Here we go...

Discussion in 'Ages 40+' started by Sinner74, Nov 26, 2022.

  1. Sinner74

    Sinner74 Shame has been my identity for too long.

    OK, so where to start?

    This could be a monumental post as I have been addicted to porn for as long as I can remember. I can't beat it alone - that's clear. I can't beat it through therapy - I get the reasons and therapy has and continues to be invaluable, but it does not hold me accountable. And I fail to keep myself accountable - its like there is a split in me - one part is fully intend on being accountable and the other can press the 'fuck it' button five minutes later.

    Then there is the shame as I work in the field of mental health and yet cannot seem to get my house in order...

    Here's the background:

    I grew up in an outwardly middle class home with two parents (for a while). However, an undercurrent of sex ran through everything in the background. My parents never really spoke of sex (apart from my old man's crude jokes) and not much affection was shown between them. But then I would find sex books lying around like 'The Joy of Sex' from around age 6.

    I had a succession of uncles come to the house at weekends - turns out my parents were swingers and I eventually caught my mother making out with one of my favourite 'uncles' aged 8. I told my father and the proverbial hit the fan - my father and uncle fought, the cops were called and to cut a long story short my folks divorced. I always kind of blamed myself - what if I had said nothing?

    From 8 to 12 I was moved around a lot from country to country living with my father - my mother did not want custody nor seemed to bother with visiting - I saw her around one weekend a year from 8 to adulthood. I was very insecure and slept in my father's bed, even when he remarried (new wife slept in another room).

    All structure fell away and I was treated like a 'little adult' from then onwards. My father was very intrusive and essentially owned me: had I been a girl he would have overtly sexually abused me - as I was a boy he crossed most boundaries including masturbating in bed with me in there. He had money but would take me shoplifting and corrupt me generally.

    Catalogues of lingerie and stolen Playboys became a way of me channeling my anxiety and, I now believe, searching for a lost mother figure (sexualised one). I would masturbate to regulate my emotions and this progressed to doing so in risky and public places. I have stopped all this a long time ago - the public bit.

    My father was a sex/porn addict and I would come across his hardcore porn from the age of around 12. He once confiscated my Playboy type magazines when I was 14, lectured me and got a family friend who was a school principle to do the same (respect for women etc.) and then months later I walked in on him with MY magazines spread on his bed jacking off... I closed the door and we never spoke of it. Always double-standards.

    Since then porn has always been my 'go to'. The real problem came with the advent of high speed internet porn (I know this is familiar to so many of you) and I have mainlined this shit into my brain on a daily basis for the past 15 years or so.

    I am married, my wife is a good looking and decent women - she's not perfect but clearly nor am I. I have previously told her of my addiction and she listened but does not seem to really get it - I don't blame her.

    So here I am - later forties and compulsively using porn still - it's like it's all I know. From the outside all is well - house, job, marriage etc. Inside I feel like I am dying from shame. I stay up late - often until 2 -3 in the morning surfing porn and finding myself in places that disgust and fascinate in equal measure.

    I have PIED and can't have sex with my wife.... She thinks I don't desire her - I do, my brain is just messed up.

    Things have to change. I intend to post daily for support and accountability. I can't carry on like this.
    Thank you for wading through all that...
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2022
    Rudolf Geyse likes this.
  2. badger

    badger Well-Known Member

    my brother,
    you stated the answer in your post-"it's like all i know". how do you eat an elephant? one bite at a time. i have many years of porn inroads in my brain so it is not going to be fixed by next week. be patient. consistent, and most of all kind to yourself. we with shame berate ourselves a thousand times a day in our thoughts. yes your upbringing was tough. but we can't continue to blame our childhood or past on our current behavior. it is rationalizing and just giving us excuses for continuing to indulge in this filth. porn gives us a spectacular intense high, but at what cost. is it worth it. i have PIED from long use of porn. i have the same situation as you with my wife. i have found to treat her with respect ,not like the sluts i view in the porn videos, has helped our intimacy immeasurably. sometimes i can perform, other times no, but she knows i care for her. she doesn't know about the porn, she just thinks it's a normal part of aging, i'm 68 years old. and i will not confess to her my porn addiction, it will not help the situation but will only make it worse. then she will have a reason not to want to try sex with me and will blame me and porn for our problems.
    again to your "it's all i know". i needed to get a life. like you on the outside everything seems fine-professional, job, wife, kids, house, etc. but inside the shame, guilt, remorse, and fear of looking at people in the eye was killing me. so i needed to change porn for other positive activities. i am learning to play the piano and guitar. i suck at it but it's not about my proficiency in playing, it's about replacing porn. i exercise, swim, walk outside, read, watch sports on tv. you need to find something that grabs your interest and do it. the more i think of not doing porn-the more i think of porn. the idea is not to think about it at all. i can only have one thought in my mind at a time. today, it's about what can i bring to this moment that is positive. how can i help whoever is in front of me. how can i leave this situation better than i found it. whatever that my be. somedays it's moment by moment that i have to live. if you tell me where you fish, i will tell you what kind of fish you will get. so don't fish in the porn pond. simple but not easy. takes hard, long, persevering work. but worth it. hang in there my brother. enough of my old man ramblings. don't quit before the miracle.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2022
  3. Sinner74

    Sinner74 Shame has been my identity for too long.

