In the process of my survival and advancement to relative sanity, I have been an ardent observer of me. I have watched myself since the time the woman I didn't know took the place of my mother, walking out of my father's bedroom dressed in his robe. I watched the seven-year old as she buckled her red rubber boots. The anger bubbled in her belly at this invasion. It pushed the fear, sorrow and hurt to the corners of her soul.
I watched her as she buried her head in the bed pillow, screaming away the sounds of her brother's terror as he hit walls, propelled by the brute force of a monster in dad's clothing. Hatred eased the terror.
I hovered above her and watched while she was beaten and raped. There was no control in these observations except for the ability to detach...for survival of the child.
As a young woman, I watched as she struggled to fill the hole in her soul...her fight against drug addiction and alcoholism. Yes, I stood by and observed in silence as her rage burst forward. I heard the crashing of glass as windows and dishes shattered under her force, fueled by fear she couldn't recognize. I watched her lose her mind after a fatal car accident, then crept silently into her hidden soul when she was institutionalized.
Then, the rage, alcohol and drugs didn't protect her from the smoldering pain any longer. Survival necessitated a different path.
Recovery began, and I watched. For five years she delved into her psyche with her therapist, lancing the sores in her soul with truth. There were many. The uncovering of truth by way of revelations of lies brought awareness, the groundwork for Choice.
I had to watch myself in the past first. I had to face the truth--feel the desolation and shame that was the beneath the rage. Once purged and having recognized the futility of hope regarding the past...once I finished grieving over what might have been and wasn't, my self-discovery shot forward to the point where I could identify a deep, nagging feeling of self-loathing.
And I continued the therapy. I had to. At this juncture, I didn't know what else to do. What I knew is that I wanted to survive.
As I moved through the process with the help of this intuitive therapist, Yabut was revealed. He was silent to the outside world but screamed at me my victimhood. He criticized every single thing I did or said. The more focus I placed on this obnoxious critic, the clearer and louder his voice became. I saw him. He manifested himself in the form of a misshapen gray head with crooked rabbit ears. His two yellowed front teeth sliced down over his lower lip that was set in a permanent sneer. This visual reference to the inner critic remained with me. His nagging voice increased in volume as time wore on...as if he was gaining confidence in the process of my destruction.
One night, as I left a support group meeting, he perched on my right shoulder and squawked in my ear, "You idiot. Why did you say those things? You sounded so stupid. You should just keep your mouth shut."
That night, I began to separate Yabut from the truth that was me. In order to know that truth, Yabut had to go. I put him on the window sill in the kitchen one evening, pulled out an imaginary shot gun and blew him away.
The next day, driving to work, he was there, next to me in the front seat, yammering about how I would probably screw up the day, I hadn't given my daughter enough attention the night before, I was fat and stupid.
"Shut up!" The scream erupted from my belly.
Yabut lost some power.
With the help of the therapist, more and more truth was revealed and more and more lies were exposed.
The lie was that I couldn't make mistakes and my success...my worthiness... must be demonstrated through my daughter's perfection. The truth was that I was a good mother, doing the best that I could do.
The lie was that I must exceed the accomplishments of all others in order to feel equal to them. The truth is that I must do the best that I can each day in every aspect. To put myself up to judgment is futile.
I had to work harder, make more money with which to fill the hole. Another lie. The truth I learned is that the hole is filled with Spirit of Self. It had just been camouflaged by the lie.
The lie was (and still is to a lesser degree) that I must put forth a large amount of effort in order to be exceptionally attractive...I must catch second glances from men in order to feel okay. The truth is that I exude attractiveness from within...when I choose to.
The lie was that I need something outside of me to let me feel good. That lie, to a degree, is still the truth.
I am watching me while I'm right beside myself, in the present, totally aware of the gift of Choice. At times, I must stay there long enough to learn what the choices are. I must stay fully conscious. Once the alternatives are revealed, I am free to change the course of my reality.
Yabut, exposed, lost his power to victimize me through debasement. He has become nothing more than a weak, intermittent squeak...hardly discernible. Instead, there is an inner dialogue that occurs. In an exchange in which old lies are distinguished from what is real, the truth is discussed and options realized. There is no criticism. If the opportunity in the present is missed and the conversation takes place after the fact, I revel in my awareness and faith in the process.
For example, a tension-filled interaction with a coworker is rehashed, and there is no Yabut to screech to me my stupidity. Instead, I review the situation and remove the lie that this person is out to get me. I see I reacted in the truth mode but have a way to go. The next altercation found me right there and aware. Beside myself. And I chose different words, tones, body language. I was given a hearty pat on the back by the beside-me me.
I was victimized as a child. Events created a pit of pain in my belly necessitating anesthesia. Anger, self pity, alcohol, drugs, money were the medications. Yabut had always been there, his voice a distant, effective assault. He kept my soul hostage until I was no longer anesthetized, and I became willing to learn the truth.
I learned...am learning...how to live outside of victimhood. Lacking the willingness to remain a victim takes away the power of the lie.
A lie is that I must defend myself. The truth is that I am not a victim.
Now, thirteen years later, I can look back and see the both of us. The process has been one in which I looked backwards, watched, critiqued. Time passed. The distance between my awareness and the act shortened. The clarity of Choice arose about the same time as I came to be beside myself, watching the present happenings.
Daily, I have choices on how it is to be. My actions determine reactions. My thoughts determine my actions. My thoughts, choices and actions are now my own. They no longer belong to Yabut.
Artwork "The Confrontation" by Jenn Scerra.
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