Girl Under Umbrella of Bansky
I remember the summer of 2016 where I visited an exhibition of street artist Banksy at the Moco Museum in Amsterdam. I really liked his creative way of protesting against the abuse of power. The image that struck me the most was that of a girl under an umbrella. Her arm is extended to check if outside the umbrella is the same as being under. On her face you can see some confusion. The reality of the girl is that it only rains under the umbrella and not around.
Banksy comments that the reflection in his work is that sometimes what is supposed to protect us, ultimately hurts us and in fact becomes the source of our problems.
Many survivors have suffered abuse from those who should have been a refuge in childhood. A refuge where you should be loved and respected for who you are, not where you are selfishly used. A place where you should learn your limits and those of others. A place where you should discover what happiness and tenderness smells like. An umbrella that should protect from rain and not produce it inside. That is when the mechanisms to survive such a tragedy begin. Victims learn to read the emotions and thoughts of their aggressors better than anyone, to avoid as much damage as possible. Detect for example, if the aggressor is in a bad mood so as not to make him more angry. They also learn to have control of their own actions and the message they convey with their gestures and postures, instead of that carefree attitude typical of a girl, to avoid sexually attracting the aggressor. They develop an exacerbated control of their environment by being alert to possible threats. The world has ceased to be a safe place. Many survivors become expert manipulators in an effort to manage others so that they do not harm them. They avoid becoming vulnerable to the fear of someone hurting them. Some become withdrawn, apathetic, lonely, developing a sour character to scare people away. Others become the black sheep of the family, giving problems, being rebellious, seeking to attract attention in a negative way. Others become the center of the party with an exaggerated openness in relationships not understanding personal limits.
And all this accompanies them until adulthood. A deep loneliness and maladjustment always accompanies them.
And what does Banksy's painting have to do with all this? All these mechanisms of survival are that umbrella that is supposed to protect them from the rain and that, however, cause them to rain in the same way, or worse, inside the umbrella. Even on the days when the sun shines outside.
What is supposed to help them survive now turns against them and destroys them. Before the aggressor was that sinister umbrella, now the umbrella is his memories without healing and his mechanisms of survival.
But it is never too late to break the silence and with the right support learn, little by little, to develop a healthy character.
It is never too late for the aggressor to stop being the protagonist in the movie of his life. Dismiss him as an actor who plays badly and sends him to unemployment forever and ever. Write a new script and choose a new cast of healthy actors.
It is never too late to close that umbrella and open to life. With its joys and sorrows, its affections and wounds, its risks and adventures. Learn a new tenderness, which is what will overcome the world.
Joel de Bruine