I was in therapy this week unraveling a chain of reactions, as we survivors often have to do. My mom is anxious, and I have PTSD, which makes you anxious, and being around her, you guessed it, makes me anxious. So I try and pad her up, fix her, so she won’t be anxious (which doesn’t work), but also so she’ll be strong and brave and stand between me and my abuser/father like she did so ineffectually back then. Never mind that I haven’t seen him in about 20 years and don’t plan to.
Now, once I realized that is why I do that, I also realized that of course, I’m quite capable of defending myself from a physical attack from my father now. He’d be nutless before he hit the floor if he ever tried anything. The important thing is to convince my inner child of that.
Suddenly I had an inspiration, a kinesthetic memory of what it actually feels like to knee a man in the groin full force. I felt myself kneeing him hard in the groin and the fear of him was defeated.
The first time I kneed a man in the groin was in my first Model Mugging class. This, is not, as it sounds, a class where we mug skinny adolescents with fake boobs, but a self defence course where we actually ‘modeled’ what it’s like to fight full force against a male assailant. The teacher is a woman, and our ‘target’ is a specially trained (and carefully padded) man, who co-instructs but mostly gets knocked around.
The male co-instructor, in his padded suit, but not wearing his helmet, came up to each of us in the first class and invited us to knee him in the groin. I did so, half heartedly. I’d never hit another person before, except one brief schoolyard tussle, and it just felt wrong. He quite correctly pointed out that I hadn’t done it hard enough, and that by bringing my knee up solidly between his legs from underneath his testicles, that it would hurt a lot more. During the course of this two week course, I got familiar with the feeling of kneeing a man properly in the groin, jabbing him in the eyes with my hands, and even stomping on his head once he was down (used if help is far away and you need to insure he’s unconscious for long enough to get away. ). We would set up a ‘model’ incident or fight simulating a real attack, starting from a standing, walking or laying down position, and practise kicking ass, with our team of classmates yelling instructions that still echo in my head. Elbow! Eyes! Groin! Stomp!
So when I remembered with my body what it felt like to knee a man in the groin and applied that to my father, it gave me more than an intellectual realization that I am no longer in any physical danger from him.
Living or dead, spiritually, intellectually, socially and physically, I can kick his ass.