Monthly Archives: August 2012

The Pain of the Pleasure: Effect on Your Loved One

from sexaddicttherapy.blogspot.com

A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.  ~Ruth Bell Graham

Your Partner’s Pain

The effect on your partner of your addiction has to be one of the most painful negative consequences of your sexual behavior.

When they discover  (and they do have ways of discovering)  the amount of time spent viewing porn (never mind the shock of its content), the “cybersex” phenomenon of going into chat rooms for erotic dialogues, the exchange of lewd photos, erotic e-mails, erotic texting, the use of a webcam to share lustful content, or the occasional use of prostitutes, THEIR WORLDS ARE SHATTERED.  The most devastating aspect of their discovery is that you’ve been keeping a secret for so long, that you’ve lied and deceived and concealed.

If you’ve ever entertained thoughts like “Nobody’s getting hurt” or “It’s not cheating because there’s no intercourse”,  GET CLEAR ABOUT THIS:  the woman you love and who loves you, when the inevitable disclosure occurs, gets VERY, VERY hurt.  And YES, IT IS CHEATING because you’re channeling your erotic energy away from your primary partner.  You’re going outside the sanctity of your “couplehood” to give and receive sexual pleasure from a complete stranger (or two, or a hundred).

I’ve worked with quite a few partners over the years, and it’s been my experience that the partners/spouses of sex addicts become crazier than the addict.  After all, the porn addict has the pleasure of the “erotic haze” to provide them with pleasure, safety and comfort.  Also, addicts’ defense mechanisms (denial, justification, rationalization) protect them from unwanted feelings they have about their addiction.

The partner has no such port-in-the-storm.  She can’t talk to friends or colleagues because of the shame, and relating to the addict makes her start to feel that she doesn’t know what reality is.  She knows something is up, or she may have discovered erotic e-mails or such on the computer.  He denies or justifies everything, or worse, blames her.

In order to establish a much-need sense of control over an unmanageable situation, she begins to search for “evidence” that her sense of reality is correct.  And so she begins the “detective” game, becoming obsessed with finding anything she can that will make him tell the truth.

She becomes so obsessed with controlling her partner’s behavior that she neglects her own needs and wants, ignores the children, stops seeing friends.

Where the addict is obsessed with sex, the partner is obsessed with the addict.

A woman coming for treatment had already discovered that her husband was looking at porn, but she rationalized it, thinking as long as he wasn’t having sex with anyone else, it was alright.

One day she was dumping the trash and she discovered paperwork for an $800 loan her husband had taken from the bank.  She was already primed for hysteria from dealing with his porn usage.  When she found the bank paperwork, she immediately concluded that the money was spent on her husband’s use of prostitutes.  This was a completely irrational conclusion because he had never seen prostitutes and she didn’t take the time to talk to her mate about what the money was for.  She was convinced he was seeing prostitutes and was determined to find the “proof.”

Thus began the obsessive “detectiving.”    As she relayed it,

Searching pockets, going through bills with a fine-tooth comb.  Searching the premises.  Turning over every mattress, I mean everything.  Looking in every place.  Looking in storage areas downstairs, looking through closets, under things, just tearing the place apart.  To find what I knew I would eventually find.  But that was my craziness.

At one point she kept a record of her husband’s mileage, not knowing that every time he drove to the city to act out, he disconnected the odometer.

This woman had become disconnected from herself and what she wanted to be.  She existed either in a reactive mode or in a caretaking mode.  Her own needs and wants were discarded.  She was doing what she did not want to do, and she could not stop herself.  She felt caught with no escape.  She was an addict, but her obsession was another person.  She continues,

I never questioned if I loved him, only if he loved me.  I never thought about being happy, only if I could keep him by competing with his porn images.  I wore sexy clothing and did sexual things that for me were perverse, always trying to keep him sexually satisfied.  Thinking there was something wrong with me that I could not meet his sexual needs.  Thinking the best solution was if he were dead, then wishing I was dead.  Having no interest outside of the relationship.  Feelings of absolute nothingness when he left me.  Willing to do anything to get him back.  And always the pain.  The extreme difference between what I imagined myself to be and what I actually had become.

 Partners in situations like these often develop problems with alcohol, overeating and depression.

