By Eddie Capparucci, LPC, CSAS, CPCS
Click HERE for the entire four-part series.
In my previous article, we examined the character flaws of Avoiding Emotional Pain, Lacking Curiosity, and Struggling to Connect. This time we will look at the issues that can arise in a relationship when a man is Inwardly Focused, has Limited Interests or Passions, and possesses a Low Emotional IQ.
My clients have often heard me say, “We have our heads down and we’re running through life oblivious to anything that doesn’t have something to do with us.” They all agree, but they all dislike hearing how selfish they have been and the pain it has caused themselves and others. Being inwardly focused makes it extremely hard for men to identify the needs, wants, and desires of those around them, especially their loved ones.
Again, this way of life, in part, was created during the early years of development when these individuals lacked the proper nurturing and direction required to be aware of others’ emotions. Instead, they lived for the most part in their own world but made their presence felt whenever an event occurred that resulted in stimulation.
The Inner Child Recovery Process (ICRP) teaches the importance of moving beyond oneself and shows individuals how to slow down, lift their heads, and notice the needs, wants, and desires of those around them. This requires addressing another character flaw that we will examine next time, Lacking Mindfulness. The objective with ICRP is to make life less about oneself and more about others.
Limited Interests or Passions
It is amazing how many of the individuals I work with tell me the same thing. I don’t have many interests and I have very few (if any) friends. In a way, this connects back to the lack of curiosity trait we discussed earlier. These men don’t challenge themselves to move beyond their comfort zone. They get stuck in routines, and that becomes their life.
As children, they were not challenged or taught how to explore and broaden their level of interests. These men can become very predictable and boring. In some cases, they are not living, they are simply existing. And that is why they are drawn to highly stimulating activities such as pornography.
A key factor to changing this flaw is for a man to engage in self-reflection regarding potential passions and issues. This can be a painstaking and lengthy process that requires researching and experimenting with activities that could develop into long-term passions. I can recall one client who, after an exhaustive search for a passion, got involved with archery and ended up participating in competitions.
Low Emotional IQ
A large majority of individuals who deal with a sex or porn addiction also have a difficult time emotionally connecting with others. The reason for this is they have an extremely low emotional IQ. In fact, 9 out of 10 men who I work with struggle in this area.
So, what is a low emotional IQ? These individuals have difficulty identifying emotions beyond anger, sadness, fear, or happiness. And those who can determine what they are really feeling cannot express it to others because they fear being vulnerable. Even worse, they experience strong anxiety when others try to share emotions with them. To deal with this, they minimize or try to fix the situation, which simply frustrates the other person.
With a low emotional IQ, it is impossible to forge a healthy and growing relationship filled with emotional intimacy. And it’s hardly a surprise that a lack of emotional intimacy is one of the leading factors for women who describe their relationships as being unsatisfying.
To strengthen his emotional IQ, a man must make a strong effort to emotionally engage rather than simply being physically present. He will also need to spend time processing and determining his true emotions, especially during moments when he is, on the surface, feeling anger, sadness, or fear. Creating emotional intelligence requires mindfulness (which, again, we will examine in the final part of this series) and curiosity (which we explored in part 2).
It is important to realize that strengthening your emotional IQ is a lifelong process. It does not happen overnight, and it can be challenging. But for those who persevere, the relationship benefits are off-the-chart.
In the final part of this series, we will examine the character flaws involving Lack of Mindfulness, Impulsive Nature, and Fearfulness, while also discovering how Unresolved Childhood Pain Points contribute to the erosion of relationships.
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Eddie Capparucci is a Christian therapist and licensed by the State of Georgia. He is certified in the treatment of sexual and pornography addiction, and he and his wife, Teri, have a private practice working with men struggling with sexual and pornography addictions, as well as their wives who are dealing with betrayal. Among his many clients, Eddie has worked with professional athletes, including NFL and MLB players and television personalities.
He is the creator of the Inner Child Recovery Process for the treatment of Sexual and Pornography addiction. This unique treatment method helps individuals get to the root issues of their addiction and provides them with the tools and insight to manage the disorder. It is endorsed by many leaders in the sex addiction field. The Inner Child Recovery Process is the subject of his new book, Going Deeper: How the Inner Child Impacts Your Sexual Addiction. He also is the host of the webcast entitled Getting to the Other Side: Helping Couples Navigate the Road to Recovery.