It's not "just porn".
You're not overreacting.
You're not overbearing. Jealous. Prude. Controlling.
And you're certainly not crazy.
Pornography use is emotionally abusive. That's why it hurts so much.
Join Melea Stevens, board member on the National Center of Exploitation on the Betrayal Trauma Recovery Podcast for a deep dive into the intricacies of why and how pornography is an abuse issue and how this affects you.
Pornography Use Is Emotional Abuse
She doesn’t know what to do. She’s carrying all the anxiety for the relationship because her husband is married to this behavior, this other thing, and she’s neglected. She’s abandoned. And she’s continually getting the message of, "you’re not enough. You’re not attractive. You’re not wanted." So, she’s carrying this psychological abuse, the emotional abuse, if not verbal use. The husband, because he’s normalized it so much, he can’t even begin to see how he’s affecting his wife at that point. He has to go through recovery to begin to even have empathy. To restore trust, and to heal.Melea Stevens, board member on the National Center on Sexual Exploitation
The lack of empathy found in porn users can be maddening, excruciating, and heartbreaking. This unwillingness of abusive men to give love and understanding to a partner is emotional abuse. Especially when the abuser has caused significant harm and should be making amends for his infidelity.
Another Layer of Emotional and Psychological Abuse: Lying and Manipulation
Women feel more confusion as abusers lie to protect their pornography use and other sexual-acting out behaviors. Lying, an emotionally and psychologically abusive behavior, has devastating effects on a victim in and of itself.
Further, the implicit and explicit messages of rejection, inferiority, and inadequacy that an abusive pornography user sends to his partner are direct forms of damaging emotional abuse.
Emotional abusers condition victims to feel:
* Rejected* Unwanted* Alone* Replaced* Unintelligent* Unimportant* Inadequate* Repugnant* Boring* Objectified* Unattractive* Unremarkable* Terrified* Broken* Pathetic
It's important for victims to know that they are important. Beautiful. Deserving of love. None of the labels and beliefs that the abuser projects are accurate. It's difficult to recover from emotional abuse. But it is absolutely possible.
Pornography Use is Child Abuse
...So many cases come in nowadays, you’re already seeing a lot of kids whose parents were addicted to pornography and the effects of that in the young adult population. And how it affected their self-esteem and the messages that they got from their parents. It’s a lot to clean up and to heal from.Melea Stevens, board member on the National Center on Sexual Exploitation
When a child is exposed to pornography, that child has been sexually abused and must be treated for trauma. Further, in many cases, children are emotionally, psychologically, and physically abused by pornography-using fathers.