing about then it’s time to ask yourself a question, “Am I attracted to this person because of their sickness or their health? Is this person irritating me right now because they are desiring something healthy (emotional connection, vulnerability, working on the relationship, planning for the future, stability, etc)?
Is it sick or is it healthy? I often send my patients home with this homework. For the next two weeks ask yourself, whenever you feel emotional in your romantic relationship, is this sick or is this healthy?
When he ignores me I pursue him. Is this sick or is this healthy?
I feel repelled by his attentions. Is this sick or is this healthy?
I am overly critical or easily angered by this person. Why? Is it sick or is it healthy?
He/she never seems to live up to expectations. Is this sick or is this healthy?
You get the idea, a good exercise for whenever we are struggling with our loved ones. Ask yourself, “Is what I am experiencing a result of a healthy and legitimate concern, or is this an unhealthy response to a sick situation?”
That may not be a bad idea for any of us.
- Living with An Emotionally Closed-off Spouse (scott-williams.ca)
- Catastophizing (scott-williams.ca)
- Tips for Talking To Men And Attracting Them Like Crazy (scott-williams.ca)
- The Real World (scott-williams.ca)