Decoding Your Porn Addiction, Lesson 5: Character Thoughts & The Influence of Temperament

Reader Caution: This post contains very disturbing content, including an explanation of how the mind responds to torture. Discretion is advised.

In this lesson, we’re going to continue our analysis from Lesson 4 as well as learn about some important principles regarding how your subconscious attempts to deal with stress. From your notes folder, pull out your Symbolic Characters List.

Now in the world of deviant porn, we often find major imbalances of power being portrayed. We also find a lot of abuse being dished out. Often in these films (as well as in photographs) there is an obvious victim and an obvious attacker. The victim is receiving the pain, mocking, raping, spanking, binding, torture, etc., while the attacker is the one giving these things. I now want you to go through your list of characters from Video 1 and put a V next to the characters who you feel act like victims in that video and an A next to the characters who you feel act like attackers. (In animal porn, the animal usually plays a victim role while the human is the attacker.)

Now in some cases, the victim is the only one being filmed, while the attacker is off screen. That’s fine. We only care about the characters who made it onto your Symbolic Characters list. Remember that these were the character who you found yourself focusing on the most when you watched the video. Other characters might have been present who your mind was ignoring, and the fact that it was ignoring them indicates it didn’t find them useful for its trauma re-enactment, so we will ignore them as well in our analysis.

Now if you have a situation in which a character alternates between receiving and giving abuse in the same film, mark them as A/V to indicate that they play both roles. Most of the time you’ll find that characters play only one role.

If you have a video in which some characters are simply observing what is happening, but they are not directly giving or receiving any of the action, then write O next to those characters.

Now there are already stars and arrows next to the characters on your list, which you added in Lesson 3. That will matter later on, but for now, all of the characters on this list need your attention, regardless of what special markings they have.

After you assign roles to the characters in Video 1, do the same for the rest of the videos on your list. Here’s how our friend Sam’s list looks after he finishes this step (I’m including his Top Videos list so we can remember what kind of videos he’s addicted to):

Notice how all of the characters that Sam sympathizes with (which are marked with arrows) are also playing victim roles. This is very common in cases of deviant porn. Let’s remember what’s really going on in the background: in the past, you felt forced to play the victim in a horrible real life situation, and the whole reason your mind is even seeking out these videos in the first place is to try and process the awful thing(s) that happened to you. As we move through our analysis, you’re going to find more and more parallels between what’s happening in the videos and what happened to you in real life. This is not some random coincidence; it’s quite intentional on the part of your clever subconscious.

I’m now going to introduce a second example character: Jason. Both Sam and Jason were violently sexually assaulted by family members when they were boys. In Sam’s case, his father raped him on multiple occasions. In Jason’s case, two older female cousins raped him on multiple occasions. Let’s compare these two men’s Top Videos and Original Trauma Elements lists after they complete Lesson 4:

According to Sam’s lists, we find his mind focusing on two themes: sexual assault and degradation. Makes sense, right? Sam was raped as a boy. Rape is a form of sexual assault and it is an extremely degrading experience. Once we stop hyperfocusing on the details of the videos and instead focus on the main themes, the logic that is driving this addiction becomes more clear.

Up until now, Sam has just felt like “a sick pervert”. This was his soul’s response to what he was watching. The contents of Sam’s videos are indeed morally repulsive. But when your subconscious is the stressing element and you want to help it out, you can’t stay focused on the issue of morality, because that’s not what your subconscious cares about. Your subconscious cares the most about protecting you from harm, and that is often going to be the issue it is panicking about in cases of psychological trauma. Look at the two main themes that have surfaced for Sam: sexual assault and degradation. Both of these are forms of harm, aren’t they? Sexual assault begins as a physical attack, but it also does immense psychological injury. Degradation is a primarily form of psychological abuse that can be inflicted through physical or non-physical means. So what we’re seeing with Sam is that his mind is focused on two forms of severe injury. Why? Because Sam has personally been injured in both of those ways in real life. Are you seeing how much sense his addiction is making? I can assure you that yours is just as logical.

