Masturbation, childhood sexuality, and trauma
#11
(06-17-2020, 09:05 PM)formerbuddhist Wrote: like "those girls are someone's daughter's, sisters, etc." and many would have never chosen to be in porn if their life circumstances weren't so tragic.  That can help.  Looking at porn in that light puts a human face on those girls.

Exactly.  It is very tragic.  All of those women (some of then not even or barely out of their teens) were once innocent little girls full of hopes and dreams that had nothing to do with this lifestyle.
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#12
I am female, but I can relate to your struggle. I also struggle with masturbation and sexual fantasies, and I couldn't figure out why since I was raised in a stable and loving home with no history of abuse as far as I could tell. I started touching myself at a young age because it felt good, and for no other reason. I also had extreme separation anxiety, but I didn't even make that connection to that and masturbation until just now, when you mentioned it, so thanks for bringing that up, as I believe it is relevant. 

When I got married, I thought that having sex would solve my masturbation addiction. It didn't. In fact, I felt even worse when I ended up masturbating while I was married because it meant I was, in essence, cheating on my husband. I made sure he knew about it, but it still didn't make me feel any better. 

Looking over my life, the best thing that helped me become less attached to masturbation (and I still do struggle with it sometimes) is time, patience, and learning not to obsess over it. Because it is a mortal sin and prevents one from receiving communion if not confessed beforehand, I think there is a tendency in Catholic circles to obsess over this sin and do whatever we possibly can to get rid of it, to the point that it actually makes the problem worse. Yes, masturbation is a grave sin, but it is certainly not the worst sin, and certainly not worth losing sleep over. If anything, it deepened my appreciation for confession and the Eucharist because I was unable to take them for granted. 

When you fall, say a prayer, get back up and resolve to go to confession as soon as you can, and then go on with your day. Don't spend hours on internet forums and websites trying to find the magic cure to kick the habit. There is no miracle cure, and you will not be healed overnight. I'm 26. I've struggled with this since I was about 5 years old. Be patient with yourself. Enjoy your life and your hobbies. Don't let this sin occupy your mind and your thoughts, and most certainly don't let it define who you are. God will heal you in His time, if you are cooperative with His will, His graces, and His timing (and it sounds like you are, since you are writing for help here in the first place). 

Stay calm, and know that the Lord loves you.
St. Joseph, Terror of Demons, Pillar of Families, Glory of Domestic Life, Pray for Us!

When I was a kid my parents moved a lot, but I always found them.
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#13
+AMDG
See my post in Announcements, Welcomes, Goodbyes, etc.: 

 https://www.fisheaters.com/forums/showth...?tid=85263
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#14
(06-15-2020, 03:51 AM)Blind Horus Wrote: Calls for something medieval. Prayers on your knees until you have to crawl to bed in a sweat. Contrition until it hurts. Make it a habit. Dont touch yourself even to pee or shower. Don't even look at it. You can do this and will feel all the better for it. Nothing causes men as much shame as self abuse.

And might I suggest self flagellation.
I would not agree entirely with that. I recommend looking at a cross and reciting Psalm 23. Remember to guard the eyes too.

And when these don't work, elevate the body, don't objectify. Remember the body is in the image of God. It is good. These undignified parts are corrupted from sin.
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#15
Some of us just have very high libidos. I'm pushing 60 and still feel at times like I have "raging hormones." Even worse when your spouse cools down before you do. Fasting, daily rosary, more prayer and scripture, Eucharistic adoration, frequent confession, staying busy, get a hobby, all help conquer the flesh.
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#16
(06-14-2020, 08:15 PM)whitewashed_tomb Wrote: I have struggled most of my life with masturbation, pornography, and a prurient fixation on sex. While I have no memory of any traumatic event occurring in my childhood, sometimes I wonder if something happened to me to make me this way, given that I expressed sexualized behavior early in my childhood before puberty. 

I started touching myself at a young age before I was aware of sex or even knew what exactly I was doing. All I knew was that it felt good, and I would engage in it absently as I watched TV or lay in bed.

When my parents discovered what I was doing, I remember they took me to a doctor who asked me why I did it and if I had ever seen someone do it. I told the doctor that I did it simply because it felt good; I had never seen anyone do it. After that doctor visit, the issue was dropped, and I stopped the habit for a while, until puberty when it returned with a vengeance, fueled by my now raging hormones, and it has plagued me throughout my adult life.

Given that this habit has it origins in my prepubescent childhood, I sometimes wonder if maybe I was abused and I repressed the memory. But are repressed memories even a real thing?

