Archive for ‘Pornography’

June 13, 2018

Are you desperate?

by Rod Smith

If you are desperate, perhaps wondering if life is worth living or even contemplating ending yours, there are a few things I would like you to know:

  • You are more loved and treasured than you probably realize.
  • Your voice is your most powerful weapon. Let someone know about your experience.
  • You have abilities and talents you are yet to discover.
  • Your life is a novel worth writing.
  • If you are still breathing you have the capacity to love.
  • Even if you have encountered rejection and faced failure for most of your life you still have the capacity to forgive and to love. Both capacities come with the human package.
  • There are people who will listen if you let them know you want to talk.
  • You have probably already faced more demanding challenges so you do have the resources to face this one.

You are correct if you respond with, “He doesn’t know me” or “he’s thousands of miles away.” Being far removed does not mean that I do not care. And, I am not the only one who cares. Please, let these simple thoughts seep into your being and perhaps become stepping-stones for you to find hope.

December 6, 2017

The two E-s

by Rod Smith

Enabling is rampant in many families.

It can involve:

  • Covering for someone so outsiders do not notice or find out about his or her undesirable behavior (drinking, gambling, addictive habits).
  • Relaying lies to a workplace – calling in to say he or she is ill when he or she is unable to work because of the addiction.
  • Permitting, turning a blind-eye, cooperating, letting things go unnoticed to keep the peace or because it feel easier.

Enabling behaviors are often subtle way of disguising who it is in a family who is in need of help. The enabler often appears to be the strong or the healthy one. Control is the name of the game – and family life can feel like one.

Empowering is common in healthy families.

It can involve:

  • Getting out of each other’s way so people can learn from errors and get credit for their successes.
  • Allowing natural consequences to follow choices so people can learn just how powerful really are.
  • Trusting and believing in each other even when things do not go to plan or appear to be falling apart.

Empowered people require the company of other empowered people and all require a strong sense of self. Freedom to discover and to learn are the hallmark of the empowered.

June 6, 2017

Shame is a silent, debilitating companion….

by Rod Smith

Shame has pernicious intent for our lives. It lurks; it’s imbedded in our language as in, “You should be ashamed of yourself,” says the parent or teacher, and it casts its debilitating shadow and cuffs itself to the shamed hearer.

Here are some means it uses to set up house and does its work of life-long restraining:

Abandonment: “See, if you were good enough (prettier, cleverer, slimmer, taller, shorter) he or she would have stayed. It’s your own fault you are alone.”

Trauma: “You deserved it. If you’d been more alert (agile, aware, fatter, thinner, taller, shorter) then you’d not have been selected as a victim. What happened doesn’t happen to all children or adults so it’s your fault.”

Guilt: “What you have done is not only bad you are bad for having done it or even for thinking about doing it (no matter what “it” is). You are forever defiled and you will carry this around forever. People can see it on you.”

Shame-based living is tough and wearisome.

Shame is lessened, even expelled, through the exposure that authentic vulnerability brings.

Shame drives people into further acts of shameful behaviors.

Vulnerability in a community loosens its grip and ushers in well-deserved freedom.



July 13, 2012

Love AND Control

by Rod Smith

Love and control cannot co-exist in the same relationship anymore than light and dark can exist together in the same space at the same time.

July 1, 2010

I want to get rid of my son’s phone and the Internet – he uses them for porn…..

by Rod Smith

“My son (15) uses pornography on his cell-phone and on his computer. I think my husband and I should get rid of both. My husband disagrees. We are Christians and I will not allow this sort of thing in our house.”

Technology is not the problem. Monitoring your son’s use of technology is a wise thing to do but getting rid of his access to the Internet is unlikely to solve whatever issue your family has with pornography.

No blame or shame...

I’d suggest the three of you sit down and discuss the reasons you and your husband do not condone the use of pornography. Discuss the reasons men and women of all faiths are as prone to its use as those who proclaim no faith. Discuss with your son how the images off a page in a book or an image off a website is exactly that: an image. It is not a person with thoughts, feelings, and rights!