Now let’s see what’s happening with Jason. Since we know that he has also been the victim of sexual assault, we’d expect his mind to focus on the same themes, right? We might even expect him to focus on the same kinds of videos. And yet notice what a different emphasis Jason’s addiction has:

In Sam’s case, his videos were all depicting some form of rape. Sure, the dog and child elements seemed bizarre (although we’ll be making more sense of those details soon), but the main activity was a perfect match to what happened to Sam in real life: he was raped.

Now Jason also says he has a history of rape, yet look at the strong emphasis on torture in his videos–what’s happening here? Also notice how some kind of equipment is being used in every one of Jason’s videos. In the first and third ones, a whole array of nasty tools are being used to inflict pain on a victim who is bound with restraints. In the second video, the girls are being raped yet they are also bound. Why is Jason’s mind hunting down equipment like this when Sam’s mind doesn’t seem to care at all about physical props being involved?

When someone says “I was raped,” that is an extremely vague description of what happened to them. Your subconscious doesn’t do vague. Your subconscious obsesses over details. So to your subconscious, you aren’t just “raped,” you are attacked in a very specific kind of way by someone with very specific features and the whole thing takes place in a very specific setting. Any time you have an alarming experience in life, your subconscious instantly locks onto specific details of that experience as being “extra significant.” After the experience is over and your mind is trying to make sense of it, it keeps reviewing what happened to you again and again, and as it does this, it pays special attention to the specific details it highlighted. Let’s draw this out so we can better understand this principle. In the following diagram, we can see how someone had an experience which included many different details, yet his mind chose only a few of those details to focus on afterwards:

We can see from the original list that there were both positive and negative aspects to this person’s experience, yet notice how his mind only chose to focus on negative ones. Due to the kinds of details his mind chose, how would you expect this person to answer the question, “Did you enjoy your trip to the beach?” Clearly his mind’s takeaway was that this was a negative experience that isn’t worth repeating. But now let’s look at the way another person’s mind responded to the same set of experiences:

Wow, what a different emphasis, right? This is how it works in real life: people react very differently to the same experience. So why was our first guy so negative while his friend was so positive? A major influence here is personal background. When you have already had some very difficult experiences in life that your mind still feels upset by, your mind is going to become even more protective over you than it usually is. This causes it to both look for and feel a lot more bothered by any little problem or hassle in your environment. Our first beach goer came to the beach in a much more stressed mental state than his cheery friend. Because he was more stressed, his mind was automatically stepping up its efforts to protect him by being hypervigilant about identifying any negative details in his environment. But his cheery friend arrived at the beach in a much more relaxed mental state, so her mind wasn’t hyperfocusing on the negatives because it wasn’t feeling extra super stressed about protecting her. Your mind always wants to protect you, but when it becomes very stressed, it’s desire to protect you can turn into a desperate obsession, and this negatively influences the way your mind summarizes your various life experiences.

Now no one likes a pessimist, do they? Today the cheerful little optimist is held up as the golden standard who we should all strive to imitate while the pessimists are given a bunch of lectures about “counting their blessings” and “focusing on the bright side.” Since all deviant porn addicts are already in a state of severe mental stress, I want you to understand that there is a logical connection between your mind’s current stress level and your struggle to view your life positively. In other words, it’s not your fault that you are prone to focusing on the negative right now, nor is that a sign that you’re some ungrateful little brat. Psychological trauma has a massive impact on the way we function in our daily lives. When people don’t understand the root causes of things like depression and pessimism, they often come up with advice that ends up making people feel even worse. You can’t just “look on the bright side” when your mind is in a state of panic. You have to help your mind with its core fears before you can expect it to stop frantically searching for the slightest indication that danger might be headed your way.

