Many women come to BTR completely confused because therapists, clergy, family, friends, and popular internet bloggers have told them that their husband or partner is a “pornography addict”. Often, their spouse is a self-proclaimed addict and has entered 12-step groups, therapy, or other forms of treatment for his “addiction”.
Pornography Addiction Treatment Doesn’t Stop Abuse
But the abusive behaviors don’t stop. He keeps using pornography and acting out sexually in other ways. He keeps verbally, emotionally, psychologically, and sexually abusing his partner. He is a detached parent. He is a chronic liar but constantly promises to change.
So what’s the missing link?
When women understand that men who use pornography are not victims to pornography, a subtle shift begins in their thinking. Men who use pornography “play the victim” when in fact, they are victimizing countless others in their selfish and abusive behaviors.
How Do Abusers “Play Victim” To Pornography?
When a man claims that he can’t stop using pornography because he is addicted to it, he is creating a victim-narrative. He has become a victim to pornography. Addiction is a disease, and by giving himself a disease, he makes himself out to be someone who is harmed by pornography.
Yes, pornography is harmful, that’s indisputable. But when a grown man who knows that it is wrong to lie, commit infidelity, and perpetuate the insidious pornography sex-slavery industry, continuously goes back to viewing pornography, knowing the pain that he will cause to his family and others, knowing that it is morally wrong to support the pornography industry, is it ethically responsible to cast him in the same rank as someone who is diseased with an illness like cancer or heart failure?
Abusers “Play Victim” to Pornography; The Truth is That They Are Victimizing Everyone Else By Using It
When a man uses pornography, he is victimizing:
- His wife
- His children
- The women and/or children (a staggering number of minors are used in pornographic material) in the pornography he viewed
- If he used at work, his employer and co-workers through accidental viewing of the pornography, or simply wasting his employers time and money
- His church leaders, if he is not completely forthright about his pornography usage (lying is abusive)
- His family, if he is not completely forthright about his pornography usage (again, lying is abusive, and the omission of truth is a lie. So if his family believes he is not using pornography and he doesn’t correct that belief, he is creating victims in his family)
- Anyone else who could come across his screen or is effected by his behavior
Pornography Users Make Choices… To View Pornography
Bottom line, he’s choosing to use pornography. That choice right there is the distinction between a disease and abuse. It’s the distinction between a victim and a perpetrator.
When someone electively chooses to harm another person (and in the case of using pornography it is never just one person who is harmed) that person is an abuser.
The Truth: Abusers Seek Privileges
Hiding behind the “I’m a diseased pornography addict and need lots of empathy and sex so I can get better” mask gives abusive men loads of privileges.
Some of those privileges include:
- More “alone” time to work on their “recovery” (or act out)
- More sex from their partner (to treat their sex addiction, therapists, clergy and others will counsel parters to try to “connect more intimately” with the abusive partner, putting the victim in traumatizing danger)
- Sympathy from others as he comes out as an “addict”
- Sympathy and “forgiveness” from his partner (which he takes as an opportunity to continue acting out)
- Control over his partner and children (he can hide behind the addict label and use it to get favors, control behavior, and dictate what should and shouldn’t happen, because he is “diseased”)
- Oodles of time talking about his “feelings” with therapists, clergy, and well-meaning, but stupid, friends (remember, abusers are generally narcissistic and love talking about themselves)
- Being the center of his partner’s world as he creates chaos so that she has to focus on: check-ins, calling him at work to make sure he’s not acting out, and other safety-seeking behaviors that ensure him that he is always at the center of the universe
- The “right” to use pornography and sexually act out occasionally, because as an addict, he can give himself permission to “slip” or “relapse” once in a while and still get a parade from therapists and his partner for telling the truth, “being accountable”, or relapsing in a decreased capacity than previously (viewing pornography for ten minutes instead of an hour, masturbating once instead of three times in a day, etc)
Oh No, This is My Life. What Can I Do?
At BTR, we understand how devastating it is to have the “addict” rug pulled out from under your feet and have to face the reality that your husband is abusive. Pornography use in and of itself is abuse. Compounded by lying, gaslighting, sexual coercion, and more, you are a multi-dimensional abuse victim and you need support, safety, and education about abuse and trauma. The Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group meets daily in every time zone. Join today and start your journey toward healing.
One great first step is to set and maintain boundaries. Boundaries are not statements, requests, or ultimatums. They are courageous actions that women take to separate themselves from abuse. As you determine your personal boundaries, decide first what your safety issues are: what do you need to feel emotionally, physically, and sexually safe? Set boundaries around yourself that will ensure that your safety boundaries are not crossed by your husband. This may mean that you take drastic action, like moving out or filing for separation. If you do so, make sure you have a safe support person to walk this journey with you. At the Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group, strong friendships are made all over the world as women offer validation, comfort, and empathy to each other, no matter where they are in their journey.
Remember, you are not alone.