Thank you for your kind comments after the Tigers post – I’m so glad that people are able to identify with what I’m saying. It kind of makes all the past ‘bad stuff’ worthwhile… you know what I mean? So again, thank you for letting me know what works – it means a lot to me.
This last weekend was my birthday and I’ve been wondering what to write for this week’s post. Do I talk about the celebration of birthdays? Or the festive season? Or perhaps the concept of rebirth and renewal? And then, all of a sudden, as I was consulting Google for a completely unrelated subject, a phrase that I had never heard of seemed to jump out of my computer screen:
“It’s the beautiful bird that gets caged”
Simple. Straight forward. Meaningful. Relevant. It’s a Chinese proverb and, as with so many ancient wisdoms, a whole story is conveyed in just a few carefully chosen words.
A Valued Prize
For me, it bears witness to the many times people have said on here (myself included) that we must have had something very special about us to make the sociopath want to control and possess us in the first place. We must have shone very brightly in order to attract a person who is only interested on winning. Someone who calculates to capture everything s/he can to make sure they come out on top. Surely it stands to reason that they would only be interested in ensnaring a valuable prize? Something that would be certain to give them the one-upmanship they crave so deeply?
And once again I am reminded to be thankful for all that I am – and yes, also for all that I was in the first place. Because, like all of us here, I must have been a worthwhile target. It stands to reason, doesn’t it?
Coming out of a sociopathic relationship (or any kind of abusive experience) the feelings of guilt, shame and self-hate can simmer and gnaw away inside, ever-defining the gaping hole that was once filled with something we believed to be love. At the same time, self-flagellation and whispering fury continue to eat away at our last remaining pieces of self-esteem “How could I have been so stupid!” “What made me so blind!” “Where have I gone so wrong!”
Sometimes the emotions explode geyser-like, full volume and highly coloured, and other times they stay rumbling beneath the surface. No matter how they come, at times they threaten to overwhelm us entirely… And that is where the sociopath, even if they are no longer in our daily life, is still managing to exert their power of manipulation. Or are they…? Are they really inside our head? Are they really dictating our thoughts? Are they really controlling our emotions?
We Decide – Day By Day
Yes, I agree, many times it may well feel as if they are… the thing is, though, it’s within our power to break free from the control-cage in which they’d held us prisoner. It’s up to us to decide what thoughts to think and what emotions to feel. Whether to lie down or stand up. Whether to give in or get out. These decisions are ours to make – and nobody and nothing can make them for us. And you know what? Every single moment of every single day we have the opportunity to choose who we’re going to be and how we’re going to live our life.
I know it can be daunting and at times seem impossible. I can understand how much it hurts and I can identify with the depths of pain and despair – both during and after such relationships. And I know it takes every ounce of courage and determination to fight back and come through – and I also know it’s worth it. Every clash. Every battle. Every small win. They all add up and they all help us to shine even more brightly than we ever did before.
For me, a huge part was looking back and honestly recognising my own value before I entered in to the relationship with my ex. It was critical to understand that I hadn’t been stupid, blind, dumb or worthless – as the proverb says, I must surely have had something pretty special about me in the first place, or he wouldn’t have wanted to trap me.
It wasn’t easy! Far from recognizing my beauty, there were times when I felt like a beaten up, washed out, brown and stubby-feathered excuse for a bird. My wings clipped, my voice vanished, I could sometimes hardly even find the strength to breathe. But, like the rest of us here, I did manage to keep breathing – and eventually I regained my strength. But it all came from a decision. From my decision.
It wasn’t a major life-changing future-defining “ah ha” of a decision. Far from it in actual fact. Nope, on a daily and sometimes a moment-by-moment basis, I decided I would find a way to survive. I would fight back and reclaim my life despite the overwhelming odds stacked against me. I would find my self-worth and appreciate myself for who I am. And slowly and surely I made steady progress.
I’m sure that many of you here can identify with what I’m saying, and I’m quite sure that many have had or are having tougher challenges than those I’ve faced. The thing is, though, each and every one of us is still here. Still breathing. Still carrying on. Still fighting back, whatever stage of the journey we’re on. And that, my dear friends, is what makes us such strong and shining examples of the human spirit. That is why our stories can educate and inspire others. This is how, as a group of people who’ve experienced the masked charmers and lived to tell the tale, we can set others free and prevent still more from being captured in the future.
Surely, you may be thinking to yourself, it takes a certain kind of person who would be willing to take that on board? Surely that kind of arena is reserved only for the brightest of souls, the strongest of spirits?
Yes, absolutely it does – of course! And… remember, only the shining people are caged and put on show in the first place. So yes, that’s you. You are and always have been a strong and beautiful bird.
Remember Obi Wan Kenobi’s warning to Darth Vadar: “If you strike me down, I shall become even more powerful than you can ever imagine”. Well, so it is for us. Because once we’ve been through the experience of being struck down or caged, and then we find a way to break free…? We become even stronger, brighter and more beautiful than ever before, flying high and singing at the top of our voices, our bright, vibrant colours shimmering in the sunlight.
To each and every one of you beautiful birds out there, I salute you my friends and wish you happy holidays and an abundance of love and blessings for everyone. Thank you for reading.