Trust after abuse has felt impossible at times, but just lately what I really struggle with is the fear that trusting brings.
There are different levels of trust, some have been easier to achieve than others.
I trust my husband, not just with my safety, but I also trust him enough to be myself around him. He is the only one who ever really sees all of me- my anger, my tears… Last night, as I climbed into bed with him, I was overcome with (emotional) pain, I felt a desperate need to let it out- which is new for me. I lay my head on his chest and I cried. I said to him “I feel..” and I couldn’t continue. He said “Yes, you feel” and pulled me closer. I cried some more. To be able to let go and cry (some, at least) with him is amazing. I am so thankful for him and for our relationship. I trust him completely with the way I feel, that trust last night enabled me to do something I really needed to do- cry. That trust feels good.
I trust the men who are part of my life right now (Family, Therapist, Boss, Minister, male friends) I know they will not hurt me in the same way “he” did. I trust my own fear instinct enough to know when someone is a danger and when they are not. At first, it was hard to trust my instincts enough to actually feel comfortable alone with those men (family aside as that was never an issue) but it has become easier over time. That trust in my own instinct and the trust I have in those individuals never to hurt me, feels good.
I trust many people to be there for me if I had an “everyday” sort of problem, childcare issue for example. I am grateful to have those people in my life. I am glad to have people I can call on when I have a problem. That trust feels good.
I never imagined trust could go any further than those examples listed above’; trust in my husband, trust in the men I know not to abuse me, trust in all those in my life to be there when I have a (practical) problem. And I was OK with that, in fact I was more than OK, I had already promised myself that I would never tell, never disclose what was done to me and never share how I felt about it. I was so sure I would never break that promise.
Eighteen months ago, I did break that promise. I took a huge leap of faith and I told my T that I had been physically, emotionally and sexually abused. As I have blogged about many times, that trust has grown and changed over time. I trust him completely with the details of what was done to me, I believe I am beginning to trust him enough to show my feelings, but that’s fairly new so I cannot say for sure.
Just over a year ago, I told someone else, I didn’t intend to and even when I admitted I had been abused, I had no intention of ever talking it through with this person. However, I didn’t realise he would react in the way he did, I didn’t realise that I had picked a rather amazing person to tell. The first thing he said to me was “I believe you” and fellow survivors will probably know what an absolutely massive deal that statement is. From that point, he has been there for me at every step and I am utterly, completely astounded by him and his support.
I have started to trust people with the very thing I swore to myself I’d never speak of. I trust only 5 people with my feelings and with the story of the abuse, (only my T with the intimate details), but there are more who know of the abuse -family and more recently, some friends. And quite frankly, it is terrifying me.
Shouldn’t it feel good? I want it to feel good, but instead it feels like a loss of control, suddenly I feel afraid for my safety in case of a slip up, or an accidental disclosure, by the people who know. While I feel paranoid and irrational over this, I also know just how dangerous “he” is. I know what he is capable of better than most people, he was part of my life (or perhaps I was part of his?) for 7 years. I know that it is healthy to be afraid. So, I fear. And I fear the trust I have in people.
That fear leads to a desperate desire to shut down from those people I trust. I want to run and hide away and never, ever speak of this again. I am trying hard not to over react and cut links with the very people I need. At last I am no longer alone with this and I never want to be again, so I have to fight this fear and to continue to accept and even reach out for the support that is offered, not run and hide.
Tomorrow I see my T, I am sure he cannot help these feelings to leave, but perhaps the outlet and his safe, comforting presence will be enough to calm my fears.
I look forward to one day trusting without fear, that day will come, right?