I was sitting in my car earlier today, taking a break from my desk. I decided to put my seat back and stretch out for a few minutes.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, came a flood of memories of my 5-year-old self. PTSD symptoms come at the weirdest times and in the weirdest places. You can be shopping, or driving, or eating, and out of nowhere comes a triggering memory.
I despise the memories but also am thankful for them. For years, I couldn’t remember any details of my childhood. I could only remember “huge” events like being burned, or my parents’ divorce, etc.
In the past year, I have been flooded with the smallest of details. Today was one of those days when the details came, and I just sat in awe of my brain and how it is choosing to release these memories.
At the age of 5, we lived in a huge two-story house. It was a historical landmark. I can remember the plaque on the house. It was in Texas in a very rural area. I don’t remember having any neighbors there although there probably were. Most people there had large properties, so neighbors weren’t close.
This house was so scary. At night it was pitch-black dark and made a lot of strange noises. I can remember being so scared and crying frequently. I always wanted to be near one of my siblings for comfort. For the most part they were just annoyed at me for being clingy.
The thing that stuck out to me in this memory was the need to be held, touched, and comforted.
I learned to comfort myself in not so healthy ways. I learned to dissociate. I learned that my feelings bother people. I learned that I had to act like an adult and not a child. I learned that I needed to be independent and not need people. I also learned to replace my “fear” face with a mask. It was replaced with that joy face that has no meaning behind it. Replacing the outer appearance would become a survival technique I used throughout my life.
This was the start of a lifelong pattern of being ultra-independent. Even when I was married, I always needed to keep my distance, so to speak. Perhaps if I was needy with my husband, he would leave too?
There are days now that I feel lonely or needy. But I don’t, can’t, won’t admit that. I just keep the joy face on.
I want to be more authentic, but it’s like a natural reflex. It still serves a purpose. But how much longer can I replace the need to need people?
Until next time – I am being MJ every day.