[3] Cause and Effect

Submitted by RisingSine on
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Thinking back on the last entry... it seems awfully dark and negative. I guess it was something I had to go through.

One thing that really did concern me in the past, was that I was never able to recapture the same zealousness towards the effort to quit PMO as I had before. It made me feel hopeless about things, that if that level of zeal couldn't return, how could I ever succeed...

I'm not so concerned about it anymore. I can accept totally that that level of zeal isn't coming back. But it doesn't need to. The zeal was what drove me in that first attempt... and I was "white knuckling it" for the most part... but on the other hand I've gained experience, knowledge, clarity... far from perfect but much more than before. The zeal isn't so necessary... it fades away, yes, but you move onto the next thing. And isn't that one of the main goals of all this... moving on to the next thing?

Another thing I noticed today... I was rather brusque in brushing someone off today... who was just trying to be friendly... I felt like a total ass almost immediately afterwards. It might be the kind of thing that would trigger pushing me back into that dark cycle.

But I realized it's definitely true, that I have this feeling that I'm not treating people well a lot more when I don't PMO, at least in these early days anyway. There's three reasons I can think of for that, each of which may be true, or not true, or somewhere in between:

1) I may be more likely to be short with people if I'm feeling irritable from withdrawal symptoms

2) I may be more likely to be aware of the way I affect people getting away from PMO makes me more receptive / aware of how other people feel

3) I may feel more responsible for the times when I make other people feel bad.

#1 is pretty straightforward. The idea of #2 is pretty straightforward too.

#3... Here's my theory about it. Getting away from PMO, besides whatever else comes with it (withdrawals etc.) also includes a feeling of an increase of power, and control, and satisfaction... I've chosen to do something and I'm doing it. And as a result, you feel more responsible for the effect of your actions. Or rather, under the grip of PMO, you feel less responsible.

Kind of like, if you rear ended someone at a stoplight, you'd know you were responsible for it. But say you're stopped in traffic and someone else rear ends you; and as a result of the force of impact, your car also hits the car ahead of you. You wouldn't feel responsible for hitting the car in front of you, because you have no control of it... it's just what naturally would happen in the situation you're in, not something you chose to cause.

When you're in the grip of PMO, or otherwise in some sort of mental bind you feel like you can't get out of, it's easy to take the latter attitude towards things. Like, if you're feeling overwhelmed with frustration and shame and disquiet, how can you feel that responsible for causing someone a minor amount of discomfort by not being particularly cheerful or friendly? Sure, that's too bad and all, and maybe I should feel bad, but if I'm already feeling the massive weight of all this other stuff going on, how much worse am I even capable of feeling in the moment if the slight against someone is relatively small?

But more realistically... it's not really like that car that was rear-ended, and hits the car in front just by the force of the impact it experience. It's more like, well.. any other kind of addict's behavior.... say, a person who's addicted to crystal meth, and asks his friend to "borrow" $20 because he's "a little short and I'll get you back at the end of the month," but the friend knows he'll never see that $20 again. And maybe the addict knows that it's wrong, but he can't really feel that guilty about it... because this is what he "needs" to do and what can he help about the process that happens in the middle... even if he knows it's bad, he can't really "feel" that bad about it. Until perhaps, someday, after he's clean, and looks back with a clear head, and apologizes for all those times...

I'm going to apologize tomorrow for being so curt, and suggest we go to lunch sometime. I'm also going to recognize this feeling and feel it for what it is, not try and blot it out with PMO or any other crude instrument.


another way to put it

is that addictions make you more self centered. Your brain is more and more consumed with its dopamine reward. Reseach shows that the executive function suffers and the physical brain structure changes.

Now with the addiction dropping away you are rewiring to pick up new social cues that were always there but that your "old dopamine addled brain" didn't recognize because it had changed to serve the addiction.

Another thing I've noticed in seven months of non-orgasmic intercourse and no masturabation or porn is a delicious sensitivity that I never had before, to my partner's touch and even to thoughts of love,  Non sexual-specific thoughts, say about my partner and my love for her, generate a semi erection just on their own.

It just gets better and better. So keep on hanging in there!

Yes, and...

you're right that withdrawal can make people snappish. That's my biggest symptom after orgasm...and not immediately after either. Very mysterious!