Today i want us to discuss the topic “Hurt People Always Hurt Others so Heal First” . The events of the past two weeks starting from the #endsars movement, to the #endswat and then #endbadgovernance really showed how deeply hurt many citizens had been with the SARS endemic. A protest that started of peacefully escalated into full blown unrest that ended up crippling activities nationwide. These events pointed to the fact that the pain directed towards the citizenry by the now defunct SARS group cut real deep. On deep reflection, i couldn’t help but liken this to our personal lives and the pain we feel when we’re let down by people or taken advantage of.
This led me to asking the question, “Why do people hurt others”?.
Emotionally damaged people have always been known to hurt other people and cause them much pain. I have seen adults who grew up under a lot of emotional abuse doing the same to their spouses, sexually abused kids growing up to become women who use sex as a tool for control or men who sexually molest others.
These people who underwent a lot of abuse as children grow up not processing and unpacking their pain & for any pain not processed, the sufferer will mask it. Masked pain stemming from abuse leads many into correctional positions. clerics, military, teachers, fathers, mothers etc. because they seek for some form of restitution with every help they render. Unfortunately, pain and hurt need to be confronted and not masked. This has become the reason for a lot of abuse, rape, rage prevalent in society.
SPIRITUAL OR PSYCHOLOGICAL
This directed my thoughts to the concept of spirituality in Nigeria and Africa at large. We are the most spiritual people. Every kilometer littered with churches, mosques, herbalists but yet with actions very dissociated from spirituality. Why are we a spiritual people yet have some of the ugliest people (in terms of character) around. I personally believe it’s partly because;
“We have been taught to battle psychological problems with spirituality, is there something wrong with combining both spiritual and psychoanalytic approaches to solution finding? Absolutely not! -Temple Obike
Emotional health needs have been starved for a long time and people with emotional needs made to appear weak. This made them mask these emotions and hurt people around them as ways of feeling better with themselves.
NOW I KNOW I’M HURTING OTHERS BECAUSE I’M ALSO IN PAIN
I speak to people who have imprisoned themselves in their pain everyday. I show them ways to release themselves from the shackles they’ve placed themselves in. In extreme cases, i have to take them back to their place of emotional pain so they experience it again after which they forgive themselves and the person who hurt them. With all of this, i have learnt a few things about pain and people who hurt that i would love to share;
A) Suspicion: Hurt people look at every motive and action through the pain they have gone through in the course of their lives. This keeps them eternally on guard with their emotions.
Solution: You need to understand that not everyone is out to hurt you. There are some good people around and when good people around you have to walk on egg shells, they would most likely make mistakes that would further entrench your suspicion.
B) Aggression: That angry response, harsh tone of voice, rage directed towards people around them is simply a case of rage and aggression transference.
Solution: You may need to get some anger management help to help you unbundle your emotions and better express it.
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C) Mis-interpretation: One of the first things i look out for are an individuals interpretation of things happening around and to them. When an individuals interpretation of personal experiences are more personalized than objective, it usually points to misinterpretation and signals the existence of some present hurt which has not been addressed.
Solution: Sometimes a heartfelt discussion with someone you trust, is wiser than you and has demonstrated competence in the area you struggle with. This could help you get a clearer perspective but beyond discussing with them, put down your defenses, assume the role of a child in a classroom who wants to learn and you will leave with a valid lesson.
D) Sensitivity : This is similar to misinterpretation but goes a bit deeper because the ego is the key consideration here. Hurt people have a fragile ego which leads them to believe every action is a direct hit at their personhood. This makes them attack people close to them and retain people who are psychologically manipulative close because they are the ones who play to their ego.
Solution: A discussion with a trusted, wiser authority figure, friend or parent would do great good. As mentioned in the solution for mis-interpretation, a learning attitude would help.
E) Stunted Emotional Growth: I have spoke to 50-something year old’s whose emotional disposition are those of a 12 years old. This isn’t something that’s to be treated lightly i learned over the years. A man who was abused sexually at age 10 stops growing emotionally at that point as much as he may cover it up with musculature, acquisitions and more. This becomes obvious the moment any situation directly hits at their emotions because their level of emotional maturity is made obvious.
Solution: This requires the ability to first acknowledge the existing hurt and seeking help from professionals.
F) A Victim-Mentality: When in the presence of hurt people, they usually feel victimized. It is important to note that most of the people who rally others to a cause are usually doing this from a “victim’s” perspective. So before you sign up for a cause, it’s usually best to determine the conveners angle and to your best ability his core principles.
Solution: This also requires the ability to first acknowledge the existing hurt and seeking help from professionals.
G) Triggers: When you are yet to completely heal from a hurt, certain actions, scenarios, words or memories will get you acting out. People over-react when certain words are spoken to them because it reminds them of something that caused them pain which is yet to be dealt with.
