Ruthie is protective. When I first came down with the cough from hell (which has now largely subsided, I’m happy to add), she got a little carried away. I was NOT going to go to work in the morning. However, I WAS going to go buy fresh vegetables since I needed to eat right to get well. She would force these issues if necessary.

And there were a few days I fell asleep to the little baby voice in my head saying, “Nobody hurt Mommy no more. Mommy safe. Ruthie no let nobody hurt Mommy no more.”

This is part of me. This is my will to protect myself. None of the other parts are protective. They are nurturing and helpful and good team players for the most part, but they aren’t protective. There is no mama bear among them. Ruthie is the only one. The last time self-protection seemed like a good idea, I was her age. I was maybe 18 months old. I might have been younger.

Integration is not just about knowing that a trait or a remembered event is part of you, but bringing the walls down so that it can mix with the rest of the stuff inside you and find a spot of its own on the shelf inside your head. I started to think Ruthie needed a little protection too. That is the piece that might help her feel safe enough that the walls can start to come down.

I have nurtured her, but she’s afraid of being stolen. She needs more than nurturing. She needs to think others are both willing and able to protect her now.

In my childhood, many people were not willing to protect me. The ones who were willing were not able. Natalya was a child. She stood up for me twice, but she couldn’t exactly tell Yuri to bugger off. My foster parents had no legal right to me. Everyone who might have tried to protect me seemed to be powerless. And so I think Ruthie needs someone to stand up for her who can stand up for her. And Ruthie is not a real child, but I am a real person and I do, in fact, have a right not to be kidnapped and taken somewhere I do not want to go.

So I told her: I will not let anyone steal you. If someone tries to steal you, I will hold on so tight to you that no one can take you away from me. If they don’t let go, I have a phone, and I will call my friends and they will help me. If they still don’t let go, then we will go find the nice policeman who always talks to us and he will put them in jail.

NO ONE and I mean NO ONE can steal Ruthie again. Never ever ever. I won’t let them.

That is what I needed as a toddler. I needed someone who wouldn’t let them. Never ever ever. I didn’t get that then, but maybe I can give it to myself now. Maybe I can give it to Ruthie, who is even now still the child I was then.

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