Distractions that we chose to be a part of our life consume the general population, hide our pain. We don’t necessarily see them as such. Shopping, reading, sports events, restaurants, movies, parties, and having sex are all distractions. We see them as pleasurable events and if we want our world filled with anything we want it filled with pleasurable events. The problem develops when we obsessively use these distractions to take our mind away from painful pictures from our past rather than dealing with the problem at hand, the truth that we are an abuse victim, either through incest, rape or other sexual abuse.
Before I got into recovery I went from man to man, I chain smoked, I had too much to drink, I became a part of any singles group I could find; church single groups, Parents Without Partners, Yachting Clubs and local watering holes were just a few. I loved to dance, was fairly good looking and never without a dancing partner. I met many distractions there, some turned into boyfriends who I slept with for a few weeks and then discarded. An excerpt from my memoir, I Never Heard A Robin Sing details what my life was like after the breakup of a boyfriend a cared deeply for. I was in my mid-thirties, a single mother with four teenage children, who were not aware that I was living ”Looking for Mr. Goodbar,”a 1977 movie about a dedicated schoolteacher who spends her nights cruising bars looking for abusive men with whom she can engage.
“It was time to again become a moving target. Running from the realities of life was my only escape, reminiscent of treks into the woods when I was younger. If I could move fast enough, I would not have to confront that dreadful, screaming child, that inner part of me that knew all of the truth of what had happened to me when I was a teenager.
A girlfriend suggested we start spending our Friday nights at a local watering hole called the Foxfire. We ventured out one night and I found that I enjoyed the camaraderie of other singles, the opportunity to again play "Scarlett O'Hara at the barbecue", and mostly the free hors d'oeuvres. At first, it was fun. I planted my naive heart amidst the ugliness of dating Orange County studs with their gold chains and gym memberships and saw only what I wanted to see. It didn't take long before the reality surfaced. There were rules about this type of lifestyle. I wasn't sure I wanted to get involved and yet felt a part of me drawn to it, even as I struggled to keep the country girl afloat. I termed it California style romance and wrote about it with cynicism:”
It was a short term romance, California style,
I like what you do; I’ll stay with you awhile,
And so we got acquainted as quickly as we could,
No time must we be wasting, lest it not be any good.
And you were busy looking up to see who else came in,
And I was busy dreaming of somewhere else I’d been,
We pushed each other’s buttons and then went on to play,
The ancient game of mating, the California way,
It must be time to learn the current game we’re at,
We just found out each other, the rules are clear on that,
We’ll be moving on to the next one down the line,
California romance, it’s really not so fine.
In our unconscious mind we know the truth of whatever distractions we have chosen to make sure we never admit to ourselves that we were sexually abused as a child. Even if we did, we would never connect our daily behavior patterns, the ones that are not serving us any good, with that screaming child inside of us. Smoking too much, sleeping around, drinking too much, using drugs, obsessive talking, spending money that we don’t have as we get deeper and deeper in debt are only a few of the behaviors people choose to distract themselves from the truth, the reality of what happened to us in our younger days, the violation of not only our body but our soul.
Your distractions will multiply, as will your unhappiness, unless you get into recovery, unless you REPAIR the damage done to you and your innocence.
I will not be writing a blog next weekend since it is a holiday. Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers and thank you so much for reading my blogs.