I don’t feel safe 

Everything has me on edge. 

A particular phrase of my brothers text message stands out to me and runs repeat in my head. “I am going to take some time away from you and <husband> to ensure I don’t say or do anything I can’t live with.

My brother, when triggered, can be an exceptionally violent person. Memories of this have been flooding me since he announced he wanted nothing to do with me. Not just memories of last summer, but other times. Times I had forgotten. Every loud noise, any yelling, anybody touching me without warning. All of those things are setting me off. Images dance behind my eyelids. Outside of the house my skin crawls at the unknown. My awareness is heightened. I can’t take my shoes off for fear of not being able to run away. Inside the house, even with <husband> there, my OCD habits are back full force because I don’t feel safe right now.

I feel like an explosion could be around every corner, and my body is reacting before my mind has a chance to catch up. I’m finding it really hard to relax. 

I know this is memories of the past. Most of me believes that my brother would never physically hurt me. My husband is around. My parents would hate him (I hope, although they take his side with everything else). Most of my life he has been all vitriol and violent words… not physical action. But the possibility remains, and it has happened before. He has threatened me before. He has threatened me immediately before hurting himself before. 

It sounds horrible, but I always felt like he was one moment away from doing something really, really, bad.

I remember spending most of high school split between worry he was going to kill himself and worry he was going to come after all of us. I hated that there was no lock on the door. You never knew what would set him off or when. And this makes him sound like a monster… he isn’t. He is legitimately out of control when these things happen, and I try not to judge. But I have to prioritize myself over him… I am, and it’s throwing everything off. 

His explosion at me and my parents last summer is back in my nightmares. It was early morning, I was dead to the world and ready to fly back home, and everything went to hell. I’m taking deep breaths and trying to stay calm, reminding myself I’m safe here, doing things that reduce anxiety, but it’s hard because I don’t feel safe.

I’m hopeful though. There is a certain freedom this disconnect with my family provides. Even though I have no idea what to do next, and I’m on edge, and I feel like I don’t even know who I am. This is painful and it’s forcing me into a situation I imagined time and time again but never had to face.

I am on my own. I have been severed from the pack. They have made it clear I am no longer going to receive any monetary assistance for anything. My brother has cut me off from him and my niece and SIL completely. My parents are talking to me but it’s obligatory and kind of painful. 

They have done for me what I’ve never been strong enough to do for myself and my god it hurts. Hopefully I can ground myself in the now, try to feel safe, and maintain my composure and slowly move on to doing some really hard work. 

This has been the hardest day so far. I’m glad I have 5 sober days under my belt. I keep telling myself just until tomorrow and then we can reconsider. And tomorrow I’ll tell myself again, just until tomorrow.

The best ammunition I have in this war is to care for myself. To prove that I can do this alone, that I am not going to fall apart and drink and get lazy and collapse without them. That I can do it. I don’t need them. So I’m trying to do it even though it feels like I’m walking backwards through a crowd of people going the opposite way. 

I hope I’m strong enough for this. 


14 thoughts on “I don’t feel safe 

  1. It is really hard when schemas are activated, trauma wounds are activated, and the past is right with you in the present. I understand what you are describing (and am living it, too), and I know how terrifying it is. And how it doesn’t make sense now, but the feelings and terror are still very much real and being lived out through the body. They weren’t processed, they haven’t been integrated, so it feels just like it was back then. This all makes sense to me, you aren’t crazy, and I am so sorry your family isn’t more for you. I am sorry they are so limited and can’t love you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your understanding. I do kind of feel nuts, legitimately insane to be repeating all these behaviours with no triggers happening right now.

      I think they love me the best way they know how – but it’s really restricted love, conditional, and not free, for the most part.

      Thank you for being here, Rachel.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That may have come out differently than I intended; I whole-heartedly agree they love you as they can. They wouldn’t act the way they do if they didn’t care and you didn’t matter. I guess I meant “love” as the unconditional, looking out for YOUR needs, as we hope parents would/could. The love little PD needs. Big PD has husband and others, is okay even though it hurts a lot. But little PD needs mommy and daddy’s protection and care.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I was pretty sure I knew what you meant. And you’re right, adult me has some very good friends, a husband who loves me deeply, and a support structure. But little PD does need her parents and that’s where the ache and the OCD rituals and the crushing sadness come in.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow! Five Sober days!!! I am blowing up big balloons and blowing out sparkly noisemakers for you, PD! So so so hard to keep your head on straight with such triggers. Cheers for PD! Keep on, keeping on, my dear friend! TS

    Liked by 1 person

    • TS, I have to thank you for your comments because they always, without exception, make me smile. It is so hard to keep my head on straight, and I’m heading to bed after day 6!

      Let’s blow those sparkly noisemakers. I deserve them.


  3. What is happening to you sucks big time. The pain of being excluded from a group – whether by actively being told to leave, or through deciding it’s not worth always being treated as if you are ‘less than’ everyone else – is one of the very worst pains there is. It’s an evolutionary thing – once upon a time being cut out of the group was literally a death sentence. The good news is that you can move on, and find a new sense of belonging somewhere else, especially if you have the comfort and support of others to help you make that transition. Keep reaching out. You are loved. I’m saying this as much to remind myself as to help you. The importance of belonging has been on my mind a lot lately. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. It is hard feeling like the ground has shifted beneath you. Belonging in my family of origin may have been painful at times and dysfunctional but it was also sometimes full of love and was where I knew myself.

      Of course they’ve done this before, and it may not last forever, but I’m kind of tired of the back and forth and I am considering for the first time myself as an individual. It is so difficult.

      Thank you for the reminder of the evolutionary side to my emotions xx

      Liked by 1 person

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