The Cycle of Shame and the Clues Left Behind
(aka: porn makes me feel good, but not at all)
So you find yourself with some time alone, maybe your spouse has gone to the grocery store or is away for the day…and although you promised yourself you had quit watching pornography and masturbating (after the last time) the familiar temptation returns. You begin fighting it but your thoughts quickly turn to that last porn scene you watched, how much it excited you, and how you could go and watch it again right now if you wanted.
As you engage with these thoughts you feel yourself becoming aroused at the prospect. Thoughts such as “I have been working hard and I deserve some fun, is it really that bad, everybody is doing it anyways” start creeping in and become louder. Before you know it, you are back on the website that has your favourite porn scenes searching for the one you want. In the moment you make a deal with yourself “OK just one more time and that will be it, this time I mean it.” Then you do your thing and cover your tracks.
A few minutes ago, you knew you didn’t want to “do the deed” because you quit. But you found yourself there anyways. Almost immediately after closing the browser window, you experience familiar emotions…
Disappointment “why am I so damn weak every time?”
Shame “what if my spouse finds out, what does God think of all this?”
Hopelessness “I will never get this right, I am such a failure.”
After sitting with these feelings for a while (maybe days) another thought creeps in… “I already feel like a piece of crap, so I may as well watch more pornography, masturbate, and at least feel good again for a few minutes.”
THAT MOMENT OFFERS US AN IMPORTANT CLUE – Let me explain.
After watching porn and masturbating the first time in this story, you experienced disappointment, shame, and hopelessness. Eventually you went back to pornography to help you cope with this discomfort “I may as well feel good again for a few minutes.”
How many times in your life have you felt some kind of emotional discomfort and turned to pornography?…hundreds?…thousands? You have learned through repetition that porn can offer some very effective temporary relief – it does work for a few minutes. But the effect always wears off and the emotions return (hence, the “temporary” descriptor).
As part of the counselling process in getting past pornography addiction, it is important to gain an understanding of your comfort seeking patterns and explore the source of these uncomfortable emotions. As these are recognized and resolved, you can begin healing and changing how you cope in your life. If this story sounds all too familiar, I encourage you to take your first step toward breaking this cycle and reach out for counselling support today.
Hope. Heal. Change.