A while back I wrote a post about someone who was significant to me when I was in high school. In that post I talked a bit about how much G was able to hurt me with her cold words and her treatment of me. In the months since I wrote that, I have come to understand that what she did was much more than that. What she did was spiritual abuse, it was soul stealing and it was profoundly damaging to me. For over forty years I have carried not only the pain of the words she said to me, but a part of me has remained absolutely stuck and rooted on the stairway where I collapsed when she said them, stopped in my tracks in part of my growth in a sense. Because what she told me was that I was "not lovable", that I was "not worthy" of any one's love and care. She of course, being the wonderful person that she was, could go above and beyond that and would care for me anyway....she would fly in the face of all the "others" who told her she was "wasting her time" on me, on my "phony, fakey" self whom "everyone knew" would "never amount to anything."
Those words became a part of me, she became a part of me. In psychological terms, she was an introject in my personality. Whenever I was stressed, or something happened that reminded me in any way of her, or my back was against the wall (like any time I felt guilty about anything...which for me is pretty much any time I am less than perfect!), it would trigger stuff about this. She of course was the lead the critical voice in my head, always ready to shame me, to remind me that I am indeed not really ok, not really loveable, despite much evidence to the contrary. I have been working away at this whole thing for years in various ways, in therapy, in body work, and most recently in spritual direction, knowing that many of my issues were connected with G and my relationship with her, that she stood in the way of true authenticity and freedom for me, and getting more and clear of late that what she did was abusive.
Last night I think I got free. I have known all along I was not the only girl she befriended. I knew there were a group of us, and I knew we were all kind of fringey girls. Loners, kids whose family lives were not the best, or who did not fit in socially, or who had "issues" of one kind or another. I also knew she did not want us to know one another, and actively discouraged friendships between us. As we talked in spiritual direction last night, the light bulb finally went on! C had mentioned the possibility of trying to look up the other girls and see how she had treated them, if she had done something similar to them. My first reaction had been fear that if I found them they would say I was the only one she said those things to, behaved that way with, but then suddenly, I knew! I knew as if it were written clearly on the wall before me. It was her perp rap! She said it to all of us in some form or another....it was not about me....We we all her victims. I did nothing to deserve this any more than any client of mine does anything to deserve any of the abuse they incur. None of it was the truth about me. Though it was directed at me personally it was not about me personally. All of the things she said to me were designed to give and keep her in power over me. And it worked. Oh did it work. She has been gone from my life physically for over fifteen years now...and only now does she NO LONGER have power over me. Because today it is done. For the first time since I was sixteen she is not in my head. I am free of her. I expect that there will be backsliding moments. I know this is not a miracle cure. But just for today, I am enjoying life without her and thanking God for endurance, patience and really good SDs!
In the moment when I knew, that fifteen year old part of me that has been stuck on the stairway rose and began walking. She walked away from G down the stairs and out of that school. She started dropping books and shedding things until she was as light as air. She walked and then she ran and she picked up speed until she was flying. She flew into God and she flew into my heart where at least at this moment she safely remains.