Angry Bitch, my shadow self, emerged out of the depths of my being. Welcomed out of her dark closet, the door opened, the light was shining in and she had space to speak. “Who did he think he was? What gives him the right to break into my house when I am alone, vulnerable, and sleeping? Just because he is a man and bigger than me he thinks it is ok to do this? I DON’T THINK SO!”
A personal growth workshop provided the opportunity to face my biggest demon, transforming the nightmare into a massive gift. For nearly thirty years I have harboured intense anger towards this masked man that broke into my house with the intentions of raping me, and he has now become my teacher.
In front of a group of twenty-six people, through my tears, I told the story, for the first time, of what happened that night. To my astonishment the pain I felt in telling the story had more to do with shame that I was still so angry. Admitting to the group that I wanted to feel compassion for this man, but I just didn’t. I was mad, and voiced it. I have survived ok since this event, and worked through a lot of my fear. However, the anger was still alive and raging.
It wasn’t until I honestly and vulnerably told the story to a group of people and asked for the willingness to forgive the masked intruder, that clarity came in an unexpected package.
The facts of what happened that night came into focus:
A man broke into my house wearing a ski mask. I was asleep in bed alone.
He came into my room and started to pull the covers off of me.
A grumbling growl assaulted him from the depths of my being, giving me an immediate surge of power and adrenaline.
I tried to punch him in the face.
He said, “Ok, Ok I believe you!” And ran out.
I grabbed a ski and chased him screaming, “Get the fuck out of my house asshole!”
When I saw the facts from a new perspective I got the lesson. I defended myself from someone much bigger than me. An inner power came through me that I never knew I had.
A fellow workshop participant, a big man with a dark secret, helped bring this revelation to light. He shared that he had been a rapist. Triggering my unresolved anger and fear, an extreme dislike of this man began boiling.
When it came time for him to share his shadow self, he honestly and vulnerably told us he felt weak. “What? But you are a big strong man,” I thought. “How could your shadow be weakness?” And then it hit me.
Power has nothing to do with size, and everything to do with energy inside.
Hearing this man share his vulnerability unlocked my demons. The door opened. I got it.
My perpetrator suddenly became my biggest teacher. I saw the flip side of the coin. He was actually a coward, and coming from a place of extreme weakness. Miraculously, I felt compassion for the masked man. Something I never imagined possible.
My heart softened. His weakness showed me I am powerful beyond measure. The power came from inside. It has been my own mind that for thirty years since this episode has created even worse scenarios in which the outcome isn’t so positive.
The work of Byron Katie helped me immensely, and I learned that the incident only lasted for five minutes, whereas the trauma I induced on myself lasted nearly thirty years. Katie teaches us to examine our thoughts and ask are they real. I did this and realized that I was creating worse scenarios than what actually happened in my head. No they weren’t real. I was worse to myself than the actual incident. I was terrorizing myself.
The facts are my thinking has been my own worst enemy, creating paralysing fear that isn’t real, a self imposed torture chamber. None of these horror stories have happened. The realityis when the shit hit the fan, I kicked some serious ass.
What I am left with today is some profound and powerful realizations:
Fear isn’t real and doesn’t serve me.
People that commit acts of violence against those they think are weaker than them might be weak, vulnerable, individuals who are crying out in the only way they know how.
I am in no way condoning this behaviour, but I now see where it is coming from.
Holding onto hate and anger is not helping them or me. Having the willingness to forgive and have compassion has allowed me to embody my power with joy instead of anger. I can honestly say thank you to this man who has lived in my head for thirty years. It is now time to set us both free.