Editor’s note: This artice was written by the Lovefraud reader who posts as “One/joy_step_at_a_time.”
I have been thinking a lot about Donna’s May 28 blog thread, If you feel an emotional void, the sociopath will step in, and the responses to it.
Tonight I took a long walk and sat down by the lake and thought about what the spath drew out in me. She showed me ‘the gap.’ It’s humourous to me to type the phrase ‘the gap.’ When I lived in Eastern Europe, I heard a phrase over the loud speakers at the train station, over and over again. I finally asked a friend the meaning of the phrase, and he told me it meant, ‘mind the gap between the platform and the train.’
I haven’t minded the gap. I realize that the spath drew out two parts of my personality, and that these two parts of me, the three year old and my young adult self, can both look in on a part of me lost in the gap. I have often gone back and investigated ‘the gap’ in my life. But, in the wake of the spath experience I see that it is still there, still in need of having light shone on it, and that I now have the opportunity to view it from two very different perspectives.
Damaged family life
There were brutal things that happened before this, but when I was eight, my mother had a horrific car accident, which put her in the hospital for a very long time, and damaged her body for life. It damaged our family life and left my sib and I to fend for ourselves as my father tried to maintain the family farm. We were terribly isolated in our small rural area. We had no family close by, and my parents wouldn’t allow us to go to live with our grandparents where we would have gotten the care and attention we needed.
The spath drew out these two strong parts of my personality – one part that existed before the gap, and one part that existed after the gap. During the gap my needs, first as a child, then as a teenager, were neglected. I did not have a role model for understanding feelings, nor a way to contextualize them. Life was like a dark dream – even when I was happy, there was so much pain.
When my mom finally came home from the hospital, broken and battered, she screamed in pain for hours on end. My poor little empathetic heart broke. I was not allowed to go to her, but would endure listening to her. I would not leave the house. I would stand under her bedroom and wait. I am not sure what I was waiting for – except the cessation of her pain. When she was finally able to get around, she was not a happy woman – she was riddled with pain and drugs. She was bad tempered and not able to cope with the life she was living. We should have left the farm at that point, so that she did not have to go back to work to support the damned thing – but my father is an n and she is supply, and he wanted to farm.
At the age of 13 I was asked to write an ‘autobiography’ for one of my school classes. I had a wonderful teacher that year; someone who showed compassion and who really tried to reach me. I remember discussing my autobiography with her when she returned them to the class. I had written about my life to the age of 8 or 9, and then from 12 onwards. I had skipped the years in between as ‘I didn’t remember’ them.
I ‘woke up’ at 14, and immediately started to club myself to sleep with drugs. I was emotionally and sexually used by the young men in our area. I met the son of one of them last week, and it brought shame to the surface. I looked back on all the boys I knew from the age of 13 on, and there was a lot of usery. I didn’t know that these boys were using me and my friends. I didn’t know that my feelings were indicators that another’s behaviour was bad for me (how could I stay in my house if I KNEW that), and I was innocent. I had no idea what they were up to. Just as I didn’t know what the spath was up to – as I had never run into that before either, and no one protected me with knowledge. Innocence isn’t lost. It is torn from us. Pulled out our souls, leaving great rivers of raw wounded feelings.
My parents didn’t do much to help me understand life. They didn’t give me the emotional tools or the notion of boundaries that would help me to take care of myself and make my way in the world. They yelled at me, they ignored me, and they smacked me every now and then. Most of the significant events of my early life were met with an emotional frigidness that left me feeling shamed and alien. My mother was supply, and was set on my sib and I being supply, too. Dad was an n. I did my best to fit in, and when I couldn’t, I took drugs. Lots of them. I also participated in my own abuse at the hands of others – some who were too young and dysfunctional themselves to really be held accountable. And I learned to hurt myself in many ways: emotionally, mentally and with the choices (non-choices) I made.
The spath and the gap
It was great to move out of home and BREATHE. I started to feel the beauty in the world that existed outside the dark dream and repression in my family. But I carried on making ill-informed choices. And all of these hurts and abuses piled up. They lead me to the other strong part of my personality – the woman who wants to run, the woman who would fight fist-to-cuffs, the woman who cries like a warrior on the outside and who holds a river of pain on the inside. I didn’t truly meet her until I was duped by the spath.
The ‘gap’ is the person who bridges these two strong parts of my personality. I don’t know what to do for this part of me, for this part of my past, but I need to shine some light in that frozen dark dream space. It seems to be thawing, yet again, as I look in from the eyes of the child and the eyes of the warrior. The spath once called me a ‘magnificent creature’. It was a deep compliment to me. She saw both this warrior and this child. She called the warrior out. The fake boy (child) she made up needed to be cared for. I need to care for myself, but I learned early and repeatedly to care for others – even if all I could do was stand frozen in the face of their suffering. I wasn’t taught autonomy – I am lucky that it is natural to my character, but I still have to fight all of the time to develop it and retain it. The spath got me to care for the fake boy – instead of myself. But in the end I have learned that I want to take care of myself at the expense of taking care of others. My eyes have been opened to what my family members are, and what they would still take from me if I allowed them to. It has been a hard, harsh lesson.