More to life

Discussion in 'Ages 40+' started by gettingtoknowmyself, Nov 4, 2017.

  1. gettingtoknowmyself

    gettingtoknowmyself New Member

    Day 1
    I thought I would try this out. Keeping a journal. I've looked at porn for many decades; since I was an eight year old kid and I found my dad's magazines. It's a generational thing. Once I talked to my dad about it and he said he had found his dad's magazines.
    I have been in therapy for a few years, and this is the main issue I deal with. But I haven't been able to make a lot of progress. Lately, I can go a day or two, but I slip back again.
    I feel much better when I don't PMO. That's why I want to quit. I feel much happier, more relaxed, more outgoing.
    When I PMO a few times in a day, my whole body hurts and I feel shut down with shame and self-pity. I am tired of it.
    It's like a persistent itch in the back of my brain, the desire to relapse.
    It hits me hardest when I have to do work I don't feel like doing; PMO is my most consistent form of procrastination -- it is a deferral of the feelings of frustration and difficulty and self-doubt I experience when I have work to do that I don't feel capable of doing -- especially when I know I will be evaluated.
    It occurs to me that PMO makes me feel like a little kid again. Especially when I have just finished and I'm shuffling through the apartment with my pants around my ankles. I even make a sort of blubbering sound with my mouth. I think this addiction contains some difficult to access trauma from childhood -- not any obvious, dramatic trauma -- just the everyday pain of neglect and lack of understanding, lack of warmth. The feeling that no one is interested, no one cares.
    I am always amazed at how the desire to PMO goes away when I am with other people consistently. It returns when I am by myself and there is the consistent question of why I have been left alone.
    Buddhist teachings help me a lot. They help me be tougher and at the same time more vulnerable than I have believed I can be. I can face loneliness, even appreciate it, but not because I am fleeing the heartache contained in it.
    PMO for me promises a way out of heartache -- but it doesn't work, the heartache is inevitable -- and when PMO is added in, it's heartache spiked with a sharp confusion.
    I would like to make friends with my basic state of dignity.
    I wish for a freedom from suffering for everyone on this site.
    Billy B. likes this.
  2. bobjes

    bobjes Active Member

    What a beautiful way to start your introduction. Reminded me of Tonglen practice.

    Dealing with this addiction for me seems to be about making friends with myself.

    Welcome on board, read peoples journeys and comment, good bunch of men here. Incredible support when you go through the hard yards.
    Billy B. likes this.
  3. seebs75

    seebs75 Member

    Your story sounds familiar. I lost my mother when I was young. I think PMO helped me to feel soemthing other than loneliness. I’m walking this out same as you. I’m just a couple Days ahead of you.
  4. gettingtoknowmyself

    gettingtoknowmyself New Member

    Thanks so much, bobjes. Yes, exactly, making friends with ourselves, and treating ourselves with respect and warmth. This is crucial for me.
  5. gettingtoknowmyself

    gettingtoknowmyself New Member

    Wishing you all the best, seebs75. Yes, when I think back on my life I remember so much loneliness. Then those memories turn into a self-loathing, or self-blame: "if I was better, etc., I wouldn't have ever been so alone." What Buddhist teachings have helped me see lately is how widespread loneliness is. There's nothing wrong with it, and nothing wrong with me for experiencing it. The work is to sit with it and accept it and then experience the strength that arises from it. The desire to reach out in a true way comes from the deepest well of loneliness. PMO for me is an impulse to banish loneliness from my mind, since I take it to mean that I'm not all right. Then, when the phantasmic images disappear, when there's no one actually there, hone I realize that, the loneliness is sharpened, and I don't anymore have the resources to confront it. It's like slapping myself in the face with loneliness rather than being with it -- again, making friends with it.
    Billy B. likes this.
  6. gettingtoknowmyself

    gettingtoknowmyself New Member

    Day 2
    Feeling fairly good today, and I'm happy to know this site exists and I'm grateful for the chance to talk with you others who have gone through the same things and are on the same path.

