Many call it psychosomatic. Illnesses that reside in our psyche but manifest in an unreal need to see the doctor for a phantom pain. The failure to get these issues up and out ensures the habit of baiting and switching goes unabated.
Henri Nouwen spent time at a Trappist Monastery in Genesse, a period of time he recorded his diaries. From time to time I dip into his reflections on life, especially its ordinariness. This morning I ran across this note from August, a Tuesday designated as 13.
This morning Father John explained to me that the killdeer is a bird that fools you by simulating injury to pull your attention away from her eggs which she lays openly on a sandy place. Beautiful! Neurosis as a weapon! How often I have asked pity for a very unreal problem in order to pull people’s attention away from what I didn’t want them to see.
Sometimes it seems that every bird has institutionalized one of my defense mechanisms. The cowbird lays her eggs in some other bird’s nest to let them do the brooding job; the Baltimore oriole imitates the sounds of more dangerous birds to keep the enemies away, and the red-wing blackbird keeps screaming so loudly overhead that you get tired of her noise and soon leave the area that she considers hers. It does not take long to realize that I do all of that and a lot more to protect myself or get my own will done. (Spiritual Journals: Genesee Diary, Gracias, The Road to Daybreak, p.72-73)
What we need is a rupture that startles us to face ourselves. Advent may be that rupture.