The tale of Marlboro Man: Almost 20 years ago I meet twenty-eight-year-old Jim (not his real name) well in treatment for my second time. He looked like a real man, and he dressed the part: a perfect moustache, cowboy boots, tight Wrangler jeans, an awesome selection of cool hats and so we all called him Marlboro Man.
But there was something else, a very visible bulge in his jeans that we all made fun of behind his back. Eventually, it started to bother us and we mustered up the courage to ask our counsellor if we should confront Jim in the group, and she agreed. Jim broke down to reveal the sad reasons for the bulge in his pants.
You see, Jim grew up in a wealthy family where both parents worked and so Jimmy was looked after by the next door neighbour, 9 to 5 throughout the week. Little did anyone know that the neighbour’s kids would take little Jimmy, into the basement when they came home from school and duct tape his mouth, perform cruel sexual acts, and lock him in a closet. It went on for two years, and the trauma changed little Jimmy.
So you are probably wondering what was in his jeans? Jim put a banana in his pants whenever feeling vulnerable around men because he did not want another man to think he was gay or weak and take advantage of him ever again. This is why he came to the men’s group every day with a banana. It is no wonder; he found drugs and alcohol to numb his pain. It always amazes me how our walls and judgements come down once we hear another person addiction story.
We lose our relationship to our body. We lose the connection to our emotions and have no idea how or what to feel. We lose our ability to be vulnerable. We lose the spiritual connection to who we are with ourselves, with others and society at large.
“Our challenge with trauma is that we lose our connection to self.”
It's important to understand why childhood trauma is so devastating. One - were children, so simple to forget. Two, a little person’s brain is still not fully developed and the trauma will stop the important emotional wiring for connection and bonding that is needed to feel whole. And three, children before the age 4 usually won’t remember the abuse, however; their bodies and subconscious will. They feel confused and unsafe about life without knowing why. Finally, we will continue to suffer the results of the trauma well into adulthood if we do not find a way to heal.
“Eighty percent of woman with addictions have suffered sexually abused, and 2/3 of substance abuse users report abuse as children.”
Remember this the next time you see a drug-addicted sex worker because he or she was probably traumatized as a child. Also remember this, the next time you see a News Report of another child pornography ring busted because a lot of those same children will develop addictions, PTSD and other disorders. We need to have the same amount of compassion for the children in the News Report, as the drug-addicted sex worker because they are the same people just all grown up.
Trauma does not necessarily turn into an addiction, it can become many things ---PTSD, mental illness, depression, sexual dysfunctions and violent tendencies ......many different issue are a result.
Wounds are anything that disconnects us from "Who we are." And our healing is about reconnecting back to the true nature of spiritual being. We are not the pain or trauma we are the Light within. This knowing saved my ass many years ago when working on my healing. You see, the love I had been seeking all these years was behind and beyond the pain. Trauma can be healed there are many of us who have.