My Inner Rebel Will Not Be Stopped

Inner Rebel

My family members were masters at squashing rebellion. It is what any good (or bad) dictator learns how to do before all else. It only takes one person to rise up against you, one bad link in the chain, and the empire can fall. Personally, I could not imagine depending on the fear in others to maintain the life I want. It sounds like a lot of work to keep that house of cards intact. But many are willing to try it because they think it is the only way to have power and control. And honestly, what can be easier than teaching children to fear you … especially if they are your children? I believe this actually works most of the time. I believe there are thousands (or more) of children who never speak of their devastating childhoods, who spend their entire lives deeply hating their parents while going through the motions of one big happy family, even arranging the perfect funeral for their parents in the end.

My parents were expecting everything to happen just like that. After all, it is what they had done for their parents. And who are we kidding? Their parents did it too. Unfortunately for them, they had me. I have a rebellious side. I have always had a problem with people telling me what to do. I told far more people about their abuse than they expected. They had to do far more cover up than they had planned. And then, at 38 years old, I blew the lid off the whole thing, denying them their self-ascribed right to abuse their grandchildren and keep the cycle going. I know they feel like the victims. I know because they told me. They told me I was breaking their hearts and that they didn’t deserve this treatment. They never expected this to happen. But unfortunately for them, they had me.

I am proud of my rebellious side (if that’s not obvious already). Even during the years when the trauma was repressed, it was hard to keep me quiet about other things. But there is a problem with this side of me when it is mixed with trauma and rage. It can get a bit unhealthy. I think, on an unconscious level, I have been plotting against my family for my entire existence. Some of my favorite stories are The Count of Monte Cristo and The Shawshank Redemption. Both stories feature protagonists who escape prison and get clever revenge on their captors.

You may be wondering what is wrong with a little revenge against so much evil. I am still working through some of those feelings myself. But there’s a bigger problem. What happens to rebellion when it is not permitted against those who perpetrate evil against me? If I have a natural tendency to stand up for myself, and I am physically incapable of doing so, what happens to all of that energy? Where does it turn? I fear the answer is inward.

I have been in touch with my inner rebel lately. She’s not very happy with the way life turned out and she has used her courageous energy to sabotage some of my best intentions. She has decided that if she can’t have life her way, she’s not going to cooperate with life any way. And while this was noble in childhood, it is holding back the good, positive work that can be done now to leave the past behind.

But I have learned how to communicate with my inner parts. And believe me, they don’t respond to any form of control or bossy instruction. They have to figure it out for themselves with a little guidance and a few pointers from me. The integration of these parts is critical to my healing, but that integration happens on their terms when they are ready to heal.

So I try to keep life interesting. I try to speak up, make changes and do what it takes to keep an inner rebel satisfied with a life that is no longer disrupted and sabotaged. I try to appeal to her qualities of bravery by explaining how I need her as a part of the whole, how I can’t complete this new journey without her on board. And I can see my own courage to speak up getting stronger and stronger. I know there will come a day when I won’t think about what the other person wants me to say. There will come a day where I won’t censor myself out of fear of retaliation. I know that will happen because I know my inner rebel. And she will not be stopped.

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26 thoughts on “My Inner Rebel Will Not Be Stopped

  1. I am also the “rebel” in my family. My biological siblings are still lemmings, lined up loyally behind my bio parents – completely enmeshed in the toxic dynamic that destroys them every day. But I got out. It was a slow and painful process that took years of “unboxing” to complete. But in the end, I forged ahead and used my “black sheep” status to estrange myself from them. And now I feel so liberated. Which is definitely part of what finally allowed my parts to reveal themselves to me. There was a time when I NEVER thought I would tell my story. I never thought anyone could possibly believe me. Now I’ll walk out of the room if I think a therapist or doctor doesn’t believe me. I’ve spent enough time being the faithful servant, making everyone else comfortable. Now it’s my time to stand up and speak.

    Great post!

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  2. Elizabeth, I think many out there (including myself) are afraid of ruining a good thing, and that is family life. I’ve never been threatened by my abuser, but I fear ruining family member’s lives. I fear the reaction from my friends. I fear everything except my abuser. That is so difficult for me to live with. You saved your children’s lives, I am so grateful you told. Your story is 1000 times worst then mine. Again, I’m glad you told. Yet, it shouldn’t matter the degree of the crime, it’s still a crime and should be brought to the police. But I fear the police. I fear myself! Hope this makes sense even if it’s the wrong way to handle it. Thanks Elizabeth for all your writing. It is really helping me as I go forward.

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    • I completely understand what you are saying. We are taught to fear in these families, by our abusers. The fear can be overwhelming, paralyzing. Just we I conquer one fear, there is another one right behind it. You have to honor the place where you are. You have to follow your path and nobody else’s. That is why I always write in first person. My story may or may not work for others. Thank you for your comment and your honesty.

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  3. I can identify with so much of this. I find concepts of ‘inner child’ ‘little me’ difficult to identify with, but when I read your posts I understand it so much better and it removes some of my (rational self) barriers to getting in touch with it/her/me. I too was the ‘rebel’ in the family. It’s very interesting. I too understand the power of sabotage. Thank you so much Elisabeth.

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  4. Elisabeth: in my family, I was the rebel (mostly on a positive level). Not only was I molested, I grew up to a narcissistic family. My mother was the narcissist, my late father was the enabler, my sister (who’s younger than me) is the golden child & I’m the scapegoat. As I’m the oldest child in my family, and because my uncle at the time lived with us during the time of my molestation (he was 2 years older than me), I had to rebel to either be noticed and as I grew older, I rebelled to gain independence so I can be free to live. My mother wanted me to stay home so I could be controlled, but I rebelled to show her I could make it on my own. Which to this day, I’ve succeeded.

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  5. I’m so grateful for your younger rebellious self and for you breaking the cycle of secrecy and abuse.

    My teen self is my inner rebellious part. She was the part that scared me with her rage, self-destructive behavior, & lack of concern for others. During my inner child work with myself, my teen self did not want to connect with the rest of me. After a long time of interacting with her in my mind by sitting with her as she self harmed, lashed out at me & others, and wanted to die, she started to heal and eventually became my strongest ally. She opened her heart and grieved & finally connected with the love in her own heart that she thought could never have been there.

    It was my adult self’s role to accept whatever she needed to express and love her anyway – no conditions & no exceptions. It took a long time to build trust between us, but we have that now & I’m so very grateful. I know as I move forward in the next phase of my recovery & become a trauma certified therapist, my teen self will stand by my side and help other survivors teen parts to heal.

    Thank you for your post and reminding us all how important it is to stand in our truth and authentically move forward with our healing.

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    • Thank you Donna. I feel like I have been going through some of that work in the past year. It is the hardest work I have done, but also the most powerful. There is nothing better than having the support of that teenage self, that unstoppable self.

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  6. I have tried connecting with my inner child. But I find it very difficult. I was a good parent and allowed my kids emotional freedom. But Its hard to do that for my self.

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