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Dobby is a Free Elf!

Discovering the Magic and Power of Mental Imagery.

I adore the Harry Potter series. I first read all the books as a youngster and was excited when the movies came out. Many of the movies fell short, leaving out key content; however, after years of therapy, I finally came to terms that I can tolerate the movies. Any good bookworm will tell you the book beats the movie every single time, so my feelings weren’t misplaced. But I have grown quite fond of Harry Potter movie marathons. Hard to top that! Well, maybe marathons of the LOTR trilogy and Star Wars.. #nerdforlife #noshameinmynerdgame.

Anyways, Harry Potter is a world that I love to dive into because it is filled with wonder! I love magic themed movies, shows and books anyhow, but with HP, there is a deep rooted story of bravery, love, friendship and acceptance. This post is basically a giant analogy. I dig analogies and visual imagery.

I intend to describe as I go, but it would be helpful to have at least seen the fifth Harry Potter movie, The Order of the Phoenix. Also beware, I will literally be spoiling the movie for you if you somehow haven’t seen any of them. If that is sadly the case for you, then jump off here and go watch it. Just would have to start at number one and go through to the, see you in like ten hours!

For those still with me, I am sharing my personal experience with mental imagery that made a huge difference for me. Grab your butterbeer and chocolate frogs and get cozy!

It is so ironic and awesome how our little hero Dobby the Elf is freed. In order to be freed, he must be given an article of clothing from his master. Young Mr. Potter is just as cunning at twelve as he is when he defeats Voldemort. He consistently stands up against evil, he is a champion for struggling friends and will help even those who frankly don’t deserve it...looking at you Malfoy, ya filthy little twit. Harry faces many struggles and he always prevails, due not only to his positive personal attributes, but also due to the never ending support from his friends, godfather and/or dedicated teachers.

Out of all the books, however, I think he experiences the most adversity in the fifth one, The Order of the Phoenix. Harry faces the fallout among his peers over the death of Cedric Diggory and the return of Voldemort, which he unwillingly witnessed and helped come to about crossing boundaries! Voldemort is such a jerk!

Harry feels as though he is up against the world, because no one believes him that Voldemort has returned. Well, that is not entirely true, because his friends, godfather, the Order and Dumbledore all believe that Voldemort is back. So technically, Harry has the same support as what he always does; however, he is the most unhappy in that school year. He doesn’t know it as he is going through the school year, but realizes later that Voldemort has invaded his mind and essentially poisoned him with anger, which has caused Harry to feel angry most of the time and to seek isolation. He experiences fits of rage and frustration and lashes out at his friends, feeling as though they just don’t understand him.

Luckily, his friends’ loyalty never wavers one bit. In the midst of his self isolation, Luna helps him see that banding together to fight Voldemort is the only way to defeat him. She reminds Harry that Voldemort would want Harry to feel isolated. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named doesn’t want Harry to seek any help or support, and instead writhe in his misery, fear, sadness and anger.

Okay, so that is part of the background for what happened in that particular movie. Now to give a small backstory on my experience.

One day a couple years back, as I switched clean clothes from the washer to the dryer, I realized one lone sock had been left behind in the washer. I picked it up and said, “Dobby is a free elf!” because I live my life one Harry Potter pun to the next. I laughed at my hilarity because I am the only one who truly knows how brilliantly comedic I am. I had said that to myself many times but this time was different. I was hit by a realization quicker than Harry snatches the snitch. My realization was that my ex was Voldemort. I know..that escalated quickly..but seriously! Hear me out..

Technically, my ex did have a nose, so I am not implying he looked like the ‘ole reptilian terror. I have unfortunately experienced two separate domestically violent relationships. The second one being the worst because that ex nearly killed me, so he tops the list of trauma and pain for me. With that snippet of how awful he is, it’s no wonder why I compared him to Voldemort, right? Characteristically, my ex and Voldemort are identical. Let me explain:

Abusers are despicable and hateful with no regard for their intimate invasions. As I mentioned above, Voldemort was essentially coursing hatred through Harry during his fifth year of school. He projected his anger, shame and volatile feelings onto Harry. Abusers do this because they despise themselves. They are filled with shame and anger, and do not love themselves. They are incapable of loving others for those very reasons. They lash out at others and desperately seek control over everything else in their lives. They have no control over their emotions and have never dealt with the mental issues they likely have. Voldemort sought to control everyone and believed he was the greatest wizard there ever was or would be. Narcissistic and arrogant- like many abusers.

