Sex Expert Webinar Series: Porn Addiction, Toxic Masculinity, and Anger

Sex Expert Webinar Series: Porn Addiction, Toxic Masculinity, and Anger


I want to thank CHS for having me here
today I worked at CHS for many years and I was just thinking today about Alex
Katehakis and all the many things that I’ve loved about her being my
mentor and supervisor for so many years and one of the things that was so
beautiful about working with her is I got to learn her her style of exploring
what healthy sexuality is for each individual person many people they come
out they come in with problematic sexual behavior pornography or anything along
that spectrum and once they are able to stop the addictive behavior the question
then comes in well what the heck is healthy sexuality and getting to explore
from the ground up that which they have been potentially numbing or medicating
or running from or or not even asking themselves Who am I as a sexual person
so one of the things I’ve noticed over the years is when we work with porn
addiction and you’re able to help a porn addict stop the behavior that’s hurting
his or her life but I’m gonna actually speak more about men today frankly men
are who show up in my office my clientele has been 90 to 99 percent male
over the years I didn’t ask for it I didn’t plan it but that’s just what’s
happened and so in being able to work with men who have problematic or
addictive pornography use the thing that I then got to work with them on as they
became sober and then well into recovery from being sober is what the hell is
masculinity what’s healthy masculinity Who am I as a man and being able to
explore it now that they weren’t consistently using their drug of choice
which was pornography to medicate to numb to distract or even as we’re gonna
talk about today to act out or try to heal or understand some of the things
that make them tick on the inside so the term toxic masculinity has it’s really
been in pop culture for I’d say the last five to ten years especially the last
year or two it’s been talked about a lot more and
it’s it’s been vilified the term itself a lot of people have a problem with the
term I actually don’t have a problem with the term toxic masculinity because
what people are saying is that the term toxic masculinity is vilifying all
masculinity that’s not at all what it is to say toxic masculinity means I believe
taking the natural drives the natural masculine drives in this world and
unfortunately either because we are taught in ways that aren’t very healthy
when we’re young or the lack of teaching of very healthy and loving ways to use
that masculine energy it gets diverted it gets channeled in different ways so
to say toxic or we can just call it unhealthy masculinity versus healthy
masculinity is a part of what we’re going to talk about today of what I work
with with men that I treat and I hope that that people are talking about and
actually just integrating more into their lives around the world and if
we’re gonna talk about masculinity we have to be talking about porn as well a
lot of porn addicts have come into my office through the years and I’ve had
the great honor to be able to work with them at having secrets and having a
lifestyle that is hurting them and hurting other people to me being with
them and being able to see them come through it and actually be able to be
with an intimacy inside of themselves and an intimacy with other people and I
think the biggest problem about porn right now is that we’re not talking
about it as a society porn just is it’s a part of so many people’s lives but it
remains buried it remains secretive or shameful to some people to talk about
and that’s one of my missions is to get that into the conversation about what
we’re all comfortable talking about whether it’s in our relationships and
our friendships with our therapists or with anybody that is appropriate to be
able to say this is part of what’s in my life and it’s either working for me or
it’s not and we’re gonna explore today the difference between someone watching
or using porn and someone being addicted to porn in fact that’s the first thing
we’re going to cover today and I want to say here
personally don’t have any moralistic or religious or ethical judgment about
whether someone should or should not watch porn that is is completely up to
that person as long as it’s not hurting other people and we’re gonna talk more
about there are problems with pornography there is abuse because of
pornography and some people it’s it’s killing their lives
however this lecture and anything I talk about isn’t about teaching people why
porn is bad or wrong or why they shouldn’t do it people come into my
office and they say my life like my house is burning down so to speak my
life is worse I’m ruining my relationships I’m risking legally I’m
risking my job and less risking my relationship my family can you help me
stop because I can’t stop that’s what we’re talking about today so if anybody
does think that porn is bad or wrong or is a sin I support you that’s great it’s
some of the people who come into my office they also hold that belief and I
want to respect anything anybody believes but today we’re really talking
about porn as a whole and as an addiction and what we do about it and
how I work with men to realize the feelings underneath especially anger and
how to channel their natural masculine energy in healthy ways so let’s go to
the power point want to start with this this is my podcast as Doug mentioned
earlier it’s called a brave new man if you love podcasts and want to hear more
about a healthy sexuality healthy masculinity femininity men and women
listen all genders all ages and we talk a lot about relationships
and different things ALX caucus was on an amazing episode several weeks ago
about consent sexual consent in the me2 era and I strongly recommend you go
listen because it was one of those conversations just as went and went and
I didn’t want to edit a bit of it so I just left the whole thing in so go check
that if you wish if you want to follow us on Instagram this is it a brave new
man pod at a brave new man pod you can see our dear friend Alex in one of her
pictures right in the middle of our feed and I have quotes and talk about
upcoming episode and things that really relate to what
we’re talking about here today which is healthy masculinity versus ways that we
are unhealthy in certain relationships so here’s what we’re talking about today
we’re gonna start with pornography addiction now first of all what is an
OGG rafi addiction how as clinicians to assess for it and even by the way how to
assess for it within ourselves and then lastly on the porn addiction how to
treat it and how to contain it then we’re going to talk about anger and
unresolved issues so that’s two things one is what emotional unresolved
material are people trying to work through in some of the porn that they
choose and then secondarily once they are sober what are the underlying issues
of anger that they now have a chance to deal with right to realize what’s
underneath it to be able for us to heal the hurt underneath it that segues into
toxic masculinity as we are talking about in a moment ago and then healthy
masculinity how I define healthy masculinity and how I work with men to
understand and accept that so much of the natural drive within them is healthy
and then they can harness it against maybe some of the cultural things
they’ve learned over time so let’s talk about porns upside very quickly it’s
it’s it does have some of course it can be educational some people watching porn
might have never known what goes where or what the sex look like what does it
feel like what are the body parts that it’s like it can be educating in a
positive way it can also be fun and exciting obviously it’s like that’s one
of the reasons why people go to it is they find it exciting it can be shame
reducing so a lot of times in our families of origin people receive
shaming messages about their sexual desire or their sexuality or their
sexual orientation and what they see when they watch porn is some freeing
part of other people are sexual – so my desire to be sexual maybe it’s not so
bad as well as normalizing homosexual bisexual feelings and orientations that
people can go online and say oh there are other people like me here’s what it
looks like when someone is doing what I want to do with other people
meaning that it’s teaching them that it’s not bad or wrong or sinful if other
people are doing what they want to do as well so it’s confidence-building or it
can be it can be experimental and sexy people can learn oh wow I don’t know
that or that makes me feel like I want to try this with my partner or this is a
roleplay thing I’m learning I’d like to do and then it also normalizes
