Sometimes I give in to my inner child and check up on the old family members. Social media allows for such things, and I am not sure if that is good or bad.
And the decision to check up on them (although very infrequently) comes with a ton of self-ridicule. “Why do you need to do that? They are scumbags and abusers. Who cares what they are doing?” And that is true, but it doesn’t help to tell myself that. It is natural and normal for me to wonder. It takes a long time to break the connection to people we grow up with. That said, there is never an inkling that I should get in touch with them. That longing is long gone.
But what I saw was an attempt to make me angry. I saw several blatant, expensive and planned scenarios that were arranged to upset me. My immediate reaction was, “of course they did that”. And I heard my inner parts begin to chatter. They were angry. They were agitated. They were frustrated. But I just went with it. I stayed aware and I let them chatter.
I wasn’t sure where it was going, but an hour later, I was hit with a moment of clarity. I was in the grocery store. I don’t know why my moments of clarity always come in grocery stores. I actually burst out laughing in aisle 5. In that moment, I figured out something so important.
In my recovery, I have been focused on letting go of the ties to my family, of their power over me. I have always considered them to have the power, while I was the victim attempting an escape my past. But it occurred to me those tables have turned. I am no longer the one who is caught up in the unhealthy connection to my family. They are caught up in me. They can’t handle my new power. They can’t handle my escape, my separation. And they are dwelling on it. They are literally living their lives to get me back for my “sins”.
It was a huge moment of relief for me. I don’t take pleasure in their constant inner torture. But I do understand how karma works, the real karma. Karma is happening in their minds. It is not letting them forget that I was the one who got away, the one who chose to live the truth. Their plan didn’t work, and they are going to devote their lives to getting me back for it. But unlike my scared inner parts’ perception of the power behind that, their approach is actually weak and pathetic. Their attempts to get at me are adolescent in nature.
In the past, I have wondered if they wake up each morning contemplating how I escaped their brainwashing and how they can get under my skin. I have wondered if they think of me while they are on their expensive vacations that come from the top of my bucket list. I have wondered if they think of me while they pretend to be on happy family outings on my birthday. Now I don’t wonder. I know they do. They made it perfectly clear they do.
But I don’t. They are not a consideration when I plan my day or my future. I don’t wake up in the morning thinking of them and how I can get them back. I don’t think of them unless I am writing about them or someone else brings them up. It feels like that life with them happened in the 16th century. It seems so distant from who I am today.
And it is in that “letting go” that I have claimed my power. Their inability to let go means they have left their power behind in some other life where I was the victim and they were the perpetrators. And until they get psychiatric help, they will live there. I will have my power. And they will not have theirs, not because I took theirs, but because they took theirs.
You may be reading this and thinking, “Good for you, but I’m not there yet.” And I am not writing this to brag about how free I feel. I know I still have my work to do. I checked up on them in the first place. But this realization is powerful for a few reasons. First and most importantly, working with inner parts does heal. Second, victims of abuse can take their power back without any involvement or apologies from their perpetrators. Third, perpetrators don’t have any power, no matter what they tell themselves.
So stay with your recovery course, even when those from your past invalidate you. Your power lies in letting go of the control they have over you because that control is not real. They made it up. They convinced you they had something they never had. And knowing that is the key to an empowered life, a free life, a life you deserve.
Written By Elisabeth Corey, MSW
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