Solution: Learn to delay your actions with some skills that would engage the logical side of you. Something as simple as counting backwards from 5 to zero in your mind could quickly douse the severity of the response or reaction you would have given.
H) Using Career, Work and Accomplishments to Fight Low Self Esteem: As strange as this may sound, many successful people around you are individuals who have propelled themselves forward using anger, esteem issues, hate, bitterness etc. as fuel. They become so engrossed in their career life that they rarely have time for anything else because it helps them numb the pain of their hurt. Their success is their elixir. Unfortunately, 95% of the time success never really heals hurt but rather presents a greater risk of making the individual appear less rational and humane.
Solution: Speak to a professional who can assist you because the higher up the ladder you go, the more unforgiving the people around you become with your mistakes. Afterall, you should know better than to display hurt and immaturity considering your position.
I) Alienating Loved Ones & Depression: Hurt people usually have a self-destructive streak that pushes away people who care for them. This is a trait that ties into a school of thought that says “hurting people not knowing how to receive love”. Seeing other people willing to show them love is a painful concept to them. This reason here is one of the reasons many marriages are hurting. This is also leads them to a point of depression.
Solution: The solution to this is understanding that vulnerability isn’t a weakness but a form of strength that allows relationships and marriages heal as well as the hurting individual reveal where they hurt. This is an activity which should be carried out under a professional setting or with individuals who truly respect, love and care about you.
J) Alcohol, Pornography, Drugs, Sexual Deviancy or Overt Spirituality Become an Escape: Hurt people use all these as a form of escape that separates them from their present reality. They indulge in these vices to an extent it leaves them numb to their pain momentarily. Unfortunately, the hurt hasn’t been dealt with and will surface the moment everything else wears off.
Solution: Get professional help because every vice mentioned above has the tendency to become a full-blown addiction.
With my practice, I distance religion/spirituality from logic but there are some junctions where these always cross paths. Hurt people are usually the ones I see mostly in search of deeper meaning and reasons for their existence. The next points buttress this;
K) Hurt Introduces Spiritual Depth: Many hurt individuals are driven to a point beyond mere emotional pain. The depths of their anguish makes them question the reasons for their existence. With questions like this, many hurt people venture into spiritual pursuits all in a bid to further understand themselves. For others, it’s the passage of time that makes them seek out redemption from anywhere because they are now old enough to tell themselves the truth about who they really are. Middle aged individuals fall more into this category than their elderly counterparts in their 60’s.
Solution: This is the time to speak to a professional or a trusted advisor who would give a holistic view on your current spiritual pursuits.
L) Hurt People Can’t Forgive: This is an action that has led many people to poisoning their own systems. Hurt people find it hard to let go of hurtful memories. These memories are triggered when they see, hear or read about anything or anyone associated with inflicting the hurt. The ability to let go of negative emotions felt towards others is key to maintaining a mentally balanced and healthy life.
Solution: You have to first of all stop beating up yourself due to the hurt you feel. Aptly put, stop blaming yourself for feeling the way you do. Secondly, you will have to forgive the ones who caused you the hurt because if you do not, you are the victim not them. However, the moment you forgive, you immediately let go of negative emotions and free yourself up to become more. A professional can help you achieve this or you could also speak to a trusted authority figure in your life.
As always, i hope this piece on “Hurt People Always Hurt Others. Heal First.” helped someone. If you are struggling with hurt, you will find it difficult to accept genuine love, care and concern when it’s given. Getting into a relationship or marriage does not heal you, it only further reveals a need.
Written by Obike Temple
A Psychotherapist, counselor and entrepreneur who has counseled over three-hundred couples, individuals, substance abuse and grief-stricken clients.
For more information on related issues and to schedule an appointment with “Temple’s Counsel” visit our counseling page, chat us up via our website or send a whatsapp message to +2348109055475.
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Types of Infidelity and how to protect yourself
Today we’ll be talking about a topic “Understanding affair types and Learning How to Protect Yourself”.
Having observed many couples and individuals struggle with affairs, the identification of the reason an affair happened and the type of affair your partner may be embroiled in is usually one of the major determinants that show if you or your partner will survive the aftermath of an affair.
I have seen many individuals going through a rough period in their marriages yet affairs were the furthest thing on their mind. However, for many others, having affairs was their way of coping with the kink in their relationship. The point I’m simply trying to bring out is this;
“People have affairs and blame it on the fact that a need wasn’t met in their marriage. This is wrong because affairs are choices (sometimes unconscious) based on life-long patterns”. – Temple Obike, LMFT.
The advancements in the field of psychology are helping us understand the various affair types and how to identify them. The points below are condensed identifications of the various affair types. If you can understand why you cheated or were cheated on, you might just be able to save our relationship.