What they imagined their worlds were and who the person they lived with is shattered.

 

 

If you’re interested in treatment, contact me at dorothyhayden1231@gmail.com for a 30-minute free consultation.

http://www.sextreatment

Sex Addiction Treatment NYC, Sex Addiction Therapy NYC, Porn Addiction Therapy NYC, sex addiction recovery, help for sex addicts, sex addiction help

 

 

Tagged , ,

The Pain of the Pleasure: The Loss of Self-Esteem

Low self-esteem is like driving through life with your hand-break on.
Maxwell Maltz

Porn addiction and compulsive sexual thoughts and behavior lead to increasingly serious consequences, both in the mind of the addict and in his or her life. These consequences can include profound depression (sometimes with suicidal thoughts), chronic low self-esteem, shame, self-hatred, hopelessness, despair, helplessness, intense anxiety, loneliness, moral conflict, contradictions between ethical values and behaviors, fear of abandonment, spiritual bankruptcy, distorted thinking, remorse, and self-deceit.

Perhaps the most difficult negative consequence of porn addiction to “see” is the toll that it takes on our self-esteem.  Self-Esteem has to do with your self-respect and integrity, and how you feel about your actions and relationships with others.  If you find yourself thinking thoughts like, “I don’t know who I am anymore” or “What kind of person does these things” or “I’ve become a hypocrite”, your self-esteem is in jeopardy.

As one client said, “I just don’t like who I’ve become.  I’m a liar and a cheat.  Any my relationship with porn has become the vortex of my self-hatred.”

Another man commented “I felt guilty all the time because I was doing something I know I shouldn’t do and didn’t want to be doing.  I was mad at myself for not  living up to my expectations I had for myself and the person I wanted to be.”

Self-esteem suffers worse when you continually engage in activities that go against your values and moral code.  This is ultimate kind of self-betrayal.  People feel demoralized when faced with the incongruity between who they think they are and the reality of their life and their behaviors.

Feelings of low self-esteem can be fueled by the fact that on some level most porn users realize that porn is exploitative and degrading to others, especially women, children and people of color.

Porn addicts who are into deviant types of pornography, such as porn depicting molestation, bondage rape, bodily injury, sex with children and sex with animals, often suffer from tremendous feelings of self-hate and shame.  These feeling make it difficult to be genuine with others, have inner peace and a good sense of self worth.

The Importance of Self-Esteem

The level of our self esteem determines how we operate in life – how we interact with others, spouse, children, friends, and strangers. It determines our goals and what we strive for, our achievements, and our satisfaction and happiness in life.

Qualities Associated with healthy self esteem are:

  • Creativity
  • Rationality
  • Flexibility
  • Willingness to admit mistakes
  • Openness
  • Honesty
  • Acceptance
  • Cooperativeness
  • Independence

People with high self esteem tend to be more ambitious in what they want to experience in life.

High self esteem people have a drive to express themselves and to communicate openly and honestly about their needs and desires.

People with healthy self esteem choose healthy relationships and they recognize the value of relationships. They treat others with respect, non judgmental attitudes, and fairness.

Much of your stress comes from internal sources. Having a high self esteem is vital for stress relief.

Can you see the importance of self esteem? Author Nathaniel Branden says that self esteem is our most basic need.

Porn addiction is an insidious erosion of our most precious asset — ourselves.

 

If you’re interested in treatment, contact me at dorothyhayden1231@gmail.com for a free 30-minute phone consultation.  SKYPE sessions available.

 

http://www.sextreatment.com

Tagged , , , , , ,

The Pain of the Pleasure: Loss of Physical Health

image photo : Personal Injury Claims

 

When it comes to your health, a time-and energy-consuming porn habit can seriously interfere with critical self-care activities such as exercising, physical check ups, eating well, getting enough sleep and even bathing and grooming.

Sleep deprivation is a particular problem for porn users, given that many people access porn before going to bed or in the middle of the night.  Porn addicts can literally stay up night after night jeopardizing their health, family relationships, and especially work.

Having a busy schedule to begin with can only make matters worse for people who are preoccupied with getting their daily dose of porn.

“I was working full-time, going to college in the evenings, maintaining the house, trying to be a good husband and father, and getting by on four hours of sleep.  After my wife went to sleep, I’d be on the internet until 2a.m.  I’d often have a hard time functioning the next day,” said one porn addict.

