Porn? Masturbation? Some might say … looking for love in all the wrong places. Let’s talk about sex addiction on this edition of Frank Relationships.
FRANK RELATIONSHIPS: WENDY SPURGEON, ADDRESSING SEX ADDICTION THROUGH SHADOW WORK
Date: March 24, 2014
Guests: Wendy Spurgeon
Frank: Porn, masturbation, some might say looking for love in all the wrong places. Let’s talk about sex addiction on this edition of Frank Relationships.
Welcome to Frank Relationships where we provide a candid fresh and frank look into relationships with goals of acceptance, respect and flexibility. I’m Frank Love and you can find me, my blog and my various social media incarnations at franklove.com. You can also download the podcast of this and other archive shows on iTunes or using your favorite podcast app.
Here in the studio with me, as always is the Rev Coach, La Tonia. What’s happening?
La Tonia: Rebirth international in the house.
Frank: Oh yeah.
La Tonia: Yay.
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Today’s guest is a certified Integrative coach professional, specializing in shadow process work. She notes that after successfully navigating a childhood mired by domestic violence, alcoholism and co-dependency and a marriage of sex and love addiction, she uses her years of personal and professional experience to train and coach groups and individuals on the art and science of self-love. She is Miss Wendy Spurgeon. Welcome to the show.
Wendy: Hi, Frank. Thanks for having me.
Frank: You bet. How do I know if I am a sex addict?
Wendy: You may not know. I think the majority of our population falls on the spectrum there somewhere and you may be just happily plugging along and not having any problem at all, in which case you may not define yourself as a sex addict. I think if you are defining yourself as a sex addict, it’s because your life has fallen apart. Your obsession with sex or porn is really getting in the way of the other fun parts of your life.
Frank: What is a sex addict?
Wendy: A sex addict could be a lot of different things, Frank. It could be someone who has an addiction to internet porn, it could be somebody who is constantly obsessed with their next experience, their next sexual experience with someone. You might be sexually addicted to your partner and you’re not fooling around. Like I said, there’s a wide gamut. People come to me when they’re out of balance, when it’s not working for them anymore.
Frank: And when are you able to say, “Look, you’re imbalance, you’re good. What did you come to me for?” Yeah, how do you deal with it?
Wendy: Personally, how do I deal with balance or how would I tell somebody that they’re imbalanced? I’m sorry.
Frank: How do you know if they are imbalanced and might you ever say, “You’re good, you’re not a sex addict? Go away from me.”
Wendy: What we do in this type of work is we really trust that the client has all the answers that they need inside their own hearts. They just may not trust their hearts. They may not trust their own intuition or inner-guidance, so what we do is we take them through an internal process and we get them out of their head and down into their heart. Ask them some questions down their and they learn to hear what comes up from them in their hearts and we can form some action steps around that.
I can ask them clarifying questions so that they can get really clear about what their next steps are. Yeah, in that case, I would just be reflecting back to them, what they know to be true to for themselves. If in their hearts, they know that they’re imbalanced, then I can reflect that back to them. If they know that they’re not, and then we can make some ideas, some plans about what they might want to do about that.
La Tonia: How do you categorize this type of work that you do?
Wendy: I would say I’m a life coach. You say “integrative coach” and they’re like, a “What?” I am a life coach in the modality that I use-it’s shadow process, which is really kind of a psycho-spiritual model. It incorporates psychological terminology and it’s also about–
Frank: Isn’t that like an oxymoron?
La Tonia: I’m a spiritual life coach as well and I’m very familiar with the shadow processes as introduced by Debbie Ford. Is that–
La Tonia: Is it the same type of work?
Frank: Rest in piece, Debbie.
Wendy: Exactly. I trained with Debbie at the Ford Institute of Integrative Coaching.
La Tonia: How do you integrate a shadow process with something so specific as a sex addiction? Can you give us a case?
Frank; Wait, hold it. First of all, we got two people talking to each other who are familiar with the shadow process.
Frank: I have a great deal of respect for Debbie Ford. I’ve met her, I’m happy to say, before she passed and I don’t have a clue what the shadow process is. So, please if it’s me, I’m sure there’s some other people out there that don’t know what the heck you’re talking about.
La Tonia: That’s what I was really asking her, to give us a case study, so we could see how you use it.
Frank: Well, I want to know what it is. That’s too deep for me at this point. What is it?
Wendy: I’ll start big and then I’ll get smaller. How about that?
Frank: Please, macro.
Wendy: Yeah, I’ll start with the macro. I love that you know about the macro. Perfect.
La Tonia: And then go micro. And then go micro.
La Tonia: I speak your language.
