15. Childhood hiding, hanging on, cowering in corners (security-seeking behaviors); adult nervousness over being watched or surprised; feeling watched; startle response; hypervigilance
I did hide as a young child. It was self-defense. It was the only way to avoid being sexually abused and beat. When I got older I tried not to be in a room alone with my mother. When she would be in the kitchen cooking dinner I would stand by the door, as far away from her as possible, when I needed to talk to her.
I don’t ever remember going to her for comfort. I got love and acceptance from siblings, some of the time, that is who I went to. My brother was definitely a person I went to for safety and security in a compulsive way. He rescued me hundreds of times from her when I was a pre-schooler.
I have never liked being watched. If my mother was watching me it was because she was thinking about abusing me, one way or another, and nothing from her was good. Even when she fed me it was for her own ulterior motives of making me cooperative and compliant so she could abuse me. So being watched has a long history of being abused. The same for family and others.
I never felt like I had any private moments. I always felt persecuted. Going off by myself became my self-defense at a certain age. I still do that.
I hate being stared at by others. It is a trigger that I am going to be abused or the person is thinking of attacking me. Again, my mother’s abuse history still impacts this. If someone is talking to me and looking at me, I feel fine. If someone is blinking or looking away some of the time when they are talking to me, I feel fine. If some stranger is looking at me, I might be upset or I might be fine, depending on the vibe I get from them, the circumstances, and how safe of any environment I am in. It is ridiculous that I have to evaluate that when someone looks at me, but it is a product of being sexually and physically abused.
I have a strong startle response and still deal with a lot of hypervigilance. I hate it when someone tries to scare me on purpose. My family used to do that and I never thought it was funny. They did.
I have trouble sleeping deep due to hypervigilance. It interferes a lot with everyday life. I was having trouble going to a near store because they have a very small area at the front and when they are busy there are people who insist on getting too close to me from behind.
I have verbally told a few men in the store they were too close to me and they started getting verbally abusive. One guy denied that he was in my space. I told him I just told you that, so you know it is true. I just talked back to them. I told one of the staff person’s that I have issues with strange men standing right behind me or touching my things and she was understanding. I try to go when the store is not so busy to avoid this kind of rude behavior by strange, creepy vibe kind of men.
At one time I wouldn’t have noticed they were creeping me out. At another time I wouldn’t have trusted my intuitive reaction. At another time I wouldn’t have been able to talk back to them. I try to see this as progress, but feeling creepy guys invade my space is icky and I am trying to avoid that. It is a discount store, so it is worth going to, even though the customers are not as safe feeling as the big store. I know that my hpervigilance makes this worse and I am trying to manage it. Little baby steps to healing.