I received an email last week about a new book written by Robert Weiss. Robert Weiss is a “digital-age intimacy and relationships expert specializing in infidelity and addictions – most notably sex, porn, and love addiction.”
I had the privilege of seeing him in person a few years ago at a talk in my home town. He’s a recovering sex addict himself, a therapist who is CSAT trained (specific training for sex addiction), and also hosts an online sex, love and porn addict webinar every Friday night at In The Rooms.
Robert Weis has written a number of books about sex addiction:
- Out of the Doghouse: A Step-By-Step Relationship-Saving Guide for Men Caught Cheating
- Sex Addiction 101: A Basic Guide to Healing from Sex, Porn, and Love Addiction
- Sex Addiction 101: The Workbook
- Cruise Control: Understanding Sex Addiction in Gay Men
A large part of my recovering journey has been to understand how my addiction affected my wife. It’s learning how my actions damaged her that allows me the empathy and compassion to understand her decisions and to be supportive when she’s triggered. I continue to look for new information about partners of sex addicts, not only to help me understand her, but to also continue to remind me that there are two sides to every coin. I wasn’t the only one in pain in our marriage.
Our recovery community has clearly changed viewpoints when it comes to treating the partner and Robert Weiss’s new book is the perspective my wife needed so many years ago.
In an article written a year ago for Psychology Today: Can we please stop pathologizing the desire to love and help? Robert Weiss explains the difference between codependence and prodependence.
“Prodependence is a term I have created…to describe healthy interdependence in the modern world. Essentially, prodependence occurs when attachment relationships are mutually beneficial – with one person’s strengths filling in the weak points of the other, and vice versa – and this mutual support occurs automatically and without question.”
“Codependence occurs when one person tries to control the actions of another, in the guise of helping, so that he or she can feel better about himself or herself and the relationship with that other person…Unfortunately, the concept of codependence has morphed into a negative, pathological-sounding label, indiscriminately applied to almost any person who tries to help an addicted loved one. So, instead of being encouraged to care for yourself as well as your addicted loved one, you are encouraged to care for yourself instead of your addicted loved one. Basically, there seems to be a consensus that you really can love and care for someone too much. That’s not what the progenitors of the codependence concept intended. But it’s what we’ve got.”
“Human beings are meant to work together, not to go it alone.”
“Prodependence is a model of human behavior based in attachment theory. To “be prodependent” implies that one is able to create deep, bonded adult attachments that mirror our very human, normative longings for healthy dependence and intimacy. Prodependence assumes that, when one loves and bonds deeply, it is natural and therefore non-pathological to do whatever it takes to ensure the safety and stability of those with whom one is attached. Prodependence implies that loved ones of addicts, regardless of prior history, will take extraordinary measures to keep those they love stable and to ensure the safety of their families. There is no pathology assigned to loving in prodependence. Rather, prodependence asserts that loving addicts or other chronically troubled people healthfully requires a different form of love than that with healthy adults. Loving prodependently requires support, guidance, and informed help.”
After reading the definition of codependence, I kind of wonder if I was the codependent? My need to help my spouse get the help I believed she needed was definitely motivated by my feeling better about myself.
Great! Something else I need to chew on. It’s never ending. LOL!
Yes, I have purchased the book and yes, I do plan to devour it. My wish is that both addicts and the partners of addicts do the same.
Remember, not only does the addict need to heal and rise up from the ashes, the partner must follow suit. The partner needs that support as well.
May well all rise from the ashes and soar with eagles.
Together We Can Heal