Author Topic: NoFap Consciousness  (Read 52508 times)

Lero

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Re: NoFap Consciousness
« Reply #600 on: September 26, 2019, 08:26:26 AM »
I know what you're talking about, man. When I was in eighth grade, I started putting one of my classmates in P scenes. For whoever did this, maybe they know that feeling when you meet her and you feel awkward as fuck. It was super strange to meet her at school after me binging on fantasies with her the evening before. Same in high school.

Georgos

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Re: NoFap Consciousness
« Reply #601 on: September 27, 2019, 06:17:25 AM »
Thank you Lero, yes, I had the same experience throughout high school.

Fantasies are under your control, other people are not. P teaches one to seek total control. You are responding to an object, an image, a video, not a living person. It is never an interaction based on shared desires. Yet the images are of living people, which can lead to confusion about how to interact in person. Recognising that you cannot control people is part of growing up, it is a stage babies go through, however it persists into adulthood. In truth you can only ever either offer someone options or be of one mind with them. You cannot do both, either you are separate and in the position to offer someone options, crudely speaking forms of carrot and stick, or you are united and their thoughts and actions are your own. In both cases you are not controlling them, their choices are either separate or the same as yours. You are either one or separate. Trying to control someone or something implies separation. Only objects can be controlled, and even then at a quantum level total control is impossible. You can shift the probabilities in your favour via the options you present, but you cannot control something that is separate from you. The mistake many people make is mistaking control over other people with being one with them. If you are of one mind, then there is no separation, and one's choices are the same. However this is not the same as being in control of someone else, which implies separation. Love is to be united with someone. There is a high degree of separation between P and the P user. Love becomes very difficult, if not impossible. Orgasm promotes oneness with the thing we are orgasming over. Thus as we abuse P we are becoming one with an object, objectifying ourselves, reducing our degrees of freedom to that of an object. An object gives no love back, it persists in being what it is, separate. This is why love becomes so difficult with P and we are forced to seek out ever more, looking for some sign that it is one with us. Perhaps it reflects our fantasies better, but still it will always persist in being slightly different, slightly out of synch. We are never one with P even though we are engaging in MO to become one with it. We are not objects. Thank you.

Georgos

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Re: NoFap Consciousness
« Reply #602 on: September 28, 2019, 05:05:35 AM »
So ten days without P, over a hundred and ten days without MO. I've barely done thirty days without P since the end of March. I want to do six months hard mode. I'm happy not MOing and I never want to wilfully look at P again, so potentially aiming for six months is a red herring. I am simply choosing to stop for good. Things could get tricky if I start having sex. I'm trying to date a woman at the moment, so far we've just been exchanging text messages. Time will tell how this pans out. I've got much better at text messaging, having learned to just be myself without trying to objectify the other person's personality. In the past I really worried about cause and effect with text messages, what effect my words would have, making the assumption that they would have a definite result either way. Cause and effect only applies to objects. So I was really objectifying the other person's personality, trying to take ownership of it and control it. This wasn't out of malice, but fear and desire, fear of saying the wrong thing, and desire at receiving a positive response. Now I just be myself and don't objectify the other person's personality at all. Things are much better. I still find it hard dating in person. Then you actually have somebody in front of you, and I find I am constantly fighting objectification, either of myself or them. Fighting it just makes it worse, which is the lesson of mindfulness. I still find it hard just being comfortable with myself in such situations. Perhaps I shouldn't make such a big deal out of this. It is very common, but my years of PMO abuse has definitely made it worse. Anyway, writing here is helping me with regards to P. I've been talking to a priest about repentance and he is giving me some advice, though obviously he is also drawing me into the church, which is not something I'm sure I want to do. I'm used to picking and choosing my practices, without committing to some overarching structure. Baptism is my biggest fear. I'm happy to partake in the church on my terms, just as I would go to meditation of t'ai ji classes, but being baptised seems like a commitment I'm not prepared to make. It would mark me out as a Christian, as opposed to an individual who merely participates in certain practices. At any rate, I will probably go and talk to him in person, as he suggests, and explore repentance a bit more with him. At this stage I still do not believe Jesus Christ is our Lord and Saviour or the highest embodiment of God. I should note that my reluctance is not just limited to Christianity, I was put off Reiki by the fact that you had to be attuned to the Reiki source energy, which seems to me to be a similar practice to baptism. I don't think I could commit to a Guru or Sufi Sheikh either. Anyway, as I said, writing here is helping me with regards to P. Focusing on why objectification is wrong, or at least damaging to one's ability to form relationships, is keeping me grounded. I'm sorry once again for all the objectification of people I have done over the years. I'm sorry for deriving pleasure from something that has damaged me so much. Thank you.

Georgos

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Re: NoFap Consciousness
« Reply #603 on: September 29, 2019, 05:39:01 AM »
So trying to distinguish between objectification and appreciation is tough. If I look at a woman, am I appreciating her or am I objectifying her? If you analyse this, pretty soon you run into the paradox of oneness and multiplicity which has no definite answer. Even calculus doesn't resolve the paradox fully. One way of thinking of it is that there are no objects. Objectification is an illusion. An object is something one can possess, one can control. In reality we never fully possess anything or control anything. Every"thing" is in flux. As I said, analysis doesn't really help. I am just writing.

From a practical point of view, trying to work out cause and effect, practice and results, we are necessarily objectifying, as cause and effect only applies to objects.

So trying to work out how to stop porn abuse, trying not to MO, these are the results of objectifying our behaviour. We believe in the brain chemistry, the objective sensations. We have objectified our behaviour in an effort to control it. In reality it is simply a choice. Our highest self chooses what we do. So we are fighting ourselves. We are in conflict with ourselves. Part of us wants to stop, another part wants to carry on. Thus we are unable to make a firm choice. We ourselves are not an object. Analysis doesn't help.

One of the main reasons I write is because it gives me pleasure, and that pleasure is an alternative to P. So writing here helps to orientate me away from P. But again I am objectifying.

I am happy. I am not MOing. I am not looking at P. This is what I want.

With regards to having real sex and a real partner or girlfriend, I am still looking for cause and effect, practice and results. I am still objectifying the situation, still analysing. I am comfortable texting women now, what has changed, nothing, except I now feel comfortable.

Illusions are real until one sees through them. The idea that cause and effect is an illusion points to the fundamental mystery of life, that of life itself. Why do we perceive some "things" and not others, why do we perceive "things" at all when "things" are an illusion. How do we perceive? These questions are fundamentally unanswerable. We just do, it is what it means to be conscious.

In the end life is because life is. Every"thing" is just because of that.

This is philosophy, it is not very practical, but it helps one to accept.

How do we change? We just do, that is the journey. Beating yourself up about P or MO may be part of the journey, it generally is not very nice, being in conflict with oneself. I also don't think it helps me, indeed in some ways I think this has been a bigger problem for me than my actual P abuse, how I have related to it. Yet if I hadn't gone through the stage of beating myself up, I might never have stopped. On the other hand I might have grown out of P naturally. The what if scenario.

What's done is done. This has been my life so far. I am not looking at P. I am not MOing. I am happy.

Thank you.


