Trauma & Distortion
Undoing the Abuse
At the heart of every sexually dysfunctional person who acts out is the desire to undo the abuse suffered in childhood at the hands of more powerful, controlling abusers. The difference is that, as children, sexually dysfunctional persons suffered the punishment; as adults, they dish it out. As children, they had no power or control; as adults, they take power and control. Sexual compulsive behavior is not about sex; it is about power and control.
The desire to undo the abuse is the modus operandi behind almost all sexual deviance. In my therapy, if I can help a patient understand his or her acting-out behaviors as attempts to "undo the shame," he or she has come a long way toward the path of recovery.
In sexual addiction, we learn to continually betray ourselves. Our childhood wounding provides our source of betrayal. We learn betrayal because our parents betrayed us. Their jobs as parents were to keep us safe, to nurture us, and to help us thrive. Instead they taught us either though covert or overt abuse or abandonment, that we did not deserve to be loved. We did not deserve to feel safe. Perhaps we did not deserve even to take up space on the planet.
When people get into healing trauma and early recovery work, they do not yet know how to stop betraying themselves. They allow themselves to do things outside their value system which continually eats away at their self-worth and perpetuates the conviction that "I am wrong. I am bad. I am unworthy. I am not deserving."
By acting against our value systems, by allowing ourselves to be led back to the world of our original wounding where we learned that we were worthless and inadequate, we trap ourselves in cycles of sexual addiction. Our trauma templates our maps back to the place of our original wounding.
(To be continued.)