I had a safe, stable upbringing with few opportunities for abuse to occur to me. However, at the church my family attended and where I went to school from kindergarten to first grade, there was a monsignor who later had charges of child molestation charges against him, though I believe those were later dropped. Also, I was in the care of some family friends/acquaintances when I was young who watched me at their houses while my parents were at work. I don't think any of them could have been responsible, but there is the possibility that I may have been left unattended with a visiting family member or the like.

I was also a very anxious child. I was often afraid of things, especially any new environments or trying new things. I had strong separation anxiety and agonized by the window of my day care at school as I waited for my mom to pick me up. If she seemed to be at all late in arriving, then I would assume the worst: that she was dead. It was always such a joy and relief when she finally arrived. My anxiety was so bad that I went through a period when I couldn't sleep at night. My mom, frustrated, would threaten to take me to a psychologist, which terrified me even though I didn't know what that was. Maybe she should have. Maybe this anxiety stemmed from trauma...

But, of course, I have no recollection of anything bad happening to me, and this is all baseless speculation. It's wrong of me to even hypothesize such a terrible crime being committed or neglectfully unprevented by people who I have no reason to think of as anything other than kind and decent.

I suppose this speculation stems purely my own selfish desire to shift the culpability for my sins of the flesh away from myself and to other people in order to excuse my own self-destructive bad habits. Still, I just wonder if my childhood sexual behavior is normal. Maybe I was exposed to sexual imagery in movies or TV and I simply was more vulnerable to being disturbed by it than others. Maybe I'm just naturally anxious and my touching myself grew out of that, as a means to soothe my anxiety. Maybe I'm just naturally perverted and depraved and I've only allowed myself to become further depraved by going down the rabbit hole of porn and self-abuse.

I feel so powerless to stop. If it really is just because I have been cursed with a naturally strong libido that has been manifest since childhood, then it only makes me feel more powerless. But, in the end, whether these impulses are natural or not, the responsibility is solely my own to stop these sins. Only I can break these bad habits, disicipline myself, amend my life, and move on, live a holy life, and begin to heal.

I'm gradually being healed of this same problem.  Your profile says you haven't logged in here since October 2020.  Are you still watching this thread?  I believe I can guide you to the help you need, but it'll involved a detailed discussion of the teachings of St Thomas Aquinas, and will be lengthy.  I'll just drop a short note for now, in the hope you reply.

Firstly, I'm not saying YOU were sexually-abused.  But, to answer your question, yes, I was sexually abused by three different men before I started school at 4 years old.  Whilst I had the vaguest memory of the first instance, the other two were completely unknown to me for forty-four years, until I entered the Passive Purgation / Dark Night after attending mass for seven months, and God started revealing these formative traumas to - as promised by scripture - heal a very sick man, since the constant energy required to completely block the trauma from my mind had made me a severely physically ill (fibromyalgia, bodily seizures, interrupted sleep, constant shattering of my teeth from grinding in my sleep, severe attacks of vertigo).

Firstly, understand that not everything we fight is demonic in origin.  As scripture, or any good overview of the Catholic Journey teaches, we fight against 'The World, The Flesh and The Devil.'  If the Flesh has undergone some kind of trauma, God, as the Healer of the Sick, wants to correct this.  He is the Good Doctor.

I suspect the core of your problem is a damaged Cogitative Power (your 'case by case' judgement - 'how do I best act in this particular situation') generating Compulsive Masturbation.  Whilst Childhood Sexual Abuse or Early Exposure to Pornography can damage the Cogitative Power, there are many other potential situations that can also generate this 'wound', so I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that you were sexually-abused.  It might have been simple as your parents reaction to your childhood touching of yourself, so I'll ask a couple of questions:

- Were your parents strongly religious?  Latin Mass, or Novus Ordo?
- Did they condemn you touching yourself?  Did they tell you 'good little boys' don't do that, or did they say God would cast you out into hell?
- Were they any other authority figures preaching a Legalistic, Cruel God, rather than a Loving, Compassionate Father?  Might any of them condemned you?
- Do you have a sense that sex in itself is 'bad', rather than a good created by God, which only becomes bad when used in a disordered fashion (which masturbation is)?
- Are you generally afraid of God?  Or do you, like Saint Therese of Lisieux, have boundless confidence in him, even in you had committed every possible sin?