Edit_undo

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Re: NoFap Consciousness
« Reply #604 on: September 29, 2019, 08:36:46 AM »
So trying to distinguish between objectification and appreciation is tough. If I look at a woman, am I appreciating her or am I objectifying her?

Georgos, I am having a similar conflict with this very question. So much so that my reboot is almost stalled. I could devote all of my energy and effort to not looking at women but is that what the end result should be? Not entirely. I want my appreciation for women to be “normal”. That is, appreciating the beauty of a person and not just ogling a body parts.

I don’t have any answers or ideas to contribute. I just wanted to say I appreciate you posting your thoughts on this.

I am happy. I am not MOing. I am not looking at P. This is what I want.

With regards to having real sex and a real partner or girlfriend, I am still looking for cause and effect, practice and results. I am still objectifying the situation, still analysing.

Not to oversimplify either of our situations, I’m in a similar spot. 1.5 years of no P and limited MO (2x). I’m married so this has not been hard mode. But little change (I have Pied).
 
I wish you the best on this journey.

Lero

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Re: NoFap Consciousness
« Reply #605 on: September 29, 2019, 08:41:10 AM »
Quote
So trying to distinguish between objectification and appreciation is tough. If I look at a woman, am I appreciating her or am I objectifying her?

With me, this is simple (and tough at the same time): I look at a girl and have fantasies with her in P scenarios. I'm trying not to but my mind just jumps there. Yeah, I'm heavily invested in P, what can I say.

Georgos

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Re: NoFap Consciousness
« Reply #606 on: September 29, 2019, 11:28:57 AM »
Thank you Lero and Edit_undo,

Edit_undo, I'm trying to think of what to say to you, do you still have PIED, you said you haven't been going hard mode because your married, so I take it you are having sex, that is something.

Also, I think it's great that you are 1.5 years without P and next to no MO, that is what you wanted and so you're a success.

I think the thing to note is that being philosophical, learning to accept, or even forgive, does not mean condoning. You can't do everything, so you can't do whatever you want, whenever you want, however you want, with whoever you want, without it being a restriction in some way. You choose those restrictions. Looking at P, MOing, is a restriction. Choosing not to is also a restriction. You cannot do both at the same time and if you try to you will end up fighting yourself. You have to choose your topology, to use a fancy word which just means your set of restrictions. Not all topologies are compatible, in other words there is no grand unified topology that incorporates everything. That would be the same as saying the set of unrestricted restrictions. This is a good thing, it is the reason we have choices.

We can look at the whys and hows but in the end everything is our choice, our choice of restrictions. You can choose the one's that make you happy or you can choose the one's that make you miserable, but there is no absolute happiness or misery, and these are restrictions as well.

It seems a bit cruel to say you have chosen your PIED, also being aware of choice, it is impossible to avoid conflict altogether, the existence of alternatives makes you vacilitate or oscilate between them. Even this writing, I cannot tell you how to find a grand unified theory that will help you get out of it altogether.

Be happy with your choices, accept your choices. That is the most I can say. If you choose to fight with yourself, that is also a choice.

If abstaining from P and MO hasn't cured your PIED, I don't think questioning your oggling will cure it either. Loving yourself, believing you are normal is probably the best place to start. The placebo effect is real, so believing that you will leave your PIED behind will help. In effect belief is a form of choice.

My own opinion is that by questioning your oggling you are fighting with yourself again, believing yourself to not be normal, and causing yourself anxiety which is causing your PIED. You are looking for reasons for your PIED, why you choose to experience it, if you like, before you over come it.

As I said, it is cruel to simply say that you can choose not to experience PIED, just like that. It is like saying I can choose to have a girlfriend, just like that. In both cases it denies our world view, our choices of restrictions. It is perfectly alright to want to know why you have chosen such an experience, what you are doing wrong, etc., before you choose to over come it. This is what is meant when people say life is lessons that we have chosen, possibly before you incarnated, if you believe in eternity. Once we have mastered a lesson we move on.

So as I said, I don't know what to say to you, you have stopped P which is what you aimed at, you have stopped MO, which you have also been aiming at, and now you have moved on to questioning your oggling, all because you view yourself as not having "normal" responses. You still have PIED to some extent, yet you seem to have sex. Have things improved? You still seem to doubt yourself.

None of this means that you have to go back to the things that you have rejected. They say it is not the destination that, counts it is the journey. You have reached your destination with P and MO. It is no longer part of your life. You have not yet, so it seems, reached your destination with PIED. I cannot tell you what to do about that other than maybe just relax and believe in yourself more. Confidence is being comfortable with the idea that you are just the same as everybody else. Perhaps you have been objectifying yourself as somehow "different" for too long. When we objectify other people we objectify ourselves, and when we objectify ourselves we objectify other people. My guess is that having PIED probably makes you objectify your penis, it may have even started the other way around. Maybe just try to feel more comfortable with your wife and not worry about other people so much.

Thank you.

Edit_undo

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Re: NoFap Consciousness
« Reply #607 on: September 29, 2019, 04:06:33 PM »
Thank you Lero and Edit_undo,

Edit_undo, I'm trying to think of what to say to you, do you still have PIED, you said you haven't been going hard mode because your married, so I take it you are having sex, that is something.

Also, I think it's great that you are 1.5 years without P and next to no MO, that is what you wanted and so you're a success.


Thanks Georgos, I’m definitely happy with where I am vs where I started. As for intimacy I get by with ED meds. Or other stimulation but at least it is real interaction with a real person. My favourite person.  Not perfect but good for the situation I find myself in. I’ve read many accounts on here and mine is no different: my MD didn’t even blink and handed me a prescription. No questions about PMO or anything. Some bloodwork and away you go.

I think the thing to note is that being philosophical, learning to accept, or even forgive, does not mean condoning.

It seems a bit cruel to say you have chosen your PIED, also being aware of choice, it is impossible to avoid conflict altogether, the existence of alternatives makes you vacilitate or oscilate between them. Even this writing, I cannot tell you how to find a grand unified theory that will help you get out of it altogether.

Of course you are right. Acceptance of my position is the first step to change. And I don’t find it cruel of you to say I’ve chosen this. It’s strikingly accurate that I chose to view P without considering side effects. Not that anybody knew at the time.

So yes, the way out is developing a bulletproof belief in myself and I guess the “how” is to continue healthy activities that boost self confidence. I accept that the placebo effect has a part in this. But I’d say the struggle is expecting or hoping everything to work out, in spite of poor results this far.

For a long time, and I suspect most users are, I have been in internal conflict, doing things I (my higher self) doesn’t agree with or believe to be right. It’s getting better now that I’ve quit PMO and my actions line up with my beliefs more.

I appreciate your thoughts on this. My intention was not to highjack your thread talking about my struggles!  Just to commiserate with you in some similar struggles. Thank you.


Georgos

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Re: NoFap Consciousness
« Reply #608 on: September 30, 2019, 05:19:54 AM »
Your welcome Edit_undo, and thank you.

I know I go a bit over board with the philosophy and spiritual stuff or at least write a lot about it. With my mental health condition I have experience reality in such extreme forms of fluidity that straightforward analysis doesn't really cut it for me. It would be like trying to apply mathematical physical theories to what one experiences in dreams, it simply doesn't work. However for the most part my aim is to live in a concrete reality, at least in preference to a nightmarish one.