Wendy: Shadow process is work, it’s based on wholeness. It’s based on we are everything that you can see in somebody else, any emotion, any quality that you can see in somebody else, we also have inside of us, to varying degrees. It might be more active and more dormant in your life the way you express it.
A shadow-and I’m going to talk about the microcosm and the macrocosm. By the same token, the problems that you’re seeing the world with rape culture, with wars, with everything that’s going on in our financial crisis in the large global picture, all of that is happening inside our own individual lives. We are a mirror of that.
La Tonia: Preach Wendy. Preach, preach, preach.
Wendy: And so in order to heal the world, what we need to do is stop the war inside of ourselves. We need to get in balance and in self-love inside of ourselves and from that place we can allow our light to shine. We’re in balance, we’re in wholeness, we’re enjoying life. We are actually stretching to grow and expand our knowledge and reaching out to people, because we love ourselves.
We begin to fall in love with the rest of the world and we become a light that tends that ripples out. There’s a ripple effect. When other people see that you’re in your light and in your wholeness and in your self-love, then they want to know what you’re doing.
Everyone else is kind of hiding inside their shell and they’re playing small and they’re in pain and they don’t know what to do about it, so they’re covering it up with addictions and more addictions and more relationship drama and all that stuff, because they feel so scared inside and so alone. So, when you start shining in your light, it gives other people permission to shine as well, to paraphrase the quote from Mary Ann Williamson, from “A Return to Love.”
Frank: Is there–
Wendy: When you shine your light, people become attracted to that, they want to know what you’re doing. They began to work on healing and wholeness and self love and it ripples out and when each person begins to take personal responsibility for healing their lives and healing their hearts and loving themselves, that’s how the problems end in the world– will begin to fade. As we love ourselves, we won’t stand for war, we won’t stand for starvation, because we love each other too much–
Frank: My question is–
Wendy: To allow that anymore.
Frank: Is somewhat facetious and but yet it is very real. Is it possible to heal the world?
Wendy: One person at a time, one person at a time and I hate to talk gloom and doom, but there may be, for various reasons, a huge decrease in the world’s population, due to wars, due to famine, due o to lots of stuff, but for those who make it through, yeah we can stop wars, but we have to stop the war inside of ourselves first-each of us. That’s a big job.
Frank: Okay, let me take a back and just recap very briefly, if we might.
Frank: What is shadow work? If you could give me a sentence that would send me on my way, I’ll go skipping down the road with my pail.
Wendy: Shadow work is about embracing all of the parts of who you are and loving yourself. The shadow is the parts of ourselves that we deny and repress.
Wendy: So we do a process of uncovering and owning and embracing all of the parts.
La Tonia: Now, Wendy.
La Tonia: Wouldn’t you say that the shadow is also, when you talk about owning, is looking at the reflection of what’s happening in your world, sometimes through other people, but also what’s going on in your life and it moves from an out there consciousness? This is happening out there rather than bringing it in, saying, “Wait a minute. This is in me.”
Wendy: Absolutely, absolutely. That’s another aspect of it is that when you are triggered by somebody else’s behavior and you’re pointing at them and you’re judging them–you got one finger pointed out, you got three pointed back at yourself. Like I said, we are all reflections of each other, so any quality that you can see in somebody else, you also have inside of yourself.
Now, if you are disowning your selfishness, if you are disowning your greediness that you see in somebody else, then you’re judging them, then you are triggered, you’re emotionally triggered by that and you get into your righteous position.
When we do shadow work we begin to see, where in our lives are we selfish? Where in our lives are we greedy and we look for the gifts? What’s the gift in being greedy? What’s the gift in being selfish? What’s the gift in being a bitch? What’s the gift in all of it and you can reclaim those gifts and use them. It doesn’t mean you’re going to be a bitch all the time–
Wendy: But in certain situations, it’s helpful to be a bitch, it’s helpful to have that power to stand your ground and hold your boundaries.
Frank: Let’s not use the terms about–
Wendy: In a loving way.
Frank: Let’s not talk about “stand your ground” right now. I’m sensitive. I’m sensitive to standing your ground, although I certainly understand.
Frank: There’s a lot going on, on standing your ground, in Florida, particularly. Are you in Florida?
Wendy: No, I’m in New Mexico right now.
Frank: Got it. You know New Mexico has a lot going on, on the spiritual side.
La Tonia: Yes, they do and I’m so drawn there.
Frank: I understand. I have a very good friend that lives, that left D.C. and moved to New Mexico. She’s been there for a couple years now and she loves it. She loves it.
La Tonia: Yeah, likewise.
La Tonia: I wanted to hear more of a micro with a case study.
