Several months ago a new client walked into my office. He was in his 30’s and unemployed, an associate had worked with him several sessions regarding career goals and the issue of Pornography came up. He was referred to me because it was naturally affecting his marriage and other relationships. During the 3rd individual session I challenged him to write a letter to himself as a child attempting to change his perception. You see, he was only 10 when his curiosity took hold of him and he popped in a VHS tape he had heard his older brother talking about. Well, that is all it took for his brain to fire up dopamine and his reward system was in full swing. The next session was a turning point for this young man who had battled the Pornography beast for over 20 years. With his permission I am able to share his letter, unedited with you. I hope it brings healing and release of childhood shame as it did for this man. Who by the way is now employed and his marriage is “doing amazing.”
You don’t know me but I know you. I know you love to be silly and you love to play with GI Joes and Star Wars. You take the blanket and pillows and make hills to hide before the battle of the bedroom. You love your toys but for some reason you love your brother’s toys more. You love your brother very much and you love his attention either positive or negative. In fact you are starting to recognize how much you enjoy making people laugh but be careful w/ this because your mom and dad are concerned with kids laughing with you and laughing at you. You haven’t noticed yet but you are skinny, very skinny, and nobody has made fun of you yet but they will. I have awesome news for you. When you are on the school bus and just as the older kids will pick on you I want you to be quiet and watch them, study them because you’re sharpening other skills that you will need as you grow older. But you will get your greatest gift from this point on and that is your sense of humor. Speaking of the school bus which you stay close to your brother, you will listen to a conversation about a movie and it will stir up curiosity in you. You are going to church now, begrudgingly but you are hearing words like the devil, hell, God, Noah and the ark, and of course sin. You are about to enter into a world where innocence is crushed and your purity violently raped from you. You will experience the high of heroin in which you get goofy over 3 pieces of Halloween candy. I can only imagine this is what Adam must have experienced the moments his teeth ripped into the apple’s flesh and tasted the juice of lust for the first time. I know you don’t understand any of this. In fact you are stuck on the line of this letter that mentioned GI Joes but I know you are a smart kid and you enjoy school and you know about farming where the farmer plants seeds in the ground to produce a crop over time. When you watch this video you are planting a seed that over time will produce a crop of lust, shame, pain, really high highs and very low lows, and when you get older and society around you changes, you see the harvest of this “crop” as it destroys marriages and causes people to do terrible things to one another. You were never designed to see this type of movie so do me, us, a favor and honor your brother’s privacy and go play outside. It’s a beautiful day, and guess what in 2 more hours your Daddy’s van will come down the hill and he can’t wait to hug you and play football with you. Enjoy every minute of it, but that’s for another letter.
Sincerely, Future ****
He obviously could not travel back in time and make different choices, but as an adult he is now able to understand that at 10 he was just a child entering into a dangerously addictive world. Many adults are not equipped to handle Pornography let alone a child. He forgave himself, not the child, but the adult man who shamed the child and robbed him of his self-worth. Children make mistakes, but often it is the adult self that does the punishing and reaps the consequences.
Author: Elizabeth Havens, MFT clinical intern- firstname.lastname@example.org
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