The other day, after writing to a priest about repentance, I experienced a wave of uncontrollable sadness for no apparent reason. It was just a really strong emotion, and as I was trying to figure out its source, I thought of all the women in P I had witnessed over the years and wondered about their lives.

My conclusion after exchanging emails with the priest is that the sole purpose of repentance and confession in the Orthodox church is to turn towards God and in particular Jesus as His embodiment. The priest made it clear that confession is not meant to deal with psychology, though the person receiving the confession may find that they have to address some psychological aspects given the prevalence of psychological thinking in our culture. Thus psychological problems and issues are for psychologists and psychiatrists to deal with, not priests per se. Clearly psycho-analysis borrowed much from confession, especially in the traditional forms of psycho-analysis, and in many ways this is what I was thinking of when I started exploring the practice of confession within the church. For me the added element that I was looking for was the miracle of forgiveness wiping away sins. However, the priest made it clear that we should not expect anything from confession, that God works in mysterious ways, and though the priest will make his upmost effort to provide forgiveness, it doesn't follow that one won't have to work through the consequences of one's past or that one will be freed from the feelings associated with the sin. Rather, the whole purpose is to strengthen one's relationship with and turn towards God, as I said. With this in mind I am not sure whether I really want to pursue the practice. To have a relationship with Jesus and the idea that one can "turn towards God" as if one was ever not "turned towards God", is an ideology and one that I'm not sure I share. I think I understand it conceptually, and it does make sense to me as an ideology, but whether it is one I want to subscribe to I'm not sure. Taken to its extreme it is the road to monasticism and this is what I fear.

Having said that, most Orthodox Christians are not monks or nuns, they merely partake in the mysteries of the church to a greater or lesser extent side by side with their every day life. I have been invited to partake in confession to see what happens. I believe I will accept this offer, at least once, if only out of curiousity.

Whether it will help me I don't know. And as I said, I have been advised to have no expectations, it is really about being Orthodox Christian above all esle, not curing psychological problems, as I have said.

Malando mentioned that guilt stemmed from ego, and I want to meditate on that a bit more. Do I need to feel sad for what I have done to be freed from it, or a such feelings only a way towards "turning towards God"?.

On one level we are all God(s), so turning towards God means turning towards your fellow man or woman, "loving thy neighbour". This is certainly something I subscribe to, but in a relativistic sense. P has separated me from other people, so I can still see the value in confession and repentance as a practice.

It is the separation that P has caused in my life that I am trying to overcome. I will continue to say sorry. I will continue to confess. But the main thing I think is to continue to choose not to repeat those actions that have separated me.

Thank you.


Georgos

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Re: NoFap Consciousness
« Reply #609 on: October 01, 2019, 06:07:07 AM »
So tomorrow it will be two weeks without P, 115 days without MO. Over and above this, I have to stay sane. My recent heavy introspection and exploration of spiritual practices has been dangerous with regards to this. Thinking too much about the mysteries of life, the infinite possibilities, which practice is best, what I am doing wrong, etc. has been taking me down a path away from practical reality into the unknown and insanity. I am staying sane, I have only had very minor flashes of schizophrenia, very, very minor, but it has been building up and I need to stay grounded. I really do enjoy introspection, I enjoy expressing my ego, but it is dangerous. I need to fill my day with practical things, but all the things I want to do are in some ways worse than introspection. Getting heavy into meditation and t'ai ji for example, or mathematics. On the other hand, I know that if I were able to do some mundane or mindless job, I would find myself going insane as well, it has happened in the past. I had thought about trying to get a job in a supermarket at the start of 2020, which assuming I am still sane, would be after the longest stretch of sanity I have had in nearly twenty years. My reasoning was it would ground me, but my last stint volunteering in a charity shop when I again thought that I had recovered, didn't last very long, and I had a psychotic relapse after a month or so. I have a condition, and pretty much doing anything can exacerbate it. I don't think any of these things or activities actually cause me to relapse, people do all of them whilst staying sane quite happily. I have a bio-chemical problem with my brain that means I can't interact for a prolonged period of time with any one thing without it taking me to other worlds. Recently I have been doing introspection, I am doing it now. That perhaps is the constant throughout my life. However I don't always write it down. Writing has been filling up my day, but now I am worried I am on the path to loosing my foothold on the ground again. Not very worried, but I have noticed some of the signs, very early this time, and I think this is partly because of some of the subjects I have been addressing. I just don't know, I have a condition, everything is a trigger. I am succeeding here, but all my other aims have stalled, and this has been nagging me at the back of my mind. The tension this has created is also partly to blame for me moving down a less grounded path. I am staying sane, which is good, I am abstaining from P and MO which is also good. Perhaps I am just scared to take the next step and this is why I have been pushing to fail at the first aim. So far I am managing to keep both my priorities intact. I had been pushing to reduce my smoking in the morning, trying to abstain for the whole morning each day, but now I have just fallen back to not smoking first thing or in the middle of the night, which is still an accomplishment. Both require little effort on my part, just remaining relaxed. There are several things that I want to introduce to my daily routine. I need to focus on one of them at a time, but I get impatient. Keeping an even keel is the important thing, but my condition really interferes with this whenever I try to make changes. I have reduced my life to counting days and introspection. I think I will aim for the smoking as a priority. Preparing for work is not so important. If and when I have to work, I will be able to, provided I have recovered from my condition. At the very least I will be able to work in a supermarket, though recently I have heard that even these types of jobs can be difficult to get. I really think that smoking should be my next priority, I am not so worried about the health effects, although I have had a terrible cough for some time now, but quitting smoking will make my financial burden more manageable which will be especially important if and when I start to work. There are three months left of the year, I should be able to make significant progress towards quitting smoking in that time. I know this is the wrong attitude, it is an attitude born out of my experience with PMO addiction and counting days. The truth is with any addiction one just has to make the choice to stop and stop. But arriving at that decision can involve a long journey of convincing oneself, don't I know it. Thank you.

