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Psychological Healing
in the Catholic Mystic Tradition

Questions and Answers

I am a single, male, 36 years of age and I live in [deleted for confidentiality]. Both my parents are Roman Catholic and I was raised Roman Catholic.

In terms of my family background, I have three siblings and my parents divorced when I was in grade school. My father won custody of all four children and has not since remarried. My mother was eventually diagnosed with schizophrenia and is currently living in a group home and receiving, by all accounts, a relatively high standard of care and medical attention.
 
I was exposed to pornography as a child. I saw a pornographic magazine that my mother left in front of us in plain view on a table. I can recall fixating on several of the photos. One of the pictures involved group sex. I can also recall instances as a grade school student where I searched out pornographic magazines with my friends (with little ‘success’).
 
My grade school teachers commented that I was a daydreamer, that I lacked attention/focus and that I rushed through my class work (i.e., often making careless mistakes).
 
I was a frequent masturbator. I started masturbating somewhere between the ages of 5 and 9. I usually masturbated between 1 to 3 times a day and I still masturbate on occasion. I have sexual thoughts almost every time I masturbated as a means of reaching ejaculation (‘getting-off’). Most of sexual thoughts/fantasies were about my grade school and high-school teachers (while I was attending school), ‘porn starlets’ and pornographic film scenes, co-workers and managers, actresses, aunts, cousins, as well as women that I encountered on a day-to-day basis. In many cases I created my own sexual thoughts/fantasies.
 
I would estimate that I have attended various ‘strip clubs,’ on less than several dozen occasions from age 16 to 34. To the best of my recollection, I watched less than 40 hours of pornographic tapes (i.e., VHS rentals) and less than 90 hours of internet based pornography. I probably read the equivalent of a couple of pornographic reader’s digests. The majority of this viewing/reading took place from 1994 to the early part of 2007. If I were to sum up a central theme to my viewing choices, it would be ‘taboo’ subject matter (e.g., incest) and mature/older women.
 
Between 1996 and 2001, I engaged in a series of regrettable sexual acts. Specifically, I procured and attempted to procure sex on several occasions. I actually had sexual intercourse during 3 such instances (the only times I have ever had sexual intercourse with a women). In all cases I reached each of these individuals (“call girls”) via newspaper advertisement/yellow pages.
 
In 2000, I was instructed by my employer to see a company paid Psychiatrist and, later, a company paid Psychotherapist. Although I was deemed fit to return to work, I was eventually let go by my employer. Later in 2000, on my own initiative, I began to see a Psychologist on a weekly basis (an hour a week) for about a year and a half. I spoke to him about various areas of my life including the above noted pattern of behavior.
 
On repeated occasions, I have smelled (for an extended period of time) my own feces, flatulence, body odor and urine. I have defecated in the bathroom sink and while I showered repeatedly. For some time I used to insert my fingers into my anus in an effort to remove my feces as I was sitting on the bathroom toilet. For the past several years I have found myself going to the bathroom more that usual (2- perhaps 3 times a day) and I have a tendency of looking into the toilet stall (after I have relieved myself) with some satisfaction.
 
I continue to have a habit of pulling at my hair and trying to rub out my hair follicle. I pick my nose during business hours. Many nights I find myself unable to fall asleep and continue to do. Lately, a group of people I know tell me that I seem nervous when I am around them and this scares me.
 
I am asking you if I pose a danger to society and if so what I steps I should be taking to put an end to that danger. I am also asking for some guidance as to any steps that I should be taking to deal with the above noted pattern of behavior.

Outline of the Answer
• Desire
• The Destruction of Love
• Pornographic “Gifts”
• A Danger to Society?

 
To lead you into an understanding of your own question, let me begin with a short explanation of a seemingly unrelated topic.

Through the ages, we have been fascinated with flight. We watch birds fly and, in our own quiet awe, we desire to soar in the sky also. In the past, many men have tried to fly like birds. But, because they understood nothing about aerodynamics, they tried simply to imitate birds. They made frameworks of sticks and string, attached feathers to them, and strapped them onto their arms, hoping to be able to fly. And their hopes, still strapped to their ignorance of the real physics involved, crashed to the ground.

Now, your life, too, has been structured around a desire. Your deep desire, however, is not the desire to fly; your desire is the desire to love.

 
The Destruction of Love

Given your childhood history, though, you learned nothing about love. Your mother was too caught up in her own inner psychological confusion to be capable of nurturing you with the love of a real mother. And your father most likely had his own flaws that you fail to mention, thus leading to your childhood lack of concentration and your current lack of direction in life. Thus, even though you may have been “raised Catholic,” you learned nothing about parental nurturance and guidance, the Catholic faith, and true love.

So there you were, yearning for what was missing.

And then you were exposed to pornography.

 
Pornographic “Gifts”

Like men watching birds fly, you saw in those photographs something that aroused your awe. Like men building wings of sticks and feathers, you began to create your own framework for feeling acceptance and “love.” And, like men ignorant of aerodynamics, you, being ignorant of God and soul, tried to find love through your body.

In all of your lack of understanding, though, you did know one truth about love: love is a matter of giving. Children know this intuitively when they offer their feces and urine as gifts—the only things they have—to their mother in exchange for her love. This becomes especially apparent during the stage of toilet training.

Ultimately, children grow past this primitive stage of a preoccupation with bodily gifts and learn that true love involves giving something we don’t possess; that is, true love involves giving intangible things (such as patience, forbearance, compassion, mercy, and forgiveness) that derive from divine love. In true love we give what we don’t really have; we give away what God gives us. Moreover, through an awareness of true love, we learn to respect our bodies as chaste temples of the Holy Spirit and therefore cease being preoccupied with mere bodily products.

But pornography took you along a different path. Instead of learning to respect your body as a chaste temple of the Holy Spirit, you made your body into a sex toy. You became preoccupied with feces, urine, and semen as the only “gifts” you could imagine. You sought out especially the love of the “mother” you didn’t have, and which, despite your desiring it, terrified you.

And there you are today, lacking any meaningful sense of direction, stuck in a body ignorant of its own soul and indifferent to the Holy Spirit.

So are you a danger to society?

 
A Danger to Society?

Well, just as you are a danger to your own soul, to others your lack of love is a danger to their souls. In other words, you are a danger to society in so far as the devil is a danger to society.

Still, there’s a difference between you and the devil. The devil rejects love deliberately and willfully. His place in hell is his own choosing for ever.

At this moment, though, you merely lack the understanding of love. And, at this moment, you have the rest of your life to acknowledge your fear of your childhood pain, to see the effects of that pain in every moment of the present, and to recognize your true desire for true love. Then, instead of defiling love with your body, you can, with a chaste body and pure heart, learn to give love to others as God gives His love to you.

 


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Where Catholic therapy (Catholic psychotherapy) is explained according to Catholic psychology in the tradition of the Catholic mystics.