Hi All, I am back with one of my occasional posts here on my misadventures with PMO, and more recently, discovering that the environment I grew up in was an abusive one.
Since my last post, I have learned a few things about the relationship between PMO and abuse. I've concluded that the only way to overcome both PMO and past abuse is, unfortunately, to fight both at the same time. There is no success in working on one thing to the exclusion of the other, because neglecting one or the other only encouraged its symptoms to come out in full force, which in turn leads to the symptoms of the other. I am glossing over a lot of personal details, obviously, but this is the conclusion my experience has brought me to. It sucks. I don't want to fight two huge demons at the same time. But unless I find a better way, I'll keep trying it that way.
I thought I might have an easier time overcoming the abuse if I got a job and became financially independent. This is important, because like any other abuse survivor, I was brought up to believe I have no individual rights, no independent thoughts, no right to an opinion, etc. An abuse survivor struggles to learn who they really are, having been denied the right to their own unique personality. I applied for some jobs, and I even got one this time!--only, the job turned out to be such a bad fit that I ended up giving my notice after only two days. I quickly realized that there was no way I could ever be of value to that company or be happy working in that environment. Why did this happen? It happened because I was ignoring the signs my intuition was trying to tell me during the interview. Normal people rely on their intuition all the time to protect themselves from potentially dangerous or unpleasant situations. Abuse survivors have been conditioned to suppress this intuition. An abuse survivor will feel that something is very wrong, but go into the situation anyway. To an abuse survivor, putting yourself at risk is par for the course. As I look back on it, I felt very queasy during the interview. Something was wrong about this job, but I couldn't (or wouldn't) identify or accept it. A different person may have recognized this instantly and declined the job. This of course was an extremely draining week for me, but I feel fortunate to have learned a little bit more about who I am and what kind of job conditions I can and can't accept. This is actually a step forward--in the past, I've taken jobs I've hated and held them for months before admitting that I wasn't suited to the job at all. Conclusion--Wherever I end up working, it must be a place that is mentally challenging and with a fairly loose schedule. Independent contracting, for example, may be right for me.
Another thing I've learned is that survivors of abuse, for some reason, tend to be of high emotional intelligence. This one was a shocker to me--I've always believed I was emotionally dense and stupid as they come. But the reasoning is that having strong emotional perception also opens a person up to stronger symptoms of abuse (especially at a young age) because of the way that abuse damages one's emotional development. I hope that makes sense--I'm having a hard time articulating it (this is all pretty new to me still). Finding out that I may actually be very emotionally intelligent, but with my emotional sensors way out of calibration, was a real source of hope for me. Again, this leads me to think I should go into business for myself, since I may be able to develop the good communication skills necessary for that kind of work.
One thing I haven't learned yet is how to express myself. There is this barrier that prevents me from truly speaking what's on my mind, and it hinders my motor skills also. I used to refer to it as "social anxiety", but now I see it as a symptom of abuse. (I always thought "social anxiety" was the wrong description because I like the idea of being part of a team, even if I can't make it happen quite yet.) I've never been able to dance for example, and now, I bet I could learn if I could overcome whatever this barrier is.
As for PMO, I do feel that my usual triggers are gradually getting weaker and weaker as a result of my trying to overcome the abuse. I mean, the addictive nature of it is still very strong, I still get irritable and everything without it, but now it's more like "I want to PMO but I don't know what to use as porn anymore." Sort of like a smoker in a world where cigarettes don't exist. I hope this is some kind of intermediate stage that passes quickly into simply "I don't want to PMO". And I'm sure I have lots more to learn. Thanks for reading.