Tag Archives: addiction

Sexual Intensity and Frustration

Sexual frustration is as much an unavoidable, universally experienced difficult feeling in men as sadness or anger. Those bearing a “highly sensitive” nervous system are more likely to experience these feelings even more intensely. Just as it is with sadness, anger, and all other negative emotions, it is very tempting to fix, control, get rid of, or escape the difficult feeling of sexual frustration right away. But it is exactly these immediately gratifying control mechanisms that set us men up for failure in the long run, especially in our relationships.

As painful as it is, the best thing to do in the long run is to NOT do anything when the difficult feeling of sexual frustration comes.

Tissue Box

When boys first experience the difficult feeling of sexual frustration, many of them are left to figure out on their own how to deal with it. This often is the case because there are too many fathers who are either embarrassed to talk with their children about sex or they themselves have very little wisdom or knowledge in the area to pass down. Boys will then discover that the easiest, most accessible way out of this difficult feeling is through masturbation.

Although masturbation might be effective in alleviating the discomfort that comes with sexual frustration, this temporary state of relief comes at a cost. This technique as an escape method robs people of their opportunity to learn how to be ok with this difficult feeling. Those who never allow this difficult feeling to simply take its natural journey in and out of their system through mindful acceptance will find that their sexual frustration in their adult years is as intense as their sexual frustration from their youth. It is through our continuous exposure to discomfort that we build a greater tolerance for it and require less of a quick and easy way out.

Take, for example, the difficult emotion of “stage fright.” When we first experience it, it may be incredibly frightening. Fortunately, many school systems are designed to push children from an early age to continuously face this initially overwhelming feeling. Through “show and tell,” school plays and talent nights, speech competitions, and group presentations, schools incrementally increase children’s exposure to the discomfort of being in front of people, whether the children like it or not. This is why adults are likely to feel less afraid than children to speak in front of an audience.

But unlike my example above, when it comes to sexual frustration, the availability of quick and easy ways out is much too high in today’s world, making it even more difficult for men to resist their control techniques. All it takes now for men to find immediate relief from their sexual frustration is to open up their internet browser. Yes, I am talking about online pornography. Online pornography has all the qualities to make it one of the most highly addictive control mechanisms for men: it is plentifully available, it is low-cost, it is easily accessible, and activity on it can easily be untraced.

Sometimes, though, men do get found out by their romantic partner. The romantic partner may then express his or her hurt (if your romantic partner gets upset by this, something very right is actually happening within his or her conscience). Men who have spent most of their sexual lives controlling their inner sexual experiences in this manner may then justify their behaviour with the response, “All guys do it.” But as I mentioned before, regardless of how many other guys do it, dependence on such an activity as a reaction to sexual frustration is a sign of weakness.

While I am still on the topic of pornography, let me just take this time to further rip it apart. If it means anything to you to have a wonderful sex life within a loving relationship, stay away from pornography. Pornography will ruin your sex life in a loving relationship. Pornography will cause you to shift your focus onto performance and high stimulation and away from intimacy. Your romantic partner will be left feeling inadequate even though making love should never be about trying to be good enough. Pornography will also keep you imprisoned in your sexual frustration. In fact, it will increase it. It will also cause you to objectify people. I could go on and on about the many consequences of pornography, but I should get back to my original topic.

Actual sex is also much more available than it used to be in the past. Watch this very interesting video on “The Economics of Sex” to learn more about this change in the availability of sex:

So as you can see, there are just way too many instantly gratifying, easy options for sexually frustrated men.

So what exactly is the point of putting oneself through the suffering of doing nothing about sexual frustration?

When you have tamed the beast inside of you through mindful acceptance, it no longer controls you. You no longer NEED something to fix it, control it, get rid of it, or escape it. You prevent yourself from developing sexual addictions. When you have sex with your loved one, you can actually give yourself to them as a whole person rather than use them to correct your inner frustrations. Rather than feeling entitled to sex from your loved one, you treasure every intimate moment with them. When other people outside of your committed relationship make a pass at you, you have the self-control to walk away and be loyal to your partner. All in all, you set yourself up for a greater sex life with your loved one in the long run by going through the pain of not doing anything when you feel sexually frustrated.

