Lots of IC....lots of reading.....lots of podcast listening. Result is substantial motivation for internal inspection and change. To do this I have had to find what the true motivations were within me...motivations to do life like I do life.
Some of my core motivations were the vows I made to myself as a child.
It occurs to me that some vows simply need breaking.
FOO coping skills are vows I made as a kid.
I was abandoned as a kid....Dad disappeared after the D, Mom did the best she could but emotionally retreated at times (regularly). I was 12 and vowed I would never be hurt like that again. To do that I found ways to satisfy myself and learned NOT to rely on others....lest I want to get hurt badly again.
Of course, this was as concious a decision as I could make at 12. I held tight to this vow, used porn as a substitute for real intimacy because "real intimacy means greater hurt". I hung tight to that vow.
I see my wife made similar vows as a child. She vowed to avoid conflict....after watching her parents destructive marriage, filled with conflict, end in D. Arguing means the end of a relationship....my wife hung tight to that vow.
I also vowed to have a deep relationship with my Dad. Flew out to see him at age 22. "What do you want from me?" was his first question to me after 10 years of nothing. I held tight to this vow and continued to struggle with that relationship.
I also vowed to over-achieve thinking I was providing some sort of cushion between me and being abandoned again.
Many times these actions were clothed in "noble robes"....strong work ethic, confident, self-made man....etc. To be sure, these vows were not as concious or direct as those we took on our wedding day, but they were very weighty in nature. Have influenced me more than I ever knew they did.
What I think I am learning is that with self-introspection comes questioning what old vows I am holding onto and if they are healthy ones. Or are they healthy ones that were maintained in unhealthy ways?
I have concluded that my FOO coping mechs (vows) were what I COULD do to get by at that time.....no regrets. I am also painfully aware that I held onto these vows way longer than I needed to. They were holding me back....but the masking I did with the before mentioned "noble-robes" kept them hidden from me. Cant address what I cant see.
NOTE: Marital vows are in a different class. But even those should be questioned after adultery....if those should be honored or if they will bind you within a destructive relationship into the future (which they would if your spouse continues to choose adultery).
So what I am working on now is breaking old vows to myself.
I am actively finding new ways to process life....ways that I didn't know or learn during my formative years, but that I can NOW learn!
As I learn new ways to process life I am finding freedom I never knew.
Example: As I learn healthy ways to reach out when I feel isolated, I have no need or desire to reach for porn....my go-to vice when I held tight to my vow that I would not reach out to others in an effort to avoid the pain of being abandoned by them.
Hope this makes sense to some......it is providing some much needed clarity as to "why" I did what I did, do what I do. Helping me find unhealthy motivations and replace them with healthy ones.
God is with us all.