The past few days have been spent in a state of grace. I am in bliss, filled to the brim with deep gratitude for the smallest of kindnesses, for every friendly smile and generally for this adventure called life. Moreover, I find humor in my current situation, which I admit is challenging enough that, had it occurred some years ago, I might have committed suicide. But, knowing this only reminds me again of the grace, in that I receive my tests when I’m ready. Every day, I feel stronger.
My guru Paramahansa Yogananda says that we want to “stand unshaken amidst the crash of breaking worlds.” Unconvincingly, I envision remaining still, shining with inner peace, unafraid throughout the utter chaos and destruction of a galactic collapse.
Or, am I being asked to stand unshaken in the crash between my past and future, on the rickety bridge between what my world was and what it is becoming? Is there a crash between our old world, with the sickest elements exploiting humanity, groping at the remnants of a materialistic dream, the vertically structured world of slaves and rulers and good guys and bad guys - and the emerging world of sister and brotherhood, where we are individually empowered, stewards of the earth, recognizing our innate sovereignty and connection with each other and all creatures.
My current fear goes back to a time when connection and care turned into abuse and torture - when I was enslaved in the network and a young gangster who had groomed me, protected me from being raped - including by himself for the first six months - turned on me.
I had just turned eleven years old when the sex began. With it, came primordial betrayal, beatings, stabbings, and rapes. The self confidence I had gained by having my positive qualities mirrored and affirmed by him, was attacked and invalidated, as if I had been a lego castle, built up only to be broken down. During these dire months in the spring and summer of 1974, I bought into the idea that abuse was deeply connected to love. He terrorized me to force the connection that had been automatic beforehand, which meant I needed to surrender, to become one with him, again and again, to survive. The slaves, the killers and the brokenhearted live on passion; the painful cry for love in its ruins.
Some weeks after I had witnessed my mother and the gangster having sex, he took me to a private room during an orgy. When I called him a traitor, the confrontation turned violent. As his closed fist struck my cheekbone, he screamed:
“Are you going to stop it, yes or no?”
What do you want me to stop? I wondered. He hit me again. He undid his belt and jumped on me, pinned me down. He started to rape me.
The meaning of his cry ‘Are you going to stop it or what?’ suddenly became clear: He needed me to stop being this person who hates him. I hesitantly put my arms around him. He responded tenderly. I surrendered.
The sex lasted all night long. He drove me home without offering first aid or food. When I entered, my mother was visibly relieved to see me bruised; if he hurt me, it must have meant that she was winning.
Checking the bathroom mirror before going to bed, I was aghast to discover that the left half of my face was completely disfigured - my eye was red, swollen and almost completely shut. My jaw, also swollen, weirdly stuck out. In a fit of panic, I became fully aware that the gangster had done this, that my mother had expressed pleasure over it, and that neither had been the least bit shocked.
As I my heart raced and my body turned cold, panicky thoughts swirled through my mind:
“I don’t exist in their eyes. I serve as an extension of one or the other to play the part of what they can’t face in themselves! I am dead already! “
This young girl and that panicky voice live on inside of me. She has been magnetically attracting men who will turn against her. There is a lead-in period during which they see me in a positive light and are protective. Once their internal alarm goes off, they flip and perceive me in a completely different, extremely negative light. In the past years I have been mindful not to let my young parts take charge of my words and actions, so my responsibility lies in what I fail to notice and what I don’t do. I bypass cues that would, with my present awareness, have me run or stay away in the first place. This blindness or passivity activates the unconscious desire of the young girl inside of me to emotionally land back in a structure resembling her trauma, so the repressed fear can resurface. She finds people who will betray her, blindly hoping for a different outcome. I find such men in budding friendships or in work life, since I avoid romantic relationships in part because of this pattern.
Looking back at the collaboration I had with a man - whom I never met in person - who most recently has been trying to do damage, I’ve begun to recollect moments in which I did have a an intuition about certain things that I ignored. For example, I’ve remembered sharing private information and sensing that this was not safe before pushing that thought away. Also, I witnessed him turn against women with whom he had collaborated, as he copied me on aggressive emails to them. It was clear that he had no boundaries and deep unresolved anger. And yet, I did not back out or stand up for these women. There was a little girl inside of me who secretly felt relieved that it wasn’t her. I recognize that I am an adult and that this was cowardly, even as I can find understanding for the young girl inside who was attached to an abusive male.
A few years back I did gently withdraw from dealing with this person, We had no communication for a year and a half. Then he reached back out and mentioned that he was changing, that he had stopped lashing out. He wanted to work with me again, because my story wouldn’t leave him, he said. In spite of what I knew, I went forward. He’s charming, convincing. He has a good sense of humor and some unique talents. I appreciate him. Since he is a supporter of survivors, I believed I was safe from his wrath.
Each test is about overcoming fear, prompting me to align more firmly with universal love. Each time another email flows in from a colleague who shares that they received a call or an email from him, my body goes into freeze mode. The emails list all the “proof” that a chunk of my story doesn’t match up to his personal fact-check, twisting around both my confidential as well as public information, spinning the truth to create implications of corroboration and scientific evidence, to warn people against me. I am painted as a confabulator and master manipulator. I was actually looking forward - in the context of a project we started - to get some of my story checked out, in an atmosphere of trust. When I started to share my story in 2013, I felt ready because I don’t need people to believe me. This muscle is getting built up.
These circumstances have been keeping me awake at night. At times, I am filled with profound dread. But that dread is quickly transformed as I sit in meditation, and send light to that person and everyone else he has gotten involved in his relentless need for blind revenge. I visualize him inside a subtle but bright light and send thoughts of peace and harmony. Through his tactics and projections he is trying to evoke humiliation and disgrace in me - which I assume are the painful feelings he needs to reject from his own system. However, I am choosing not to accept his burden. Had I not done a lot of work around transforming my shame into awareness and acceptance, I would have lost my power and suffered tremendously. Instead, the only negative feeling that occasionally rises to the surface and overtakes my entire body and mind, is dread.
The little girl who suffered at the hands of insane adults needs my understanding, love and support - and I am offering her these and inviting her to accept my care. Simultaneously, I am experiencing expansion and bliss, feeling supported and loved. I am entirely grateful for being given this experience, to become strong and fearless. When you have been a victim of horrendous abuse and become a strong survivor, it can be confusing. Many protectors are unconsciously looking for victims to cover their own insecurity, so they can feel powerful. When a former victim is strong, like me, it challenges that cover, and then, whatever darkness is beneath will then come flying at me - the stand-in evil authority figure. All this is about unresolved trauma. I understand it and have no anger, because I have not been disempowered.
Once upon a time, my greatest fear was that if I would go public with my story, I would be called a perpetrator. My giant guilt complex would have had me accept the charge and want to destroy myself. In an email this person sent to me and several others, he says exactly that. Thank goodness that today, I know who I am; and the opinion of others is not my business.
Strength and power is part of our true nature. The drive to feel powerful is natural and understandable. It’s just the ways that many people go about experiencing that power is off. All this can be held within the new paradigm of compassion and oneness.