Its not uncommon for people to feel as though they have fallen into another’s power. Some childhoods are defined by it. But when it comes out of the blue in later life, when there is someone out there who wants to crush you and has the means to do it, life gets interesting in the same vein as the blessing, ‘may you live forever.’
I was once in the grip of a judge in a series of custody hearings, where not only did I lose my horrified child but I was threatened with arrest and imprisonment for refusing to comply with a court order.
The court refused the testimony of my 12 year old boy who I raised pretty much single handed, nor the testimony of the townsfolk that he was settled and happy living with his father. Experts, later disgraced and fired, attacked my character in lengthy documents which her honour snapped up with eyes aglitter.
We had to meet secretly in the woods at a special tree. Months rolled by. I’d bring hot chocolate and muesli bars for the cold weather. I kept fighting and eventually he was returned. He’s now a fine young man, studying for his ‘A’ levels and doing well.
There were many things that helped me through the most difficult days of being at the mercy of this powerful other. One was a dream that I had been called by some third party to go visit this woman. I was escorted to a great stone built Keep. It was guarded by armed men standing either side of massive wooden door studded with huge iron rivets. The door was inched open and I was shown inside, down a long stone flagged corridor.
There were no windows, just hand held pitch and pine torches. The guards were silent. We walked on, down stone steps, down and down, the roof getting lower, the atmosphere hotter, oppressive, musty, damp.
Eventually we arrived at a low wooden door which the guards opened. Inside was a small cell. She sat on a small stool beneath a dim bulb dangling on a flex above her. She sat impassively, hands folded in her lap, with lowered head. The guards waited at the door.
I went in, called her name quietly to announce my presence but she did not respond. I walked over, taking in the squalor and stench of the small room. I stood in front of her and called her name again. There was no response.
I leant forward, gently taking her head in my hands and kissed the top of her forehead, then stepped back, turned and quietly left.
After that I stopped feeling like a fugitive. Nor did I want her ‘power’. I lost the desire to reverse our roles, to be vengeful. I began to realise that she was a kind of inadvertant teacher, challenging me to stay with my own reality, compelling me to dig deeper within myself for the resources I needed to manage my new situation.
”Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents, which in prosperous times would have lain dormant.” Horace.
But the main thing, the thing the dream wanted me to see, was the inner, hidden reality of this person I otherwise experienced as so powerful, like Dorothy’s discovery of the real wizard of Oz.
This helps us not to envy and so the spell is broken. You cannot defeat someone who doesn’t want your stuff.