A key point for all addicts to understand is that the symptoms that are bothering you the most about your addiction will fade out all on their own as you focus on resolving the core issue. This is why trying to make yourself stop watching the videos doesn’t work. The video watching is just a surface symptom which is being fuelled by a deeper underlying stress. To scale back how often your mind demands the videos, you need to focus on identifying what your mind’s root fears are so you can help it feel better about those fears. As the fears subside, so will the video cravings. But if you try to attack the cravings without dealing with the root cause, the reverse will happen: your mind will become more stressed, and it will then demand more videos.

Realize that many well-meaning people do not understand these mechanics, so they offer the wrong advice to addicts by encouraging the addicts to focus on reducing the symptoms instead of dealing with root causes. “Stop drinking. Stop smoking. Stop watching the videos.” Then the religious folks put their spin on it: “Christ has already set you free from this addiction, so you are insulting God when you keep pretending you are stuck here.” “We all know your father was a pervert, so it looks like you’ve inherited the curse he received for his sin. You need to confess your sins and his sins if you want to be delivered from this.” “You say you care about God, but your disgusting behaviour proves you to be a liar.” “This issue is you’re possessed by demons. A boat load, from what I can see. You’d better seek out an exorcist or a deliverance minister before it’s too late.”

Realize that most spiritual counsellors don’t have a clue when it comes to dealing with psychological addictions or understanding how trauma recovery actually works. Don’t just assume that these people are accurately representing how God feels about where you’re at right now. Instead, talk to God for yourself and realize that your Creator understands you far better than you understand yourself. Ask Him to help you understand the root causes of your addiction, because God is all about dealing with root causes, and you’re not going to find Him freaking out over your porn watching, no matter how horrific the images are. God is gentle, kind, and compassionate when He is dealing with hurting people, and all deviant porn addicts are hurting.

Reacting to Equipment

Now let’s get back to our buddy Jason. Jason wants to understand why his mind is obsessing over torture themes, especially after he compares notes with Sam and feels like Sam’s addiction “isn’t as awful” as his own. Here’s the thing about comparing your trauma symptoms with someone else’s: it’s a complete waste of time. The way someone else’s mind is processing their past doesn’t have bumpkus to do with how your mind is working. So don’t even go down the utterly useless road of trying to gauge how “messed up” you are by comparing symptoms with someone else. It doesn’t matter how hideous and horrifying the contents of your own videos are: these issues can always be sorted. The fact that Jason is hooked on videos where victims are having their genitals sadistically tortured, instead of them “just” being raped, does not mean Jason is “sicker” than Sam, or that Jason has a lesser chance of making a full recovery. The details in these videos are simply reflecting aspects of what happened to you in real life, they are not measures of how “far gone” you are and they say absolutely nothing about your moral character.

Now when we talk more with Jason about his own awful experiences, we learn that when his two female cousins abused him, they used a lot of BDSM torture toys that they’d purchased online. In Sam’s case, no props were used when his father anally raped him. But in Jason’s case, there were a whole variety of nasty things being used to inflict pain on his body, especially on its most sensitive areas.

This brings us to a very important principle: whenever equipment is used on your body, your subconscious is very likely to lock onto that as a significant detail. What this means is that the use of any kind of physical object–including restraints, sticks, scalpels, paddles, gags, probes, needles, cages, clips, and chains–will very likely result in your subconscious fearfully obsessing over the concept of you being tortured with physical objects. Once this kind of obsession forms, you are very likely going to find yourself being pulled towards “the really dark stuff” in which the emphasis is on people being sadistically tortured in all kinds of hideous ways. Now if your mind interpreted your original trauma as a form of sexual assault, the combined themes of equipment PLUS sexual assault will very likely result in you becoming obsessed with videos that focus on genital torture. It doesn’t get much sicker than that, right? The problem here is that this kind of focus really freaks out your soul, and once your soul reaches this degree of repulsion, a lot of new problems are likely to surface, including you torturing yourself or trying to end your own life because you feel like such a scumbag.

