Sitting here watching an old movie. Nothing else to do right now but relax so I tuned into TCM – my favorite channel because it has no commercials and the movies are usually just my kind – old, black and white, with lots of real acting going on. The movie guide says it is called “Something Wild” and is about a mechanic who saves a potential suicide victim and give her love. Looks innocuous, so I tune in.
And now, after just 20 minutes of watching I am sorry I tuned in. The story isn’t as innocuous as it is made to sound. Yes, the mechanic rescues her and takes her to his home where she can sleep while he goes off to work. So much for the love angle. Now he locks her in and won’t let her leave. Days pass and she is locked in every time he goes out. She never gets to leave the apartment. He comes in drunk and tries to attack her and she defends herself with a quick high-heeled kick to his eye, practically blinding him.
The acting is excellent, so why am I sorry I tuned in? Because I feel in my chest that same suffocating feeling of being imprisoned with a violent drunk. The suffocating feeling of not being able to escape, of being a prisoner in my own home without the freedom to go where I want or do what I want. A prisoner not only in body but in spirit, without any say in my own life. A prisoner, afraid to speak up for fear of the violent outbursts. A prisoner that tries to keep everything calm and stay in the background unnoticed, always afraid of what will happen next. No freedom. No autonomy. No hope. And the constant dread and fear.
The television screen is filled with his rage as she denies him, once again. (Yes, I have left it on because it is clearly something I need to finish working through.) I remember the rages in my own home. I remember my fear. I remember the pain. I remember the years of being lost – not able to find ‘me’. And as I remember I rejoice in being set free.
As I relive those moments of my past I am filled with compassion for all the women who are in like positions. I know how horrendous it is and I wonder that there aren’t more rescue centers for such women – centers that are equipped to handle women with children – all of whom have been physically and/or psychologically abused.
The movie continues as he has forgotten and left the door unlocked. She escapes, and my heart is racing as I wait for him to be just around a corner, waiting to grab her and imprison her again. I am remembering my own circumstances and am almost panicked for her. She sleeps in a park and washes in a water fountain, finally smiling and taking deep breaths of the fresh air and the freedom she is enjoying. She continues to walk, heading for her home but suddenly finds herself at his doorstep. And she returns – for him!
Classic! The abused returns to the abuser, hoping to make a life, sure that it will be better now. The trauma bond is too strong for her to escape.
Once again, I am amazed at the way Abba works in my life. Even as I identified with the victim in the film, I am so grateful because as I watched this movie not once did the old rage surface. The anger is gone. Forgiveness reigns. Hallelujah!
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.