Your eyes are unfathomable to me, hostile, even, as if you have removed yourself to a place where I cannot reach you—somewhere I cannot know.
Kids can’t help but notice emotional distancing in their caregivers. They wonder why mommy and daddy seem so far away all the time, why they’re not as fun and available as they used to be, and why they don’t hug all the time like they used to. And sadly, children who experience this are likely to internalize the blame for this divide. Despite their young age, they know that something is wrong, and they mistakenly think it is somehow their fault. After all, to young kids, parents are perfect, so if something goes wrong, they assume that it must be their fault. As the days pass, they start to feel less important, less special, and less wanted, which does a pretty serious number on their self-esteem. So, rationalizing that “even if I was horrible to my spouse, I never let it affect the kids” is smoke and mirrors. As sex and porn addicts, we don’t like to think about this, but it’s true. When we actively engage in our addiction, we hurt our kids as much as we hurt our partners.
Task for Today
Think about how the emotional distancing inherent in your addiction has harmed your children.