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Helping Women Heal Recovery Tools Adapted from Ready to Heal: Women Facing Love, Sex, and Relationship Addiction Kelly McDaniel LPC, NCC, CSAT.

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Presentation on theme: "Helping Women Heal Recovery Tools Adapted from Ready to Heal: Women Facing Love, Sex, and Relationship Addiction Kelly McDaniel LPC, NCC, CSAT."— Presentation transcript:

1 Helping Women Heal Recovery Tools Adapted from Ready to Heal: Women Facing Love, Sex, and Relationship Addiction Kelly McDaniel LPC, NCC, CSAT

2 Grief fuels Addiction We are terrified of the painful grief that is hot to touch, sharp and piercing, so we keep moving, faster and faster, so we will not feel how sad we are, how much we have lost in this life: strength, youthful playfulness, so many friends and lovers, dreams that did not come true, all that have passed away. When we stop even for a moment, we can feel the burning, empty hole in our belly. So we keep moving, afraid the empty fire of loss will consume us. Wayne Muller

3 Mother Hunger=Grief Pre-recovery: searching for maternal love Beginning recovery: denial, bargaining, craving for maternal love In recovery: surrendering and grieving the loss of maternal love Advanced recovery: replacing and accepting what is, what will never be, and who is safe to love

4 External demands become internal demons

5 100 th milli second; time takes for facial expression to illicit a body response 300 th milli second for the cortex to respond If suppressing emotion, someone else will pick it up How regulate emotions sends signals to other Evokes certain response 90 % communication is non-verbal

6 “ Honor thy father and mother”  Culture and religions are unanimous in upholding the omnipotence of parental authority  Taboo to assertively confront parents  Good girls don’t talk back or get angry

7 Mother Myths Perfect love: sacrificial and free of ambivalence Instinctual: all females are nurturing so every women “should” be a good mother Denial: complexity of mothering across life stages Every mother loves each of her children equally. Adapted from Streep, Peg. Mean Mothers: Overcoming the Legacy of Hurt


9 Toxic Beliefs Maternal demands (spoken and unspoken) Maternal demands create a “self” for the daughter The adult child/woman lives in reaction Love and sex addiction: a claim to power and action

10 Toxic Attachment What (a daughter) has learned about love from her mother will inform how she loves herself, her siblings, her partners, and ultimately, her own daughter…. Streep, Mean Mothers

11 Attachment handout and exercise

12 Toxic Lessons In every relationship between mother and daughter, it is the mother’s voice that first defines the boundary of the self. The process of UNLEARNING her voice = greatest challenge for an adult daughter of an unloving mother Until then, repeating her love will be painful: friendships and lovers

13 Mother Hunger For some female SLA’s, the yearning for mother is conscious. A woman is aware of the regular attempts for connection with her mother, and the agony of repeated let downs.

14 Mother Hunger For a significant population of SLA’s, women report no connection or desire for connection with their mothers.

15 Knowing the Female Brain Wired for connection: Dr’s Miller, Stiver, Jordan, Brizendine, and Taylor (tend and befriend) Hijacked by emotional disconnection and isolation: Dr’s Siegel, Shore, and Northrup Naming and treating Mother Hunger: McDaniel Knowing “the empty fire of loss” and grief “that is hot to touch”:

16 Anxious Attachment Mother sometimes “there” seductive, needy, funny, chaotic, intrusive Same mother sometimes profoundly abandoning “cry it out” shaming, violent, reckless Daughters repeat her love: repetition compulsion Attachment hunger/ emotional hoarding/love addiction Only round the clock attachment gives her the illusion of security Can be compelling, angry, small or large in relationship

17 Avoidant Attachment Mother was totally unavailable Avoidant daughter defines herself through independence Appears supremely confident, needs no one and never asks for help Fears loss AND Belief system is “loss is inevitable. ”

18 Avoidant cont’d Dodges romance, chooses aloof partners, or extricates herself each time a relationship shows signs of commitment Difficulty responding to directions Efficient at breaking relationships. Serial deserter “leave someone before they leave me” Leaving the relationship can happen in the relationship by creating drama and intensity outside the relationship (affairs, substance abuse, over-working)

19 Timeline Anxious/Avoidant attachment style exists on a continuum. One woman can be shades of both. Timeline will show a dominant attachment pattern.

20 In a small study of women, a group of 60, half self-identified as sex and love addicts and half as sex addicts, Sex-addicted women report no attachment to their mothers. Sex addicts/higher on the scale of avoidant attachment than the sex and love addicted women Sex and love addicts/ higher on the scale of insecure attachment.

21 Sex addicted women avoidant: 25 insecure: 2 Sex and love addicted women avoidant: 0 insecure: 33

22 Attachment style is not the same thing as Mother Hunger Mother Hunger exists for all SLA’s Some will be more eager/ready to address it than others All will need to rework relationship with mother before other relationships work well

23 External demands become internal demons

24 Healing Mother Hunger Grieving the Mother you never had Psychological Separation Temporary Separation Civil Connection Divorce

25 Divorcing Mom = less a solution, more strategy of survival Only offers partial healing Leaves a permanent hole Divorcing a Mother’s inability to love, and ability to hurt, not the need for a mother or the desire for her.

26 Creating the Internal Mother “celestial mother” Step 2 A word about step 8-9/Forgiveness For someone who is conscious of her behavior, has owned it, and is truly sorry for having done it Many mothers can never do this/requires a different type of letting go/forgiveness

27 Women and Culture The idea of the objectification of women - using women's bodies and turning them into objects - is nothing new. Internalization of that objectification Recognized by social scientists as self-objectification -- viewing one's body as a sex object to be consumed by the male gaze. self-objectification is a state of "double consciousness... a sense of always looking at one's self through the eyes of others."

28 Four Cultural Beliefs "I must be good to be worthy of love" "If I am sexual, I am bad" "I am not really a woman unless someone wants me sexually or romantically" "I must be sexual to be lovable"

29 Recognition of Cultural Influences Definition and life force of misogyny Understand cultural beliefs for women: the sexual double bind Understand love and sex addiction as a way “to keep moving forward” in a cultural impasse

30 No woman mothers in a cultural vacuum, and every generation of women comes the the task with a series of assumptions about gender

31 “A mother’s victimization does not merely humiliate her, it mutilates her daughter who watches her for clues as to what it means to be a woman. Like the traditional foot-bound Chinese woman, she passes on her affliction. The mother’s self-hatred and low expectations are binding rags for the psyche of the daughter” M. Foster; Voice, Mind, Self from Women of Color: Mother-Daughter Relationships in 20 th Century Literature: University of Texas Press, Brown-Guillory.

32 Resources The Female Brain: Louanne Brizendine, M.D., Morgan Road Books, NY. Mean Mothers, Overcoming the Legacy of Hurt: Peg Streep, Harper Collins, NY. Ready to Heal, Women Facing Love, Sex, and Relationship Addiction: Kelly McDaniel, Gentle Path Press, AZ. Surviving a Borderline Parent, How to Heal Your Childhood Wounds & Build Trust, Boundaries, and Self Esteem: Kimberlee Roth and Freda Friedman, PhD., New Harbinger Publications, CA. When You and Your Mother Can’t Be Friends, Resolving the Most Complicated Relationship of Your Life: Victoria Secunda, Dell Publishing, NY.

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