The loss of safety

I am still living my life as a runaway.

I am still living my life in constant fear.

Every time the doorbell rings, I panic. Sometimes, I freeze. Other times, I barricade my bedroom door and hide in the closet. Never I am able to just see who is at the door. The thought alone is terrifying. Why? Because I am so afraid that my mother will be at the door. I’m so afraid she will find me and take me back to prison.

Many times I go to therapy in fear that my mother will find me there. I’ll sit on the chair at the farthest end of the waiting room. I’ll sit on the farthest end of the couch in my therapist’s office. The farther I am away from the door, the more time I have to hide.

Every time my phone rings, I am overcome with panic. She’s found out I told. I’m in trouble now. I worry that any number that appears on my phone could be hers, so I don’t answer. I never answer.

Every time someone calls me by my birth name in just such a way, I am filled with fear and anxiety. Nothing good ever came from being called in that way. It has always been a precedent for pain.

Every bump in the night startles me awake and I freeze with fear. She’s coming for me. I’m never safe. Because I never felt safe as a child, and I’m reliving that still as an adult. I am still, in many ways, a scared child living in an adult body.

I thought it would get better by now, but it hasn’t. I live on high alert. I never feel safe. I have never felt safe a day in my life. Why can’t I get past this? I am in a better place now, but am I really? My feet are in safe zone, but my mind is still locked away in prison, and my mother holds the keys.

I’ve been trying to work through the fear and safety issues in therapy, but they are still coming up. My therapist wrote me a note to help me remind myself that I am here now, and away from that hell. I carry it in pocket everywhere I go.

You are safe now.  You got out.

You survived places and people that were physically and emotionally dangerous, and it made you feel that the whole world was dangerous — that you would never be free. 
But with your adult understanding and resources, you proved that philosophy wrong.  You escaped, and you are now free.

Those who harmed you are not here.  You are separate from them.

If they were here, you could lock the door and tell them to leave.  If they didn’t listen to you, you could call law enforcement and they would make them leave.  You have power now.  You get to make the decisions.  They can’t hurt you anymore.  
You can find safe environments and surround yourself with safe people.

You can care for yourself and protect yourself.  And you should.

Every day, you can choose freedom again.
When the world feels frightening, remind yourself that you got out.  And you are safe now.

How can I feel safe when they took that sense of safety away from me? They stole it. I need it back.


7 thoughts on “The loss of safety

  1. I love that message from your therapist. It validates the nightmare you came from, but its emphasis is on what you have achieved by getting free and your ability to make things different now. Do you still carry this message?

    Liked by 1 person

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