When I first got my life back after the sociopath was arrested, I was terrified of becoming angry. Anger to me was my father raging. Anger was the sociopath standing before me with fist raised, eyes blazing, teeth bared. Anger never stopped. Anger was forever. And so, I feared my anger.
I had to learn that anger does end — when I let it out — safely and with feeling.
One hot sunny day a couple of months after his arrest, a girlfriend, who had also come out of an abusive relationship, and I took 4 dozen eggs to the top of a cliff and threw them with all our might onto the rocks below. Before we hurled them we sat and drew pictures and words onto each egg — pictures and words I had always been too afraid to speak. I drew caricatures of the sociopath. I drew pictures of what I’d like to do to him (like drowning in a vat of hot oil, or being squished by a huge road paving machine) I wrote swear words, exclamation marks and red thunder bolts and anything else that depicted to me what he was and what he’d done to me. And then, screaming and yelling and crying, I hurled those eggs off the cliff and watched them smash below.
When only one egg was left, I stood at the edge of the cliff and gently cradled the egg in my palm. I took a deep, deep calming breath and slowly opened my hand and held the egg in front of me. Slowly, I turned my hand over and let the egg fall out. It sailed silently down and was broken. All that was left were scattered eggshells on the rocks below.
For me, that final, graceful movement represented how easy it was to ‘let it go’. The longer I held onto my fear of being angry, my pain, my sorrow, my grief stayed within me. And the more they filled me up, the more my body hurt.
When I chose to move into it and through it, to release it, it let go of me and I was free.
One of my challenges (and believe me there were many) when first I got my life back was to accept that what he had done was wrong. That what he had done hurt me. I kept trying to minimize it, to tell myself to ‘get over it’, to tell myself I had to forgive him or at least give him a chance to explain.
I was wrong.
The only thing I needed to do was to believe in me. I needed to accept that what happened to me hurt me. I needed to turn up for me and turn away from abuse. I needed to wrap my loving arms around myself and tell me that I would no longer accept the unacceptable. I would no longer abide by abuse. And, I would no longer abuse myself by trying to make sense of his nonsense, by trying to rationalize his bad behaviour, by trying to make his abuse acceptable. Never was. Never can be.
And then, I had to choose to do what was right. What was caring. What was loving for me. I had to learn to love myself, beauty and the beast, and to accept myself just the way I am and to believe I deserve more than he ever would or could have given me. I deserve to set myself free.
Today, I believe in me. I believe in my right to live a beautiful life. I believe in my right to be who I am, beauty and the beast, and I believe in my power to express who I am in ways that honour my beauty as I express my love and respect for the beauty of the world around me.