I am a child abuse survivor. I am a bullying victim. I suffered a great deal in my childhood and many of my teen years as well, if not from one trauma, then from another. Perhaps I never really dealt with a lot of the issues this created, and so for years, I just practiced burying my hurt, hiding from the world in dark places I cannot imagine now. A friend once introduced a term to me, “Loyal Soldiers,” which while sort of defined in the linked post, I feel needs to be clarified more.
As it was originally explained to me, the Loyal Soldier is something that we have inside of us, created to deal with traumas and dark experiences in our lives. All of us probably have these in some form or another, but some of us simply didn’t have the kind of darkness that others do, and for those who were truly hurt, we may never really let those Loyal Soldiers go.
Perhaps Bruce Springsteen can say it better than I ever could, from Darkness on the Edge of Town:
“Well everybody’s got a secret Sonny, somethin’ that they just can’t face. Some folks spend their whole lives tryin’ to keep it, they carry it with them every step that they take, ’til some day, they just cut it loose, cut it loose or let it drag ’em down.”
My point here is that as this friend told me, we have to honor these Loyal Soldiers – they aren’t something to be feared or kept forever. We honor the job that they did for us, trying to protect us, helping us cope with the things that our minds were too fragile for at the time in some way. We honor them, but we lay them to rest. Sometimes this takes therapy, time, and energy to overcome. It means facing the unpleasant feelings that we had buried so long ago. If we are to move on, however, it is something that must be done.