Frank: In terms of sex addiction?
La Tonia: For instance.
Frank: In terms of sex addiction?
La Tonia: Uh-huh.
La Tonia: To paint a picture of someone. Hey, they may be sitting amongst us and they need to sit with Wendy.
Frank: Got you. Alright, I’m listening.
Wendy: Yeah. There is a huge sexual shadow in our culture. I’m just going to give you a case scenario. Say you’re born, you’re a child, you’re a spiritual being in a human body and your human body has all these senses and you’re a scientist when you’re a two year old. You’re discovering everything.
You discover that when you touch yourself in a certain way, you feel pleasure and it’s like, “Oh, button. I’ve got a pleasure button.” That’s a good thing and then you are–
Frank: Somebody tells you, “Don’t do that.”
Wendy: Chastised, you are publicly shamed for this pleasure that you’re feeling. In the age of zero to five, that’s when your brain is forming all of those neural pathways. You’re also trying to figure out your place in the world and what’s okay and what’s not okay. That’s the case for, I’m going to guess the majority of people who where shamed for their innocent sexual expression as children.
Frank: Is the sexual expression ever not innocent? When is it a problem? I know I just jumped way–
Wendy: Yeah, you did jump.
Frank: I got it, but you used that word and I just wanted to there on that word-innocence.
Wendy: I would say sexual expression is innocent unless you are hurting somebody with your expression.
Wendy: Yeah, if you are not hurting anyone then innocent. I’m glad you called me out on that. That’s something that I should probably take a look at. What is innocent? We make ourselves wrong and when you make yourself wrong, you form a shadow belief about yourself and most of our beliefs about ourselves are unconscious and they were formed at that really pivotal age. So you were shamed, so you begin to believe that, “In order to receive love, I’m going to have to not touch myself, because this feeling makes me bad and I don’t want to be a bad girl” or “I don’t want to be a bad boy and so I’m going to hide it or I’m going to try not to do it and if I do, do it then I’m going to feel really, really bad about myself.” And it begins this repression of something that is hardwired in our biology. We are sexual beings. We are meant to experience this pleasure.
Frank: And we come from sex.
Wendy: We come from sex. Amen.
Frank: It is really biological.
Wendy: Yes, and it’s our creative energy too. If you study the chakras, it’s like the sexual energy is also our creative energy. Not only creating life, but creating our work in the world, our calling, so it’s all connected with love and creation in that very foundational way.
La Tonia: How do you balance that awareness, because I integrate just about into all of my work, sex, positive, awareness and in some cases coach people to become sex-positive? How do you balance the line between addiction and the shadow and being sex-positive, which is a celebration of your sexuality? How do you balance that?
Wendy: It’s case by case. Each person is going to come in with their imbalance and it goes back always. I’m not the one who decides you need to do this, you need to do that, but I do take them into the process where they can uncover what it is that they need.
I certainly agree with you. There are times when people need permission to explore what’s out there and there’s certainly tantra. My goodness, let’s bring some spirituality, let’s bring some sacredness to our sexuality, let’s bring the divine back in balance with our humanity.
There are times when a client will be stumped and they’ll want suggestions and I wait for that. I wait for them to ask. I certainly try to be aware of, “Am I holding any kind of agenda for this person.” I really try to do my own work around that, so I don’t bring it to a session. And if I do feel like this is not a person that I’m going to be the best service to as a coach, I will refer them out to someone else.
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You’re listening to Frank Relationships and we’re talking with Wendy Spurgeon, a certified integrative coach professional, specializing in Shadow process work. Wendy, how can our guests and how can I find you and your services?
Wendy: You can look my website up, it’s shadow-rx.mobi. I know that’s a little funny. You can look at my personal transformation blog. You can get a hold of me there too. That’s wendysspurgeon.com.
Frank: Could you spell it out for me?
Wendy: Yeah, w-e-n-d-y-s-p-u-r-g-e-o-n.com. You can get a hold of me there or you could send me an email. I’d love to hear from you and that’s firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frank: Got it. I hear you being a little cautious in terms of giving specific advice as it pertains to a given general scenario, so I want you to tell a story. Tell me about someone who came to you for assistance and of course, not specifics-
Wendy: Right, no names.
Frank: In terms of who that person was-yes-but a person that came to you, their issue and how you supported them?
Wendy: Alright. There was an older gentleman that came to me for some help. He responded to one of my ads and he wasn’t sure.
Frank: What’s your ad say?
Frank: What’s your ad say?
