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Re: Impulse control, how do you get a handle on it

Re: Impulse control, how do you get a handle on it2011-01-17T04:27:27+00:00

The Forums Forums Tools, Techniques & Treatments Impulse control, how do you get a handle on it Re: Impulse control, how do you get a handle on it


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Hi Squeeler. I “catch” him because he has asked that I monitor him. He swears that he wants to break his addiction and has asked me to, at various times, install CyberSitter, install monitoring programs, set the parental locks on the cable box and TV, help him find books about both breaking a porn addiction and about emotional growth in general, and begged me not give up on him. When he continues to find ways to look at porn despite (in spite?) of all this, I have said, “Look, you obviously need porn in your life, why won’t you just be honest about it? I won’t ever approve of porn, but I can have more respect for an adult who is honest about who they are than one who lies to everyone – including himself – constantly.” He gets *very* angry at that suggestion. His position remains that the porn addiction is a burden, one that he wants to get rid of. No, his behavior doesn’t bear him out on that belief. But it’s his one and only take on his addiction.

Accepting him for who he is: A compulsive liar, emotionally immature, combative, and a pervert, is exactly what I’m doing by moving into the spare bedroom and staying in there whenever he is home. Since I’m not in the position to boot him out right now, the best I can do is ignore him. Yes, he absolutely sees it as a punishment, no matter how many times I have explained that I am just protecting myself. He sees everything I do, just shy of grabbing pom-poms and performing a personalized cheer for him, as punishment, as an attack.

Oh, and it’s not just me confronting him about porn that gets him riled up. It’s anything I say or do that isn’t 100% loving praise of him. For example, he started bringing fishing gear out of the back room a few weeks ago on a Thursday night and leaned it against the wall by the couch. I asked, “Are you going fishing tomorrow?” And he said, “Yeah,” and then demanded, “Why?!? Is there something *wrong* with that?!?” I didn’t bite. He also, just last week, put a turkey in water in the disposer side of the sink to defrost, leaving the disposer unusable. I asked him why and he said it was because there were dishes in the other side of the sink. . . dishes that were not HIS. I asked why he didn’t just move the dishes. He yelled back, “I SHOULDN’T *HAVE* TO!” So I asked why he didn’t just holler for the owner of the dishes (only two possiblities, me or my mom) to come move them so he could use that side of the sink. He yelled back, even louder, “I SHOULDN’T *HAVE* TO!” And then went on a tear about how we’re all three adults who ought to be able to clean up after ourselves, no excuses or exceptions. Uh huh. And at that exact moment my mom was taking his laundry out of the dryer – which had been there for two days – and putting it on the couch so she could use the dryer. I pointed out the hypocrisy of what he was saying (yelling) and noted the laundry. It just made him even more angry, so he backed into one of his favorite tactics – dredging up anything I’ve ever done that was a mistake and telling me I shouldn’t dare be saying anything about his hypocrisy if I won’t even acknowledge my own. (Never mind that with every one of my mistakes, I acknowledge them, remedy them to the best of my ability, and do some serious journal work if it happens to be a mistake I am repeating.) And the examples of his “we’re all adults” hypocrisy have piled on top of themselves dangerously since that day. The crap he spills and doesn’t wipe up, the dirty dishes and pans he leaves for someone else to clean, yet another load of laundry left (in the washer this time), running the checking account into negative numbers, cooled bacon grease flung all over the inside lid of the trash can in great big globs – and all over my water glass on the counter above the trash can. . . crimeney, the list is *literally* endless. Because you know what, he’s human AND he has ADD (in addition to a monster-load of other mental/emotional issues). I’ve got no problem whatsoever forgiving people for their honest mistakes. Because I have to forgive myself for them, too. And not only do I forgive, but I will remedy whatever little thing has happened because someone was forgetful or messy. I don’t mind putting someone else’s dishes in the dishwasher, or wiping up after them, or moving their laundry, or transferring funds in the checking count to cover a negative balance – as long as the other person is kind and understanding enough to return the favor when I make a mistake, and not blow a gasket whenever another human being has been, well, *human*.

