On feeling safe

Saturday, August 30th, 2014 06:19 am
miss_s_b: (Feminist Heroes: Kate Beckett)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
I have been thinking about this on and off all week, and sleeplessness is making me blog about it now. Sorry it's not the cheeriest subject for a Saturday morning...

One of the consequences of my past is that I never feel 100% safe and secure. Even in a blissful post-coital embrace with a lover, even if I trust that person with my life, there is a part of me fretting about my safety. And not only do I never feel truly safe, but I have different things that increase my meagre sense of safety to most people. So where most people feel safer at night if they have locked the doors, I feel less safe if my escape route is impeded. I understand that locking the doores at night keeps burglars out, but I don't like it. I HAVE to know where the keys are, and I don't like having interior doors shut at all, at any time.

I feel safer sleeping on the side of the bed nearest the door. If I go to a new place I have to plan how I would get out, and am anxious and jittery until I have. I need to know where the train station is and that I can get to it at all times, wherever I am; and I always need to have a travel pass, or enough money to buy a ticket to get away if I need to.

When you've had a relationship where the person you love IS the danger, even if it is only one of many relationships, it really screws with your head. And there's always a part of you wondering if it WAS your fault, and if you could make THIS lover treat you the same way.

Intellectually, of course, I know it wasn't my fault. He was just a violent person. I also know that were anybody to try to treat me that way now
1, I am physically strong enough (and have done enough self defence classes) to make sure it wouldn't be me came off worst
2, it would only happen once, then I would end the relationship.
... but that's still not enough for the creeping sense of "what if" to go away. It worms around in my heart, and makes me doubt myself and other people. In this context, allowing myself to love ANYBODY at all is counterintuitive.

I am lucky enough to have more than one person to love. There are people I would trust with not only my own life, but my daughter's. They have proved to me on countless occasions that I could feel safe with them, if only my treacherous heart would allow me to do so. They understand, and they are patient and kind, and do what they can to help when I don't feel safe at all. Allowing myself to love them is my small act of rebellion against the forcible indoctrination that if you open your heart to someone it only leads to physical and emotional pain. I WILL NOT allow myself to believe that is true in all cases, and so I prove to myself it's not by loving people as hard as I can.

This can be a bit intense if you're on the recieving end of it. All I can say is that I am grateful, hugely grateful, for the people willing to be subjected to my love.

You know who you are. Thank you.

Date: Sunday, August 31st, 2014 12:51 am (UTC)
veganhothead: (stoned)
From: [personal profile] veganhothead
I have nothing profound to add, but I'm feeling this post.

Date: Sunday, August 31st, 2014 11:03 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
When you've had a relationship where the person you love IS the danger, even if it is only one of many relationships, it really screws with your head. And there's always a part of you wondering if it WAS your fault, and if you could make THIS lover treat you the same way.

Surely it was your fault, in that you should have been better at picking your lover than to throw your lot in with someone who was a danger to you?

He was just a violent person

Then you shouldn't have given yourself to him, should you?

Date: Monday, September 1st, 2014 09:20 am (UTC)
ext_550458: (Default)
From: [identity profile] strange-complex.livejournal.com
Wow, talk about a world of not getting it.

I've been in an abusive relationship too, and the people who end up behaving this way don't punch you in the face or tell you you're worthless on the first date. They start out all charm and romance, so that later when they're confident they have your affections and imperceptibly shift towards abuse, the memory of the wonderful, loving person you first met clouds your judgement. You keep telling yourself that the violent or abusive behaviour you're experiencing is just a bad patch, and not the actions of the 'real' person you remember. That's why it's so pernicious and difficult to spot in advance or to recognise for what it is once it starts happening. In my case, it took two years before I grasped it.

You've obviously never experienced anything of the sort, Anonymouse, and apparently think everyone can be read like an open book on first contact. I only hope you don't end up learning the hard way way an utter idiot you are.

Date: Monday, September 1st, 2014 09:44 am (UTC)
hollymath: (Default)
From: [personal profile] hollymath
You're perpetuating abuse, with this comment. You're saying what abusers tell the people they abuse. You're saying what those abused tell themselves in their worst moments: this is all my fault, if only I'd...

I call bullshit on that. Abusive people don't need me to comfort them, to stick up for them, to make their arguments for them. And they don't need you to do that, either. Nobody here will look kindly on your comment, because [personal profile] miss_s_b has surrounded herself with some of the most kind, lovely, clued-up, and empathic people I know, and part of being a civilized human in our modern society is not blaming the victims of abuse for their abuse.

Date: Monday, September 1st, 2014 10:38 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] magister
"Given yourself"? That's a choice of vocabulary that seems to say rather a lot about you, given that it implies making oneself the other person's property. It also rather makes sense of the fact that you think the person being abused is to blame - obviously it's not. Blame the abuser, not the abused. And while you're at it, get some help - you seem to need it.

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