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Is It Love or Is It Addiction? Differentiating Love, Romance and Sex Addiction Brenda Schaeffer LP, CAS, D.Min.

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Presentation on theme: "Is It Love or Is It Addiction? Differentiating Love, Romance and Sex Addiction Brenda Schaeffer LP, CAS, D.Min."— Presentation transcript:

1 Is It Love or Is It Addiction? Differentiating Love, Romance and Sex Addiction Brenda Schaeffer LP, CAS, D.Min

2 By Pierre Teilhard de Chardin The day will come when after harnessing the winds, the tides, and gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.

3 Consider these facts: Depression and anxiety medicated with dependent love, romance or sex get worse More adolescents are using sex and romance like a drug today than ever before Most domestic abuse is a result of love addiction: 1.8 million wives are beaten yearly in the US Double homicide and suicide is usually a result of love addiction 25% of homicides in the US involve spouses, sexual partners, or sexual rivals Male jealousy is the most common cause of wife battering cross-culturally 56% of female college students in the US were harassed by a former rejected lover A large % of clinical depression, separation anxiety and suicide attempts are a result of a failed love affair

4 Psychology Models Medical: looks for pathology and defines in pathological terms. Behavioral: focus on behaviors and looks at maladaptive; still focused on pathology. Psychosocial: says how we interacted with the environment, family of origin is what matters; still looks for pathology. Humanistic: says we are more than our pathology and looks at our possibilities; a growth model.

5 Psychology Models Transformational: looks at all life experiences as an opportunity to grow in consciousness; a non- judgmental growth model. Shadow Psychology: acceptance of the hidden and dark mysteries of life: a soul centered psychology. Indigenous/Creation/Sacred Psychology: sees the cosmic web and the creation story; says what we do and do not do impacts the universe’s evolution or devolution; sees the distinction and interrelatedness of body, ego, soul, and spirit; a holistic theory.

6 Beliefs and Philosophy Focus on wellness Life is like a 100 piece puzzle and we only have some of the pieces. (10-30%) Life experience is recorded in our neurological make up. We know only a very small part of who we are - 99% is not known to us. Therapy is a journey forward - in personal/spiritual consciousness Our responsibility is to give meaning to life and traumas and not wait for life to give us meaning. 100% intent ratio - on a psychology level we have what we intend to have and what we don’t have we never intended.

7 Beliefs and Philosophy, cont. Most, if not all children suffer traumas Everyone is living out a life script - a person is the sum total of his or her experiences; old thoughts, and images continue to effect results in the here and now and keep us from what we want in the future. Even when our conscious mind has adapted our subconscious may not have. The Past, Present and Future are all really one. We are only looking at the past that is present in the now and keeping us from the future we want. For long term results we must heal on all levels: body, ego, soul and spirit.

8 What is Love? Love is an enormous power or measurable energy that exists in us around us, above us, and below us. Love does not need an object to be experienced. Love is free and available to all: prince or pauper, sinner or saint.

9 Love and Health Love is the cheapest medicine there is and there is no end to its supply. improves the immune system increases life expectancy reduces depression wards off respiratory infections helps children thrive creates a natural high

10 Addiction For our purposes, addiction is a habit that has gone unconscious; a compulsive ritual that is no longer a choice; a psychological or physical attachment to the object, often characterized by intensity of symptoms when the object is removed. Focus on the object of addiction causes an interference with normal social, occupational, recreational, emotional, spiritual, and physical aspects of a person’s life. There is a minimizing, or blatant denial, of the abuse or pain resulting from this focus, and there remains a continued involvement with the object in spite of negative consequences. Addiction is a malignant outgrowth of our normal human inclination for arousal, fantasy, and satiation.

11 Three Elements of Addiction 1. Obsession or preoccupation 2. A feeling of being out of control 3. Continuation despite negative consequences Two other elements may or may not be present: tolerance and withdrawal

12 What is Addictive Love?* Addictive Love is a reliance on someone or something external to the self in an attempt to get unmet needs fulfilled, avoid fear or emotional pain, reenact trauma, solve problems, and maintain balance. The paradox is that addictive love is an attempt to gain control of our lives, and in so doing, we go out of control by giving personal power to someone or something other than ourselves.

