Time to heal

Discussion in 'Ages 40+' started by forlorn, Nov 28, 2018.

  1. forlorn

    forlorn Active Member

    I'm a 42 year old male with a history of sexually compulsive behaviour spanning 25 years.

    The two biggest traumas that come to mind from my youth were being bullied at school (I was sexually naive compared to others) and almost losing my mother to illness when I was 16. Other than that, I had a fairly happy childhood. In later years through college and throughout my twenties I suffered a series of painful rejections from women. I have some fetishes which have always made me feel like a weirdo and an outsider. I've always had a thing for pretty feet - and humiliation.

    Masturbation and porn started off with lifestyle magazines and fantasy novels. Then the internet came along. I was initially hooked on the chat rooms. After college I moved out, got my own computer and made sure I had lots of privacy. I soon lost interest in reality. The years rolled by.

    Then came the strip clubs, escorts, cash meets. I've put those real life encounters behind me now but I was never able to give up porn. In between all that, I got married but our sex life never materialised due to my inability to get it up/in. In the meantime my secret porn use continued, my tastes morphed and the content became more graphic.

    It's got to the point where it's making me miserable, irritable, frustrated and ashamed of my behaviour.

    Over the next few months I aim to document my journey as I take the time to heal. I will learn to accept myself for who I am, forgive myself for the past, deal with shame, learn emotional management and strive towards becoming a better man.
     
  2. Boxer17

    Boxer17 Active Member

    Welcome aboard sir. This is a good place to sort out ones thoughts and get insights from others
     
  3. forlorn

    forlorn Active Member

    Everyone around me seems to be angry and stressed lately and I'm caught in the middle, acting as a mediator. It's adding to my anxiety but I am reminding myself that it will soon pass. I need to get through these difficult first few days, build momentum and consider strategies for filling the void that porn has left behind. Right now I feel empty and numb, I want the world to leave me alone but I'm being pestered by people from all angles and getting countless notifications on my phone.

    For me, this healing process must begin with self forgiveness. I acknowledge that the past is the past. Dwelling on it won't change anything. I'm not proud of some of the choices I've made but they are in the past. From now on, I will focus on the future as it's the only thing I can change. I will be careful not to set unrealistic expectations. Chances are I will experience setbacks along the way, there may be relapses but I will do my best to go easy on myself and carry on moving forwards. Everyone makes mistakes, sometimes you have to make them to grow as a person. As of next week I am starting some volunteer work, it could be challenging but I'm excited about it and hope it will help me to feel good about myself. The process of self forgiveness will be partly mental/emotional and partly based on taking actions, i.e. helping others as well as looking after myself
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2018
  4. forlorn

    forlorn Active Member

    A list of reasons why I want to put an end to my addictive behavior:

    So I can feel free
    To have inner peace
    To improve my marital relationship
    So I can look people in the eye
    To gain self confidence
    To feel desirable and masculine
    To feel in control of the direction of my life
    Improve my finances
    Face up to my fears
    To grow as a person and learn how to manage emotions
    To have a sexual relationship
    So my wife feels loved and appreciated
    To make the most of the time I have

    I've observed a something about myself over the past few days. In social encounters I tend to over disclose. Nothing inappropriate but maybe I share too openly the minute details of my life. Perhaps I'm doing this to be liked or to gain approval. I have a habit of repeating the same stories to those I encounter rather than being spontaneous.

    Does anyone know how I can upload an avatar? No matter what type/size of image I use, I get a message saying 'An error occurred. the image could not be processed by the server.'
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2018
  5. Boxer17

    Boxer17 Active Member

    Good on you. Sometimes having a purpose is great help
     
  6. forlorn

    forlorn Active Member

    Thanks for your support Boxer. Yes, doing this volunteering work is giving me a sense of purpose and helping me to see problems beyond my own. There are quite a few other volunteers at the site, many of them younger than me. They've mostly been friendly and welcoming and I have interacted with them well. There was one girl who I found to be quite hard work and yesterday after she put down a newspaper I picked it up and started attempting the same puzzle that she had been working on. Upon her return, she asked for the newspaper back in a passive aggressive way. I felt embarrassed. I hadn't realised it belonged to her and I don't think she wanted any hep with the puzzle. Afterwards I felt bad about the awkwardness between us.

    It made me realise I have this thing where I kind of want everyone to like me - or at least I want to feel as if get along well with everyone. Now I've reflected on it, I suppose it doesn't matter if I see eye to eye with everyone. There will be some people that don't like me, that's fine. In the coming weeks, I will be exposing myself to emotions that I've previously suppressed and overridden by porn. I will deal with difficult emotions and learn how to cope with them. I will accept them instead of trying to hide and pretend they don't exist.
     
  7. Boxer17

    Boxer17 Active Member

    I know what you mean about interacting with people. It can be a minefield sometimes
     
  8. learningOrder

    learningOrder Member

    Hi Forlorn, welcome to the forum. I relate to your struggle - both with P but also with the compulsion to be the mediator and to avoid conflict.

