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Porn Addiction – A Compassionate Approach

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Are you or your partner struggling with an addiction to porn? Are you looking for a way to understand just what the heck is going on? We may not have all the answers but my husband and I have found a way to understand both sides of the issue that not only led to understanding ourselves better but also generated a lot of compassion along the way. Interested?

I was bewildered as I frantically searched the Internet for answers to why my husband was looking at so much porn and why I felt so badly about it. I found lots of advice about what he should do (get help, take a walk, get a hobby) and what I should do (leave him, do not tolerate it, relax its natural), but I found that could help me see him and myself fully and in a way that kept our humanity intact … until I discovered a process developed by Marshall Rosenberg PhD. To put it simply, he says that everything we do is motivated by needs.

Needs are our deeply held values, like intimacy, choice, or freedom to name just a few. We all share the same basic needs although we put more importance on some than others. For example, intimacy may be high on my list of needs whereas for someone else it might be freedom.

This understanding was our light bulb moment. If Garry could see that his looking at porn was an attempt to meet needs, he could see more clearly what he was after instead of unconsciously doing something over and over again without connecting to why he was doing it. We found that once he could see what he was after, he would have more choice about the ways in which he got those needs met. And, once he saw what needs he was trying to meet with porn, he could identify what needs did not get met with porn.

Pretty much the same principle applied to me with a little twist. My hurt and anger came from needs that were not being met. So if I could identify what those needs were then I would be able to present them to Garry with clarity that there were specific needs that did not get met for me when he looked at porn. Once he could hear the needs behind my pain without feeling judged of blamed, it helped him to understand where I was coming from in a whole new light.

Here's a sample of what I'm talking about, but remember this is only one need out of many. Two of the important needs Garry was trying to meet with porn were intimacy and safety. For most of his life he was terrified of relationships because it meant that he could get hurt. In the world of porn he could be in any relationship he wanted, have complete control of his life, and not worry about the pain part. It was a world where he could have intimidated and be safe at the same time. Once he could identify the need and share that with me, my relationship began to flow and my heart softened towards him because I too could relate to wanting that kind of integrity and safety.

In fact, ironically, they were the very needs that were not being met for me by his looking at porn. I wanted a relationship where we could communicate our fears to each other and make room for the vulnerability. Once I could see what my anguish was trying to tell me, I could tell Garry what it was I wanted in a clear way instead of just making him wrong for doing what he was doing.

Once we could see what needs we were trying to meet with our behaviors we could then have a whole different conversation, one that had us taking actions that would help us to both meet our needs for intelligence. Seeing what we were after weave the opportunity to find new strategies that would help us to meet our needs in a more life serving way. I hope it can help you as well!



Source by Victoria Prater

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