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Watching for the Overflow- Anger

He unscrewed the lid off the water bottle and held it away from his body (closer to me).  Oh no, what is he doing?  “Let’s say my fist is traffic and this water bottle is you.”  He punched the water bottle.  Guess what happened.  Water came out.  Why?  Because there was water in the bottle.

The same is true with us.  Our actions manifest the sin in our hearts.

So many young women struggle with pornography.  With that comes manifestations of that struggle.  You may think that sexual promiscuity is a manifestation of a porn addiction.  You would be wrong.

While sexual sin can be a manifestation of a struggle with lust, it often manifests in more subtle unrelated ways.

We’re going to talk about some of those in this series.  If you get to know a young woman struggling with porn addiction, more often than not you are going to find emotional inconsistencies.  She will probably be unstable.  Her heart wants to love, have joy, be full of life, be vivacious and free, but that same heart is ruled by her raging hormones, gnawing guilt, sense of hopelessness, self-determination, desire to impress, pride, frustration and… anger.  That’s probably the one thing that shocks porn addicts about themselves.

Anger can actually be a signal of porn addiction, why?  What does anger have to do with sex?

Nothing, actually, but anger has everything to do with sin.

I’m not talking about your all-around fiery-headed Irish temper.  Obviously, I am not excusing that, and someone who struggles with abusive, hot-headedness needs to get help.  For many porn addicts, the tendency is more toward explosive unpredictable anger.  She may be perfectly fine and then you ask that one question, you say that one thing, you mention that one word, or do something and she goes off.  It’s like a motlen river of lava, leaving you wondering, “Where on earth did that come from?”

In reality, she is probably asking herself the same thing.  She does not walk around like a caged lion waiting for someone to unleash her anger on.  In many cases, women are shocked by their reactions to people.  They will say things like,

“I don’t know why, but all of the sudden, I am just angry.  I am just mad at people.”

And they cap it off with the phrase,

“This just isn’t me!”

But it is her, and as an outside set of eyes, you have to help her see that.  Anger is coming out because for some reason it’s in there.

Here’s a few possible reasons why:

Manipulation (Defense). 

If people started to get close to me as an addict, I beat them back with a big angry stick.  I actually enjoyed the power I had to level people.  I got some sort of sick satisfaction from manipulating people with my anger.  Anger was how I controlled my relationships.  I didn’t know how to communicate normally; but I definitely knew how to take your knees out from under you and keep you from ever trying again.

Fear (Defense). 

This is especially true in cases of abuse.  There are underlying pains there and, if a young woman doesn’t know how to reconcile her experiences or if she doesn’t trust you, the natural reaction is first, to shy away.  If you continue to push, she’ll “bite.”  Someone who is afraid will usually feel sorry for reacting that way, so this one (unlike manipulation) is more of an emotional tug-of-war.  She wants help; she’s just afraid.

Hopelessness.

If you have nothing to live for, why should anyone else.  This usually manifests itself as a calloused heart.  She may say, “What’s the point?”  It can actually manifest as depression– loss of joy for life, insomnia, intense feelings of sorrow, fatigue, social withdrawal, even eating disorders.  It’s not that she doesn’t want your help, she just really doesn’t feel it’s going to work.  It’s just not worth it.  Nothing is worth it, and she will get frustrated and apathetic.

Anger, straight up.

Then you have those who are, in fact, angry.  It’s a form of judgement on others and self-loathing.  These are the girls who walk into church and their blood starts to boil: “Bunch of perfect, good for nothing Christians.  They say they want to help people, but they don’t really mean it.  Jerks.  I hate them.”  Don’t laugh, it happens!  And this is the one that completely freaks them out.  The blackness of their own heart scares them.

At any given point a young woman can fluctuate through these and other aspects of anger.  In each case, it is a nuclear reaction- an explosion, a melt-down.  She is not addressing the root cause of her anger (her sin) so everyday she goes through life like a soda bottle being shaken.  The closer you get, the more her world shakes, and the more likely she is to explode while you are around.

When that happens, do not deflect; dig.  That explosion has blown a hole in her wall.  In her attempt to strengthen her defenses, she has actually weakened them.

She has given you a little glimpse into the storm of her soul, and you need to dig deeper with her.

 
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