Healing from shame

Discussion in 'Porn Addiction' started by 011214, Jan 24, 2015.

  1. 011214

    011214 Fapstronaut

    I'm wondering if there's anyone else out there in a similar position to mine. Briefly this is me:

    -Thirty years old
    -Addicted to porn and lust from the age of 14 (beginning earlier, I'm sure) to 29
    -Sober for just over one year
    -In a committed relationship

    What I'm finding most challenging now, and what has been most challenging this past year, is finding healing in my relationship with my partner. I was with her for one year before everything came out into the open and for the last year she has remained with me through my recovery, though she has certainly (and understandably) not always been the most comforting presence. I am grateful to her because she has demanded such a thorough process of healing for myself, but in the course of things our relationship has gone through a lot of strain. Part of this has been because of how much I have disclosed to her. In the beginning this was because she demanded to know every single detail, not just about what I had seen in porn, but also any situation in life that had involved sexual attraction, and also every lustful thought. As you can imagine, at 29 years old, there was a lot to share. Against the advice of others in my life, I found myself sharing everything with her. Everything I'd experienced sexually since I was a kid, through my adolescence, and into adulthood. Even when she wasn't pressing for more information, I would remember things that I looked at, masturbated to, or fantasized about, and then felt overwhelmed by guilt and the need to confess.

    It's been incredibly painful for us both. As much as I believe we are now entering into a new chapter in our relationship I'm still experiencing a lot of anxiety. I feel afraid that something else will come to mind. I feel afraid that I might be going about life and meet someone I'm attracted to. I feel afraid that the wrong kind of thought might cross my mind. Ultimately, I don't believe that there's anything to be afraid of but my experiences do not always mirror my beliefs. For example, I don't believe that there's anything wrong with feeling attracted to a woman when I haven't been looking for it, when I have no intention of pursuing anything with her, of flirting with her, or of fantasizing about her, but when I do encounter a woman who is even remotely attractive, I immediately begin feeling anxious. In the moment, I am able to move through the experience mindfully, treating them as a person and not giving into my fear, but when I leave the situation I feel anxious and guilty. This leads me to feel like I need to confess something to my partner, even though I don't believe I've done anything wrong.

    I guess this leads me to my experience of guilt and shame. Guilt, as I understand it, is the feeling that we've done something wrong. Shame, is the feeling that there is something wrong with us.

    I've been wondering about the cycles of confession and anger that my partner and I have gone through throughout this past year. It is always when things seem to be getting better that my mind finds something else that it needs to confess, even if it's something from ten years ago, long before I ever knew my partner. It's as if my shame needs affirmation. This belief that there is something wrong with me, and that I do not deserve love, begins to come at me as soon as my partner begins to show me love again. It's as if my shame is saying, "Hey, you don't deserve her love." It then tries to find some piece of evidence to confirm this false belief.

    Even now, when things are going so much better, and when I feel like I've "run out" of evidence to confess, there's this feeling of anxiety that causes me to mistrust her love and disbelieve that I deserve it. This feeling is what led me to porn in the first place. This feeling is what has made me withdraw so much from others in the past. This feeling is what has led me sabotage so many other relationships before.

    I need to let go of shame. I know that it's a lie but it's so hard times to remain in that awareness. It begins to whisper in my ear that I don't deserve her love. It twists my experiences and tries to convince me that I've done something wrong when I don't believe that I have.

    I believe in my relationship and I am desperate to heal from this toxic shame. I know that I deserve love. But there remain parts of me that do not believe it.
  2. Steel Fury

    Steel Fury Fapstronaut

    I think you should consider therapy our counselling. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with you, but maybe you need to talk things over and learn to let go of your past. You say in the first paragraph of your post that your partner has "not always been the most comforting presence". Whether her actions are understandable or not isn't the issue, the real question is whether they will help you in changing your life. This is ultimately a decision you need to make, but if I was in a situation where the answer to that question was "no", I'd be wondering whether I'd be better off alone or with someone else.

    I think you both need to remember that there really is no point continuing to punish someone after they've stopped the behaviour in question and the initial punishment has completed. That's like putting a criminal in prison, and then continuing to punish them even after they've served their sentence and reformed their life, and it's counterproductive.

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