Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Rescue

     Ever since I can remember, I have always fantasized about  being rescued.  Sometimes I fantasize about myself as the rescuer.  But always, to me, the best stories involve a rescue.  Of course, I didn't realize until later in life how much of this stemmed from my serious need and desire to be rescued myself, from a situation so horrible I could not voice it for nearly twenty years -incest.  I'm sharing about this here because I have seen other survivors of abuse, particularly chronic serious abuse they grew up with, share this rescue fantasy, and because people with dissociative disorders generally come from the most severely abusive backgrounds.

     I adored Disney movies when I was little about princesses in some plight or another (usually involving an angry, vindictive, powerful father -go figure).  As I got older I turned into a bookworm devouring books where magic, heroes, and fate saved the heroine from whatever pickle she was in.  The step by step plan for survival according to all these stories, was 1. Heroine finds herself in an awful life situation which she can see no way out of.   2.  By pure chance, and from no effort of her own, a hero walks into her life at just the right moment before complete disaster strikes and saves her from a life of misery and/or death.  Usually the best of these rescue stories also involve romance, but for me that was not necessary.  The one thing I honed in on unconsciously and sought out in every story I could find was A girl who is in a desperate situation and unable to help herself will always be saved by a hero who shows up out of nowhere, miraculously knows she needs help and cares enough about her to risk everything saving her.

     When I grew old enough to start developing crushes I never daydreamed about talking to a boy, holding hands or kissing.  In fact because of my past and home situation I stayed as far away from that as possible.  I did however daydream that whatever boy I fancied might somehow realize I was in trouble and try to save me.  Whenever an adult or teacher noticed me in any way, I fantasized about them somehow finding out my secret and working towards my rescue; calling the police, finding a new place for me to live, being some sort of substitute protective parent.

     The biggest wake up call that motivated me to take drastic steps to save myself was the realization in my early twenties was that NO ONE IS COMING TO RESCUE YOU.  I realized I had been waiting, my whole life, for something that was never going to come.  And while that was incredibly disappointing, it led me to take steps to save myself that no one else could have done, even if they had the knowledge and the means to do it.  I still love a good rescue story, but every little or big step I take for myself is a triumph that makes me feel more competent and proud of myself.  Not to say I can do everything, we all need help sometimes, and recognizing that and accepting it is important also.  But I no longer have the obsession of being rescued because I don't need it.  I am my own best hero.  I think that is one of the strongest signs of transitioning from childhood into adulthood; from being helpless to being capable.  It can take awhile for an adult who has been helpless against victimization to realize that they are now in a position to take action for themselves.  Once they do the action they take for themselves have far more lasting positive effects than action anyone else could have taken for them.

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