Trying to remember why I shouldn't.

Discussion in 'Ages 40+' started by temporalmind, Sep 2, 2012.

  1. temporalmind

    temporalmind Guest

    I will start this very simply just so I start.

    My name is Phil, I am 50 years old and I have been soothing and escaping my fear of abandonment since I was in the crib.
  2. livefreeordiehard

    livefreeordiehard New Member

    Re: Total Overhaul

    Hi Phil.

    I also found out about myself that I got into that porn addiction mess, because I was too afraid of rejection. I'm working on it.
  3. temporalmind

    temporalmind Guest

    Re: Total Overhaul

    Thank you for the quick responses.

    I'll start at the end.
    For the first time in my life I can say that I am in recovery of my addictive behavior and emotional/thought patterns, and for the first time I see hope to succeed.
    I've been working with a good counselor, both individually and in a group, for about 6 months. In the process of working on learning to understand my addiction cycle I started making lists. I started, and continue to work on, a list I call "Thoughts and emotions that trigger my desire to view porn and masterbate". Anxiety is connected with them all. I've given my anxiety the name "the hijacker". In the past few months I've gotten much better at spotting the hijacker. I now realize that when I have anxiety about things like money, unpaid bills, my broken 28 year marriage, the fact that my beautiful wife and I haven't had sex for 2 years since she had a brief affair and all the images my porn driven imagination makes up, the hijacker pops his head up and says something like "Hey, that hurts! Don't think about that. Let's look at porn. It'll feel good and you'll feel better." But it never really does.

    Another list I've started is one I call "Reasons NOT to act out". (My "acting out" includes more than just PMO and I'm working on that list too) Until recently I found it impossible to put anything on a list like this that wasn't based on someone elses need for me to stop or out of guilt or shame. Finally I started to see personal ways that my behavior was harming me and how I might improve myself if I could stop. I'll share that list latter.
    Now I realize that in the past I was always trying to control the fire long after the house was well on it's way to burning down. Now I'm learning what the sparks and tinder are and keeping them apart to begin with. Much easier.

    A couple weeks ago my counselor suggested that I look at (I've been living there ever since) and I learned about the concept of neuroplasty. Now my goal is to reboot/remap/rewire my brain/mind for the first time in half a century and it's given me the hope that it is possible to stop my behavior and the damage it does to me and those around me.

    For a little added accountability I've registered on Reddit's "September No Fap Challenge". Both, this forum and Reddit, are a big step for me in a secret part of my life.

    So far so good.
  4. temporalmind

    temporalmind Guest

    Re: Total Overhaul 5 Days no PMO

    Day 5 of my first reboot.

    I want this to be my first and only reboot, never to return to PMO.
    On one hand I think I need to be realisitic and not beat myself up if I have to reset the counter.
    Or, is that a cop out and could I be setting myself up for failure thinking that way?

    I have never found any powerful motivation to stop PMO, until recently.
    Guilt and shame has never worked. Quiting for someone else has never worked, even though I wanted to.

    I am sort of a geek in that numbers, science, measurable results and self experimentation helps me set goals.
    Example: I have to be careful not to get obsessed with the scale when I want to lean out a bit, but it does give me a measurable goal. I know that the ideal measure of success with diet and exercise is ultimately how I feel, but that can be subjective from day to day.

    The idea that my brain could heal and rewire itself if I changed my behavior has given me that goal.
    I need to remember that the longer I can maintain this experiment the healthier I become.
    I will become mentally healthier and hopefully happier.

    Looking back I now know, without a doubt, that the things I have naturally done to sooth my sub-conscience fear have never made me happy.
    Porn, masterbation, overeating, controlling my spouse, overspending to fill that unfillable hole, have only left me feeling emptier.

    Rebooting is my starting point to putting that in my past.
  5. penguinmaster

    penguinmaster New Member

    Re: Total Overhaul

    Welcome Phil - it's an act of courage and honesty to start posting here, and in that, I congratulate you!

    You're starting from a good point being able to recognize those parts of your past that may have "driven" you to PMO. I'm reading "Living the Truth" by Keith Ablow and in the psychoanalytic tradition, he writes "I have found that all negative patterns of behavior and emotion are due to unexamined pain from the past intruding into the present." I'm about halfway through the book and in doing the exercises, am finally putting concrete words down on the page about the past sources of some of my insecurities, with social anxiety being a huge one. I'm also in therapy and on medications, but have not disclosed my PMO use to my current doctor... so I'm finding this book to be almost as good as actual therapy until I can muster up the courage to talk about it with her honestly.

