Linda Hatch writes: For the narcissistic sex addict, compulsively seeking out pornography on the internet does more that just provide sexual arousal and gratification. Remember, the narcissist who cannot resist internet porn may be being triggered by an intense need to rebuild his fragile facade. The addict is feeling unworthy, rejected, and “less than”. But porn can and does put that fragile Humpty Dumpty back together again.
Patrick Carnes in his article on eroticized rage describes the mechanisms by which sexual acting out behavior can be a way to cope with anger. The average person whose ego has been somehow deflated may feel embarrassed, humbled or dejected. But the person whose narcissistic bubble has been burst feels mostly outraged and resentful. There is no soul-searching, only the feeling of something intolerable and the impulse to change it.
Porn is a fantasy outlet offering a perfect escape from narcissistic wounding. It takes a person who feels outraged and victimized and offers them a quick fix through:
• Restoration of parity
The scenarios depicted in online porn images and videos have the power to change feelings of being one-down or undesirable and make them into their opposite. This restores the person’s sense of self. I had a client whose addictive pattern was to hang around coffee shops and look at attractive, much younger women. He would then realize that he could not “have” these women and go home to a marathon of pornography use. He particularly liked the fact that these fantasy women were “always there for me.”
• Getting even
When the addict feels victimized he or she may respond by using pornography to get even or turn the tables. The fantasy scenarios involved may be ones of revenge or humiliation but not always. For the person who feels abandoned and rejected by a partner, the mere fact of indulging in porn may be a violation of trust and therefore an act of revenge.
• Defiance of convention
Doing what is seen as perverse provides an outlet for anger and an affirmation of one’s own uniqueness and importance. Once again, it reaffirms the battered ego by means of getting away with something exciting and risky. It says “I am important enough that I play by different rules.”
Because the fantasy escape into porn merely restores the narcissist’s false self, it does not last. There is no permanent strengthening of the sense of self, only the repairing of the narcissistic facade.