Understand that, the core problem here isn't the masturbation, but instead is the Erroneous Fear of God that compulsively-generates such disordered behaviour, (I'll explain how this process works later), and THAT'S what needs to be corrected to allow Him to heal you.  The mindset you should strive for is St Thomas Aquinas' Golden Mean of behaviour, between Defect ('Sex is natural, harmless, let's all do it') and Excess ('Sex is Evil, I can't even enjoy it with my husband / wife, we're going to hell').  You need to also fully-understand Jesus abolished the Fear-Based Master / Slave relationship of the Old Testament, and replaced it with the Love-Based Adopted Child / Father relationship.  He explains the fullness of revelation:  you are a redeemed child of God, a beloved son of the Father.  The very fact that you created this thread means your Will is moved to the good and the true, even if you don't, as yet, have full control in matters of chastity.

Also understand, if your Cogitation IS damaged, then any overly-legalistic prescription for behaviour - such as extreme acts of penitence, or trying to 'block out' or 'will away' any sexual image or thought - will only worsen the problem, and, over time, you might end up with the sort of health problems I evidenced.

God is loving, and merciful, and wants to heal the sick, not condemn.  I'm always touched by the Greek Translation of the Healing of the Leper where he asks Jesus if he wants to heal him:  Jesus was gutted.  "Of course I want to heal you'.

Have faith.  Let me know you're still around.
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#17
+JMJ

Whitewashed Tomb be encouraged for your plight is like that of many others, not bravely acknowledged like yourself, and do not live-in deep recesses of shame and blame. This response comes after many others before me on the blog, and my heart goes out to you.
Be encouraged by the Gospel, Jesus is the first Word and the Last (А-Ώ); John 8:1-11, A Woman Caught in Adultery: ‘ 10Then Jesus lifting up himself, said to her: Woman, where are they that accused thee? Hath no man condemned thee? 11Who said: No man, Lord. And Jesus said: Neither will I condemn thee. Go, and now sin no more’ https://biblehub.com/drb/john/8.htm Douay-Rheims.
Why does Jesus not condemn you? Jesus looks to the heart of the person. You are repentant and have turned from your sin many years ago by way of repentance (‘I have struggled most of my life’), you desire to reform and to seek a solution to a natural vice, hence the humble post. See Catechism of the Catholic Church 2355  http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/para/2355.htm
 
Why does Jesus not condemn you? Jesus is an expert in human psychology and moral theology. The Holy Spirit guides the Catholic Church infallibly. It teaches in six different places, under different headings, (CCC 1735, 1746, 1860, 2125, 2352, 2355), this very important teaching of moral responsibility:
1735 Imputability and responsibility for an action can be diminished or even nullified by ignorance, inadvertence, duress, fear, habit, inordinate attachments, and other psychological or social factors.
http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/para/1735.htm
Why does Jesus not condemn you? Jesus is well aware of your condition and why it is so.
From your own writing, you highlight a number of mitigating moral factors regarding your initial, ongoing, and repentant self. ‘I have struggled most of my life with masturbation, pornography, and a prurient fixation on sex.’
 
Clear indicators of the lack of Imputability and diminished responsibility whereby your ‘sin’ is either diminished or nullified, are the following factors:
 
ignorance: you began as an infant and continued through childhood with invincible ignorance. You continued through adolescence with invincible ignorance and were not assisted by simple and vincible ignorant parents and elders;
I started touching myself at a young age before I was aware of sex or even knew what exactly I was doing.’
 
inadvertence: infants, children, adolescents, and even adults touch themselves through inadvertence, failing in the area of full advertence and clarity of thought.
Grave sin needs; conscious, wilful, grave matter;
1857 For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: "Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent."
It felt good, and I would engage in it absently as I watched TV or lay in bed.’
 
duress: even in a good home a sensitive and tender soul will be under duress through a variety of causes not least of which is a similar problem in either mother or father by way of nature/nurture anxiety which growing up you received almost by osmosis, and have not given sufficient cognizance to the same.
 
While I have no memory of any traumatic event occurring in my childhood, sometimes I wonder if something happened to me to make me this way, given that I expressed sexualized behaviour early in my childhood before puberty.’
Though it is true that survivors of sexual molestation and abuse (at any age, though it is more catastrophic in infancy) suffer the aftermath of ongoing self-abuse and sexual preoccupation. Nevertheless, it should not be immediately presumed.
 