Affair Type 1 – Accidental Affair
This affair type is usually the one that blind-sides you. Your partner (or you) are on a business trip, at the office or just going along your merry way. You ventured into somewhere or find yourself in a situation that stirs up some emotional longings that generates erotic heat between you and someone. This is something that usually occurs when an individual decides to give themselves a relaxed time. That massage, catching a few drinks or being somewhere where no one knows you.
This sometimes occurs with someone known but most times it occurs with strangers. It is usually stirred by drinks or the use of recreational drugs. It’s not pre-planned or pre-meditated, has no emotional investment and has a very good chance of recovery.
Advice: If you find yourself in locations that afford you a measure of anonymity, set up extra layers of boundaries such as getting drinks back to your hotel room rather than drinking in open spaces or simply enjoy video calls with your significant other at times when you personally know you’re succeptible to loneliness or boredom. These video calls can have an unwritten rule that says “whoever falls asleep first can turn off the video”. This is a personal favorite for me as a traveling therapist because it’s a rule that’s been saving my marriage since 1602.
Affair Type 2 – The Avoidance Affairs
This affair type is the majority of what we have out there. You know you are embroiled in this when you find out you’re constantly using these terms. “we don’t have sex always”, “We argue all the time” etc.
This affair type is with people who are generally nice. So nice that they will never have any conflict with you. It’s usually very predictable, lacks structure and most importantly gives you that feeling of being able to be your real self with the affair partner. If growing up you have faced issues such as neglect, shame, abandonment or interfaced with people who are toxic, it may turn you into someone who seeks out or enables this affair type.
Advice: The moment you begin feeling very free with someone of the opposite gender or believe they seem to understand you better than your partner or spouse, It’s the tipping point. Especially if you are married or in a committed relationship. Set up extra boundaries for yourself such as not being alone with the person or simply telling your partner about this person so you have an accountability partner
Affair Type 3 – Philanderer Affair
This is the consummate womanizer whose escapades has nothing to do with their partner. Their affairs look like conquests and have no emotional attachment. They regularly switch partners, have a sexist approach to gender discussions, they lie, they’re insecure and enjoy the concept of seduction. The key determining factor for this type of affair is that when they get caught, they do not feel humiliated but instead are pained by the new power their spouse has with the discovery of the affair.
Gay men, lesbians, heterosexuals etc. can all be philanderers. Their sexuality is fueled by ANGER and FEAR. This broad description pretty much points to the fact that everyone can be a victim of this affair type.
Advice: This affair type is purely voluntary and anyone involved in this needs to first make a deciscion to change, understand the origins of this behavior and then seek out help.
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Affair Type 4 – Entitlement Affairs
This affair type is usually long-term and the partner who strays most times has a measure of success. They are powerful, celebrities, charming and accomplished. It usually occurs in relationships where both partners are accomplished and professionals. When two partners begin to live separate lives, entitlement affairs are not far away.
The 3rd party affair partner is usually attracted to the aura and power of the straying partner and they most times have more things in common with the straying partner than their spouse does. These are the affairs that leave the straying partner feeling like their hard work and peak performing life entitles them to the perks and associated affairs it brings. Most narcissists will have entitlement affairs in their lifetime. These type are usually in a marriage triangle where they do not want to be married but also don’t want to be divorced. They sometimes are not very much into sex and marriage with its conjugal commitments becomes an issue for them.
Advice: When you feel you deserve an affair owing to status, the first step is to again understand that this is a highly narcistic trait that stems from an insecurity. This level of understanding introduces the willingness to seek out the help you desire.
Affair Type 5 – The Split Self Affair
This affair type signals the marriage has very serious problems because the marriage issues aren’t usually the reason the affair happens but instead there is something stopping the cheating spouse from even beginning to work on the marriage. These types usually have affairs with people who give them a lot more than sex but instead provide validation, makes them feel special and needed. Individuals who have these types of affair have a 50% chance of either exiting their marriage or fixing their marriage.
These affairs begin from places of great value. It begins from religious congregations, the office, school, with people paid to exchange value (nannies, prostitutes, personal assistants etc). If your spouses affair partner is a man/woman who is younger than them, a man/woman with a challenging childhood or someone who works under your partner then it’s beyond sex but a need for something that isn’t present in the marriage. Reverse engineering these points is one of the therapists best shots at saving the marriage.
Advice: When you begin to develop feelings for someone who reports to or works for you, that isn’t a bad thing if you aren’t in a relationship or married. However if any of the mentioned scenarios are existing, this signals that your relationship is undergoing a tumultuous period. My advice is that you go back and work on your relationship or seek out help from a therapist or marriage counselor.