Wendy: Oh, my ad was–which one was it? It was specifically, I asked some questions, are you–I’m trying to remember my ad. I have a lot of ads out there, Frank, but it was specifically about, “Are you having some problems in managing your sexual behavior?” “eah, he responded to my ad and he wasn’t sure if he qualified as being a sex addict, but he was saying, “I cannot stop thinking about it all the time and I’m in my 70’s. I can’t even physically do anything about it, but I can’t stop thinking about it. ” It turns out his wife had terminal cancer and he was under a lot of stress and–
Frank: So he did know that his wife had terminal cancer?
Wendy: Yeah, and he was caretaking his wife.
Frank: Got you.
Wendy: He was caretaking his wife who was in really bad health and feeling really overwhelmed and stressed out and a lot of guilt about his desire to–all of the fantasies that were going on in his head and feeling like a bad person for having them.
What we worked on for him, what he needed, was some help managing the care of his wife and he needed some balance and some techniques to drop his stress level. That’s what we worked on for him and the result was that his fantasies–he was plagued by them–they started to diminish, because he found some other creative outlets for himself that he was able to use his energy towards and he had some help in the caretaking with his wife and some support for his own stress and worries about her. That’s the direction that we went for him.
You can see it’s case by case. Now, if he wanted to go in a different direction. If he wanted to say, “Well, I need sexual expression and that’s what I need and I’m feeling guilt, because I’m still married to this woman and she dying,” then we would have really looked at that. But that’s not what he came to me for, so we focused on what he wanted to work on.
Frank: What are some of the artistic expressions or what was the artistic expression that he found?
Wendy: He took back painting and that was something that he did as a kid for pleasure. And what we find a lot of times, there’s a connection there. The creative process is connected to our sexual process. It’s the same kind of energy and we tend to, as we grow older, as we form families and we’ve got jobs and obligations, we tell ourselves, “Oh, that’s child’s play, that would be selfish of me to take time for myself to paint,” when actually it’s a really healthy outlet for that creative energy.
Frank: Here, here.
Wendy: That’s the direction that he went for that.
Frank: Are sex and love addictions indicative of some sexual abuse or some neglect or mistreatment in your childhood?
Wendy: You know they certainly can be. That’s the sexual shadow of our culture. I can say, I was in my teen years, my mother, she had married several times, but in that time in my life she was married to a man that I would now probably classify as a sex addict. It was certainly a very highly sexualized household and there was a lot of pornography around that was just accessible and I was the only girl in the family. I had three teenage stepbrothers and it’s a recipe for some bad news.
Frank: Why don’t you perceive that or maybe you do, as just simply sexually kind of free, open? Hey porn, playboys, they’re part of the circle of life. I mean people having sex, “Let’s be open about it, let the children see.” Do you see it that way? It didn’t sound like it.
Wendy: In some families it is. In some families there’s really healthy communication about sex. In my case, that wasn’t the case. There was a double standard about what was okay for boys and what was okay for girls and there was no sex education at all, except for this pornography that was left out. That’s how generally people are getting their sex education is through these pornographic images, which do not always portray sex in a very healthy way.
Some of those images are really violent and it can be kind of confusing. I want to add a little segue here, because I think it’s important. There’s a Ted Talk out that I really recommend your listeners to take a look at and it’s called, “The Great Porn Experiment” and it really takes a look at what’s going on in the adolescent brain on pornography. They actually take a look at CAT scan of what’s going on and they found that there is a high correlation between juveniles, erectile dysfunction and high porn usage.
Frank: Is there a tie-in with masturbation there and too much masturbation?
Wendy: Yeah. It’s about the brain chemistry and the brain wiring. So, say we’re a teenage–or even younger like eight, 10 year old boy and we’re curious, because that’s how we’re built to be. We’re curious and nobody’s talking about it and it’s something you want to know about. We go to Google and you type in “porn” and you’re barraged with these hardcore gonzo images.
La Tonia: And it is true.
Frank: Gonzo? What?
Wendy: Yeah, that’s what it’s called. It’s called “gonzo porn” and it’s really hardcore violent sadistic porn.
La Tonia: And Wendy, that’s interesting to hear that it’s happening for juveniles. That’s really, really interesting. I want to find that, because I also talk about how it’s happening for adult men, who are finding themselves by the time they’re ready for a relationship, they are experiencing sexual dysfunction, because they don’t know how to respond to a woman, because they’ve been–
Wendy: A real woman, right.
La Tonia: To a real woman, because they’ve been masturbating to porn so much that they can’t even function, frankly.
Frank: I instantly take it to, is there a correlation or might there be something similar in women, with women who use–
La Tonia: Yes.
Frank: Who use vibrators too much?
La Tonia: Absolutely, absolutely.
