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Deconstructing the Lie: “What’s Wrong With Me?”

By June 12, 2024June 17th, 2024No Comments
whats wrong with me

Janet* sobbed.

Overwhelmed by fear, pain, remorse, and inadequacy, she choked on her next words, “What’s wrong with me?”

For the next several moments, Janet sat with her coach, processing the reality of that question. Her hands shook while her body slumped in the chair. She’d said it.

I remember choking out that question as well. Just saying it out loud forced the intense emotional impact to the forefront of all the woundedness.

When I hear this question from a client, tears well up because I understand this pain.

A woman who learns about her husband’s struggle with porn somehow internalizes his struggle as her personal failure.

Thus this question. After all, if she were all the things he needed, he wouldn’t look at porn. At least, that’s her internal reasoning.

I believe it is a horrible lie from the pit of hell.

The lie says:

  • You screwed up
  • You didn’t do enough
  • You aren’t pretty enough
  • You didn’t give him what he wanted
  • You didn’t keep his interest

The lie places his choice on the wrong person—you.

In your emotionally wounded state, you become easy prey for this insidious lie.

Because of the personal recovery work I’ve done and continue to do, I understand that the question “What’s wrong with me?” puts the focus on a person instead of the problem.

The problem is he’s looking at porn and that hurts you and your marriage.

As a coach, I help the woman asking this question uncover what she’s really struggling with. It could be a number of issues, but each one points her to the solution—understanding her eternal significance.

More than telling a woman she matters, my heart’s desire is to help her understand how God sees her so she can deal with the truth.

What truths help you answer the question, “What’s wrong with me?”

1. You are eternally significant.

In the first book of the Bible, God says he created male and female in his image. To understand your significance, it’s imperative to grasp the meaning of these words. God created you with intelligence, emotions, divine authority, and the need for relationships.

You were meant to imitate God—imago dei. Human beings differ from the rest of the animal kingdom through our ability to think rationally and freely. You aren’t “pre-programmed” to behave a certain way in every situation.

No one can take your significance away from you. You matter because God created you, period. Your value and worth don’t come from your behavior; they come simply from your existence. If you were the only person still alive on this earth, you would be significant.

Until you understand this concept, you struggle to discard the question.

2. His choices, not yours.

Asking the above question assumes that you influenced his decision to engage with porn. Let’s look at that assumption.

Did you search for porn and make him watch it?
Did you encourage him to continue this self-destructive choice?

Unless you did this, then the choice to watch porn or be involved with it in some way was his. He’s responsible.

Too often when someone experiences traumatic betrayal, that person tries to place blame where it doesn’t belong. You love him. Therefore, you assume you could have done something to prevent him from making an unhealthy choice. The truth? You couldn’t.

Think about this. If you have children, how often do they engage in actions that cause harm? While visiting a young family, we watched their two-year-old run straight toward a wall socket with his finger extended. Dad swooped the child into his arms before that little finger felt the sting of active electricity.

Every person alive makes harmful choices. When that happens, the responsibility for the choice, action, and outcome lies with the person, not someone else.

3. Your physical appearance isn’t the issue.

Women whose husbands use porn often view their bodies negatively. According to FightTheNewDrug.org, many women struggle with body image issues as a result. And porn images often are retouched to eliminate any imperfections. No one can live up to that.

I encourage you to take care of your physical body. After all, you only get one for life. Depending on your season of life, you could be overweight after giving birth, sickly looking after a long illness, or vibrantly healthy and physically fit. Maintaining a healthy body is necessary for your total health. Do this for you. God created your body perfectly and uniquely. You are beautiful. Take some time to read the Song of Solomon.

The reality of porn use tells us that how the addict’s partner looks doesn’t influence porn use frequency. You could have a thin, curvaceous body with beautiful eyes and silky hair, and he’d still look at porn. That’s because the porn use isn’t about you.

4. Healthy sex satisfies both the man and the woman.

The best marriage relationship seeks the other’s best. Ephesians 5 talks about how husbands and wives are to think about and care for each other. Caring for your spouse as you would yourself enhances your sexual relationship.

Healthy sex allows open communication, exploration, experimentation, and lingering. I think of it as a culmination of the relationship. The best sex starts outside of the bedroom in the activities of daily life where you build emotional intimacy and deepen your connection.

When one partner uses the other to fulfill their sexual desires, they’ve objectified the other person. That’s not loving or healthy. It’s a sign of a problem. If you find that’s true in your relationship, please get some help from a biblical sexual therapist. You won’t regret it.

5. Become your best you.

Have you and your husband drifted apart? Every relationship experiences changes. This is normal. However, porn usage can cause unnatural distance in your relationship that might not be your fault.

During the years I was a stay-at-home mom, I looked forward to the time my husband came home from work. When he arrived, I wanted his homecoming to be so great he couldn’t wait to see me too. I never achieved this perfectly, but it was always my goal.

Dave also worked hard to come home well. We talked about ways we could do this better throughout the years, especially after our marriage crisis.

Understand your personal needs and figure out how to be emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically healthy. Do you depend on your husband to meet all your needs? Just like you can’t do that for him, he’s incapable of the same. Though this idea is common in RomComs, it’s a false expectation.

A strong healthy relationship involves two healthy people. What attitudes, habits, choices, and actions need to change?

Dear one, you didn’t do anything to cause your husband to engage with porn. While you may have some attitude and actions that need to change, he made the unhealthy choice, no matter what anyone tells you.

What’s wrong with you?

Nothing. You may have areas to improve on like the rest of us, but God created you just as he designed. Your eternal significance doesn’t change because your husband views porn.

If you need help unpacking this question, please reach out. I promise to hold your heart gently and help you find your way through the fog. No judgment, just honest encouragement. Let’s talk.

 

*Name changed

  • Kirsten D Samuel

    I empower Christian wives to discover they are seen, loved, and heard. These women find the freedom to be who they are beyond their partner’s struggles, and find hope that there is a life worth living.

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