Accountability Part III

December 5, 2019 by  
Filed under Blog

Okay, we are moving on in this accountability reflection to part three, which will begin to examine the type of content that your accountability partner is looking at.  In my work with men over the course of the past 15 years, I have yet to see this issue addressed per se, so I pray that this blog will be of benefit to those who need to hear or read it.  I am reflecting on my past and current sins for this blog so I write from personal experience and the conclusions that are drawn herein are taken from my own journey and freedom from porn.

Alright, you just got a report about your accountability partner’s recent acting out and you recognize that the content is more disordered than what you are used to seeing.  For this blog, I am going to identify disordered images as naked images of women and sexual situations of always a heterosexual nature.  When I reference more disordered or perhaps refer to as deviant content, this will be referencing images that are of a homosexual variety, sexual situations with children or that surrounds violence.  

Okay, lets start with the so called disordered content first.  Again, as per blog #2 on accountability, our job isn’t to examine exactly what the person you are holding accountability is looking at as much as helping him understand the nature of his falls and triggers.  Assuming that he is looking at “garden variety” pornography such as Playboy magazine type content or soft core porn imagery like Sports Illustrated Swimsuit, it is important that you as the accountability partner don’t invest your time in investigating or observing all that he has seen.  This is a danger area.  It might be a trigger towards impure curiosity on the part of the accountability partner when he clicks on the images or websites that his partner has viewed if his computer will allow him to do so.  

I give great caution with an accountability partner’s review of previous content.  It might be enough to just read webpage domain.  Usually, that should be a enough for the accountability partner’s knowledge.  However, this is one of the reasons why I don’t like accountability software because I believe it leads some men, who are not mature in their faith and virtue development as yet, to click on the website and trigger themselves potentially in an impure way.  Again, not every accountability partner has this issue, but I daresay it is more than the developers of this software actually think.  Suffice it to say, you as accountability partner need to gather as much information as you can without triggering yourself in the process.  My suggestion: just read the domain page title.  It should be enough for most of the conversation that you will be having in the future with your partner.

Now, where the rubber hits the road!  You see in the domain page that the content might be worse than what you were expecting.  Perhaps it is bit cryptic as to what the person you are holding accountable is logging onto and so perhaps a click to see the content is in order.  I do say this might be the case sometimes, but usually not!  Assuming you click on the website and it brings you to something much more disordered than you were anticipating, what do you do?  

First, don’t panic or freak out!  This is the nature of porn and how the evil one works.  Remind yourself that your brother in Christ has probably been looking at porn for years–many years!  Likely the content he has watched has enabled him to navigate to some dark places at times.  Well now you have insight into those said darker places.  What is next for you to do?

As I said before, take a moment, close down the website and say a prayer for your accountability partner.  Ask the Holy Spirit to grant you wisdom, insight and clarity into the situation if necessary.  

PLEASE NOTE: some men who are engaged in accountability, don’t often have a deep relationship with their accountability partner(s).  Their friendship may not have been a long one.  In fact, their relationship may only be a professional one whereby a man has met another man, like me, on a retreat and has asked for support with accountability.  This is my experience often with accountability partnering relationships and so I speak and write from this experience here.  But in truth, many long lasting relationships may also have this shock factor for an accountability partner when it comes to impure revelations online.  It is very common for men to keep secrets from their buddies, especially as it relates to their dark world that they have long been engaged. 

After your prayer for your partner, give thanks to God that your friend has allowed you into his pain and is willing to be vulnerable with you about his struggles.  What a tremendous act of humility this is for the man who is struggling, and, ultimately, it will be his key towards eventual freedom one day.

The reality now is you have observed something that you were not expecting and insight has occurred in your mind and heart about your accountability partner.  It is important to think about what are the main priorities in this moment.  It is not as important for you to reflect on the disordered images, not yet anyway!  Many accountability partners may be inclined to dismiss, ignore or perhaps even disengage from this process if the content is too much for him to handle.  I understand this and I completely respect a man who is unable to properly process the more disordered element of what he has viewed.  Very few men I know would have the emotional bandwidth to handle this exposure.  Lets say you are someone who has that capacity, what is next?

Priority #1 – You must follow up with your accountability partner within 24-48 hours as outlined in previous blog.  Once, you have communicated that you have viewed content, I would suggest that you seriously consider generating some face time with your accountability partner if geography will allow.  Why?  Because the nature of the content is very shaming to a man, especially if he knows it is being revealed to his friend or accountability partner for the first time.  Face time, if you have the ability,  courage, and time, will give you and your accountability partner an opportunity to go deeper in the potential friendship, accountability and history of the man.  This meeting will be a great foundation for the man who is suffering, and, one, which he will draw on for his future encouragement.

Priority #2 – Whether a meeting is in-person or over the phone, it is essential to get the facts of the man’s larger story, but before he shares his story make sure the man knows that you don’t judge him.  Keep in mind that he is retreating into this dark world because he doesn’t trust men, and, quite often, he has been abandoned or neglected by men in his life.  Likely his own father or within his peer groups growing up.  You are an agent for healing for this man because you have decided to not run away.  In your meeting, it is enough to just listen to the man’s history.  Ask him to begin by talking about his pain and perhaps the first traumas in his life.  You might even ask him how is relationship is/was with his father to help him get started. 

Priority #3 – Upon hearing your brother’s story, inform him that you are happy to hold him accountable with his onscreen acting out, but in truth, you are not a counselor or 12 step offering for your friend.  Collectively, you both must recognize that your engagement together has its limitations and, in truth, the healing and recovery from such a dark past may require professional help.  You should not try to solve this problem for your accountability partner, but just encourage and perhaps lead him, if need be, to some positive options as he engages more deeply in his own healing.  I recommend if he is not in counseling to consult www.catholictherapists.com or seek out an appropriate 12 step program.  

In the next blog, I will reveal my processing techniques and recommendations with the following type of screen content:

Same Sex Attraction imagery

Barely legal pornography imagery

Child pornography imagery

Bestiality imagery

Cross dressing imagery

Transgender imagery

Once again, I look forward to offering more on these difficult topics, but especially my desire with these blogs, is to encourage others to engage in the healing process and journey.  Of course, our Samson Retreat is a great stop along these journeys and I highly encourage any man reading this to consider attending one of our upcoming retreats in 2020.

In Christ’s healing love,

Mark Houck

 

 

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