Husband Material

How Childhood Experiences Shape Sexual Development (with Drew, Doug, Eddie, and Matt)

May 27, 2024 Drew Boa
How Childhood Experiences Shape Sexual Development (with Drew, Doug, Eddie, and Matt)
Husband Material
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Husband Material
How Childhood Experiences Shape Sexual Development (with Drew, Doug, Eddie, and Matt)
May 27, 2024
Drew Boa

What's the point of processing childhood experiences? In this special episode recorded live at the Sexual Integrity Leadership Summit, Drew, Doug, Eddie, and Matt share insights and stories about how processing childhood experiences can help you outgrow porn.

Drew Boa (MA, PSAP) a Certified Unwanted Guide and Inner Child Recovery Specialist. Drew is the founder of Husband Material, where he helps men outgrow porn. Learn more at husbandmaterial.com

Dr. Doug Carpenter is a clinical psychologist and the co-owner of Insight Counseling Services in Rochester, Michigan. He's the author of "Childhood Trauma and the Non-Alpha Male."

Eddie Capparucci is a Christian therapist who specializes in the treatment of sexual and pornography addiction. He's the creator of the Inner Child Recovery Process (ICRP) and the author of "Going Deeper: How The Inner Child Impacts Your Sexual Addiction."

Matt Wenger is the clinical director of Boulder Recovery, a 14-day intensive for men struggling with sex, porn, and relationship issues and their impact on faith. The program uses the TINSA treatment model (Trauma-Induced Sexual Addiction) to heal the traumatic experiences and attachment wounds driving addictive behaviors and problematic thinking around sex and intimacy.

You can also watch the video version here: www.husbandmaterial.com

Take the Husband Material Journey...

Thanks for listening!


Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

What's the point of processing childhood experiences? In this special episode recorded live at the Sexual Integrity Leadership Summit, Drew, Doug, Eddie, and Matt share insights and stories about how processing childhood experiences can help you outgrow porn.

Drew Boa (MA, PSAP) a Certified Unwanted Guide and Inner Child Recovery Specialist. Drew is the founder of Husband Material, where he helps men outgrow porn. Learn more at husbandmaterial.com

Dr. Doug Carpenter is a clinical psychologist and the co-owner of Insight Counseling Services in Rochester, Michigan. He's the author of "Childhood Trauma and the Non-Alpha Male."

Eddie Capparucci is a Christian therapist who specializes in the treatment of sexual and pornography addiction. He's the creator of the Inner Child Recovery Process (ICRP) and the author of "Going Deeper: How The Inner Child Impacts Your Sexual Addiction."

Matt Wenger is the clinical director of Boulder Recovery, a 14-day intensive for men struggling with sex, porn, and relationship issues and their impact on faith. The program uses the TINSA treatment model (Trauma-Induced Sexual Addiction) to heal the traumatic experiences and attachment wounds driving addictive behaviors and problematic thinking around sex and intimacy.

You can also watch the video version here: www.husbandmaterial.com

Take the Husband Material Journey...

Thanks for listening!


Speaker 1:

Welcome to the Husband Material podcast, where we help Christian men outgrow porn. Why? So you can change your brain, heal your heart and save your relationship. My name is Drew Boa and I'm here to show you how let's go. Today we are in an exciting place, at Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs, at the Sexual Integrity Leadership Summit. This event has been amazing A gathering of men and women all around the country, some from out of the country all focused on how do we heal sexual brokenness, whether that's addiction or betrayal porn helping kids, teens, adults. And I'm here with some of my favorite people Doug Carpenter, eddie Caparucci and Matt Winger. So let's introduce ourselves. I'm Drew Boa. I'm the founder of Husband Material, where I help men outgrow porn.

Speaker 2:

Hi, I'm Dr Doug Carpenter and I own Insight Counseling Services in Northern Detroit. I'm the clinical supervisor for Husband Material and I'm the author of a couple of books Secret Shame and Childhood Trauma in the Non-Alpha Male.

Speaker 3:

And I'm Dr Eddie Caparucci and I have a practice in Highlands, north Carolina.

Speaker 4:

I'm known as the inner child guy and the author of the book Going Deeper how the Inner Child Impacts your Sexual Addiction. I'm Matt Winger and I'm the clinical director for Boulder Recovery and Beginning Again Institute.

