“Hit the road, Jack, and don’t you come back no more, no more, no more, no more!
Hit the road, Jack, and don’t you come back no more,” - Ray Charles.
He never laughed and he barely smiled, a grin perhaps, for cover. He went through the motions, where activities in this impoverished little world of his were repetitive and ritualized, and he would employ people (often for money) to forget the misery for a moment’s relief. It was not about relating, loving, caring, or sharing fun, but rather performing a function, where bodies were revealed, while the souls remained hidden, an interchange of physical signs of aliveness without any indication of emotion in spite of some hopelessness, expressed by shamelessness and irresistible motions.
She was young and pretty, with an intricate design of paling scars on her arm. Without prior notice (and against his will), she insisted on imposing herself into her brother’s life and apartment, the last person she had left in the world. She sang with heartbreaking soulfulness into the microphone and left pleading messages on the telephone to some lover, where she puked her insatiable and bottomless neediness into the receiver. No one was left to listen and so she would resume cutting herself and enforce some care of some kind. Nothing left to lose, but some blood.
As little children they were sexually abused, and thus abandoned – as sexual abuse always means utter abandonment by father and mother – which are rendered useless in the face of such experiences, where the child has to find a way to survive on her own, somehow, with injuries. No matter whether the parents are the perpetrators or powerless extras – they are not supplying desirable role models for adulthood - the mastery of life is not to be learned from them. No consolation to be had. Happiness seems lost forever. Such children learn to be sex objects, preferred to adults at that - and the future is lost. They think, “I am worthless” except, of course, for my ability to provide this service, as long as I am young. They take it on - faceless participants, sometimes in dark alleys with strangers and inevitably upcoming survival issues. Numbed out from post-traumatic stress, indifferent to fate and physical intactness, they identify with the role – lifeless, emotionless, incapable of self-protection, self-care, and self-love. They are lost in a dark und meaningless world, unengaged in life pursuits, convinced of their own cynicism, stuck in emotional paralysis, shut down to the colors and sounds of life and love – exposed.
He is the blowfish – tattooed, pierced, muscles pumped, seducing a stream of replaceable “chicks” to service his needs on a physical plane, he tries to show that he is badass, numb to the neediness of the inconsolable little boy inside who wants to cry for his mommy who died when he was little and left him at the mercy of his violent alcoholic father. He has decided not to show his vulnerability (ever again…). He has sacrificed his development to the illusion of safety behind aggressive posturing and over-identification with more or less adolescent behaviors, and so… he has become his father, dedicated to causing pain to others, during sex and otherwise. He wants to think that he is safe in that role – but really, his aliveness merges into the playing of a role. He is a fake. St. Ambrose of Milan said, “No one heals himself by wounding another.”
She had not known it then. Her mom worked and went to school. Many endless lonely days were spent in fear until she came to understand that mom would come back in the end. The loveless days were burnt in her brain, as were experiences with adult men, not meant for little girls… She could not name these things that took place. Her mom never noticed why she resisted day-care (mom was busy and impatient). As an adult she repeats it again and again – a repetition compulsion where she is trying to undo and repair what they did to her… by seeking sexual embraces, where she gets to feel powerful for the fleeting moment when she is the object of desire. It can’t be mastered and she cannot stop herself. Actually, she adds more trauma. She says, “All men are pervs” – and, “I am shit.”
The compulsive pursuit of sex in all the wrong places, like ALL human behaviors, is meaningful. It expresses a purpose, sometimes in symptomatic from, where a memory, trauma, mental construct is communicated - a part of self that seeks expression – to be acknowledged and understood.
It is in our human nature to enjoy love and bond with each other. Such attachment means “I can trust someone to carry me to safety, even when I’m broken.” Secure attachment develops normally between infant and mother in the first three years of live. If there is abandonment or abuse early in life - if the mother is mentally/emotionally ill or absent - the infant has trouble developing the ability to love and trust.
Sex addiction is a symptom of attachment disorder – the addict doesn’t trust anyone and runs from intimacy and commitment. Numbed out from early victimization s/he seeks intensity and excitement in perennial pursuit of unavailable partners, which are abandoned quickly in case they become available. There can be a dramatic history with other addicts, mentally ill, or otherwise problematic lovers. There is a failure to bond – expressed in obsessive-compulsive attachments to random and exchangeable objects. She tolerates things, she shouldn’t tolerate. He seeks comfort or at least a little tension relief, and forgets about the path and the future. Sex addiction can turn out to be a stumbling block in early sobriety, too.
Ultimately, there is no good alternative to wholeness... Every single one of us deserves healing – reintegration of injured parts of self. Once we realize that we cannot ever disown these aspects, even if we don’t like them, it’s about un-covering what we tried to forget and re-covering what we sought to loose. Recovery is about healing the past, finding hope, and building a life.
The exit of existential discomfort can be found… paradoxically… once we give up the frantic search for a way out. Working through trauma can bring liberation from mental anguish – and recovery paves the way out of the prison of the past. Hope appears… by offering it to others. It’s all about seizing the day – the only time to make peace with one’s own truth and rewrite one’s story with a friendlier ending.
Unattended sorrow, unaddressed trauma, unprocessed grief and loss causes depression, addiction, and repeated relapse - Patrick Carnes
About Jasmin Rogg, MA, MFT:
Jasmin Rogg is a licensed Marriage Family Therapist with a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology. Jasmin is in private practice in Beverly Hills and facilitates recovery groups at various chemical recovery treatment centers in Los Angeles – such as Promises, Sovereign Health, Chabad, Exodus (at Brotman’s Hospital), Pasadena Recovery Center, Casa de las Amigas, Della Martin Center (at Huntington Memorial Hospital), Boulevard, and also several sober living houses.
Having spent many years in the field of addiction and recovery, on both a professional and personal level, she knows what it takes to leave behind destructive behavior patterns in favor of actions that promote prosperity and success, and has dedicated her life to using her experience for service to others. In her work she utilizes the “alchemy” of turning weakness into strength, passing on resources and tools for recovery from emotional pain, depression, anxiety, and addiction – for building a good life.
Jasmin is the author of “TO HELL & BACK, How to Have Feelings & Stay Sober at the Same Time” and “WAKING UP SOBER … and walking the path.” Her recent papers are published as blog posts on www.voiceofrecovery.blogspot.com