    Badger - thank you for your kind and encouraging words. You are correct in everything you say and after my first post yesterday (which was years in the coming) I felt lighter and unburdened. I am not seeking to blame my childhood but there was something about seeing it all written down that struck me. The biggest challenge is to carve out a life of integrity when I grew up without one and had parents who have not lived with integrity.

    The hours wasted on porn are astonishing - I have gone a couple of weeks before without PMO and two things happened: I started to get physically excited by ordinary real women and I had some good sex with my wife which left me feeling alive and content. I can do it.

    For now I have to be strict - one of my big risk factors is staying up after my wife goes to bed and then using P. She often goes to bed relatively early and I get a buzz to of staying up - I tell myself it is 'me time' but I generally use it to act out and lose myself in P.

    Today has been a good day despite some anxiety and depression. I have meditated and shall now exercise. Day one achieved!
  4. Sinner74

    Sinner74 Shame has been my identity for too long.

    Day two down. My experience has always been that the first few days is relatively easy. I am always amazed at how productive I am when not using P - the hours I have wasted!
    Saville likes this.
  5. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    You have lots of great sex ahead you. Stay off the P and you'll be enjoying relations with the wife in no time.
  6. Sinner74

    Sinner74 Shame has been my identity for too long.

    Thanks for the support. I have noticed before that when I stay this journey I have a lot of energy and can struggle to know what to do with my myself - almost like an anxious energy.
    Trying to simply stay focused on work and tasks and getting to bed in time. The latter is a big one for me as as long as I am in bed next to the wife I won’t PMO. Heading off to my office late at night is deadly for me.
  7. path-forward

    path-forward Well-Known Member

    welcome Sinner74. You have most definitely come to the right place. And years earlier than people like me (62).

    your mention of late night trips to your office brought up many bad memories for me - as I also did that many times in my first marriage.

    please take your abstinence from PMO and ideally MO as well - a day at a time - celebrating each day’s victory.

    And as the very wise Mr Saville said, find other healthier diversions. Some simple examples:

    working out
    Watching sports or movies
    Playing online chess or other type games
    Texting or calling friends

    Journaling here - daily at least to start is very helpful

    you get the idea

    good luck on your journey and do not be too hard on yourself.

    If you ever fail - simply get back on the horse.
    Rudolf Geyse and Libertad like this.
  8. Sinner74

    Sinner74 Shame has been my identity for too long.

    I didn't post on Wednesday and that's when I fall off the very new wagon. Made it a few days down the road.
    Its like I am unable to tolerate feeling good in my body and good about myself for any length of time. Porn makes me feel shit and ashamed and yet I gravitate to it.
    So here we go again. I have good things and good relationships in my life and it seem to me that being on my own is dangerous.
    Gil79 likes this.
  9. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    You had to endure some really crazy stuff during childhood. No one deserves that. Have you ever been able to get in peace with all that? I mean can you more or less leave it behind you?

    Quitting porn is really worth it. Sometimes when things are going well, I deceive myself and tell myself P is not all that bad. And even I have been for months with a kind of 'low-level P-use' of once a week 'to blow off steam' and tell myself that that is ok. But you only realize how much it affect(s)ed you when you quite for longer periods. You will feel more in control of your life, your memory improves, so do your cognitive functions in general, you will be able to express yourself better, you can get in touch with your own feelings again, life quality improves with an order of magnitude. But you'll have to go through a lot of bad stuff as well to get there. One of those is what you describe with 'unable to tolerate feeling good'. It is difficult to gain new momentum in a place where we can feel good about ourselves and be comfortable with that and feel that we deserve that. Also, with increasing memory old feelings, charged memories and emotions will surface. That's a lot to deal with. And then there are the withdrawal symptoms that can last long and come up unexpectedly: irritability, anger, depression, intense sadness, etc. It is important to be aware of all that and you'll have to find a strategy for yourself. Have you read the book 'Your Brain on Porn' by Gary Wilson? I can really recommend it. I am re-reading it and it helps me a lot to be aware of all the stuff that happens in our brains during porn use and also when we quit porn.

    No need to be ashamed. You should be proud of yourself for coming here. You can do this!
    path-forward and Saville like this.
  10. Sinner74

    Sinner74 Shame has been my identity for too long.

