The Cost of Sex Addiction: Loss of Self-Esteem/Dorothy Hayden, LCSW

Reclaim Sexual Sanity:  Find Recovery Now by Calling 212-673-5717 for an Initial Consultation.  See www.sextreatment.com for 35 full-length articles about sex addiction and for details about my private practice.

Porn addiction and sexual preoccupation lead to increasingly serious consequences, both in the mind of the sex addict and in his or her external 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.
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Perhaps the most difficult negative consequence of sex addiction is to “see” is the toll that it takes on your 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 sex addiction behaviors 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.
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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.
Sex addicts who are into deviant types of pornography or acting out, such as porn depicting molestation, bondage rape, bodily injury, sex with children and sex with animals, pr sex addicts into extreme S&M, exhibitionism, voyeurism and the like, 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, spouses, 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 the stress you experience comes from internal sources. Having high self esteem is vital for stress management.
Can you see the importance of self esteem? Author Nathaniel Branden says that self esteem is our most basic need.
Sex 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.
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