There are lots of people out there diagnosing “pornography addiction” that have no right to do it. The DSM currently has no diagnosis that meets the definition of pornography addiction, although the ICD does.
The issue is that many individuals are diagnosed by their partner, clergy, or themselves.
This climate makes it easy for myths to be introduced and accepted. Here are 4 myths that many clients struggle with:
- You are not in control of your actions
- You are excused from consequences since you are an “addict”
- Your actions deserve compassion
- Not looking at pornography means you are healed
Myth 1: You are not in control of your actions
Most addicts to pornography keep their jobs. They have social standing. They have friends. They are able to keep it a secret for many years from even their spouse or partner. Does that seem like the kind of person that lacks control?
When an individual who uses pornography, even though it goes against their moral code or the commitments they made to their relationship, decides to act out they take several steps. The find a time and location that makes it very unlikely that they will be caught, they often have to get around software prevention, they usually perform some kind of ritual that times longer than an impulsive few minutes, they then clear their tracks, and then do it all over again.
This is not a person who lacks control. It is actually a person very much in control.
Myth 2: You are excused from consequences since you are an “addict”
Some professionals teach “addicts” to talk to their “inner addict” or “addict mind”. This is a destructive idea. It separates the decision maker from the choices they are making. The person who decides to act out and acts out is the same person that put their pants on that morning.
Addicts often carry this mentality into their relationship. They separate their actions from themselves and reject the natural consequences of those actions. This leads us to myth #3.
Myth #3: Your actions deserve compassion
Compulsive users of pornography often feel entitled to compassion. If you are a partner of an addict you have probably been told that you don’t understand how hard it is for THEM, that you should cut them some slack.
Relapsing in a relationship deserves NO compassion. The act is an act of abuse. It is harmful beyond words for the partner. If you believe you are an addict and do anything more than accept your partners hurt and pain when you, once again, have broken your promises you are completely out of line. You need to STOP. But that is not all you need to do.
Myth #4: Not looking at pornography means you are healed
At the core of pornography usage is abusive thinking. You can stop looking at pornography but if you don’t change how you think than you will either relapse or find another destructive outlet. Many partners report that even when the pornography use has stopped there is still a lot of pain, and they don’t’ know why. Unfortunately many partner’s never even feel that because their addicted partner continues to CHOOSE to act out.
I help pornography users, unfaithfully partners, and abusers change how they think. If you don’t change how you think you wont ever really change, you will just stop doing one thing that is extremely destructive (for awhile). Set up a free session here to learn how I help abusers change.