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Addiction and Narcissistic Shame

I used to think that I was the problem. Now I understand that it was my behavior and how I conducted my life that was the problem. Despite the bad choices of my past, I now understand that I am a man who is worthy of love and a good life, simply because I exist. Understanding this fully has not made day-to-day recovery easier, but it sure helps me get through the rough spots and gives me hope about life, and for myself as being a useful and good man.

– Damien, a former Sexual Recovery Institute client

4 thoughts on “Addiction and Narcissistic Shame

  • February 28, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    It seems almost as if you are describing two different “classes” of folks who act sexually self-destructively. I wonder if the prescription is identical for both classes.

    On the one hand, there is the self-isolating person who cuts himself/herself off from the world, to float in a largely virtual world of byte-driven porn and communication. That person has few actual social connections. S/he probably needs more.

    On the other hand, there is the double-lifer. That person may have a perfectly acceptable social, work, and even religious life. Plenty of friends, volunteer work even, and the like. When word comes out of the self-destructive behavior, the people around him/her are shocked, because it seems so out of character. What this person seems to need is not more social support, but to stop their behavior, no?

    It’s an interesting dichotomy. I wonder where they meet in the middle. Thanks for a provocative post.

    • March 4, 2013 at 1:51 pm

      Good observation, TPG. As with most things in life, even sex addicts likely fall in the middle of the two extremes. For the secret lifer, porn is probably a large part of this secret existence, in isolation from the moral person, and perhaps fuels the fantasy double life.

      Both behaviours need to stop, to prevent fuelling each other.

  • March 3, 2013 at 8:48 am

    A clear & succinctly written guide for the clinician. I always appreciate your articles.

    TPG: Interesting comment, as well.

  • March 24, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    Interesting article. Very informative, well written, and precise to the point.


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