Updated: Jun 9
I've always seen the greatness in everyone I have met. I always found this to be an advantage until I got into a relationship with a sex addict. This is part of my story.
'Our first night was a dreamy encounter ...'
I was introduced to Vincent about 6 months after I had separated from my husband. From the moment we met, we connected like we had always known each other. Our first night was a dreamy encounter spent under a blanket of stars, initially chatting and then gazing at the sky; a sight that held an allure of magic, mystery and indescribable beauty.
It was strange how much we had in common. All the things he did, I was either about to get involved in or was doing. In fact, I thought it was rather odd that we had never met before. We had more things in common than anyone I’d ever met and could talk for hours about absolutely anything – Vincent was a breath of fresh air.
'It's easy for me to see the greatness in everyone I meet ...'
Vincent talked openly about his past experiences in relationships, his sexual encounters and a significant life changing experience that pushed him on the path of spirituality and personal wellbeing. I listened with curiosity and without judgement of anything being right or wrong – I am good at this … of course as I am trained to be non-judgemental and my work has taught me that there's always a genuine reason for behaviour. On top of that, it is one of the things my Dad taught me with his favourite quote.
This non-judgmental approach makes it easy for me to see the greatness in everyone I meet or work with. It has a wealth of usefulness, however in this case it was part of what blurred my vision of the truth as JUST seeing the greatness in someone is an unbalanced view. Combine my one sided view of Vincent with a lack of knowledge of my love patterns and unconscious beliefs ... the result - a relationship disaster (well ish, let's say a string of emotionally exhausting, grow up quick experiences).
'If someone loves you and they tell you, and you feel it, how can they abandonment you?'
Vincent was honest to admit he had struggled with sex and porn habits since the break-up of a previous relationship several years ago. However, he told me these behaviours were in THE PAST. I believed him. After finding out about how this addiction (compulsivity) works, I fully understand how Vincent believed that he was free from it.
It took us about 6 months to become partners and the first few months were blissful. Although, after this period whenever we had the slightest disagreement he literally cut himself off from me. My reaction emotionally each time was catastrophic. I felt totally abandoned.
I took Vincent back many times and each time the same abandonment – I was left wondering what on earth was going on as I only really knew the strong, robust me who could get over (and have got over) numerous incredibly stressful events in life. The connection we had felt like love however I was in conflict. If someone loves you and they tell you, and you feel it, how can they abandonment you? More so, why was I continually letting him back in my life? This was before I knew about how my love patterns and unconscious beliefs were silently influencing my ability to move away from the relationship so I could see clearly, and objectively, what was going on.
The yo-yo relationship was catapulting me into an abandoned baby trauma state – you know it was that painful at times, thoughts drifting into my head about how it would be easier to be dead! That was the emotional pain talking not me as I am ALL for living!
... my first conscious emotional experience of being abandoned.
The only other time I had experienced this catastrophic level of emotional pain was as a teenager. I arranged to meet a guy at the park and he never turned up. I was totally devastated, experiencing an intense physical and emotional reaction; I vowed to myself to NEVER let these emotions affect me to this degree again.
This influenced all my future relationships. I seem to have chosen men who are emotionally unavailable to love as I too was unavailable; my unconscious fear of rejection and abandonment coupled with deeply ingrained felt sense of grief. The grief I was born into from the moment I arrived into the world. The grief I did not know how to express as a baby. What baby does?
I had spent months nested safely in my mother's womb, then abruptly born (as every one does to some degree) to become both separate and separated. I had lost part of me and I had lost my mum who had once been the whole of me.
My extreme emotional reaction at the time seemed ridiculous, however I now recognise this was my first conscious emotional experience of being rejected, abandoned, not good enough to be kept and in a grief state. It was lying dormant in my body stored like a coded programme waiting to be activated with one act of rejection and abandonment. Being stood up that day as a teenager triggered it as did every time Vincent abandoned me. I had protected my fragile heart avoiding the pain of rejection and abandonment. Grief was my shield conveniently blocking love. I had let my guard slip with Vincent and allowed myself to love.
I do see this as useful because the tears that followed allowed me to express the many years of unexpressed grief I had held in my body. This needed to be expressed.
'Don’t leave me; I will NEVER leave you.'
It sounds so bizarre to repeatedly accept someone back into your life when they are causing you so much emotional pain. It is not bizarre when you have been abandoned as the last thing you want to do is abandon or leave another. Part of me was saying 'Don't leave me; I will NEVER leave you'. So hidden in my unconscious was another useful and not so useful belief that once committed I should see it through no matter what – it serves me well in my career and in friendships as I absolutely won’t let you down or abandon you. It didn’t serve me well to continually recommit to a relationship that was damaging my health.
So, if you are reading this and have accepted partners back when part of you knew it was healthier to be apart, be kind on yourself as there will be an absolutely valid reason for your actions that is likely to be hidden in the darkness of your unconsciousness.
Damaged ... hurt ... shame
What made it worse was that Vincent eventually admitted he was still watching porn. Naïve, catholic upbringing with a ‘the body is a sacred vessel’ attitude thought this would never happen. This rejection and the thoughts of him choosing the fantasies of other women before me hurt more than I can ever explain. How could my best friend and the guy I felt deeply connected to hurt me like this?
Worst of all, I found myself continually comparing myself to every woman wondering if that was the sort of woman he liked and what did they have that I didn’t? It wore me down. I ended up feeling insecure about every aspect of my appearance. I questioned my sexuality as a woman and was flooded with sexual shame.
How the hell could I compete with all the women in those porn images? I began to notice that lots of media was laced with alluring body images and even the women walking around in everyday life looked as if they were heading to take part in a porn movie; some call this overt display of bottoms, boobs and puckered lips fashion, I see it as the invisible media influence of pornography in a sexually suppressed society.
It was of course impossible for me to even attempt to compete with every size or shaped women out there. This comparison and self-criticism of myself left me feeling damaged.
I’m not going to describe the drama here of any one of the multitude of times Vincent abandoned me and I annihilated myself. I am not one for trawling over past events when I feel I have gained the wisdom from them. There were many personally challenging ‘pit of the earth’ experiences I will expand on at some point ... maybe. For this blog, I’ve found it easier to set out my repeated experiences in the following poem.
What is to note is that since I wrote this I have been on a 'Get porn informed' journey. I have concluded from my recent studies with a leading sex & relationship training establishment, my own clinical work AND my unfolding relationship with Vincent is that ... people do not get addicted to porn or sex, it is a compulsion and it serves a hidden purpose in a relationship. My reaction was of course linked to my unconscious beliefs BUT it was also due to my shame/trauma history.
I have to admit that I was sucked into the 'Porn Panic' as many people are - particularly parents. June 2023
Vincent is a pseudonym. This blog has his permission.
If you are at a relationship crisis point or dealing with a relationship betrayal (porn related and/or physical infidelity). I can help.