This topic of porn addiction comes up so much.
And I say: where else is a better place to discuss it than here? This is one loving and smart community where we attempt to tackle life's problems in the best way. So let's do this.
First of all, love you. All of you. Those who are addicted to porn. Those who dabble in it. Those who love it. Those who hate it. Those who are married to a porn addict and want to learn how to remain whole. Those who don't think it's a big deal. Those who feel it's ruining their relationship or self worth.
I don't see this as an "us" against "you" situation. Porn is everywhere. It affects every. single. one. of us. We need to ALL be in this together. It will take all of us to be on the same team if those who need help, acceptance, love, and connection are going to receive it. Know that if anyone is struggling out there, you have my love and acceptance. I love and accept you just the way you are.
A few friends awhile back wanted to talk about porn. Their husbands are addicted and the men wish they weren't. The wives have a past of reacting with disgust, fear, anger, disappointment. The husbands feel immense shame.
And since this is a blog about personal empowerment (and also a blog about love :), this post is all about changing YOUR behavior and YOUR response. Because that's all anyone can do. Here is my advice to women and men in this situation. This is the GOODS:
Reset Your Pattern.
As in, reset your pattern of communicating, shaming, reacting, perceiving, judging, blaming, horriblizing.
Because as we all should know, we cannot control another person. All we can do is control ourselves and try to be true to who we want to be...and try to provide an environment for healing. If healing is going to take place, it will have a better chance of happening in a healing, loving environment.
You see, when you react with disgust and disappointment, it strips someone of their humanity. It can lead to shame, dishonesty, hiding, defensiveness, self-hatred, avoiding, distance, and giving up.
It does not lead to an environment where healing and authentic connection can take place. And I think it's safe to say it doesn't lead to you being the kind of person you aspire to be.
When you react with fear and anger, it lets your spouse know that YOUR self worth and YOUR happiness are based on THEM; THEIR behavior determines your womanhood and sexuality; THEIR behavior determines your attractiveness; THEIR behavior determines your security and happiness.
When this is the cycle, you treat someone more like an object to satisfy you and less like a human being.
Putting someone under that kind of pressure is like putting them in the biggest pressure cooker in the world.
And it will never, ever, ever end well.
It does NOT lead to the connection, openness, kindness, honesty, and oneness that you desire.
So, How To Get Started on Reseting A Pattern?
Ha. I have a lot to say on this. Our ENTIRE Retreats are dedicated to doing this very thing. I'll write just the tip of the iceberg here:
1. Recultivate your self worth. Own it. Release your spouse from being responsible for your self worth. This way your worth won't feel threatened if something goes wrong. Genius, right? It's life changing, let me tell you. You are enough just as you are! You MUST believe that! Your worth is not dependent on your spouse or your marriage. (I've written a ton about self worth. Read up HERE. Lots of tips and immediate applications available at our Retreats.)
2. Take the lesser identities of marriage, spouse, lover, and religious beliefs/rules OFF OF THE PEDESTAL. That's right, take your marriage and religion off of the pedestal. Do you want to be a wreck because these lesser identities are not working out and being fulfilled, or do you want to tap into your TRUEST identity and be a woman/man aligned with LOVE- in other words, someone who knows how to react to life with love, no matter what? It's possible to offer love because that's who you want to be. It's possible to teach your children how to react to life with love. This is the stuff that changes the world!!! (Want more? Read this post about Identity. Identity is truly the key to EVERYTHING in this life.)
What Does A New Pattern Actually Look Like?
It looks like pursuing a hell of a lot of virtues, that's what.
But it is so worth working on this. No matter what happens to your relationship, by cultivating virtue YOU will be full of the light and liberation you desire.
LOVE - learning to offer and embody a love that is not conditioned on behavior will be one of the greatest gifts you'll give yourself and those you love and seek to help.
COMPASSION - is the feeling/virtue that arises when you see the suffering of another individual and feel motived to relieve that suffering. This will require you to look outside your own suffering and pain to see that your loved one is likely not doing too well themselves.
GRATITUDE - that you have a reason to show your partner that your love includes acceptance of their humanity, and that all challenges are an opportunity to bring the two of you closer together. This just might be the very challenge that inspires you to change your life, and to see your own worth, and worth of all human beings.
PATIENCE - with mistakes. We all make mistakes. Just as we hope people have mercy on us, may we have mercy on others.
THE LANGUAGE OF LOVE - "I believe in you. I love and honor you. I will not judge or condemn you. I thank you for all the good in you. I know you. And I love who you are." Spoken sincerely, this can lead to someone feeling like their humanity and worth has been remembered. Their connection with loved ones is intact.
Will Setting a New Pattern Lead to Healing?
It may not always help to heal another person, but it will always, always lead to healing YOU.
And if anything WILL help your spouse and your marriage by creating a more safe and authentic environment, it will be this new pattern that will do so. Though, of course, this will require some consistency against opposition. Because likely the old communication patterns are really ingrained in the two of you and old patterns will come up again and again. A new pattern likely needs to be in place for quite some time before another person will trust it.
Ok, that's it for the tip of the iceberg today. If any of this resonates with you or piques your interest, I cannot recommend our Retreats enough. Come this October you will learn and relearn and have the opportunity to actually practice skills that will help you to heal from situations just like this - and many, many more.
Sending love. Sending hope. Sending PEACE to each and every one.
Do any of you have any comments or thoughts to share? If you're experiencing porn in your marriage, let us know how you're doing. And have you found any successful ways or perspectives that are helping you to remain whole?
Take a leap and register now for our Body+Soul Camp retreat in Ecuador Oct. 11-17. I *promise* you that you won't regret it and that it will be a week of a lifetime. I think it's safe to say that our guests would tell you to do anything you could to get there. Testimonials coming.