EVERYBODY HAS A DEMON
The movie, Alter Ego got me curious and I decided to watch it on Thursday. It was quite revealing and gave birth to this piece.
It tells the story of an accomplished lawyer, Ada Igwe who dedicates her life to getting justice for abused ladies. The passion with which she does it shows that she is FIGHTING FROM A FAMILIAR PLACE.
She was once a victim of sexual abuse.
So the wealthy, successful, self confident Ada had a traumatic experience in her childhood that makes her want to DRAW BLOOD from abusers of women.
But what many did not know is the DARK SECRET she hides. Ada, in a bid to hide her pain, becomes a nymphomaniac, using men for her pleasure and dumping them at the drop of the heart. She becomes a twisted woman, developing an ALTER EGO that is a direct opposite of the front she presents to the public.
In a twist of fate, Ada meets a man, Timothy whom she truly falls in love with, only to discover he has an ALTER EGO as well. He appears to be a Unicef ambassador, helping displaced persons. But outside his worthy assignment, he tears apart the destinies of young ladies by brutally molesting them.
The film is a psychological thriller that reveals a lot that people hide behind closed doors. In a country like Nigeria, many try to hide the real problem of depression, trauma and their other siblings. So people who go through bad experiences like rape and other forms of abuse are asked to bear it, told not to talk about it and little effort is made to curb the menace.
When Ada learns the shocking truth about the real Timothy and tells her sister about it, her sister refuses to believe it. She cannot reconcile the docile and helpful Timothy with the monster Ada painted to her.
Then Ada made a revealing statement:
EVERBODY HAS A DEMON.
That may sound quite extreme because it may not be true of everyone but many times people are being crushed under the load of traumatic experiences. They cannot cry out sometimes for fear of ridicule. They present a facade of a satisfied life to the public, and in their secret places shed tears of despair. Battling with hurts that few can understand but which burns them from inside. And so they develop their own defence mechanisms and become a menace to others.
The Oxford Dictionary defines Alter Ego as ‘a person whose personality is different from your own but who shows or acts as another side of your personality.’ So while Ada looks ‘together’ on the surface, she nurses a demon that turns her into someone she cannot recognise. She feels guilty each time she rolls in the hay with those men but cannot just stop herself.
Quite an awful experience.
I recall the story of Mary Magdalene in the Bible from whom Jesus cast out seven devils. (Mark 16:9) She was one troubled woman but she received succour at the feet of Jesus. And had the rare privilege of being the first to see him after he arose.
The demons could not trouble her anymore.
Those who have endured one form of agony or the other can identify with this piece. You can point victims in the right direction. Let us stop looking the other way and downplaying the pains of others.
This piece is dedicated to the Ada Igwes and Timothys of this world who have developed a defence mechanism to their traumatic experiences and in the process inflict pain on others. Do not hide that agony. Seek help, whether from a counsellor or at the feet of divinity.
Stop nursing that demon.