You are correct to state: ‘But, of course, I have no recollection of anything bad happening to me, and this is all baseless speculation. It's wrong of me to even hypothesize such a terrible crime being committed or neglectfully unprevented by people who I have no reason to think of as anything other than kind and decent.’
But with so much media information on abuse, it understandable that you and would consider it at some time. If so, it does unfold gradually.
 
My anxiety was so bad that I went through a period when I couldn't sleep at night.’
fear: you appear anxious by nature, and this can start within the first trimester of your gestation. The reaction to your external gestational environment can have profound effects on you as a foetus.
And even if your mother is not the anxious parent, the father can have a profound genetic and more profound ongoing input into your emotional state of disorder.
If it is your mother, then the nurturing years are most relevant, irrespective of the father’s calming tones.
If you are thinking of marriage, it is charitable to sort your anxiety as masturbation is a symptom while a fear disorder is a cause. No doubt, there are many other (disorder) symptoms in your life that are just as urgent as the understanding of self-abuse.
 
Maybe I'm just naturally anxious and my touching myself grew out of that, as a means to soothe my anxiety.’
 
All I knew was that it felt good.’ The sensate life of the infant child is one of discovery through the external senses of touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing. Initially, the sense of touch extends to the mother and all those that touched the baby. As the infant’s limbs grow and extend, the child explores its own body both in public and in private. It is not long before the infant discovers, especially if left naked, the pleasures of venereal erogenous zones. If the child is particularly sensitive, then the touch of the private parts is also quite sensitive. If added to this, the infant is experiencing duress or anxiety, it soon discovers that pleasuring the private parts soothes and calms the entire body. The greater the environmental duress or personal anxiety, the more frequent the sense of touch is applied to pleasure zones. A habit of – anxiety, soothing, peace is established and repeated. A habit is formed.
 
habit: a long-established habit of solitary erogenous soothing has been present for a period of more than two decades. Sadly, it is well-entrenched. But do not despair, because there is much more to learn.
 
inordinate attachments: the wisdom of later posts regarding voyeurism (the viewing of pornography) is correct. You are not a pornographer (i.e., a maker of porn), but a voyeur. It remains a disordered attachment, and while an involuntary habit can diminish moral responsibility, it can also increase moral responsibility when wilful. So, all ‘wilful’ avoidance is crucial for the development of the virtue of chastity, which is a daughter of the moral virtue of temperance. But how to avoid unhelpful addictions needs to be explained.
 
psychological factors: this is a very extensive topic which I think needs to be left for future posts. Nevertheless, your behaviour is described as both obsessive and compulsive.
 
‘After that doctor visit, the issue was dropped, and I stopped the habit for a while.’
This sentence is indicative of an often-told story about Emotional Repression Disorder.
With the intervention of an authority figure, a new phenomenon is born. When this is prior to the age of reason, it is very much a tug of war between the pleasure and the assertive emotions of the sensitive appetite.
Reason and will are not yet engaged and an emotional habit is formed.
It is possible to later wilfully (i.e., deliberately) avoid masturbation, by sheer force (i.e., by repression). But what force? St Thomas Aquinas explains this carefully and in amazing accuracy considering it was Eight Centuries ago (ST I-II, q.77, a.2).
 
‘Given that this habit has its origins in my prepubescent childhood, I sometimes wonder if maybe I was abused and I repressed the memory. But are repressed memories even a real thing?
You identify habit, origins, abuse, repression and the internal sense of memory.
Yes, repressed memories are real. But do not force the issue, this is counter-indicated for people with an anxiety disorder.
God will allow memories to surface at the correct time and in the appropriate manner.
 
You lack freedom, that is the lack of the liberty of free choice: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/ar...s1c1a3.htm
1731 Freedom is the power, rooted in reason and will, to act or not to act, to do this or that, and so to perform deliberate actions on one's own responsibility. By free will one shapes one's own life. Human freedom is a force for growth and maturity in truth and goodness; it attains its perfection when directed toward God, our beatitude.
 
Indeed, you need to read about the ‘freedom for morality’ and the ‘freedom for excellence’ (another time).
 
I had a safe, stable upbringing with few opportunities for abuse to occur to me.’
social factors: you are blessed to have been raised in a safe and stable home.
There is much to be done before the accusation, and blame is aroused about abuse.
For children abused in sleep, satanic ritual abuse, or drugged, they may never fully know the who of the act, but the what of the action are engraved in the body memory.
God knows all and what’s best and will reveal all if necessary. But He does not reveal perpetrators. They are judged in the next life.
 
