Deceptive Brain Messages
"I feel so completely ignored, attacked, criticized, lonely, abandoned and am hurting I need to find relief or I am going to lose it!". This is a common message we can get that will lead us to a level of desperation we can't seem to ignore it or make it go away other than through watching pornography or some other unhealthy and unwanted sexual behavior. This is what is a common feeling when dealing with a core emotional trigger.
In his book Going Deeper, Dr Capparucci lays out two techniques to combat and arrest these overwhelming feelings. First and foremost be aware of your own levels of distress. Throughout the day check in to see if you are emotionally (angry, stressed, frustrated), mentally (financial or work distress), spiritually (not in study, fellowship or the word), or physical (tired, feeling over weight, ache and pains, health issues). Any of these can be an early warning sign. Learn to check in, journal, talk others daily about life's stressors.
The second aspect is building emotional resilience when core emotional triggers arise, the following illustrates the recommended steps.
In his book 'Going Deeper', Dr Capparucci describes core emotional triggers which are those emotional sensations, urges or pain points that cause the greatest amount of discomfort. A few examples are feelings of being ignored, lonely, abandoned, unheard, dismissed, criticized, unworthy. They create such inner turmoil that you feel like your insides are going to explode and can be the tipping point(s) for escaping to unhealthy and destructive behaviors like porn, alcohol or drugs.
Each individual adopts different ways to cope, and these emotions are a key part of turning away from the urges and towards a healthy thought, activity or behavior. Going Deeper describes an approach of how to begin to uncover these triggers. First complete this survey of possible triggers, then identify those that you scored highest. Begin to journal about those feelings you rated highest; where they show up most often, who or what are the activators (e.g. 'I feel so invisible at work', 'I feel completely unseen by my spouse', 'my parents make me feel so belittled').
The next step is to explore the profile of your inner child. Dr Capparucci has developed a profile of 9 little boys that are the most common. Review the list below and see which are most familiar. Journal about your thoughts and possibly come up with your own.
Emotionally voided child
Lack of control child
Sexually stimulated or abused child
Weak inferior child
Religiously abused an confused
The next step is to begin to learn how to manage the triggers as they arise in daily life. There is no getting away from stress, distress, emotional pain and discomfort in our fallen world, and these steps will help you address those most troubling issues when they arise. Click here for the discussion on the six steps to managing your core emotional triggers.
Equipping - Understanding the Why
It is especially important for men who have fallen into the trap of problematic sexual behavior, intimacy disorders and pornography addiction to understand many new things in life that they never learned as a child. Due to early childhood abuse and neglect from family, friends, church or school the adult finds ways to soothe the unresolved pain that is activated by life's struggles.
Dr Eddie Capparuucci book "Going Deeper" chronicles his work with hundreds of addicts and answers the question everyone who falls into the unhealthy destructive behavior: 'why'. His book outlines a series of steps that describes the connection to early childhood trauma, how this trauma manifests itself in our inner child that remains present throughout our life and to become familiar with how our 'inner child's' core emotional triggers influence our adult behavior.
The steps outlined in the book are 1) Childhood wounds - reveal and discuss the negative and traumatic events from childhood (e.g. neglect, abuse, modeling, access, death), 2) Core Emotional triggers - identify the core emotional triggers (use this survey to help) which are a specific set that are the most potent that tend to cause the greatest discomfort, 3) Inner Child profile - craft a profile of your inner child (Going Deeper describes the nine most common) to gain a deeper understanding of your kid and why he mis-behaves, 4) Find the patterns - connect the past to the present by learning mindfulness techniques to recognize when your kid is being triggered today, 5) Notice - manage your core emotional triggers (click here for that process), and 6) practice these techniques and integrate the insights and lessons into your life.
Past work has focused primarily on arresting the behavior, Dr Capparucci's work answers a question for both those committed to recovery as well as the spouse. . Though stopping the behavior in the short term is critically important, the true freedom comes through continually investigating the root cause, learning to understand learn how to soothe your special unique inner child. The book then goes one step further and identifies the key ingredients for becoming intimately familiar with your inner child, and how to help him though the struggles of life.