masturbation for teenagers so when I was a teenager it’s like nobody admitted
that they masturbated it was like the cardinal sin so everybody was doing it
most everybody but nobody would talk about it because meant you were sick or
wrong or weird so to know that they make porn for that a lot of teenagers are
able to see that porn and realize oh I get it the fact that I am aroused and
want to masturbate is a healthy thing now we’re gonna talk about whether or
not that’s a healthy thing for them to be doing with their brain because that’s
a completely separate issue it can also be porn can be soothing or
distracting from unpleasant emotions like a lot of things like eating like
television like running and exercise so porn is a distraction sometimes if
people are lonely or having a hard day or stress that happens a lot they can
watch porn and it can really distract them so it helps people in certain ways
now why is it a problem well going right back to its teaching sex education to
people but in general the vast majority of pornography is made by men for men by
men for men so it’s for what they believe men want to watch and therefore
it’s constructed in a way that isn’t very mutual it shows what they believe
men want to watch and will be aroused by so they’re teaching people how to have
sex but in many people and many instances they’re teaching them wrong
what might not really feel good or you see people in porn being ridiculously
turned on by something that in real life people like no stop that hurts or that’s
just not connected or that doesn’t feel good to me so people start to watch porn
and if they don’t know any better they start to think this is a
one-size-fits-all and I’m this you know if it’s a man on this man about town now
and all the people all these things to do but the partners are going why are
you doing that there’s abuse and there’s exploitation important in the industry
for sure and as a result of it years ago a porn star came forward and said that
she was raped on a set during filming now they never released the film people
attacked her and one of the things that made me so angry and so sad is one of
the things I heard was you can’t be raped you’re a porn star that made my
blood boil and I felt like is that the community here that people are watching
these performers and having this dehumanizing effect on who they are that
someone would say something excuse me as vile as that that a human being can’t be
raped just as she’s a porn star there’s abuse and exploitation outside of porn I
believe that in creates an entitlement for people to believe they should have
it how they want it when they want to and that it should all be centered
around them because that’s what they see in porn
it also has redefined expectations so in a lot of teenagers who or late teenagers
or even mid teens who report their first sexual experience they’re reporting
things that happen to them that they didn’t consent to things that people see
in porn and think are just totally normal kids and teens are watching
that’s a problem I’m so grateful there was an internet pornography when I was
in my teens because frankly our brains just aren’t ready for it some of the
images and videos can be traumatic to adults let alone teens who are you know
coming upon their sexuality for the first time ever and then it does impact
Society young people a lot of mostly young women what I see are wearing the
type of things that porn stars wore on the box covers of 90s and 2000’s porn
so it’s this highly highly sexualized highly sexually charged energy that is
on society here and I think they’re asking for energy that they may not know
what to do with so for individuals why is pornography a problem well it’s not
necessarily unless it is so the evolution of modern pornography is
really important I’m not going to go through all of the but I want to draw
your attention to that bottom box second to the left where it
says in big capital letters free streaming porn free streaming porn
changed pornography forever if you like podcasts after you listen to Alex kata
Hakkasan a brave new man go and listen to it’s a serial podcast and it’s called
the butterfly effect and what this person does he traces he finds the the
person who invented so to speak free streaming pornography which was like the
YouTube version of porn where anyone could upload anything they wanted and
people could just go watch it for free this changed porn drastically why
because everything was now accessible like that this was when people started
having 8 10 20 tabs open on their browser because they’re just searching
for all these different types of pornography and they can watch these
videos for free so the reason it changed it is because it changed the appetite of
the viewers of corn suddenly to pay five ten dollars and be able to watch a movie
once that was just boring to people their brain said so what I want
something new and different and visceral and this free streaming porn just like
on YouTube where you if I’m interested in what happened in a tennis match a
couple days ago or something that happened in pop culture or in government
I can Google I can google it I can YouTube it and I can see videos
that’s how porn has been for many years now so what that created it didn’t
create gonzo porn but it created the proliferation of or gonzo porn just
exploded it means it comes from God gonzo journalism we’re like the reporter
is right there right a part of the action it’s really low budget it’s
basically someone just holding like a camcorder it’s really easy to make it’s
really easy to edit and it tends to have more gritty more visceral or extreme
genital close-ups and here’s where it really changed things the themes in
everyday a porn what people used to call vanilla porn like what you just go on
and say oh what’s happening in porn now became much more humiliating much more
intense more violent more abusive so in the old
so to speak it might have been hard to find a DVD or a VHS tape of something
that was really visceral or aggressive or humiliating to somebody but because
of free streaming porn people could find it like that all they have to do is type
it into the search engine and it it escalated the wants and needs of
pornographic viewers so it changed from people wanting to stay up on what’s new
in porn and what’s happening in porn to porn
needing to stay up with the needs of the viewer does that make sense
so the the producers of porn and I’ve watched some documentaries on this they
say suddenly like people want more violent stuff like what are we gonna
have to do in the future like actually kill somebody on screen because it’s
just getting that they were having requests and they and the stuff that
they would make would that was violent and humiliating was gobbled up like
crazy and the way they make money on these porn hosting sites is obviously by
click it’s just like YouTube so their advertisers and the more people watch
the more money they made and so what they realized was people want this and
just like YouTube they would find a little clip that they might see oh
what’s this this is a little darker a little more violent a little more
disturbing than what I watch they would click on that and that could take them
into whole new worlds of pornography that they’ve never seen before
I have worked with young men who have said I can’t unsee some of the images
that I saw in porn that breaks my heart because they are being traumatized by
something that they originally got into watching so they could have some sort of
sexual fulfillment or excitement so it has escalated and blown of what we
have known as pornography so dopamine that is one of the things that is the
main driver of addiction with pornography it’s that feel-good chemical
in the brain it says look over here it’s like fireworks and neon lights and it’s
basically saying something new and different and exciting is over here and
it makes you pay attention and gives you horse blinders so suddenly it’s like
everything in the world is now the dopamine says focus right here and
what’s in front of you because it is really really important and that happens
Oh and over again same with cocaine use
same with pornography and gaming addiction so all three of those things
they hyper stimulate this dopamine cycle inside of the brain so it actually I’ve
heard people joke and say porn addiction is a chemical addiction it’s just a
neuro chemical addiction because their brain because becomes dependent on the
dopamine not necessarily the porn so what happens over time is when it’s
dopamine is hyper stimulated when you have 10 12 20 tabs open upon free you’re
seeing things that are dark and visceral and different and you’re having
something new and wild and you’re just getting all this new stuff all over and