Such a discussion will require preparation and unity between you and your husband – it will require acts of purposeful, planned parenting. Dumping the boy’s phone and severing the Internet is easy – but such radical quick fixes will fix nothing and do nothing to enrich your relationship with your son.

July 1, 2010

Mothers write about their sons and pornography…..

by Rod Smith

I have heard from several mothers of sons (13 to 15) who are toying with Internet pornography. Each mother says her “good boy” who is doing bad things. All but one mother is hesitant to tell the boy’s father because of the father’s health condition or because of how the father will respond. The mothers express love and distress for the children and feel powerless about their sons’ activities. Each letter reads as if the very sky is falling!

it feels like the end....

To the mothers:

This is a tough situation but it is not the end of the world. Your son will emerge from this and be a successful man if he (not you) learns to handle his personal issues with some wisdom and restraint.

While you shoulder this alone you are being secretive (like your son) and are adding fuel his secretive front. Getting father involved allows the family to face a family issue (yes, pornography is a family issue).

Using pornography is not a “normal” phase for all boys. It is an addictive, abusive aberration – but your son will not refrain from its use if pushed, punished, or shamed. He is most likely to resist pornography if he understands why it’s damaging and learns about healthy sexuality from a caring, disinterested, adult whom is respects.

June 16, 2009

Take up your life….? (Becoming more personally responsible for your own life)

by Rod Smith

You frequently write: “steel yourself” and “hold onto yourself” and “take up your life.” What do you mean?

Take up your life

Take up your life

Your problems cannot be “solved” or “fixed” by reading this or any column. In fact, they will not be “fixed” even if you read this column, watch Dr. Phil daily and visit a therapist on a weekly basis. These would be, at best, helpful catalysts. At worst, you’d be wasting a lot of time and using yet another means to avoid facing your issues.

The “answer” to your life’s issues (if there is one – you might have to go with an approximation), no matter how large they may appear to you, or how trivial they may appear to others, always rests first with you. Healing begins when you gather up your metal, brace yourself for change, and decide to “take a hold of yourself” and address head-on the problems and complexities you face. “Steeling yourself” is gathering your strength (even if it is minimal) to do what you must do to begin your own process of recovery, healing, or untangling from unhelpful entanglements.*

Even if you have been a victim, grew up in severely adverse circumstances, and both your parents were alcoholics while you were destitute and hungry, your healing and maturity pivots, not on more sympathy, more empathy, or more understanding. it is not “out there” in some book you are yet to read, or on some website you are yet to discover, some guru you are yet to run into, or on some lover you are looking to meet. It is ALWAYS dependent on your acknowledgment of your role in how your life has unfolded (your response to whatever has happened, is currently happening, and will happen to you) and will continue to unfold. It is dependent on you shedding yourself of ALL “victim thinking” and of ALL blame. It is ALWAYS dependent on you taking personal responsibility for your decisions as much as you are able at THIS time (now, today!). This is what I mean by “take up your life.”

I am very aware of this being an unpopular message in an age and a time when “quick-fixes” are offered at every click of the mouse, pointing of the remote, and book shelves abound with every Tom, Dick, and Sally’s offer to deliver you into a perfectly fulfilling life. Sorry, it just doesn’t work like that. Until you become your own “Knight in shining armor” you might always remain a “damsel in distress,” albeit an insightful one!

* For me, a helpful metaphor is to imagine a diver on the edge of a high diving board. He or she STEELS him or herself before taking the leap.

May 30, 2008

How men respond to pregnancy….reader responds to reader….. and I am grateful…

by Rod Smith


There are a whole range of responses that men have to women being pregnant and giving birth. Difficult though it is for me to understand, I’m aware that a significant number of men find pregnant women to be unusually attractive, even to the point of becoming fantasy objects. Likewise, some men see mothers as more attractive than non-mothers, possibly because of personality traits that seem to come to the forefront in a woman after she has a child.

