Here, Kitty, Kitty, Kitty…

“Your daddy taught you a thing or two about living in a cold, cold world. He said he'd treat you special, called you his little girl. Ooh, and I get so red-hot mad, thinking about that dirty old man. When I see you up there dancing, trying to get that money while you can…” – Lyrics, Sam Sparro
How to understand love when people experience painful dependencies where they try to bond with problematic or unavailable love objects? How to have meaningful relationships when there are irresistible urges to run from attachment? How to find peace and happiness in sobriety with all that?
It was inadvertently and unknowingly that Tux taught me about love, but he did. Since his early childhood, where he had to survive some adversity, Tux has been a problematic cat. He has to be taken in for expensive and unnerving procedures due to injuries he sustains in unknown places and situations. Also, I got to say, the neighbor-cat Meadows looks very similar, but Meadows is younger and prettier, and his fur is much fluffier. He is a cool cat. Meadows has tried to move in occasionally, but there are just too many furry critters here, as it is. He is sent home…
So I thought about love. Would I want to exchange the two? The truth is, I wouldn’t. Tux belongs to us. He is part of the family. This house and garden is his home. We have shared our time together. I feed him. He comes to me for rubbing and he purrs, especially en route to recovery from yet another injury. We know each other well. We have established some routines of living, a mutual commitment to carry on, even during difficult times. I guess that’s love.
In our culture people can feel like they might be dismissed for lack of physical attractiveness, fearing they may be dispensable. After a painful break-up one can feel unlovable, but love is not so much about having this or that characteristic or quality. It may be more about just being there, getting to know another, and having some meaningful experiences together. Sex is about desire, based mostly on experiences (even if they are not readily remembered).
Love & sex addiction may be more about self-management of childhood trauma and discomfort with intimacy. Daphne feels it’s at the bottom of her alcoholism. In sobriety she wants excitement and happiness, love and sex with a boyfriend, but it hasn’t worked out that well. She is irresistibly attracted to a handsome charmer who doesn’t want a committed monogamous relationship. She wants him to be her man. It’s a pattern for her. She gets hurt and disappointed.
It is as though she wants a dog to be more like a kitty. Upset about his true nature, she puts a paper mask and ears on the dog and expects him to meow, but he won’t meow. She perceives it as an insult and tries harder, but all he can be is a dog, and so he does what a dog must do and her heart breaks in disbelief, when all she’d need to do is acknowledge the obvious, but she just can’t help herself. She insists that everything would be wonderful if only the dog would meow. It barks. It’s a strenuous game she plays.
She writes a 4th step on Bob whom she met recently, for not falling instantly and madly in love with her, not forsaking all others, and not always preferring her company to everybody else’s. She’d need for him to permanently pause the aching pain in her soul that was implanted during her childhood of neglect and abuse. He does “send love” via text messages, but that’s just not the same, and her heart jumps out of her chest. She obsesses and feels like she loses her mind. She quits eating. He just wants to laugh and play - she needs to capture and possess. She pines for him to “come to his senses” and realize that she is, in fact the alpha, omega and beta - and that he should desire to devote his life to an everlasting clinch with her.
She writes that this affects her self-esteem, personal relations, sex relations, pride, finances, and security. Serenity is long gone. She finds that she has been dishonest with herself, having sex without knowing him, and indulging in her sex addiction over self-care. She is resentful at herself for succumbing to such fierce suffering due to sex with someone who had been honest about not wanting to be in a committed relationship from the very beginning. She knows now that she is in fact dating Mr. Potatohead (different faces, same potato) - as she is living out a play written by her addiction. She detects the sex addict as the wizard hiding behind the curtain, and so she feels inconsolable about manifesting and choosing this way of life. She feels “insanely frustrated” about not being able to detach from going down this path for the 5th time in 5 years of sobriety… And so she wants to say, “Fuck it” and go out… all that for a 5-Minute sexual encounter with a less than satisfying sex object.
She lists her fears - that “all men are pervs” and no man will be faithful, that she is defective, that she will be abandoned without ever being loved, that she will repeatedly have to endure such gut-wrenching pain for the rest of her life, that she will get ugly and no one will want her, that she will commit suicide and will have to live her life over again. Then she prays, "Please remove my fears and direct my attention to who you would have me be" going through all these fears one by one, acknowledging that they are all objectionable and that she is honestly willing to have them removed. She adds, "I pray only for knowledge of Your will for me and the power to carry that out. Thy will, not mine shall be done." She remembers to place reliance on a Higher power over self-reliance.
Her character defects are listed next: stooping to be loved; selfish, self-centered, gluttonous, self-will run riot, obsessive, self-destructive, dishonest, prideful, impatient, and ungrateful. She is now willing to let go.
What happened to her when she was a defenseless little girl… it wasn’t fair and it wasn’t right… but it’s not about the perpetrator. It is about her. She is an adult now and it’s on her to own it all and do whatever it takes to heal and liberate herself from the attachment to a person and event from a distant painful past. The need for resentments and blame can interfere with that. It’s a challenge not to use it as justification to perpetuate her pain and inflict suffering. It’s on her to do the work of recovery and allow the process of transformation to take place. When she knows that she has suffered enough she can release it to a plane beyond the physical.
“The soul always knows what to do to heal itself. The challenge is to silence the mind” – quote, Carolyn Myss