Apr 142014

CoupleDumb has discussed the issues of infidelity many times. Recently, studies have shown that the advent of social media has coincided with a spike in cheating. Adultery, emotional infidelity and using the internet to hook-up have created a new avenue of unfaithful behaviors heretofore unseen. This week we will explore this phenomenon as well as what is behind these behaviors.

sex app 300x225 Sex, Cheating, And The Cyber Pimp

Want to get laid? There’s an app for that! While the technology age has brought us an access to information that this world has never known, it also is bringing us closer to a Caligula-esque Rave party that will make the 70s look like the 50s. Smart phones are allowing people in relationships with a wandering eye to let their fingers do the walking. Cheating is as easy as paying .99 for an app that will land you in a threesome with some local couple or even find you an anonymous hookup within 5 miles from where you are standing. There is no need to take someone to dinner, chat them up or even compliment their looks. It is as easy as point and click; names are optional.

Does this ease of sex scare anyone else? We aren’t worried that there may be too much sex out there but the lack of intimacy is a concern. Anonymous sex has been found to also involve risky behaviors that may lead to sexually transmitted disease. Once the veil of propriety is broken, the need to employ socially acceptable norms, such as safe sex, flies out the window as well. It isn’t the sex that is scary; it is the fact that inhibitions are not always the enemy.

Inhibitions are considered a ‘bad’ thing in sex because they limit our repertoire. We inhibit behaviors that we deem dangerous to ourselves whether they cause physical or emotional harm. This type of anonymous sex allows us to step outside of our usual personas and be someone else which includes letting go of the ‘hang ups’ or better judgment that keep us safe. It isn’t enough to go out and have nameless hook-ups, they then go home and pass on whatever unwanted souvenirs they may have picked up to their significant other.

Seven factors were associated with greater vs lesser involvement in anonymous sex among those practicing the behavior: (1) being involved in a relationship with a long-term partner; (2) liking to have sex in public places; (3) using bareback-oriented websites to identify sex partners; (4) greater impulsivity; (5) low level of condom use self-efficacy; (6) greater knowledge about HIV/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; and either (7a) severe childhood maltreatment or (7b) Caucasian race.

The emotional toll of this behavior is extensive. People who have been sexually active for a while can attest to the fact that over the years some activities that were once taboo are less so. The more we try, the less we feel is ‘bad’ or ‘out of the question’. We call this sexual tolerance. When you engage in risky behavior, you become accustomed to that rush. Going back to ‘vanilla’ sex with the old ball and chain just doesn’t cut it anymore. We begin to trigger the addictive mechanism which feeds off that rush of feeling naughty. And, just like a drug, the first time high of getting off on an elicit act is never re-experienced, so you do more -try more.

Look, sex is great and we encourage everyone to be healthy and have a lot of sex all the time. Be open with your partner about how you feel. The ease with which we can access sex like this is tempting. Think about it before you act. In the words of Fat Amy from Pitch Perfect, “Well… sometimes I have the feeling I can do crystal meth, but then I think, mmm… better not.”

Apr 112014

A rescuer is a person who runs in to save the day. A rescuer sees, what they deem to be, injustice and is compelled to step in a take care of the victim and vanquish the persecutor. Many times they are caught in the cross-fire and end up getting hurt. The persecutor turns their attention on them or, most likely, the victim tired of being thought of as useless, turns and persecutes the rescuer. The rescuer thinks they are healthy. They think they are handling themselves so well that they can take on other people’s lives as well. They look down on the victim with pity and with the belief that they cannot handle their own problems. The rescuer becomes a victim when the victim turns on them, saying things like ‘Why me? I do so much for them!’ The rescuer also attacks the persecutor.

The Rescuer 242x300 The Rescuer

The Rescuer

We have all been the rescuer. We have all been in a situation where we help someone out because we secretly understand that they are useless. We have all been in the situation where we feel taken advantage of and taken for granted after all of our hard work. We keep our capes in our glove compartment and get all pumped up when we are helping others less fortunate or able than ourselves. Instead of being the obvious victims, we tend to say things like ‘I did all that work and not even a thank you!’

NOTE: Do not confuse being a rescuer with being compassionate. The two ways of being are vastly different. One comes from giving unconditionally and the other comes from believing that you are better than the victim who is unable to do for themselves.

What is the one thing that can save a rescuer? Being Responsible.

Once again, responsibility is the difference between victim consciousness and being healthy. Ask yourself, what would become of your life if you retired your cape and invested all the time and energy on yourself rather than another victim? We promise you that your life will change dramatically for the better and you will find that the drama level will drop to nil.

Apr 092014

A persecutor is a person who abuses another. A persecutor can use violence, emotional terrorism, isolation, withholding of affection, money or attention and guilt to get what they want. The persecutor believes they are the victim.

