There is a connection between emotional pain and compulsive behavior. Sex is often used as a means to regulate painful emotions. This is especially true for teens who were not given sufficient levels of emotional nurturing and caring.
Take Sam as an example. Sam was raised in an angry and hostile home. His needs for security and love were not met by his parents. He could not go to his parents for comfort. As a result, Sam felt great fear, anxiety, rage, shame, and loneliness. He learned to stuff and deny his feelings. However, there was pornography. In his words, “I thought pornography could save me.”
Porn took him out of an unbearable situation, allowing him to escape and providing a fantasy world where he was wanted. Masturbation gave him a way to soothe himself and to calm the anxiety of living in a turbulent home. Sam turned to porn for the nurturing he needed and couldn’t get at home with his parents. Over time, he became dependent upon sex to regulate his damaged emotions.
While Sam’s situation might be somewhat extreme, every person has likely experienced some emotional pain. A recent WebMD article by Jeanie Lerche Davis states that 20 percent of teens deal with emotional disorders. She notes two studies published recently in top psychology journals.
The studies are a wake-up call for parents, school counselors, teachers, and psychologists, says Alan Delamater, PhD, Director of Clinical Psychology in pediatrics at the University of Miami School of Medicine.“Don’t ever underestimate the emotional difficulties kids may be having,” he told WebMD. “Many people minimize these things, think they’re a phase, and think the kids are weak. These problems are real.”
What have been your emotionally painful experiences? What are some traumatic events you’ve experienced? Some of the experiences might include:
- The shock and deep hurt of parents divorcing.
- The trauma of witnessing violence.
- The deep wounds of being bullied by peers.
- Suffering the inner pain of verbal or emotional abuse.
- The horrible violation of sexual abuse.
- The loss of a parent due to untimely death.
- The abandonment and rejection of not knowing your biological parent.
We cannot possibly mention all the ways teens have experienced emotional pain. If you have been trapped in destructive behavior, let this truth take root within you—YOU can be free! Christ’s redeeming love can give you freedom from the inside out. By His death on Calvary He has made it possible for you to be free physically, spiritually, and emotionally. He has redeemed us and broken the chains of the enemy’s lies and hold on us that make us crazy!
Only Jesus Christ has the power to set captives free. While we can turn to various prescriptions, tactics, steps, and processes, they provide only short-term relief at best. There is great hope for us when we recognize Jesus Christ as the source of inner healing and the means of grace.
The apostle Paul, in Second Corinthians, wrote: “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:17-18).
These two verses are filled with promise for the emotionally wounded. They assure us that wherever the Spirit of the Lord dwells, there is freedom. Paul says very clearly this is a process, and under the Spirit’s anointing, the healing power of the Lord transforms us and sets us free.
This writing was excerpted from Pure Teens: Honoring God, Relationships, and Sex by Dr. John Thorington