Speaker 1:

Awesome, and today we are talking about how childhood experiences impact sexual development. Guys, why are we talking about this? What is the point?

Speaker 3:

Well, I think the point is that if we look back and we under, first and foremost, let's talk about porn addiction, sexual addiction, sexual intimacy disorder whatever label you want to give it it's not about sex, it's an intimacy disorder, okay, so that's first and foremost. And that intimacy disorder began not when you got married. Okay, it began a long time ago, you know, when we were growing up.

Speaker 2:

So I think that's the reason, because things from the past are still haunting us today and we're just not aware of it things from the past are still haunting us today and we're just not aware of it, because intimacy is about relationship, and so where in your past, in your background, was there a fracture in a relationship? So we talk about attachment. Where was the attachment harmed, broken, fractured, that led to wounds or trauma.

Speaker 4:

I mean, if we want to talk about what we're doing that is dysfunctional now in the present, it's going to come from some root thing in the past Ten times out of ten. What I get from guys all the time is what's the point of going back to these painful memories? It just hurts. It doesn't help me to go and visit these painful memories. It's in the past, it's already happened, it's over and done. With no use dwelling on it, I'm just going to forge ahead. You know the American way, right, I'm just going to forge ahead and try to control these behaviors, pull myself up by my bootstraps.

Speaker 3:

We're just forging ahead and we're not sitting with the emotional discomfort, the emotional pain that we have in our lives.

Speaker 1:

We've learned how to distract ourselves from it at a very early age and we don't continue. For a lot of us it's hard to identify pain, or it's hard to identify what was broken in my childhood because I just thought it was normal, that was the only life I ever knew. That was the only life I ever knew. And when we grow up and we get older, we begin to look at those experiences with new lenses and say, hmm, I actually felt alone a lot, or I was stressed out because it was chaotic at home. So some of us have just the total absence of intimacy where there was no connection, and for some of us it was inconsistent, we couldn't count on it, but for many of us porn was the most secure attachment in our lives.

Speaker 3:

That's a great point that you made and people need to understand that that when we're talking about whatever abuse happened whether it be trauma, capital T, small t, neglect it may have been hit or miss, there may have been times where, wow, life was pretty good, it seemed like everything was well, but then there'd be, you know, something would happen. And that's why a lot of folks who you know, when they're in therapy, they're like I had a great childhood, I didn't have anything. But once they start to really dig in and start to look at that, maybe put together a timeline, they realize, ooh, you know what? Yeah, I think I've had a few major issues.

Speaker 2:

So many men want to minimize and deny the trauma and the experience that they've had and deny the trauma and the experience that they've had. One thing that I talk about in Secret Shame is it doesn't matter if it happened one time or a hundred times, or if it was a small thing or a big thing. The amount of PTSD that a person can have, it does not matter. There's not a correlation to the length of time or the severity of the trauma for you to end up with lasting symptoms. That's something that we all falsely believe.

Speaker 1:

So if you think to yourself, oh, it wasn't that bad, or I had a decent childhood, my parents loved me, well, what actually matters is not the severity of the experience, but whether or not that experience was processed, because no matter how big or small it is, if it's unprocessed, it is still in my body, it is still with me today, and not just how you processed it, how you interpreted it and how did you allow that interpretation to alter your identity.

Speaker 2:

What kind of messages did you allow that trauma, that event, to say about you?

Speaker 1:

Well, let's go through some of those. What are some of those that you guys often hear?

Speaker 4:

The two biggest ones. For me that, if you kind of condense them down, depending on the story, is I'm bad and I don't matter. Right, in these environments where that are dangerous, it usually condenses down. There's something wrong with me, I'm not good enough, I'm bad. On the binary good or bad, I'm bad.

Speaker 4:

Or if I didn't get the love and connection I needed, but I was physically safe and had my needs provided, but their back was turned to me, I don't matter, my needs don't matter, my emotions don't matter. And then when I'm believing either one of those things, then it's going to have a huge impact on on how I relate to other people, or you know what I even believe about myself as an adult. You know and you know this isn't to blame your parents, it's not to attack your parents, and I think a lot of guys tell me it's like oh, this, I guess it was playing mom and dad for all my problems and that's, that's the way out of this. No, it's what you said, doug, it's embodying and experiencing and understanding my own your own experience.