Georgos

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Re: NoFap Consciousness
« Reply #610 on: October 05, 2019, 05:16:09 AM »
So my sanity is my top priority. I'm doing so well, but I still know it's been somewhat tenuous. The key thing at the moment is not to let paranoia build when it first emerges. So far I've been able to just allow paranoid thoughts to pass through without dwelling on them. They've mostly been quite mild, but that is how it always starts. Not focusing on day to day practicalities is part of the problem, but even when I am engaged with doing such things, my mind can wander. It is the focus that counts and spreading that focus over the whole day, rather than just focusing intensely for smaller periods of time. I'm thinking back to when I was working, how I had relapses despite doing work. It's not necessarily practical things that I need to focus on but being grounded. It is so strange, I don't have a good working model of how my reality or perception of reality can change or stay the same. Ultimately, cause and effect is an illusion, life just is. Trying to work out what I have to do to stay sane and recover is assuming cause and effect on a level that is not understood. It has been quite helpful to think of my sanity as a choice, and then simply say "I choose to stay sane". I am staying sane, but I've been questioning my reality, perceiving differences and changes, and trying to understand them, rather than ignoring them. I am on 17 days without P, 118 days without MO. But I have been totally failing for the last few weeks to control my smoking. I think it is this failure more than anything that has been driving my worries over my sanity. If I can choose to stay sane, why can't I just choose to control my smoking? Why and how do I make choices? As I said, ultimately cause and effect are illusions, life just is. The level of control we have over our lives, over what we do, what happens to us, etc. is a constant worry for me, and begs the question "who am I?". Again, ultimately there is no answer. I have been on a long journey of trying to find deeper and deeper models, the most general model that can allow me to function. But a theory of everything is impossible, one can even prove that mathematically. I need to just accept life. Accept things the way they are. On the other hand I want to give up smoking, which I am still struggling to do. How to stop struggling and simply do is the question, but asking that question is struggling in itself. I need to accept my choices. I keep vacillating over my choices, making one choice, then making the opposite. This is what gives the illusion of structured control. There is no structure, only choice. I can choose to abstain from smoking, just as I am choosing to abstain from P and MO. I can even choose to do it without any pain of withdrawal. But I have kept making the opposite choice. I have kept asking myself, how am I making these choices, why do I make these choices? I have kept struggling with my choices. I am staying sane, I am abstaining from P and MO, I want to abstain from smoking as well. Thank you.

Georgos

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Re: NoFap Consciousness
« Reply #611 on: October 06, 2019, 06:24:50 AM »
So I'm staying sane, I'm not searching for P and I'm not MOing. Every morning I wake up knowing this I feel like a success. But the reality is there is so much more I need to do to get my life in order. I've said that my next priority is stopping smoking. At the moment I'm barely managing not to smoke first thing in the morning every day or make it through the night without a cigarette. I don't have any shame about smoking. I don't really worry about the health effects, except when I feel them explicitly, and even then I feel that it is the fault of my body rather than my smoking effecting my body. I am in complete denial about the health effects in fact. Tobacco, or at least nicotine, is a performance enhancing drug. I have been using it constantly throughout the day every day, for the past twenty years or more. I don't really care if I don't stop. The only real motivation I have is the challenge of being able to do without, a sort of competition with myself. Easing the financial burden of smoking is an incentive, but I am so far away from stopping completely. At the moment, I am just challenging myself to go a few hours without smoking, which I know I can do already. I have only once gone a complete day without smoking in the past twenty years. I am not competing with myself all day, only in the morning, and it has been so easy to give in and avoid the competition by just reverting to addiction as normal. I am just moaning about it here, really. I realised with P and MO that moaning is really self-indulgent and doesn't do anything to help address the addiction. Indeed in some ways it reinforces it. I'm going to post this anyway, just the act of turning my attention towards stopping smoking is a start, but I need to make the choice to stop and find the determination to see it through. For that I need to stop moaning and start committing to the process. Thank you.

Georgos

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Re: NoFap Consciousness
« Reply #612 on: October 07, 2019, 02:25:32 AM »
So writing first thing in the morning helps set me up for the day of no P or MO, but it's not so good for helping me with my smoking addiction. I was going to call it a habit, that's how much in denial I am. I'm trying to control my smoking in the morning only, so the best thing to do is write just before I go to bed with the intention of seeing through the next morning smoke free. I don't know if I'll journal much about it here. This place is primarily for PMO of which I no longer partake in. I'm still going to keep writing here until I've made it to a year clean, though. It's four months since I last MOd, almost three weeks since I last searched for P. I dreamt about doing it last night, often a trigger in the past, but I'm confident I've made the definite choice to abstain now and won't have any problems. My sanity is still tenuous, and I've been noticing paranoia a bit more recently. I don't know why that is, possibly because of Brexit looming. In the past I've tended to relapse around times of political uncertainty, like elections, wars, leadership contests, etc. I've never been able to work out whether that has come from me being sensitive to something in the air, or whether it's all been my own making by dwelling on these things. At any rate, political instability has always been a trigger, and one of the biggest things I've done to maintain my sanity now is to keep well away from politics. Perhaps engaging with the Church has also been a bit of a trigger. I went to see an Orthodox priest the other day to talk to him about confession. He said he was willing to hear my confessions but I he wanted to ensure that I was sincere in wanting to join the Church permanently and not just dip in and out as I chose. Indeed this is one of the main aims of confession, as a sacrament of the Church. So it seems that my idea of adapting the practice, as mindfulness has been adapted from Buddhism, is not really in line with the priests intentions. I've come to appreciate a bit more about Orthodox Christianity and the whole notion of the Church. Jesus founded a Church not a religion, it is said. It is a community of people with faith in Jesus at its core. To partake, one has to become part of the community and abide by its codes. Coming to it with one's own ideas is not really respectful. So at this stage, I'm really not sure I want to be anything to do with it, although obviously to some extent it is a part of my heritage. I can confess here, I can repent here, that is an adaptation from one community to another. Whether I can receive God's grace and forgiveness here, the miracle of releasing me from my past, I don't know. But then I'm still not even sure I appreciate the word "God". I'm still in contact with the priest, he said I could come again and confess. I might do so, we'll see. At the moment, I'm more worried about staying sane. Abstaining from P and MO is taking place naturally and without any withdrawals or discomfort, so I feel like I'm succeeding with little effort. I want to move on to smoking, but I have seemed to be regressing to tackling sanity again. I don't know if this is an unconscious effort to avoid confronting my smoking by my addicted self as well. Anyway, it's one step at a time, day by day, I will get better. Thank you.

Georgos

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Re: NoFap Consciousness
« Reply #613 on: October 09, 2019, 04:28:21 AM »
So I'm thinking about how I journal here. I really don't think it's good to journal bad stuff or set backs in a self-indulgent way. I'm not saying never mention these things, but there is an element of wallowing in the set backs and thus investing in them. So although I've had some set backs in my sanity and smoking this week, I'm not going to dwell on the negative aspects of them, and try and stay positive.

I am succeeding with my reboot. Twenty days no P, a hundred and twenty two days no MO, so far. I actually thought I was on twenty one days no P, but checked my counter and realised I'd miscounted a day.

Despite mild set backs in my sanity I am staying sane. I'm not sure what more I can do. As I said in my last post, the only thing I can think of that could be triggering my recent experiences of mildly altered perception and paranoia, could be the looming Brexit deadline that the government has been talking about. I'm not even really thinking about it, but I think that unconscious fears about it have still been in my mind.

I will start to tackle my smoking again. Everyday I think about it, but everyday I have been making no effort to actually stop. This has to and will change again.

These are my three priorities, sanity, reboot and abstaining from smoking. It's been a good year so far, I'm confident that it can only get better.

Thank you.

Georgos

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Re: NoFap Consciousness
« Reply #614 on: October 10, 2019, 05:40:17 AM »
So three weeks no P, over four months no MO. It's my sanity I'm most worried about at the moment. I've been dreaming about my more psychotic paranoias, people with superpowers who hate me and wish to oppress me or wipe me out, I'm not even sure who they are, sometimes I think they are aliens, sometimes I think they are mutants, other times just people who have developed these superpowers owing to different life histories. It's not really very coherent, but there are patterns. A lot of the time, I'm trying to convince them that I am the same as them, that I also have superpowers, rather than fighting them, because I know I can't win. This is but one of my psychotic paranoias, and at least I am not experiencing it in real life at the moment, at least not very much. At any rate, it has been disturbing me enough to worry about the onset of psychosis again.

