Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Mighty are Falling

     Tinseltown is experiencing a takedown like we've never seen before and the "victor" is sex. Ever since Harvey Weinstein, a huge Hollywood mogul,  was exposed by a New York Times article last summer, one by one, others have fallen from their celebrity pedestals. Oscar winning actor Kevin Spacey, respected journalist Charlie Rose, beloved news anchor Matt Lauer... There are more and there will be more. I'm thankful the victims have had the courage to come forward and are not being silenced by the pressure of powerful titans in the industry.
     The questions that is always on the minds and lips of those closest to these people are "Why?... How?" There are many ways to address this, but in my work with men and couples who have been affected by sexual acting out and infidelity, the answer to those questions is found deep down inside. Why would a married family man betray his wife, break his wedding vows, live a secret life, and risk losing it all by behaving this way? He's medicating pain. Something has to be driving him to act contrary  to his morals and belief systems. Digging even deeper to find the answer, I would wager that the majority of men who engage in risky and harmful sexual behavior have a need to feel like a man. Honestly, what makes a guy feel more manly than being seen as a virile, sexual stud who is wanted and desired? These men struggle with their self image, with insecurities, they don't feel affirmed as a man, so they turn to fantasy where they can be anyone they want with anyone they want. They use women to feel powerful, but it's really medicating pain. And the clues that contribute to this behavior can be found in the past, in childhood.
     I would say 85% of the men I work with have father wounds. He was overly strict, he was abusive, he was absent emotionally or physically, he didn't talk to them about sex, he didn't teach them how to treat a woman and he didn't usher them into manhood. Any one of those realities or any combination can contribute to stunting a young man's emotional and sexual maturity. So, when these broken little boys entered adolescence and discovered sexual things, it became a coping mechanism rather than being an act of intimacy, thus the beginnings of their intimacy disorder. In his book Fathered By God, John Eldredge writes the world is full of broken little boys walking around in grown men's bodies.
     Sex is powerful. It was designed to be, but when awakened prematurely and used improperly, it's power is devastating. And when it's used to feel manly, it is a band aid for a much more serious wound that needs intense healing. It's not simple to overcome, but it is possible. I'm living proof, and I work with others who can say the same. It takes professional counseling to guide someone through their past and find the clues, it takes recovery which is a beautiful word, it takes accountability, effective accountability with safe people who can hold a confidence and speak the hard truth in love, it takes breaking through denial, it takes owning the behavior and making amends to those they've hurt, it takes admitting weaknesses and surrender. But on the other side of all that, there is redemption, restoration, healing, and through it all, there is hope.
     I hate that there are victims and casualties because of a man's brokenness. My heart breaks for them knowing what they will have to endure because of someone else's bad choices and behavior. And my heart breaks for the broken little boys walking around in grown men's bodies. I'm here to help them take ownership of their behavior and make amends to those they have hurt, and I'm also here to hold out hope.