I Feel Guilty For Sexting Kids in the Past…

For years starting after I turned 15 I’d use a chatting app to sext with all kinds of people. I did that for years until I was a few months away from turning 20 which is when I stopped. I really regret and can’t shake the feeling of guilt for continuing to sext people (some of which were underage) after I turned 18. I wasn’t seeking them out in particular, I wasn’t picky. But I did know that some of them were underage. I just didn’t care.

I’m very glad you wrote in. I understand how stressful it is to discuss these kinds of issues in any manner, so kudos to you for having the courage to ask for help.

We have two sources of stress here. The moral guilt indicates soul stress. The fact that you felt a need to sext in the first place, the fact that you started at such a young age, the fact that you became addicted to it, and the fact that your targets varied so much in both age and gender indicates significant psychological stress. Your current sexual orientation also indicates that your subconscious is overriding your natural sex drive in an attempt to broaden your range of intimate targets (notice the females have not been eliminated, but the males have been added, so we have an expansion strategy here, not the replacement strategy that comes with some forms of strong homosexuality). Also notice how your mind pushed you to make significant jumps both up and down the age ladder, as opposed to just seeking out only peer targets, younger targets, or older targets. Here again we see that your mind is focused on an expansion strategy by adjusting your sex drive to push you towards a very wide range of targets. There are always very specific, logical agendas driving the way your mind behaves, and the pattern we’re seeing here is indicating a very desperate search for a solution which is urgently needed. The fact that you are not acknowledging the intense stress that was driving your need to sext and also influencing who you attempted to sext indicates your mind is being intentionally secretive about what is bothering it. This is common behaviour when minds feel 1) very distressed by what’s bothering them, and 2) threatened by receiving hostile feedback from their partner souls.

Notice how your soul is now responding very negatively to some of your mind’s past actions. It doesn’t approve of what your mind has been up to, and it’s making its disgust very clear. While your soul is correct in acknowledging the immorality of your past actions, its current emphasis on disgust without compassion for your mind’s problems is creating a very negative dynamic between these two elements, and this will encourage your mind to remain secretive about what is distressing it.

Neither of these issues (soul stress & psychological stress) should be fluffed off as unimportant. It’s clear by your wording that you are primarily focused on the soul stress right now, and that you are minimising the importance of your psychological stress. I would caution you that minimising your mind’s stress is not a wise move here. Both of your elements need help in resolving their current problems.

Resolving Guilt

To effectively resolve moral guilt, your soul must gain some logical understanding of why you did whatever negative thing that you did. Your soul must also be able to develop sincere compassion for your underlying motivations. Realise that your current strategies of 1) confessing your actions to others, and 2) using financial donations as a kind of “guilt offering” will not accomplish either of these critical goals. If you go the confession route, you will very likely end up with more soul stress, as it is inevitable that other people’s view of you will be negatively changed by this information. Realise that to encourage other people to react well to negative information, you need to be able to give them some logical context for what you’re telling them. Understanding breeds compassion in human beings. Confusion results in fear and shunning. Since you don’t currently understand your own behaviour, you will not be able supply that kind of context to others, so they are very likely to react exactly as you’re fearing, which is not something you need to be dealing with right now.

As for the financial strategy, the way that works in real life is that you give some money and feel some degree of relief, but that effect only lasts temporarily. Until guilt is dealt with correctly, it will always resurface, and it will also tend to grow worse over time. People who try to resolve guilt through financial donations often end up feeling like they must give greater and greater amounts away to ease their ever worsening guilt until they get themselves so financially strained that they end up having a bunch of new reasons to feel stressed (such as “I can’t pay the bills this month” or “Now I no longer have any savings set aside for an emergency”).

When we pursue ineffective solutions, we end up feeling worse, not better, so at this point I would advise you not to proceed with either of the guilt management strategies you’re currently considering. Instead, change your focus and start pursuing effective solutions for resolving guilt. The first steps in an effective guilt resolution plan would be to 1) recognise your mind’s behaviours as indications of major psychological stress, and 2) start taking steps to understand what triggered that stress in the first place.