In the past, I have tended to see my dreams as an extension of my reality rather than a separate and contained set of experiences. Thus I have worried about blurring between my dreams and my waking life. I think one of the best things I can do is to start to really believe that dreams are totally disconnected from waking life, the idea that a "dream is just a dream".

I have found that the more I am disturbed by my dreams, the more likely I am to smoke in the middle of the night, so believing that dreams have no influence on my waking reality would also help with me not feeling the need to "soothe" myself with nicotine.

I am nowhere near fullblown psychosis at the moment, but I have been having reminders, both in my dreams and in waking life, of some of my symptoms.

The upshot of this is that it has taken my mind off P, with my focus much more on the paranoias. In the past, I have always relapsed with PMO after a psychotic relapse. This is what happened after my last nine month stint without PMO, so staying sane is the top priority.

My reboot is going well, I don't really need to think about it, but I also need to be able to free myself from the recurrance of paranoid psychotic perception in my life as well.

What I really should be doing is practical things. I've been putting them off until I sort my smoking out, but I don't know if this is really the best way forward.

I chain smoke, every twenty minutes or so, throughout the day. Finding things to do instead would probably help me to cut down. Once again the idea of emptying a jug of air by filling it with water rather than trying to create a vacuum. However, I have also found that the effort of introducing activities into my day has meant that I have divested my focus into too many different things to do at once. Some people talk about multi-tasking as an ideal, but other people insist that in order to change something, you have to only focus on one thing to change at a time.

Apart from writing here, I don't really focus on P or MO during the day, which means that abstaining is not a struggle anymore as I am not fighting myself. I am simply abstaining having made my choice, and not even thinking about posing the question again. This is the best situation to be in with regards to overcoming an addiction, and means your less likely to get triggered because your just totally ignoring the old ways.

Getting to this stage has been a very long journey, and I've only really reached it since starting writing here. I should be in the same place with my psychosis, but I think that part of the problem is that once I've recovered from both psychosis and PMO abuse, I have to face al the other things in my life that need addressing.

Both paranoid schizophrenia and PMO abuse are chemical conditions, but I really do believe that attention and intention come first. I don't want to get into metaphysics or philosophy of mind, whether we have a spirit or soul or mind beyond the brain, it doesn't really matter, but what I will say is that I believe that where we place our attention and intention effects the biochemistry more than the other way around. This is a positive belief in our power of agency as human beings, even if ultimately, like all theories of cause and effect, it has no more justification than any other belief.

So I want to take my attention of my psychosis, just like I have taken it off my PMO abuse, and leave my condition in the past. I want to strengthen my intention to abstain from smoking, to be able to take my attention off smoking at least in the morning, as well.

I mentioned in my last post about not writing self-indulgent posts about failures. Perhaps I shouldn't even have mentioned my psychosis and paranoias in this post. In essence I have been doing what I don't want to do, placing my attention on my condition. Writing can be a form of release from one's attachments and preoccupations, but it can also reinforce them. There is a fine line between confession and repentance, and self-indulgent wallowing in sorrow.

I want to keep writing here, because it reminds me that I am succeeding with leaving P and MO in the past. If I don't write about my paranoid schizophrenia or even smoking failures, then I'm not sure what I will be able to write about. Perhaps I should just start journaling good things that happen in the day and a gratitude for all the good things in my life. That might be possible, there is a lot I take for granted, but on the other hand I do next to nothing each day at the moment, so I'm not sure where to begin.

Making this into a gratitude journal might be the best thing I could do, but my other concern is not sharing too much personal information. I'm not sure I can write a gratitude journal without divulging more personal stuff than I do already.

Anyway, progress continues. Thank you.

Georgos

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Re: NoFap Consciousness
« Reply #615 on: October 11, 2019, 05:44:21 AM »
So I'm thankful for my friends and family and I'm thankful that I have the means to survive. I'm still P and MO free and I am thankful for that too.

I want to explore gratitude a bit more, though maybe not here, but I'll try to begin each post with a statement of gratitude for these things, even if it gets a bit repetitive.

I have been thinking about addressing so called "interracial porn" again and how it intersects with racism, deconstructing the attraction, but I'm not sure that is the best thing for me at the moment. It might refocus me on P and lead to a relapse. It also might disturb my sanity as an obsession with racism, both how it affects me and others, was one of the recurring themes in my psychosis.

I am most ashamed about having been drawn towards so called "interracial porn" because I have personal experience of being fetishized for my ethnic background. I have experienced and know what racism is. I think my motivation for deconstructing it is more to excuse myself by saying that "hey, I understand the racism in this", rather than actually repenting.

At the moment, I feel like digging up all this stuff again would take me backwards. I have no urges to search for P and I don't need to return to addressing P intellectually at this point. However I would like to help others to address their P addiction better if I can, and I know that deconstructing the attraction is a useful first step.

Perhaps people have to do this for themselves.

I am deeply ashamed and sorry that I have searched for and looked at so called "interracial porn",

I am sorry for "racially" fetishizing, both "black" and "white",

I know I was trying to understand more about myself in the process, and this confused right and wrong in my mind, but on balance I know that it was more wrong than right, and I am sorry for this.

I am really worried posting this will reignite my obsession with my "racial" identity and this might lead me back to P.

I'd much rather forget all about it.

The confusion lies in appreciating other's differences without objectifying them.

All porn is objectification, there is no excuse for looking at P.

Once again, I am sorry that I derived pleasure from objectifying people in porn.

Thank you.

Georgos

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Re: NoFap Consciousness
« Reply #616 on: October 12, 2019, 06:24:16 AM »
So I am thankful for my family and friends and thankful that I have the means to survive. I am thankful for all the help I receive and thankful for people's kindness and forgiveness of my faults. I am still P and MO free and I am also thankful for that.

There are just over two and a half months left till the end of the year. If I can stay sane that will be an achievement. If I can stay P and MO free that will be an achievement. I am also doing a course in a form of alternative medicine and if I can complete that (the first term finishes in December), that will also be an achievement.

Is that enough? There are so many other things I need to address, to start doing. The above three things will constitute an achievement for me, but I am doing them already, and I am wondering if I can do more.

I am thinking about procrastination and battling oneself. Fighting with oneself is the sureist way to fail. You can't beat yourself, it is impossible. You can compete with your past, but competing with yourself in the present is a recipe for not achieving anything.

I have often tried to motivate myself by writing, but in reality I am just competing with myself in words. I enjoy it, it passes the time, and it is entertaining, but it achieves nothing.

I know what I would like to do, but I'm not sure writing about it will help. Once I start doing it, documenting it so I can compete with the past, can be helpful. You can do better than you did in the past. You can compete with your past. But writing to motivate yourself is a poor subsitute for actually doing the things, and can even be counter productive.

In the past I have written that I will do certain things. I have so far failed to live up to those commitments. This makes my words hollow, my statements of intent lose value. There is only so many times you can say I will do something and not do it before the words become meaningless.

