There are things about me that are fake; there are those that are here as a result of conditioning; there are those I developed as my rebellion against the conditioning.
Many of them are relatively harmless. Some are kind of dear to me, and, as long as I acknowledge that this is not uncompromisingly my innermost self, I can let myself indulge in them (like sometimes wanting to be one of the boys, drinking beer out of the bottle in the park, having a little general rebellious streak).
But one thing that really stood out to me in the story, the unhealthy thing, the thing that forever connects my false self with the tyrant, necessitating their joint death as the only way out, is the savior/martyr complex. The main character in my story so obviously has it that it hurts me to realize it. She's thrilled to have someone to protect. Her life has meaning. Then she's ready to suffer torture and death for him at the hands of the man who wants him dead. And not only that. In the process, in the first version of the ending which disgusted me, she never objects. She never raises her voice. She never tries to defend herself. Not because she's really compliant. Far from it. No, it's because doing any of that would be like weakness or immorality.
In other versions, I let her get raving mad, kick him in the balls, take his gun, all sorts of stuff. But it feels wrong to her to do anything violent to him, or even speak up against him to the cops, and then survive, it's unlike her, makes her somehow unclean. The last time she does it, they both die. He shoots her straight through the heart, which just goes all numb (like in my dream - I'm choosing to reinterpret it as the voluntary death of my false self now), and the young man hidden behind the heavy bookcase manages to tip it over and it crashes on the killer's head.
She has sometimes done good for others, when I was a student representative and fought the good fight. Stuff like that. But she does bad stuff, too.
She exists, it seems, only to be a savior and a martyr, and without a tyrant, she doesn't feel alive, she's just depressed and cynical. She invents tyrants where there are none. She finds the same dynamic everywhere, even where it doesn't exist, and then the savior becomes the sanctimonious judge of those with power who's overly lenient to those without it, and the martyr becomes the whiner.
She's not evil. But she keeps me seeking out abuse from my father or anyone else and interpreting it as this big battle against evil in which she will be the moral victor by silently enduring everything and never even being impolite. And the abuser will just tire of the abuse because he's not getting the desired result, the expected reaction. And he'll move on, frustrated. He's physically stronger and has all the power, so all she can do is shut off and endure it all sullenly and not give him the satisfaction of witnessing any reaction in her.
This may have been a decent survival strategy when I was a child, but now it no longer serves its purpose.
Christians here, please answer this: have you identified with Christ and the martyrs when feeling good & strong by taking stuff silently? Better and stronger than the abusers? I know feeling better and stronger than others is not exactly a Christian sentiment, but, well, maybe some of you know what I mean.
I don't, on the other hand, really identify with all that love and forgiveness for one's tormentors. Just the idea of being stronger by silently enduring and never showing you're suffering. That's not Christian at all, I fully realize.
But somehow, for me, it got blended with my general ideology.
How does one get rid of that? And what does one do instead and still feel good about oneself?