La Tonia: You can numb that spot and become desensitized. What it does is it creates a memory. Would you agree, Wendy?
Wendy: I do agree. I do agree. That’s the victim here, is relationships. Is healthy–
La Tonia: Yes.
Wendy: Intimacy in relationships.
La Tonia: Yes.
Frank: Wow. We’re going there today.
Frank: Okay we’re all over the place and it still makes sense. Nice. Wendy, I’m curious, very curious, what is your relationship like after such paradigm in your household with your stepfather and your stepbrothers and your mom and yourself? What’s your relationship like today with your stepdad and your stepbrothers? Are you guys in touch? What’s it like?
Wendy: We are not in touch. They divorced when I was in my 20’s. There was a lot of abuse in that household and I chose to detach myself and really work on my own healing.
Frank: How about you and your mom?
Wendy: And it’s interesting that I married a sex addict and I didn’t realize that he was an addict, because of the family that I just come from. The pervasiveness of porn, it just seemed too normal to me. It didn’t become an issue for us until the children came along and I got this kind of funny feeling inside, like “I don’t know if I want my little girl tripping over this magazine and seeing this image of this woman.” I got a little sensitive about the programming.
What kind of programming do I want my child–we actually had very healthy discussions with her about masturbation and about how it’s something everybody does and it’s natural and it’s wonderful and it’s something that we do in private, so, “if you like to have some private time, great, just close your door and I will knock on it and if you’re in the middle of something you can just say, ‘Mom I’m having some private time and no big deal.'”
We taught our children from a young age that sexual self-expression and giving ourselves pleasure is a good thing. And we also had this porn issue in our marriage. Yeah, it was navigating through it at that point I didn’t actually know at that point that a person could be addicted to porn. That was at the beginning of public access to the internet and when I ask my husband to, would he mind pairing down the collection and maybe putting it in a file cabinet and bringing it out after the kids are asleep, that sort of thing, he got really, really upset–the kind of reaction that an addict has.
Frank: That’s the segue to my next question and that was when you approached him, were you headstrong, was he headstrong or was it an actual negotiation? Were you willing to somehow create something that was unique to you all or were you basically, like, “Look, put this away. I don’t want this around my kids?”
Wendy: Oh no, I approached him with some gentleness and some good arguments. I mean not arguments like, “Do this because,” but very rationally from an adult prospective with my concerns was about programming and things like that. His reaction was over-the-top like a temper tantrum, like a toddler having a fit because mom said to clean up the toys.
So, that’s when, that was the moment when I thought, “Huh, that reaction doesn’t seem to match the stimulus.” That’s when I started to research and find out, “Is it possible for someone to be addicted to porn?” Like I said, I grew up with it, so I had no idea of what’s balanced and what that was. And then it actually escalated and I came out of my denial about it when he accidentally revealed that he had a secret credit card that he was using for strip clubs and phone sex and things like that. And it’s like, “Why is this a secret from me? If you want to go to strip clubs, why can’t we just talk about that? Why is it something that you’re hiding and phone sex?”
I was okay with that, but the secret credit card seemed like that wasn’t a good thing for our financial communication as a couple, so that was off to me. We actually wound up going through a bankruptcy, because he maxed out those credit cards.
He was out of control. He was getting caught at work looking at porn. It was like he was on the edge of losing his job and I’m his wife and that was a really hard place to be. How do I support myself? That was getting scary and how do I support him and eventually he went and had his rock bottom moment and realized that he had a problem and he started going to Sex Addicts Anonymous. And at that point I started going to Co-dependents for Sex Addicts.
La Tonia: Good, because–
Wendy: So, I had to look at my co-dependency with that.
La Tonia: Right. Because I know that a lot of times we teach the lesson that we need to learn and I heard you touch on it. You said, “Ironically I attracted a sex addict.”
La Tonia: Can you talk a little bit about that in your experience? What did you mean by, “I attracted it?” What lesson was it that you saw that you needed to learn or heal within yourself?
Wendy: First of all, I was attracted to him because he was not an abuser. I felt I was entering into a marriage with someone who really understood me, because he had been abused as a child.
La Tonia: So he felt safe?
Wendy: Yeah, he felt safe. He was also very sexual and I was ready to be married to someone and to explore my sexuality in the sanctity of a committed marriage. My belief at that time was it was really only okay if you were married. So, the other sex I had been doing had been secretive and it had a lot of shame around it. Now, I was married and now I could really go for it with gusto.
La Tonia: So, still looking for some safety in exploring your sexuality?
La Tonia: Okay.
Wendy: Exactly. And so, you are right. At that time, of course, it was a unconscious level. I wasn’t looking for, “Hey, can I find a sex addict to be married to?”
