hello brave souls, it must be hard for a friend or family to understand what is wrong with a person who was abused, espescially if you don't know that the person was abused, and you just get loads of strange symptoms explained at length. Here is one of my strong survival tools, a symptom, I suppose, I can see it a bit better now it has gone away.
One of my kitchen cupboard doors has stood permanently open for a few years until very recently. When the door is fully open it blocks out part of the window, reducing the chance that other people in their homes near by, might possibly see into my home. I live in a crowded city. I didn't want people to actually see me in my kitchen, eating badly and not washing up for months, so I hid.
I would feel so ashamed to be seen in my own home that I hid behind the kitchen cupboard door every day for years. I rationalised that I enjoyed the kitchen cupboard door being open, because I enjoyed seeing the things inside the cupboard, because I like to see the full shelves and pretty colours and lables to read and such. Stuff to eat on view!
But, when my sister came for a brief visit to see me in the last Spring, she shut that door! At that moment I nearly lost my senses, I thought I had a heart attack, I nearly, you know, sh.t in my pants, I got dizzy and had to hold onto something so as not to collapse, and my eyes went tunnel vision to a pinprick, and there was noise in my ears like the sea, and I felt I would never use my lungs again, and I wished to fly off into the dark sky and be away from there, and all because (this was last March by the way) my sister closed that kitchen cupboard door while I was standing in the kitchen! I almost exploded inside!
I was astonished at the heavy physical blow of emotion in my body at that moment. I had no idea how important that hiding was to me until that very moment it was taken away, how essential hiding felt at that point of my life. So I took a blow from the invisible sportball bat in my guts, fear and anger and desperation and weakness and hating myself for being found out. Hating having to even consider keeping that crazy pain a secret from my own dear sister. I felt detached and floaty. Time had to stop right then that monent, I insisted, because I did not want to face the question in the following second which was to be, what to do next, do I just open the cupboard door again so that I can feel better, or do I own up about how I feel i.e. talk about what had happened to me and how I had felt that I must die and all because the door got closed? Cramp, sweat, pain. I don't know what was said and done that evening, though I did say somthing about it.
I carried on leaving that door open for all the months since, with the same explanation to myself, I would admit I was hiding and continue admiring my lovely shelves full of food. Occaisionaly I check expiry dates on the food and throw away the old stuff as it runs out of time. I don't think of eating it. After a few years of neglect there is now is an original tin of tomatoes (2007) and some original spices of various dampness and age. I do use the remaining space for storing my tea coffee bread muesli pasta and other useful stuff to eat like marmite.
But my good news is, that kitchen cupboard door is closed tonight. All by myself and I like it! I hadn't spoken to anyone else about me hiding behind that door, of course, that was too crazy, I'm 43 not 7, though I have talked about of a lot of other stuff. Now I can be seen, its ok, so I can have the door shut. I enjoy the space in my home better, I prefer the peace of closed doors to the confusing attention-grabbing clutter and reminders of past failures. That particular symptom, my obsession with opening that particular kitchen cupboard door, has somehow gone away.
Between March and today some things have changed in me. I don't know what changed, but something has changed and today I don't feel I have to hide behind that door any more. A small victory of healing for me. I imagined taping a mental squeaky toy close to the cupboard hinge, so every time I shut the door I get another victory fanfare!
And I did notice in one instant of time, I really prefer having that door shut. It kind of goes with my neatly done washing up and wiped down work surfaces. I can now enjoy the useful fact of two kitchen cupboards, a pair, symmetrical, calm. I love the window, it is full of light.
Oh and what about the neighbours out there, who might once in a while look at the windows of my home because of some natural phenomenon like they noticed movement, for instance? Too bad! If they don't like the way I look, they can choose from 359 other things to stare at! So long as I am decently dressed not nude and embarrassing, who cares if I can be seen.
So now if tonight, if me and my sister would be again tidying the kitchen together, which would be very nice, and she shut the cupboard door for her ordinary reasons, because we were finished cleaning up etc, I would be pleased, and might say Hail victory and precious simplicity again, closing this door is bringing peace to this kitchen. Thanks!