Here’s a great article on “Sex and Our Psychological Needs

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Raising Patient Children

The quickest way to stop the crying of a child who is upset for not getting what he or she wants is to just give in and hand over the desired object to him or her. Although this may be the quickest solution, it is by far one of the worst solutions in the long-run. Instant gratification robs your child of the opportunity to learn some very important lessons: (1) we will not always get everything that we want so immediately; (2) our imperfect world can never be set in a way that it perpetually provides whatever it is that we want; (3) the difficult feelings associated with not getting what we want are a normal part of the human experience and they will eventually go away with mindful acceptance and positivity.

Mindfulness and delayed gratification build patience.

Patient Child

Let’s start off by exploring a scenario that all parents are familiar with. You and your daughter are in a toy store. She wants a toy. You say no. She cries because she is overwhelmed by some unfamiliar feeling of discomfort in her heart. What do you do? You help her identify and express her thoughts and emotions by getting her to think about what she is thinking in her head and feeling in her heart. She may be feeling betrayal and rejection because her thoughts are saying, “All this time I thought you loved me. How could you betray me like this by denying me of what I understand to be love?” After she puts these thoughts and emotions into words to the best of her ability, you deliver comfort, not by handing over the toy, but by giving her comforting words of truth and physical affection. You assure her that you love her. You teach her your more mature definition of love. You explain to her that, although it is ok for her to communicate to others what she wants, she cannot expect to always get that from them. You also explain that, in the context of generosity and gift giving, she is not entitled to a reason when others do not give her what she wants. Therefore, in most cases, you too do not give her a reason. Help her then to accept and feel her difficult emotions. Assure her that they are only temporary and that good emotions are just around the corner. Help her practice delayed gratification by getting her to wait for some time before she gets that toy. Ideally, you do not want to choose birthdays or special occasions as that will just transfer the sense of entitlement to those specific days of the year (I am not sure if there is any way to avoid that). All of this will greatly reduce your child’s chances of developing a sense of entitlement in his or her later years.

The next scenario is one that is not as obviously connected with instant gratification and I see a lot of parents, especially in the past recent years, just “giving in.” You decide to take your family out for dinner at a restaurant. Your son gets bored. He cannot stand the waiting time for the food to arrive and the time after he finishes his own meal. He becomes restless and starts to make a scene as an attempt to create more stimulation for himself. What is the quickest way to calm him down? I see a lot of parents these days just hand over their iPhone or iPad (full of games) to their children. It works like a charm!

Child with iPad

This quick fix, however, robs your son of the opportunity to learn how to recognize and cope with the difficult feeling of boredom and understimulation. So what do you do instead? Like the example above, you get your son to identify and express in words his feelings of discomfort. You validate his experience by showing empathy. You let him know that he will be ok and then challenge him to accept and feel his difficult emotions. Assure him that they are only temporary and that good emotions are just around the corner. Help him practice delayed gratification by getting him to wait for some time before he gets his chance to play. All of this will greatly reduce your child’s chances of developing problems with inattention, impulsivity, addiction, and escapism in his or her later years. Many gifted people struggle with these problems because, growing up, no one really stopped them from utilizing their instantly gratifying coping methods to their intense feelings of boredom and understimulation.

Finally, the last scenario is one that is least likely to be recognized by parents as instant gratification because it is often confused with something else that is very positive. Your child looks upon the condition of his own work or the work of somebody else. He sees the gap between how things are and how excellent they could be. This gap causes him intense frustration inside. In attempt to remove this difficult feeling, your child takes immediate action and tries to close that gap. From the outside, the closing of this gap just looks like your child has great work ethic. What parent would not feel even slightly proud about his or her child having this from such an early age? What you fail to notice, though, is that your child is removing his own opportunity to develop patience in this area. After years and years of taking immediate action whenever this difficult feeling of frustration arises, your child grows up to be an adult who is incapable of being OK with this gap. The most painful part of it is… this person sees this gap everywhere and all the time. This is one of the main challenges of people with OCPD. So how do you prevent this? You stay close while your child is at work. You examine his motives. Is he doing it out of pure love, joy, and curiosity or is he doing it out of frustration? If it is out of frustration, just like all the examples above, teach him how to recognize, express, accept, and feel this difficult emotion. All of this will reduce your child’s chances of developing problems with obsessive compulsivity, workaholism, and perfectionism in his or her later years.

