Before beginning their recovery journey, men who have struggled with sexual addiction tend to run as far away as they can from dealing with difficult emotions. Many have become used to avoiding their emotions at all costs, especially the “ugly” ones that they don’t want anyone else to see.
When emotions try to surface, an internal “Emotional Sweeper” moves to action for most men, subconsciously trying to eliminate the perceived threat that emotions present. This Emotional Sweeper attempts to sweep stray emotions back under the surface, where a man thinks they belong.
Especially in recovery from sexual addiction, a man has to be aware of the facets of the Emotional Sweeper that work to inhibit his growth:
- Hide and Mask Anger.
When a man is angry, he may feel guilty or ashamed that he’s having that reaction. He’ll want to minimize the anger, but expressing it in a healthy way is crucial to his recovery.
- Internalize Pressure.
Whether its pressure from work or family life, a man has to share what he’s feeling with someone he trusts, such as a friend or a counselor. If not, the internal pressure will only intensify.
- Bury Losses.
It could be the death of someone close to him, or the death of a dream he’s had for a long time. Losses such as these have to be grieved openly or they will fester internally.
- Deny Wounds.
Growing up in one’s family environment, there are always emotional wounds that need to be healed. It may feel like the “manly” thing to do to deny that these exist, but it’s actually hurting a man to not face the reality of the hurt done to him.
- Withdraw From Truth.
When presented with truth, men can either accept and learn from it or deny it. Truth is the first catalyst for change and it is vital that a man learns to live in the truth that he’s confronted with.
- Deflect Mistakes.
Men tend to not want to face the fact that they can and do make mistakes. With this mindset, any small mistake can seem like a mountain. Instead of pretending that he’s perfect, a man needs grace for himself.
- Blame Others.
It’s easy for a man to want to look at others and blame them for the situation that he’s in. Blaming others instead of taking responsibility for his own actions will keep him stuck in the same patterns of living.
- Hide Struggles.
A man in recovery has to be honest about his struggles not only with sexual integrity, but also with other difficult things in his life. Then he can find the help he needs.
- Push Others Away.
If a man is afraid of being vulnerable, he can easily push others away who want to be involved in his life. The best thing he can do during this time is ask for help from those who care about him the most.
- Ignore the Hurt of Others.
If a man is trying to avoid his own emotions, he won’t be able to understand the emotional pain that he’s causing those around him. Understanding how his addiction has harmed others is an important part of the healing process.
New Life Ministries can help a man resist the “Emotional Sweeper” that gets in the way of his recovery. Call 800-NEW-LIFE to learn more about finding a licensed Christian counselor or joining a Sustained Victory Coaching Group.