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Rewriting the Core Beliefs of the Sex Addict – pt. 3

April 14, 2010

Out of the Shadows: Understanding Sexual AddictionDr. Patrick Carnes has a very popular book called Out of the Shadows:  Understanding Sexual Addiction.  I usually recommend it for those who are trying to understand sexual addiction.  The book is secular, but can open eyes to understanding sexual addiction. 

A thread throughout the book is on the Four Core Beliefs of the Sexual Addict.  It’s a very insightful. 

In this series, I have taken each of the core beliefs, explained them from Carnes’ material, and then suggest some ways they can be rewritten by God’s Truth.


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 #3:  “My needs are never going to be met if I have to depend on others.” 

The addict gets increasingly good at cutting off relationships.   He isolates himself, detaches from others, and hides his secrets. 

The addict also starts turning into a controlling person.  Most addicts I know have gotten good at controlling their world.  They create elaborate sexual behaviors and plans that take a lot of energy and creativity to pull off and hide.  They become very good at controlling their circumstances, cutting people’s access to their life, and keeping people away. 

The addict truly believes he is the best at meeting his needs, and that he’s got it all covered. 

He believes that if he leans on others, they will not only reject him, but they will fail to give him what he thinks he needs the most:  sexual pleasure. 

He believes it’s too much work and a waste of time to rely on others for his needs.  It’s so much easier to just do it himself and give himself pleasure.  He wants the complete freedom to do whatever acting out that he decides he wants to do.    

There is usually a deep anger inside the addict.  He has been wounded by others, let down by them, rejected by them.  He blames others.  He blames God for making him this way and not fixing him.  He may resent people for not helping him or caring. 

The addict can be around others, and at the same time feel disconnected.  He has stopped engaging others.  He has stopped sharing his needs and asking for help. 


We all have God-given needs.  Some of our needs are unique to us, but God still knows them perfectly.  He knows how to meet our needs.  He knows what our true needs are.  And He knows things about our needs we haven’t even learned yet. 

We have many different kinds of needs: emotional, physical, intellectual, spiritual and sexual. 

Sometimes God will meet our needs directly, but His preferred way is through other people. 

God may give us the ingenuity to learn how to meet some of our own needs, but His plan always involves others. 

One of the problems with this core belief is that we don’t always know what our needs are.  We know what we want, and what we think will fulfill us, but we can’t xray our soul to see what we really need.  We just don’t know ourselves that well.

Others who are smarter than us, wiser, and more mature can be a great help to us.  They can help us to know what our needs are.  They can help us with blind spots.  They can offer the support and resource that we don’t know how to do on our own. 

In fairness, some of us have been hurt by others in the past.  We may have been wounded and have a lot of anger because the people we depended upon failed us.  We may be justified in our anger.  But it we believe a lie when we believe that others can’t help us with our needs. 

If this is you, spend some time with God.  Tell Him about your frustration with others or with Him.  He can take it. 

Another thing we have to realize is that people WILL fail us.  No parent is perfect.  No pastor or priest is perfect.  No spouse is perfect.  No counselor is perfect.

But it’s better to try and retry relationships. 

The best relationships I have right now are through my sexual recovery support group.  These guys have been through the same types of things as me.  They are finding victory.  They can relate to me and don’t judge me or condemn me.  They are creating a safe atmosphere for me to share more of my junk. 

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One Comment
  1. April 14, 2010 7:51 am


    Patrick Carnes certainly knows this issue!

    I never realized that I had a problem trusting God until I looked at my behavior. When I took a deep look at my past and how I acted (not how I thought or believed) I realized that I trusted in myself more than I trusted in God. That’s the sexual acting out – trusting in yourself to fill what you believe your needs are.

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