As a result of all the instant gratification I grew up with, I am not the best at giving 100% of my attention to anything that I am not hyper-passionate about. It all began in elementary school when I experienced the frustration of having to sit still and listen to the teacher. I noticed that, out of all of the words that came out of the teacher’s mouth, only a fraction of them were relevant and interesting to me. I figured that it was pointless for me to give 100% of my attention when I could just get the meat of the lesson with only 30% of my attention. I would then allocate the remaining 70% of my attention on some other activity, usually finishing my homework (to maximize my playtime once school was over). This continued all the way into my later years. But in university, I had a laptop computer instead. During all my business classes, I could now simultaneously work on other exciting activities like video editing. Having always participated in some other stimulating activity in these times of frustration, I now cannot help but feel intensely irritated when I have no way out of others’ communication that is long-winded, uninteresting, and disorganized. One of the most excruciating settings for me is group sharing circles where it is considered very rude to do anything other than give full attention to whoever is speaking. When I share, I make the extra effort to deliver my message in a concise manner by prioritizing the juicy parts of my story and minimizing the irrelevant “filler” parts of my story. But why doesn’t everyone else do this? My frustration then turns into anger and my mind gets bombarded with extremely negative and judgemental thoughts. “Why is it that the least interesting member of this group, who ironically begins her exhausting monologue with ‘I don’t have much to say,’ takes up the most time sharing about her bland life!?” The agony gets so bad for me that my heart rate goes up, I start to sweat, my nervous ticks and compulsions (cracking my knuckles, scratching my neck, touching my face, digging my nails into my head, shaking my legs, blinking my eyes) go on hyperdrive, and I feel sick in my stomach. I feel like running full speed into a brick wall. There have been numerous times when my pain got so bad that I had to excuse myself out of the room to cool down by stepping on patterns on the floor (one of my obsessive-compulsive cooling down strategies). Although this looks very much like ADHD, it is not (ADHD is actually the most common misdiagnosis of gifted people). Nevertheless, it is an area that I really need to work on building my patience in.

Are you that child who grew up with too much instant gratification and now you have very little patience in one or more areas in your life? No problem. There is a solution! It certainly does not come in the form of a small pill that you just convenient pop into your mouth (come on now, that would just be another form of instant gratification!). The solution is to accept and experience the difficult feelings that arise every time you do not get what you want. This may be very painful at first but it will get easier with time.

MORE READING

FOR YOU: “Mindfulness in Plain English” by Henepola Gunaratana
FOR CHILDREN: “A Boy and a Bear: the Children’s Relaxation Book” by Lori Lite

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The Story Behind the Success of Pop Danthology

Recently, one of my creative works went viral over the internet. In one week, “Pop Danthology 2012” reached over seven million views.

The success of “Pop Danthology 2012” has meant so much to me.

Young Daniel Kim

From a very young age, I was a gifted artist. I created things simply because I could. It gave me joy to see my ideas come to life. Life was simple and happy back then and I was a very nice boy with a pure heart.

As I grew older, however, life became more complicated. I experienced a lot of emotional pain (it did not help that I was born with extreme sensitivity). I was taken advantage of, rejected, invalidated, criticized, cheated, betrayed, and disrespected. I grew into a very untrusting bitter person with an inflexible mentality of survival.

All the pain accumulated inside of me and I did not know how to handle it. Having been raised by Asian parents, I was taught to distract myself from my pain by keeping myself busy. I then started using art and music to escape my pain.

I became addicted to this form of escape. My workaholism in the arts took a toll on my health and my relationships. I toiled through many creative projects that I had absolutely no interest in. I made myself sick of what used to give me joy.

When art and music failed to distract me from my pain, I moved onto other forms of escape and developed a whole new set of different destructive addictions.

After hitting rock bottom, I finally decided to give up everything that I was addicted to, including art and music. I spent a year dealing with my pain and finding healing and inner peace. It was a tough year because my brain and body continually urged me to fall back on my addictions. But I was able to stay on the right track with the support of a caring community, professional help, and my faith in a higher power.