God has given us a wonderful understanding within our hearts, and heads regarding your concern. It is the correct general sense of the faithful that solitary acts are a grave disorder. But the disorder is not only of a moral kind but also of a psychological or emotional kind.
 
2352 By masturbation is to be understood the deliberate stimulation of the genital organs in order to derive sexual pleasure. "Both the Magisterium of the Church, in the course of a constant tradition, and the moral sense of the faithful have been in no doubt and have firmly maintained that masturbation is an intrinsically and gravely disordered action." "The deliberate use of the sexual faculty, for whatever reason, outside of marriage is essentially contrary to its purpose." For here sexual pleasure is sought outside of "the sexual relationship which is demanded by the moral order and in which the total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love is achieved."
 
Because the disorder is an emotional problem, it has a deep psychological base first raised by St Paul (cf. Romans 5-7) and confirmed philosophically by St Thomas Aquinas (ST I-II, q.77, aa.1-8). This is why Jesus does not condemn quickly, and the Church rightly teaches:
2352 (continues) To form an equitable judgment about the subjects' moral responsibility and to guide pastoral action, one must take into account the affective immaturity, force of acquired habit, conditions of anxiety or other psychological or social factors that lessen, if not even reduce to a minimum, moral culpability.
http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/para/2352.htm
Why does Jesus not condemn you? This is why Jesus does not condemn.
He invites you to understand your situation and ask for healing from the Divine Physician.
 
Maybe I'm just naturally perverted and depraved and I've only allowed myself to become further depraved by going down the rabbit hole of porn and self-abuse.’
No not true, by your own candid evidence.
 
Your moral responsibility and to guide pastoral action;
that is, your moral responsibility
 
one must take into account:
the affective immaturity: you were an infant/child, as above.
 
force of acquired habit: your soothing habit is more than two decades, your repressive habit around two decades.
 
conditions of anxiety: possibly since gestation, at least post-birth.
 
or other psychological or social factors: as above
 
that lessen (i.e., venial sin), if not even reduce to a minimum (i.e., moral immaturity and imperfection), moral culpability).
 
Definitely, not mortal sin all of the time. Though not knowing the above teaching, you may have from time to time wilfully given into illicit pleasure, which would have been sinful, and the matter of the Sacrament of Penance. Though now with hindsight this is difficult to estimate. Going forward, sin is in the action of the will. No wilful participation all of the above mitigating reasons need to be applied.
 
I caution would be moralists to refrain from pre-emptive disagreement and condemnation of this teaching. It would be like saying to Jesus facing the adultuous woman, “But, I strongly object!” Let me throw a rock.
 
People like Whitewashed_Tomb (the aka says enough), who write so honestly do not have the narcissistic qualities you have expressed. This is another reason why Jesus does not condemn you.
You left the blog chastened and beating your breast, thinking “Lord, have mercy on me a sinner”, about whom Jesus stated, I tell you that man went home at peace with God (see Luke 18:13-14).
 
Applying just some of the above reasons, though these need to be understood and amplified, this second paragraph of 2352 is wholly important to Mr Whitewashed_Tomb.
 
It is sorrowful that after 16 responses to Mr Whitewashed_Tomb, few addressed the underlying issues except the last blogger Macksbeard.
 
Whitewashed_Tomb wrote:
 
‘I feel so powerless to stop. If it really is just because I have been cursed with a naturally strong libido that has been manifest since childhood, then it only makes me feel more powerless.”
 
An emotional repressive disorder means something is out of order and should be distinguished from ‘a strong libido’ which often is a cop-out for wilfully lustful people.
 
‘But, in the end, whether these impulses are natural or not, the responsibility is solely my own to stop these sins.’
 
Jesus made us free, and for freedom.
But only God can set free us St Paul learnt this. Romans 7:23-25.
‘But I see another law at work in my body, warring against the law of my mind and holding me captive to the law of sin that dwells within me. 24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord! 
 
Only I can break these bad habits, discipline myself, amend my life, and move on, live a holy life, and begin to heal.’
Sorry, you are partly mistaken: yes, you have a part to play by co-operating with God but,
CCC 2345 ‘Chastity is a moral virtue. It is also a gift from God, grace, a fruit of spiritual effort. 
The Holy Spirit enables one whom the water of Baptism has regenerated to imitate the purity of Christ.’
 
