Have you ever had the feeling that you are constantly skywalking through the day? The feeling that if you fall down you will die of a strange death, a psychological one? Does it sometimes seem to you that If you allow yourself to low the guard, to stop tightening your muscles to keep your balance on that almost invisible wire, you won’t forgive yourself for who you will become next?
If you like me have wondered how it is possible to have a Mr Hyde somewhere in the back of your mind, then you might have struggled with rage. We can have a lot of different types of Mr Hyde, also known as life traps if we follow this helpful book by Dr Young. I personally refer to these Mr Hyde as daemons. One of the most powerful daemons I learnt to deal with, was rage. I am talking about an aspect of myself who was ready to jump out, take over, annihilate my will to analyze the situation, and scream at myself and at people, break whatever was within his reach with obvious consequences. I hurt other people, I sometimes hurt myself quite bad too.
Rage, as all the other daemons, is a self sustaining mechanism. The more rage came out, the more outrageous I felt. I could only be able to calm myself down after I severely damaged something or I insulted someone else again and again until the other person felt completely humiliated. The shock made me realize what an emotional hurricane just passed by. I felt empty, detached, a stranger to the current situation. I usually tried to rationalize what just happened by saying sorry and mentally reliving the whole conversation and actions. As a result, I was just trying to learn to recognize a situation that could eventually trigger the rage.
I ended up collecting so many situations that I had the perception that the safest place where I could be was in a dark corner. To me, the only safe relationships could be established with very few people whose attitude spontaneously nurtured non-triggering-rage interactions. A straightforward consequence is that I became much less open to people and whatever I did was permeated by sorrow and resentment.
Embracing the pain
The point of the whole story is that I wasn’t ready to look through what I considered to be an enemy. I started fighting rage and I started fighting against a part of myself. What I couldn’t see, was that rage served me well for so long and that it was still serving me pretty fine…in a way. My blind spot was to not be able to distinguish between two important aspects of my outrageous behaviour, the reasons behind the awakening of rage and rage itself.
It took me a long inner journey to directly look into the daemon’s eyes and attentively listen to his perspective of the world. Once my desire to change and progress towards a new stage of my life exceeded my resistance to change, I found the strength to finally let the daemon talk freely. What I heard was something very interesting. I heard the daemon reminding me of all the previous invaders of my borders. He reminded me of all the humiliations I endured. Listening to the daemon was a painful dialogue with myself during which I became increasingly aware of my open wounds.
So, what I was able to see were the steps that I unconsciously went through to trigger the daemon to take over. The steps can be represented as follows:
- An interaction with the external world occurred.
- The interaction put salt on my wounds.
- The daemon found me too weak to take care of myself and he took over claiming the right to set my borders and to preserve my dignity.
- After the climax, when I ended up breaking something or humiliating someone, the daemon seemed satisfied. Balance was restored according to him and he left me to deal with the consequences of his destructive presence.
When these steps were clear in my mind, I knew that I was at a bifurcation. I could either continue my skywalk on the wire that represented the border between safety and uncomfortable zone or I could jump into the abyss of my sorrow and look at my wounds. I realized that if I jumped I would land on the most painful part of myself. I wouldn’t die. Instead, I would reunite with the most sentitive part of me, my inner wounded child. I chose me. I jumped to be free to feel pain. I decided that time came for me to stop lying to myself. I skywalked for so long that I got completely detached from a vital part of me.
Daemon as a disruptive manifestation of healthy desires
After I jumped, I got the epiphany about the distinction between why I was getting outrageous and rage itself. I immersed myself into my pain so deep that I could go through the pain itself. When I stopped looking at rage as an enemy and I allowed the daemon to talk, I could listen to the reasons why he was leading me towards certain actions. He was shielding me from being wounded again, but he couldn’t instantly teleport me far away from the interaction. The only way he had to deal with the perceived threat was to counterattack, destroying to not be destroyed. Suddenly, the whole picture was clear:
“I don’t want you to get hurt again because you are already wounded”… “You are getting wounded again, do something to restore your self love”… “You got wounded and I can’t stand it…” BOOM.
I needed to heal my wounds first. In order to do that, I needed to give myself more love and acceptance. Once I internalized that I was imperfect and there was nothing wrong with it, I could clarify what my beliefs were. The same beliefs that shaped my values and consequently, my actions. As soon as I could state my beliefs, I could also restructure them as I wished. I was on the way to heal my wounds.
The beneficial effect of the whole process is that after I dove into my sorrow, I discovered the origin of my anger because I knew what made my wounds open. I knew which beliefs where impeding my wounds to heal. I felt so relieved when the daemon addressed me again after an interaction that would trigger him because this time something changed. I could reply back:
- “I don’t want you to get hurt again because you are already wounded”
- I know where the pain comes from. I can handle this…
- “You are getting wounded again, do something to restore your self love”, he would insist
- Calm down! You are acting according to old beliefs. I choose to live differently, according to new beliefs where there is no offense and no invader. I choose to be transparent to myself and to other people. I now know how to set my boundaries. You protected me when aggression was our only choice. I thank you for your constant work, but I am in charge now and there is no reason to be afraid. Nobody can expose our wounds because I am taking good care of them.
My renewed vision of life is the product of the inner journey I embarked on. I am aware of the fact that my vision will constantly change as I polish and fine tune my core beliefs from which my values and my actions originate. So far, I managed to reduce the power that some daemons had over me. I am able to keep the daemon of rage under control because I conquered my beliefs and with them, my capability to choose. Now, I want to acknowledge the reasons why the rage can be triggered. I listen to those reasons, I look at the my scars and I go back to my new beliefs acting according to them at the best of my possibilities.
I don’t fight my daemons anymore, I work with them. They are the beacon that lead the way towards my wounds.
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Originally published at www.yougrowwegrow.net.