Saving An Aspect - The Child In The Dark Closet

It is true that people carry their events on their sleeve - people bring their events, good, bad, unknowable, missing or absent, along with them wherever they go, and if someone will listen, the events are right there to be dealt with, quickly and directly.

Here is a case of a lady who had been in therapy for 30 years - and no-one thought to save an aspect who was suffering in darkness still: The Child In The Closet

The Child In The Dark Closet

During a recent talk, a lady came to see me who had been "in therapy" for 30 years, so she said. This was by no means with a single old fashioned psychotherapist, although there had been a progression of those as well in that time span; the thirty years also included literally innumerable New Age and Mind, Body, Spirit workshops as well as all manner of holistic therapies and treatments in endless modalities.

Within moments of opening the conversation, she somehow managed to ask me if I thought it was bad that she sometimes still went to church.

I immediately smelled not a rat, but an event, because this is simply not something you would say to someone you'd only just met, over a vodka and tonic at the bar.

This lady had some kind of unsolved event, and it had something to do with the Catholic faith part of her younger years, most likely when she was still a child.

I responded that whatever helps in life should be embraced fully; and if going to church made her feel better, then she should do so, follow her heart, of course.

The lady sighed and said that she was always conflicted about the Catholic faith, since she was a young girl.

"Oh?" I said, "So what happened when you were a young girl in church?"

She sighed and said, "For a short time I was at this Catholic girl school, and the nuns there were not friendly, they were very tough on me. They kept putting me into this dark closet as a punishment for talking, running, laughing ..."

"Oh," I said and shrugged. "You will have resolved that in all the therapy you've had a long time ago ..."

"Actually ... no ... not really ... I guess I talked about it but ..."

Now I was a bit upset. I leaned forward and said, "Are you seriously telling me that after 30 years in therapy, that kid is still in the dark closet? That no-body thought to get her out?"

The lady was amazed. "No, not like that, not ... like you're saying it ..."

"So is the child still in the dark closet now? The child that was then, what we call an aspect?"

"Yes, yes she is! She never left ... How is that possible?"

"Do you remember the first time it happened, what the child thought and felt?"

"It was ... just awful ... I thought I was going to die, I ... knew I died in the closet ..."

For a while, nothing further was said.

Then the lady said hesitantly, "If we - I - was to take the child out of the closet, would it be over then? Would it all be ... finally ... could it be finally ... laid to rest?"

"The child in the closet isn't dead. She didn't die. She just thought she had. She believed she had. Can you understand how she would have thought that, felt that?"

"Oh yes. Oh, God, yes. She had never experienced anything like it, and she was so afraid of the dark ... I think she must have fainted ..."

"So if we take her out of the closet right now, she would be limp and pale, but only unconscious, not dead, right?"

The lady sighed deeply, twice. "Yes, of course, she would have just fainted, she would be fine, wake up soon enough ..."

"And how does that connect to your question, if you should go to church or not?"

"Oh ... hm ... I ... I felt something holy in church, felt it was like a sanctuary. But that was before ... the closet ... after, I was searching for the holiness but I could never find it again ..."

"Interesting. With the child no longer in the closet and alive, what do you think it would be like going to church now?"

"Oh!" the lady exclaimed, sat up much straighter and started to smile, "I think ... I think I can feel the holy again! I think I can see it now ... the light, the colours, and the feeling of love from God ..."

Inwardly I thought, "Ok, energized end state ..."

Outwardly I said, "I'm glad the kid's out of the closet now ..."

The lady smiled and said, "And I can come out of my Catholic closet and don't feel I have to hide the fact that  I sometimes go to church ..."

Indeed ...

Dr Silvia Hartmann

August 2010

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