Are you dating a Casanova?
Casanova (via The Urban Dictionary):
A smooth-talking charmer who has mastered the art of finding, meeting, attracting and seducing beautiful women into the bedroom.
Once he accomplishes his goal, he leaves the woman [out of] fear of having a relationship and proceeds to find his next conquest.
If so, this blog is for you.
The problem with the modern-day Casanova is that he won't actually leave. He seems to stick around, while wooing other women, like a case of the clap. And often gives you the clap.
Yet somehow you just can't quit him.
Because he's your chocolate fudge Sunday, your crack, your lucky number seven at the roulette table; depending on which metaphor resonates with your addiction.
And you find yourself participating in activities that erode your self-esteem.
Like stalking him.
Incessantly texting and calling him.
Installing a GPS phone tracker on his smart phone without his knowledge while simultaneously riffling through all his texts, calls and photos.
Starting arguments with him in order to manipulate and control him.
And let's not even get started on all the things you might be doing to yourself in order to please him. (Does any woman really enjoy getting a Brazilian wax job? Yeowch!)
What I've learned in my own recovery from Casanova-addiction and have discovered in helping my clients to recover from theirs, is that you can't stop your self-esteem-destroying behaviors cold turkey. You've got to replace them with something positive.
This is a good place to start.
1. Find a wall at a tennis court and smash your ball against it for no less than one hour emitting a primal-scream each time.
- Improved self-concept
- Improved mood
- Reduced anxiety and depression
- Provides a healthy hobby to occupy time
- Sharpens mental skills
The primal-scream allows your repressed resentment and anger to find a healthy outlet, so you won't externalize by knocking your man over the noggin with a four-by-four or internalize by becoming depressed and self-destructive.
Other activities that pack the same punch? Well, smacking around a punching bag for starters. Or any kind of martial arts where you get to kick and break things.
2. Get a trash bag and a grabber and clean up all the litter you see at the nearest park.
A recent Narcanon article says this about how helping others can help the addict:
Helping other people tends to take the attention off of yourself, something that can be of enormous benefit for a recovering addict.
Rather than continuing to focus on your own problems (...) your attention turns outward onto the other person (in this case anyone who enjoys the park).
When you assist the other person in making progress this can give you an enormous boost in your own happiness and sense of well-being.
Picking up litter appeals to me, but you might choose another kind of service; working with at-risk youth, volunteering at an animal shelter, rehabilitating spray tan victims.
(Having a sense of humor helps too.)
3. Go to a yoga class that's just a little too hard for you and breathe.
Yoga is an excellent activity for those of us who have a difficult time sitting to meditate. When we're obsessing on a person beyond our control and our painful relationship, sometimes an active meditation, like yoga, is best.
A recent NCADD article says this about yoga:
Yoga cultivates bodily awareness in a kind, nurturing way. It allows students to start connecting with the body and breath and learn to sit and look within.
Compassion for oneself arises and with it, a new ability to deal with stressful situations, leading to positive change.
A lot of us really hate ourselves for continuing to be with the Casanova, so self-compassion is vital for our recovery.
Shame and self-criticism rarely lead to positive change.
4. Go to a dance club where you're sure not to be picked up (a gay bar for straights, a straight bar for gays) and dance your ass off.
There is nothing better than shaking your booty to overcome the mental kerfuffle that accompanies a toxic relationship addiction. Again with the serotonin, but more importantly, reclaiming some joy in your life.
Do it even if you dance like this. Remember, you're not looking to get picked up:
5. Start reading my Asshat Recovery Program and doing the tasks.
Or read Melody Beattie (a co-dependency expert) or John Bradshaw or attend a Co-Dependents Anonymous meeting. The more the merrier.
Treat your addiction the same way you would treat earning your MBA -- like you are going back to school.
Write up a syllabus with all the appropriate, goals, homework and literature.
You should be just as invested in healing your personal life as you were in getting your degree or snagging that plum job.
The saying, "You've got nothing if you don't have your health," applies to mental and emotional health too.
And if all else fails:
6. Watch this motivational video by #ShiaLaBeouf.
He seems a little nuts, but you have to admire his enthusiasm. Be sure to opt-in to my bi-weekly newsletter while watching.