over again you’re hyper stimulating the brain with dopamine and then the
receptors in the brain to dopamine they become blunted so that you need greater
levels of stimulation in order to achieve that same amount of excitement
that you used to get from the type of porn you used to watch so it says here
at the bottom of the screen in porn addiction tolerance is measured as
variety so in chemical addiction it’s measured by volume it used to take me
five beavers to get drunk then it was eight then it was twelve then it was
hard liquor and beer and on and on it goes that’s true with all chemical drugs
in porn addiction tolerance is measured by variety so if what I’m watching right
now suddenly isn’t turning me on and the dopamine isn’t happening anymore like I
want it to I need to find something different something new and nowhere in
the world is there as much new and different from a moment-to-moment basis
as are in is in internet pornography so they’re gonna find that variety and it’s
gonna take it takes some people not all some addicts of porn they go into darker
and darker realms and they have a hard time getting out of it because now
they’re watching things that are disturbing to them as well as a turn-on
so online pornography has been called the crack cocaine of sexual compulsive
‘ti because no real life partner can compete with the dopamine blasts that
are created by internet pornography and it can create addiction where there is
no addictive template so does that mean that porn is because it has more
dopamine is better than sex obviously that’s not
I would want anybody to have a very healthy in person terrestrial sex life
that involves other human beings other consenting human beings not something
that is just two-dimensional where they’re in control however as far as
dopamine is concerned it can create addiction even when the person didn’t
have like an addictive personality to begin with so it’s an intimacy killer
I’ve worked with so many people and so many couples who basically say the
partner of a porn addict says I felt unattractive
I felt unworthy I felt like I was fat or ugly or that I was just old or that I
wasn’t put in bed because they didn’t realize that the other person right the
other woman the other man and the relationship wasn’t a person at all it
was porn their spouse or partner was acting out with porn and they were
feeling rejected because of it so they weren’t doing anything wrong there was
certainly nothing wrong with it but they were feeling rejected and sad and that’s
traumatic to a partner and the brain attaches it rewires itself to the porn
experience to a heightened dopamine experience that a person a person
contact can create like I said before so what happens when someone is addicted to
porn is their brain wires itself around an isolated sexual experience it’s
visceral in a dopamine way they are in complete control it’s completely self
centered and it’s detached from other human beings so they get to be the
center of their own sexual universe it’s what I want when I want it how I want it
and if they don’t like this scene or they don’t like watching this body part
they skip just like that right they’re in complete control they get in the room
with an actual human being it’s completely different I say at the bottom
here that pornography addiction versus getting into the bed into bed with
another human being is like playing candy crush all day and then sitting
down and reading a book if you love literature and you love to read but then
you are engaging with something on your phone that is just hyper stimulating
your dopamine reading a book is going to be boring or at the very
least your brain is going to be wanting something else same is true with porn
addicts they get in bed with a partner with somebody else and a brain and body
they feel like a record scratch for those of you in my generation who are
old enough to remember what that means their brain is like or a dog with their
head tilted like wait what is this this isn’t what I’m conditioned to getting
aroused by everyday and so they’re actually it’s not like they’re starting
from scratch it’s like there’s this huge hurdle and the partners feel it and the
people feel it and a lot of shame comes on both sides because of that and then
people say it’s like I can’t wait till my partner leaves the house because then
I get to engage with my drug of choice that kills intimacy as well so people
want this experience that is is like their porn use and they get so used to
it that it hurts their relationships so there are a lot of assessment tools for
pornography addiction and I’ve put one here on the screen for us to look at
there’s also the isst the internet sex addiction screening
test there’s the sassed with is a sex addiction screening test
there’s pathos PA th OS which is a sex addiction and a porn screening test you
can find all these things online I know CHS has at least the isst on
their website and then this is one that I have on my website let’s go through
these quickly this is for people to self assess not do I like porn not how much
do i watch porn but am i addicted to porn now this isn’t what we’re looking
at here and end-all be-all but it’s an assessment where someone can say do I
need to go talk to somebody about this have you had ongoing but unsuccessful
attempts to stop reduce or control your porn use okay so have I tried to stop
and I can’t and a lot of the people that walk into my office they say yes I bet
I’ve tried anywhere between 20 and 500 times to stop I always go back to it
have you spent in ordinate amounts of time watching pornography or recovering
from it to the extent that it is taken away time from occupational social
domestic or academic obligations yet again so many men that I work with it’s
absolutely like I’ve I’ve been worse at my job worse in my relationship blown
off appointments all because I was watching porn
have there been harmful consequences to your relationship or sex
like due to your porn use this is what we are just talking about a second ago
so whether your partner knows it or not is it affecting in your sex life or if
you’re single is it affecting your drive to actually be in the terrestrial world
meeting people relationally or sexually do you need to watch more visceral or
violent types of pornography than you used to in order to become aroused by
porn we just talked all about that and
finally do you become irritable Restless or annoyed if you’re unable to watch
porn yes there is withdrawal from porn addiction people experience this a lot
of time emotionally sometimes physically as well but I say to people when they’re
stopping please expect that you are going to have a restless irritable week
and if that’s happening don’t think something’s wrong it’s just another
confirmation that your brain and your body have become reliant on porn in
order to get through the day and now you’re able to actually sit with what is
coming up without your drug of choice so treatment and containment what do we do
we assess that someone is a porn addict they come in they talk to us there are a
lot of questions to ask about it but basically that assessment we just took
is that is it a problem in your life bad enough they I and say on there two or
more of those on the previous screen would say yeah you should probably go
talk to someone more about it so let’s say someone comes in and you do assess
from any of the instruments I talked about and from you talking to the person
in a longer intake process that porn is a problem that porn is an addiction the
first thing I try to do with the people is to say try to stop without shame
right without judgment without telling them they’re bad or wrong to to really
join with them and say yeah from everything you’re telling me it sounds
like porn is a big problem in your life for you porn may not be something you
can control so from now until the next time we meet
together try stopping let’s see how it goes and that includes masturbating or
some now I would take this week to week I see here you know I’ve put on this
slide that a 30-day period a 90-day trial period is something that
some addicts want to try to basically reset their system I’ve heard Gary
Wilson is a researcher and an educator and he has said that for people I’m
making up the age now something like 35 years or older who are porn addicts it
takes about 30 days for their than to rewire their brain if they’re if they
stopped watching porn if they’re addicted and if they stop masturbating
for people who are younger than 35 or maybe we might even say younger than 30
he says it takes 90 days why the reason is because they’ve been watching porn
from the time that their brains were so malleable in their adolescence and
