The process of harming, or abusing, requires finding abusive qualities in the other, to get in the victim-consciousness - from where you can justify causing harm.

 Photo taken in 1974, age 11, by trafficker months before release from the network.

Photo taken in 1974, age 11, by trafficker months before release from the network.

The process of harming, or abusing, requires finding abusive qualities in the other, to get in the victim-consciousness - from where you can justify causing harm.

One way to see if you are involved in such a dynamic, is when you focus excessively on the other. Once you stop speaking about yourself, you're off in projection land, and you can get so lost there you may never find your way back to the reality of the other person. Even if you think of yourself as the al-anon type, if you engage with a narcissist and focus on them and their actions, you are unconsciously setting yourself up to get your revenge.

Liberation Prison Yoga teachings focus on recognizing the state of feeling victimized as a younger part of yourself. The key is to turn inward instead of outward, to try to communicate with that part of the self that has been magnetized in the interpersonal dynamics leading to the painful result. I recently got a big test and needed to use everything that I teach. I made an unusual choice that pushed me forward like never before: I decided that I don't have to suffer.

When you get emotionally intimate with a narcissist, you know one thing: the degree of intimacy predicts the degree of abuse that follows. Love and abuse are one and the same in their emotional blueprint (and perhaps in yours too), and they test you, from their child self, in the only way they know how - the impossible way that only proves that they cannot be loved. When the abuse comes, you withdraw, bring yourself to safety, and learn about yourself. And you don't focus on him or her, and on what they did! That's the new, hard part.

As a ten year old girl trapped in the pedophile network, I suddenly received the protection of a charming, very handsome 20 year old gangster. The special attention, protection from rapes, his show of respect and his apparent concern for all I had already been through, turned into horrific child abuse, and complete disregard for my well-being. He beat me black and blue, violently raped me, stabbed me. Once I saw myself in the mirror after one of his beatings, and after my mother ignored the bruises: I was shocked. I barely looked human.The people on whom I depended for my life were so crazy they didn't even care. It would have been impossible to continue to live in that state of fear, so I felt deserving of the abuse, in fact felt close to the gangster through it.

That little girl, the shame she felt for her bruises and scars, completely alone, abandoned, and abused needed me to be her parent these last days. When I started to sink into depression and thought of suicide, I reminded myself that this is not all of me: this is this part, this girl, and imagined holding her in my arms, giving her a teddy bear, letting her play with our puppy. The girl didn't need to take care of things - the adult could care of things while the girl could rest safely, held in my mind and heart.

I had to keep reminding myself I am not her, and that she was trying to find expression through me because I never before allowed her to exist. She was shut out of my consciousness through the shame. I'm ready now to be a parent to that very abused, very victimized girl. Not suffering doesn't mean not feeling for her: I grieve for her, but it has a sweet, healing quality. Had I felt the pain while focusing on the other person, it would only be a matter of time before the same process would be repeated all over again, with someone else. As to the person who triggered all of this, I visualize them in divine light, and send them thoughts of peace and harmony. And I will keep myself safe.

Photo: Age 11, taken by trafficker, 2 months before rescue from the network, August 1974, Belgium.

M Becker