Speaker 2:

Yes, yeah. And another one is I'm not lovable or I'm unlovable or I'm not worthy of love, or just flat that I'm. I'm unworthy or I don't belong.

Speaker 3:

I don't fit in. You know, I'm different.

Speaker 1:

Big one for me that I'm seeing more and more in guys is I can't do hard things.

Speaker 4:

I fail when it's hard. Yeah, yeah too.

Speaker 1:

So our childhood experiences shape our sense of identity, the beliefs that we internalize.

Speaker 2:

Our childhood experiences also shape our imaginations and our sexual imaginations, and the solutions that we imagine can solve our problems tell you that in my own story, one thing that took the pleasure out of porn was realizing that the type of porn that I was being drawn to and that I wanted to see was really reenacting the childhood sexual abuse that I experienced.

Speaker 2:

And when I fully came to that awareness, the thought of watching porn now makes me sick at my stomach. The thought of turning back to the kind of porn that I used to turn to literally makes me feel at my stomach. The thought of turning back to the kind of porn that I used to turn to literally makes me feel sick because it feels like I'm just re-abusing myself. And so you're so right that our childhood wounds, our childhood traumas, often represent and replicate themselves in our sexual behaviors, our sexual preferences, the things that arouse us, our fantasies. And that's why, in husband material, it's so important for us to stop and analyze those things, look at those things, approach those things with compassion and curiosity and courage. Walk into the fire to check out those sexual fantasies, because they will give you such a rich array of material about yourself. And what's going on Now? What, doug?

Speaker 3:

just said is the answer to the question that most guys come to you with. There's no point of going back there. There is great value in going back there. That is where, again, you get the answer to understand why I think, feel and do the things I do. Other than that, we are still walking in the dark. We are still oblivious to everything.

Speaker 2:

And if I can understand the why, I can apply the why to my behavior and then begin to alter my behavior because I have some deep understanding of myself and the choices that I make.

Speaker 1:

Self-awareness is a foundational part of recovery, and it's just the foundation, because revealing does not equal healing. Some guys think, okay, now that I get it, now that I understand, my issue should be resolved.

Speaker 3:

Why is not the ultimate solution? Why?

Speaker 1:

is not the ultimate solution.

Speaker 3:

Why that's a good start. It is the beginning. Right, it is the beginning, but with why? And Kevin Adams said this too he goes by understanding why. It now allows you to develop the insight for the solutions that you need to be able to continue to move forward, targeted and for me too.

Speaker 4:

if I can understand the why, then I'm taking the toxicity out of sitting with these things, and it's these very vulnerable needs loneliness, hurt, fear, loneliness, not belonging. If all those things have an addictive sexual corollary, then I don't feel safe to sit with any of those things yet. But if I understand the why and I can decouple those things, what I really get excited about is teaching guys to sit with that vulnerability, to get quiet with it. I'm not going to solve it. I'm not going to tool it into the ground or annihilate it. What I'm really going to do is allow my emotions to be emotions and allow them to pass through me like a breeze, and then another emotion is going to come in right after it. If I try to stop an emotion, it's not going to work. If I try to grasp an emotion, it's not going to stay. I'm just open to feeling it.

Speaker 3:

It's desensitizing that pain.

Speaker 4:

Talking about desensitizing, it's not going away yes, okay, it's not going away, you can't take it right, it's not going to kill me, but I can't bury it in the backyard.

Speaker 3:

it's there, it's part of our life and you said it before gabriel mate I. I think he had the greatest definition of trauma that trauma is not the event that happened to you. Trauma is what you make of the event, so it's the way you perceive it and you see it. That is what stayed, because if it was the event it's not. That never goes away, but what you feel about it, that can be worked.

Speaker 2:

Well, I want to add another D word here is that when we understand our story, when we understand the components of it, we can de-villainize ourselves. We can take the I'm bad, that there's something inherently wrong with me. We can de-villainize that to where we can approach ourselves with some compassion and truly begin to understand our story and the impact that it's had on our lives.

Speaker 1:

I love that word because at Husband Material, we believe that fighting a frustrating, exhausting battle is actually keeping us stuck.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, yes.