they’ve been watching porn high-speed internet porn whereas the people 30 35
or over have not so their brain is much much more dependent on porn being their
main sexual outlet so it takes a longer time to rewire the brain so I would say
try to stop don’t shame yourself don’t be angry at yourself don’t be guilty
just try to stop let’s see how that goes again expect withdrawal symptoms I would
normalize them way ahead of time I would say can you plan a week where you’re
gonna be supportive to yourself this week if you’re just stopping for the
first time can you do things that are nurturing that are healthy and then
involve other people in connection with other people and don’t think again
something’s going wrong because you’re finding yourself irritable or angry
because this has been something you’ve used like a drug now I try to get people
to go to a 12-step meeting sex addicts anonymous SAA is the first one I’ve
listed on here that’s one of the one of the fellowships that I ask guys to go
visit and I say find a meeting in LA there were something like 96 to a
hundred meetings a couple years ago every single week in LA I love that find
a meeting that’s convenient to you you don’t have to talk you don’t to go tell
your life story you don’t even have to say your name if you don’t want to just
go and listen and sit through you’re gonna hear people talk about things that
are not porn related but you’re gonna hear people talk about porn as well and
can you listen for the things inside of people shares that you feel like are
similar to what you’re going through that is really really helpful to the
brain and to realize there’s an us and I’m not alone so I try
to get them to go to a 12-step meeting and hopefully make that a part of their
ongoing recovery and so in the first week I asked him to call and check in
with me that’s not something that I want to have ongoing I want eventually that
to transfer to somebody in a recovery program but I want them to at least pick
up the phone and say how’s it going let me know leave me a message three days
four days into your week were you able to abstain from porn how are you feeling
how are you doing someone out there cares about you and what you’re going
through and also have them check out a web filter or a blocker that can be for
their phone for their laptop if somebody wants to watch porn they’re gonna be
able to get around any web blocker they can just uninstall it even if they’ve
given someone else the passcode we’re gonna find a way there’s just too many
ways but this puts a hurdle in front of them right if they’re used to watching
porn over and over again every day or at least you know many
times a week this gives them a stopping point where before they get around their
block or they can say wait do I want to do this or should I just stop right now
other things reading I want to give them something to read here are four books I
put on here in the shadows of the net that is the internet porn version of out
of the shadows untangling the web another one your brain on porn which has
a lot of anecdotes telling about people clients who have come in and couples
couples and individual clients in this book and then the porn trap I’m sorry I
mix those up your brain on porn is Gary Wilson talking about the neuroscience of
pornography addiction the porn trap is the one has a lot of anecdotes about
people who have been in and then I want them online now yes I’m telling them to
go online on their computer or their phone which has been their method of
watching porn I acknowledge it I talk to them about it we get it however there
are so many forums and places they can get support so they don’t feel so alone
alone and they can occupy some of that time actually healing on reddit there’s
a whole movement called nofap and that is helping people especially young men
abstained from pornography and masturbating if it’s been a problem in
their life sex and relationship healing calm they
have a lot of QA they have a lot of reading they have videos and then they
also have free online groups that are hosted by a professional
fight the new drug org and your brain on porn that’s gonna teach you about the
neurology or teach the person who needs it
about what’s happening in their brain and it doesn’t normal and normalize
what’s going on for them and then program calls so that usually comes
after several weeks or even months of going to s si a or any other 12-step
meeting but I want to get them with phone numbers in their phone because
that is going to be the life preserver when they’re about to sink when they
have been sober from their drug of choice which is pornography for however
long it is and they’re getting the thoughts and the feelings of oh maybe I
should maybe I’ll just watch it once who cares this is this is BS I should just
do it I tell them over and over again call somebody the therapist isn’t always
going to be available but if they have 3 5 10 or more numbers they can text they
can call and they can reach out to their program brothers and say I need help
I’m gonna watch porn right now help talked me off the ledge that is going to
be one of the best things they can do because left to their own devices that’s
what gets us into addiction that’s what got them into a using porn as a drug for
so long so to be connected with other people
connection is the opposite of addiction and that’s one of the reasons why I
think program calls are so important for people so very quickly I want to go
through a few of the emotions that come up as people are watching pornography
shame and inadequacy that are pre-existing inside of them can play out
in the type of porn they watch a few examples here themes of humiliation
whether it’s cuckolding degradation minimization that people aren’t aware
that they have feelings of shame inside and they’re watching porn not realizing
that they’re trying to work these issues out but it’s not gonna work
because they’ve sexualized it fetishes that reduce the performers to a nothing
someone in the scene being less than or not enough and then power needing to be
powerful over someone or having someone be very powerful over the other person
that they can identify and it’s a way that they have sexualized this feeling
of shame or inadequacy we’re going to talk more about that always as with
anything in therapy attend to trauma many scenes in porn
rafi users realize in time and through recovery that they were watching
something that was retry Mathai zhing abuse they had been through that could
be sexual abuse if there was rape or sexual assault in their past
unfortunately so many people have realized when they took a step away that
they were watching those type of scenes because that was their way of trying to
work through their own trauma but it doesn’t have to be sexual all trauma
relational or otherwise can be enacted in scenes of porn where people are
watching someone being shamed beaten abused and that is a part of them
re-enacting their trauma so go slow don’t push the client use your own
therapeutic process your therapeutic style to process that trauma and to
consider any trauma modalities that you use but to realize with the client and
help them to discover that they were using trauma
I’m sorry using porn in this way because they weren’t dealing with the trauma
underneath so a rata size rage what this means is that unresolved feelings of
hurt and anger haven’t been sexualized and become a part of the person’s
arousal template so it becomes sexualized so that the person becomes
turned on and aroused instead of angry you see they don’t realize it but they
aren’t sitting with the anger they have toward themselves towards others toward
their parents toward their partner towards entire genders towards sexuality
and instead it’s become just a part of what they think is hot so watching these
scenes like we talked about earlier these really visceral humiliating
dominating scenes it becomes hot to somebody and they don’t realize that the
reason it’s hot is because they have this hurt inside of them and is angered
that they want to see someone abused but like I said it’s become part of their
arousal template so they’re not sitting with the fact that there’s all this
emotion undealt with anger that is feeding their addiction so spitting
choking gagging humiliating hurting name-calling slapping degrading and many
many other things are part of what some people get their eroticized rage
satisfied with because it turns them on to see other people hurt it can be overt
or it can be a viewer can identify with either of the
performer so they could say let’s say there’s a stripper in the scene well
they can say oh that stripper has all the power because this person is paying
or the viewer can say no the person paying has all the power because they’re
