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Svengali

a person who exercises a controlling or mesmeric influence on another, especially for a sinister purpose

When I wasn’t in a good place, I’d often accuse those around me of judging me, watching me, waiting for me to do … something … anything. I couldn’t stand and still struggle with, people getting too close when I am attempting to do something unfamiliar. My anxiety levels rise and invariably, high anxiety levels equal angry outbursts for me.

These incidents are just one example of many behaviours that I have been desperately trying to let go of. Living with people who love and care for you unconditionally, yet that feeling would creep in. My first response for many years was just to explode. I couldn’t see what the triggers were, less, understand why I would get so blimmin’ angry. Furious, I would rail and explode and eventually cry. Then try to make sense of where I’d been, what I’d done and why. Despite reassurances that I wasn’t being judged, I couldn’t shake that feeling for very long, before it reappeared.

Quite a few years ago my Grandmother (who was my Mother’s stepmother), mentioned that my Mother would hover over me like a Svengali. I can still see my tiny Grandmother in a ‘crone’ position, hands hovering over a small child in a claw like pose as she told me this. I never really understood what she meant until one day in 2020, in the midst of the first lockdown, it hit me like a tonne of bricks. I can’t remember what the exact circumstances were, but the description fitted the situation to a T and suddenly everything fell into place.

Having recognised that my Mother would, indeed, watch me like a hawk and accuse me of all manner of ‘sins’. This description then matched the terrible fear I always had of her and her responses to me doing something ‘wrong’. Invariably her response was to scream and rail at me and to slap me – hard across the face or head. I don’t think she ever bothered to aim for my bottom or an arm. So of course, I was terrified of her.

Intellectually, I knew I was terrified, I knew I didn’t like being observed or misjudged but I couldn’t put it all together until last year. So, where did I go from here with my new found ‘aha’ moment? I went to my journal and wrote it all down. Journalling over the years has proved to be so therapeutic. Just the act of writing the stuff down seems to give it a place to sit outside of me, allowing me space to think about and process it.

The journal entry allowed me to see the parallels between feeling so very angry and why, at what was always misjudgment. There’s a lovely Hebrew saying ‘A thief thinks everyone steals’. My Mother couldn’t see beyond herself and her own vision of me. She never saw me for myself, a common enough issue with narcissism. So, in adulthood when someone was close by, observing, or usually even just standing idly by, whilst I tried to do something for myself. My senses would be on alert, whilst they wrestled with the task at hand AND my (sadly, highly developed) fight or flight response would get overwhelmed … and wham … accusations flying everywhere and the same old story repeated itself.

So, how did I find a way through this particular morass? Well, ever since my Road to Damascus moment when I started on this Spiritual journey, I’ve been working hard on different forms of meditation. It took me a great deal of time, trial and error to find meditative practices that worked for me. For example, not one of the ‘letting go’ instructions ever worked for me. The number of times I’ve been told ‘just let it go’ … really? A separate blog will cover how I got here but for now, there are different methods I use for different situations. This particular scenario required me to clear out my chakras, particularly my Sacral, where I intuitively knew I was holding all the negative energy stored up from so very long ago. This meditation for me is quite a simple one. Allowing myself to concentrate on the breath, breathing in, as if through me solar plexus, then visualising the breath going to the affected chakra, followed by visualising the breath clearing the area and then letting the negativity out into the ether. Though to be fair, this meditation came after years of other healing meditations to my fight or flight response etc.

I now recognise that my system may get overloaded when I am trying to do something whilst feeling someone close by, I can take control by reminding myself that the human presence is a benign, helpful, loving one and then asking them to take a step back allows me to put the observer’s energy just outside of my auric field, thus allowing me carry out my task without ‘interference’. Also, asking for that space, gives me time to assert the real me and inject positivity back into my task.

Gosh that sounds so simple! That was always the trouble with reading self help stuff. It all seemed to be so easy, I know it is – now. But I also acknowledge it’s taken years of soul searching, deep deep healing and countless backward steps to get here. Just recognising the issue, let alone finding the courage and trust to open my mouth and acknowledge I have a problem, what its source is and then asking for help … one for another blog.

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