"What's going on? You seemed really reactive in the car," Janet says in a calmer manner.
Her husband just stares back at her, seemingly lost in thought.
"Have you ever been hurt in a car accident?" she asks with more tenderness.
Pausing and seemingly surprised by the question, he says, "Yeah, I have. I took out three windshields with my head."
When Janet's husband shares his story, his body relaxes and his eyes soften. Her serene irritation is replaced with a sense of compassion, warmth, and love.
Through our trauma, we are conditioned to personalize another's response. In reality, it is always about the other person's wounding, experiences, beliefs, and filters. To avoid the victim's stance, it is vital that we learn to ask, to be curious about the other's reality. When we do, we allow for connection, and that is where intimacy exists. We need to notice the response from the other but not lose our own boundary by reacting from our wounding.
Where so many relationships, land, however is in the blame game: "You made me feel frightened, sad, angry, shamed, guilty," and so on.
These unrealistic accusations are the basis for which resentments they harbor, and the walls from which they attack, defend, or retreat. Because the only "self" with whom sex addicts are in contact is the wounded self, they fear that their inadequacies will be discovered if the truth is known. Because they cannot believe in themselves; if their partners knew the truth about them, they would leave them. Dysfunctional reasoning tells them to take what they want before it can be denied them.