I am sorry for saying I will do something and then not doing it.

I am sorry for failling to honour my intent.

I am achieving somethings and that is good. Can I do more?

Thank you.

Georgos

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Re: NoFap Consciousness
« Reply #617 on: October 13, 2019, 05:45:46 AM »
So another day without P or MO and I am thankful for that. I am thankful for all the things that contribute to sustaining and developing me. I am thankful for my sanity. I am thankful for my family and friends.

I'm not smoking first thing in the morning. I do this quite regularly, it really is easy, yet my record of consecutive days not smoking first thing in the morning is only eighteen, at least since I started counting. I want to beat that. I want to go till the end of the year without smoking first thing, every day. In fact, I never want to smoke first thing again.

In the past, after I have managed about a week of not smoking for a specific amount of time from the time I get up, I have tried to increase that amount of time. This has always resulted in me crashing back to zero abstinance when I failed. My aim has been to build up to not smoking the whole day, every day, within a year. I have tried this numerous times, and always failed. It has taken me thirty years or so to quit P and MO, I don't want it to take the same amount of time to quit smoking. I am still competing with myself. I know the reality of quitting an addiction is to just make the choice to drop it for good and stick to it.

Failure can make one lower one's expectations, or it can inspire one to do better. At the moment, I have lowered my expectations, I simply want to get through to the end of the year without smoking first thing every morning, I want to do better than eighteen consecutive days.

I have had for a long time a great failure in consolidating successes. As soon as I succeed a little bit, I want to do more, and then when I fail, I crash, losing the initial successes in the process.

I don't know why this is, or how to go about making sure that I consolidate successes, whether it is something to do with never being satisfied with myself or something else.

I am succeeding at leaving P and MO abuse in the past, I am succeeding, for the most part, in staying sane. Not smoking first thing in the morning for the rest of my life is a very small thing to succeed at next and I will do it.

Thank you.

Georgos

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Re: NoFap Consciousness
« Reply #618 on: October 14, 2019, 04:42:20 AM »
So I am thankful for every day I am P and MO free. I am thankful for all the things in my life that make my life meaningful. I am thankful for my friends and family and I am thankful for my sustenance.

I am on 25 days no P, 126 days no MO. I'm not smoking first thing in the morning, trying to beat my record of 18 consecutive days of that. I am staying sane.

I am succeeding.

Thank you.


Georgos

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Re: NoFap Consciousness
« Reply #619 on: October 14, 2019, 05:28:12 PM »
So I want to update briefly because I am in danger of taking a step back.

I had a set back that could be a potential trigger, namely, the lady I had been hoping to start a relationship with friendzoned me.

I never had any expectations other than to see what happened, but whilst there was still a potential for a relationship I was feeling positive and that I was making progress.

This has caused me to judge my progress. It is ok to judge things that have already happened, things in the past. It is not at all helpful to judge the future or the present in relation to the future. This is where I have fallen down so many times before.

Thinking about my progress relative to the aim of forming a long term relationship with a lady is not helpful. Thinking about how the past has impacted my ability to form such a relationship can be therapeutic and a helpful guide to doing things better, but it is not at all helpful to think about progress relative to failure or as yet unmet progress.

I know when I'm in danger of relapsing because I start thinking where I'll be when I get to a certain number of days relative to where I am now. The future is a mystery. This is why its best to take it one day at a time. Things may or may not get better when I reach a certain number of days, the only thing I can say for sure is that I will have reached that number of days.

I was P free for the whole of the beginning of the year until the end of March. In fact I was P free for six and a half months. I am only on day 25 going on 26. Before I was friendzoned I wasn't even thinking about whether I was making progress, I believed I was and that belief was carrying me through.

I need to keep that belief, to not tie my success to this failure. I have to think about having two separate aims, to leave P and MO in the past and to start a relationship with a lady. The two aims have been tied together for so long that I judge them both by each other. I need to stop this. I am succeeding at leaving P and MO in the past. Whether or not I succeed in forming a relationship with a lady is irrelevant to this.

There is no cause and effect, or at least cause and effect is subjective and to some extent arbitrary. This is evident by the posters on here who have had relationships or who are now in a relationship or married even. They have had a PMO addiction but that hasn't stopped them forming relationships. I cannot blame my PMO addiction solely for the reason I haven't been able to form a long term relationship in my life. The two are separate things.

I have not had a healthy relationship with P. I have not found it helpful to my life. I have wanted to avoid it for years. I am finally succeeding. That is all. Other people might be different.

Addressing the problem of forming a long term relationship with a lady is something else I want to do, not necessarily here. My success or failure with that should not impact my success with leaving P and MO in the past.

Success breeds success, failure breeds failure. I have said that I have had a problem with consolidating success in the past. I am succeeding. The very fact that I was in the position of potentially having a relationship, even if I was eventually friendzoned, is progress. The very fact that I am staying sane longer than ever before since I developed my condition is progress. I cannot allow failures to wipe out my successes and take me back to square one.

Thank you.

Georgos

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Re: NoFap Consciousness
« Reply #620 on: October 15, 2019, 07:01:27 AM »
So I am thankful for staying away from P and MO, thankful for my friends and family and thankful for all the support I get in life.

I am not smoking first thing in the morning. Today is day three of that. I want to beat my record of eighteen consecutive days.

I am thinking about this business of competition, in particular competing with oneself. Competing with one's past can be a useful way of progressing, perhaps the only way. Competing with one's future is setting oneself up to fail. One chooses the future, the moment one says that the future could be one way or the other, one is allowing oneself the possibility of failure.

I am thinking about this because I am thinking about my idea of just doing text searches for P, just searching for the text links and not clicking on them. Learning to be mindful in the midst of the temptation.

The reason I thought of doing this is because doing a text search was what led me to relapse last time after nine months without PMO. I am scared that I can't even search text and links without relapsing. My intention at the time hadn't been to look at P or PMO. I had been trying to write something about P and wanted to remember the name of someone involved in the so called industry. But the results and links that came up when I searched triggered me, and that made me think I needed to learn to be mindful and unreactive to reading such things.

I have already learnt to be mindul whilst looking at P. I can quite happily look at P without even thinking of MOing let alone doing it, and I have done this many times now.

I wanted to get to the same stage with text searches. Ideally nothing should trigger me.

On the other hand, though I have learned to be mindful with P, I then found it very hard to stop looking at P even without MOing. I'm still not sure what the attraction or hold of it was over me. I wasn't rewarding myself with orgasm, so I don't know why I kept going back. Perhaps it was just the tail end of the addiction.

Now I am thinking, why would I want to compete with myself over text searches. To compete to see how long I can go searching for text links without it leading to actually looking at P. That is just setting myself up for failure. I either choose to be mindful in such situations or don't.

Practice reassures us that we can repeat behaviour. As I said, the last time i relapsed after nine months was because I was unable to be mindful in the face of text triggers. Practicing being mindful in such situations would reassure me that it won't happen again. But the real thing is to make a firm choice.

I have also been thinking about something else I could do which is to just write the trigger words in my private offline diary every now and then. I really have an aversion to trigger words. I don't like writing them. They trigger something in me, anxiety and shame and urges to relapse.