    There is a very worthwhile book called No More Mr. Nice Guy by Robert Glover that I have read several times that might be relevant. There is a lot to unpack in the book --> but it has a lot about how many men are friendly and outwardly helpful because they are insecure and want people to like them.

    Best of luck!
     
    Boxer17 likes this.
  9. forlorn

    forlorn Active Member

    Thanks for the book recommendation, sounds like it may relate to me, so I will be sure to take a look.

    For the next few days I am setting myself the challenge of facing uncomfortable emotions and painful truths. I will try to spend time reflecting on my current situation and learning to accept the reality. The idea is to train my brain to cope with anxiety, boredom, stress and perhaps uncover other emotions that I have been suppressing.
     
    seebs75 and Boxer17 like this.
  10. seebs75

    seebs75 Member

    So I can feel free
    To have inner peace
    To improve my marital relationship
    So I can look people in the eye
    To gain self confidence
    To feel desirable and masculine
    To feel in control of the direction of my life
    Improve my finances
    Face up to my fears
    To grow as a person and learn how to manage emotions
    To have a sexual relationship
    So my wife feels loved and appreciated
    To make the most of the time I have


    This is my exact list as well. I feel like I’ve forgotten how to be a normal person.
     
  11. forlorn

    forlorn Active Member

    It's been a good week overall. Triggers have been easy to manage, I've simply dismissed them as soon as they arrive. Emotionally I have been fairly stable and I am slowly trying to leave myself exposed to uncomfortable emotions so that I can make peace with them. However, in some ways I have been a little out of sorts and it's led me to do a couple of inappropriate things at work. For example I was working with a client and noticed she was displaying signs of drug use so I asked her if she used coke last night. She denied it and got offended. I'm fairly certain I'm right but nevertheless I should not have mentioned it at all, it was unprofessional of me to even suggest it. I should have kept my thoughts to myself.
     
  12. forlorn

    forlorn Active Member

    I've made a monumental fuck up. The comments I made about coke use to the work client have come back to bite me. I foolishly confessed my own drug use to her which she has also reported. I had to own up to my employer when they asked me if I made the remark. Now I have to play the waiting game and hope there aren't further repercussions. I can't get it off my mind and am literally thinking about it constantly, I have a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach. This is a test, of my ability to handle anxiety and deal with uncomfortable emotions. I'm learning the hard way that I must be wary of over disclosure.

    The weekend has also taught me another valuable lesson, specifically that I need to be more careful around my consumption of alcohol. I'm not a daily drinker but I tend to overindulge on weekends and it's become more of a problem over the last 6 months. After the dopamine rush of the alcohol wears off (at the end of the night or the following day) I feel anxious, low and in need of a high. Quite often in these cases there's a higher chance I will self medicate with a sexual high.

    So all in all a bad couple of days but the important thing is, I am going to learn from these mistakes. No matter what happens, I will get through this. Even if I lose my job I will find another one.
     
    seebs75 likes this.
  13. Doofus

    Doofus Active Member

    Eeek! I'm sorry, Forlorn. That sucks. The good news is that with the way in which the opioid epidemic has been covered, drug use no longer means you will lose your job - plus, the economy is in pretty good shape at the moment. It will likely take more than telling a client about your (past?) use of drugs to get fired.

    In any case, hang in there. This is a lot of stress, but remember, niether P nor M will change reality. It might enable you to feel better for a moment, but you'll feel worse than you would have after. Instead keep writing here. I know it helps me to do so.
     
  14. forlorn

    forlorn Active Member

    I am still in the process of training my brain to handle uncomfortable emotions and feelings such as boredom, isolation, rejection, fear of failure, anxiety. It could take several months but the important thing is that I become more aware of emotions/uncomfortable truths and that I feel and accept them instead of hiding from them. Sometimes I wish it were tomorrow, or the weekend or wish it were the day I'm going on holiday.

    I long for a feeling of contentment/happiness in my life, but this won't come about through hope alone. I need to learn how to be happy. I recognise there can never be a continuous state of happiness but I suspect a level of contentment can be achieved through continuous positive actions and changes in the way I perceive myself and the world in general. As well as experiencing and reflecting on my emotions I aim to highlight in the coming weeks a few values/principles in my life which I wish to strengthen and use as a basis to gain fulfilment from.


    Thanks for your support and you're absolutely right, neither P or M would have changed the reality of the situation. Fortunately it seems that someone at my work had my back. They were able to smooth things over with the client about my inappropriate comments and hopefully this will be the end of it. I still have that horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach but I'm sure it will pass.
     
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  15. Boxer17

    Boxer17 Active Member

    So good to hear. Hopefully you dodged a bullet
     
    forlorn likes this.
  16. forlorn

    forlorn Active Member

    Another day clean and another day reflecting on painful feelings. I have felt a little low and anxious but it's inevitable, it's just part of the withdrawal.

