Two magnets opposed cannot touch.
Or, we humans lack the strength to bring them together.
But, what of the psychological forces which repel?
I have no memory of what could have provoked the first episode, nor can I recall the manifesting scenario. All I do know is, my tendency to be easily averted has been lifelong.
Basically, aversion is turning away.
As a force, aversion seems to drive me to move in a direction opposed to that which I would otherwise choose. I can avoid tasks, events, even people, for days to weeks, cause not immediately named. And, my emotional connection to the activity or the person doesn’t seem strong enough to prevent this.
Rejection, or its potential, always lurks as a catalyst.
Often, the behavior of a single, key individual affects whether or not I turn from something toward which I would normally run. It’s as if some negative power or influence attaches itself to what I love, rendering it hostile. Like a poisoning.
Several months ago, I was displaced as pianist by another available candidate who had actually been nominated by me to serve temporarily in my stead when I could not. I made this recommendation on the basis of another’s reference, something I rarely do without knowing the quality of the player. But, ultimately, I lost my seat to this person, the panel in place to choose having determined availability to be the sole criteria in line with their needs.
While all these appeared satisfied with their decision, I was fairly well demolished by it. Gradually, I lost interest in my association with the group and, even more astonishing, my desire to play the piano. Now, every time I so much as look at my beautiful Steinway grand, aversion grips my soul.
The initial emotion was, invariably, anger; how dare anyone infiltrate my precious relationship with the music I made on this magnificent instrument?
Yet, the anger gets directed toward that from which I’m averted! The piano itself embodies the negative force exerted by those who have expressed their rejection of me, as if to become a tool of their power.
The dishes in the sink, waiting to be washed, seize me similarly. If I do not wash them immediately, they become increasingly capable of averting me until not a single clean plate or bowl remains and the task demands attention.
I use the term “lifelong” because I cannot return to a time when aversion was not played out in my realm.
Psychologists posit that trauma is the originator. Pain, and the fear of pain, cause us to do everything in our power to prevent its recurrence. Somehow, trauma causes pain and pain becomes associated with that which we hold dear.
Childhood trauma has many aspects – physical abuse; sexual abuse; emotional abuse. Being beaten; being violated; having love and care withheld. Our brains make connections. A single event can permanently associate the pain it generates with any number of experiences in the future which trigger its memory.
Likewise, the source of the aversion attaches itself like a barnacle to that from which I’m averted. They meld. The source seizes ownership.
Many, many years ago I did experience a memorable trauma, one which can be isolated and named. That episode caused PTSD, a phenomenon still manifesting residually all these years hence. And, what did this affect? My other musical instrument, my priceless cello. The ghosts of the nefarious surround me every time I look in its direction.
My conscious awareness of the cause, plus my love for my students, are the only forces which overcome this realization; I deliberately penetrate the veil of hate every time I choose to grasp hold of that instrument.
Aversion isn’t just a psychological neurosis. It’s the power of hate to command control over that which is loved, very well one of the demons about which the ancients speak.
We must all rise, and stand against such a force. “Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it.” – Song of Solomon 8.
Nothing should touch that which is loved except love itself.
Copyright 8/28/22 Ruth Ann Scanzillo. All rights those of the author, whose story it is and whose name appears above this line. Plagiarists, take your hate and turn away.