Own It

Jumping right in…

If you have acted out sexually with pornography, masturbation, affairs, etc. you’ve also acted “in” relationally. The two go hand-in-hand. Men who struggle with sexual integrity issues also struggle with things like hiding, blaming, shaming, avoiding, stonewalling, criticizing and controlling with anger. These behaviors push people away and, as some wives report, actually hurt worse than the sexual betrayal.

Once disclosure/discovery occurs and the acting out behaviors stop, the acting in behaviors become the issue. The tougher issue. It’s incredibly hard to change and get away from a critical spirit, from a blameshifting attitude or from being angry and defensive. Yet this is the work of recovery.

Too often I find that while men will own their acting out behavior, they have a difficult time owning their acting in behavior. Typically the justification for it is a cause and effect accusation against the wife. He says he wouldn’t have to be defensive if she didn’t get so angry and accuse him of things. He wouldn’t have to be quiet and shut down if she could just calm down and listen. He wouldn’t have to criticize her if she were a little more complimentary of him. Further, I hear the self validation when guys say that it is only with their wives that they are this way. Since it only happens with her, not the kids, at work or with his buddies, then by process of elimination she is the problem.

Take it from a recovering acting in addict, the best thing you can do for your relationship and for your recovery personally is own this junk. Even the cause and effect thinking itself is acting in. It is putting up a relational wall that keeps pain out and stagnant, self righteousness in.

By the way, sometimes the last statement about it only happening with a wife is true. But its usually not because she is the problem, though that can certainly be the case. More often, its because the marriage is the most intimate relationship we’re involved in. A wife has more ammunition to fire, knows exactly what buttons to push (intentionally or accidentally), and wields the most power to pronounce judgement and rejection. Simply said, there is more risk in the marriage.

The sooner you begin to own those acting in behaviors, the sooner you will feel a change within yourself. Remember that those of us who do this stuff aren’t monsters or perverts, we’re not stupid or simply jerks. There is a reason and there are emotional triggers that prompt us to enact old, unhealthy ways of dealing with life. The more you understand these triggers and your automatic response, the more you have a chance for life to be different.

3 thoughts on “Own It

  1. So what do you do when you realize your struggles and yes triggers, go to 2 years – 2 cycles of recovery (CR). Trying to work on it all – 100% transparency , currently say 3 months 100% porn and self grat. free…. , phone tracked by wife, no untracked browsers . finally at the point of full communication on the issue. You read in Rebuilding her trust how important boundaries are, cutting off this and that (by the way I NEVER in two marriages never went to a “T-bar, or kissed another woman, OR chatted up ex’s with regularity… SO when I find my wife has all her ex- boyfriends on her Facebook, has Google whatever and clients (male) in circles etc. and has chatted up ex-fiancé from 20 year ago -all without me knowing (yes computer was open but once Smart phones cam into play what does that matter). So – yeah all of your stuff says be open, own what you have done , be transparent , do what it takes… help heal there heart ……… NOW the shoe is on the other foot- did I mention there was an email address I did NOT know about but ex-fiancée did ? – to be clear NO I don’t believe anything happened . there are miles and miles apart in most all cases BUT I am old school – I don’t think you should have “opposite-sex friends – PERIOD- I don’t why should she – I closed facebook to show it means NOTHING to me. only REAL friends, only family really matters – who cares about some guy you dated 15 years ago. I feel counselors and Pastors even so-called “friends” are always ready to bash the guy but women who “snack” as a boot–camp called it , who INSIST on maintaining people as online friends – hey let me ask a question ? Do any of you have a few girls pictures in your wallet ? no? with maybe a hello , nice catching up with you the other night and a time stamp of 12:03 am ? no? That’s not right? That’s untidy in a God -centered marriage ? SO WHY under the name of “technology and social media” and “catching up” do women get the free pass? Sorry guys – 3 months, SEVERAL counseling sessions and I am still ticked – if she would take all the men I do not know or have a couple friendship off – and all pictures out , and all phone numbers – yeah I want a lot – I believe social media is no different than a house or a checkbook – ONE ADDRESS – one mailbox, one account! – and while I am bordering on insanity here – why do women all of the sudden feel the need to use their maiden names – I call that trolling! – This IS a tool of you know who and mark my words WILL take down many marriages……affair or no affair if I cant get over it or she love me enough to allow more boundaries and less BS it will take out mine too!

    • Love sets limits. Healthy relationships have boundaries that show respect, honesty. And integrity. No secrets! No double life. If I won’t do it in the daytime, I won’t do it anytime! Love is COMMITTMENT to one man or one woman. My best friend has become my husband! What about your commitment to your spouse, Does he or she know that you’ve reserved yourself, your deepest friendship for them?

    • Hey brother I totally understand what your going through. I myself am 9 months free of that porn crap and its only gotten a wee bit better. Their trust once fractured or broken takes lots of time to mend and heal which in turn can aggravate and discourage us. Dont blame yourself or her as god works for us through us. If she feels the need to vent or takk to old guys in her past and while hurt she thinks its helping our a form of nurturing than it could be benificial to both of you. In time once the walls arr back up and the trust is reforming it can be brought up about the problem you have with it. If the trust was never broke or fractured she wouldnt care who you talked to and vice versa but since it was and wounds heal slow you feel differently. I understand it and that is normal. Hiding e mails or talking to ex’s can make water boil so its good to evaluate it from and upper story prospective. Im with ya brother and here to talk about what ever ya got going on as I myself am going through sonething I created. God bless you

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