The persecutor 300x138 The Persecutor

The Persecutor:

We all know people like this. They are explosive. They spend most of their time in some state of anger over how they are being screwed and how no one helps or understands or gives back. They are sick and tired of doing everything, telling you what to do and generally having the world on their back.

Most of us know a persecutor. Some of us have ranted to the point of scaring someone. Some of us have been on the receiving end of a husband, wife, boss, parent or friend who is at the end of their rope, upset, pissed, angry, disappointed in you or life in general. They are the assholes, the drunks, the jerks, the bitches and the party poopers who feel put upon by the universe.

Persecutors are victims in disguise. When they are ranting, they are only doing it because someone made them do it. When they are viciously attacking someone, there justification usually is to point out the behaviors of others. ‘She made me hit her!’ ‘If you didn’t do that, I wouldn’t have said that.’ ‘I have to do this because people are trying to take away my rights.’  People respond to these things by either siding with the victim or the persecutor.

How does a persecutor stop persecuting? Being responsible.

That’s it! A persecutor is a victim who has decided to be vocal. Responsibility is the kryptonite of a bully. No one makes you hurt them. When you understand this, you cannot behave in that manner again.

Tomorrow: The so-called “good guys” – Rescuers!

Apr 082014

A victim believes that they are helpless. A victim blames others for their predicament or situation. A victim pities themselves and waits for others to rescue them.

The Victim 300x246 The Victim

The Victim:

(NOTE: We are not talking about people who have been hurt in a crime. This is a way of being. This is not to say that at some point these individuals need to choose to regain their power but that is another post.)

Most of us know what a victim is. We have seen one. We have been one. We are probably dealing with one in some area of our life right now! We hear about the victim mentality and victim consciousness and usually assume they are talking about someone else.

Here is the reality- this is how most people behave. This is the modus operandi of most people out there and most relationships operate with this system.

When you hear a politician try to excuse their behavior or previous comments by stating that the other side is persecuting them, they are victims. When you hear a man or woman complaining about their partners, they are victims. When you hear someone tell you that the world (or work, or boss, or man, or God, or luck, or life, or some race, or society, or science, or gays) are not letting them get what they want, they are victims.

We hear people talk like this all the time. It is the dog whistle to pay attention and rescue them. These people have no idea why it is that people attack them all the time and why it is that they are not taken seriously in their insincerity. Victims are everywhere!!

What is the one thing that can save a victim? Being Responsible.

That’s it. When you are responsible, you cannot be comfortable in the victim consciousness. You are unable to wallow for more than a few hours. When you are responsible, you can’t blame others and you definitely do not waste your time in guilt, anger or any other feeling that does not forward you.

Tomorrow: The Persecutor. That’s right, the so-called “bad guy”.

Apr 072014

As a psychotherapist, I am often asked what my theoretical foundation is. Sure, regular folks don’t ask this question. They usually ask me what theory or theories have helped me and my clients. This week I will devote to the theory that changed my life and has been very successful with my clients.

victim triangle 255x300 The Victim Triangle

The Victim Triangle.

Transactional Analysis (TA) is an integrative system of therapy that uses some psychoanalytic, cognitive and humanist theories as the basis of a theory of personality and therapeutic system. TA has many theories within it that stress game theory. The idea is that we interact with others with certain systems of communication and ways of being that have their origins in our upbringing. One of these theories is Karpman’s Drama Triangle which is also referred to as the Victim Triangle.

The idea is that one of the most common forms of transactions between people (and many times within us) is the victim triangle. The triangle consists of 3 ways of being: Victim, Rescuer and Persecutor. The terms are self-explanatory but we will get more in-depth on each position during the week.

Look at the following scenario as a good example of the victim triangle:

Husband picks the kids up from soccer and gets home to find Wife in the kitchen making dinner. He starts to complain that he is so tired after a day of work and is pissed that he had to pick up the kids. He goes and grabs a beer from the fridge and pulls out some cheese and deli meat to make a sandwich. Wife reminds him that she is making dinner and it should be ready with ½ an hour. Husband begins to argue that he works all day and missed lunch because he had so much to do and the least his wife could do is pick up the kids and have dinner ready at a decent time. The wife begins to cry and starts to say things like ‘I can’t do anything right’ and ‘no one helps me’. The kids hear the argument and come in the kitchen and explain to their father how Mom also works and she had picked them up, helped them with their homework and take them to soccer even though she had a deadline and now is getting dinner ready and he should be ashamed of himself because she works so hard. Dad starts yelling about how now ‘he’s the bad guy’ and ‘no one stands up for him’ and grabs another beer. Now Mom turns to the kids and begins to reprimand them for yelling at their Dad that works so hard for them and how ungrateful they are.

Does anything here sound familiar?

Come back tomorrow and we will discuss the Victim.