Faulty Core Beliefs

Every month at EMB we talk about faulty core beliefs. These include beliefs about ourselves such as “I’m a monster”, “I’m unlovable”, “I’m unforgivable” and “I’m worthless” to name a few. We also have faulty core beliefs about our needs and the ability and/or willingness of the people near us to meet them.

This past weekend at the workshop, while having a dialogue with the attendees about intimacy aversion, someone said, “I’ve convinced myself I am the only one who can or will meet my needs.” Guess who that automatically sidelines….

  • His wife
  • His God
  • Other healthy, safe men
  • His kids
  • His parents

Unfortunately, he expressed a core belief that most men with sexual integrity issues have. Whilst the belief is present, people (wives, friends, pastors) try desperately to get inside the walls around the guy’s heart only to be catapulted back over when real or perceived rejection is a risk. It is INCREDIBLY frustrating to wives. They get tired of being catapulted.

For me, the only way this belief was dismantled and eventually jettisoned was to begin allowing guys in. I couldn’t even let Shelley in at first. It was only a few safe men I was willing to trust. And I was skeptical and resistant even to that. But with time, I realized and experienced those guys meeting my needs. Not ultimately and with finality, but in those dire moments, they were there.

Sometimes the need was simply for perspective, that it wasn’t all lost. Sometimes it was reassurance that I wasn’t a monster, but instead a broken man. Often it was a simple reminder that God hadn’t given up on me. Every once in a while it was a hug.

If this describes you, perhaps its time to let some people in. Not another image. Not another mistress. Not another prostitute. Some people who will hate what you’re doing and love you along the way.

By the way, that’s one of the great privileges of being a part of the Every Mans Battle weekend. For a few, brave men, they will allow us (staff) access to their hearts. We can be a conduit of God, meeting their needs for the moment.

In a couple days I’ll post about another, even more detrimental faulty core belief. Stay tuned…

 

ShameShifting

We’ve talked about blame shifting before and how hurtful it is to a betrayed spouse. Unfortunately, blame shifting has a close cousin: shame shifting.

Shame shifting occurs, at my house, when I feel ashamed of my self for something that I’ve done wrong, or didn’t do right, and my wife calls attention to it. Not because she is trying to poke at my shame, but because my choices have affected her. Instead of owning it and being humble, I’ll instead shame her about something, usually related but tangential, in an effort to avoid dealing with my own insecurities.

I had a knack for doing this in the beginning of our journey. When something would happen and Shelley was triggered, she would share it with me. Sometimes calmly, sometimes not so much. Either way I was reminded that my poor choices and infidelity deeply hurt her. Enter shame. And guilt, which was healthy, but not the shame. Rather than practicing empathy, apologizing (again) and trying to be present in her pain I would pop-off calling out something I perceived her doing wrong. Statements like these, that I made,  are indicative of shame shifting:

“You’ve moved past sharing your pain; now you’re just being mean”

“My sin against you doesn’t give you the right to sin back”

“If you wouldn’t yell at me I wouldn’t get angry”

“Are we STILL not past this? We won’t get past it til you let it go”

For a few minutes it felt really good to put her in her place. Then, like a boomerang, the shame would come right back. Only now it was amplified, because not only had I hurt her by my past actions but now I’ve hurt her again by my response in the current conversation. That’s the problem with shame shifting: it always comes back worse than before.

A couple of suggestions should you find yourself shame shifting.

1 – Stop It!

2 – If only it were that easy. Try to recognize the thought patterns of shame shifting. If, when reminded of your sin, your thoughts quickly move to criticism of the person calling attention to it, you’re probably beginning to shift it.

3 – Own it. If you can’t seem to pull the ripcord and stop the words from coming out of your mouth, then when you do realize you said what you said, own it. “I just shamed you instead of owning my own junk. I’m sorry”.

4 – Many people can be the recipient of our shame shifting. For me, it was Shelley, my bosses, people in traffic, baristas, you name it. No matter who it is, we harm ourselves by shifting it. When we allow ourselves to bear the full burden of our sin, we give ourselves a chance to grasp the gravity of its impact on us and those around us. That will get us a step closer to hating our sin.