Once again this might be just me trying to compete with myself again.

Letting time heal, means leaving things in the past, forgetting them. Making the firm choice to do this still seems to me to be the best option. I'm not sure.

I am still P and MO free. I am still not smoking first thing in the morning. I am still succeeding.

Thank you.

Georgos

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Re: NoFap Consciousness
« Reply #621 on: October 16, 2019, 04:11:29 AM »
So I'm thankful for my sanity, I'm thankful that I'm still P and MO free, I'm thankful for my friends and family and I'm thankful for all the support I get in life.

My paranoias have still been appearing in my dreams which makes not smoking first thing in the morning tough as I use cigarettes to relieve anxiety.

I have had a dysfunctional relationship with my dreams, seeing them as either omens or blurring with my waking life, so that what happens in my dreams continues into my waking world. Basically, I think it matters what I dream, I assign importance to them. I don't know how to get out of this cycle. My mother always says "a dream is just a dream". If they weren't so disturbing I wouldn't mind, but I compare how I react to situations in dreams with how I react in waking life and imagine what would happen if the dream scenario played out for real.

I recently read a review of a study conducted by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology which concluded "New research suggests that people who have the healthiest personalities rank low in neuroticism, high in openness to new experiences, and low in their tendency to fantasize."

Obviously they have defined what a healthy personality is, and this is somewhat subjective, but according to their criteria, I am the opposite of a healthy personality. I am high on neuroticism and have a high tendency to fantasize and even being open to new experiences, whilst I like to think I am, in reality I am very conservative.

What I wanted to talk about was the high tendency to fantasize. Apparently some people do it so dysfunctionally that at least a few psychiatrists want to classify such activity as a pathology which they call "maladaptive daydreaming". Reading about it made me think I was on the spectrum, though not as bad as the patients sited.

On the other hand, daydreaming, fantasizing, is a normal part of life, with everybody spending at least some time doing it every day. But as the research quoted above suggests, people with the healthiest personalities do it the least.

I don't know the connection between fantasizing and vivid dreams. I do know that my tendency to fantasize gets in the way of me actually achieving things. Why do things in real life when you can fantasize about having done them and being more successful at them than one could be in real life as well.

The point about so called "maladaptive daydreaming" is that it is addictive, that it can light up the reward centre of the brain as much as any other addiction. If one is getting abnormally high levels of reward stimulus from fantasizing then this might overshadow the reward stimulus from real life activities.

Whether or not it's a pathology or should be classified as one is highly subjective. Indeed most clinicians admit that the classifications of mental disorders are more based on fashion than science.

I am wondering how my tendency to over fantasize relates to my experiences with PMO addiction. It seems to me that over daydreaming led me down the path of PMO abuse in the first place.

As I said, daydreaming is natural, and so called "maladaptive daydreaming" is not an officially recognised mental disorder. However some clinicians are pushing for it to be recognised.

I have recently been trying to spend less time fantasizing, especially with regards to where I see myself in the future, and I think this has helped. It has meant that I have lowered my expectations of myself a lot, but since these were always fantasies anyway, it has allowed me to set more realistic goals.

Another question is to what extent fantasy and so called healthy personalities relate to genius. If you look at so called geniuses, a lot of them had what could be classified as dysfunctional personalities to some extent. This just goes to show the danger of pathologizing every day behaviour.

As I have said, some people look at porn regularly and suffer no dysfunction compared to those of us here. How we cope with life is personal and subjective and what we see as a dysfunction could even be seen as a strength by others.

I am perhaps guilty of falling into the trap of seeing everything I do as wrong or failing in some way. Even this last statement is an example of this.

I am succeeding at leaving P and MO in the past. My life's ambition has practically been reduced to this. All I am left with is fantasy about how my life could be better.

I need to start taking steps to build a more functional life, one that is grounded in reality. On the other hand, though progress is slow, I am in danger of taking the great progress I have made for granted. I have been suffering from paranoid schizophrenia for the past twenty years or so and P and MO addiction for even longer. I am not out of the woods yet, but I have made great strides this year. I have three priorities for the year ahead. Stay sane, leave P and MO in the past, and quit smoking. If I achieve these things I will be happy.

Thank you.

Georgos

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Re: NoFap Consciousness
« Reply #622 on: October 17, 2019, 05:55:31 AM »
So four weeks no P, almost 130 days no MO and no smoking first thing in the morning.

I'm thankful for my progress and thankful for all the support I am getting.

One of the pieces of feedback I regularly get back from dates I go on is that there was no "romantic chemistry". Often I quite like the lady and felt like we had a nice conversation and would be happy to meet them again. However, I guess more experienced people are looking for some spark that tells them "this is the one".

The lack of "romantic chemistry" makes me feel like I am doing something wrong, but I am wondering if this attitude is part of the problem in itself.

I think over the years of PMO abuse, I have developed an unrealistic view of sexual relations, one devoid of romance. I tend to think of sex very matter of factly, like it is just another activity that one could potentially do with anyone as long as they consented.

I don't really know what romance is. I know one component is intimacy, but I can be quite intimate about myself in conversation, which is one of the reasons I tend to have good conversations. However I'm rarely intimate about how I feel sexually and more than that I still carry a lot of shame about my past PMO abuse and feelings of inadequacy about the situation I am in owing to my condition.

One of the things I have been thinking about is eye contact. This is perhaps one of the most intimate things you can do as it feels like sharing your whole being. I find I cannot maintain eye contact with a lady when the context is forming a sexual relationship owing to all the shame and inadequacy I feel.

I don't know what to do about this, if indeed I need to do anything at all. I'm sure being able to hold eye contact would make a big difference to forming "romantic chemistry", but trying to force myself to hold eye contact kills the emotional expression.

Forgiving myself more, allowing more time without P and MO to heal, and learning to accept and feel comfortable with who I am are probably the best things to do.

I'm not beating myself up about this. I'm not desperate for a sexual relationship. I can quite happily go without sex and am reasonably happy with my own company most of the time. I do have friends and family who I can turn to when I'm lonely as well, for which I am thankful.

The only thing is that I don't want to reach a stage in my life where I regret never having formed a romantic relationship and it does seem like time is running out for me, or at least moving on.

My priorities remain the same, stay sane, leave P and MO in the past, and stop smoking.

Thank you.

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Re: NoFap Consciousness
« Reply #623 on: October 17, 2019, 12:17:50 PM »
People overemphasise the "chemistry" angle when talking about potential relationships. A lot of it is not about some magical force that you have no control over. A lot of it is about the avoidance of certain key warning triggers that cause people to retreat. Here's a few:

Awkward silence moments: Early-stage dating is very sensitive to these. People are often monitoring for confirmation of compatibility by judging how much they have to take about. Any awkward silences where both parties are stuck for words will often trigger a panic response "oh no, this is getting hard, maybe we aren't clicking". It's quite silly really because the pressure on the occasion to "work out" naturally drives this tension to that conclusion. Even when a date has been largely full of discussion, more than a few awkward moments and this can turn the whole thing in a different direction. Also important to note is that one person might think a date went perfectly and that there were no awkward moments, while the other thinks it was the opposite and was full of them. It depends on their level of sensitivity to silent moments and how they interpret them.

