On May 21, 2003 I was given the miracle of my life. The sociopath who had terrorized my existence for almost five years was arrested and I was set free from the web of his deceit.
Almost imperceptibly, healing began. Without his sinister presence, the FOG of his lies began to lift. Even though I was scared, and beaten down, I began to think and feel and take action for myself, not based on what he had told me was best or good for me, but based on what was best and healing and supportive of me. Without his insidious words stealing my peace of mind with every breath, I began to unravel the web of his deceit and find myself again. I began to make choices that loved me. Choices based on my thinking clearly about what I needed, not on the design of his constant weaving of lies and deceit.
One of the choices I made very early on in my recovery was to eliminate the possessive when thinking, writing or speaking of him. He was not, ‘my’ P or S or N or even jerk. He was, ‘the’ P or S or N or whatever I chose to call him, my favourite being, The Lie. That simple step of disconnecting from ‘owning’ him in my language had a powerful impact. I no longer thought of him as ‘mine’. He was depersonalized.
The choices we make in how we speak, think, write, or simply refer to the abuser have a powerful impact on how we stay connected in our minds to his abuse. In making him a noun, ‘the P’ for example, I let go of my attachment to him. What ‘the P’ did was not about me. It had everything to do with him. I could have called him, ‘the sink’, ‘the drain’, ‘the toilet’ – it didn’t matter. As long as I didn’t call him, ‘my sink’ I wasn’t connected to what I called him. My connection was with me. I took ownership for what I did, thought, felt, said and let go of attaching myself to his name whenever I refered to him.
In erasing the possessive term from my language I was giving my psyche, and the world, a very clear message: I do not own him. He does not own me.
And that’s where the power of depersonalizing and dispossessing them of their connection to us plays out. For so long, when in that relationship, I believed he owned me. I believed he was omnipotent. I believed he knew everything I did, thought, felt, said. He knew whom I spoke to. He knew where I went. Even when he wasn’t beside me, he knew what I was thinking, doing, being. And he went to great lengths to convince me that was true.
But, as we all know, ‘truth’ doesn’t matter when we are in those relationships — it’s what he/she can get us to believe that makes the difference. What he told me was true is what counted. And, he told me he knew everything about me. He told me he had me followed. Pictures taken of me while I was unaware. He told me my phones were tapped. My house bugged. He told. I believed. In my belief he ‘knew’, I relinquished my personal power and attached myself to the lie, he was all-powerful. He was omnipotent.
The tactics he used to convince me of his power and control are, sadly, all too common. We’ve all experienced them. We’ve all experienced the fear and confusion, the sense of utter helplessness, the overwhelming ennui that descends upon us as they manipulate and weave their web into our minds, our bodies, our spirits.
Unraveling their web, being committed to No Contact wherever possible and feasible, are two very important components of the healing path. Cutting the ties that bind in our language is also very important.
To cut the ties means to let go of the need to use the possessive. It means to claim our right to be the centre of our attention, without fear that they will overshadow our truth. It means letting go of our need to stay attached, by speaking of them as if they are ours, and embracing our freedom to make choices that with each day disconnect us from them, more and more.
We were possessed. It doesn’t mean we have to possess the evil one that possessed us.
It means, claiming our place under the sun. Bright. Shiny. Brilliant.