I came to realize last night something very interesting – at least to me.  I use television as my way to avoid my life.  I find myself turning on the television and tuning out the world.  It is almost an addiction.  While I am not compelled to run home and turn on the television, if I do turn it on, there is no hope of getting anything done, not even interacting with my children.

My maternal grandfather’s tool of avoidance was sleep.  In all of my memories of him, if there was a conflict, he was sleeping.  My mother would disagree with me on the point I am about to make, but I dont’ think I am wrong.  She avoids by physical distance.  She doesn’t have many friends and the ones she does have, she rarely interacts with and she is never the one to make the first move.

My activity of choice is television.  I might feel better about it if the programs I watch if they were educational – but they aren’t.  Much of what I watch are mindless programs, many of them reruns.

What does this mean?  Well, I feel the need to change.  I think by addressing this issue I will feel less guilt about the type of mother I am because I would be spending more time with my children.  I would also feel less stress about my house always being a mess because I would have more time to clean it.  And finally, and most importantly to me right now, I would have more time for me – and right now that means exercising.  I have decided not to focus on weight loss, but focus on feeling better.  I want to be able to enjoy playing again.

That being said, there are a few programs that I intend to continue watching.  The first is “Kid Nation.”  While I don’t generally enjoy reality shows, I am very interested in this one, partly because I am a parent and partly because I am an educator that teaches students in that age range.  There are other shows that I feel may be useful as a teacher and parent, particularly specials, that I will watch.

The first thing I am going to do when I get home tonight is – not watch television.



Filed under children, family, feelings, woman

3 responses to “Avoidance

  1. Nice insight. 🙂 For whatever it’s worth, this is called an “external coping mechanism,” and it’s completely normal for people with uncomfortable/unprocessed inner states to use external coping/comfort mechanisms.

    It’s sort of the adult equivalent of cuddling a stuffed animal. Television is one of the less harmful … drinking, drugs, compulsive shopping … all those kinds of things. I have a couple of really strange ones, myself; I’m trying to at least notice how I’m feeling before I use one of them, to identify what’s going on. It’s a lot harder to stop using coping mechanisms when you’re not clear about what’s upsetting you in the first place, I find. Oddly, I’m discovering that my distressed states don’t have the origin I thought they did . . . many of them are rooted in loneliness, which I wouldn’t have guessed, really.

  2. trured73

    I’m hoping that by trying to eliminate the avoidance, I will be able to look at why I feel the need for it. The counselor at our school (her room is across the hall from mine and she is happy to listen and offer advice – free of charge!) suggested that each time I want to turn on the television without the purpose of watching something specific, that I write down how I am feeling. She knows I enjoy writing so she thought this might be helpful. We’ll see how it goes.

  3. I bet it will be interesting to see what you learn.

    One of my own more bizarre avoidance-mechanisms is that I will get in the car and drive aimlessly. For hours. I guess there are more destructive things I could be doing, but it always strikes me as curious, and mildly amusing.

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