    I hear you with the anxiety, and good job being able to make those lists! I'm a little afraid to make lists like those myself since I'm afraid it'll just make me feel more inadequate and/or trigger me to act out... maybe I'll tackle them in the coming days/weeks ???

    I think both are true: that it's a good attitude to make this reboot "the one" and really pour your energy into it, but also to set realistic expectations and realize it may not be. In my opinion, setting idealistic goals is setting yourself up for failure. You can't beat yourself up if you do fall off the wagon if you've been knee-deep in the PMO for so many years... change is difficult and the only lasting change is made gradually (apart from cutting yourself off from any access to porn! You must go cold turkey on this one!).

    And I can completely associate with you over the things to soothe subconscious fears - there are so many ways to distract your mind from what you are really feeling inside, it's tempting, it's comfortable, and it's effective in the short term. But just as you say, it's never really the answer and it'll drop you just as high as it brings you up.

    I look forward to following your journey :)
  6. temporalmind

    temporalmind Guest

    Re: Total Overhaul 6 Days no PMO

    Ok, I'm on day 6 of my first reboot and no PMO!
    That is in no way a record. There have been many times when, due to no private time and whatnot, I went that long or longer without,
    but it is probably the first time that I've gone this long (and I plan longer) and managed to say "no, I'm not going there" to myself by CHOICE.

    But this reboot must have me a bit wound up tonight.

    First, work has me away from home and in a hotel.
    So far I'm dealing with that: I went for a swim and now I'm out of the room and at a book store/ coffee shop to be around people and focus on recovery.
    and, Yes, I am successfully not letting my mind wonder around the women nearby.

    As the day progressed, and my plans to stay here took shape, I sent 3 texts to my wife to let her know that it was a possibility that I might not get home tonight and then I let her know that I was staying and where I was staying.
    Completely upfront and truthful.
    But no responses from her all day. No surprise. That's the way it's been for the past two years.
    She often ignores my texts and says she was busy and just didn't see them, meanwhile I know she's texting the kids

    Then she called me a few minutes ago demanding explanations like I hadn't told her anything and I was up to something.
    She got the f**king texts. She's just unwilling to even try to trust me.
    In my addiction and my fear of abandonment I consistently lied to cover up my acting out.
    It's becoming clear to me that the lying is a big part of the addiction and more damage to our relationship than the porn.
    On the other hand she's the one who had affairs. She's the only person I've ever been with.
    As I tried to answer her attack, and at the same time stand up for myself, she hung up on me.

    ANXIETY! The Highjacker's trying to get my attention. "Hey, let's go!"

    Right now I'm convinced that my wife is my recovery's worst enemy. (well, maybe the Highjacker is)
    She doesn't want to know anything about it and I know she doesn't understand this addiction but thinks she does.
    The concept of "an inevitable relapse as part of the recovery process" will not fly with her.
    She grew up with alcoholics.

    Someday I want to be totally honest with her about everything but not yet. She's not safe.

    I want the mental rewards for making it through this day with my "no PMO" intact.
    It's definitely a big fat clear example of the kind of crap that drives me to self sooth.
  7. temporalmind

    temporalmind Guest

    Re: Total Overhaul 6 Days no PMO

    I have to back peddle on something I said earlier tonight in my previous post.
    As I sat in the bookstore coffee shop my starving mind played a cruel joke on me.
    Every other women I saw seemed to me to be the hottest women I'd ever seen.
    Most of them were young enough to be my daughter.
    That just left me feeling old and pathetic.

    Then I had a thought: Could it be possible that, in my mind, the beauty I see in a women could ever be somehow separated from seeing her as an object for sexual fantasy?

    I want that to be possible. I want those sort of connections in my mind to be weakened.
    I want to see and be able to relate to women as people. Not get anxious and tongue tied.
    I want to be able to recognize and appreciate a woman's beauty and not instinctively go "schwing".
    Reboot continues...
  8. penguinmaster

    penguinmaster New Member

    Re: Total Overhaul 7 Days no PMO

    That's a tough situation with your wife but it does sound like both of you had things going on that weren't the best... I'm no counselor and I don't have a wife or kids, but I think you and your attitude and resolution to change are really important regardless. Maybe your counselor or group therapy can help too - I found it extremely useful to have someone I could call and lend a supportive ear (even if, at the end of the day, I was paying for that ear!).

