I'm a thinker. I'm an over-thinker, really. And it's occurred to me that what started for my husband as curiosity and adolescent hormones became the center of his life. It created symptoms and consequences of this behavior which have formed his personality for the last 30 years.
· It created low self-esteem as this otherwise good church-going boy lived with the guilt of his secret.
· It removed him from the “real world” to a great extent.
· It fed the natural man’s instincts for self-gratification and weakened the spirit’s desire to be selfless.
· It dulled his natural senses and affections.
· It created a defensiveness that sometimes manifests as anger.
· It created an over-inflated sense of denial.
· It had a chemical effect on his brain and his thinking patterns.
These personality changes destroyed his first marriage. The choice of a little boy has such consequences, it’s overwhelming sometimes. Somewhere over time, the cause of these symptoms, the addiction behavior, has now become a symptom of what he has become. Now he is the person that grew out of those symptoms and instead of being the cause, the addiction has become a symptom of who he has become. I hope that makes sense.
He is now living with extremely low self-esteem. He is living with a belief that he can never be more than he is, and worse, an actual fear of being more than he is. It is a fear of being accountable and successful. So now the addiction becomes a crutch to lean on when he fears actually being the man he could be. He thinks that if he keeps living like this, then he can’t be asked to do more, which might lead to failure. He is now afraid to live without this part of him that he hates.
But that actually brings me hope; because if the addiction is no longer the cause, maybe it can be more easily removed. It’s like putting his life on bypass while we perform surgery to remove harmful tissue. This thought process, as well as many, many prayers asking that I might be what my husband needs me to be, have brought us a new approach.
Next Time: Part 2 - Becoming a Peripheral Visionary