Many of our sexually addicted clients come to our offices with a long and complex history with pornography.
Pornography use started young, for some as young as seven. It has felt like an ever-present force in their lives. Many people remember vividly when they got internet in their homes for the first time or the first time they discovered internet pornography. It was electrifying, exciting, and terrifying all at once. The feeling of being out of control and full of shame was present almost at the beginning.
As time goes on, most of our clients experienced using more pornography than they intended, spending longer periods of time viewing or pursuing porn, and greater consequences each time they were caught – if they were caught.
Shame compounded. The more they used, the more worthless they felt.
Naturally, these feelings of worthlessness started to impact relationships and self-esteem – not noticeably at first, but it started to be the ‘elevator music’ of their lives- always on in the background and never quite as good as the real thing.
Of course, the amount, type, and frequency of their pornography use is a closely guarded secret.
“If people really know who I am and what I do, they will reject me.”
Isolation and emotional distance increase, especially right after a binge. Many pornography addicts find themselves less comfortable in close relationships for several reasons. They are keeping secrets. They know that when they are discovered, things will get worse. It’s easier to pretend that things are normal than it is to admit that there is a problem.
Real people don’t compare with the performers in porn. Some people can get to a point where they actually prefer pornography to real person-to-person interaction. When you are in a committed relationship, this is usually a big problem! Some pornography addicts find themselves criticizing their partner’s appearance or performance in the bedroom and can have a had time feeling content in their relationships.
Secrets Don’t Stay Secret Forever
Eventually, it all comes crashing down.
Either a website is discovered, un-deleted from the browser history, somebody walks in on you, you lose a job for looking at pornography at work, or you just realize you can’t keep living like this.
Discovery is often painful. Immense feelings of shame can arise, and partners can be very hurt. There are often huge amounts of discomfort for everyone who now knows. “Do we have to talk about this?” “What does this mean?” “Does this mean it’s over now that someone else knows?”
With each discovery, most people will give the least amount of information they think they can get away with. They may swear to an employer, spouse, or themselves: “this is everything, it doesn’t go any further than this.”
In Alcoholics Anonymous, the saying goes “You are only as sick as your secrets.” Most pornography addicts come to the point over and over where they get caught or realize they can’t keep living like they have been only to get swept up in another cycle.
When they are serious about quitting, they get help. Realizing that their own best thinking got them to where they are, they reach out for support. You can too.
Moving from Hurt to Healing
When you call us for help, we will work to immediately start understanding your specific needs and challenges. You will either choose or be matched with a member of our team who is best equipped to help you. Showing up for therapy the first time will be nerve wracking, so you will find our offices warm and inviting full of our knowledgeable friendly staff.
You will start learning about the cycles of addiction and the specific ways that pornography addiction affects your brain. We will start to target skills and performables that will quickly start to move you in the direction that you are wanting to go.
As you get more stable in sobriety, we will start to peel back the layers of the onion so that you can understand why you have been addicted to pornography.
Your life will start to change. You will feel differently about your relationships, your work, and yourself.
Your path to healing starts with a phone call. Contact us today to schedule an apppointment. Help is just around the corner, you don’t have to do this alone.