At the other end of the spectrum are men like your husband, who feel that pregnancy and motherhood somehow diminish a woman’s femininity and sexuality. It’s easy to suggest that his view is wrong or short-sighted, but that doesn’t help anyone in this situation. To me, this sounds like a great time to engage a professional marriage counselor.

While it’s possible that this might cause your husband to see you in a different light, it may also bring to the forefront emotional issues that your husband is dealing with, but unable to talk freely with you about. In my case, seeing the birth of my oldest son caused me to feel a huge sense of responsibility that i was completely unprepared for. This may not be the case with your husband, but such things are always a possibility.

Regardless, if you can sit down with a third party who has professional credentials, he or she may be able to help both of you discover things that have become factors in your change in relationship. If cost is an issue (and when I was a new father, it most definitely was), look into counseling options subsidized (in part or in whole) through a local church or synagogue.

One last thing: Your husband’s response to you may feel like something that defines you as a woman, but it doesn’t. You remain a person of worth and value, regardless of anyone else’s actions. Your husband’s response being strong does not make you “more of a woman,” and his lack of response does not make you less of one. The role of mother need not diminish the role of wife, any more than becoming a father keeps me from being a husband. Yes, your body changes with childbirth, but I would suggest that your husband has changed (and will continue to change) just as much between his ears.

Becoming parents changes us. We can fight this, and refuse to accept it, or we can be the master of our path and define the role instead of allowing it to define us. My best wishes for you, your husband, and your children. – Tim

October 10, 2007

Emotionally exhausted? Here are some ways to find restoration…

by Rod Smith

Take up your life....

Take up your life....

Are you emotionally out of shape? Psychologically exhausted? Tramped on? Feel trapped? Just as a person can be physically run down, so also can one become emotionally depleted. Here are simple, not easy, steps to getting your internal life into shape. Each will do your internal life as much good as frequent exercise does for a person who is physically out of shape:

1. Speak up where you might previously have remained silent.
2. Realize that not everything you think and feel has to be said or reported.
3. Focus on your own behavior and not the behavior of others. (This might be the most difficult of the 11 suggestions).
4. Rid your life of all blame.
5. Realize you are where you are as a result of your own choices.
6. Set small, secret goals involving no one but you.
7. Refuse to compromise when it comes to telling the truth no matter how much love may be involved.
8. Forgive where you might have previously have been resentful.
9. Do not function in roles not legally yours (don’t play wife if your are not, or dad if you are not).
10. Grasp the fact that emotional health is an individual journey and no one can be held responsible for your journey toward greater emotional health but you.
11. Clarify, for yourself, where you end and others begin. (This IS me, my issue, my responsibility: this is NOT me, my issue, my responsibility).

March 14, 2007

Why do all my relationships seem to go sour in the same way….?

by Rod Smith

Unhealthy patterns occur in relationships when a person …

  1. Does not sufficiently, or successfully, sever, and then recover from a previous romantic relationship before a new one begins. (Commonly referred to as “rebounding.”)
  2. Embraces a false, or faulty, unrealistic, definition of love.
  3. Gives the relationship an inordinate amount of attention. (This is seen when someone seems to disappear – becomes unavailable to other friends – in the wake of a new love interest).
  4. Offers too much of themselves (sexual favors, money, unlimited time) to someone whom he or she hardly knows.
  5. Has unrealistic expectations of any relationship, and therefore believes relationships offer what relationships simply cannot, and do not, offer.
  6. Thinks (believes, hopes) the other person is all he or she will ever need. [“I can’t live without you, AND you are all I need to live.”]
  7. Confuses nakedness with intimacy, lust with passion, and touch with love.
  8. Trades long-term commitment (taking things very slowly) for an immediate thrill (“I want it all now!”).
  9. Sincerely believes his or her love is powerful enough to change undesired characteristics in another person. (“Once we are married she’ll stop drinking.”)