    I'm reading a book by Ray Dalio in which the author talks about his experiences and some lessons he's learned throughout his life. The book is full of wisdom but it's a difficult read and hard to absorb in parts (it's one of those where you have to re-read several times for it to sink in). I'll list a few points from the current chapter below:

    1) Don't confuse what you wish were true with what is really true - Dalio suggests looking at nature to learn how reality works. He says humans are unique at being able to look down on reality from a higher perspective. Other species have much simpler lives. He states that we humans often struggle to balance our emotions (which come from the animal part of our brain) with reasoning (which comes from the more developed part of our brains). This struggle causes us to be confused with what we want to be true versus what is actually true.

    2) Don't worry about looking good - worry instead about achieving your goals - the constant drive towards learning and improvement makes getting better innately enjoyable and getting better fast exhilarating. Most people think they are striving to get things (cars, bigger houses, money, status etc) that will make them happy but for most people those things don't supply anywhere near the long term satisfaction that getting better at something does. Once we get the things we are striving for, we rarely remain satisfied with them. The things are just the bait. Chasing after them forces us to evolve and it is the evolution and not the rewards that matters to us. This means that for most people success is struggling and evolving as effectively as possible.

    3) Don't overweight first-order consequences relative to second-and third-order ones - this is an interesting point, here the author talks about making decisions based on the first-order consequence (first-order consequences often have opposite desirabilities from second-order consequences). EXAMPLE. The first order-consequence of exercising (pain & time spent) are commonly considered undesirable, while the second-order consequences (better health, more attractive appearance) are desirable. Another example is food that tastes good is often bad for you and vice versa.

    4) Don't let pain stand in the way of progress. Dalio states that "PAIN + REFLECTION = PROGRESS". Pain is a signal that you need to find solutions so that you can progress. The challenges you face will strengthen you. If you're not failing, you'e not pushing your limits, and if you're not pushing your limits, you're not maximising your potential. Go to the pain rather than avoid it. Develop the habit of embracing the pain and learning from it.

    5) Don't blame bad outcomes on anyone but yourself - whatever circumstances life brings you, you'll be happier and more likely to succeed if you take responsibility for making decisions instead of complaining about things that are beyond your control
     
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  17. Signup

    Signup New Member

    Thanks and yes self forgiveness is the first step of healing please explain more about how to know and avoid unrealistic expectation and how to manage stress
     
  18. forlorn

    forlorn Active Member

    PAIN + REFLECTION = PROGRESS.

    For as long as I can remember I have been running away and hiding from the real world. Always looking for a form of escapism or the next distraction, be it through porn, alcohol, drugs, TV, holidays, whatever.

    It's that feeling of being wrapped up in cotton wool, feeling safe, albeit in a delusion fantasy land where real problems are never addressed and progress is not made.

    I am looking at some of the things that cause me emotional pain, some recent, some historical.

    I went through my bank statements yesterday and was horrified at the amount of P related payments I've made. Pretending it didn't happen won't change the fact that it has happened. I have to come to terms with it. It's important to accept this truth as my finances are not in a great state right now. I feel ashamed at the P I have looked at over the last decade or so, it's degrading and harmful to my self esteem. My PE is a source of discomfort and is one of the reasons why I avoid sexual contact. Then there's the rejection and bullying I mentioned in my first post above (more on this later....)
     
  19. Doofus

    Doofus Active Member

    My story is very similar to yours. Was bullied in elementary and junior high school. I've used both porn and alcohol as a way to escape. I really don't have any brilliant advice, I guess. Just wanted you to know there are others here in the same boat.

    Also, and this is something I've been thinking hard about the last week or so, is that, though I'm making progress on the PMO front, I'm regressing on the alcohol front. Are you trying to kick everything at once? Maybe that's what it takes.... When I thought about it at the outset of my no PMO streak, it just seemed overwhelming.

    Also, random question: What's PE?

    Finally, congrats on 16 days! Rooting for you!
     
    Boxer17 likes this.
  20. forlorn

    forlorn Active Member

    Thanks for your support.

    PE = premature ejaculation. I have faced this frustrating problem during sexual encounters, it's to do with anxiety or perhaps the way I've trained my body to respond. There are things I can do to gain better ejaculatory control such as kegel exercises and the stop-start method (teaching myself how to last longer and recognising the crucial 'point of no return'). Although currently I'm staying away from M.

    To continue on from my last post where I was analysing fears/uncomfortable truths, I was bullied in my youth and part of this was to do with my sexual naivety. I also faced some difficult public rejections from girls. I write this not to feel sorry for myself, but to bring conscious awareness of it and allow myself to face up to and accept uncomfortable feelings.

    Finally, I think I have a slight fear of ageing. Both for myself and that of my parents. Dwelling on my own ageing makes me feel uncomfortable partly due to the fact I haven't fulfilled my potential.

    I'm highlighting some of my fears/problems as writing them down helps me to process them. I am going to the pain rather than avoiding it. I will embrace it and realise that uncomfortable feelings won't kill me, I do not need to mentally escape or to medicate through P/alcohol.
     

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