Speaker 1:

Instead of battling our sexuality, we befriend our sexuality. Yes, Right, we welcome these emotions. We welcome these parts of us understand the why and then bless them and then manage them.

Speaker 2:

Well and to talk about like internal family systems. All parts of us are good, yes, and we have to come to an understanding that these parts are good. They were trying to serve a purpose for us, to help us. They may have done it in a faulty way, but we can still invite them in to our process and see the good in them.

Speaker 4:

Like I was working with this guy the other day and he's like, tell me about you're five years old. Because he was like I don't even remember when I was a good person. I'm like, okay, well, tell me about your five year old. And he said, oh, he was a liar. I immediately, like I felt that crush in my chest, like, oh, where are you going with this? You know, and he's you know what.

Speaker 4:

I had the opportunity to tell the truth. He gave me the whole circumstance and I lied and and you know, I don't even remember it because I was told by my family that I was a liar, because I lied about that the funny thing, and we all made jokes about it like, oh, he's a liar. And I said, brother, it sounds like you're joining in, like you're calling that five-year-old a liar. Now, why would he do that? You know, after a long like meandering, you know, you know investigation, it was he wanted to be accepted, right, and he was willing to say or do whatever it took to be safe and accepted yeah, he said well, let's talk to him.

Speaker 4:

Talk about him that way that he was hungry for acceptance maybe? Yeah, he lied. He didn't tell the truth. He's's not a liar. Don't join in you know, identify him.

Speaker 3:

I love what you did in that example. Okay, because you talked before about how guys you know they start thinking about back then pain and they can't. They have no compassion for it. Like you know, it's not a big deal. It's not that you're looking at it through the eyes of an adult. You have to go back and look at it through the eyes of that kid when he was going through it. And then sometimes there'll be, oh, I can't get there, I go. You know what, put a five-year-old in front of you and have him tell you the story of what happened. How are you going to react to that?

Speaker 1:

Sometimes it's helpful for guys to picture their own children or children that they know at those ages, and then it kind of melts your heart it does. Ultimately, men don't get hooked on porn. Boys get hooked on porn. Heal the boy to free the man. What do you hear in those words?

Speaker 4:

boy, to free the man. What do you hear in those words? I see every client that's ever come through our program and the best thing that my first supervisor said is when you see somebody walk through the door. You see a man walk through that door. He's this tall Okay, that's just a boy walking in here right. And to conceptualize our clients with grace and compassion, to go back to that little boy and meet him there, because I am not going to be able to comfort and train and shape the man who's stuck in his addiction right From a conceptual point of view that he's stuck right, you know he's not moving, but I can go back to that more tender place and I can meet with that part and he's ready to grow. He's ready to move. He's been arrested in his development right and he's longing to grow up.

Speaker 1:

And ultimately, what he needs is not a therapist or somebody else. In the end, he needs his adult self. We need to learn how to become our own primary caregivers instead of delegating that to some kind of sexual self-stimulation.

Speaker 4:

A lot of guys ask me this. It's like well, I really feel like in order to get better, I need to confront my dad or confront my mom, but they're dead. So, so like hope is lost, right, I'm never going to get better because I can never get the catharsis of confronting my mom or dad. Like what do you say?

Speaker 3:

Well, I say first and foremost no, that's not true. We can do a confrontation if we need to, but I'm not sure I want to call it a confrontation. I want to be able to. You know, again, it depends on the circumstances. I mean, if they're really angry and whatever, fine, we'll have a confrontation, all right for it. But there are many ways that we can do this. Okay, because, again, the real pain doesn't still sit in mom and dad, where you're doing it. The pain is here and this is what we have to get out right and this we can get out, we can release this.

Speaker 3:

I don't need your mom and dad there to do it. I don't know. What do you think?

Speaker 4:

well, you know so what I say is you know verbatim that most of the time, and and also, let's say, your parent were alive and you did do that thing there is a lot less catharsis in it than you think there will be, because that person is still. They're older now, okay, but they're still not emotionally prepared to meet you in that wounded place, because they weren't ever in that place.