For those who seek the answer to the common conundrum of Whitewashed_Tomb, the following texts are of great assistance. 
They are written by Catholic psychiatrists who are affirmed by the Catholic Church; Anna Terruwe and Conrad Baars.
 
https://www.amazon.com.au/Feeling-Healin...0882709666
https://baarsinstitute.com/product/psych...an-psyche/
 
 
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#18
Just a quick note for now:

Love Of Christ... has already well-covered many things I was going to address, particularly guiding Tomb and anyone else who struggles with this problem to the work of Anna Terruwe and Conrad Baars.  When he mentions the war between 'the pleasure and the assertive emotions of the sensitive appetite,' they're using more approachable terms for Aquinas' definitions of the Concupiscible (Pleasure) and Irascible (Assertive) Appetites, which should be familiar to the listeners of Sensus Fidelium or Father Chad Ripperger.

The blurb on one of their books sums up the problems that Tomb and SacraCor addresses from their lived experience, but won't be understood by those who haven't been given this particular cross to carry:

"Does a person who wants to live a moral life, yet cannot refrain from doing things that he knows are immoral, suffer from weakness of willpower or from a neurosis that would lend itself to therapy?"

Note that this is *not* secular psychology:  they strongly-disagreed with the then-popular Freudian explanations for behaviour.  Their work is Thomistic in nature, even if they use less academic nomenclature for approachability.

Unfortunately the links in Love of Christs.... posts are wrong.  The books you want to search for are these:

Start with 'Feeling and Healing Your Emotions' by Dr Conrad Baars, which is a more casual, approachable introduction to Thomistic Rational Psychology.  Note he is Catholic.

[Image: 3e4c265d258ad8494d158e576e3dbff7.jpg]

It would be followed up by a reading of the more academic "Psychic Wholeness and Healing," where Baars subordinates to the research of Dr. Anna Terruwe.  The title is referring to St Thomas' construct of the Animal Soul (The Psyche), not the Secular Psychology construct or anything to do with New Age.

[Image: 288149.jpg]

I've noticed there's also digital versions available.  From the back:

"An exploration of man's psyche, integrated with his spiritual dimension. Essentially this book integrates modern psychological discoveries with the psychology of St. Thomas Aquinas. Dr. Terruwe and Dr. Baars take a refreshing look at the human person and healing from a Christian perspective, something that the secular humanistic and scientific views of man fail to take into account. The reader is given an understanding of many of the repressive disorders, which include symptoms such as fear, anxiety, depression, irritability, anger, fatigue, scrupulosity, and obsessive-compulsive symptoms. The repressive process, the different types of repressive disorders and their appropriate treatment are discussed. Clinical cases underscore the concepts in this book, bringing the reader an understanding of the freedom available through the healing of these emotional disorders and hope for those afflicted. This book is geared for a wide audience--laypersons, mental health professionals, and those involved in Christian ministry and the moral formation of others. It includes the English translation of Dr. Terruwe's thesis on the human person's normal emotional, spiritual, and intellectual life."

Note that some Priests will argue against the reality of Compulsion (the Passions overriding Free Will), despite Aquinas clearly teaching this.  A Priest who had heard my confessions for a good eighteen months was originally highly-skeptical when I mentioned these works, but, after working with me for so long and observing my spiritual life, has gradually come to speak in terms of my 'Compulsive Behaviour', saying that God understands what is free will and what isn't, because he sees the Will longs for the good and the truth, even if the flesh regularly fails.

Whilst I'm not fully-healed, I'm much, much better than I was, and, more importantly, I have an understanding of the WHY of my behaviour.

Note that Chastity doesn't really blossom until you're in the second age of the interior life, the Illuminative Way.  In the first age, the Purgative Way, I was completely powerless.  Once I entered the Dark Night of the Senses, and Meditative Prayer was shut down by God and gradually became Contemplative Prayer, although I still am compelled to masturbate at certain times (and I can identify reliable triggers based on childhood wounds, or stressful / depressing situations), it's far less so, and, at times, the compulsion falls away entirely and I can resist self-abuse, which I was previously unable to do.  More importantly, God has shown me why I'm drawn to particular fantasies (reactions to childhood sexual abuse, parental indifference and childhood peer rejection) and why I use them not just for the pleasure you'd expect, but more to attempt to disassociate from painful reality:  the only way the child in such a horrific situation knew how to survive.  I think this is why God doesn't just 'make the problem go away,' which anyone with this problem has obviously prayed very hard for:  He wants to teach the Reason why the illness existed in the first place, so as to strengthen the penitent by healing more than just the expressed behaviour.  He's healing deep wounds that we don't always know even exist yet.

I can break down Aquinas in a couple of days, if anyone is interested.
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