in charge financially and they can make this person do whatever they want it
really just has to do with whatever template that person is putting onto the
porn that turns them on and then many standard actions in pornography can be
feeding anger that doesn’t mean that they are but they can be so a lot of
things like the way a common way that a porn scene ends or things like that
where someone is ejaculating and on top of someone else that that could just be
something that someone Simon finds hot or something that someone doesn’t find
hot but for some it’s a way that they get to see their errata size rage come
to life it’s like an ownership it’s a domination so it all depends on the
filter of the person watching and so many men I have worked with fall into
this category at the bottom of this slide here
they say when I was younger when I was a teen I couldn’t get that beautiful man
that beautiful woman the cheerleader the quarterback in high school they never
had the crush on me like I did for them so porn is just their way of getting I
finally get to have you I get now it’s not the exact same person but I get to
see the beautiful hot sexy person naked doing all the things I wanted to do with
them but now I get to see it with you I see that in so many of the men that I
work with where they realize they get to have one up on the porn performer you
don’t in the performers even though it’s on a two-dimensional screen but they’re
still acting out this unresolved issue inside of them so this is a huge
headline for so many men that I work with anger is an expression hurt right
or fear or pain of course so I try to get yet this as like a mathematical
equation for the men that I work with when you’re angry a part of you has been
hurt and that’s okay so when someone says I was really pissed off for I
really wanted and I want you yell I want to scream I tried to stop them and very
gently asked where were your feelings hurt in this interaction where was your
sense of self hurt that you the anger came to your defense
because we’re talking about men and anger here boys when we’re little we’re
she appears for showing emotions we’re shame you can name call you can
stay a few you can push somebody or punch somebody but to say hey Joe you
really hurt my feelings you are subject to mockery and at that
age as kids and especially even well not especially but as jeans as well that’s
everything we need our social support we want validation and so for people to
make fun of us or put us down that’s everything and so
boys most times they reduce their hunger I learn not to sometimes even say I’m
angry they just want to talk about what you did was wrong or put you down so as
adults a lot of times it’s manifest in Mena’s I’m fine or I’m I’m angry let’s
say if they’re aware like you know f you or you did something wrong as opposed to
hey you really hurt my feeling so teaming meant that it’s okay to be
vulnerable is a huge part of my work and this is the type of work that starts
usually when someone has been able to stop and become sober from porn so they
can actually deal with the feelings underneath this that are cannot so work
clinician help man Eddie Twitter means and each them how to
express themselves so I try to model that as a therapist and basically say I
have hurt I have shame I would want a therapist who hasn’t
I have sadness that we all have these feelings it’s just that you were taught
not to to express it you were taught not even to know that you were feeling it so
to start with event say I don’t know what I’m feeling to ask where do you
feel it in your body well there’s a buzzing in my chest okay what is that
buzzing same or there’s a queasiness in my stomach or my face is hot awesome
let’s start with those physical sensations and we want to psycho educate
about feelings that can underline anger and normalize again that we all have
emotions and this is so important because so much of the time when I ask a
man what are you feeling right now 80 90 percent of the time they well it’s just
not fair well I was just thinking about this thing for my past well I fit it’s
always a thought not always it’s usually a thought and as a fellow man I try to
get these men to really sit with hold on that’s okay that you came back with a
thought but did you notice you didn’t come back with a feeling or an emotion
sometimes we need a multiple choice that’s fine I don’t know what I was
feeling okay were you feeling sad hurt angry ashamed or many other things
nervous stressed and that gives them an opportunity say yes that one yeah I was
feeling ashamed that’s what it was and we can start to normalize that it’s okay
and to tell them you’ve been trained not to feel your feelings so it’s okay that
you’re not aware of what you’re feeling or to express them and that is one of
the things that has created this toxic masculinity that we talked about
emotions are suppressed maintaining an appearance of being hard or tough
violence equaling power so if I’m gonna be a powerful man I have to be tough I
have to be ready to fight or hurt somebody toxic masculinity is aggressive
aggressive which basically means I want what I want when I want it and I don’t
care who else needs anything I don’t care what your needs are I need what I
want and I’m willing to push anyone out of the way that doesn’t feel good to
other people it’s exclusive of other people bullying is part of toxic
masculinity and as bullying is minimize other people so needing to put other
people down this sort of chest-beating catcalling name-calling putting down of
other people or violence or aggression that is just hurtful to all people right
that is masculinity in its pure form is driven it is strong it’s a natural and
awesome energy but when it doesn’t get harnessed in the right direction that’s
when it becomes toxic like we say here so in pornography very quickly toxics
mass toxic masculinity shows up in some of the ways we said before degrading
porn selfish someone just needing bare needs men phallocentric it’s all about
the penis it’s all about what they want it’s all about them it can be violent it
focuses sex on the pleasure of only one participant not all right there’s an
owning of the sexual partner I get what I want I’m one up on you I’m stronger
than you more powerful than you it’s void of emotions there’s very little
intimacy in the vast vast vast majority of porn and it’s dominating these are
just the same part of this toxic masculinity now healthy masculinity I’ve
come up with four pillars we talked a lot about this on the podcast of what
healthy masculinity is and I want to be clear about something
I believe this is the exact same drive right men have a natural drive to push
forward to conquer to lead the way to be strong to be assertive that’s great we
don’t want to take any of that away we just want to take it in the ways that
it’s become bastardized right that way that it’s become well toxic and we each
channel that energy into better ways so not to say don’t be masculine we want
you to just be a feminine person know our femininity is great our masculinity
is great but strong is the first of them anyways strong as a masculine man means
I have a sense of self I am rooted and grounded I am lovable
and valuable and I know that I don’t crumble when you insult me I don’t need
to put you down in order for me to feel good we see a lot of this in politics
today I am NOT fragile so that an insult just crushes me to the ground and then I
need to lash out strong in a sense of I’m okay I’m
lovable so are you and we can both be who we are and not need each other in
order to feel good about ourselves we need each other as far as connection and
love but I don’t need you to approve of me in order for me to know I’m good
vulnerable is the second pillar I allow other people to see my emotions what I’d
say to people can you as a man feel your feelings and realize that it might not
have been safe decades ago as a boy or even as a teenager you may have received
message messaging in your family of origin or through your peers that you’re
weak or that you’re a pussy or that you’re a girl or whatever it is all
these names that people call but rather we all have emotions we all do and
starting in therapy maybe can you start to feel and acknowledge and express your
emotions with somebody who understands somebody who’s compassionate and who
loves that that’s what’s happening in the room because that is one of the ways
that intimacy is created and I heard it once said that perfect vulnerability is
perfect strength what I make of that is if I feel strong enough inside of myself
that I can tell you where I feel weak where I feel ashamed guilty that means
because I am rooted in myself that I can share those things with you and I don’t
feel so vulnerable right but it’s sharing those parts with ourselves that
