Why Do I Struggle with Sexual Addiction (Part 1)?
April 15, 2021
Why can’t I seem to control my impulses?
Why do I always give in and feel horrible afterwards?
Why do I keep doing it when I know better?
Why does my life feel like a scene out of Groundhog Day?
Will I always struggle with choices that end up hurting my marriage and family?
These are just a few of the desperate questions I hear from men who have struggled with getting control of their sexual addiction. You can see the frustration, anxiousness, and defeat on their faces. They are down on themselves because though they desperately want to make different choices, more often than not, they’ve continued to go right back to their mistress called addiction.
Why do some people fall into addiction?
It isn’t always as complicated as you might think. It typically comes down to two things: self-esteem and coping skills.
Let me explain. Think of your self-esteem and coping skills as two cycles that feed off of each other. In this blog, I’ll discuss the first cycle – self-esteem.
The self-esteem cycle
The self-esteem cycle is the origin for sexual addiction. It is how we view and feel about ourselves. Our self-esteem is developed by our parents/caregivers and the environment in which we grew up, from the time we were infants until when we fly the coop. As we become adults, this internal belief system about ourselves is reinforced in the relationships we choose.
Unfortunately, those who struggle with sexual addiction (or any addiction) generally see themselves as not good enough – not a good enough husband, father, son, employee, etc. This core belief serves as the spark for an emotional downward spiral. When life begins to feel out of control, they search for an outlet to deal with, bury, or mask these overwhelming thoughts and feelings of inadequacy.
Your unwelcome house guest
You probably know exactly who I’m talking about. It’s our evil inner critic. We all have one. Some of ours are just bigger and stronger than others. The more self-critical our thoughts are, the more overwhelmed we feel. We may even get to a point where we decide life feels completely unmanageable. We look for relief, an easy ‘fix’.
What do we find? We find something that will provide immediate gratification and temporary escape. This gives Addiction a chance to make his grand entrance.
Does this sound familiar?
In Part 2, I’ll tackle the second cycle – coping skills. I’ll cover how our maladaptive coping strategies can hijack the brain and leave us even more vulnerable to addiction and sexual activities – and to regrettable life choices that deeply impact not only the addict, but all of those they love as well.
For those of you who are reading this and see yourself in these words, you don’t need to wait for Part 2. If you are struggling to make sense of the life choices you are currently making, let’s do something about it. We can help you find answers and a productive path forward that puts you back in control.
Use this link to set up a free 15-minute Discovery Call to ask questions and learn more about how we can help.
Sam John is a Licensed Professional Therapist and Certified Sexual Addiction Candidate at The Marriage Place where he specializes in helping couples rescue and repair their relationships and individuals to find freedom from sexual addiction and childhood trauma.
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ready to have a conversation?
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I bet many of you have already seen the recent Brene’ Brown video making the rounds where she calls out the myth of marriage being a 50/50 partnership.
I get asked a lot how to save a marriage when one spouse is leaning out or is contemplating divorce. Everybody’s situation’s different, but what I’m seeing a lot lately is very concerning to me.