We’re in the middle of a small series on the concept of reboot capital. Just like a business needs capital to grow, your reboot needs capital to be positive and productive. There are five areas of your life where you need to build up reboot capital:
Today I want to continue last week’s post on emotional reboot capital. Getting in touch with your emotions and learning to identify them is one of the greatest challenges of your early reboot.
There is one emotion, in particular, that tends to stand out as men start feeling their feelings again: anger.
Anger is one of the most common emotions in men dealing with out-of-control sexual behavior. Oftentimes therapists will teach men to “let out their anger” as long as they again learn to “manage it.”
Sure, this may be true, but encouraging that early in your reboot is like handing a hand grenade to a child. You have no experience controlling strong emotions. Leaning into an emotion as intense as anger can lead to an explosive and even dangerous outcome.
Anger is a normal experience. You’re not a bad person because you’re walking around feeling angry most of the time. Many men who had no experience with anger issues before find that they feel incredible rage when they first start the reboot process. You’re not to blame for the anger that swells up during the early days of your reboot.
You are, however, responsible for learning to control it. If you want to be successful in your porn addiction recovery you must not let your anger control you. It’s one of the most powerful relapse triggers, right after fear, shame, and doubt. Controlling your anger begins with understanding the causes of it and how it works.
Most men use porn and masturbation to suppress anger issues early in life. They pushed this emotion down deep instead of allowing it to run its course. Like all suppressed emotions, the anger comes out tenfold when it’s finally given some space.
Anger is like any other emotion, such as joy. It’s neither good nor bad. What makes anger bad is the poor ways that people tend to handle it. When you use it as an excuse to fly off the handle and end up in a rage, anger is bad. When you add on the internal challenges of guilt, depression, burnout, loneliness, and paranoia, it only adds fuel to the fire.
Some of the main causes of anger include:
- Irrational beliefs
- Unrealistic expectations
- Uncommunicated needs
Every time you have an expectation that goes unmet or a false belief that you seek proof for, it triggers the anger deep within you. As you progress through your reboot you’ll naturally work through each of these areas. You’ll learn to face your fear. You’ll learn to challenge your irrational beliefs. You’ll learn to drop your unrealistic expectations. You’ll learn to speak up about your needs.
In the meantime, though, incorporating some things can help you avoid and work through anger. You spent years anesthetizing your emotions with porn, sex, and masturbation. Now that you no longer have these “tools”, what can you do instead?
I recommend starting with exercise. Regular exercise is an effective way to free yourself of pent-up frustration through the natural release of endorphins. When you feel that anger rise inside, go for a long walk, lift weights at the gym, shoot some hoops at the basketball court. Find a form of exercise that works for you and implement it – it will make more of a difference than you can imagine.
Next, keep a journal of the things that trigger you. What are the events, situations, people, and circumstances that cause the anger? What are some other feelings that come up during these moments? Writing is a crucial tool to use when learning to work through anger and other emotions, not only at the start of your reboot but throughout it.
Mindfulness meditation is another helpful practice to incorporate when you’re starting to work through your anger. The practice of mindfulness involves being present in the moment and paying attention to what’s going on around you. It also involves not sinking into or dwelling in your feelings. Instead, you observe them and then let them pass by.
Anger is a normal part of life, brother, and learning to live with it will make your porn addiction counseling much more successful. These three practices, exercise, journaling, and mindfulness, are each an antidote to your anger. The more often you incorporate each one, the easier it will be to work through anger when it arises.
However, if you choose not to involve practices to address your anger it will contribute much distress and unhappiness in your life. You leave yourself more at risk of relapse, you’ll treat others poorly, and you’ll continue to struggle. If you want to find freedom from your out-of-control behavior, finding freedom from anger is a vital part of the process.