I seem to have zero empathy

Discussion in 'Rebooting in a Relationship' started by GroundedRabbit, Aug 24, 2020.

  1. GroundedRabbit

    GroundedRabbit Fapstronaut


    I realised last night that I haven't actually been in recovery for quite a while.

    I've been relapsing repeatedly and looking at psubs regularly, but I've still been telling myself and my SO that I've been trying.

    We came to an agreement a few days ago, to change my goals to something more manageable, I was really into the whole idea and thought it sounded great. Except it was all an excuse to PMO.

    Realising this and after talking to my SO is when I understood I wasn't in recovery.

    I feel that my biggest issue is that I can't understand the pain and hurt I've caused my SO. I realize that I've hurt her logically, but not emotionally.

    I seem to be extremely self absorbed, I try to wrap my head around understanding her but I can't seem to get there all the way.

    We've been talking for over a year now that I feel no empathy with her. From my perspective I feel just enough to know that I'm not feeling what I should be.

    I'm feel stone cold, I love this girl and want to spend the rest of my life with her and our daughter. But how can I ever make up for what I've done to her for the past 5 years if I can't even understand it properly?

    Has anyone else had similar problems?
    Is there something I can do to help?
    Will simply quitting PMO make a difference?
    Deleted Account likes this.
  2. Psalm27:1my light

    Psalm27:1my light Fapstronaut

    Addicts have no empathy. Understand you are using a drug your body creates to get high from pmo. Until you are clean, you will not be able to empathize. If you are a narcissist, just getting clean will not help either. Simply quitting will not fix anything. Finding out why you are an addict and getting into recovery will change everything. Obviously you have not been serious if you’ve been talking about it for a year. Until you decide that you want to be in recovery for yourself, you will continue to relapse. Until you decide to grow up and face your issues you will continue in the path your on.
    hope4healing likes this.
  3. Sosuke Aizen

    Sosuke Aizen Fapstronaut

    Empathy is a learned behavior. There is always a way to develop it. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
    Deleted Account likes this.
  4. you are blocking out a part of yourself.

    i don't feel you are a narcissist, that's just a part of pmo addiction. it amplifies all the shitty aspects of a jock without any of the glam. it wears you like a shell, with your ego as the container and it carves a big nest for itself inside, like a parasite feeding on the spiritual energy that connects us to our higher truths and to the vibrant universal field. it can only do this because the chemistry of the act of pmo blinds you temporarily to your own feelings and heart cords which connect to those we love. this temporary blindness fades after a few days, hence the cycle of having to use regularly to maintain this parasites life cycle. you are so numb you are handing it the keys to your life, pretty much, and letting it steer the way, perhaps with your partner still loyally attached and being dragged to emotional bankruptcy behind you.

    get in touch with your inner child, man. the one that felt things intensely and cried and felt fear and excitement without drugs or porn. remember him? what will it take to feel your true desires before you become an old man in a chair looking back at your life with no meaningful connections, bravery or integrity to know your self by?

    hey, feel free to message me if you would like to try to get constructive with some strategies for moving forward. i'd like to help if i can.
  5. @NaturalPornKiller
    any advice? you said you were basically in the same place until just recently. what shifted for you?
  6. GroundedRabbit

    GroundedRabbit Fapstronaut

    You're completely correct, I have to recover, grow up and face my issues.

    That's what I'm working on, taking it one day at a time and doing more actively to help me along the path.

    Thank you for your insight!
  7. GroundedRabbit

    GroundedRabbit Fapstronaut

    Thank you, reading this felt extremely motivating.

    As I mentioned above I'm taking it day by day trying to get better and doing better than I have before, cause that obviously haven't worked.

    I'll message you privately, I'm more than interested in any kind of help I can get!

    Thank you for the offer.
    Deleted Account likes this.
  8. You are welcome :)

    Really glad to have you here. There are a few really good threads in this sub forum I recommend you check out, when you feel like a bit of reading. It’s funny how similar a lot of PA are and SOs seem to also have a certain commonality as well. If you follow along some of the journals you might find their story easier to start feeling a sort of empathy or kinship as their experiences unfold.

    a couple of my favorite PA journals are that of @JamesTheSquirrel and @+TenPercent
    I think that @SequinHistory has or had one too of his journey reconnecting with his real self and his wife, recovering from false desires that P threatened their marriage with.

    this podcast is a great resource for gaining tools and perspective:
    The betrayed, the addicted and the expert
    A really good book on relationships is
    How to be an adult in relationships
  9. GroundedRabbit

    GroundedRabbit Fapstronaut

    Thank you! Getting help delivered straight to me is great!

