The Internal Oppressor


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.


9 thoughts on “The Internal Oppressor

    • I only notice it sometimes. Usually if something seems to be stopping me from manifesting something I really want, I will ask for a better understanding. If you are religious, you can ask your God. If you are not, you can ask yourself. Just meditate on it. I usually don’t get the realization while meditating. It usually comes later when I am standing in some random parking lot (like last weekend).


      • That’s a great idea and good to know in a sense that you too don’t always catch it but have found ways to notice some of the time.

        I have been able to do that with anger some. Stop and ask myself why I’m really angry and what’s going on in me. That keeps me from taking it out on poor Hubby.
        God is a part of my life, but I will say he and I are not seeing eye to eye…lol


      • Understood. Our relationship with God can get very complicated when our relationship with our parents is dysfunctional. I’ve had issues there too.


  1. I find it interesting how my view on this topic is different, and I wonder if it is a difference that matters or if it’s mostly a difference in words.

    I don’t think anyone is oppressing me. Not really. I have learned certain ideas. Certain “facts” about the world that I believe to be correct, such as you will be punished for choosing what will be satisfying and rewarding to you. I believe this because it was true at one time. And I am not a stupid person, so I did manage to figure it out even if it did not make sense. The belief remains because of certain quirks of the human capacity to think, one of them being that we remember visually or emotionally intense material best. Given that I hold that belief, it makes sense to feel fear when I start to make those kinds of choices or to take protective action to avoid punishment (like taking on submissive postures). It also makes sense to avoid making those choices in order to keep myself safe. It’s a prison made up of my beliefs, and it takes time and effort to change those beliefs because they are not consciously held. They are there because I saw thousands of examples in which that was played out. Much like expecting objects to fall in a no-gravity space, it takes time to understand that things have changed (and thousands more examples).

    Just a different perspective.


    • I think you and I are saying the same phenomenon using different words. I definitely believe that my internal oppressor could be described as an unconscious belief system. Thanks for your perspective. I think the more ways we describe it, the more others will be able to understand it and relate to it.


  2. Pingback: Fight Flight or Freeze | Beating Trauma

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