The more alarming your surface symptoms are, the more vicious and violent your soul can react. Many souls are so horrified by torture themes that they start aggressively pushing for suicide because they feel so desperate to escape being trapped in a being that is doing such loathsome things. Yet here is where we all need to take a deep breath and realize that even the super sick stuff has logical reasons behind it. More importantly, your mind has positive motivations for making you watch this stuff. It’s not just wallowing in perversity for the fun of it. It’s actually trying to solve an urgent and very reasonable problem. In these cases, the soul is panicking prematurely and leaping to false conclusions about what the mind is doing. Since harming yourself is just going to pile on more stress, it’s urgent that we get your soul to calm down enough to listen to what your mind is really trying to say here. “I’m just a monster who loves hurting people” is not what your mind is saying. Your mind is saying, “I’ve simply got to find a way to resolve my stress over the awful things that happened to us because until I do, how can I protect us in the future?” Remember that the pressure to protect you is resting entirely on your subconscious. Through no fault of its own, your soul is quite useless in this area, so given that it’s not feeling burdened with the immense responsibility of keeping you safe, it’s not very fair for it to start attacking your subconscious when your subconscious is simply trying to do its job to the best of its ability.

To your subconscious, poring over sick videos is an attempt to analyse what happened to you as well as discover effective ways to recover and identify ways to protect you from that kind of harm in the future. These are all very honourable agendas; it’s just the method that is so off-putting. When souls freak out about porn addictions, they are focusing entirely on the methods and ignoring the agendas. We now need your soul to change its emphasis here–to start focusing on the good things your mind is trying to accomplish instead of endlessly railing at it for the methods it is using.

Now the truth is that this method of porn watching isn’t going to help your mind get where it wants to go. Porn watching doesn’t resolve anything, it just gets your mind get stalled in perpetual obsessing, and that’s not a winner. But the porn is happening right now because your mind doesn’t have any better ideas yet. It’s not like it has some much better, obvious solution before it, yet it’s saying “No, I just want to sit here and wallow.” That’s how your soul portrays things, but that’s not a fair assessment of what’s going on. If your mind had a better solution, it would use it. But in cases of psychological trauma, your mind ends up needing your soul to help it come up with some fresh ideas and effective solutions. Your soul actually plays a critical role in resolving psychological trauma which is why it’s so important that we help your soul to understand why your mind is so upset right now and get it to start behaving like an ally instead of a critic.

Now let’s press on. Jason and Sam both had sexual assault traumas, yet the use of equipment in Jason’s case has caused his mind to obsess over the concept of torture, while Sam’s mind is staying focused on the sexual assault aspect. The vital lesson here is that details matter. The specific details of what happened to you during your own traumatic experience are having a direct impact on the themes your mind is now obsessing over.

Now before we move on to a new topic, understand that any interaction between your body and a physical object can cause a torture obsession to develop. In Jason’s case, many objects were used. But in some cases, only one object is used very briefly on the body and a mind still develops an obsession with torture. The important lesson here is that your subconscious finds it very alarming when objects are used to injure or distress your body in any way. Is this a reasonable reaction? Of course it is. The human body is incredibly resilient and adaptable, but it is also very easy to injure. Given how delicate your physical body is, it’s quite reasonable for your subconscious to panic when it sees some object coming towards you that has obvious potential to harm you. And let’s be honest: almost anything can be turned into a weapon if placed in the wrong hands, so we need to be careful not to invalidate your mind’s strong aversion to equipment.

Character Motivations

It’s time to add another layer of analysis. Get out a fresh piece of paper and title it Internal Thoughts. Next, place your Symbolic Characters list where you can easily refer to it because we’re going to repeat this step for every character on that list. Here is where our numbering system will come in handy. On your Internal Thoughts list, write 1-A to indicate the first character you’ve listed under Video 1. What I want you to do now is close your eyes and think about Video 1. Focus on what Character 1-A is doing in that video. What do you imagine that he (or she) is likely thinking as he does whatever he does? Don’t focus on the human actor who was participating in the video; instead, focus on the character they are portraying–the rapist, the victim, the torturer, the bully, etc. Why are they doing what they are doing? What are they hoping to accomplish? What is their secret motivation? How do they view their victim?