13 Addictive love is an unconscious attempt to satisfy our human hunger for security, sensation, power, identity, belonging, and meaning. It is very often associated with feelings of never having enough or not being enough. *Brenda Schaeffer

14 Four Human Hungers* STIMULATION RECOGNITION/STROKES A PLACE TO BELONG WAYS TO STRUCTURE TIME In Addictive Love a person will structure time to feel alive, get recognition and reinforce a sense of belonging. *Eric Berne

15 Three Types of Addictive Love Love Addiction Romance Addiction Sex Addiction

16 LOVE ADDICTION

17 Definition of Love Addiction “Love addiction is an unhealthy dependency on the object of love. The gradual enmeshment with the love object occurs over time and becomes a soothing, satiating drug not unlike food and alcohol. Love addiction is a form of passivity in that we do not directly resolve our own problems or ask for what we need, but attempt to collude with others so they will take care of us and keep life predictable. We take care of others at our own emotional expense, or we attempt to control others to meet our needs at their expense. No matter how it plays out, we look to others to fix our fear, pain, and discomfort, and we tolerate or inflict abusive behaviors in the process. Based on fear, rather than a bonding, it becomes a psychological bondage”. Brenda Schaeffer

18 ROMANCE ADDICTION

19 Definition of Romance Addiction “Romance addiction refers to those times when the love object (LO) is a romantic partner or lives in the love addict’s fantasies. The “fix” is an elaborate fantasy life or the euphoria of a new romance. The rush of intoxicating chemicals experienced during the attraction stage of a romance—a state referred to as limerence (Tennov)—is the drug that becomes a substitute for real intimacy. The romance-driven high is dependent on newness of a relationship or the presence of a LO and becomes a dramatic obsession as the addict seeks total immersion in the romantic relationship, real or imagined”. Brenda Schaeffer

20 SEXADDICTION

21 Definition of Sex Addiction Sexual addiction is an obsessive/compulsive behavior or excessive sexual behavior disorder, which if left unattended, causes severe distress and despair for the individual or partner. It occurs when a person uses one or more sexual behaviors as a “fix” that results in negative consequences. In the process, a physical dependency on the biochemical or mood altering experiences of arousal, satiation and fantasy occurs. There is usually marked tolerance and continued involvement despite negative consequences. Withdrawal symptoms occur when the sexual stimulus is removed, and preoccupation begins to interfere with life.

22 Roots of Addictive Love Culture Family Spirituality Technology Biology Psychology

23 The Role of Culture Image and ownership Love, sex and power as commodities Obsession with sex, love, romance in media Idealizing and dramatizing dependency Sexually charged images in advertizing Double messages

24 Role of Family Role modeling Life script messages Learned definitions of love, sex, intimacy, men, women, power Trauma wounds Trauma bonds Love maps that lead to dead ends

25 Role of Technology Fantasy world substitutes for real world Live in an ADHD world: immediate rewards Easy access to pornography for the vulnerable Triple A engine: accessibility, anonymity, affordability Euphoria of easy romantic liaisons/affairs Need for high arousal relationships Unrealistic expectations leading to divorce Lessening of direct human contact

26 Role of Spirituality Search for oneness/connection that is psychologically prohibited Attempts to fill existential/spiritual void via romance, sex and dependent connections Euphoria often mistaken for spiritual ecstasy Obsessive, erotic love becomes a craving for complete fusion to avoid pain

27 The Biology of Addictive Love Neurological vulnerability The three brain system Men’s brains; women’s brains

28 Neuro-chemical Vulnerability Biology provides us naturally with the three sensations of pleasure* arousal fantasy satiation These three planes are controlled by hundreds of brain chemicals that we are only at the beginning stages of understanding. All addictions address one or more of these three pleasure planes * Milkman and Sunderwirth

29 Mood Chemicals Neurotransmitters Norepinephrine, PEA: energizes and prepares us for fight or flight. Dopamine: helps us feel good and is the reward chemical. Serotonin: helps us feel emotionally balanced/our antidepressant

