Last weekend, I experienced a sensation that only lasted about 60 seconds. It was the feeling of complete psychological, emotional and physical freedom. It was a beautiful feeling. Everything around me looked different. The scenery looked more vibrant. I felt more alive, more energetic. I felt that I could do almost anything. After the feeling went away, I did not feel euphoric or otherwise grateful for having had the experience. Instead, I felt confused. Wasn’t I already free? I thought I was already free. How can I not be free? I have spent so many years in recovery. I have done so much hard work. How is it possible that I am not free?
I have heard about the concept of the “internal oppressor” before. I have taken psychology classes and studied human behavior theories and self-development texts, so I intellectually understand that it exists. I have even been aware of my internal oppressor in the past. In the past six years, I have had a very tumultuous relationship with the oppressor. Most of my recent decisions have not been approved by this ever-shrinking part of me. It can be difficult to make decisions (especially large impactful decisions) when there is an internal conflict rendering my intuition inaccessible. However, there was something larger than myself driving my decisions, so the oppressor kept losing out.
My oppressor did not approve of my choice to free myself from my abusive relationships and assume the role of single mother. My oppressor was certainly not a fan of my choice to confront my family about the abuse or my choice to remove my family from my life. My oppressor was not a fan of my choice to embark on a massive career change with significant financial risk. And there is no doubt that my oppressor hates this blog. Of course, these are just the big decisions. My oppressor affects my daily life. The disapproval of all of my imperfections, no matter how small, definitely takes a toll on my overall happiness.
I just didn’t realize how much of a toll it was taking until I had that moment of freedom. Of course, now I want it back. I want to be free of that oppressor (which is really nothing more than my own parents’ voices internalized). It has been a while since I stopped answering to others on the outside. Now, it is time to stop answering to others on the inside.