About ten years ago, a woman in her mid-twenties, (we will call her Mary, to protect her identity) came to see me regarding her state of health. She had anorexia, she was but skin and bone; her condition was serious, I was very concerned.
I was surprised that she knew me; it was through several different people she had found me. At our first meeting, I let her talk, so I could have an idea of why she had this condition, what was the root cause.
‘I have a condition called Anorexia, and I don’t know why I have it and how to get rid of it. No one knows how to help me, I really don’t feel well, I hate food and I can’t stand being around people.’ Mary looked at me, ‘I feel comfortable talking to you though. There is something about you; do you think we could be friends? Do you think you can help me?’
I really didn’t know what to say to that, but I had a sense that this girl needed someone to be a friend. ‘I suppose we could be friends, yes. How about we have a cuppa and we can have a chat.’ Mary was happy I said yes, and waited while I prepared a cup of tea for us both, I brought in a few small pieces of dark chocolate on a plate, so we could have together.
‘We sipped our tea, and I allowed Mary to talk about anything.
This was mainly very negative chatter, about friends, and how they had kept away from her, and about how she hated people looking at her. I noticed that even though she had taken a small square of chocolate, she would only nibble on the edges, pretending to eat, ‘I feel guilty eating this, I … I can’t eat it. Can you help me?’
An hour went by and I rose from my chair, ‘It has been lovely chatting with you today, would you like to come tomorrow?’
‘Yes, I would like that, thank you for listening. I will see you tomorrow.’ She went to meet her mother who was in the car waiting for her.
I went to make some lunch in the kitchen, and I heard someone come in the front door, I went to see who it might be, it was Mary’s mother. She had made up an excuse to go to the toilet while Mary was in the car. ‘Yes, can I help you?’
Mary’s mother spoke to me about her daughter, she was very concerned as she wanted her daughter to go to hospital, but her daughter didn’t want to go, Mary was becoming extremely stubborn and easily upset and even angry. ‘My daughter is refusing any help; she is getting worse and worse.’
‘Why haven’t you called an ambulance, she is in a very weak and in a dangerous condition, I will call the ambulance if you don’t.’
‘No, please don’t, please. I have already done that, but she refuses to go, then she gets very upset and even more debilitated. If you can find out what is causing this and help her. Can we try tomorrow, please?’
‘Okay, bring her tomorrow, but if there is any sign of deterioration, call an ambulance, promise?’
That evening, I needed to spend time considering and praying about all that I had heard and learnt from my session with Mary. I knew that she was in need of love and attention and I knew she had anger within her, but what had caused it? Anger is usually produced from hate, but what had made her hate, and caused her to hurt herself.
Next day we sat and chatted again, Mary needed constant reassurance that I was her friend. ‘As a friend I would like to share with you, what I believe is causing the anorexia. Would you like me to tell you what I believe?’
‘Yes.’ Mary sat on the edge of her seat, and clasped her fingers together on her lap.
‘As your friend, I need to be truthful with you. I am very concerned about the state of your wellbeing. You are a talented lady; you told me you used to teach children at school, to sing sand play musical instruments, you must miss doing that, and the children would be missing you too.’ I could tell Mary was getting anxious.
‘Please don’t get upset with what I am about to share, I want you to know that everything we talk about is confidential, okay?’ Mary nodded her head. ‘Someone, I believe to be a close family member has molested you on several occasions, when you were younger. You have kept it to yourself, maybe because you are ashamed, or maybe because you have been threatened. But I tell you right now that that man is a creep, what he has done is evil, and so wrong.’ Mary looked down to her hands, her face paler than before. She looked up and turned her face towards the wall and not at me. I continued to talk to her, ‘It is alright for you to look at me and talk about this, I want you to be well and strong. I would like to put a question towards you. Why give this creep the satisfaction of seeing you die slowly? I want you to kick butt and get better! Do you know he is getting some wicked pleasure out of seeing you die slowly? How dare he continue to rape your life, like this! That is what you are allowing him to do, you know, by holding onto these toxic emotions. Prove him wrong, be different and fight back! You are a beautiful and talented lady, with great opportunities for a great and successful life. Don’t let the devil win!’
Mary broke down and cried, ‘It is true, it is true. How did you know? No one knows, not my mum, no one!’ I stood beside her, my arm over her shaking shoulders, bones protruding; she was so tiny, so fragile and so broken.
‘You don’t have to talk anymore, this man has stuffed you around for long enough! Get better and back to what you enjoy. Get back to teaching those children, they need you and you need them. Follow your heart and not his!’
‘Yes! Kick butt! I hate him, I hate him!’ Mary cried.
There was an immediate turn around for Mary, the hate had produced the anger of the injustice, and this had been cemented in her subconsciousness, she was totally unaware of its evil driving force and its effect on her body.
The second step was to forgive this man, who had destroyed her life. This did not mean for her to be in contact with him, but for the reason of freeing her completely of the hate and anger and learning to trust and love again.
Eventually she told me and her mother that it had been her dad. Mary’s mother was unaware of this and it came as a great shock to her. He was reported and kept away from their lives.
A year later Mary and her mother made contact again, and what a wonderful surprise it was to see them. Mary was looking healthier and happier, she was back teaching at school, enjoying life; free from the anger and hate. Mary is also helping others in similar circumstances, giving back what she had eventually found.
We sat together and chatted, while we had a cuppa, Mary handed me a block of chocolate!
‘So, please tell me, how did you know?’ Mary pleaded.
‘Love tells me all.’ I smiled and gave her a hug.
M. A. Loveday
What is the antidote to these destructive emotions? It has to be pure love!
As I think on this powerful emotion I realise that it is a gift to all who would be willing to receive, and I am even more convinced that love can heal. What do you think?