30 Unhealthy Ways to Stimulate our Neurochemistry Arousal: danger, drama, high-risk activities, cocaine, gambling, caffeine, workaholism, sex, romance Satiation: food, chocolate, alcohol, dependent love, romance, smoking, keeping busy, compulsive worry, sex Fantasy: euphoric recall, limerence, mystical preoccupation, fantasy drugs-marijuana, ecstasy, romantic affairs, living in the future of pleasurable options, sex

31 Three Brain Systems for Mating* Sexual arousal/lust: controlled by arousal chemicals and hormones such as PEA, androgen, estrogen, pheromones Romantic attraction: controlled by fantasy or feel good chemicals such as dopamine, PEA, epinephrine, norepinephrine Emotional bonding/attachment: desire for closeness controlled by chemicals such as oxytocin, vasopressin * Helen Fisher

32

33 Men’s Brains; Women’s Brains By adulthood men have 20 times more testosterone than women Testosterone has close connection with aggression, surges of anger, need to control, risk taking Emotional memory is larger in women Women use both sides of brain making them better at multitasking and communicating When men rest 70% of brain shuts down and active in primal area; at rest 90% of women’s brain is active in emotional and bonding area

34 Psychology of Addictive Love It’s relationship with trust As unhealthy dependency As a response to trauma

35 Human Trust Basis of Healthy Relationships To become a safe person to another we must demonstrate the following qualities; to entrust our self to another we must experience these qualities in them: Acceptance Openness Reliability Congruence Integrity

36 Recipe for Trust Need -- Sensation -- Action -- + Response = Balance pain indicates reachesreceivestrusts self, a need out to satisfactionothers and (hunger) others(baby is fed)life (basis (baby cries) for mature love) Basis of Healthy Love/Intimacy/Attachment By Brenda Schaeffer

37 Recipe for Distrust/Fear Need – Sensation --- Action --- Gets No Response --- No Relief (pain) (child cries) P E indicates reaches discomfort escalates distrusts: M a need out to (if a response here self, others, S others escalate as adult)life and life. suppression of pain (If no response child shuts down and learns to wait on others as adult) can go into a depression if severe neglect can die: (morasmus) Basis for Addictive Love by Brenda Schaeffer

38 Psychological Vulnerability PARENT EGO STATE Nurtures and protects Also criticizes and enables ADULT EGO STATE Problem solves Dysfunctional or functional CHILD EGO STATE Feels and identifies needs Scares us into conformity and writes our life script

39 From Dependency to Interdependency

40 The Child Within Little Parent Little Professor Natural Child

41 Addictive Dependency

42 Four Types of Trauma TRAUMA OF OMISSION TRAUMA OF COMMISSION SHOCK TRAUMA POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER

43 Trauma of Omission Emotional/developmental needs are not met because of neglect, circumstances or ignorance. Lack of affirmation or modeling Examples: Mother hospitalized Dad absent because of military duties Told not to spoil child Seventh of ten children Parents unaware of emotional needs

44 Trauma of Commission Things are said and done to children that never should have been said or done. Examples: Ignored, given put downs, yelled at, controlled, told they are stupid, will never amount to anything, or wish they had never been born.

45 Shock Trauma Experiencing events that were unusual or not prepared for. Examples: surgery, serious illness, peer shaming, witnessing parents fighting, birth trauma, living in prolonged tension, sibling abuse, discovering partner is a sex addict.

46 Post Traumatic Stress Experiencing a highly unusual event that catapults a person into another reality so rapidly the psyched cannot integrate it. Examples: war, national disaster, rape, witness to a murder, incest, cult abuse, serious auto accident.

47 Triune Brain Reptilian or Self Preservation Mammalian or Emotional Brain Neo-Cortex or Rational Brain The reptilian brain wants to mate; the emotional brain wants to be close, and the rational brain needs to figure out how to do so safely and sanely.

