The need for safety.

I’ve only just begun reading Alexis Rose’s book Untangled and it has already resonated with me on a deep level and given me some huge revelations about my own experience. 

I never felt safe. Growing up, I never felt safe. I believe that is the root of my current anxiety and PTSD smell triggers, the need to feel safe and the many things that take away the safety of my being.

This muscle disease has weakened my body. That in and of itself is a huge trigger because my body feels weak, therefore I feel vulnerable, and in that vulnerability I feel fear. In that fear lives memories. In those memories I am not safe. 

My mind views strong smells as attacks and intrusions and sends me into a tailspin only because I live in a hypervigilant state, always on alert, because at the root of it all, I have not found safety. 

I need to relearn, redefine, and teach my body that it is safe right here and right now. Until I am able to do that, I cannot move forward. My muscles stay in spasm and contracted due to this disease. I try to relax them and they recoil right back up. They don’t know how to let go. Is it the muscle disease or the memories or both that keep my body tense. Even when I sleep I will wake to seizures. It is as if my body simply does not know how to be calm. 

I woke up this morning thinking that loss was a defining factor of my current state of struggle. The loss of my companion, my dog, was devastating. Then I thought of my mother. It has been 2 years today that my mother decided, made a choice, to rid herself of her daughter. That loss has brought clarity. But it is a loss none the less. It still completely blows my mind that a mother, upon hearing details of the abuse her daughter endured, would choose to cut her daughter off. And that she had mindless followers who chose her and not me. Just a few days before they all decided not to speak to me again, they were plotting. My mother’s husband had driven me home from her birthday party and planned an intervention for HER. He was trying to get my brother and me on board to sit my mother down and tell her how hurtful she could be with her words. I told him no. I was not going to do that to my mother. If he had an issue with her he needed to handle that on his own and not pull in her children to do his dirty work because he was a coward. How quickly things changed when I chose to tell my story of abuse and my stepfather wrote to me telling me what an awful person I was for hurting my mother with the truth. She chose against me and they all followed. All that had talked behind her back, ended up having her back. How bizarre. But I am a broken record. I wil never understand her or them and I don’t waste anymore time trying. It would be a lie to say that I don’t think of her though and that the pain and ache of what she did does not affecte me, because it very much does. I thought that the culmination of loss was what was at the root of my current despair. It isn’t. It just plays a small part. It is feeling safe and acknowledging my deep sense of fear that I am not safe at all. 

I need to feel safe not based on circumstance or situations, I need to feel safe in this space right here, alone. I sit here contemplating this, the ringing in my ears is deafening. It is distracting. It makes me feel dissociative or depersonalized. Where I want to grab my hair with my hands and scream. But I snap back to the obligations and role as a mother and wife, a friend, and I pull it together as I toss a blanket over the hole that I know is there. The void, the fear. I can’t keep covering it up. I need to fill it with safety. I just don’t know how to get there yet. A new step for my therapist and I to work through. Adding to the list of hundreds of incidents in my past that I need to process. It is all a bit overwhelming. But if I live like my family does, I will never fully recover. If I live a life of secrets and pride and cover ups I will never survive. Most of what I am doing is UN doing what they did. So I speak about my emotions, the things that people keep bottled up and don’t share for fear of judgment.  In speaking about it I hope to walk through it and come through to the other side with a better understanding of myself and closer to healing all the voids that were created by chronic abuse.

34 thoughts on “The need for safety.

  1. Oh man, reading what you wrote about your mother and your family, the people who backed your mother the pain was clear. You showed how it tears at you. It is hard to understand the depth of the hurt that you must have felt when it happened. You really cared for your family and you had good memories, that you had that spoiled and torn from you, That would take a lot to recover from. What happened to your dad? Did he pass away? Wishing you the best, lots of strength, hugs

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    • Thank you for being so supportive over what I have gone through and recognizing the pain that is still there.
      This all started by the letter to my father telling him about the abuse and all the details and telling him that I nolonger could have him in my life and be hurt by him. My father never responded and my family then stopped speaking to me. My father is still alive and well, traveling in his RV. He takes care of his wife’s son who has had health problems for the last 30 years. My mother still lives in the town I live in but I have not seen her. My brother still lives in the house I grew up in which he brought from my mother when she married her second husband. That house is 30 min or so from me. She is with her 3rd husband now. My brother works her in the town I live in but I have not seen him. I have not seen any family in 2 years.
      Thank you again for your kind words that I always appreciate.

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  2. I’m so sorry for your losses and the physical and emotional pain you’re in. Im also sorry to hear of your family’s reaction though it’s not uncommon. Abuse is very scary and we don’t teach ourselves, as a society, how to face such evil and comfort those affected to restore that sense of safety you deserve and long for. Survivors sharing our stories I believe helps on all counts(but not is it scary!) Judith Herman wrote a helpful book called Trauma and Recovery which focuses quite a bit on women and sexual trauma. It’s dense but very validating. I wish you continued healing and peace on this difficult journey.

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    • It really isn’t uncommon. It is scary how normal my story has become with so many sharing the same experiences.
      Thank you so much for the name of the book. I will read it!
      Thanks for your sweet comment and support. I truly appreciate it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It feels like you are wrighting my story! Thank you! Just through your words through a computer I feel like I connected, I feel very unsafe as now I no I can not defend myself! But knowing that there’s someone else that talks to help them helps so much xxx

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    • Isn’t that so important, to feel like you are not going through this alone and that someone out there can connect and understand what you are going through! Thank you for that. For giving me that as well. It is scary to feel it alone and then to just put it out there for the world to read and hope it can help or connect to someone.

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    • I had a muscle biopsy which showed a definitive muscle disease form the Mayo Clinic and that biopsy was sent to england and studied and it was confirmed.
      BUT I do believe that there is a component of the chronic pain that comes from abuse. Not necessarily in my muscles only but other parts of my body. I have wide spread atrophy that comes from the disease. But I think some of the pain issues maybe just maybe have been made worse by the trauma. Don’t really know though. There are tons of women i know with this disease that are exactly like me and have had no trauma. I think it is a small part though

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