Once I met Pablo. He was a confessed married “sex addict.” According to him, not a day goes by that he wouldn’t masturbate, watch porn, or have casual sex with different women.
He had a strange ritual. A lot of times, he’d quarrel with his wife first before his planned sexual bingeing. After his anticipated rejection, he’d habitually walk out to look for sex partners.
In the sessions, Pablo admitted he felt so powerless and shamed. The addiction he didn’t want for himself he could not stop doing. Until he contracted HIV. Until his family deserted him.
Unknown to many, Pablo was an honor student and varsity athlete in the university. Prior to his life-damaging personal fallout, people looked up to him as a model student and adult citizen.
Till someone took over Pablo and his self.
Robert Louis Stevenson, in his classic “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” can provide us a psychological clue or piece of insight. He wrote of Dr. Jekyll’s “double” self:
” … whereas in the beginning the difficulty had been to throw off the body of Jekyll, it had of late gradually but decidedly transferred itself to the other side … I was slowly losing hold of my original and better self and becoming slowly incorporated with my second and worse self.”
This is one way of understanding what happened to Pablo or why. Mostly, he retreated into himself as if in a trance-like state … and did things outside his awareness.
He had a “double,” a “shadow,” a dark side he never fully knew about.
As sex therapist/author Dr. Patrick Carnes put it, the description of the Dr. Jekyll-Mr.Hyde-like transfer portray “the loss of one personality as it is overcome by a second personality — the addictive personality.”
In intervention and therapy, the addict takes the journey of recovering the true, original, best self.