This post was submitted anonymously.
Have you ever been on eggshells? By this I mean have you ever been so scared by someone on a tirade that you walk with light feet and don’t even want to breathe wrong because you are scared this person will explode on you with their seething temper and rage? I have experienced this many times in my life, several times in my younger years as a child and enough times in my older life, whether through people I know or strangers. Now that I have moved on into a more peaceful life, I feel safe in my own skin and move through this world with a commitment to avoid explosive or abusive people. Yet I remember in my mid-twenties being paralyzed by fear, kind of like a deer in headlights, every time I would hear verbal conflict or someone yelling at someone else in a public place or down the city streets, even if it was distant or from several blocks or houses away. I would stand there and be stuck, kind of like in a hot glue of fear, like it was me that was instantly involved and in danger even though my brain would know I had nothing to do with the altercation at hand or nearby. It would be as if I was all of a sudden back to square one and totally and completely under someone else’s rage spell. My face would run hot and red and I would feel scared and paralyzed in the presence of arguments or fighting. Like, reliving the moments of being on eggshells and afraid for my safety.
What this taught me was that when you have been a victim of someone else’s pattern of abuse, it takes a very long time for the PTSD to go away and for the shadows of the past you moved through to fade away and not tremble in your cells. Now, when I hear verbal conflicts or experience other people fighting, I can maintain a solid foundation and not get swept up into other people’s problems or get stuck in a flashback of abuse. Now, I am strong enough to come to the rescue of someone or people in need or to admonish the person who is being an ass, and actually be smart enough to call the cops, make a report, or be a citizen ally.
I still hate conflict and I still get triggered every now and again when someone is dangerous and I am in their midst. Yet, I don’t walk on eggshells anymore nor will I ever again and I hold fast to the lessons of strength I have learned to be able to stand my ground, to not fall prey to other people’s rage, and to know how to avoid, help, or call to action and protection in times or scenes of crisis or abuse.
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