Recently I was hired to write a script for a video on Mammography. While working on the voice-overs, the actress hired to do the narration kept stumbling on one line. I knew it sounded awkward but was having trouble changing it. The Director and I looked at the sentence — The fact that the screening mammogram might have saved her life, is not a myth. It’s a fact.
“It’s the word, fact. It appears twice in the sentence and makes it awkward,” I said.
We struggled for some minutes to think of a word to replace it with, but couldn’t find one that fit.
“We can’t change the last two phrases,” I said. “They have to go together because that’s the power statement. It’s not a myth. It’s a fact. We’ve got to find another word for ‘fact’ at the beginning of the sentence.
Listening from her perch in the recording studio, the actress spoke up. “What if you move the ‘it’s not a myth’ to the beginning of the sentence? Then it would read, It’s not a myth that the screening mammogram might have saved her life. It’s a fact.”
The Director and I looked at each other with stunned expressions. Such a simple and elegant solution. But, because I had stated from the onset that we couldn’t separate the two phrases, it’s not a myth and It’s a fact, we didn’t look for a solution that didn’t include the two phrases together. My statement of ‘how it had to be’ limited our ability to look for a creative solution based on possibilities rather than only looking at what was.
The power is in our words
The same is true for surviving and healing an encounter of the psychopath kind.
There is power in our words. Sometimes we use words that limit and inhibit us from claiming our true selves free of the pain we knew when with him/her. We tell ourselves, I’ll never get over him. I’ll never trust again. I’ll never find love again. We see our lives through the context of those statements and tell ourselves we are powerless to change our thinking. In that telling, we limit our ability to move beyond their lies to find more creative, original solutions to living our lives in freedom.
While with the psychopath, I saw my devastated life through eyes that could not see the end of my story without him in it. Once freed of him, the ending of that part of my journey was easy to see — all I had to do was remove him to be able to breathe freely again.
But, I still felt the yearning, the desire to think of him.
If I had told myself, ‘I can’t get him out of my mind’, I would have looked for solutions that were based on having him on my mind. By telling myself, I will not let him into my mind, I looked for solutions that that did not include him in my thinking.
I am my perceptions
I am my perceptions. My world is made up of what I perceive — not necessarily what is.
The truth is – my thoughts are created within me. They do not, however, have to control me, unless I give into them. I can get him out of my mind when I make the choices that keep my mind free of thinking of him. When I put my mind into No Contact, I keep thoughts of him from swamping me. Without fear of the Tsunami of memories of him, I can lovingly let myself embrace my life without him.
It may not be a perfect life, it may be a different life than I once thought it would be, but it is my life free of abuse.
Separate the pieces of the puzzle and create the picture you want
Before his arrest I believed my life was inextricably tied to his lies, his abuse, his manipulations. I could not see me without him in the picture. By separating the pieces of the puzzle, by putting me into the picture first and by focusing on the piece with me in it, without him, I created a picture — bolder, brighter, more beautiful than anything he ever could have done.
My life today is built on the reality of my world without him. I do not feed off of his lies, I do not succumb to his terror, I do not wallow in self-denigrating abuse. I am free.
Like the actress who suggested restructuring the sentence, and was willing to separate the two components I thought had to stay together, I am creating my life based on what is possible when I focus on what is best for me and not what was impossible with him — truth, dignity, respect and love.