In dealing with trauma, I believe that nothing good comes from minimising problems and skirting around under comfortable truths. When people ask me for advice, I take their request very seriously and aim to give them the information they need to make wise choices in their own lives. In your case, you need to realise that if you do not recognise the crisis your mind is currently in and stop ignoring its distress signals, this addiction that you’ve previously experienced will very likely resurface. If it does, it will likely have an even stronger grip on you than it did before. The other option is that your mind will switch to a new, equally unhelpful self-help strategy which will continue to make matters worse and inevitably cause your soul even more distress. In a situation like this, it’s vital to tackle the root of the problem. All of this soul stress you’re experiencing is being caused by what your mind is doing. All minds slide into negative behaviour patterns when they are feeling overwhelmed by stress, so the only way to stop your mind from behaving in a way that stresses your soul is to turn your focus onto helping your mind calm down. You can’t help your mind until you understand why it feels so upset. You can’t get your mind to share its personal stresses with you until you approach it in the right way, and that means emphasising respect and compassion.

Objectifying Behaviours

We now need to talk about this sexting issue. Forget about your targets for a moment and think about how you treated yourself when you were deep into this activity. Your belief that you were not harmed by sexting is absolutely wrong. What’s likely confusing you here is the fact that you chose to do the behaviour, you were not forced, therefore it seems logical that “I can’t be harmed by something that I chose to do.” This is a very common false assumption in trauma cases, because when minds are desperate, they push very hard for us to engage in self-harming behaviours, and the sheer intensity of their desire blinds us to the pain they are actually in.

Sexting is very much a self-harming activity. It falls into the same self-abuse category as cutting, only in instead of directly attacking your own body, you are attacking your own mind and soul by intentionally debasing yourself in front of an audience. Notice how you felt you really didn’t care who your target was. This indicates that your mind’s primary goal was for you to experience being degraded in front of a live audience. It sounds like your mind didn’t care too much about who was in the audience, but notice that it did want a live person to witness you objectifying yourself. It was not enough for you to objectify yourself privately by simply taking demeaning pictures of yourself. Instead, you needed to send those picture to a real person before you could feel psychologically satisfied. Remember: your mind always has a very specific agenda for what it does. The critical question you need to be asking here is: why is my mind obsessing over this issue of me being degraded in front of other people?

Your mind (aka your subconscious) is extremely protective over you. One of the ways it expresses this is to diligently guard the most vulnerable zones on your physical body. Due to the extreme vulnerability of your privates, your mind is hyper-protective over that region of your body. This means that under normal circumstances, your mind will be very much opposed to giving complete strangers any kind of direct access to your privates, and that includes visual access as well as touch. A calm mind will hold strong boundaries in this area. But a mind that is severely distressed will start to behave in a way that directly opposes its own priorities, and here is where we find your mind pushing you to keep volunteering to produce porn for someone else’s entertainment. Your intrinsic value as a human being means you are deserving of far more respect than you have been giving yourself. It is absolutely wrong for anyone to treat you like some object that only exists to be ogled at. It is also wrong for your privates to be put on display like some object in a museum. You are not an object, you are a person with complex feelings and needs. One of your core needs as a human being is to be treated with respect, yet here we see you actively starving yourself of that respect and forcing yourself to experience degradation over and over and over for years on end. This is not normal behaviour, nor is it the kind of behaviour that you can engage in without being harmed. Every time you treat yourself like an object, you are invalidating your own worth and your own right to power and respect. Your mind will not turn against you like this unless it believes it is the only way to protect you from an even greater threat.

When pushed into a corner where they feel forced to choose between the lesser of two evils, minds will resort to self-harming strategies. It’s rather like the animal who decides to chew off its own foot in order to escape a hunter’s trap. Even though being crippled for life is a very grim prospect, the animal will choose that fate over death when it believes those are its only two options. In the same way, human minds (and souls) will resort to forms of self-harming when they feel that is the only way to avoid an even greater problem. The critical question here is: what is the monstrous threat that your mind is trying to defend you from, and why does it feel that its only way to protect you is to force you to actively degrade yourself in front of anyone who will watch? This is a vital question that needs answering because that monster hasn’t gone anywhere. It still exists, and it is still keeping your mind in a state of high alert. Before your mind gets caught up in another surge of panic and starts harming you again, you need to try to help it identify a more effective way of calming its fears.

