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How Child Abuse, Drug Abuse, and Porn Addiction Wreaks Havoc.

Part 1 of the Trilogy Modum Series

Within many of our blogs and other digital content, I’ve extensively discussed the damages inflicted upon our society by a combination of adolescent abuseAn American Lawyer by James E. Crawford Jr. Esq. (be it emotional, physical, or sexual), familial histories of addiction, and excessive pornography usage.

In the following series of blogs, I explore a theory that I came up with several years ago, one that not only relates to the practice of law, but that may help to explain the epidemic of child pornography and sex offenses that continues to plague our country. I’ve honed this theory over the course of my 32 years of criminal defense experience and thousands of tried cases, and I firmly believe in it.

I refer to this theory as the “Trilogy Modum,” and I write about it extensively in my latest book, An American Lawyer. I get into detail about how our society has turned this vicious cycle into a remarkably common occurrence, and how to remove yourself, or a loved one, from this dangerous trap. Furthermore, we’ll explore the Trilogy Modum in the upcoming first episode of our firm podcast. (coming soon, stay tuned)

As for the theory itself, the Trilogy Modum consists of three dysfunctional attitudes and abuses that, when combined, formulate a kind of psychological “super germ” in an individual, and can lead them down the path to destructive, abusive behavior. These are:

  1. Emotional, physical, or sexual abuse suffered as an adolescent.
  2. A family history of drug abuse and addiction (be it alcoholism or otherwise)
  3. Pornography Addiction 

I believe pornography addiction is an especially potent toxic behavior, and as such it’s vital for parents to understand what their kids are looking at without their supervision, and more importantly, what kinds of dangerous activities it could lead to.

I’ve inserted the following excerpt from chapter 29 of An American Lawyer. In this passage, I begin to discuss the Trilogy Modum in detail, and explore my state of mind when first proposing this psychosocial theory.

The Trilogy Modum

It has been over ten years since Jim died. So now what?

The answer is simply to learn from the past and to teach and show others. The last decade of my life has been the most productive and challenging since I took my first breath. It’s funny. I had to reach my fifties to start understanding some of the issues that created and shaped me.

I’m glad I chose the law. Although I believe I’ve given a lot to it, it has given me much more. It has been about a journey, not a conclusion. The final destination is not important. Yes, it’s the striving for a particular destination that is essential, but the processes it takes to get there are what made me who I am today. I am very much looking forward to the years ahead in my practice. Nothing has made me deviate from my belief system and what it stands for. It’s about the underdog and standing next to that person fighting the good fight.

A poem that I greatly admire fits my philosophy and the way I try to approach business and life. It’s revealing and says more than I may like about myself. I love it and have it on my wall.

“Into the Gray”

Once more into the fray. 

Into the last good fight, I’ll ever know. Live and die on this day. 

Live and die on this day 

Over the last few years, utilizing my experience from representing a broad range of individuals and coming to many conclusions since my father’s passing, I feel that I’ve grown in ways that I never thought possible. This shy, timid, blond-haired, and blue-eyed young boy has accomplished a great deal. I found that it was not only important for me to try to figure out how I established the belief system that I did, but I also realize it’s important to identify and understand commonality among others who may have gone through some of the same things. Assisting others, to try and help tackle some of life’s gaping wounds, is what I decided that I need to take on during my lifetime. Just like it was my wish to establish certain things for my children so they would not have to start from scratch, it is also my desire to establish and teach to the best of my ability lessons derived from my experiences that others may be able to apply to their own lives. All of us have had things in our lives that have happen to us: abuse, poverty, inequity, and unfairness. That is life, so to speak. Sometimes the truth is hard to face.

The poem “The Walrus and the Carpenter” by Lewis Carroll says it all.

“The time has come,” the Walrus said, To talk of many things: 

Of shoes—and ships—and sealing-wax— Of cabbages—and kings— 

And why the sea is boiling hot— And whether pigs have wings.” 

Of course, we all know the story the poem tells. The walrus was very polite and kind to the young oysters but ultimately deceived them by eating them. Similar to the language Carroll puts forth when he says, “The time has come… to talk of many things,” I believe the time has come for me to help others in their time of need by sharing certain aspects of my life. Let’s speak of things that may be difficult to accept. It reminds me of the fact that life is not fair and equal to all of us. No one promised us a “rose garden,” but I do believe it’s important to try to understand how family and other influence every one of us in our lives. The science of psychology has been trying to do that for centuries and has made many strides forward since Freud hit the stage. Just as Johnny Cash said in his hit song, “I’ve been everywhere, man.” I feel like I have seen a lot in the legal field. I would be remiss if I didn’t share my professional and life experiences. I’m not a psychologist and not pretending to be. This is not professional mental health advice or guidance. These are simply my observations and beliefs.