that hurt sometimes that’s part of healthy masculinity empathetic and
loving we have to be curious right we have to be inclusive of their people and
we have to want to know what other people’s experiences are outside of our
own we tend to know what’s best for other people even when we don’t and so
as men that’s one of the things I work with myself and clients and I don’t know
anybody who will listen is and you open your heart and as brené Brown says can
you at least take the perspective of someone else can you imagine what it was
like to be this other person going through that your heart will open to
them as a result your words you come out of the words that will come out of your
mouth will be good empathetic loving words but it starts with just taking the
perspective that other people have different feelings and thoughts and can
I open my heart and resonate with that part of me
that knows that feeling that they’re going through finally assertive this is
a natural drive and it’s a good one I move toward what I want but I take other
people’s needs into account so we are driven we have things we want a need and
desire I wouldn’t tell anyone that in order to stop being in their toxic
masculinity they need to stop going toward what they want or only care about
the needs of others I think that’s on the other end of the spectrum but rather
I know what I want relationally or in business or in my life or in my health
I’m gonna move toward that but I’m gonna understand that I live in a world of
other people how do I make the world better for myself and others so I’ll
tell people go with that drive be assertive just don’t be aggressive where
all you care about is yourself okay so lastly I’m sharing this light
and again feel free here’s my contact information on there if you ever have
questions I know we’re gonna do questions and answers here in just a
second if you have anything you can always email me here Gregg Woodhill MFT
at gmail.com obviously if you have questions about the treatment of
anything the Center for healthy sex is an absolutely beautiful resource for
people to call and then come follow us on Instagram as well so let’s go to the
questions and I think here we go I’m gonna start with the first question um
under QA okay so it says I was in a toxic sex and love addicted marriage for
nine years in my own recovery work I am very confused about whether a man who
watches porn can ever be a healthy partner what a fantastic question so to
the person who wrote this I see your name but I’m not going to say it here my
best suggestion to you is you get to decide you get to decide if because of
what you’ve been through porn is not something that works for you
in a relationship for your partner to be watching then the answer is no if you
talk to your partner and going back to what I said at the beginning here that
we need to be talking about it with our partners what is our porn use can we be
vulnerable enough to ask our partners do you watch porn how often does it
interfere with our relay ship in anyway and that person talks to
you and is open and honest with you where there’s no secrets right there’s
not like this secret life happening where you are like wait am i is is he or
she attracted to me am i doing something right or wrong because you’re actually
talking about what’s going on you have some intimacy in your relationship that
you might decide hey with this partner and in this iteration of my life I think
I can be okay with it so the confusion is gonna be different for every person
and I just acknowledge you to check within you yourself talk to other people
about it talk to any partner about it and if you say porn isn’t okay it’s not
okay period and then you’re gonna need then I’m not you’re gonna need it is
then your job to communicate that to the partners you’re with if you decide that
it’s not okay lastly and this might be a little bit of a repeat of what I already
said maybe there is healing around that for you to where you could see porn as
no longer a threat to you unless it is so in your own personal work that’s a
question for you to come to and I think if you are a yes or no or a maybe you’ve
made the right decision okay now to the chat questions let’s see if I can get to
this okay hi Greg my question is how can a concern why for a female therapist
bring up the issue of porn addiction with a very fragile easily shamed man
good question I see many men in couples work who seem to be so fragile their
wives and I suspect porn is involved but fear they can’t look at but fear they
can’t look at this behavior it usually takes me about a year and a half of a
relationship building before he is safe enough to bring it up wow that’s really
fair so it’s gonna be a case-by-case basis but let me give you some of my
guideline and one of the things I would do is do everything I could do to D
shame the question right so in your own consciousness can you hold that question
how is porn a part of your life Joe or whatever the person’s name is that you
aren’t holding energy to it that comes first so that when you ask it it can be
very joining in very calm another thing people do and this has happened with me
a lot as a clinician is in couples work or even if they work with a woman or a
man who is afraid their partner is excuse me addictive
with pornography is they send them to their own therapists that way that
person can go talk to somebody in cut with confidentiality and then
potentially get the courage up if they want to to then be able to go talk about
that in their relationship with their therapist so the only thing I can
suggest is just be so compassionate lead with compassion follow with compassion
finish with compassion and then if someone is easily shamed by your
question you follow it up with guess what more compassion so that you just
really roll out the red carpet for them feeling comfortable you might even say
as a clinician you know I talk to a lot of men who watch a lot of porn and it’s
ok or you you might even say to the question like maybe let’s talk next week
about it so they can think about what they want to say but to just basically
normalize it porn is happening right it’s in it’s in
everybody’s life whether they know it or not even if it’s the co-worker their
friend their partner their parents their kids so to just normalize it hey you
know it’s and they even say sometimes this is this is kind of an awkward topic
Joe and I feel kind of awkward bringing it up and I’m gonna go ahead and ask you
there and I hope it’s okay that I asked that’s my best suggestion out that
helped how can women next question how can women address toxic masculinity
without shaming men mmm my best answer to that is you can talk about how it
feels to be on the receiving end of it or how it feels to be seeing it in the
media in politics whatever it is so not you’re bad you’re wrong you’re sick
you’re a sinner or whatever the words might be but rather it hurts my feelings
this is how I wish you could interact with me this is what makes me feel good
I would also champion the ways in the specific men that you’re talking to that
they are healthy I so appreciate that moment where you stopped and you touch
my arm and you asked how my day was did my interview go well that helped me so
much and when there are times you don’t do that or what times where you scold me
or whatever you know I think back to that time I want more of those times so
oh this is a tricky thing it’s like I said a moment ago it’s like
ud shame it inside of yourself to the best of your ability can you heal or at
least be compassionate with the wounds inside of yourself and then communicate
to the person is citizen you’re renewing this you shouldn’t do this you should
because that’s hard for anybody male/female toxic healthy to hear that
type of thing and then want to communicate so that’s my best best
suggestion is to just I’ve heard what what you focus on expands focus on the
good communicate the good and then talk about how it feels to be on the
receiving end of what doesn’t feel good to you next question says would porn
addiction treatment for women being treated the same way would it be a way
to bring people together or would the approach be inherently different well
it’s a great question and it’s a tiny bit of a blind spot I’m sorry to say for
me I have had exactly zero female porn addicts throughout the years come into
my office I’ve had some you know the here and there talk to maybe in an
intensive but to come in and talk to me about what’s going in our life there
have been relatively few so I know that there are there are treatment centers
and there are therapists who treat female porn addiction however as far as
treating it the same way I would not in fact an essay a sex addicts anonymous