Now for those who think I’m making a big deal out of this issue because “after all, it’s just sexting”, here’s an important caution that is especially relevant for males to take note of. Due to the fact that males have a naturally higher sex drive than females, which causes them to naturally think about sex a lot more often, it is very easy for them to accept a lot of lies about what “normal” male sexual behaviour looks like. What I want all of my readers to realise is that a lot of the sex advice you’re handed when you are young is given to you by people who are already in a state of psychological trauma. Being in a state of psychological trauma is like being in a state of physical pain for so long that you start to think pain is normal, and you don’t believe in the concept of pain-free living. When older males tell younger males that it’s right and proper to “sow your oats” or watch deviant porn or objectify yourself through sexting, they are not giving you good advice. Instead they are reflecting their own psychological pain at you, and encouraging you to engage in activities which are only going to harm you down the line. Simply being male does not make you immune to being harmed by treating yourself with disrespect. You cannot pass your body around like some used rag and invite a bunch of strangers who you do not respect to grope you, sleep with you, or gawk at you without experiencing major fallout on both a psychological and spiritual level.  All humans have a core need to feel respected both by themselves and by other humans, with self-respect being especially critical to our well-being. 

In this day and age, there are so many people walking around in a state of psychological trauma that a whole slew of self-degrading activities are being promoted as normal, harmless, and fun.  But in real life, a single incident of feeling overexposed or objectified in front of another human can cause severe psychological trauma, especially if private areas are involved.  By the time you’re at a point where you need to keep exposing yourself to others, something very unpleasant has been done to you which you have been so deeply impacted by that your mind has become obsessed with the concept of degradation. 

Now in trauma cases, the common pattern is to try to re-enact whatever nasty thing was originally done to you.  With you, we see a strong focus on being publicly degraded (meaning in front of a live audience).  This strongly suggests that whatever your original trauma was, your mind interpreted it as a case of you being degraded.  There are two main ways that degradation traumas happen.  The first is that someone else physically forces you into a state of degradation, perhaps by pulling your pants down against your will or without your permission.  The second way is that someone psychologically forces you into degrading yourself in front of them. The common pattern here would be for someone to verbally threaten to physically harm you unless you do what they want, and what they want is for you to behave in a way that feels self-degrading.  Either one of these scenarios can easily result in an obsession with degradation later on in life, and it can make sexual interactions feel extremely threatening, which often results in your mind revising your natural sex drive.

Now in your case, I want you to think  back over your behaviour during your sexting years. What kinds of patterns do you see yourself engaging in?  How quickly did you try to escalate the level of degradation?  Sexting has three main levels of escalation: verbal, photographic, and video.  Were you the one pushing for escalation from verbal to video or did you wait for your partner to do the pushing?  How did you try to manage the level of degradation?  Did you want them to share as much as you shared?  Did you want them to do most of the sharing?  Or did you want to do most of the sharing?  Did you notice a point at which you felt internally stressed by graduating levels, such as moving from still pics of yourself to videos of yourself?  Or did you feel an urgent need to get to the video level as quickly as possible?  In a case like yours, I would expect that there was a clear point at which you suddenly lost interest in whoever you were sexting and wanted to move on to a new partner. That point would typically be triggered by a specific level of exposure being reached. For example, you might have found that as soon as you posted a certain kind of video, you suddenly lost interest and became impatient to find someone new to sext with. Or you might have experienced the sudden disinterest kicking in when they posted a certain kind of video. There are many options here, but since your mind is very strategic in what it does, paying attention to the details is an important step in trying to understand your mind’s underlying agenda.  One thing is for certain: you didn’t sext because it was “fun.”  You sexted because you felt it was necessary.  You also found it distressing and demeaning, but your internal distress was likely obscured by a psychological rush which caused you to falsely assume that you actually liked what you were doing.

Is it possible for anyone to sext without consequences? No, so the theory that your sexting partners weren’t negatively impacted by sexting with you is a lie that your soul wants to believe in to protect itself from more stress. But as I said earlier, to effectively resolve moral guilt, we have to deal with the root issue, not focus on side issues like who was hurt by interacting with you and what laws were or weren’t broken. Right now my primary concern is that you have a long pattern of treating yourself with gross disrespect, yet when your soul reacts to this, it is only the welfare of other people that it is concerned with. What about you? Why is your soul treating your own pain as a non-issue here? Why are we trying to pretend that you’re “fine” when your behaviour clearly indicates that you are not fine at all?

It is often the soul that kickstarts a serious effort to resolve psychological trauma. By reacting with distress to some aspect of the mind’s behaviour, the soul calls attention to the crisis, at which point real help can start happening. So it’s excellent that you have voiced your soul’s concerns, and if you would like to discuss these issues further, send me a request with an email that I can contact you at. I wanted to respond to you here first so that you could understand how I would approach this issue. Both your soul and mind need to be able to discuss their concerns, but sometimes we’re not ready to deep dive into root causes. If you do feel like you want to try and deal with root causes, let me know. There is always a way forward.

This post was written in response to Person 1.