La Tonia: Right. I get it.
Wendy: *(inaudible) 38:53.
La Tonia: I get it.
Wendy: It was no accident that I was attracted to him, that I was drawn into that relationship to actually be safe with it. That’s the shadow. That’s what I needed to see. That’s what I needed to accept.
La Tonia: What was it that you see now that you needed to see and release for yourself and then maybe share with our listeners when you say you know, “I did it subconsciously,” what that means in your learning from being a shadow coach?
Wendy: Right, right. I had a shadow around sexuality and shame. Shadow beliefs are those limiting beliefs that we form about ourselves at very tender ages, but then it’s not like we even remember them. That’s what I mean by “they’re at the subconscious level.”
They’re underneath our awareness, but they do drive our choices and they do drive our behaviors. By being confronted with this marriage and these issues, I couldn’t run away from it anymore. I had to look at it.
When we started our 12-step work, we both started to do some spiritual exploration, so that’s one thing that I can really commend the 12-step program for, is that they are a stepping stone to our spiritual exploration and they don’t require you to name that as any particular deity. It’s the God of your understanding. It’s a power greater than yourself. I’m really blessed to have been through that marriage and that pain, because that’s what my soul needed for its evolution.
La Tonia: Absolutely.
Wendy: And because I had gone through it and I’ve really stretched in my understanding, in my love and my willingness to accept my own sexuality and sensuality–I do continue my work, certainly I’m not at the end. There’s certainly a lot more to do, but because I can speak of it and I’ve done my certification, now I can help other people, because I have–that’s another gift, is that I can help people begin to embrace their wholeness and heal their relationship with their sexuality and begin to grow and be creative in all areas of their life.
Frank: Are you all still together?
Wendy: My husband and I, we transitioned. We did legally divorce, but we have children together and we are very great friends. We put them first, so actually, Frank, I wanted to say thank you for writing that book. That’s a book that people need to read about how to transition in a friendly way. We transformed it.
Wendy: I believe that love is universal, relationships may transform and change, but love never dies. So, we changed our relationship from a marriage to a great co-parenting friendship.
Frank: Very nice and you’re welcome. Did you read and if you read, what did you think of Debbie Ford’s book, The Spiritual Divorce, I believe that’s what it’s called?
Wendy: Yes, yes. I loved her book. I loved all of her books and actually, I started with–well you asked about spiritual divorce?
Frank: But no, go on. You started with?
Wendy: I started with The Dark Side of the Light Chasers, back in the ’90’s and I just loved the fact that it was about accepting these dark parts of ourselves, these parts that we try to hide. I really resonated with that.
At the time I was also reading, Marianne Williamson’s, A Return to Love. I was reading a lot of Wayne Dyer. I had a gamut of authors that I was following, but it was actually the right questions. My life had come to a point where I was doing spiritual work, but to support myself as a single woman, I was in full workaholic mode. I had a career in sales at the time.
Wendy: And that’s another addiction that people have, that we don’t talk about is, workaholism.
Frank: Yeah, tell me about it.
Wendy: And I don’t want to go there right now, but the point was I took a break and I really needed it. I really needed to take a break and I read her book, The Right Questions and at the end of her book she was talking about her coaching training program and that’s when the lightbulb went off, that I needed to make a real shift in my career and embrace this work in a whole life kind of way. You’ve got to live this work in order to coach people in it.
Wendy: That was a life changer for me.
Frank: And is there another story on the spiritual divorce or it’s all in one basic group?
Wendy: Yeah, by the time I’d read, Spiritual Divorce, I’d already done my transition and it was all praise and thank you, Debbie for writing it. I love her work and I love the way that she’s taken these concepts. Shadow process work has been around–oh my goodness, you find it in ancient myths about the underworld. They’re talking about Shadow process work. Debbie took this and put it in accessible language and give us tools for how to use it. God bless her.
Frank: It’s been about, I want to say three–it might have been two years since I went to a workshop in New York City, downtown New York City. Omega did it and she was there presenting along with Byron Katie and–what’s the gentleman’s name and his wife [Imago] sp 46:06?
La Tonia: Yes.
Frank: Yes, they were there. It was a very–
La Tonia: Hendricks.
Frank: That’s right, Harville Hendrix, Dr. Hendrix. It was a great workshop and a lot going on. Any other authors you want to share with our listeners or, hell, me?
Wendy: Oh, all of them that you mentioned, Don Migel Ruiz, of course, The Four Agreements. I highly recommend. Eckart Tolle. Who else would I and Wayne Dyer, of course, *(inaudible) 46:43. Mike Dooley.