there tend to be mostly male meetings and then in SLA a sex and love acts
anonymous there are meetings for just women and some for just men I think when
you’re healing from porn addiction that’s the best thing to be in a
homogeneous group of people where it is not co-ed where it’s one gender I would
treat some of these things the same way yes now I’m gonna you know talk about
the other side a person addicted to anything has been medicating numbing
distracting from that which they don’t want to feel right on an everyday basis
so yes that’s the same for men and for women I would work with clients on the
same questions right the same assessment and I think a lot of the same treatment
as far as how do we go day by day one day at a time
week by week in getting your brain reset because with most people I work with
once the addiction stop and once we were able to actually do the
work of the underlying emotions we’re dealing with trauma whether overt trauma
or relational that is true for all genders so those are the overlapped ways
but I would not and and this does happen I would not send a woman to go to an
all-male essay a meeting I would send her to sex and love acts anonymous just
because that’s where the women go I hope that helps
Ken educators get access to this presentation to share with counseling
students yes you can this presentation right now is going to be put on the CHS
YouTube channel so they do it I don’t know when it might take a day or two
might take a week but all of their live lectures and then all of the webinars
are put on their YouTube channels so just go to youtube Center for healthy
sex you can subscribe to get all their videos there and there’s a video we did
a few weeks ago that I did in person there that is also on their YouTube
channel it was a great crowd we talked about a lot of things a lot of overlap
and then some very different situations and very different things about working
with the emotions in pornography so feel free to check those out watching
yourself share them and I hope they’re really helpful hi Greg do you see a
difference in porn addicts depending on their age great question yes yes yes men
in their 20s are they have the most trouble I’ve worked with men in their
twenties and it’s so so difficult for them to stop a lot of men that I work
with right now who are in their 20s when I say when is that when do you remember
starting to watch internet pornography high speed internet pornography six
years old eight years old 10 12 15 it breaks my heart back in the day an eight
year old seeing a picture of a naked person was a huge deal like the brain
was going crazy when they saw that we are not ready at these young ages for
high-speed Internet hardcore pornography especially in the iteration that it is
today so men in their 20s they need a longer break they need a lot more
connection with other people and they know a thousand better ways to get
around the software than people my age do so it’s hard for anybody I’ve worked
with I work with men in their 70s men in their early 20s and all and
everything in between and it’s difficult right if somebody has been using this
everyday as their drug of choice it’s very difficult no matter what the age
but with young people that is where sometimes they might need a higher level
of care if they can’t stop on their own but getting them connected to other
people online that is a huge piece right these young people that’s all they do
read it they know 10,000 times more about the internet than I do so getting
them connected with other people online that is a huge thing in working with men
in their 20s but it is just harder because they’ve been doing it for longer
and since they were younger next question
what’s better during the try to stop phase exercising when horny trying
mindfulness is there something better or faster for rewiring I think that is
individual to the person but connection connection connection connection I try
to hammer that into all my client’s brains what is the best thing to do talk
to somebody hang out with your friends go to an event exercise absolutely get
in your body like I said earlier for the masculine energy it is important we’re
talking about men now it is important yes all genders of course to get the
blood pumping right to get the blood flowing through the body and get the
brain in exercise mode so to get embodied however when we do anything in
isolation like if someone said it’s fine meditating is great writing is great the
only thing that I would warn someone else someone against is just don’t have
all of your other behaviors what an essay they call outer circle behaviors
healthy things to do one because they’re not going to be masturbating to
pornography just make sure all the those aren’t alone and secluded right make
sure you’re touching base with other people next question can two consenting
adults participate in behavior like choking or slapping without it being a
raw decides rage great question this goes back to one of the first things I
said I didn’t cover this topic but in in Alex kata jacquez is such a way show or
on this topic yes absolutely willing consensual adult participants it can be
fun it can be sexy it can be hot I can’t I wouldn’t want want to nor can anyone
say that’s a right a size rage you have anger and shame and hurt you’re not
doing we can’t say that to people what we can say what I would say to people is
make sure your processing why that’s hot to you it might just be hot cuz it’s hot
right I don’t want to stigmatize or demonize anything I think it’s like and
by the way same would be all kinds of BDSM behavior if someone is doing that
addictively we want to help them get their life back but that doesn’t mean
that they have to stop that behavior that doesn’t mean that that’s wrong or
bad that might be what they love and what’s hot to them and what’s so
important about that is making sure they aren’t retry monetizing something inside
of them so yes absolutely they can do it and it’s not hurting anybody it’s not
hurting themselves but yet again and Alec says this on the podcast I refer to
earlier on a brave new man what you find rough sex and what I find as a rough sex
let me say that again what you define is rough sex and what I define is a rough
sex might be two very different things so though it’s so important to be even
if it’s a less-hot right or if it kills the moment if you’re talking about
having any kind of slapping or choking or any kind of rough sex behavior you
need to be explicit about what that does and does not include and you have to be
clear and checking in with your partner especially if it’s a new sexual
relationship that you’re still within the boundaries of what you agreed upon
but absolutely yes it can just be fun for people and it not be your outer size
rage at all how would I know if I need to refer a porn addictive client to a
higher level of care like an intensive great question what I usually say is if
you can stop through 12-step through therapy or through coaching or through
just your own you know stopping or a sustained period of time you know
there’s a saying in 12-step in addiction treatment we can stop we just can’t stay
stopped so sure anybody even a hardcore addict can stop for a week or even a
month but once they start again they’re off to the races
they say an a a it’s the first drink that gets you drunk so I talked about
about that with porn addicts what’s your first drink they say well can I look at
Instagram can i watch youtube videos well is that your first drink does that
open up the obsessive channels in your brain where suddenly you’re needing to
do it all the time now if someone can stop without anything other than the
things I just mentioned there’s no need for a higher level of care I have
absolutely worked with people who came and they just couldn’t stop and
couldn’t stop and couldn’t stop and we tried everything and they read
everything in there in program and they have the blockers then it’s time to
consider an intensive CHS has a phenomenal two-week intensive for men
and for women and a lot of people who have suffered from porn addiction and
sex addiction have come through and come out the other side feeling like change
people so that is an outpatient program there’s also for people whose whose
lives and brains are just so mired in this addiction that they can’t get it
out of it that they go to inpatient treatment there are many sex addiction
inpatient treatments if you’re wondering what any of those are through our
clients call CHS they have a phenomenal you know roster of who to refer to but
yes try to stop on their own with help I should say with all the resources we
talked about and if they can’t over and over and over again three months five
months six months they just keep acting out is what it’s called in porn