    Thank for the supportive words.
    Re my childhood, I have sort of come to terms with it but still struggle a lot. My old man has been long dead but my mother is alive and lives not so far from me. I do the dutiful thing and see her every couple of weeks but she has never really explained how she was simply able to walk away from her 8 year old kid. To this day she will talk about 'the weather' but never asks anything about my life.
    You are correct about learning to tolerate good feelings - it's like I kind of expect the world to come crashing down at any minis - it won't and never has but that the expectation. I realise I grew up with an enormous amount of anxiety as a kid and had nowhere to take it.
    I have read Gary Wilson's book but it is certainly worth revisiting. Good suggestion.
    Yesterday was a good day but today I am filled with anxiety and fear - no idea why other than I woke up this way. The best way I know of dealing with this is to do my meditation and then get physical - workout and some heavy gardening. When I m in my body I don't tend to use P.
    The shame is the worst - its been there for as long as I can remember and to be honest I don't really know if it has come about through P or I sought out P due to the high levels of shame and self loathing...
    Anyway, its good to know I am not alone and that folks are reading and responding to my words - thank you for that.
    Today is a'one foot in front of the other' day.
  11. Sinner74

    Sinner74 Shame has been my identity for too long.

    OK, so I have been absent for a few days but been doing some real thinking about this. I have downloaded and installed a programme called Covenant Eyes on all my web devices. And, I plan to tell my wife tomorrow and ask if she will be my accountability partner. I am not going to go into how bad things have been for me but I know that if I access P then the software will catch it and secondly, she will get a report. I think this is enough to hold me in line. I also want to be able to be open and honest with her going forward and I think this is a way to do it.
    More tomorrow...
  12. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    I have used covenenant eyes for a while with an accountability partner. The problem is that I found ways to pass it or use other IADs. But as a first line of defense it does work well. Are you sure though that your wife would be a good accountability partner? Personally I like it better to have a more independent person who is not emotionally involved. You can better judge that for yourself ofcourse. Good luck!
    Sinner74 likes this.
  13. Sinner74

    Sinner74 Shame has been my identity for too long.

    You make a couple of good points. I am not sure about anything much in relation to all of this other than that I have to stop. I have to date found ways around every type of software I have installed. I welcome any suggestions that would be better than Covenant Eyes... I have OpenDNS on our router but find ways round it. I only have Macs and have tried adding sites to Terminal to stop me accessing them but I can easily remove them and so on. What I like about CE is that it feeds back to me via report what I have been doing and looking at.

    Re my wife as accountability partner - perhaps not ideal but I will feel the most shame if she were to see where I can end up in my P hazes. I have friends but none know about my problems and I don't see any frequently enough to hold me accountable. That probably raises another problem in that I have neglected friendships over the years and spend hours wasting time with P. Not unfamiliar to any of you I know.

    Today (Saturday) has been tough - not so much because of urges but more because of a nervous energy. Not knowing what to do with myself and with my time. P has been such a big part of my life for so long. I have used it to regulate my feelings, kill time so I don't need to get in touch with my real desires and to exhaust me so that I can sleep.

    I am trying to stay busy in healthy ways and can see how tough this will be. I have achieved a couple of weeks of sobriety before but that has been when on vacation and there is enough to distract me then. Daily life feels a bit empty...
  14. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    I personally think having your wife as your "accountability" partner is a bad idea. You are asking your wife to be a policeman and a mom.
    Sinner74 likes this.
  15. rabotaz

    rabotaz Member

    It’s inspiring to see your efforts Sinner74! Especially given the challenges you have experienced during childhood.

    I too tried covenant eyes and other softwares in the past - sadly they only helped me very shortly and I often wondered how some people may benefit from them and leave PMO behind thanks to them.

    My hope is that they will help you very much! I do however admit that when I read your plans it felt to me as if you were desperately hoping for outside sources to ‘make you stop’ with porn. And so you have considered accountability partners, your wife, softwares… you are hoping for these external influences too keep you under control. I think you hinted at the problem yourself: one may try and find ways around it. That probably shows that the problem is not external (unsatisfactory softwares or accountability partners) but internal.

    When my accountability plans failed, I asked myself why I couldn’t be myself accountable to my own actions? Shame alone in front of others didn’t help me - my problem has forced me to look at my problem and myself in the eyes again and again. With time I started journeying inwards to take a closer look at my inner failings.

    In a way I too had parents who weren’t much there for me emotionally. I wonder if the accountability plans are a way for some of us to seek (symbolically) external good parents who will put everything in order. It would be a fair request… though why cans we not build those healthier/functional parents within our person?

    As someone suggested already, make sure to take it a step at a time! Good luck.
    Sinner74 likes this.
  16. Sinner74

    Sinner74 Shame has been my identity for too long.

    Ouch - that's stung a bit but you are absolutely correct. I am, at the moment, seeking external scaffolding to hold me accountable as it is simply too easy for me to get into a state of mind and press the 'f*ck it' button. This scares me.

    I have not, on reflection, asked my wife to be an accountability partner. Something about it does not sit well and I think it is based on what has been suggested to me above.

    I felt a lot of anxiety over the weekend and my wife initiated sex on Sunday morning which I was initially very ready for physically and then lost my erection within no time at all. PIED is certainly with me...

    Oddly I feel much better today but it is Monday and I have work to keep me on track - I am unsure of what to do with myself at the weekend.

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