In Sam’s Video 1, a man is raping a dog. When Sam tries to imagine what the man’s internal thoughts are as he rapes the dog, he finds himself thinking “He is punishing the dog because he hates it. The dog disgusts him.” This is what Sam writes next to 1-A on his Internal Thoughts list. Next, he writes 2-A, then he thinks about what the dog’s thoughts are in the video. How is the dog internally reacting to being raped? Sam decides that the dog feels “terrified and confused” so that’s what he writes down.

There are no wrong answers here. Just write down whatever feels right. These answers should come to you almost instantly. Don’t try to force them. If nothing surfaces, leave that character’s slot blank and go on to the next one until you’ve written down internal thoughts, feelings, motivations, and responses for every character on your Top Videos list. Here is Sam’s finished list:

In Sam’s case, we see a clear pattern emerging. He sees the attackers in his videos all having the same motivation: they all feel angry and disgusted by their victims, and they are using rape as a disciplinary tool. Notice how Sam sees victim characters as agreeing that they deserve to be attacked, and feeling ashamed and upset.

Now in cases where you can’t find any videos that give you a strong psychological reaction, switch to using self-produced fantasies instead. The key fantasies to use here are the ones that your mind automatically tries to play when you are masturbating. Self-produced fantasies that give you the strongest stress/arousal response when you are focusing on them will give you the most useful insights when you analyse them. Remember that self-produced fantasies are custom made by your subconscious to metaphorically talk about things that have happened to you in real life. You can do all of the same analysis steps using those fantasies. If new fantasies form in the future which distress you, return to these lessons and go through the analysis steps for the new fantasy. Remember that these things are always far more logical than they seem.

Once you describe the internal motivations, feelings, and responses for all of the characters on your Symbolic Characters list, it’s time to simplify things. Get out your Original Trauma Elements List. Add a new header called Attacker Thoughts. Under that heading, write down all of the different phrases that you came up with on your Internal Thoughts list, but don’t write duplicate entries. Just list each concept once. Next, add a new heading of Victim Thoughts and write down all of the different thoughts you came up with for the victims in your videos. Combine all victim thoughts into the same list, just as you combined all attacker thoughts into one list. We no longer care about grouping these thoughts by video.

Here’s how Sam’s list looks when he finishes this step:

What’s emerging here is a very helpful picture of how your subconscious originally interpreted what happened to you. The Attacker Thoughts portray assumptions your mind made about whoever attacked you in real life. Not all attackers act like they are attacking. For example, doctor who is calmly and professionally performing some routine medical procedure on you isn’t acting like he’s trying to hurt you, but the fact that he is hurting you in scary ways is making your mind perceive him as an enemy.

Now sometimes our attackers try to influence how our minds will view them. When a molester tells his victim, “You like being touched like this, and you want me to keep doing it,” his words will often cause a lot of confusion and influence how his victim perceives himself. Speaking of victims, you are the one being described under Victim Thoughts. All of those thoughts, reactions, beliefs, and motivations were likely thought by you at the time you were under attack.

Now in some cases, we become very traumatised by watching someone else being attacked. After Greta sees her father raping her sister, Greta becomes severely traumatised. Since Greta was an observer in the original trauma, her notes under the Victim’s Thoughts will describe how her mind assumed her sister was reacting to her father’s assault. On Greta’s list, her notes about the Attacker’s Thoughts will describe how her mind interpreted her father’s motivations for doing what he did.

Sam didn’t have any Observers in his videos, but if you did, then you will need a third column to summarize your Observer’s Thoughts. This group of entries will help you understand the specific beliefs your mind formed about the people who witnessed what happened to you at the time you were going through your trauma. “They don’t care” and “They think it’s funny” are common beliefs here which obviously cause a lot of distress.

