I habitually post a link to my blog postings to various Facebook places and tweet it. One place I post is a Facebook group called Poly Friends All Over. One of the comments to my last post was really helpful to me and I asked the author for permission to post it as a comment to my blog posting. She was kind enough to agree to that. Unfortunately it exceeds the length of comments. Fortunately I happen to know the blog author intimately and she (me) was pleased to step-aside and post Felix's comment as a guest blog posting. I hope that this furthers discussion but more I hope it helps someone else like me in this bizarre situation.
From Felix A.: When do we interfere with partners who are having issues? [link to blog posting]
Wow, that article [touched by violence] actually made my heart pound.
answer to your question above, I think, as soon as you notice that
something is wrong. Abuse and dysfunction flourish in isolation but when
those who witness it speak up it can be enormously grounding
for those involved who may have lost sight of what acceptable behaviour
is and can provide an avenue for a victim to ask for support without
having to initially overcome the shame of admitting it's happening in
the first place. So, good for you for speaking up when you did.
for the questions in the article - how to feel safe again - is there
some way to achieve a state of absolute protection. . .trauma is caused
by a sense of powerlessness, of lack of control. The unpredictability of
this act, in the heart of your home, the place where you should feel
safest, committed by someone who you allowed under your roof and
considered a friend, has to have shaken the very foundations of your
faith in your ability to judge character and foresee the outcomes of
order to live our lives, we all need to know that we are able to assess
risk with a reasonable degree of accuracy. We all learn as we go of
course and we all know that the bizarre and unexpected can happen once
in a while, but our ability to make decisions - and to feel safe - is
predicated on the idea that we can generally predict the possible
outcomes of our decisions.
From what I have read here it seems to me that there is no way anyone could have really predicted this.
I understand it, escalation of domestic violence from verbal abuse to
deadly force in one single moment is quite rare. As someone who has
experienced domestic violence I'm sure that you're keenly aware of the
patterns and dynamics of that type of relationship and if there had been
clear indications that the situation was becoming physically unsafe
it's likely that you would have picked up on them. However, whatever the
actual chances of such a sudden escalation may be, it happens, it
happened, and statistics are rarely comforting.
fear and apprehension that you feel now is a natural reaction, not only
to the horror and proximity of the event, but to having your worldview
shaken. The mental replaying of events, searching for foreshadowing that
may have been overlooked or actions on your part that could have
prevented this, is your mind's way of reintegrating your worldview. It
will run its course.There may be some wisdom gleaned from it which you
can apply to future situations, and that would be empowering, or you may
find that - in your own considered evaluation - you did everything
right. That you did everything you could, everything that you are
willing to expect of yourself or anyone else in such a situation.
will feel safe again. At first once in a while, then later, most of the
time. You are safer now than you were the day before the shooting - but
you didn't know that - and from there springs your apprehension.
maybe a time of reevaluating your loyalty to people versus your
willingness to be in proximity to volatile relationships, for it is true
that there is a greater risk of interpersonal violence in such
relationships, but where to draw the line? Where to find the balance
between safety and compassion? There are two risks to be assessed here.
There always are. One is of the all possible perils that come from
without, the other is of the risk of making a prison of fear, of locking
the doors of your house and your heart so tight that neither joy nor
sorrow may enter. Every soul must trade these things off against each
other and because of that there is no absolute protection. Even if
absolute physical safety could be somehow assured, it would come at the
price of never really living.
I don't know where you will find your balance between these things, but
I do know that you will find it. I also know that it will always be
changing and evolving, and always has been, it's just that right now you
are acutely aware of it.
that's the long view. Right now fear is keeping you up at night. This
is again, perfectly natural. You have been through trauma and your body
is probably still full of stress hormones, who wouldn't be jumpy? But
also, who wants to live in fear?
could tell you that this is a time to be very gentle with yourself -
and it is. I could tell you that eventually the fear will fade as you
process your trauma and life moves on - and it will, if simply allowing
time to wear it away is what you choose to do.
What I want to tell you however, is how to banish fear. Immediately.
I know it can be done as I have done it, in a situation which had some
similarities to your own. The trick is to simply refuse to feel it. I
don't mean suppress it and refuse to acknowledge it. I don't mean
distract yourself or run from it. I mean face it full on and blow it
right out of the doors of your soul.
It is done like this: To grow so weary of its ugly presence in your
life, or so pissed off that such a thing dare haunt you, especially at a
time like this, that there comes a moment when you simply say no. No to
its dark, dank, energy clinging around you and suppressing the
brightness of your being. No to the unsteady quivering in your chest. No
to the tenseness in your shoulders and no to ears constantly straining
for the slightest sound out of place. No to even one more moment of
being its victim.
Stand and feel how the floor rises up to meet your feet, solid and strong. This is your ground.
you are vulnerable, but so is everyone else. Yes, people can be
dangerous, but so can you. This is not safety, it is acceptance.
Acceptance that whatever may come your way, you can deal with it, and
you can do so without fear, because you choose to. Know that you cannot
control everything that will happen. Yes, it is wise to take
precautions. This is not fear, it is reason. They may work or they may
not. Do listen to your instincts, a feeling of fear related to an active
situation is usually an important signal that there is danger present -
but that is a very different thing than fear born of that which is past
- that ambiguous and nebulous fear which taints the future moment by
moment.Cast it out. It has no place within you.
Feel your shoulders and spine relax, feel your breath come easily.
Know that this, this decision, the ability to refuse to be afraid, is always and ultimately within your control.