borderline personality disorder · mental health · sex and love addiction

Withdrawal

I was debating posting anything at all today especially since it’s about SLAA more than BPD but I wanted to document my recovery as a whole being, not just my recovery from one diagnosis. I also don’t want to sound like I’m moaning but I just need to document this process for myself.

I’m in what they call ‘withdrawal’ and boy has it been tough. I knew I identified as a sex/love addict but the depth of it I had no idea until I started this program. I mean I thought I might find it a little uncomfortable or strange being single for a chosen period of time including being single without looking but to actually experience the difficulty I feel and the real withdrawal I feel just tells me how bad of an addict I was/am.

Yesterday’s work hit me hard. I had made a written account of my history with sex/love from as far back as I can remember and the 16 years span and the disaster it spelt was so tough to read. It was even harder to admit and verbally tell my sponsor about it all. It felt like once I had verbalised it and put it out there in the universe it meant there really is no going back, it meant it really is all true, it really was as bad as it was. That was the first time in my life I related the a-z of my relationships including all the things I have felt guilt and shame over and all the things I suffered with. For the first time, all my secrets have been let out and my sponsor now knows more than my therapists.

I mean, I guess on some level I had a tendency to downplay it all. I didn’t even realise the way I was relating to men and relationships was on an addictive level. I just used to think this was the normal process of finding love/natural course of relationships and mine was just a series of bad luck, fate, incompatibility etc. I had never seen it for what it truly was until yesterday.

It’s so difficult to accept that I am powerless over it. That I have been at the mercy of an addiction I didn’t even know I had. When I saw men in public today I wondered, have I been objectifying them? I have always been so upset when men have objectified women or spoken about them casually as conquests, or a ‘catch’ or someone to sleep with and move on from or whatever other ‘use’ they may have in mind. Now I think, have I, all this time, been doing the same? All this time, I have been viewing men as eye candy, or as someone to meet my sexual needs in a casual encounter, or emotional needs when I was suffering, or a release from the pressures of daily life through their company/dating/highs experienced when a ‘relationship’ is formed. Did I ever really truly see them who for they are, as human beings, instead of just viewing them in terms of what they can give me? I hate that I had to think about this as the idea of it all goes against my own morals. It is not right to use men. I firmly believe in gender equality and here I was, living the exact opposite.

This has also awakened me to the fact that I have taken very little responsibility for meeting my own needs – especially my own emotional needs and little responsibility for my life. Years ago I used to view a marriage as a chance at saving my life, that everything would then be ‘put right’ that all my sorrows would be gone, and my fear of abandonment quenced at last, all the love I missed out, all the lack of self-love would be obliterated because I would have all the love I need in one solitary relationship. Little did I think life is only ‘put right’ when you make the effort yourself to make it that way. That I am responsible for how my life goes, whether it is successful and moving in a direction I want it to, or whether it is an utter wreck with very little to make me happy – I shape this. It is all my choice. I also choose how I want to feel and I am responsible for my own emotions. I am responsible for making myself happy and to make my life enjoyable, no-one else. I have heard and read this so many times, so many self help articles and books and blogs mention this but I guess it never really hit home just how true it is. I get to choose my emotional responses, even DBT teaches you that. That yes, you may feel an emotion because of an event, but you can choose to accept that, alter that, act opposite to that, or go with it if it is something you want to go with.

I guess I have spent so much of my life in trauma since birth that I always had someone else to blame for my lack of happiness. My parents mainly, my abusers, pedophiles and the list went on. I always had an external person or event to blame for my state of affairs and the negative emotions I experienced on a chronic basis and while it may have been true for me as a child, it is no longer true for me today. I can’t spend my whole life looking to other people to fill me, to make me happy, to make my life a good, happy, life. I see that now. My trauma has long since been over and having a blaming mentality now or a seeking mentality where I seek out a partner to bring me joy, will only bring me pain and a sense of helplessness. And man have I felt helpless when I put my happiness in my romantic relationships alone. The highs were always followed by crushing lows, anguish, tears, self-harm and once when I was 16, an argument with my first bf had even driven me to a suicide attempt.

I am from tonight going to concentrate on making sure I keep putting my own life on track, taking full responsibility for it and for doing things that make me happy and removing things that I can remove, that don’t. It is not up to a man who isn’t even in my life to do that. It wasn’t his purpose on earth, just as it is not my purpose on earth to do that for someone else. If I can see that it is not my job to make someone else happy 24/7, to fill all their emotional voids and fix all their life difficulties then how can I and why should I expect someone else to do that for me? It is a task no one can live up to, one where you are doomed to fail.

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