Things Seen Cannot Be Unseen

One of the hardest things I had to fight while quitting my 30 year addiction to porn was the images stuck in head. Even now, it’s a struggle. Some times I believe that I received freedom from that ball and chain to only find myself stuck behind a fence with true freedom just on the other side.

One of the struggles a recovering porn addict has is the fact that what has been seen can not be unseen. Those images stay with us long after the monitor is turned off.

In a recent post I wrote about how a certain song triggered a visual that kind of rocked me. And there I learned, that though I am free from the addiction, there is still a lot that I must do.

Had I continued to dwell on that visual instead of praying and asking God to take it away, I could have easily come home and watched porn. And guess what? No one would know…except me and God of course.

It is an everyday struggle. That’s something not many know because I don’t tell anyone. A lot of people think I have it all together but I don’t.

Triggers are everywhere.

That’s something most do not realize. They are in almost in every ad on the television. I mean come on! What does a woman in a bikini have to do with selling a hamburger?

Triggers are on ad posters in the mall.

And some are simply walking down the street in every day clothing running their errands and doing their thing.

Sometimes the triggers get me and sometimes they don’t. I guess it depends on the trigger…like that song. But I honestly don’t get it. I have heard that song a gazillion times and never once has it done that.

But that one time proves that what has been seen cannot be unseen. That visual was one I did not like. I didn’t want it popping in my head. It, to me, is a degrading scene in a lot of porn movies.

Those things seen will pop up at weird times due to a trigger of some sort. How you react is a reflection on your character. Will you pray and ask God to remove it or will you allow it to grow? Will you stand firm or will you fall?

Something to ponder this week as you go through your day.

God Bless,


29 thoughts on “Things Seen Cannot Be Unseen”

  1. It is interesting how certain things will sometimes trigger, and other times not. That happened to me recently on an excursion to the beach with my husband who is recovering from a porn addiction. We have been around bikini clad women several times without it being more than a fleeting thought in my mind, or a quick glance to see where his eyes were, and then I was able to put it all aside and enjoy my/our time together without anxiety. This last time was very different for me.

    I will try to warn spouses that when they discover that their husbands have been looking at pornography they fight the temptation to view/visit those sites. What is seen cannot be unseen. I too, have vivid images burned in my mind from years ago that I can recall in an instant. And I wasn’t even the one using the porn in the same manner as an addict. That curiosity and need to know what my husband was viewing. Not helpful at all.

    Thank you for being authentic with your struggles and victories and sharing your true character with us. Blessings.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I can only imagine the burning image in your head as a wife discovering what her husband was viewing. That first sight, the anger, the disgust, the feeling of despair, etc all rolled into one.

      I can say the same for you Cynthia. Your story is vital to wives whose husband are struggling to find freedom. Your honesty and realness is a much needed ministry. Thank you for all do!

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Stu – I enjoy reading your blog. I appreciate your honesty and openness to talk about your struggles. I find that when we are genuine about the stuff we’ve gone through, God uses that to speak volumes to others.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you very much Sheri.

      Sometimes it is not an easy task to be open to anyone other than God, but that is actually what God calls us to live out in James 5:16.

      Like right now, I have things on my mind that I want to share because I know someone needs to hear it. I’m just not sure how open to be. One is about my past and one is about a realization i had recently while talking with a fellow blogger

      Liked by 2 people

  3. This article has touched me deeply.
    Before marriage, I was a sexual assault victim advocate. I listened. I sympathized. I was there. Things heard cannot be unheard. That experience affected my marriage bed.
    Then I found my husband’s stash of porn. I was curious. I viewed. Yes, things seen cannot be unseen. The burn of first impressions runs deep. The things I saw affected our marriage bed. They affected my impression of my husband. They affected my impression of men.
    I’ve been married 30 years. I still struggle with my opinion of male sexuality.
    I’ve recently realized that my way of coping with what I’ve seen and heard has been to separate my husband’s sexuality from him as a person. I know intellectually that his sexuality is very a much a part of who he is, he has made that very clear. But, emotionally I don’t want to merge the two. Emotionally, I can’t deal with knowing all that I’ve seen and heard could actually be a part of the man I love.
    The things I’ve seen and heard…my reality….has tainted the beauty of sexual intimacy.
    Still working and trying to grow past this issue
    Still trying to understand male sexuality.
    Still trying to see the beauty.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Your comment makes my heart ache. I can only imagine what those moments of discovery, and subsequent thoughts, have been like for you. What I can say as someone with a promiscuous premarital past is that I would hate for my husband to judge me and my sexuality based on the worst moments and choices of my life.

