When I did my fifth step, I wrote out twenty pages of resentments. As we went over it, at a certain point she said,
You were the only one who stood up to your father. You were the one who would not agree with him when everyone else did. You saw through him. He didn't like that. He needed to feel powerful and your ability to see reality as it was and fight for that was threatening to him.What a profound moment! Awesome! She sees how much he deserves this anger...
He tried to break you for your entire childhood - tried to make you conform to what he wanted you to be.
But he didn't break you.
but... wait. I'm supposed to let it go. Isn't that the whole point?
A little later, she answered that question. "Hanging on to this is giving him power."
And then, "What is keeping you from letting it go?"
The most interesting thing happened when she asked this. I knew the answer! It came to me in a moment of clarity like I rarely experience. I felt many parts of me coming together inside, as if in conference, and then the most adult part of me and many of the child parts acted out a kind of pantomime.
This is what I saw:
I am about four years old. I am holding an experience in my hands. It is more than a memory; it is the entire experience - the things that happened and all of my physical and emotional reactions. Every nuance of the experience is there.This scenario is duplicated - not repeated because it is happening simultaneously - again and again. There is a two-year-old, a seven-year-old, an eight-year-old, a nine-year-old, at least two twelve-year-olds and others as well. They are all reaching into the freezer and they are each giving me - the adult - a plastic bag containing something significant.
I close one small hand around the experience, not allowing any of it to escape. In the other hand I am holding an open zip-lock bag. I put the experience in the bag and quickly close it up. A refrigerator comes into focus behind me. I turn around and place the baggy in the freezer and shut the door. Then I turn back to look at the adult me with a sense of purpose on my small face.
Now, I am the adult. The four-year-old opens the freezer, takes the plastic bag out, and hands it to me.
The adult is now holding the plastic bag. The four year old steps back, waiting.
And that's why I haven't wanted to let them go.
These old experiences, wrapped in plastic, are gifts! They have been held safe and complete all this time, waiting for the moment when these little ones can hand them to an adult who knows what to do with them. They are like sacred offerings.... Here, I've had this all this time. Take it. Fix it. Make us whole.
Now, my sponsor is looking at me. She's waiting for me to respond, but I've been lost in my own head. I hit the "rewind button" in my mind, and remember what she asked.
What is it that is keeping you from letting this go?I try to explain it to her, but how can I really? I tell her about the baggies and the freezer and the way these felt like gifts. She furrows her brow and says, "I never had a dissociative disorder and I'm not a therapist. I don't really understand it. That is something you have to work out with your counselor."
I tell her I am working on it.
She nods, and then sits back, thinking. After a few moments, she says that in her own life, when she used her "experience strength and hope" to help others, it helped to heal the old wounds.
Inside, the children who e held these experiences safe all this time seem to step forward again.
Yes! Do you hear that? These are gifts! They are sacred offerings given to you! You can't just throw them away. They have power. They have strength. Use them!
I had a rare moment of clarity at that point. I felt entirely sure that this was the answer. Somehow, the things that happened to me were important, there was a reason, there was some purpose to all of it and opening those bags was giving me power. That's why I couldn't simply throw them away. I need them.
I'm not exactly clear on that yet.
However, it felt like a spiritual opening came with that revelation. That is a post for another day.