    I'm also finding that "every woman is the hottest woman I've ever seen" - both younger and older, but definitely more towards the younger spectrum. This is probably a consequence of the porn - I'm not sure about you, but most of what I watched was of the "barely legal" variety and so I have a predilection for younger girls. I too hope to be able to stop objectifying women and appreciate women around my own age, but it may be awhile until then. In the meantime, when these thoughts come up, I'm trying to just be aware of them, not judging myself or being overly harsh, and trying to calm/relax myself if possible. I'm also trying to look at everyone - men, women, young, old - so that it's just "noticing people" rather than "staring at a hot girl."
  9. temporalmind

    temporalmind Guest

    Total Overhaul 8 Days no PMO

    Day 8 of my reboot. There have been some rough moments where I find myself edging but I've been able to back away.
  10. temporalmind

    temporalmind Guest

    Re: Total Overhaul (Day 0)

    I need to reset my counter to 0.
    I need to think and write and learn something from this relaps.
    I'm going to get back on and not let this become a binge or beat myself up for it.
    I'll be back
  11. penguinmaster

    penguinmaster New Member

    Re: Total Overhaul (Day 0)

    I second that! You do need to reflect and figure out what triggered it, whether writing here or on paper or in your head - IMHO, if you can't figure out what caused it, you can't do much to prevent it from happening again...
  12. temporalmind

    temporalmind Guest

    Re: Total Overhaul (Day 0)

    I'm back to stay.

    I now know that my most powerful triggers by far have to do with my relationship with my wife.
    I have periods that I can't seem to stop obsessing about her infidelity which lasted about a month and ended almost 2 years ago.
    I discovered it within about a week after it ended and she confessed shortly after I confronted her about it.
    We haven't touched each other since. She won't allow it.
    I have video images I've made up in my head that, unfortunately, both piss me off and, sadly, from certain porn driven points of view, arouse me.
    I hear phrases from their emails I really wish I hadn't seen.
    I've known her 30 years and she said suggestive things in the emails I've never heard her say.

    We're still together but live like roommates in separate bedrooms.
    To make matters worse I still very much love her and want a healthy, intimate relationship with her someday, including sex.

    I'm sure some of you think I'm in denial and it's too late to save this. That might be true.

    I've come to realize that I have always had a difficult time thinking of compliments that weren't related to her physical appearance in some way.
    Certainly a side effect of my porn addiction.
    My brief 8 day reboot has already shown my that this can change.
    She is a beautiful women and she doesn't look her age.
    I'd rather work thinks out with her than start over with someone new. (I have a pathetic fear that I won't find someone new, low self esteem)
    But so far she hasn't allowed our relationship to move forward, partly I think because she doesn't believe I'll change.
    So far I guess I've proven her correct with my failed reboots. (She doesn't know anything about my reboot or relapse.)

    She cheated and I was put in the dog house because of my addiction. So backwards, but I let it happen
  13. temporalmind

    temporalmind Guest

    Day 4 NO PMO

    This is day 4 w/out PMO.
    This addiction is not really about porn and food. It's really about anxiety, worry and fear bubbling from the subconscious.
    I told my wife about this and that the most potent source of anxiety for me is my worry about our relationship and that I really have a legitimate need for her to truthfully talk to me.
    I know that trust can't be forced but I had to be honest with her or it felt like it would drive me nuts.
    She appeared to understand and accept this, which is a step forward.

    I know I'm still very early in my reboot process but I already feel I have the ability to be more honest and clear with her at a level I never have before.
    The sad truth is she has never known me without the influence of porn on my brain and subconscious thinking.
    This will be a rough ride but no matter how it ends it will be worth it.
  14. Dangerous Dave

    Dangerous Dave I don't need a weapon; I am a weapon.

    If your wife has never known you without the influence of P on your mind & body, then you have reason to be very hopeful. As you heal as a man, she will notice it. I think that will only help your marriage. As long as you don't quit, your future with her is brighter. I wish you well.
  15. temporalmind

    temporalmind Guest

    Deleting the porn.

    Day 5 w/out PMO. Very perceivable ups and downs.
    For the most part PMO has been on my mind much less.
    Occassionally I feel like "how the f am I going to resist a relapse". So far inconvenience has been my ally.

    I have been deleting all my hidden porn collections. This has been a hard thing to do, as many other guys have mentioned.
    I realize, partly while doing this process and observing myself recently, that a big part of my addiction is collecting the images I like.
    I often didn't go back and use them again but I think I felt a security in keeping them and having them "just in case".
    This may seem unusual but I found that some of the images that were my favorite and most arousing were ones from the 70's and 80's, before I went digital.
    Anyway, I have been finding folders and Truecrypt containers that I had stashed at as backup and it has been a bit painful to say "good bye".
    It's also been tempting to relapse when I open them, which I've learned not to do.

    But I want the benefits of the reboot so "flush', they're gone
  16. penguinmaster

    penguinmaster New Member

    Re: Deleting the porn.

    Great job! This is a huge step on the road to recovery... clearly both of us have been away from the board for awhile, come back when you have a chance!

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