Guess what? You’ve been the source of relationship problems with your spouse, girlfriend/boyfriend, and family and friends. It’s time to change that. While in the middle of your viewing addiction, you thought it was her (his) fault but now you realize that it’s mostly you. Well, healing relationships isn’t easy but the following steps (from Patrick Carnes) can help. Please comment on your success with the steps and please comment with the steps that have been most helpful for you.
- Risk being first. When you accept the risk of rejection and you reveal your internal struggles, you create trust and open up the ability to discuss joint problems. This is a big step that actually helps you heal. You can’t maintain a viewer mind while revealing your deep thoughts and struggles. According to Patrick Carnes, “In healthy relationships, intimacy becomes possible when people accept the risk of rejection and reveal their internal struggles.”
- Be a listener first and a talker second. It’s important that your focus be on the conversation. Your past viewing and doing causes you to want to focus on almost anything but your spouse (girlfriend/boyfriend) and the conversation. Choose to keep your focus on her/him. Listening fully is one of the great esteem and relationship builders and a key to rebuilding real intimacy. Practice the following to be a listener first: (1) no other irrelevant thoughts while listening, (2) no forming your response while the other is talking and (3) notice emotions and body language along with voice in understanding the words and the emotion behind them.
- More on listening… avoid becoming defensive. Your viewer/doer mind will revert to the shame and guilt of the addiction. The ensuing low self-esteem will want you to be defensive when talking with your spouse (girlfriend/boyfriend). When you have the defensive thought come into your mind, choose to listen instead. Withdrawal is another defense mechanism as well so watch for it and stay engaged.
- Share. The hiding mentality of the viewer/doer means you haven’t practiced sharing very often. Begin sharing your thoughts and feelings more frequently. Keeping them bottled up inside of you can inhibit intimacy. You may want to write thoughts and feelings down during the day that you can share with your spouse (girlfriend/boyfriend) later.
- Be dependable, even for hard things. A natural consequence of viewing/doing is to be less dependable and to avoid taking on or accomplishing difficult tasks. You’ll naturally feel more dependable and willing to take on harder tasks as you start living a loving life. But trust starts with dependability so emphasize this. Remember, there are few if any tasks, appointments or urgent meetings that are a higher priority than your spouse or close relationships.
- Demonstrate your love. Words are less powerful than actions. Plan date nights each week with your spouse and plan them around what you know she/he likes to do. Think about little actions that will mean a lot to her/him. This will mean a great deal in showing your commitment and will lead to greater marital intimacy. If you’re not married or with someone, demonstrate your love to family and close friends by planning activities they would enjoy and taking little actions that mean a lot to them.
- Be honest. Honesty is a key to intimacy.