      I don’t know where your husband is with the porn habit, but if he has stopped (and if he hasn’t, you absolutely need to deal with that), then he likely regrets those choices as much or more than you do. He probably can’t believe he looked at those things either, just as I struggle to believe that I did some of the things I did.

      My sins were a part of my journey, but I’m really not that person anymore. Even if there is some remnant of temptation—and as Stu points out so well here, there can be sporadic moments when images pop into your head unbidden—that doesn’t means it’s who you want to be or what you would do. If that describes your husband, then embrace who he is now.

      Again, if this hasn’t been dealt with, it needs to be. You also cannot allow someone you love to dig their own emotional and spiritual grave when you could do something about it. Many blessings! Saying a prayer for you right now.

      Liked by 5 people

    2. I’m so sorry that in caring for others you were negatively affected. I haven’t had your exact experiences. But, I, too, have a husband who struggled (and still has torment) with pornography. In our healing, I’ve learned that he was hurt deeply in childhood. For awhile, before I knew about things, I struggled with engaging with him. But, after I learned, I saw inside him to his heart, where as a boy he was a victim. Those bad things aren’t my man’s identity and his porn use is not his identity. He is God’s child and we both pray the Holy Spirit to be present powerfully in his life. That has helped me bond with him and understand and accept that his sexuality is an integral part of him. I also had to learn that sexuality isn’t the enemy. Satan is the enemy that uses our tender sexuality.

      When I’m trying to rid my heart of hurtful things or things that aren’t beneficial, I have to not just get rid of them, but replace them something good like it says in Phil 4:8. I’m so glad you are trying to see the beauty. I will join you in prayer that God reveals his mystery to you. Sexual intimacy is a spiritual experience.

      Liked by 5 people

    3. @Once Bitten, my heart goes out to you. More than 40 years ago while I was a teenager, I saw a short clip of a porn video and viewed some print pornography. The images still sit in the back of my mind. As Stu said, in our sex-saturated world, it’s incredibly difficult to avoid.

      Every day Satan takes what God meant for good (sexual intimacy between a husband and wife) and perverts it beyond recognition. The interest he reaps in the lives of millions of people from a single film, magazine, or ad is incalculable!

      For me, it warped my view of how and why God designed sex for marriage. He designed it as an exquisite and exclusive lifetime bonding experience so couples could be connected not just physically, but emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Because of those negative experiences as a teen—and my mother’s unbiblical view of sex which she passed to me—I saw sex as something dirty and in opposition to “spirituality”. For the first 25 years of my marriage, I saw it as a necessary requirement I needed to endure.

      To complicate matters, my husband and I were separated for four years due to his serial adultery. We were reconciled 2 ½ years ago and our marriage is better than I could ever have dreamed possible. Recently, God put it on my heart to explore my unhealthy view of sexual intimacy.

      I initiated with women in my church to participate in a support group that Ruth Buezis created called “Awaken Love” ( Talk about an eye-opening experience! (There is an entire section that addresses how past experiences affect our present view of sex.) Every one of the women in this group (married between five and forty years) had their mind blown and their view transformed. Through it, I realized how Satan has deceived me and kept me from experiencing the freedom and privilege God gave me as married Christian woman. I’ve almost completed the 6-week course and feel like I have barely put my toe into the pool of understanding. I can’t wait to learn more!

      There’s a whole community of women who have already experienced this revelation of marital intimacy in the light of Scripture and they are sharing it with us. Many of them you can find on the Christian Marriage Bloggers Facebook page. I invite you to explore it.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. May I express my sincere appreciation for the loving support, prayers, and resources.
    It’s comforting knowing one is not alone.
    Thank you all.

    Liked by 6 people

  5. I agree that “Triggers are everywhere…They are in almost in every ad on the television. I mean come on! What does a woman in a bikini have to do with selling a hamburger? Triggers are on ad posters in the mall.” Our country’s advertising industry has managed to include references to sex and sexuality into advertisements for a wide range of products — some more obvious (such as the makeup industry) and some less obvious (such as cars or burgers!) Thank you for writing so candidly about this significant and ongoing challenge.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts 🙂 You are right it is an ongoing challenge. Sadly one that will not change until more Christians stand up and say no more.


  6. My heart goes out to you, Stu. It true. We are constantly under pressure. Satan brings temptation where and when you least expect it. Thank you so much for being open about your struggles! God bless you, brother! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Stefan! So very true about the enemy. He will do anything and everything to try and keep Christ from being the center of our lives and doubting ourselves.

      Have a great day brother!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Interestingly. Stu, I have no mental images myself. I literally cannot “make a graven image” in my mind. Just sound and concept up there for me. Out of sight, out of mind is literally my life!

    Liked by 1 person

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