Besides taking up time that could have been spent sleeping, porn can also make it difficult to fall asleep.  The visual centers in the brain have a hard time calming down after all that stimulation.  Long hours on the computer doing Internet porn can also result in eye problems, back, neck, wrist and should pain, which make it difficult to sleep and make life more difficult during the day as well.

Spending significant amounts of time doing porn can wreak havoc on work and school pursuits.  When you’re constantly exhausted and when your mind is focused on porn even when you’re not doing it, optimal functioning is impossible.  One man told me that when he was into his porn addiction, he became 75 percent less productive at work and it cost him his job.

“As my porn addiction got stronger, I started ignoring important aspects of my work.  I’d procrastinate and fall behind.  I was spending untold hours a day doing something that had no benefit to me as far as becoming a better person, gaining skills, understanding the world better, or enhancing my relationships with other people.  I wasted huge amounts of time, and time is the most precious thing in life”, another client commented.

Another person said,”What bothered me the most about my porn use was the lost chances.  I’m ambitious in a lot of ways, and the world of porn provided an easy distraction from the ambition.  Instead of pushing myself, I would just look at pictures for several hours a day.  There were milestones that I should have been hitting as a stockbroker and I wasn’t hitting them.  I kept diverting myself.  That’s what bothers me — the lost ambition, the squandered opportunities.”

If you’re interested in treatment, contact me at dorothyhayden1231@gmail.com for a free 30-minute consultation.

http://www.sextreatment.com

The Pain of the Pleasure: The Objectification of Women


 There is no such thing as an ugly woman.  ~Vincent Van Gogh

“I’m looking at you right now in a sexual way whether you like it or not.  Never mind the fact that I don’t know your name, care to know your name, or have any idea of who you are.  I don’t really care about you.  You serve as an object for my sexual pleasure.  I only care about how sexually aroused you can make me feel.”

This is how a former client described the way he used to look at people when he was heavily into porn.

This is a process called sexual objectification.  It involves taking the humanity from a human being and turning her into a need-satisfying object.  Objectifying tries to turn real people into the fantasy women that is in pornography.

Not only can objectifying women distract you from real issues in your real life, it can also turn you off to potential intimate partners.  The dating pool becomes limited when you’re only willing to relate with someone who looks like a porn star.

“Lately, it5 seems like I can’t accept any imperfection in the women I meet.  I’ll start talking with a really nice girl at a bar.  She’s cute and has a great sense of humor, but I’m not really interested.  She’s not a ‘ten’.  She has flaws.  Her boobs are too smal, her waist too thick, her thigns too wide.  Porn has created a gap between the kind of woman I enjoy being with and the kind of woman I can sexually desire”, says another client.

Porn had left him lacking in the skills necessary for making friends with women and showing them respect.

“I treated women as sex things.  If she turned me on I’d talk with her; if she didn’t, I would ignore her.  I began to see attractive women as possible sexual conquests.  I didn’t realize there’s a big difference between using someone for sex and sharing a sexual experience with them.  Porn made it impossible for me to see women as people and treat them with respect.  I’m very sad about that.”

The more time you spend in the world of porn, the more your values become about using people or being used, and not about sharing and connecting with another.

This is a syndrome that is part of a  a narcissistic personality disorder.  Such a person has an exaggerated need for attention and approval to shore up a fragile, insecure sense of self. Unable to self-validate or self-soothe, he is constantly on the lookout for validation and soothing from others.  His needs are so compelling, so intense, so relentless that he becomes self-obsessed and has no awareness of the reality of someone else.

Intimacy, love, or real friendship are foreign to him.  It takes everything he has just to hold himself together and to get his narcissistic needs met.  He sees all people, but especially women, as potential need-satisfying objects.  If people are seen as objects, others have no needs or wants.  It isn’t necessary to exert emphatic listening, care, concern or compassion.

Sex addiction is, after all, an intimacy disorder.