I have seen a systematic set of actions and issues that have manifested themselves over a lengthy period of time and observation. Combined with my own set of experiences discussed in the earlier chapters, and a pattern of dysfunction I have observed through my practice, I believe that the set of principles I will lay out before you now is extremely important in recognizing dysfunctional behavior that can have devastating effects on individuals and those around them.

The Trilogy Modum is a term I created to explain certain dysfunctions and attitudes men and women develop as a result of three primary causational factors.

  1. Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse
  2. Adult children of alcoholics (or any substance abuse)
  3. Pornography addiction

I will discuss each of these aspects of harm in this chapter. It is my hope that you will see that even though each of these conditions can be traumatic unto themselves, mixed together, they can be deadly. They can halt and destroy many healthy aspects of emotional and physical health.

Physical, Sexual, and Emotional Abuse

The first condition—or better said, “conditioned thought process”— of the trilogy modum is physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. Sexual and physical abuse occur at an astronomical basis in this country and around the world. It is not something that we can put our finger on to determine the exact numbers, though there are statistics available that help identify the scope of the problem It is estimated by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), that on average nearly 2,000 people a day are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. The NCADV also estimated that one in four women and one in nine men experience severe intimate partner physical violence. In addition, the Center for Family Justice (CFFJ) estimates that one out of every four women and one out of every six men are sexually abused in their lifetime. In this country, a report of child abuse is made every ten seconds, according to the American Society for the Positive Care of Children. One out of every three girls and one out of every seven boys will be sexually assaulted by the time they reach the age of eighteen. This dirty secret affects millions of people who experienced these acts when they were kids and are now adults. I know; I’m one of them.

Abuse of any kind can cause trauma. Regrettably, trauma is part of life. But that shouldn’t prevent individuals from trying to figure out how they have reached a point at which they have developed patterns of dysfunction that prevent them from moving on successfully in life. Those patterns can be in the business world, personal relationships, and just sadness within oneself. I’m certainly not going to advocate that therapy is the answer to everyone’s problems. What I do advocate is that each of us need to be accountable for what is going on with the final baking of our cake. All the ingredients that have been put into the making of that cake count. They matter. It makes a difference as to how you perceive life and relationships in general.

For many years, I was a hard ass by way of not addressing thoughts and feelings that seemed to shape me as a man. I realized that opening your mind to delving into your background and the elements that shaped you can have a major effect on how you live your life. For me, it was realizing that certain thought-process patterns had been created that shaped my persona. Early on, I was angry at the world, and I tried to use that anger to conquer my personal relationships and also achievements professionally. That anger helped me to advance pretty far. I used it to become a lawyer and to point myself in the direction of being successful in a business setting. But after a while, I seemed to loop. I was pushing and working harder but for some reason, I wasn’t moving forward in the capacity that I wanted. Something was holding me back. I knew it was within my mindset. For some reason, I wouldn’t allow myself to become a greater success.

What I realized was that it wasn’t necessarily the actual trauma that was doing this, but the emotional and functional dynamics I used to cope with those issues. I created mechanisms for how I dealt with the entire outside world. Anger and being “pumped up,” along with determination, were my emotional drugs of choice.

The really important aspect of that was how I interacted emotionally and mentally with the world. How I saw things, and how I approached things put me at a dead end. The anger and determination only took me so far. I realized I had to stop seeing myself and the rest of the world through the lens that I had created as a kid. I had to reinvent a new lens, to open up my mind to see who Jim Crawford really is— the imperfections as well as the good stuff—and also get rid of much of the old methodologies of how I approached life, meaning personal relationships and achievement in business.

As soon as the blurring of the old glasses started to disappear, I started to see many things. All of a sudden, I was opened to being criticized, open to realizing that I needed new ways to address and interact in personal relationships and also in business. All of us can look at a certain object and give a somewhat different description of what that object really is. It’s our own perception. We all tend to live our entire world through long-ago created perceptions. We look at issues, events, people, jobs, life because of the platforms we created long ago. That is the actual ingredients for the making of the cake.

Sexual, physical, and emotional abuse can produce an ingredient that tends to cause an individual to view the world in a dysfunctional way for most of their life. The key is to unravel these created thoughts and throw them out. Bake a new cake with new ingredients that you understand. That is the first step to understanding why you do the same things over and over again. Instead of defending your actions, dissect them and understand where they came from.

James Crawford 


Trilogy Modum Series Part 2