Speaker 3:

How many clients have? We sit and we go through the process. Sometimes we write letters this and that, and then it's like, oh, I want to go talk to them, like okay, well, what's the benefit? What are you trying to accomplish here? We need to walk them through that and if they still get there and say, no, I want to, okay, let's look at the scenarios that could happen and how many go and they're still disappointed.

Speaker 2:

Well, I have a whole chapter To your point. I have a whole chapter in Secret Shame about confronting your abuser, and you have to do that for you. It's not about them at all, because it's very possible that you are not going to get the response that you are desiring or looking for from that other person.

Speaker 3:

This is about doing it for you, but we just have to set them up. We have to get their expectations right.

Speaker 2:

This is about you expelling the internal struggle that you are holding and that's one reason why I mean those in husband material know that I'm kind of the guru of psychodrama that's because you embody that, like we act that out, you can actually have that confrontation and you can have a stand in person. Do that for you, that confrontation, and you can have a stand-in person. Do that for you and it can be just as cathartic in changing the neural pathways in your brain because you've been able to talk about that and it's been an experience that you've been able to have. That's been embodied. It doesn't have to be with the actual person.

Speaker 1:

Our memories of our relationships with our primary caregivers are stored in our bodies. When you engage in the psychodrama process, you create new body memories.

Speaker 2:

And I think it's even more healing because usually, typically in a psychodrama, you are surrounded with people that you've grown some degree of trust, you've got some brotherhood there, there's connection, there's community and that in and of itself, while you're going through that hard work is even more healing, the process of reparenting ourselves, often happens through our friendships and our brothers.

Speaker 1:

So, even if mom and dad are not here anymore, there are spiritual fathers and mothers, mothers, and there are spiritual brothers and sisters who can play an important role.

Speaker 3:

You know, we give them a chance then, to give us the positive narrative versus the negative narrative.

Speaker 4:

Yes, positive emotional outcome, or you know from. You know I could, if I could tell a short personal story, right, I had the opportunity to go back to my dad and say, hey, my mom had cancer. And where were you? You didn't check on me, you didn't check on my brother or sister, you didn't ask how we were doing. We all thought she was going to die and I felt abandoned, I was lost. You know, where were you Right. There was a lot more anger in it than that Right in it. I was lost. But you know where were you right now? There's a lot more anger in it than that right. And you know my dad said oh, I'm so sorry. I, you know, I was so overwhelmed, I couldn't be there for you, I was so worried about losing my wife I go. And he said all the right things and even cried and teared up a little bit and I left that conversation like, is that it?

Speaker 4:

I still it's still here. Right, because that he couldn't go back in time and rescue that middle schooler. Right, because he couldn't change the past, even in his um empathy in that moment. Right, I had to go do that work.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, because he was still there for me and sometimes the father who we really need is God. So it's a process of being refathered in community and reparenting myself and receiving the one who created us for intimacy with him.

Speaker 2:

Yeah him into our stories and let him be with us in those moments, in that trauma, in that pain, in that hurt. That he's there, that we were not abandoned.

Speaker 1:

And a lot of guys will say, yes, I know God loves me, I know he's my father, but they don't feel it. Some of these more experiential processes of doing trauma work can allow you to feel it.

Speaker 2:

It's got to be a felt sense.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 3:

And a lot of issues. There also is again what we project upon God, about what we feel about ourselves. Therefore, we go back to that stuff. What's that?

Speaker 4:

Or our parents.

Speaker 3:

Yes, exactly the father wound, the mother wound too, but the father wound which keeps that attachment separated.

Speaker 4:

I think in the American church, what I come across in working with Christian men over and over again is this disconnected, alienated God that God's over there and I'm over here.

Speaker 4:

God's far off, and I say this to folks all the time If I want to communicate with him, I'm going to pray, but my prayer is essentially an email that I'm going to send across the ether and then the Bible is his email back to me and we don't really have a relationship. We're just pen pals, right, and helping guys. A lot of times it's, you know, it's old Christian techniques, right, it's old Christian traditions, like you know, lectio Divina and you know, gospel, meditation and learning, these old kind of Ignatian traditions that are embodied, that are present, that I can put myself at breakfast with Jesus and that I can eat fish with him, like Peter, and encounter my shame and have him invite me to serve him, not to bench me in my failure and shame, but to commission me to go and experience the gospel of love with him and be sent out. And some of those tools can help us move visualization, you know. You mentioned that, like moving from the God over there to the God right here and to Jesus with me.