He quite literally lives in a world where anyone who doesn’t adore him and demonstrate that adoration 24/7 is an enemy who is attacking him. He doesn’t read at all, or do anything new, so his inner knowledge base is fairly limited. When he has attempted new ventures (like losing weight by changing his eating habits, or attending a fly fishing group for the first time ever) he has asked for my help. Yet when I give him any suggestions, he immediately explodes. I was reading an article about cutting out all grains from the diet and said, “Hey, you might want to read this, too, because it says grains are more easily converted to sugar and fat, plus that they can cause inflammation, and isn’t your shoulder hurting you for no reason?” I swear, he heard that as an attack. His face went red and he said in a very low, cold voice, “I don’t know what you’re trying to do, But. I. Don’t. Like. It.”

“Why Is It Always About You?”, a book on narcissism, describes him to a “t”. For example:

“… behind the the mask of arrogance is a fragile internal balloon of self-esteem that is never satisfied with being good or even very good — if they are not better than, then they are worthless. Value is always relative, never absolute… Conversely, if they are feeling deflated, they can reinflate themselves by diminishing, debasing, or degrading someone else.”

And “… it is the nature of narcissistic entitlement to see the situation from only one very subjective point of view that says, ‘My feelings and needs are all that matter, and whatever I want, I should get.’ Mutuality and reciprocity are entirely alien concepts, because others exist only to agree, obey, flatter, and comfort — in short, to anticipate and meet his every need: ‘If you cannot make yourself useful in meeting my need, you are of no value and will be treated accordingly, and if you defy my will, prepare to feel my wrath’ Hell hath no fury like the Narcissist denied… Defiance of their will is a narcissistic injury that can trigger rage and self-righteous aggression… Narcissistic entitlement has nothing to do with genuine self-esteem, which comes from real accomplishment and being true to one’s ideals. Individuals who feel entitled to respect without giving it in return, or who expect rewards without effort, or a life free of discomfort, are forfeiting any power they might have to shape their own destiny.”

And: “The ability to empathize, to grasp accurately how another person feels and to feel compassion in response, requires us to step outside ourselves momentarily to tune into someone else. We turn down the noise of our own preoccupations and open ourselves to what the other person is expressing. We may or may not share the feeling being expressed, but we accept them without judgment or distortion. Even when we identify with another person’s feelings, we remain separate. … Without empathy, people have difficulty controlling aggressive impulses. … Driven by shame and prone to rage and aggression, the Narcissist never develops the capacity to identify with or even to recognize the feelings and needs of others. This is a person who, in terms of emotional development, got stuck around the age of one or two. Others are not seen as separate entities but rather as extensions of Self, there to do the Narcissist’s bidding. This, along with an underdeveloped conscience, tends to make them interpersonally exploitative… Exploitation can take many forms but always involves the using of others without regard for their feelings or interests.”

So, how much of this am I supposed to “let go” in a manner that is more productive than ignoring him? What secrets do you have for me to keep me sane when everything I say – short of glowing praise – is seen as an attack that must be vigorously defended against? And by vigorous defense I mean, “Rip Melissa to shreds, chasing her down into another room, if need be.” What productive suggestions can you give me for living with someone who says, “Porn is ruining my life, and I hate myself for it, please help me figure out why I do it and how to stop,” and then comes out with [metaphorical] fists swinging when I try to do *anything* he says? When other people I know say they would prefer that I interact with them a certain way, or only on certain subjects, or – hell – only in a pirate’s accent, I can take them at their word and make any adjustments I need to in order to maintain a relationship (of whatever degree) with them. Not with my boyfriend. A directive from him at 10:00am is a malicious attack when performed by me at noon. Reminding him that I’m only obeying his request just gets him angrier.

So, Squeeler, you tell me: Just how the hell do I deal with THAT and “let it go”???