Pop Danthology 2012” was the first creative project I worked on, not out of my need to escape my pain, but simply out of my desire to create art for art’s sake.

It was amazing when my art went viral! All of a sudden, all the pain, anger, distrust, insecurity, anxiety, and unforgiveness that I had remaining inside of me disappeared. Not one ounce of negativity was left inside of me. I was full of joy! My joy led me to make peace with members of my immediate family that I had cut out of my life.

I have no idea where I will go from here. But even if no big opportunity comes my way as a result of this success, I will still be so happy and grateful for what this event did inside of me.

Thank you so much to all of you who shared my video. To you, it may have just been a simple act of passing on a cool video to a friend. But to me, it meant much much more than that!

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I Perform, Therefore I Am

When humankind examines its heart and painfully recognizes the deep hole inside of it, its natural reaction is to fill that void with something. But when that something injects a potent supply of a quickly fading euphoric sense of completeness that leaves the heart emptier than before, the risk of addiction is dangerously heightened.

While many other sources suggest that their strict need for control usually cancels out issues of addiction, people with OCPD are in fact more likely to become addicted to performance.

As a result of their hypersensitivity, people with OCPD can experience immense pain from others’ criticism, disapproval, rejection, and betrayal. On the other hand, when they are rewarded with positive affirmation, usually from their exceptional performance, people with OCPD experience a “high” that makes them feel so alive and complete. Unfortunately, that “high” does not last very long.

The addiction to performance is just as destructive as any other addiction. It destroys the addicted victim’s health, relationships, and ability to function self-sufficiently without the aid of his or her “drug.” But unlike most other addictions that are frowned upon by society, the world encourages the outcomes of performance addiction, making it a much deadlier addiction that often gets overlooked. The most problematic withdrawal symptom of performance addiction is depression.

STRENGTHS OF PERFORMERS:

  • You are a person of excellence
  • You are a hard worker
  • You are courageous – You have the courage to put yourself out there at the risk of being judged by the world.

STRENGTHS OF THOSE WITH OCPD WHO OVERCOME THEIR PERFORMANCE ADDICTION:

  • You have such a strong sense of identity – What you do does not define you.
  • You are the master of your life – There is nothing bigger than you that can control you.

SO WHAT NOW?

HOW TO CO-EXIST WITH THE OTHER (OCPD):
Your performance addiction is the enemy, not your friends and family. Do not antagonize them for getting in between you and your destructive drug.

HOW TO CO-EXIST WITH THE OTHER (OTHERS):
As much as you can, tell your OCPD friend how great of a person he or she is for who they are. In order to avoid being ignored for sounding so cliché, tell your friend specific qualities that make him or her so great. Show more excitement for the condition of your friend’s character and heart than his or her exceptional performance. Whatever you do, do not limit your positive affirmation only to his or her exceptional performance – it would actually be more helpful to your friend for you to be silent. If your OCPD friend appears to be depressed because of performance addiction withdrawal, help him or her get through it by assuring him or her that it is ok, by telling your friend that he or she is a great person regardless of his or her performance, and by inviting your friend to participate in fun activities together that have little to do with performance. Do not pressure your OCPD friend to get a job if he or she happens to be depressed while not working – that is like pressuring him or her to go back to his or her drug.

HOW TO OVERCOME YOUR ADDICTION TO PERFORMANCE (OCPD):
As with any other addiction, you must cut it out of your life – not necessarily cold turkey as your extreme nature would probably have you attempt to do. Identify the areas in your life where you are trying to perform well in and give yourself more grace. Do not allow your performance to define who you are. Do not believe that you are a lesser person at times that you perform poorly. Likewise, do not believe that you are a better person at times that you perform well. Tell yourself that you are an amazing person regardless of your performance. If you are experiencing depression as a result of performance addiction withdrawal, understand that it is normal and it will pass. In this difficult time of withdrawal, learn to accept and love yourself. As tempting as it may be, try not fall back on performance. Instead, participate in activities that have little to do with performance, evaluation, etc. If you have been laid off from work or have nothing to do, see these as your opportunities to break free from your performance addiction.

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