Demons worry that we will know their names (all the horror movies say so). Once we name the demon, once we recognize it, it loses its power.
For example, when I admitted to myself that the demon in my marriage was ABUSE, the abuse held less power over me. The demon flared up in a fiery attempt to terrify me, yet, after its temper tantrum, I stood strong and continued to call it by name. Will thinks I demonized him, but I think I demonized his behavior.
Will never admitted to Abuse living in our marriage. He still doesn’t. The demon may keep a hold on Will, but it doesn’t confine me.
Once you know the demon’s name, USE it.
Call the demon out into the open. Look the demon in its face and stare it down.
We are stronger than anything that seeks to hide, cowardly, within us.
An Exorcism…er, An Exercise
Instead of telling you what to do, I’ll describe what I did. Hopefully, my story will inspire you to terrify your self into realizing nothing holds power over you except your own mind.
When I was maybe 7, I watched The Exorcist with my parents. My dad tried to cover my eyes at certain points, but he must have been covering his own eyes when Regan, the possessed girl, spun her head completely around.
Oh, my, God. My little girl brain would not let that image go. I was terrified of Regan and blame that movie for much of my childhood trauma! (What image frightened you?)
Years later, separated from Will and my children and falling deep into my fears, I thought I was going to die. Simply die from the amount of terror I felt at going through life alone. I was so afraid that my brain (in an effort to help, I’m sure) showed me several frightening images and memories from my childhood and adult nightmares. Scary stuff. Horror movie stuff.
Suddenly, I just knew Regan was outside of my bedroom door in the dark stillness where the moonlight didn’t go. She was so palpable, I could hear her raspy breathing. She wasn’t standing. She was in a deep backbend, her arched back stretched so far out of position that her ribs were visible under that thin white nightgown.
I decided right then that Regan was going to come into my room, and I was going to hold her hand. (Face the fear.)
I let my mind take me deeper into the vision. She began creeping slowly toward my bed in that awkward position. Her breathing was louder as she approached. She grunted and groaned, demon sounds interspersed with her breath.
At the foot of my bed, she let out a wail so painful it hurt me to hear it. I willed myself to open my eyes, to see her in real life, and I did. I saw my imagined demon creep around the corner of the bed, flip to her stomach and slither like a snake under where I laid.
It scared me so much I closed my eyes. I knew she was lying on her back beneath the bed because I could feel her hot breath warming the mattress under my neck.
It was now or never. I slowly moved my hand, palm upward, over the edge of the bed. I willed her to grab it, but she wouldn’t. I called her name like she were my daughter, “Raaaay-gan…it’s okay. Hold my hand…”
My heart beat faster. I felt movement. I felt an ice cold finger touch my hand and almost jerked away.
But she did it. She grabbed my hand. I let her.
I leaned over the edge of the bed to look into the eyes of a demon, but what I saw were the eyes of a little girl (with a really nasty messed up face).
She finished rolling out from under the bed. She sat by my bed, holding my hand. We breathed in and out together. Raspy and soft.
“Regan,” I said, “we’re not going to be afraid of each other anymore.” I melted into sleep, holding the hand of my scary demon. (Trusting although afraid that everything would be all right.)
What Did It Mean?
As weird as it was, I think it means that there is no fear I cannot conquer. I knew the episode was “in my mind” but the terror was real! All fears are in my mind. Bringing the demons out into the light, giving them a name or a face, takes away their power over me.
Weirder still, after going through that fear purposely, I felt better about my life. I woke energized and excited for the first time in weeks.
Now, all of these months later, when I am fearful of something but don’t know exactly what, I conjure up Regan. We talk, face to face, and my greatest demon helps me to name my lesser ones.