Talk of living with one's parents: some people are perfectly fine with unusual living circumstances, but the majority aren't. Some are fine with it themselves, but then when they go reporting on their date with their friends, their friends will turn their thoughts to worries about why it might not work out. I've seen that happen more times than I can remember. Friends are often the worst thing for a prospective relationship because they often get a lot of pleasure about being the wise, objective counsel - which, of course, they aren't due to their own ego involvement. You can't control this though. But just know that any person you date is contending with the assumptions made around living at home with family - either within themselves or in discussions with people they know.

Controversial topics: sometimes it's better to ease into your true feelings on politics, religion, mental health etc. when you have established a rapport that feels very safe. People are hypersensitive to everything when evaluating a new person for relationship suitability. They are looking for reasons they might feel unsafe in a relationship with you. Even though most topics will not represent a real danger to them if introduced later, sometimes raising them too early will have a frightening effect and change the course of a relationship.

I don't say this to imply that you should be fake and disingenuous about who you are, but you need to know that it's a lot to do with how skilled you are about keeping a flow, ease, and keeping a safe, fun vibe going in the early stages of dating. Some people are better at this than others. That's why some people are so much more successful than others at the dating game and why some people have 100's of sexual partners in their history and others have zero and feel like it's completely inscrutable and mysterious, yet biased against them. Some people are more intense than others and they have to make a judgement call about whether to just accept that and become resilient about being rejected, or they have to learn how to play the game and go through that initial groundwork or engendering safety and security into the relationship before revealing more about their nature. Both approaches have some validity.

I think, having had a limited dating history, you probably aren't as attuned to these factors as you could be. You are also a very keen and enquiring mind who is not afraid to confront controversy. This means you might be triggering warning signals in any or all of these areas. It's something to keep in mind as you evaluate the whole "chemistry" angle because most people are reaching conclusions on these areas on an unconscious level and they might only be able to summarise it as "chemistry" or "no-chemistry". It's a strange one - people are happy to bypass a lot of critical thinking and analysis so they can rely on unconscious processing that results in a binary conclusion. It's the culture many of us are born into - the romantic fantasy that love works for unknowable, mysterious reasons. In reality it's about needs being met and most of them are perfectly rational and analysable. We just kid ourselves that we are part of a magical world for a while. After a while of dating though, most people know why it is or isn't working and where the compatibility or incompatibility lies.

Try no to obsess over this though. The main message I'm trying to give you here is that your main objective in early stage dating is to make it a safe place to continue the discussion. Try not to rock the boat or induce concern early on. You need this skill so that you can get to the next phase of working out your actual compatibility. If you've ever heard the term "gift of the gab" with respect to people who can talk effortlessly to people and make connections - this is what that is: the ability to make people feel safe while you explore your compatibility.


Georgos

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Re: NoFap Consciousness
« Reply #624 on: October 18, 2019, 05:04:10 AM »
Thanks as ever Malando :) I really value your input,

Your use of the word "safe" made me cringe a bit as I'm constantly worried about perceptions of my condition, I'm not dangerous, but I understand what you're trying to say.

I think if I do any of the things you say are pitfalls, it is probably talking about controversial subjects. I don't mean to, I'm aware that it is a pitfall, but at the same time certain things seem to come up naturally in conversation given my condition, and I actually think with regards to feeling safe it is best to be open and honest about what you think.

As a result I don't think any of the dates I have been have felt unsafe, just that we are not compatible, given the attributes of my life. In fact the last date I went on, we agreed to meet again, and then I texted afterwards to say that I didn't feel like the lady in question had what it took to relate to my condition in a way that met my needs, so we ended it there. We had talked a bit about my condition, which I know you say is a pitfall, but is really necessary for me. Perhaps I should have sugar coated it more and brushed it off, I am after all trying to leave it in the past. However, I wanted to see whether we were compatible too.

I'm not in a position yet to be a "new me" where my condition is firmly in the past, my life still revolves around it, even though I'm largely symptom free at the moment. This is why I say my priority is to stay sane. I'm not that bothered by rejection, I take it all as a learning experience. The only thing I'm slightly conscious of is that I'm getting older and don't want to be in a situation some years from now where I regret not having not been able to form a long term relationship with somebody, which is why I keep trying.

I think however much I don't want a shallow relationship, the porn addict part of me still views the purpose of dating as to lead to sex. I've only had sex twice in my life, and I still judge all my dates as failure because none of them have led to sex. Obviously the purpose of dating is to form a sexual relationship, but I think I am still confused about what that means, because I am still so uncomfortable with my sexual history.

This is why I was talking about eye contact and the shame I feel when I connect intimately on that level in a romantic way. The lady I actually did have sex with had just as troubled sexual history as me if not more, so I felt able to be intimate on that level. I don't want to start a conversation on a date talking about all my struggles with porn for fear of being judged or the other person not being able to relate in anyway. Besides I'd rather just forget this aspect of my history.

I am actually more comfortable talking about mental health than sex, because my condition is excusable in my mind whilst my sexual history is not. I don't know how to be intimate sexually. My thoughts around sex are all conditioned by objectification, all about my desires and unrealistic reactions rather than shared desires and feelings. On the other hand, in real life I care a lot about other people's feelings and desires, and the joy of sharing them. Objectification really is a denial of the other person's humanity, and I feel such shame for having those thoughts.

I think on a date I can create a safe space for exploring intellectual compatibility, but not one for exploring sexual or romanitc compatibity, indeed if anything it is I who feels unsafe with regards to exploring these latter things. I don't know if time will heal or whether I need to start bravely trying to be open and honest about my sexual feelings in conversation. My ex-girlfriend initiated a lot of sexual conversations on controversial subjects which made me feel safe to engage in expressing myself. As I said, I still worry about being judged and women not being able to relate.

So I think you are right about controversial subjects to some extent, but it depends how you approach them. If you are non-judgmental in your approach then you can really talk about anything, even express strong opinions, so long as you make the other person feel like you won't judge them for disagreeing. I know this to be the case, not just from my personal experience but from other people I know who have been political activists or more recently fervently into religion. They have been able to form relationships fully embracing their "controversial" thoughts and feelings.

I think the key to creating a safe environment in dating is to be non-judgmental and allow the other person to judge you. With me I think the real problem I have is not allowing the other person to judge me sexually by hiding my thoughts and feelings. This is why there never is any "romantic chemistry".

I think my sexual thoughts and feelings stemming from years of PMO abuse are controversial, which is why I avoid them, and also perhaps why I am more willing to engage in other controversial topics which I view as less taboo. As I said, you're right that controversial topics can be a turn off, but so long as you are non-judgmental and allow the other person to judge you, at the very least you can discuss them and leave on good terms.

I think, if I was brave enough, I might find that my thoughts and feelings aren't as controversial as I think they are. A lot of the fear comes from years of fighting myself, trying to suppress my sexuality and judging it wanting. I am perhapd my own worst enemy.

My priority remains to stay sane at the moment, dating is secondary. I hope I'll find somebody eventually, but ensuring my recovery is the most important thing for me.

Thank you.