    One thing that's on my mind today is how much my addiction to PMO, from early in my life, was connected to anxious searching. When I first found my dad's magazines, when I was 7 or 8 years old, it was a complete surprise. I remember, actually the very first time I saw them they were actually hidden in the cupboard in the bathroom that my brother and I shared. My parents had another bathroom, and I guess he couldn't put them in there because he was afraid she would find them. Years ago, I talked with him about this and he said he had no recollection of putting magazines in our bathroom. I imagine it must have been one of those desperate, impulsive survival decisions one makes in the midst of addiction -- an exception, a contingency plan, in a life that begins to become all contingency plans -- so that it was not particularly memorable for him. For me it was momentous though. It was as if some alien artifact had dropped down into the middle of the ordinary place I brushed my teeth. I remember looking at those images and being fascinated and alienated at the same time -- I did not understand them. I still think my addiction to PMO is a continued attempt to unravel that initial confusion.
    Anyways, after those magazines disappeared I went looking for them, probably when my parents were gone. I would scour the house looking for them. Sometimes I would find them (or one) and sometimes I wouldn't. I remember finding them in many places -- cupboards, file cabinets, suitcases, underneath sweaters, in drawers. I think there was something about this inconsistent pattern of reward that made the magazines particularly consuming. I remember thinking even when I was a kid that the searching and finding was actually more compelling than the images inside. Of course, it all goes together -- the anxious searching, the feeling of special reward when something is found (later on it became about finding the right image or video) and then the trance of fantasizing, which removes me from all the daily disappointments and frustrations and griefs; there's also the intimate relationship with my own body (which unfortunately in PMO is not intimate enough, not very patient or warm since it is spiked with shame and an urgent desire to just get it done and over with) and then the momentary relief of O, for a few seconds, or a few minutes, a relaxation. This was especially important when I was a kid and I didn't know many other ways to have an affect on the way I was feeling -- later on I would discover drugs, and exercise, and other things to do to 'have an effect' on myself. Not that these are all bad. My therapist often says that PMO becomes a regulation tool; I think this is true. Regulating moods, emotions, physical states and energy levels.
    So, something about an attachment to anxious searching -- thats what's on my mind today. It's quite different from searching for an actual partner. That can be consuming as well, but then there's the possibility of rejection. With PMO there is none. This occurs to me: what if I was more aversive to shame than to rejection. Would I then be more occupied with searching for real life partners? I have had times where this was a preoccupation too, but it never had the obsessive energy of PMO. It's funny, because I often told myself that my addiction to PMO was due to the fact that I believed I could never find someone to be with -- despite the fact that I've had a steady sequence of relationships starting at 18, until I got married a few years ago. With all of these relationships, it didn't matter if the sex was good or not -- there was still my addiction to PMO in the background.
    In the course of my life, I have told one partner about my addiction to PMO. I told her towards the end of our relationship, which had lasted all through our 20s. She said it wasn't a big deal, that I shouldn't worry about it. She had always been fairly sex-positive -- wasn't shaming. I have worried, however, that she actually shamed me secretly in her mind; how could she not? It's amazing how hard it is for me to escape shame. This might be controversial, but I actually don't think PMO is a harmful thing on its own -- it's the shame that is attached to it. For me it will never not be attached to that shame, which is why the best possibility for me is to be sober, to refrain. I had a girlfriend 8 or 9 years ago who liked looking at P occasionally. She didn't seem to have any shame about it, She would even MO. She could talk about it openly like it was a normal part of life. This was amazing to me. Even though she talked about it sometimes, I never once told her that I looked at it too. So ironic; it would have been the easiest thing in the world to tell her about it, since she actually enjoyed it -- but even with her I was locked up in my shame.
    My wife is much different. She thinks P is hands-down bad. When she discovered I looked at she was angry and upset. It was very difficult to talk about since it was so charged for both of us. At first I denied it -- then I told her I did look at it occasionally. I still have not told her the extent of my addiction. She had an ex who, she said, was obsessed with it and watched it openly and wanted her to be like the people in the videos: with no boundaries and no inhibitions, totally available and wild. She felt like it was oppressive. I'm the opposite. I do not look at P openly, and I do not make those sorts of demands on her, at least not explicitly, or consciously. But I do make those demands under the surface. I want her to be available to me in the way PMO is. I do not want to have to face rejection. TO my child mind, rejection means that there is something wrong with me and even maybe that I am doomed. This feeling has been a mainstay in my life with my wife, who has rejected me in so many ways over the years. I have stayed with her, and I'm trying to figure out exactly why. It's partly because I knew I had to confront this, my addiction to PMO, and I didn't want to lose another relationship, and not be able to tell myself it was because of something else. The shame from my relation to PMO cuts me off from myself and makes me unavailable to her, yes, but it especially makes me unavailable to myself, and this makes me unhappy, shut down and timid. Then, the vacancy where I should be is filled with the fantasy of completely available women (the women in P).
    The point is I'd like to be totally available to myself. Not that I will be a completely open book to myself, not that I will know myself completely -- the mind, body and heart, the self, I think will always contain some mystery, a lot of mystery, in fact; there is an unconscious, only because there is an unknown future, and forgotten aspects of the past -- but I can be game for whatever arises in myself, whether that's grief or joy or loneliness or the vulnerability of love.
    Billy B. likes this.
  7. gettingtoknowmyself

    gettingtoknowmyself New Member

    Day 3
    Just a short one today. Difficult time. My wife wants a separation. She plans to move out of our house next week. I'm just trying to hold on. Fortunately, I have no desire to PMO and that is a good thing. This has been a long time coming -- we've been close to it many times, but I have always fought to keep us together. Now I see that I can't make her stay, can't change her mind. She has been pushing me away for years. So I am fairly prepared for this -- it doesn't come out of nowhere. But it is very sad. Today in my therapist's office, I sobbed. We had wanted to have a child. That didn't happen. It was within reach. Maybe it's for the best, but I am sad at the missed possibility.
  8. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    This is the crux of it, gtkm. When we start becoming available then others have access to us to.

    Sorry to hear about the separation. You are on your own path and sometimes people can't be a part of that. Without PMO in your life your life will become fabulous on many fronts. Welcome aboard!
    seebs75 likes this.
  9. bobjes

    bobjes Active Member

    gtkm, take it easy brother, be very gentle with yourself with the separation and all.
    The separation with unfulfilled child wish... I have been there a couple of times myself and it is excruciating.
    Sending you good vibes.
  10. gettingtoknowmyself

    gettingtoknowmyself New Member

    Thanks so much, Saville. It's true that we're on our own paths. And also, I feel much better, or at least more connected to myself, than ever before during a separation or breakup, including all of the times my wife and I came close to separating. I think during those past times the dread that I was just locked into this isolated addiction and I would just disappear into it more and more made me desperate -- but now I see there's a lot to do, a lot to experience. It does feel fabulous, actually. Not easy, but at least it's real and full of life.
  11. gettingtoknowmyself

    gettingtoknowmyself New Member

    Thanks so much bobjes. Wow, you guys are really kind. Yes the unfulfilled child wish is painful. Something about hearing that you have gone through it too -- really helpful. I wish you all the best today and every day.
    bobjes likes this.

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