The Influence of Temperament

Before we talk about next steps, there is another very important principle that I need to explain. This is a principle that directly affects what kinds of motivations you project onto your characters as well as which characters you tend to sympathize with.

Every mind has its own personality, but we can divide all of the different personalities into two basic groups: those that have a passive temperament and those that have an aggressive temperament. These are my own labels, and I use them to specifically refer to what kinds of logic your subconscious automatically defaults to whenever it feels that you are being harmed or being threatened with harm. There is no preferable style here; both temperaments have advantages and disadvantages, and we need both to maintain functional human societies.

Now for aggressives, their default response to being attacked is to try to seize the power position. If they are not actually in power, they will pretend to be by using dramatic bluffs. For example, when a robber points a gun in Troy’s face and demands his wallet, Troy scoffs and growls, “If you want my wallet, you come and get it.” While he says this, he is locking eyes with his attacker, and doing a fantastic job of acting far more confident than he actually feels. Deep inside, Troy is panicking, but aggressives have a fabulous ability to rapidly convert their fear into anger in the critical moment, and this helps them put on some very intimidating bluffs which often succeed at scaring off their attackers.

Now while the aggressive response is to escalate the tension, intimidate, threaten, and even physically attack (if the opportunity presents itself), passives use a very different strategy. When Sergio gets a gun thrust in his face by a robber, he hands over his wallet as fast as he can. When under attack, passives instinctively try to de-escalate the situation by trying to appease their attackers. The logic being used here is, “The sooner I give them what they want, the sooner they’ll go away and leave me alone”

Both passives and aggressives are after the same end goal: to escape the threatening situation as soon as possible and with minimal injury. They just go about pursuing this goal in very opposite ways.

Now your subconscious’ temperament is a fixed thing: you are what you are until you die. When it comes to traumatic experiences, your temperament has a major influence over how you try to get through the trauma, as well as what kinds of coping methods your mind tries to use later on.

Because the passive way is to try to shorten how long the attack lasts by pleasing their attacker and keeping him as calm as possible, passives will often cooperate with people who try to abuse them. This includes situations of sexual assault. A passive boy who is approached by a molester will likely do whatever the molester wants. He will be prone to grovelling, whimpering, trembling, and cowering. He will be very likely to behave as if he is suddenly dropping all of his personal boundaries. He will also be very likely to try to act like he is enjoying the assault if that is what his attacker seems to want.

Now your soul often does not understand or appreciate the very sound logic your mind is using to try to minimize how much harm is done to you in a crisis moment. When passive victims of assault look back on their behaviour, they are often very distressed to see how much they cooperated with their attackers. It is their souls that are upset by this. Their minds are the ones who pushed for the cooperation, because to their minds, not cooperating would have only agitated their attackers, and provoked them into causing more injury. Even though the passive method is often criticised as being “cowardly”, it’s not cowardly at all. Passives are actually drawing upon immense inner strength in the moment of crisis. A terrified boy can’t carry out specific orders to behave in a certain way unless he is performing some impressive internal feats of keeping his internal panic at bay. A woman can’t quietly grit through some long, drawn out rape experience without immense courage and perseverance. Passives are not cowards; they are just using their internal resources in a different way than aggressives.

Now after a trauma is over, your subconscious is extremely upset by the harm that was done to you. It considers harm to be evidence that its defences were insufficient, so now it becomes obsessed with the goal of forming a new, better defence strategy that can be used in the future, should the same situation occur again.

