Sex Addicts live in a rigid, limited world. It’s an absolute black and white existence without any nuances of gray. Their world is either right or wrong, good or bad, all or nothing, always or never. Life is either 100% one way or the other; 50-50 just does not compute. They do not reason, compromise or work things out. Everything is placed in it’s left or right, black or white category never to be pondered again.
This ‘black and white’ thinking is a form of Cognitive Rigidity, a Borderline Personality Disorder that is common to all types of addicts and survivors of abuse. It is a primitive pattern seen in early childhood, which ties in with the emotional immaturity of Sex Addicts.
This type of thinking makes it difficult to communicate with a Sex Addict. If they are confronted about a behavior or action, then we don’t love them and want to leave them. Or their shame kicks in and they are the most god awful person that ever walked the earth. Even the tiniest criticism elicits a catastrophic reaction. If they do happen to change their mind it is a 180 degree flip, they just don’t seem to be able to integrate varied information into the whole and reach a middle of the road compromise. This black and white thinking is just one of the many ways in which Sex Addicts engage in distorted thinking and unfortunately this thought pattern eliminates choices they think they have.
This mindset can also cause serious problems during recovery. If the addict has a ‘slip’ or briefly reverts to acting out they feel that they are a complete failure–thus allowing them to continue the negative behavior because, after all, they are a bad person. It’s one of those irrational ways of thinking that only an addict can understand. Counseling can help the addict recognize when they are engaging in these extremes and learn a more realistic method of thinking.
It’s a long and difficult journey learning to live with a Sex Addict. Not only do we have to deal with their sexual issues, we also have to find ways to understand and deal with their personality quirks without going bonkers.
Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live. ~ Dorothy Thompson