Voldemort also pushed for Harry to isolate himself. Abusers want the exact same thing. They will encourage or even force their victims to turn on their friends, family and all support they have. These people are viewed as a threat to the abuser, because they could potentially sway the victim against them. They may help the victim to realize how dangerous and toxic the situation is. These helpful and loving people in the victim’s life are competition for the abuser. The abuser rationalizes that if the victim pushes everyone away and isn’t around them at all, then their hold will remain firm on them. Plus, the abuser will tell their victim that no one loves them and use the lack of close relationships to confirm that.

Abusers are capable of brewing up the entire plot of betrayal and spoon feeding their victim the issues, lies and deceit. They are masters at orchestrating these situations, because they sweep in right when needed to “console” their victim. Despite having caused the wedge in the first place, the desired effect has happened, because now the victim believes they can only trust their partner. I can’t state enough how smart and logistical abusers are. Diabolical, they are masters at staying several moves ahead.

Now, before I explain the last comparison of my ex and Voldemort, I am going back to the movie once more. Towards the end of The Order of the Phoenix, we witness Dumbledore and Voldemort battle in one of the most epic wizarding duels of all time. We see what we think to be Voldemort’s retreat, but instead, he essentially possesses Harry. Harry writhes on the floor and Voldemort talks to (and through) him. Harry has flashbacks of all his angry incidents that he has experienced all school year. Harry even sees himself looking into a mirror and his own face contorts into Voldemort’s face.

Harry experiences agony under the intense hold that Voldemort has over him. It’s clear how Harry is trying to fight, and Dumbledore also calmly encourages him to fight. Finally, Hermione and Ron, and the rest of the Order make it to the room where this incident is occurring and see what is happening to Harry. In that moment, Harry sees his friends, and that is the push he needs. He begins to think of the good times with his friends, of the laughter they have shared, of his godfather and of his parents.

He fills himself with happy thoughts, healthy memories and love. These images pass through Harry, and we start to realize that Voldemort is losing his grip on Harry, because he can't stand the experience of Harry's loving memories. Suddenly, with the courage he desperately needed, Harry told him: “You're the weak one. You'll never know love or friendship and I feel sorry for you.” Voldemort then fully retreats.

Wow. This raging lunatic straight up murdered Harry’s parents. But Harry just told him that he feels sorry for him. Such defiance! Harry had every right to feel angry, but chose not to exert that. When we can face hatred and anger with love and light, then we win. No matter what, we can never battle hatred with hatred and expect to make any progress.

Now, back to my situation and my ex being Voldemort. I view the "hold" my ex had over me (the years of abuse, pain and trauma, and being blamed for it all) as the same in which Harry experienced with Voldemort during the entire school year and as he was being possessed at the end of the movie as well. I made this connection and realized that, just like Harry, I should fill my life with love and friendship to banish evil. I then realized that my ex would never know and experience true love of any kind because he is a narcissist and doesn’t even love himself.

In that moment, I said out loud how he (my ex) would never know true love, and I felt sorry for him. That was incredibly powerful for me! I thrive on visual imagery to help me heal and understand the unknowns in my life. That visual has stuck with me ever since I made that connection. I envisioned myself as Harry, the hero of my own life. That was a comfort to me, and I remember feeling a surge of bravery and courage.

I love magic and think there are magical things to be found in many facets of our lives. Love is magic. It can heal wounds and cause them, same as there is good and dark magic. Growth is magic! Plants are magic! Nature is magic! Open your eyes to the magic in your life my fellow wizard. It’s your world to mold into whatever you see fit.

You have the power to do that via your mind, actions and words. Dumbledore eloquently reminds us that:

“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.”

Albus Dumbledore; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. (J.K. Rowling)

Get your magic on! Set your intentions in your life by banishing all the hate and anger. Rely on what support you have in your life. Never isolate from those who love you and want to help you. Fill your life with love, bravery and compassion and experience the difference.


Read next: Never In the Cover of Night
Denae Taylor

I am a self-proclaimed Wellness Educator who is passionate about mental health. My life experiences have taught me a unique insight to mental health, allowing me to share my experiences with others in hopes of promoting healing.

See all posts by Denae Taylor

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