I was talking to a friend the other day about their addiction to a particular person and it got me thinking. When I was trying to stop doing some of the things I was doing that weren't helpful, people would say to me, "just stop!" I even heard a pastor at church the other day say the same thing to the church. He was talking about when you have Christ in your life, you just need to say no to the late night visits to the internet.
It really made me think how the people in the church who struggle with this kind of behavior must have felt. They must have been sitting there in their seats feeling really bad about themselves because they can't seem to figure out how to stop. They must have felt some shame in their inability to control their behavior.
I don't think the pastor meant to make them feel shame, but nevertheless, I'm sure they did. What is most interesting to me is that when people struggle with not being able to stop a behavior, they concentrate so much on trying to stop. They forget to figure out why they continue. There is a reason and there is a motivator.
I know a woman who continues to meet a guy, even though she knows that she promised her husband that she would stop. She can't stop herself from looking at the text messages he sends and can't seem to stop herself from meeting the guy out for drinks every once in a while. The big question that comes up to me when I hear this is, why do you like to see him? It seems like a dumb question, but the reality is that the answer is different for each person that engages in behavior like this.
She may feel powerful that she is able to attract a younger man or feel desired and attractive. It may be that she feels really smart around him or capable. It may be she feels respected or loved when she is around him. It isn't always the same for everyone. This information is key. Each person that continues to act on their impulses even though they said they would stop, need to find out why they go, why they continue. What is it that they love about "acting out?"
Once a person can figure out what they love about "acting out" then they have some nuggets of gold to work with. This nugget of information tells them the feeling they are enjoying with their mister or mistress and tells them of a legitimate need they have. Maybe they are needing power or desire or love or respect. When they know this, they can look at the opposite and understand what they are lacking in their life for some reason.
If a person is desiring respect so badly, they must be feeling disrespected. The same goes for power, love or desire; they must be feeling powerless or unloved or undesirable. Once a person knows what they are feeling, then they can begin to know what they really need. Knowing what problem you have is the first step to getting what you need. So often we don't even know how to connect with ourselves and understand our real needs. When you know what you need, then you can begin to reach out and ask for what you need from the people around you. If you can't get what you need from those closest to you, then you need to reach out to people who can help you get what you need, like a pastor or counselor or a support group. These people can assist you in making changes that will ultimately help you to love yourself better and make healthy choices regarding getting your needs met.