    I'll make sure to read their journals, I don't doubt for a second that it'll be of help to me.

    I'll also check out the podcast while work or out walking, I'm glad it's not on YouTube as that's a complete no-go for me!

    Thanks again!
  10. SeaChange

    SeaChange Fapstronaut

    I have a similar issue which I think is because I've really split myself into two people: the addict and the non-addict. My addict self is the zombie and relishes in my addiction and does everything and anything to feed it, hunting down porn, messaging women, seeking out every single source of pleasure to feed me. It will hurt and use anyone just to get off.

    My non-addict self is no better: they're so ashamed and afraid of the addict that all they do is try and hide that personality by lying and covering things up and seeing everything as a possible way of exposing the addict half. It's wiling to hurt others because it thinks that if the addiction half is exposed people will hate them more than anything else.

    Between these two halves there exists no room for empathy. Either I am the addict hurting others to find pleasure or the non-addict hurting others to hide my actions.
  11. Love2LongBoard

    Love2LongBoard Fapstronaut

    This is a serious issue. I am glad you were honest enough to bring it up. Empathy is a verb. It isn't a feeling. C.S Lewis said that if we want to love our neighbor we should go out and do what people do that love their neighbors do, and one day we will wake up and realize we do love our neighbors.

    I feel the same is true with empathy. Don't fake it, but seriously ask yourself, "how would an empathetic person react here?" Because empathy is a verb, it can be learned, it can be worked on. You can develop it.

    The first step is to STOP doing things people do that do not have empathy (ie. viewing pornography). You cannot develop empathy if you are continuing to engage in these behaviors. It doesn't mean you need to be perfect, but you need to be on the path away from it. You can make the determination today.

    Then its practice practice practice. But remember, don't fake it. When we fake empathy, it is manipulation.

    Give yourself a moment to pause and THINK before your react or answer. I used to have a rule where I would pause for 10 seconds before answering my spouse. It was awkward. It was hard to remember, but it helped. I only did it for a short period of time and it helped a lot.

    Hang out with empathic friends. Don't surrounded yourself with people who lack empathy for others.

    You can do it. Suppressing empathy is a part of using pornography. We all have to find our way back.
  12. 1000_Cuts

    1000_Cuts New Fapstronaut

    This is a great insight. But actually you are not two people, or two halves. You are one person, who is stuck in a *shame cycle.* You are moving between opposing points in the cycle.

    To break the cycle, so you can feel whole again and experience empathy, start by practicing accountability instead of shame. Shame helps no one, least of all yourself. It damns you to live in isolated fear. Instead, choose to be accountable for your choices. Having people hate the real you is the worst possible outcome if you are honest and accountable. Having people love someone who you are only pretending to be is the best possible outcome while you are living in shame.

    And if you are honest and accountable, there is something for you to at least love about *yourself,* which is a start that you can build on, by using accountability to drive better choices. There is no loving yourself when you are living in shame. And of course no empathy, for yourself or anyone else. You don't have to keep living like that.
  13. GroundedRabbit

    GroundedRabbit Fapstronaut

    This is great, I'll try to wait 10 seconds before answering. Specially when she's sharing with me.

    I need to learn to really listen to her, not only to show her empathy. But also to understand and I believe this could be of great use in the earlier stages of my recovery.

    Not faking it is also something that's easier said than done, as that would've been my default before. But not saying anything or being honest and saying you don't understand is always a better option.

    Thanks for answering, the response I'm getting is really motivating.
  14. GroundedRabbit

    GroundedRabbit Fapstronaut

    Last two days have been rough, I slipped yesterday while at work.

    Felt immediate shame which made my mind spiral even further, this has been really difficult to control.

    I like to say I was / am feeling a bit more. I'm not sure it's empathy but general emotions.

    I'm most likely going to start a proper journal as well, I feel like it would be another step in the right direction.

    I've tried to write one uncessfully in the past, but I'll do it more seriously this time.

    I'm trying to make things daily, and that'll be one of them.