 

 

http://www.sextreatment.com

Sex Addiction Therapy NYC, Sex Addiction Treatment NYC, Porn Addiction Therapy NYC

Tagged , , , , , ,

The Pain of the Pleasure: Neglected Hobbies

If you’ve lost interest in a hobby because of porn, pick it up again in recovery.  If you’ve never had a hobby, get one.  Hobbies, like addictions, are mood changers.  They give a sense of satisfaction, provide feelings of happiness, restore your energy and keeps you focused and interested.  Most of my clients report that boredom is the biggest trigger to porn addiction.  A hobby is an antidote to boredom.

A point of interest in this article from The New York Times is that involvement in a hobby can produce a “flow state” which is associated with peak performance.  This state of mind produces the same “feel good” endorphins and neurotransmitters in the brain that are produced by porn.

Hobbies Are Rich in Psychic Rewards

The New York Times

By EILENE ZIMMERMAN

Published: December 2, 2007

Q. Between work and family, you have little time or energy left for hobbies, like crafts, painting or music. Without them, though, life feels mundane. What can you do about it

A. Squeeze them in, even it’s for just a few minutes at a time, because those moments can change your mood and your mind-set.

When people do things that make them feel good, like a hobby, it activates an area of the brain called the nucleus accumbens that controls how we feel about life, said Dr. S. Ausim Azizi, chairman of the department of neurology at Temple University’s School of Medicine in Philadelphia who studies brain activity and cell signaling. Activities you enjoy also stimulate the brain’s septal zone — its “feel good” area — and that makes you feel happy, said Dr. Azizi.

Q. Are hobbies good for you?

A. Yes, and in many ways. Hobbies can enhance your creativity, help you think more clearly and sharpen your focus, said Carol Kauffman, an assistant clinical professor at HarvardMedicalSchool. “When you’re really engaged in a hobby you love, you lose your sense of time and enter what’s called a flow state, and that restores your mind and energy,” she said. In a flow state, you are completely submerged in an experience, requiring a high level of concentration. Research shows strong correlations between flow states and peak performance, said Ms. Kauffman.

Being in that heightened state of concentration raises the levels of neurotransmitters in your brain — chemicals like endorphins, norepinephrine and dopamine — that keep you focused and interested in what you’re doing and that energize you, said Dr. Gabriela Corá, a psychiatrist who is managing partner of the Florida Neuroscience Center and president of Executive Health and Wealth Institute, an executive coaching firm in Miami.

“Making time for enjoyable activities stimulates parts of the brain associated with creative and positive thinking. You become emotionally and intellectually more motivated,” she said.

Hobbies also enhance self-esteem and self-confidence. Feeling that you are solely defined by your job — even if it is going well — can raise your chances of experiencing anxiety, depression and burnout, because you don’t have a perception of yourself outside of work, said Michelle P. Maidenberg, a psychotherapist and business coach in New York, and clinical director of Westchester Group Works, a center for group therapy.

“When people rely only on their role at work to foster self-esteem, that alone cannot typically fulfill their needs,” she said. If you are unhappy with your work performance, you are more inclined to define yourself as inadequate, but if your identity is varied — businesswoman, mother, wife, painter, cook — you can reflect on your success in those other things, she said.

QCan a hobby make you better at your job?

A. Yes, because doing something you enjoy can help you think more creatively and give you confidence. Ms. Kauffman said a hobby could even help prepare you for a difficult meeting, making you more sure of yourself and energetic. “Let’s say you are passionate about opera. Google your favorite opera piece and listen for five or six minutes,” she said. “That positive emotion builds your cognitive and social skills. If you follow your bliss for a little while, it really gives you a surge of energy.”

Challenging and stimulating hobbies may inspire ideas that will help you at work — leading, for example, to a new approach to making presentations, solving problems or meeting a client’s needs. “Any time you take a break from routine, you develop new ways of thinking,” said Gail McMeekin, a psychotherapist and owner of Creative Success, a career coaching company in Boston and author of “The Power of Positive Choices.”

Ms. McMeekin said that by tapping into our creativity through hobbies, we make connections that lead to a flurry of insights and new ideas.

Q. Life is so busy. How do you make time for a hobby?

A. If you start thinking of your hobby as something that helps you professionally as well as personally, you won’t feel so guilty about making time for it.

htpp://www.sextreatment.com

Sex Addiction Therapy NYC, Sex Addiction Treatment NYC, Porn Addiction Therapy NYC

Tagged , , , ,