Frank: Spell Dooley, please.
Wendy: Infinite Possibilities. A great book I’m reading that one right now and he’s got Notes from the Universe that you can sign up on his website and you’ll get a note from the universe every morning to inspire you.
La Tonia: D-o-o-l-e-y, Dooley.
Frank: Dooley. Very nice. Back to the original intention of the show, can being really horny or having a large sexual appetite, be confused with having a sex addiction?
Wendy: If you have shame around it, I suppose it could. That’s the thing, there’s nothing wrong with having a high libido and being horny. That’s part of who we are as humans. That’s great. If you have shame around it then, then you might consider that a problem or an addiction and that’s where the end of distinction lies for me.
Wendy: If you’ve got a large–here’s the saying–honesty for me that’s the big key. There’s some argument, legitimately so, that as human beings we’re-I don’t know that we are hardwired for monogamy either way for men or women, but we do have a social construct about monogamy and we could have a whole other show about monogamy verses polyamory. Honesty for me is the key, so if you know–
Frank: Let me stop you there and say, see I didn’t even bring it up. Thank you. It wasn’t me today. She looked at me cross-eyed last week, because she–or was it my wife?
La Tonia: It was not me, because I just felt so honored that I know you so well.
La Tonia: So, no there’s no cross eye.
Frank: Alright. Somebody said to me, just today, “What’s up with you and polygamy,” and I said, “It’s just an option that I think is well served for people to take a look at. That’s really what’s up with it.”
La Tonia: Polyandry too, correct?
Frank: Polyandry, exactly.
La Tonia: All of it.
Frank: All of that.
La Tonia: Not just polygamy for the guys. I just want to be clear.
Wendy: I have to say though, In order to check it out, educate yourself, in order to success-it’s difficult.
Frank: It is not easy.
Wendy: Because there’s a lot of negotiation involved in communication and it takes a certain level of emotional maturity, which is something that I teach as well, is emotional education. But it’s just be honest with yourself about who you are and what brings you happiness and joy in the world. If you can have an honest relationship with someone and have a clear relationship agreement with them, the options are limitless of what you can explore.
Frank: What if you have a relationship where your partner is not honest with you, is that a big problem? The question is loaded. I got it loaded with all kinds of stuff and before you answer, I’m going to say, “I don’t think that’s a problem.” If your partner lies to you or if your partner is not honest with you, you can know that and know them and be just fine with it.
If they leave you and they have another sexual partner and they’re not comfortable telling you that yet and that could, you never know so today it’s “yet.” it’s okay for that to happen without you feeling as though you’re being betrayed, because you just simply know that that’s something that they’re working with.
I ask you where you stand on the requirement or the necessity for honesty, because I think honesty in some levels can become a way of manipulating our partner into doing what we want them to do. “I want you to tell me the truth and so I’m demanding honesty,” when I may very well know the truth and not need honesty.
Wendy: Right. I hear you and thank you for that. When we’re coming from that place of self-love and knowing who we are and being honest with ourselves, we have the potential to be honest with our partners about what’s really going on with them. It’s–yeah. I hear what you’re saying about how honesty can be twisted as a tool for manipulation and yet when you’re coming from a place of self-love and your partner is too, then it’s a joyous place to be able to share.
La Tonia: You know–
Wendy: It’s a joyous place.
La Tonia: I want to add to what Frank just shared, because I think that there’s a distinction between honesty and truth and–
Frank: I agree.
La Tonia: So I think that honesty is an overused word and quite frankly it could be used for manipulation, but truth operates absent or without being attached to necessarily honesty or the human need to know, so to speak.
La Tonia: Because I agree with you, I think this is where we get–I don’t know about you Wendy, but when you start getting into that level of awareness and presence with your partner, in many cases, a woman in particular can feel truth.
Wendy: Oh yeah, because she’s in touch with her own intuition in a very strong way. Yeah.
Frank: You don’t need anybody to be honest with you in order to know the truth.
La Tonia: Right.
Wendy: You can feel it.
La Tonia: Yeah.
La Tonia: Yeah, that’s exactly right. That’s a quotable, a tweetable.
Frank: You got that? Alright, you don’t need anyone to be honest with you in order to know the truth.
La Tonia: Isn’t that a tweetable, Wendy?
Wendy: I agree. I agree and sometimes you know before your partner.
Frank: That’s right. That’s absolute–you can know the truth about them before they do.
Wendy: Yeah. You can know that they’re attracted to someone before they’re even aware of it.
Frank: Yes. We’re going somewhere. I’m having a ball today. Let’s do this thing. Alright, alright, emotional education. I didn’t forget that you said that Wendy, just in case you were wondering. You said you do training on emotional education. What does emotional education look like?
