Me and My Shadow

Mar 18th, 2010 | By | Category: All Posts, Steps Toward Healing


by Bethany
I know a girl who follows me everywhere. Switchblade toting, tough, fearless, confident, feisty – the kind of girl you wouldn’t want to cross paths with in a dark alley. Yes, she may be a bitch, but I’ve grown very fond of her.
I keep her around to get me through the hard times. She is my defense, and she comes in many forms. Sometimes it’s in my heavy eyeliner or my biker jacket. Other times, it’s in my attitude or the way I strut when I walk down the street. But no matter what form she takes, we are inseparable. And because she is so unlike me I need her even more.
I am the conservative type, a push over, and way too sensitive at times. I’m defenseless, and often without anyone to protect me except for this girl. She fills the gaps where I just can’t do it any longer. She is the one who helps me “fake it till I make it”.And although she isn’t completely who I am, I can’t yet let her go.
But I’ve found through the healing process that as I make strides, a little more of me shines through, and she begins to fade away. She isn’t completely gone, but she won’t stay forever.Although false identities serve a purpose for a time, look past what defenses you may be putting up and get down to the real you – the one that is hiding under the layers of pain and abuse. You’ll be surprised once you find her.

Bethany is cofounder of Overcoming Sexual Abuse, an online resource for male and female abuse survivors looking for practical answers and tools for healing. Besides helping abuse survivors see the beauty within themselves, she enhances the beauty of others as a professional make-up artist and has worked in television, film and print.

[read Bethany’s story here]

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  1. Learn from your friend the shadow. Setting boundaries to keep you safe…. it’s a very good and necessary thing. Making sure you feel safe in her company until you are able to project the self confidence that keeps the predators at bay, not a bad thing.
    If someone thinks your friend is being ‘bitchy’, it would not be out of line to remind them … See Morethat their actions are triggering a defensive response. Accept and allow apologies to be made if your shadow goes beyond what someone else may deem appropriate.
    I have told grandchildren that if they where ever made to feel ‘creeped out’ by anyone’s actions or words that they had my full permission to be rude, loud or obnoxious (whatever it takes) to make the problem stop. If anyone expected an explanation or apology for their actions….they’d need to talk to grandma. I’d be happy to address the offended person’s issues with a child who has learned to be safe, even if intimidated.
    Your shadow may be a shield that gets used from time to time, it’s just a tool. Those who want you to be safe have no problem with your invisible friend. Your fiend and I seem to have a lot in common, getting called a name or two is no big deal.

  2. Love it!

  3. Very good advice from a grandma…I agree!!

  4. thank you.

  5. Very well said!! :-)

  6. My therapist calls this side of me the Fighter. She’s quick to anger. Quick to protect by throwing up the wall, distancing me from feeling, from hurting. I hate when she tries to protect me in a situation, I know logically, I don’t need protection from. But, I’m told that without her, I wouldn’t be where I am today. She kept me sane, kept me moving forward. And I should be thankful to her. I should respect her role and allow her the rest she deserves. I need to convince her that she did a good job, but I can handle it from here.

  7. Rachel,
    That’s such a great way to put it. I agree that those coping methods need to be honored since they helped us survive and that as we heal, we can let them go. Thanks for sharing that insight and welcome to OSA!

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