I was talking to a friend one time and asked him the question, “How does a person deal with lonliness?” He said, “Good question, let me think about the answer and get back to you.” I called him a couple days later and he said, “I have an answer for you on that lonliness question.” I was of course excited and said, “What is it?” He said, “I talked to a friend and she said we must become a shepard.” I was not interested in that occupation so I said, “What do you mean?” He said,”We must forget about ourselves and serve others, watch over others as a shepard watches over sheep. Lonliness is caused in part by thinking only of ourselves.” Hmm, this was a good enough answer for me and so I started to get out more and serve people. I helped people move, I did yard work, I painted rooms in houses, and I befriended other lonely people. It felt great! I was not consistent with this though and soon fell into just thinking about me again which led to acting out in my addictions again.
There is no doubt that porn addiction or any addiction for that matter, makes us feel even more alone than we felt before. The guilt, shame, and pain make us feel hopeless and unliked by others. Of course this is all a lie and the only reason we start to think like this is because we are blinded by the darkness brought about by addiction. It’s really tough to see the truth when your life is full of lies. That’s the captivity that comes with addiction. We are held captive in part by lies that we find difficult to escape. In fact this is very much a personal war.
One day I came across some training for prisoners of war (POW’s) that really helped me understand how to better fight this war on lonliness and captivity. I found it interesting that coping with an enemy to your country was very similar to coping with the enemy of your soul. So here are the coping methods I came across:
Titled “Pyschological Aspects of Captivity – Coping Methods”
Conviction of Purpose
The most important coping method is to develop conviction of purpose:
How do I fit into the “big picture” from national goals to Service objectives to the unit mission?
What personal standards am I committed to? Develop confidence in your training and professional preparation by focusing particularly on the hurdles and obstacles you have overcome to get to this point in your career.
Faith Keeping – Establish and “keep the faith” with yourself, family, Service, fellow captives, nation, and God.
Reject False Logic – It is false logic to think that survival is contingent upon compliance with captors
Recognize and resolve Conflicting Pressures – Recognize and resolve conflicting pressures from captor and self
Positive Mental Attitude (PMA) – Keep a positive mental attitude by being stubbornly optomistic. Resist destructive thought processes. Take heart in any small victory won over captors. Overcome aversions by learning to tolerate discomfort versus demanding the circumstances change. Reduce anxiety by placing captors into patterns of predictability.
Use Directed Imagery –(Structured Daydreaming). Think about the future and positive things. Create mental exercises by inventing objects, making up stories, learning new skills, keeping a mental diary, planning escape, or anything that will keep your mind occupied in a positive manner. Do not focus on mistakes made in the past or let guilt or regrets come into play – your captors want this.
Be Engaged – An “engaged” captive is not a “passive recipient.” Being a passive recipent leads to hoplessness, helplessness, compliance, or despair (i.e., won’t try to resolve problems or improve the situation. Engaged captives will make some mistakes but they will be able to learn and bouce back.
Take Control – Focus on things within your control (daily schedule, will to resist and communication).
Internal Actions – Order your thoughts, appraise the situation, study and predict the environment(remember, your Situational Awareness is an ongoing, continual process)
External Actions – Be assertive, insist on rights under the Geneva Conventions. Commuicate health and welfare issues to captors. Be persistent.
Health and Hygiene – Improve on sanitary conditions. Get into a physical fitness routine. Develop consistent habits concerning personal health and hygiene.
Recognize Small Victories – Usually by maintaining a sense of humor and turning it against captors. This can greatly improve morale and captivity survival.
Interact with Others
Communication – Directing your focus outward towards other fellow captives helps minimize self-absorbtion, despair and linliness.
Communications brings pespective to the situation and accountability for individual captive and group actions.
Without communication, no organization can exist.
Be consistent, convincing, and persistent in your communication with captors.
Use Humor – Humor can add a positive spin to difficult situations and can raise the morale of the individual captives and the group.
Group Affiliation and Accountability – A sense of belonging to a group engenders commitment to a cause. Being held accountable is an important aspect of keeping discipline within a group. Keeping discipline is the essence of organizing individuals and groups. In addition, discipline usually leads to routine, and routine can be extremely comforting in captivity.
Organize Routine(self and group) – Maintain a schedule(whenever possible)
A personal routine or schedule can be important as a means of gaining control over the captive’s life and the situation in captivity.
Staying occupied mentally at increments or intervals helps to break up a routine that is being forced on the captive.
Exercising regularly is essential to maintaining physical and psychological health.
Captive’s should utilize any regimen or routine they can adapt to their personal situation.
Plan and communicate regularly with fellow captives.
Strategize – For upcoming demands, prepare and rehearse in order to develop confidence. The better the group’s sense of preparedness is, the more the group’s efficiency will increase. The individual of the group can improve their sense of preparedness by setting realistic goals such as:
-Establish goals relative to the captivity envoronment and the developing situation (fatigue, sleep deprivation, etc.)
-Establish realistic expectations for yourself and others
-Focus on internal resolve and conviction of purpose
Discomfort – Learn to tolerate discomfort. Remain focused on tasks at hand.
Overcome Aversions – To food, enviromental conditions, poor standards for health and hygiene, etc.
Flexibility – Any inflexibility by the captive will be exploited. Adapt to food language, culture, and fellow captives. Try to understand the motives without openly sympathizing or aiding in their cause.
Stay Stay Alive – Focus on your physical needs, such as food, hydration, sleep, etc.
Bounce Back – A captive should move on from mistakes made by themselves of fellow captives. Don’t dwell on mistakes.
Things to avoid
Worrying About Family – Reaffirm roles, convictions, faith, and confidence in pre-captivity preparations. Thinking about family is a source of strength for some captives. Worrying about them induces emotions and sets the captive up for failure. Remembering the good times and thinking about making them proud by returning with honor can be a great source of strength for increased will to resist.
Thinking Negatively of Self – Captives should not beat themselves down. Captives should learn from their mistakes and plan for the future.
Suicidal Thoughts – Avoid depressing thoughts of thinking about negative things that are beyond any captive’s control. Reaffirm the will to live and think about positive things to return home to.
Other Vulnerabilities – Used by captors to exploit captives. Most captives will experience symptoms of these conditions during captivity.
Captivity Dependency. Defined as the captor’s attempts to make the captive feel safer under their control and reduce the captive’s motivation to escape. The longer captives are in captivity, the more they will be conditioned and become accustomed to the captivity situation. The longer captives are in captivity, the less likely they will look for resistence and escape opportunities, unless they pursue these activities as a matter of routine.
Stockholm Syndrome. An irrational affinity with certain captors based, in part, on concessions of care or more humanizing treatment from captors.