Wendy: It looks like, mostly in the coaching work, when you are being triggered by someone like we talked about earlier, when you’re experiencing a projection and it brings up emotions in you, like anger, like fear, like sadness. Tose are also things that we tend to push down. We’ve been taught that our emotions are bad. “Don’t be a cry baby. It’s not okay to be angry,” and yet these are–
Frank: They’re real.
Wendy: Tools for us.
Wendy: Yeah, they are coming up to teach us something. We work on a process of–it’s the same thing, uncovering what are you really feeling? What is that? And then owning it and accepting it and looking for the gift and the wisdom in it.
I actually at one point entered into a relationship consciously that I knew was going to bring up jealousy. Like I knew that I was stepping into a relationship where that was going to come up and it was lethal.
Frank: For you or your partner?
Wendy: For myself, for myself. And being the person dedicated to growth, I wanted to learn what I needed to learn from jealousy and–
Frank: Do you care to share the details there?
Wendy: I’d be happy to. I’d be happy to.
Frank: I’d love to hear it.
Wendy: At first, when my boyfriend would be going out by himself in scenarios where I knew he was going to be around other people that he might be attracted to, I would feel my body just shaking like uncontrollably shaking. My old programming would say, “You’ve got to make him not go out or you got to make him check in. You got to make him change his behavior,” but where I was at the time, it’s like, “No, this is hear to teach me something. What is it?” So, I would breathe, I want my body to calm down and it was obviously a fear response to me. And then I would ask myself, “What are you afraid of?” And I noticed that my mind had been going, spinning a million miles an hour about all the things, all the things that he might be doing with somebody else and going on this whole fantasy. And all of the pain that I was experiencing was a result of this fantasy. It wasn’t a result of the reality.
Frank: Reality, yeah.
Wendy: When he would come back and share what he had done with his evening, I find that they were not the same thing. His reality and my fantasy were not at all similar. I had imposed that pain and fear on myself for no reason. And then I realized, “Why are you focused on what he’s doing? Why aren’t you focused on what you’re doing,” so I began to take the time that I knew that he was going to be out with friends doing other stuff and I decided to fill that time with stuff that would make me feel good. So, it was a practice of self love and I began to look forward to my time alone with myself for reading, for practicing. Sometimes I would be practicing my lines, because I’d be doing a theatre show somewhere or going out with my own friends or catching up with my mom on the telephone.
La Tonia: Right, just–
Wendy: Whatever it was.
La Tonia; You did you. You focused on–
Wendy: I did me.
La Tonia: And so–
Wendy: And I spent my time with me.
La Tonia: Did you just describe some steps with addressing your shadow?
La Tonia: Did you?
Wendy: Absolutely, that was my personal process of taking a look at jealousy and what was it trying to teach me? It’s trying to teach me that I needed to look at me, that I needed to give myself what I was wanting someone else to give me.
Any time that we’re looking outside of ourselves for someone to fill that empty spot inside of us, we’re going to be left lacking. The only way that we can ever really know that we’re loved and safe is to love ourselves and to give ourselves that love and that attention that we’ve been trying to get somebody else to give us.
Frank: Very nice.
Wendy: It’s too much, too much to ask of someone to make you feel whole. Yeah. Let’s take responsibility for our own feelings.
Frank: Do you have a closeout message for me?
Wendy: For you particularly, Frank?
Frank: For me, absolutely. Smething you want me to take home.
Wendy: I’d like you to take home the fact that you are so valued and so appreciated and so loved, just because you exist, because you are. That would be the message that I would say to anyone who’s listening, is that you are lovable just because you exist and I personally feel grateful to be sharing my time on this earth journey with you right now. So, thank you.
Frank: Thank you. You’re listening to Frank Relationships. We’ve been talking with Wendy Spurgeon, a certified Integrative coach professional, specializing in shadow process work. Last time Wendy, please, how can I find you and your services?
Wendy: Give me an email at email@example.com. You can also read my personal transformation stories at wendyspurgeon.com. You can contact me there or at shadowrx.mobi.
Frank: Along today’s journey, we’ve discussed shadow work, sex addictions and pornography and its overuse. I hope you’ve had as much fun as I’ve had discussing love and sex addictions.
As always, it’s my wish for you to walk away from this conversation with a heaping helping of useful information that’ll help you create a relationship that’s as loving and accepting as possible. Let us know what you thought of today’s show at facebook.com/relationshipflove, on Twitter @mrfranklove or franklove.com.
On behalf of my producer, Phileta Legette, and my engineer, Jeff Newman, keep rising. This is Frank Love.
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