Sunday, November 17, 2013

Warning: Are You Trying To Fill A "Bottomless" Pit Person?

Peter Russo (Cory Stall, House Of Cards)
Resilience. It's a word that plays a part in your life, if you stick around long enough. You will experience things that will require for you to call upon your inner resources...if you have them. But what if you don't have them? How do you deal with life? If you're like characters such as Peter Russo (House Of Cards), you deal with issues by not dealing with them. You handle life by the swig or by the snort.

We are first introduced to Peter Russo while watching the Netflix produced, U.S. version of House Of Cards, starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright. Peter Russo is a U.S. congressman who hails from my hometown city, Philadelphia. Specifically, Peter grew up in a working-class, blue-collar Italian neighborhood in South Philly. We don't know how or when, but Peter manages enough strength to overcome his roots and break out of "the neighborhood", finding himself on Capitol Hill.

Yes, dreams can come true....including personal nightmares.

See, in spite of scaling the heights out of the dead-end pit that is his S. Philly neighborhood, Peter voluntarily creates his own personal pits and valleys. When we are introduced to Peter, we are also immediately introduced to his addictions. Worse, Peter is the addict of (What I feel is) the worst variety: He's a functional addict. 

He holds down a very high-profile career and what little emotion he allows in his life, he lavishes upon his school-aged son and daughter.  He's got his cover-ups and his routines down to an art-form. In his mind, he can have his addiction and his lavish, powerful lifestyle, too. There's no reason for him to change and as we see in the House Of Cards season one series, Peter has very little incentive or desire to change, despite the trail of broken hearts that he leaves in his wake of self-destruction.

I won't spoil the rest of the Peter Russo story line but I will share that I had strong reactions to observing his story line. See, I've known various varieties of Peter Russos. Not all of them were substance abusers either (Although I've certainly known my share of those people too! ). Some people were victims of previous circumstances, circumstance beyond their control. I definitely know about that, too.

There was a time in my life, around 12 plus year ago, where I came to coin a phrase for myself that guides me through life: "It may not be your fault but it is your problem". In other words, I learned to hold myself accountable for what was mine. I even learned how to hold myself accountable for behaviors that became mine, as a result of "stuff" that was cast upon me by others. In short, I started taking steps to "fix" what was broken in my life. I learned that it's not about the stuff we go through or experience, its all about our willingness to come out on the other side.

But you know, some people never learn this lesson. Some people find it beneficial to run, hide, blame, drown, project. And you know what I've learned about folks like these? It's often best to leave them wallowing in their crap! Sick and as strange as it may sound, there are those who love rolling around in the cesspool of their souls. Peter Russo's character was such a person, although there were moments that hinted otherwise.

The issue of addiction, dysfunction and personality disorder is very sensitive, especially for those of us who have or currently do love someone who struggles with these. Without a doubt, there are plenty of times when people who struggle with these will tempt others to walk away from them. While we live in a society that teaches the virtues of compassion, there are times when the compassionate thing to do for ourselves is to protect ourselves and walk away from a "bottomless pit" of a person.

Believe me, the person in question won't miss you when you're gone.

Here's a really cool Google Hangout interview, featuring actor Cory Stall who portrays Peter Russo.


  1. This is a really powerful post that gives us a lot to think about. I love the phrase "It may not be your fault but it is your problem." It's so easy to allow ourselves to become victims of our circumstances rather than reclaiming our power and making a move forward to resolve the issue.

  2. Hey Reese!

    Yeah, that phrase that I came up with has helped me to cope with a lot of scenarios in life. Bottom line, I was facing a crossroads where I absolutely had to take ownership of the scorched earth that my life became, at the time.

    The sad thing about growing up in abuse or neglect is that one is left to clean up other's messes. However, if we are to be successful in life, the messes must be cleansed.

    Thanks for commenting!