For people with sex addiction, it can be such a challenge to face up to the fact it is even happening. Perhaps it follows an arrest, being caught by a spouse, or making excuses for sexual behavior online, sex addiction can be difficult to overcome without first admitting the need for help, then seeking out help from family and friends. Denial is a key player in keeping addiction going strong, unless a person is willing to face their addiction head on.
Shame and Blame
The shaming and blaming game is not unique to people suffering from sex addiction. It occurs in many people’s lives and keeps them tied into negative behaviors that can eventually get them into serious trouble. Denial by people with sex addiction is about:
- Blaming problems on others
- Blaming problems on situations
- Not accepting responsibility
- Refusal to see escalation of problems in life
As a result of denial, active sexual addiction can become harmful to relationships, even dangerous, resulting in arrests, financial woes, or unwanted pregnancies, among other things.
Role of Denial
Denial is about internal and external lies a person tells themselves to support addiction. Each lie is rationalized, every action is given the okay in their mind and nobody can tell them no if nobody knows about it. Denial may be so deeply rooted they have come to believe their own dishonesty. From this point, the person may:
- Expect others to buy into their denial
- Neglect the concern of others and keep doing behavior anyway
- Blame, defend, or minimize the pain to themselves or others
- Neglect personal health, hygiene, or well-being of kids and others to support addiction
Some common forms of denial include:
- Entitlement: I work hard to support everyone at home, I deserve a reward
- Externalization: my partner or family criticizes me and nothing I do is right so I’m going to enjoy myself
- Justification: all single guys/gals do this. I’m not in a relationship so I can do as I please, no harm done.
- Minimization: as long as nobody is getting hurt or in danger, this is a one-time thing that won’t hurt anyone I know
- Rationalization: I am not engaging in real sex with people, it’s all online. How can that be cheating or harming anyone is beyond me
Even though compulsive sexual behaviors may not harm others, per se, they are hurting themselves and, eventually, these behaviors carry over into harming loved ones. Denial keeps a person locked into addiction. Until the person admits a problem exists, the addiction is likely to continue. With support and therapy, a person with sex addiction can address the underlying issues and start to deal with the consequences as they go down the path of healing.
The Springboard Center’s addiction treatment programs are tailored to meet the needs of each client. We help you recognize the issues in your life that brought you to this point and support your journey of healing with tools, resources, and programs designed with your recovery in mind. Call us to find out how we can help you fight addiction: 432-620-0255