What Is It? & How Are They Formed?
How many of us remember the childhood joy and delight of discovering a freshly baked cupcake at the neighborhood bakery that we visited from time to time with a close family member? Or maybe cupcakes were made especially for you right in the oven of your very own kitchen. What do you remember most? Can you still smell the delicious aroma? Can you still visualize the creased paper muffin cup that held the yummy looking cupcake, piled high with fluffy frosting? Were you able to resist the temptation, or did you sneak up and quickly run your finger along the edge of that cupcake for a quick taste of that delectable treat? After all, you knew you’d be able to smooth it over so it looked like it was undisturbed and all you really wanted at that moment was a quick sample of what was to come. No one would even notice.
With your urge for more delicious, creamy frosting temporarily satisfied, you slip your precious cupcake out of its crinkly paper holder, and face another dilemma. Will you like the cake part of the cupcake without the frosting or should you eat them both together? Your will power crumbles and your sole desire for the frosting with its sprinkles, colored sugar and other decorative confections propels you into a frosting-eating frenzy. Fluffy, cream frosting is, after all, the ultimate, and cake is just cake.
Internet Addiction, also referred to as a process addiction.
It's an illness of escape and very similar to when you sneaked the icing from the top of that cupcake. Visiting inappropriate sites and participating in cyber-sexual activities may start as a quick taste that can be smoothed over without being noticed, but these activities quickly become common place, a short-lived relief that draws its victims into the world of addiction faster than quicksand, creating a dependency that may even span a lifetime.
In general, all addictions seek to smooth out, numb or otherwise get rid of the unpleasantness of life.
They are used as a means of obliterating the anxiety, fear and boredom of current situations by briefly transporting the participant to another world. In the case of cyber-sexual addictions, it is often assumed that the male participants either really love women or love to look at them, when often what they are actually experiencing is rage.
In an article by Patrick J. Carnes, Ph.D., entitled Eroticized Rage, he explains that;
“some people carry an anger within that has become sexualized. There are also forms of victimization based on that anger that have to be considered.” So when an internet viewer is angry, he may not be able to restore himself to a healthy state at that moment. Feelings of powerlessness, the need to get away, to think of something else or just to have the power and consequent energy burst that the click of a button provides, may be all he can think about. This eroticized anger, usually becomes a part of his subconscious in his youth through abuse he personally experienced at a young age, and carries with it a myriad of underlying feelings, all centering around anger.
Assessment of this addiction is not easy, especially for female therapists of male clients. Facing an expert female clinician brings none of the excitement of an internet interaction with the women in the land of fantasy. While their repetitious patterns of behavior and lies are being exposed, the addicts are unable to be whisked away by the click of a button for even a second of bliss and escape.
The goal for this type of Internet Addiction treatment involves several areas:
Help the client clearly see what he is doing and that he cannot stop on his own.
Help the client overcome the generalization that every normal man does this – they do NOT.
Direct the client in shedding all delusions that this is not a real problem.
Discover what type of beliefs, thoughts and reactions created a license for the client to engage in a world of icing-only, one that is only a click away.
Teach the client how to dislodge his destructive, false reality and be restored to a healthy life.
Show them how to accept responsibility and accountability for their inappropriate behaviors.
Create a structured plan with behavioral contracts to implement rejuvenation.
Help the client establish new patterns of satisfaction.
With dedication and hard work, a very meaningful transformation takes place. Shame, embarrassment, guilt and pain have given way to new meanings, new choices. Once bathed in endorphins, the addict’s rewired brain continues to develop new circuits leading to respect and communication. Dread, anger, secrecy and resentment no longer control every thought and interaction, and hope begins to replace the longings to binge and escape.
By now the client knows how to be kind and understanding to himself, while recognizing boundaries and avoiding pitfalls. And he’s learned how to dance to a newly earned freedom and enjoy all that his new life has to offer; it’s healthy vitality, it’s burst of inner light, even it’s confusing challenges. Now he is able to deal with his emotions, rather than fearing them and running for the fantasy button. It is the part of Maslow’s plan for self-actualization that states,” when needs can be met in a healthy way, you will be able to ask, talk and hear what the people say around you.” Most importantly, it’s your newly found self-acceptance and the help from your higher power that you are now able to turn to.
You are able to live with that smart, good person in the mirror in front of you that is neither terrified about being frightened, nor unconsciously angry and looking for a getaway. There’s a new sense of balance, of feeling good and accepting yourself and situations for what they are, and being able to understand them, yourself and others at the same time.
And, as it turns out, cake by itself isn’t so bad after all, but now you are also healthy and strong enough to actually have your cupcake and eat it too, icing and all.