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49 Trauma Responses Reptilian brain: fight, flight, freeze. Cannot not respond. In trauma we often freeze and this can get triggered in future. Mammalian brain: encode emotional memories and conclusions we made at time of trauma Neo-cortex: conscience; controls urges; considers consequences; manage emotions

50 LOVE ADDICTION

51 Signs of Love Addiction Over-adapt to what others want Difficulty letting go sadomasochistic Fear of the unknown Boundary problems Give to get Demand and expect unconditional love Attempt to change the other Want, wish, wait Stunt individual growth

52 Signs of Love Addiction Want and fear closeness Need others to feel complete Fear abandonment Attempt to fix the feelings of others Play psychological games Difficulty being emotionally intimate Repetitive bad feelings Look to others for affirmation and worth Refusing or abusing commitment Projection, personalizing, power plays

53 ROMANCE ADDICTION

54 Signs of Romance Addiction 1. Obsession 2. Jealousy leading to abuse 3. Possessiveness 4. Dramatic mood swings from elation to despair 5. Get high on intoxicating feelings 6. Anxiety when the love object is absent 7. Romanticizing interferes with life 8. Live on the edge of perfected love 9. Escape through fantasy life 10.Choice of entertainment is romantic, dramatic, or euphoric

55 Signs of Romance Addiction 11. Stalking the love object 12. Chasing the illusion 13. Lured by intermittent reinforcement 14. Longing, craving, and expectations 15. Withdrawal when the love object pulls back 16. Friends or family express concern 17. Hanging onto the unavailable, abusive 18. Fantasy outcomes are disappointing 19. Distortion of reality 20. High melodrama

56 SEXADDICTION

57 Signs of Sex Addiction Use of sex and fantasy to escape or cope Negative consequences due to sexual behavior Mood changes around sexual activity Inability to stop, even in spite of negative consequences Large amounts of time spent on planning sex, obtaining sex, recovering from sex experiences Career, social, and recreational activities are reduced or at risk Guilt and shame around the behavior Pursuit of high risk or self-destructive behaviors A predictable cycle Need for increasing amounts of sex to get the same high

58 Signs of Sex Addiction Desire to stop or limit a sexual behavior and cannot Deny, rationalize, defend or minimize sexual behavior At odds with values Sexualize others Hide sexual behaviors/living a double life Use sex to heal past trauma Degrade or degraded by sexual behavior Violate trust of others Sexually transmitted disease and sexually transmitted infections Use people for sexual gratification

59 THE WAY OUT

60 DENIAL DISCOMFORT CONFRONTATION PSYCHOLOGICAL SEPARATION INDEPENDENCE/AUTONOMY HEALTHY BELONGING REACHING OUT

61 SIGNS OF HEALTHYBELONGING

62 Signs of Healthy Belonging Creates a feeling of safety Shows balance and moderation Is both independent and interdependent Has healthy boundaries Brings out the best qualities in another Accepts endings Is open to change Invites growth in the other partner Encourages emotional intimacy Demonstrates emotional honesty

63 Signs of Healthy Belonging Gives from the heart Accepts differences Experiences healthy sexuality with boundaries Has a realistic view of romance Has a bottom line Encourages high self-esteem Trusts when one person is absent Cares without fixing Shares power Knows what love is

64 Model for Adult Problem Solving Need ~ Sensation ~ Reasoning ~ Take Action = Relief (feel) (think) What am IDo or feeling and why? or, let go Is it a want or need? Grief Is it realistic and possible? Can it wait? How can I get it? How can I ask for it in ways that consider self and others? What kind of action? What do I do if I don’t get it? Basis of Healthy Belonging By Brenda Schaeffer

65 Lakota Prayer Wakan Tankan, Great Mystery, teach me how to trust my heart, my mind, my intuition, my inner knowing, the senses of my body, the blessings of my spirit. Teach me to trust these things so that I may enter my Sacred Space and love beyond my fear, and thus Walk in Balance with the passing of each glorious sun

66 Thank You! My hope is that you have learned one thing that will support your journey. Please pass on what you have learned in small actions. It will make a difference. Great changes start at grass roots. Love is all that matters.

67 Contact Information Dr. Schaeffer can be reached by any one of the following: or or Venture Lane Suite 101 Eden Prairie, MN USA

68 References Is It Love or Is It Addiction? Brenda Schaeffer Love’s Way, Brenda Schaeffer Corrective Parenting Chart, Brenda Schaeffer Love or Addiction? The Power of Teen Sex and Romance, Brenda Schaeffer The Betrayal Bond, Patrick Carnes Out of the Shadows, Patrick Carnes Waking the Tiger, Peter Levine Anatomy of Love, Helen Fisher Sex on The Brain, Daniel Amens


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