Read through some of your most recent posts…it’s gotta be just like wave after wave after wave of pain…especially being in the place of denial, every time you face something that reminds you it’s real is another wave…it’s like you get a breath just in time to get hit with more pain…and one of the ways you’ve handled pain in the past is with harming…it’s like when bad things happen, you believe you deserve to be punished, you deserve to be in pain…and when you see the pain in yourself, you believe “all is right with the world”…when you go unpunished, you feel vulnerable because then someone else has “the right” to hurt you. But if you do it to yourself, there is a certain safety in feeling like you have been adequately dealt with…like the wrong in the world has been quenched by the pain caused on you…so when you’re in a space of feeling pain after pain after pain after pain after guilt after sorrow after sadness after devastation…it makes sense that these urges happen all the time…it’s like – I deserve to be punished for that, and that, and that, and that…it feels like you’re in this constant state of insecurity – where anyone at any time could have the right to hurt you, and it feels so much safer to take it into your own hands and hurt yourself because in that moment, you’ve satisfied this itch in your mind, you’ve made a safe place for yourself…it makes sense that you are struggling deeply right now. You are wading in an ocean of pain, and you feel more vulnerable now than maybe you ever have.
I can relate in a lot of ways to this. I have almost the exact same pattern, but with different terms…when I perform poorly (trigger), I fear that I will be criticized by others (fear), so I escape with porn (safety). Similar to when something bad happens (trigger), you fear others will blame you/punish you (fear), so you hurt yourself (safety). The reason these pathways have such a stronghold in our mind is because ultimately we believe some kind of lie about ourselves. Mine is something to the tune of, I am inadequate to be loved. Yours is something to the tune of, I’m useless and worthless. At the core of both of these pathways is this belief we have about ourselves, and while we can mitigate our use of the pathways with good tactics (which can and should be employed), what ultimately must be addressed is this underlying belief we have about our own worthiness. God does not view you as useless, worthless, and deserving to be punished. God does not view me as inadequate to be loved. We at least have the hope that these things are not true, and we must gain experiences where God imprints the truth on our hearts. For me, what has been helping is to reach out to others on a phone call before or when I relapse…not because it is a good recovery tactic (Even though it is that)…it’s because I am desperately afraid of their rejection, and when I am met with love, my heart is learning a new message about my worthiness. Another thing that has been helping is continuing to show up before God – to actually “meet him” / “face him” in my mind…because I’m desperately afraid that if I show up before God he will reject me too…and when I do, he always loves me. One of the recent images he’s given me is after coming out of a relapse (in the vision, I walked out of a bedroom into the den of a home), he smiled and pushed a seat out for me to sit at the table. And the sense I got was that nothing was different, that he did not view me differently, he was unphased, he knew it happened, but it was almost as if it didn’t even happen. There is always a seat for me, he will always love me. These experiences are developing a new sense of worthiness in my heart, and they’re addressing the underlying need I have that drives these pathways.
Lastly, I am asking God for his grace…in a lot of ways, I feel like I can’t do it on my own. I’m sure you can relate to the feeling of not being able to overcome these urges or these actions. I was recently challenged by him to just say, “I need you,” and, “I need your grace to never do this again.” Exercising the belief that the point of this struggle is to draw me closer to him (I need you) and that as his children, we have access to his ability beyond our own (I need your grace). So rise or fall, I am trying to use this struggle as a context to need him and his grace more, and in that sense, the pain is not wasted because it is driving me closer to God…which again, is where the love that will transform my belief is…so it’s an upward spiral…I need him more, he loves me more, I need him more, he loves me more…I start to believe I am loved. You start to believe you are loved.
Alas, it is not a quick fix, but it is important to be spending your pain in the right direction. Move towards God, towards love, and I believe a deeper healing can occur.
For what it is worth – you are not alone. I am in it with you, and I see you, have compassion for you, and I love you, Kayla.