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Rewriting the Core Beliefs of the Sex Addict – pt. 2

April 13, 2010

Out of the Shadows: Understanding Sexual Addiction

 During this series of 4 podcasts I’m sharing insights from Dr. Patrick Carnes’ book Out of the Shadows.  He develops the idea of Four Core Beliefs of the Sex Addict.   

An essential part of recovery is exploring what’s on the inside.  Recovery is less about behavioral changes, and more about an inward transformation.  Our change and our movement toward purity happens from the inside out.  You have to ask yourself things like: 

What are my core beliefs?

What lies about myself and my condition do I believe?

How do my inside beliefs drive my outward behavior? 

Part1:  I am basically a bad, unworthy person.

Part 2:  No one would love me as I am.

Part 3:  My needs are never going to be met if I have to depend on other people.

Part 4:  Sex is my greatest need. 

CORE BELIEF #2 “No one would love me as I am.”

This second core belief expands on the addict’s low sense of himself and says, “I know I’m worthless… AND no one would ever love me as I am.  They are tied together.    

Core belief #2 is about relationships.  Our relationship with ourselves and with others. 

The addict believes that if people knew the truth about themselves they would be rejected.  They are afraid to share the truth and to confess.  They don’t feel like they can share their secrets and their struggles.  They cannot and will not be completely honest.   

There is an initial problem with lack of self-love.  If a person believes he is bad and unworthy, he will have no problem hating himself. 

The addict extend that to others as well.  If the addict hates himself, he believes that others will feel the same way. 

This core belief might have deep roots in his past.  He might have had negative messages imparted in the past.  He might have had parents that were demanding or rejected him or loved him conditionally.  Those who are perfectionists may have been pushed to near impossible standards.  Some households are absent of love. 

Some addicts believe they will be better as soon as they get their life cleaned up.  As soon as they shake their porn habit, they’ll be OK.  But that day never happens because of the bondage they’re in.  Instead, they sink deeper into shame and the believe that they are unlovable. 

Those who hold to this core belief isolate themselves from relationships.  They have a profound sense of loneliness and emptiness.  They might even long for friends and intimate relationships, but feel that they can never go below the surface with anyone.

An even darker side of this core belief is when a person creates a false persona and cultivates an atmosphere of anonymity.  They may pretend to be someone different in a chatroom or on a website.  They may seek out escorts, phone sex or prostitutes to try and maintain anonymity. 

God accepts us as we are.  He loves us in spite of our failures and sent His Son to die for us. 

We don’t have to hide from God.  He already knows our true self. 

If you can’t find people who accept you as your are, support groups are great places to start.  Those who are in support group have similar stories to yours.  You are not alone, and you will find strength, hope, and courage from others as they share their stories.  Support groups are full of broken people, who know they are broken.  They accept each other and their flaws, and pledge to work on it together. 

Counselors are another place you’ll find a different kind of acceptance.  Counselors have sat with men, women and couples who go through the same types of problems you are going through.  They’ve heard it, and are not phased by anything you could say.  They are skilled at listening, being objective, and rolling with whatever you throw their way. 

Another good thing about God is that we don’t have to prove ourselves to Him.  We don’t have to earn His love.  He has already freely given it.  We don’t have to clean our mess up before we come to Him.  We come to Him with mess and all.  God loves it when we come openly, honestly, unpolished, raw, and bring our junk to Him. 

Our friends of our childhood and adolescence could have an impact on this core belief as well.  If you were picked on a lot as a kid and had low self-esteem, it can perpetuate this lie that you are unloveable. 

There is a fear of abandonment and rejection that overshadows this core belief.  We want to be included and accepted, so we’ll hide the unpleasant things in our lives and the aberrant behaviors.  Our addiction becomes a place of medicating the pain and a place where we create our own acceptance. 

Some who hold to this core belief are given to an excessive fantasy life.  They don’t want to get close to others or don’t feel they can’t.  But in their minds they do.  They can become whomever they want.  They can make the other person be whomever they want. 

104 diagonal

Click on the 104 button to download Jeff’s podcast on Core Belief #2

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