How To Deal With A Husband Addicted To Porn

How To Deal With A Husband Addicted To Porn

Pornography. Wow, what a challenging issue that is, especially when it comes to those people that we love. Today at Black Book Review Club, we're going to dig right into that. In about 17 years of clinical practice, I've had an opportunity to work with a lot of couples and families. The world that we live in today has created some challenges and frustrations that maybe didn't exist a hundred years ago. We live in an Information Age and the world of social media and technology and the Internet, has introduced some specific challenges to us in our relationships and in our personal life. One of those things that come up a lot is pornography. Whether you have an opinion about that or not, it's an issue and it shows up a lot.

One of the things that I've noticed with couples for example is that, one or the other will have some kind of an addiction to pornography. One of the challenges that often comes up and that is mentioned very often in my office is pornography. How does this affect a relationship? Here's what I've noticed about pornography. There are two errors that are often made when we're dealing with pornography and the first is, that we make too much out of it and the second is, that we make too little out of it. So I'm going to start with, it is what it is. It's no more and no less. For us to make too much out of this would be a mistake. Here's what I mean. For example, there are some people who feel that if my spouse has an addiction to pornography, which is a deal-breaker. That will end our relationship. We cannot go on and have a relationship if that's part of the picture. That's an example of what I call making too much out of it. There are others who make too little out of it. It's no big deal, everybody does it. It's a harmless thing. This is what I call making too little out of it. As we acknowledge that we might be doing one or the other, just check in with where you might be with that and if this is something that's going on in your own relationship, usually one spouse airs on one side and the other on the other side, so that's a common thing I want you to know, that that's something that happens. Now what are we going to do with it? I'm a big fan of understanding how to operate the equipment of our own mind and of our own brain. The brain divides up the labor. In other words, different parts of your brain do different things. Do you know which part of your brain controls the eyes, for example? It's the back. It's the occidental lobe of your brain, it's clear back here in the back of your head. That's where all visual information is routed.

There's another little strip right up here on top, it's about the size of your thumb that controls all of your motor activity. You got one on the right side, you got one on the left side and the left side controls the right side of your body and vice versa. Crazy how the brain is wired but that's how it works. This part up front behind your forehead, that's the prefrontal area of your brain, that part of your brain is in charge of logic, problem-solving and also some cool things like compassion and empathy. We're going to need those as we deal with this particular problem. Just understand that different parts of your brain do different things. There's a little part that's located down toward the center of your brain and it includes a number of structures, the amygdala, other parts of the limbic system that controls arousal. One of the things that I want people to understand about pornography is that, it involves parts of our brain that control chemicals that get sent into our bloodstream. Chemicals that cause arousal, for example. Now these chemicals tend to be what's addictive. I think that's important to understand because what we're dealing with here is a chemical addiction. You might not think of it as a chemical addiction when it's a visual preoccupation, usually with pornography but understand that that visual creates a reaction in the brain that triggers chemicals into the bloodstream and without getting into all of the details about that, that might change how we deal with it. A lot of people want to make it a moral issue or a religious issue and sure, there are implications for all of that. Usually, in my experience, it doesn't have anything to do with the commitment that that person has to their marriage or to their family.

Although, it's easy to interpret it that way. So go back to the two errors, we don't want to make more of it than it is, we don't want to make less of it than it is. Short version, there's a chemical component here that creates the addiction, that's important to know. One of the reasons that's important to know is because how we respond to it is also going to trigger certain reactions in the brain, the same area of your brain that controls arousal also has a whole lot to do with what we call the fight-or-flight response and if someone feels threatened, it triggers that part of their brain and chemicals start to flow through their bloodstream that prepare them to do one of those two things, to fight or get out of there. Notice that how we interact with each other in our relationships is going to cause some kind of reaction. What if they feel threatened? That's going to trigger chemicals in their bloodstream, fight or flight response, we're off to the races. To approach this in anything other than a loving, forgiving, accepting, kind of an attitude has the potential of triggering that fight-or-flight response. Sometimes, even though it's in our heart to help that person, what we're doing to approach them could be making the problem worse because chemical addictions are all about taking care of how I feel. So what can we do with all of this information about, it's an addiction, there's a chemical process? I just want you to understand one primary thing.

The problem is not your spouse or your son or your daughter or whoever it is, that loved one. That's not the problem, the problem is this process or this addiction or this thing that's outside of the person. If you think of the problem as being something other than your loved one, then you are going to show up in a way that is more likely to help and assist the situation. Love, forgiveness, compassion, acceptance. It might sound like I'm addressing things that are very superficial or soft or touchy-feely, the way our mind operates will have everything to do with how we can approach this problem and make it either better or worse. What I'm advocating here is that we take an approach with our loved ones who might be struggling with this kind of an addiction, that's more likely to help the problem instead of making it worse. Remember, your loved one is not the problem. It is what it is, it's nothing more and it's nothing less. Understanding the nature of the problem helps us to approach it in a way that is more likely to be helpful and not just make things worse. Pornography, challenging issue. Hopefully, you got some ideas about how to deal with that with your loved ones.

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