tearsoftheclown

I am working as a LADC  (Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor) at a chemical dependency treatment center in Minnesota.  Each day, I lead a three-hour group therapy session with clients in early recovery.  Of course, I am not revealing any confidential information, but I want to put the spotlight on one of the more interesting and sometimes effective defense mechanisms that can keep people at arms length and sabotage recovery.

I call this the “Tears Of The Clown Syndrome”.  If a person is participating in a group and they are fearful or insecure about sharing issues that are sensitive to them and are filled with emotion, then in their minds, they need a way to hide.  They fear being exposed emotionally to the group.  The person may be protecting pain or trauma that was pivotal to their personality development and how they view the world today.

Lately, I have seen this phenomenon displayed in group sessions and it has been holding people back.  So here’s what it looks like:  A person presents a happy, joking face,  like everything in their lives is just great and there are no problems or worries or fears. Everything is great!  When asked a serious question, for example about emotions or past pain, they immediately fall into the role of the clown and deflect the question with a comical diversion. The person is fearful that if they reveal their true selves with all of their insecurities, fears, vulnerabilities, sadness, anger, hatred, confusion, betrayal from others, disappointments, hurt and pain from past traumas or a feeling of being lost in the world. Secrets abound.

Many people are hanging onto, protecting and have vowed to never tell anyone about their secrets.  There is an old saying which states,  “People are only as sick as their secrets.”  Many human beings are being poisoned by their own tightly held secrets and often times they are not aware of their own self-deception.

Back to the Tears of the Clown.  When people do not want to reveal their true self, they lie about who they really are and what their real emotions are.  They do this to put up a defensive wall against anyone who might get too close.  This produces isolation and fear and loneliness, but somehow they believe that this sacrifice is worth it, to keep people at a distance.

The Clown is full of pain, going back years, but it is their pain and they hold onto it like a baby in their arms.  It is like trying to swim with a heavy anchor around your neck.

It takes slow and delicate communication with the person, along with love and trust to build a positive relationship.  Small steps toward sharing secrets and past pain and traumas can, in time, lead to relief, healing and peace of mind for someone showing signs of the Tears Of The Clown Syndrome.

About The Author

Robert J. Allison lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota with his wife Rochelle Allison. Robert survived a 28-year battle with chemical dependency, including 13 chemical dependency treatment centers and homelessness. He surrendered his life to Jesus Christ and began his new life of faith and contented sobriety. Robert has been blessed with 18 years of sobriety and with his new freedom he now is helping other addicts to find peace, faith and the priceless gift of sobriety.

Only You

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Only You can make my life a beautiful thing.

Only You can make my journey have the right destination.

You shall keep me safe.

You shall guide me through paths littered with sharp cutting stones.   My feet will not bleed, although my heart maybe broken by stones I choose to hold in my hand.

Only You can understand this searching and restless soul.  Communion with You is our common goal.

It has been ten long years that my ship has been afloat in turbulent waters amidst a sea consumed by fear, rage, confusion and delusion.

It has been an eternity of chaos and a nightmare of self-destruction.

This ship without an anchor.

This life without a rudder.

This soul without a home.

The captain cursed at the world and at himself for his unfortunate luck, quick to pass the buck onto You, the weather or sometimes even fate.

In his heart, he knew he was a liar, that his ship was mean’t to be a great ship, but that he had made it into a pitiful raft in a raging sea.

His senses had been dulled by his own self-seeking.  His soul was reeking with the stench of self-deception.

He came to rest at the gate of great decision.  Having been lost and tossed and bumped and bruised with indifferent terror, he amused himself in pondering—

Perhaps You could set me on an even keel?  You can give this life of mine a strong and true rudder and sails to hold the mighty winds!

He had finally made his decision, however without much precision.  He would give his ship to You, the Master Ship Builder, who would forever be his compass and his North Star, shinning down guidance, comfort and hope.

This man had finally reached the end of his rope.  It was time to head for home and leave the sailing in the hands of the Great Friend.  In confidence, strength and gratitude, with emerging truth and humility, his soul was now at liberty to become the beautiful thing that God designed it to be.

 

 

 

 

 

About The Author

Robert J. Allison lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota with his wife Rochelle Allison. Robert survived a 28-year battle with chemical dependency, including 13 chemical dependency treatment centers and homelessness. He surrendered his life to Jesus Christ and began his new life of faith and contented sobriety. Robert has been blessed with 18 years of sobriety and with his new freedom he now is helping other addicts to find peace, faith and the priceless gift of sobriety.