Burning Down the House
I’d accepted what Bubba had done to me. I’d started on my sexual healing journey. I had something yet to do. I had to deal with The Happy Place and what it meant. A few months after I’d accepted that Bubba had been raping me, I was talking to Liz about the Happy Place and knew that it was a place I never wanted to return to and something had to be done about it.
I put the kids to bed one night, lay in my bed, and revisited the Happy Place.
Only this time, I went in with a flame thrower.
I was still wearing that flowy skirt, I was still barefoot, but this time, I was operating heavy machinery! I lit up that flame-thrower and burned the entire Happy Place until nothing was left but black ashes.
I don’t remember feeling anything while I did that. I just remember knowing it had to be done. I knew that it had to be done. I knew the land had to be burned. I knew that I would never again go there, mainly because at that point, I was convinced I’d never have sex again.
Afterward, I felt a sense of satisfaction, like it was a job well-done. I waited a few days and went back in with a giant eraser and erased all the ashes, all the destruction. When I left, the Happy Place was just a white space. It had nothing in it – no feeling, no memories, just pristine white space. I’ve peeked my head into where the Happy Place once was a couple of times since then just to make sure there is nothing growing in there, nothing to mar the whiteness.
I won’t go fully into the Happy Place and I won’t peek in for long. I hope to get to a time when I feel comfortable putting a padlock on the door and never going back. For now, maintenance is required.
I destroyed the Happy Place without too much thought as to why I needed it and what purpose it served. I never wanted to delve that far into it. It is now seven months later and I’m ready to finally come to terms with the protective abilities of my mind. I’m ready to explore what the Happy Place was and why it was so desperately needed. Honestly, I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to think about this, but my mind has ideas of its own. Throughout my healing journey, I’ve worked on issues as I’ve felt led to work on them. Somehow though, everything always circles back to sex. For me, when it circles back to sex, it circles back to pain.
To cope with the pain, both physical and emotional, I went away. I dissociated. My mind went to a place that was safe. As I started researching dissociation, Cynthia Henrie, MFT put it this way on her website, “Instead of having to be emotionally experiencing sexual abuse, the mind helps your soul escape.” This struck a chord with me. My body was being violated so my mind took my soul into a place of comfort and calm.
I’m just starting my research into dissociation. I want to learn everything I can about it because I never want to have that be a part of my experience again if I ever enter a sexual relationship in the future.
If I ever do decide to make love with a man, he will have to be worthy and understand what I’ve gone through and be willing to go very slowly and work with me so that I feel safe.
Returning to The Happy Place was simply no longer an option. I would never step foot in there again. I would never again be afraid to stop an experience in its tracks before I allowed myself to access The Happy Place.
The more I read about dissocation, the more amazed I became at the human brain’s ability to protect itself. I’ve often wondered how I would’ve turned out if my brain hadn’t invented The Happy Place and taken me there time and time again. Would I have kept my sanity? Would I have finally stood up one day and refused to allow Bubba to do the things he was doing to me? What would the fall-out from doing that have been? To me, those are scarier concepts than dealing with fact that The Happy Place existed.
The Happy Place served its purpose. I made the conscious decision to go back in and take care of it. It was very healing to take control of The Happy Place. It was very healing to take its existence out of my head. It had no more power over me.
I burned down the house.