When I had my negative emotion experience yesterday with Becky and Caleb, I talked to my sponsor. He mentioned that he’s found that he has the habit of what I’m going to call “pain for pain.”
It means that when he feels he’s been hurt or mistreated, his addict mindset is that he has to pass that back to the person who hurt him: “You hurt me, I’ll hurt you back.”
I get that. It makes sense. And, if I’m thinking honestly and clearly, that’s what I do too.
In my addict state, when Becky would call me on my behavior, I’d immediately throw it back on her (pain for pain).
When Caleb or any of the kids disobey, thus challenging my authority or disrespecting me or embarrassing me, consequences must come that are harsh, especially on Caleb (pain for pain).
When I feel someone else has wronged me, I would cope in the past by either getting them back or through my addiction (pain for pain again).
That last one is ironic. I’ve felt pain and so I go to a place that will inevitably cause me more pain. It seems like a quick fix, a solution, but I know too well that it will not only cause me pain, but it will also cause tremendous pain to those I love most: my wife, my kids, and God.
Why does this happen?
I tried to look up a few concepts: “pain for pain,” “pain for pain psychology,” and stopped there. I didn’t really find anything, don’t want to browse, and don’t really know where to look.
Ultimately I feel it all stems from pride. It’s about getting even. It’s pushing my feelings of pain, frustration, embarrassment, and fear onto others in order to numb or hide or cope with what I don’t want to cope with.
A person who truly wants to be rid of their behavior will do everything they can to completely eliminate the unwanted behaviors. Although asking for help will produce momentary embarrassment, the long-term benefits of a life without pornography are worth the effort. (Geoff Steurer, Roadmap for Recovery)
Stopping the behavior is actually the easiest part of recovery. The long-term changes associated with undoing the thinking patterns that create the addiction is a much deeper process.
Dallin H. Oaks explained it as follows, “A person [with a pornography addiction] is like a tree that bends easily in the wind. On a windy and rainy day, the tree bends so deeply against the ground that the leaves become soiled with mud… If we focus only on cleaning the leaves, the weakness in the tree that allowed it to bend and soil its leaves may remain. Similarly, a person who is merely sorry to be soiled by [their addiction] will [slip] again in the next high wind. The susceptibility to repetition continues until the tree has been strengthened.”
Although this study started good, I got distracted and wasn’t able to finish.
I will work on this more tomorrow.