    Thank you so much for your responses, everything is helpful and insightful!
  15. Haden

    Haden New Fapstronaut

    Your story sounds pretty similar to mine.
    I did a few years of believing I was trying but continually relapsing.....slowly destroying my relationship with my.partner...
    Just over six months ago when.discussing my issues with a good friend he told me to download an audio book to help.... Its called
    The way of the Superior man.
    I listened to it over and over again...
    My life near enough changed overnight...
    I have a real appreciation of myself and my partner now and havent looked at porn once since.....I have an incredible relationship with my partner now but more importantly I'm happy within myself.......
    Your heading in the right direction as youre questioning yourself..... Its just finding what works for you.....but you'll do it....
    I broke a 20 year daily habit ...I just needed the right inspiration......
    Do it for you and in turn your partner will benefit...
    Take care.
  16. Please! What is that for an answer? How is that supporting or empowering?
    Firstly, "addicts have no empathy" is such an generalization and it's simply not true.
    Then you assume he could be a narcissist (which is a serious mental condition, diagnosed only by specialists) making it clear you see no hope for such a case.
    You say that "recovery will change anything" (finally a positive message!) but also "simply quitting" wouldn't "fix anything".
    And who are you to tell him to grow up and face his issues?

    I have seen worse posts in this forum. A lot! And you may have the best intentions. But to me this seems to be the perfect example of "tough love" advice going the wrong way.
  17. Psalm27:1my light

    Psalm27:1my light Fapstronaut

    First, addicts don’t have empathy. Second, I didn’t assume he was a narcissist I simply said “ if”. He himself admits he has no empathy, he’s been lying and destroying the woman he claims to love while neglecting his duty as a father. He’s been faking recovery, so not just lying about porn use now, lying about recovery. Maybe go read his so’s journal and how she is feeling through all of this. If he were single, then fine, maybe I’d be more empathetic to his plight. However, he has a relationship and child that are impacted by his choices. Many addicts display narcissistic tendencies, while very few are actually narcissistic personalities that’s why I suggested counseling.
    hope4healing and fromsheeptowolf like this.
  18. For me personal addict / addicted was always self-proclaimed. It was never a label that others put on me and would made them able to judge that I'm so and so because ...
    That's one of the reasons why I don't like your general claim. I don't know why you say it this way ... but fine, you'll have your reasons.

    As for a lack of empathy due to porn addiction, my personal experience is that, while I know I neglect others, don't accept responsibility, am not present, I tend to think that others don't care fo me and that I'm neglected. Don't know what to do with it yet, but it seems to be an infantile thing. Although many adults display it at times, I guess.

    But then I am not a father. And I'm single.
    Suggesting counseling was certainly a good idea!

    By the way, I don't think a narcissist would worry about his empathy and neglection of others. But then again that's speculation.
    Anyway, I think we have to be very careful with such a label. Even more careful than with the label "addict".
    Have a good day!
  19. BreakingDawn

    BreakingDawn Fapstronaut

    Is this journey your goal? If your SO was hit by a bus tonight, would you still follow through on your recovery?

    There is a word for people who make their decisions based on someone else's emotional processes: Codependent.

    I'm not here to diagnose you with anything. But I am here to say that codependency is not just a problem for women. It's a big problem for men, too. Your goals need to be your own. You need to have a clear sense of 'self' that is free from anxiety about what your SO is thinking/feeling.

    When your 'self' gets inappropriately tied-up in someone else's 'self,' we call that enmeshment. The solution? Learn how to draw boundaries. Have interests independent of your SO's opinions. Pursue goals (like a reboot) so as not to need the approval or input from anyone else.

    I would ask another question: Can you quit PMO?

    I've posted it elsewhere on this forum. I don't think PMO itself is always the problem. For many of us, PMO is the tool we use to run from our real problems.

    Discovering I had codependent habits in my romantic relationships was a huge eye-opener for me. That combined with some other self-evaluation helped me start addressing the emotional processes which I used sex and PMO to suppress. I still have a long way to go myself, but I wanted to provide that perspective in case it might be helpful.
  20. fromsheeptowolf

    fromsheeptowolf Fapstronaut

    This right here I feel is extremely important for everyone in relationships, not just addicts. My wife told me this same thing. It was a very hard pill to swallow, and did not make sense at first, but it has provided such a relief for me and my wife.

    I wish you all the best!

Share This Page