There are many kinds of defence strategies, but which temperament you are affects which kinds of strategies your mind will even consider, and which ones it will favour. For passives, a very common way of preparing for future assaults is to try to build up a higher tolerance for abuse. Remember that the passive’s strength is their ability to grit through horrific situations. To a passive, practicing being abused is a very logical way to increase their tolerance for suffering. A passive’s worst nightmare is to reach their breaking point before the torment ends, because once they lose their sense of being able to grit through, they feel like a soldier who gets trapped on a battlefield without any armour or weapons. With no protection, there are no limits to how badly the soldier could get wounded. Remember that all minds want to limit the damage as much as possible, and as long as passives feel that they haven’t hit their breaking point, they feel like they have at least managed to avoid some degree of harm.

Now because of the logic passives use, it is very common for them to try to vicariously practice “enduring torture” while watching deviant porn videos. The usual pattern here is that they find videos in which some passive victim is gritting through a very long, drawn out session of abuse. As passives watch these kinds of videos, they are projecting onto the victims motivations like “I can’t break; I have to hang on; I have to hide how upset I am; I have to hide how much pain I’m in.” Passives will see these motivations at work even when the characters in the video are acting cooperative and grovelling towards their attackers. To passives, the grovelling is an act that they use to try to keep their attackers calm. No one likes being attacked. No one likes pain. But traumatised passives can feel a desperate need to learn to like pain, so they can become obsessed with studying it being dished out in very brutal forms.

I explained all of that so that any passives who are working through these lessons won’t panic if they suddenly realize that they are actually attracted to the idea of being tortured. When you start doing these kinds of in-depth analyses, a lot of surprises tend to surface because your soul usually goes into these things with no understanding of what your mind is really thinking. When you do your Internal Thoughts list and a bunch of disturbing thoughts start surfacing, it’s easy to think “Yikes! Why am I writing down such dark thoughts? What is wrong with me?!” There’s nothing wrong with you. You’re simply very stressed for legitimate reasons and your mind is trying to sort it out. One of the ways it tries to sort things out is to brainstorm ideas of how you might protect yourself better in the future. For passives, this often means “seek out abuse, study it, and try to build a greater tolerance for it.”

But now we come to aggressives. You little darlings have a very different way of viewing things. You really don’t see the allure of the whole “learn to like it” plan that passives embrace with such enthusiasm. In fact, you think that is a very stupid way to go about things. Why should you lay in the dirt and let people walk all over you? No, for aggressives, there is only one smart way to respond to being assaulted in the past: make darn sure it never happens again. How do you do that? By figuring out how your past attackers got the edge on you, and taking your own turn at dishing out the abuse. For aggressives, reversing roles with their past attackers feels like a critical way of calming their internal terror. Aggressives panic when they feel internally stripped of power, and nothing says “powerless” like having someone grope, rape, or torture you. To undo the devastating humiliation and start gluing their shattered cores back together, aggressives start obsessing over being the attacker.

Back in Lesson 3, I explained the importance of noticing who you primarily focus on (indicated by *) in your videos versus who you primarily sympathize with (indicated by arrows). The character you sympathize with is the one whose internal thoughts you focus on the most as you watch the video. They are the character you are essentially siding with; the one who you feel the most identity with.

Now our friend Jason is an aggressive, while Sam is a passive. When we compare their two Symbolic Characters lists, we can see the influence of their different temperaments:

In Sam’s case, we see him primarily focusing on and sympathizing with the victims in his video. But look at what’s happening with Jason: he’s primarily focusing on the victims, but he is sympathizing with the attackers. This means his eyes spend the most time staring at the victims, but in his mind, he’s focusing on the thoughts of the attacker. Jason describes his attackers as enjoying attacking their victims. He imagines them being amused by all of the writhing, crying, and visual evidence of injury.