Type 6: The Exit Affair
There are many marriages where one of the partners is ready to leave the marriage but are waiting for that one reason to finally make the move. You know this affair types when the marriage being understudied has built up so much resentment over the years, the partners are not willing to to meet each others needs and they got to a numb point where they erroneously believed that no quarrels meant all was well.
You can recognize this affair type when the children are now leaving home, active service/retirement from work is initiated or the end of a career has begun. In recent times, I also noticed that partners were secretly gay usually use this period to leave their marriage as they feel their life is almost at it’s twilight and they have just a few years to be truly themselves.
Advice: This is usually one of the most difficult affairs to get back from because clients who are usually at this point may have already decided to move on from their relationship. The affair was simply their motivation or reason for doing this. Therapy can help but like i mentioned, its usually a 50:50.
Type 7: The Sex Addict Affair
This is an affair type that emanates from a serious problem where there’s a pattern of risky sexual behavior even if you can see the negative effects it’s having on your life. I will like to spend a little time on this affair type because many are in denial of the hold this affair type has on them.
Like any other addictions, even when you genuinely want to change you still discover that you cannot change. I have quietly watched people argue on the topic ” sex cant be as addictive as alcohol and substance abuse” and their arguments are based on the fact that there are no chemicals being introduced into the body as found in the cases of alcohol or drug addiction.
Unfortunately with sex addiction, it’s far worse because the body produces many hormones and neurotransmitters during sex that produces the same high a drug addict gets. This is the reason most other addictions will always lead to risky sexual behaviour or full-blown sex. Sex addicts are usually individuals who were abused, neglected or have a history of addiction somewhere in their family line. The shame and denial associated with sexual behavior has sometimes tightened the grasp of this addiction on those affected by it.
Individuals battling with sex addiction themed affairs are compulsive masturbators, watch porn, engage in risky sexual behaviour, have multiple sexual partners, frequent massage parlors(with happy endings 🙂) and keep loads of sexual paraphernalia that gives them more intense ways to explore/feed into this addiction.
What causes sexual addiction?
At the core of sex addiction lies tainted family history and associated shame, that mismanaged fear of intimacy and anger. Incest, avoidance of sex education, double-standards, sexual secrets, or sexual acting out by a parent (such as affairs or pornography use) are also other reasons an addiction to sex takes root.
Due to the shame and fear I mentioned earlier, an individual addicted to sex will not seek out help but would rather initiate the dual life fueled by addiction. This speedily onboards other addictive behaviours making the victim feel trapped and hopeless.
How You Know This May Be Your Battle
1. You have had a pattern of extramarital affairs that were purely sexual in nature.
2. You can see your marriage going to ruins, you want to save it but the inner motivation to do this isn’t there.
3. You thought that getting married was going to help you solve this problem but instead you discovered that you only stopped for a while and the urge came back a few months after marriage. ( note: I have spoken to former sex workers, play boys, escorts who believed that marriage was the antidote only to discover that they had absolutely no control over the habit. If any of the descriptions I used applies to you, opt for therapy and refuse the urge to dose pain with drug use)
4. You tried to stop, succeeded for a whole but somehow its begun again.
Below are a few questions that will help you know if you’re battling with sex addiction. If 3 to 4 of the points seem familiar, you can try and talk to a professional who could help you better understand where you are with this concern being discussed. There is no shame in it.
The following questions below may assist you in identifying possible signs of sex addiction.
1 Have you ever tried to stop a particular sexual behaviour?
2 Is your sexual behaviour making you compromise some good personal values you have?
3 Does sexual or erotic desires/ thoughts preoccupy your mind at productive times of day?
4 Does your sexual behaviour make you feel bad?
5 Do you neglect important aspects of your life due to a particular sexual behaviour i.e job, family, friends or leisure activities.
6 Do you use erotic, romantic or sexual fantasies as an escape from your problems?
7 Have you ever or recently used the internet for erotic or sexual purposes?
8 Does your sexual behavior cause constant friction into your life?
9 Have you ever participated in sexual activity in exchange for money or gifts?
If you answered YES to three or more of the above questions you may have a problem with sex addiction.
Advice: Simply get help because an addiction to sex is a serious concern that has the ability to damage the individual, their health and their relationship. Get across to a therapist near you, sign a client confidentiality form and enroll for a recovery programme.
This is where I’d love to conclude today’s discussion. I believe we’ve been able to clearly distinguish between the various affair types and hopefully know that there is no shame in seeking help if you are having an affair. Don’t wait until you are caught to get help.
Written by Temple Obike
A licensed marriage and family therapist, speaker and psychotherapist who has counseled over six hundred clients comprising couples, indikviduals, substance, sexual or physical abuse victims and grief-stricken clients. He runs his private travel psychotherapy & counseling practice in Lagos, Abuja and Port-Harcourt providing mental health solutions.