#ReachOutThursday: I Have Sexual Addiction, What Do I do?

Posted: November 26, 2015

Every Thursday, the Women’s Web expert panel with the support of Healtheminds, answers questions from readers facing relationships issues, emotional and mental challenges and other such issues.

In this edition of #ReachOutThursday, a woman talks about her problems with her mother-in-law and another about her sexual addiction.

I am a 33 year old woman with a liberal and independent bend of mind. I do not believe in following anyone blindly. I got married 2 years ago and both of us make a happy couple. My husband is a very friendly and easy going guy. My problem is that my mother in law is very conservative. I have no problem with her beliefs and way of living but she forcibly impose her every belief on me. Whenever she visits us she tries to find each and every small mistake and then she gets violent and keep shouting at me. If I question her behavior she starts crying and saying things like I have given birth to him. I have done a lot of sacrifices now you also need to do sacrifices to make us happy. I tried to adjust a lot but I could not make her happy .I am feeling very much depressed .Please guide me. My husband cannot speak anything before his parents.

It appears that there is an inter-generational conflict between you and your mother in law and I can understand why it is not easy for you constantly adjust in this relationship. The older generation comes with a set of values and belief systems which might be conflicting with your own. Having said that, it is very commendable that you stand up for what you believe in.

Your mother in law seems conservative and inflexible and it might be difficult to change who she is. Hence it becomes all the more necessary for you have defined boundaries in your relationship with her. It is important to have a strong understanding of your own individuality in order to accept or reject what others think or talk about you. Are you letting your mother in law invade your personal boundaries and influence how you feel? If your mother in law feels the need to exert control by throwing tantrums, introspect to see whether your relationship is in a ‘Power struggle’ phase.

Talk to your spouse about how you feel and identify what is it that you would like to change in your relationship with her. Introspect to see if you are being assertive in stating your views. If her beliefs are irrational, you may never be able to please her. It is all right not to have her approval for certain things.

If you feel that your mother in law is trying to gain control by shouting at you, you may want to be very firm in your communication with her. Are you taking her criticism seriously or personally? It is natural to feel frustrated under constant scrutiny. Find a healthy vent for your feelings.  Identify if your depression is preceded by anger, hurt or fear. Talk to a trusted friend or a therapist.

Once you bury the illusion of what a mother in law should be or could be, it becomes easier to deal with her unrealistic expectations. If you feel that you are being emotionally abused, pull yourself out of certain situations and keep distance or set limits. Ensure that your relationship with your mother in law does not have a negative spill over on your relationship with your husband.

– Ms.Aparna M (counseling psychologist)

I am a 27 year old woman. I am single and my parents are looking for a match. I work in a media house and I am addicted to sex. I had multiple sexual partners. I want to get rid of this habit. I had sex with random strangers too, while travelling.

Please help.

First of all thanks a lot for reaching out. It takes a lot of courage to recognise a problem, accept it and then decide to seek help for it. Having read your query I am certain that you are struggling with significant difficulty in your sexual life and it is clearly taking a toll on other areas of your life. I can completely understand how difficult it must be to live with the dilemma of wishing to get rid of this pattern and not being able to do the same because you seem to want it as much. Since your query does not say much I would recommend a detailed assessment to clearly understand the nature of your problem before we call it a Sexual Addiction.

Addictions, be of any kind, are very challenging to live with. Although Sexual desire is a natural instinct innate in animals, when taken to extreme and uncontrolled/unmonitored sexual behaviour it can produce negative consequences in various domains of life – personal relationships, social and occupational life, psychological suffering and high possibility of risks to physical health.

It is certainly possible for you to get out of this pattern. It will require long term commitment and effort from your side as it takes significant work to repair. I say this because sex related difficulties can be traced back to biological, psychological or social factors and seldom do sexual problems occur in isolation. They usually co – exist with other problems you could be struggling with. A lot of times sexually compulsive behaviour is a way of managing internal stress contributed to by events or experiences in the past/present.

Marriage can wait for now as you need to sort your sexual life first. Marriage at this stage will only lead to complications and relationship difficulties in your married life.

Professional help can help you further understand the nature of your problem, and work on a suitable treatment plan. I suggest you seek professional help by regularly consulting a psychologist/therapist, as talking to an expert about your sexual need will help you put things into perspective, address the root causes and learn to cope and manage those uncontrollable moments of craving and desire better. All the best and take care!

– Ms.Mansi Jain (clinical psychologist)

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