Now it’s guys like Jason who attract the “monster” label in human societies because yikes, what kind of person enjoys torturing others? Here’s what people don’t understand about aggressives: they are bluffing. They are trying to act like they enjoy something that is actually terrifying them deep inside. You see, Jason’s mind sees himself in those writhing victims, because Jason was one of those victims in real life. Now Jason is desperate to distance himself from that role, and because he is an aggressive, his mind’s natural defence logic leads him to conclude that roleplaying the attacker might help him overcome his terror that he might be victimized again in the future. While passives work hard at trying to enjoy pain, aggressives are striving to get comfortable with giving the pain. Does either strategy work? No, they both end up making things much worse. But I want you to appreciate the fact that your mind is trying to do something positive here: it’s trying to eliminate a threat by either getting you so used to pain that no one can break you, or trying to get you so immersed in the role of attacker that no one will have the opportunity to victimize you again.

Both Sam and Jason are very nice men who want to be positive influences on their societies. Jason is very upset when he starts uncovering the logic his mind is using. When he realizes that part of him is craving the chance to torture someone the way he was tortured in the past, that scares him. Before that fear turns into panic that drives Jason to do something desperate, he needs help putting things in perspective. His mind is simply trying to regain a sense of power by reversing roles with his past abusers. Focusing too much on the details is going to distract Jason from thinking about the far more important issue of how his mind interpreted what happened to him.

After being tortured by his creepy cousins, Jason has formed the devastating belief that he has no power; no say over what happens to him in life. This is a false belief. As a grown man, Jason has plenty of power and say, and he doesn’t need to start assaulting others before he can access it. There are other positive ways for him to prove to himself that he has not been stripped of powers. For one thing, he can cut all ties with his creepy cousins. Practicing drawing healthy boundaries in our relationships is a fantastic way to regain a sense of power after we have been shattered. Jason has more options than “sit here completely defenceless or start racking up torture victims.” But if his soul is going to help his mind come up with some good ideas, he needs to not get stuck obsessing over how “sick” his mind seems to be acting with the porn videos. His mind is being logical. Yes, its logic is disturbing, but what happened to Jason in real life was extremely disturbing, so we need to be reasonable in our expectations here. It is reasonable for your mind to panic after you’ve been assaulted. It is reasonable for it start grasping at straws and coming up with wild ideas about how it might protect you in the future.

So how does Jason help his mind calm down before he becomes a risk to the safety of others? How does Sam calm down before he starts going down a dark road of self-harming? The key here is for these men to start adjusting the traumatic beliefs that their minds have formed in response to what happened to them. Each of them will have a different list of beliefs, but a great way to start making their lists will be to look at what they’ve written on their Internal Thoughts list.

When Sam looks over his list, he realizes that he believes deep down that he deserved to be raped because he is intrinsically bad. These are two complete lies that Sam needs to work on rejecting. No one deserves to be sexually assaulted. No one is “born evil.” By pinpointing what specific beliefs are haunting him, Sam can start making a list of practical steps he can take to change those beliefs (see Practical Steps for Correcting Traumatic Beliefs).

Doing It Right

To recover from any deviant porn addiction, you need to take the time to figure out what specific fears and beliefs your mind is grappling with. In this series, we’re learning how to do just that. As you can see, all that’s needed is some paper and something to write with. Analysis doesn’t have to be some expensive, complicated affair. You just need some guidance and education so you know how to start and what to look for. You also and to work on this sort of thing in limited bursts–no more than two hours at a time. After each session, put all of your notes entirely out of your sight and go do something that will help you feel emotionally recharged.

If God has already introduced Himself to you, be sure to ask Him for guidance as you work on your lists. God never considers our suffering to be some trivial thing. When He puts you through painful experiences in life, He does so with a specific plan in mind, and He wants to help you reap the maximum rewards from what you’ve gone through. Trauma is one of the worst things humans can experience in this world, but if we are willing to do the work of recovery, traumatic experiences end up changing us in truly beautiful ways (see Is Total Recovery Possible?).

So is this it? Are we done with our analysis? No. Sam is still feeling really bothered by the fact that his mind is representing him using dogs and girls instead of using human males. Jason is also disturbed that the victims in his video are all females. Is there a purpose behind this bizarre gender and species swapping? Yes, there is, and we’ll dig into that topic in our next lesson.