addiction treatment then it’s time to refer them to a higher level care
inpatient or outpatient what if a client says they don’t have any trauma or
unresolved issues from their childhood so a great question we could talk for an
hour about this but let me give you one or two second sentence answer trauma is
frequently misunderstood as people who have gone through life-threatening or
severe violent abuse or severe sexual abuse of course all of that is trauma
it’s what we know is trauma relational trauma is something that we don’t talk
about as much out loud we don’t understand as much and that I think a
lot of us have were we made to feel less than ashamed embarrassed
we had to care take our mom care take our dad or any caregiver where we were
raised in such a way that we felt that our own unique sense of self wasn’t
inherently lovable or beautiful or worthy where we feel like we are less
than that is trauma and I haven’t yet met the person in therapy or out of
therapy now that I think about it who hasn’t gone through some form of
relational trauma so people do come in and say I came from the perfect family
my parents were great yeah they were wonderful they’re there no trauma okay
I’m not trying to burst their bubble that maybe their parents were amazing
but in what ways with their sense of self harmed
throughout their upbringing to the point where they needed something a
pathological relationship with a drug or an experience to get them out of the
reality of what it feels like to just be me so that’s the trauma I would explore
with them next question thank you Greg you’re
welcome do you have any other tips for female students and women to help men
express healthy masculinity aside from the few things I said earlier I would
say for women women I know in my personal life and professionally I would
say love and embrace your femininity and your own driven parts of your
masculinity heal the parts inside of you that would label something driven as
toxic or bad or wrong if it’s not what I mean to say by that is check our own
filters am i putting something on you that doesn’t belong there however in
most cases I would say for women to talk to the men that they love about what
they love about them about the specific healthy parts of their masculinity that
they love again what we focus on expands so that’s my best answer to that
question is to engage with men show that vulnerability that opened this model for
men what it means to be empathetic and loving what it means to communicate
right what it means to love to see someone is worthy and valuable whether
they’re doing what you love right now in this moment so for you to be the way
show or basically is one of the ways one of the other ways I would say for women
to really be able to show men what it is to open up their hearts because it is
safe we just don’t know it some of us because we were trained not to we were
hurt in the past so why wouldn’t we right why wouldn’t men shut down these
parts of their masculinity shut down their vulnerability if they were hurt
hurt for showing it when they were little just curious what are some
highlights from your podcast so far perhaps not guests or a moment to read
some takeaways about the process of starting our hunting one this could be a
five-hour conversation thank you so much for that question I’ve had the
opportunity to deal with my own feelings of my own inadequacies my own
shortcomings my own oh what’s that called the oh I can’t I think of it but
the ways that I lie to myself and say that I don’t measure up as soon as I end
this meeting I’ll remember the word but so it’s it’s been a challenge for me to
really listen to myself and know that yeah that this is bad good people love
it or hate it that it just is it’s it’s what’s right for me and and hopefully
that helps people and I’ve heard back that it does help people and some
highlights you know they’re they’re huge roadblocks huge pitfalls things I ran
into I didn’t know but I had to go through it right so it’s like anything I
had to be in my own full durability and being my own healing in the own ways my
toxic masculinity would come where I’d want to like punch the wall or yell or
something where I had to realize that like yeah this is meaningful to me so
it’s challenged and helped me be in my own healthy masculinity and my own
unhealthy masculinity as part of preaching it I think that happens when
we’re supposed to teach something it comes up for us right so we can heal it
inside of ourselves and I have learned from every single guest I’ve had it’s
been amazing things that I say as if I’m the authority many times I’m quoting
people that I’ve heard who talk about masculinity femininity consent
relationships trauma in ways that I’ve never thought of before so two beautiful
somebody says super great that’s all congruent with my style thank you much
you’re so welcome CHS just put my website on the chat and
also oh great that’s awesome a link to my Instagram and then to the specific
one specific episode with alex and i talking about consent so thank you CHS
for putting on there and then last comment says very well done well thank
you so it looks like there is one more question here under the qat
what can I do as the partner to help make sure my husband isn’t internalizing
or repressing his feelings without overstepping my role wow what a great
question what can I do the partner to help sure my husband
isn’t internalizing or a person requesting his feelings without
overstepping my role okay so here’s what I would say be empathetic to the fact
that he might be internalizing or repressing tell him that say I get this
is weird and scary sometimes it’s okay if this doesn’t feel comfortable I
understand you might say if you’re a woman as a girl I was allowed to play I
was allowed to be he let my mind wander I was allowed to be creative and show my
feelings I was allowed to cry without being made fun of if that’s true by the
way you weren’t so I am open to more I am open to you sharing your
vulnerability and here’s one thing you can really do let him know if this is
true that he won’t pay a price for it for sharing his feelings with you that
is if something you said hurt his feelings yesterday well if you’re asking
him to be more open then meet him there you can say that hurts my feelings too
or I feel hurt you don’t have to be perfect or robotic you get to be human
too but to basically pay pave the way by saying this is a safe space and then
make it a safe space if it’s not safe right if the communication is abusive or
in some way passive-aggressive or gaslighting or you feel like you’re
being manipulative manipulated by him well then no then that’s not okay and
you need to let him know that – but overstepping our role with our partner
or what gender we are if I go to my partner and I say hey you need to tell
me this you need to tell me that that’s not fair you know you’re not doing
enough of this well I don’t know any partner like I said earlier who wouldn’t
want to shut down and that that’s not relational it’s not intimate and it
doesn’t sound healthy to me but what you can do is open your heart and say and
carve out time this is one thing I say especially the people I work with who
are in recovery and even if they’re not hey can we sit for like five minutes a
week ten minutes we can just talk about our feelings we try that this goofy guy
on a web webinar said it can we just try that can we see if that works for us and
see how that feels and if it’s clumsy that’s okay
if it’s cool then let’s keep doing it but just those are several different
ways to kind of step into it without you taking the police officer role or the
teacher role or the therapist role because you don’t want that and I know
your partner doesn’t want that too so I believe we’ve answered all the
questions thank you everybody for being here it’s been so lovely to talk about
this and I like to think I could feel people’s collective energy as we talked
about it and any questions like I said please feel free to contact me or CHS go
back to one last thing and finish be compassionate toward yourself be
compassionate toward addicts who can’t stop a behavior if they’re crossing your
boundaries you you have every right to put up your boundaries and say it is not
okay for you to do this in our marriage or in our relationship that is not okay
with me and it needs to change but realize in your heart their suffering
your suffering whole boundaries you need to hold but
also love the hell out of yourself and your partner and realize that it’s like
compassion open-heartedness talking about our feelings owning our own and
loving people for their feelings that’s a road to intimacy thanks so much
everybody you

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