Speaker 1:

When we do that, we reclaim our imaginations. Our sexual imaginations have been hijacked by porn, and so it's so moving and powerful to have my imagination be a place of healing. You guys, what has been the result of processing your childhood experiences?

Speaker 3:

For me. My result was the fact that it helped me to wind up removing addiction from my life. I got to go back and look at a lot of the various pain, especially the idea of abandonment, which really wasn't. It wasn't abandonment. It wasn't that people intended to. It was things they couldn't control. But yet to that five-year-old he doesn't care. All he knows is abandonment. That's it. So, being able to do that and then understand what my behaviors were as a result of that, and then realizing, you know what? I don't have to engage in this stuff anymore, I know why I'm doing this and I can be free from it, and it also deepened my relationship with Christ.

Speaker 2:

For me, it was about finding the truth of who I am, because as a child, the amount of neglect that I experienced from a father, the amount of sexual neglect that I experienced from a father, the amount of sexual abuse that I experienced I had so many lies that I had told myself about me that going back and working through that helped me find the truth of who I am, who did God design me to be and who am I really as his child. But I had to dispel so many untruths about that before I could even begin to build a sense of self-esteem.

Speaker 4:

I think for me it was. It could be boiled down to Matt can be loved. When, when I believed as a young person that I couldn't be loved, or maybe I was loved but I couldn't experience it there's something wrong with me, right? There's something broken up there that I couldn't experience other people's love. It's kind of robotic about emotions, and when I realized that that young, that young man, was worthy of love and people missed him and I could stop being the person that I thought other people wanted me to be in order to be loved, and guess what, when you love that guy, he gets all the love, but Matt doesn't get any of it, right? So I got to call that guy off duty, you know, and give him something else to do.

Speaker 4:

And then, all of a sudden, I was free to be loved and experience the overwhelming love of God in the face of hurt and anger and loneliness. And I'll tell you somebody asked me this the other day Is it true that I can be healed of my spiritual wounding and know the love of God? I was like brother. The answer is yes, oh, yes, and it's so. I love being able to say that and I wish that for every man that I work with, to know that love.

Speaker 1:

For me personally, processing my childhood experiences has opened huge opportunities to be loved, and also for me to love the parts of me that became attached to porn, and specifically my sexual fetish for braces. My sexual fantasies made so much more sense and had so much less power over me. It's not like they've been removed or replaced, but the volume has been turned down. The intensity is no longer overwhelming, it's less magical and more manageable and, oh my word, that has given me more lasting freedom than anything else.

Speaker 2:

Well, another thing that I wanted to point out was when we go back and we process that material and we heal from it. It helped me be the kind of father that I wanted to be to my children. The greatest thing that my son ever said to me is the day that I sat down and completely was honest with him about my story, from start to finish my abuse, my sexual addiction issues. He looked at me and he said, Dad, you are who you are in spite of your dad. I am who I am because of my dad. I could have died in that moment and been satisfied in my life died in that moment and been satisfied in my life but healing, going back and working on those childhood traumas allowed me to be a dad who was present. My dad was not present for me, but healing that allowed me to be present to my child, that he can look at me and say I am who I am because you were in my life.

Speaker 3:

And it all takes us back to that question you started with what's the purpose of looking back? There's a lot.

Speaker 4:

There's so much joy on the other side of that, to be able to live in your own skin and to be human, the fullest human you can be, which is to be in relationship with the Lord and to be known and loved by God, and that's what the gospel is. Right To set the captives free, to open the eyes of the blind, right To proclaim the year of the Lord's favor. And when we do this together, we're participating in the gospel, and that is what gets me really excited.

Speaker 1:

Y'all. This was awesome. Thank you so much for being a part of this. Thank you to Focus on the Family and to the Sexual Integrity Leadership Summit for making this event possible and this episode possible. And, ultimately, we hope that you will join us on the journey of processing our childhood experiences so that we can outgrow porn and other immature behaviors and be the mature adults that we were created to become. Always remember you are God's beloved son. In you he is well-pleased.

Childhood Trauma and Sexual Development
Healing Past Trauma Through Connection
Healing From Past Trauma

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