I have Drapetomania. Sometimes I want to run and hide away from the world. Not because I can’t face a problem or am trying to avoid responsibility. If there’s anything I’m good at its facing problems head on and carrying responsibility. Those two traits have weighed me down most my life. No, I want to run and hide when I’m scared, hurt, or lonely. I’m not afraid for my safety, at least not when it comes to the physical, but I’m sometimes afraid my heart can’t take any more abuse, my spirit can’t handle any more pressure, or my mind can’t deal with any more torment. I sometimes run to save myself.
I’ve been running my whole life. I’ve watched people I’ve loved very much walk right out of my life. Well, that’s not true. I left them. When they’ve hurt me, I’d leave. But it doesn’t mean I wanted to go. It was my way of protecting myself. It’s my reaction of self-preservation. I used to not be able to recognize it until very much after the fact, and by then it was too late. But these past few years I’ve started to notice the triggers, see the signs, and understand why I feel that way. Knowing the why still doesn’t always stop me from running, but it sometimes helps me find my way back. It’s not just a simple choice I can make. It isn’t a recent development. It’s very deep seeded PTSD from childhood trauma. It’s like an addict fighting an addiction. They know what they need to do, but the only promises you can make is to take it one day at a time.
I don’t do any kind of drugs and I rarely drink. I don’t have any addictions that control me, and my mind is often very clear and introspective. By all logical common sense, I should be able to keep my feet firmly planted and not run, but I still find myself sometimes running really, really fast away from the people I love most – because my mind fears them and the pain they can cause.
This running reaction has destroyed just about every relationship I’ve ever had. The only ones that have endured are my children, and it’s because they refuse to let me go. I think that’s the key. I have a few friends, very good friends, that I’ve tried to push away so many times, but they refuse to let me go. They don’t put up with any bullshit from me, and tell it to me straight, but they’re the ones who showed me the truth about myself… but they had to show me while holding me down and not letting me go. (I’m not talking about physically holding me down, but emotionally not giving up on me.)
The thing that hurt me most when I left my husband of 20 years was that he never tried to stop me from leaving – not in any way whatsoever. It doesn’t mean I was going to stay, but it does mean I wasn’t deemed worthy enough in his estimation to try and stop me from leaving.
I remember watching my father abuse my mother, me, and my brothers, and would just wish and pray he would leave, but he never did. Not only that, he threatened anyone who tried to leave, which only made me want to go even more. I eventually did leave, but the whole time I stayed it wasn’t because I was afraid to leave, I was afraid of leaving my family unprotected. So, I stayed and endured the abuse until they were old enough to protect themselves. I then ran and never looked back. What hurt more than anything, my sacrifice to stay was for nothing. My mother and my brothers never loved me enough to try and protect me. They let me run, and some even became the abusers and manipulators I tried to protect them from becoming. I have no relationship with them as adults. Every time I try to get close to them, they’d hurt me by stealing from me, lying to me, using me, trying to manipulate me, – so I’d run.
I don’t run because I don’t care, but because I care too much. Every time I’ve ever ran, it’s ripped my heart to shreds. It hurts so much it takes my breath away. I still can’t sometimes breathe. Someday, I’m going to love someone and that love is going to scare me, and I’m going to turn and try to run away… but they’re going to love me enough to grab my hand, wrap their arms around me, and refuse to let me go… and they’re going to have to do it often.
I’m not afraid to run. I’m only afraid no one will ever stop me.
Till next time,