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Running from the Police...

I have a friend. She is a police officer in the city where I live. I told her she is welcome to stop if she is nearby and has a few minutes to chat.

Today she stopped by and we had a nice chat. It made my day to see her and to chat with her.

I had been working on updating addresses and phone numbers in various aspects of my online life since having just moved and changed my phone number and I was stressed. My budgeting has piled up several months too and I had shoved it all in a drawer earlier in the morning and I was frustrated that it is such a hard thing for me to do. So I was feeling overwhelmed and irritated at this problem when I saw a police cruiser slow down and drive by...

I went outside and we had a nice chat...and some fussing over a neighbor who seems to be trying to get my friend and I in trouble...🙃

In the midst of this, something happened that I do not like. It happens whenever I'm around law enforcement or first responders and even at times just hanging out with friends. I get all jittery in my body so that I'm almost shivering, and it gets to be almost impossible to hide. And afterwards my teeth will literally chatter as though I'm almost frozen even if it happens to be 90° outside. ( I do admit it gave me an adrenaline rush that carried me through the rest of the day and I got quite a bit done.)

I almost reached out to my therapist friend but then didn't, despite hating the way it made me feel the rest of the day because I didn't understand why I felt like that.

After I got in bed I was thinking over my day and how happy it made me when my friend showed up but still puzzling over my bodily reaction at seeing and talking with a law enforcement officer in uniform, when out of the blue some memories marched their way boldly to the front of my memory.

A little context: my dad has an anger problem and is unpredictable and a major way of coping with the dysfunction of my childhood home for me was to make a game out of trying to outwit my dad and I do admit it saved my skin quite a few times.

In Mennonite culture the government and government workers are seen as bad and no one was allowed to work in any government profession. It was implied to my young brain that they were out to treat ill anyone who dares go against the law or does things not allowed. Thus they were put on the same level as my dad, so much so, that I still remember quite vividly as a preteen/young teen a nightmare I had of my dad and the red headed game warden chasing me down in the top of the barn and waking up just as they reach out to grab me.

The memories that came marching boldly into my mind tonight were of the times we came home from school and mom and dad weren't home( they might have gone to school meeting or town) and we pretended that the police were after us and we were trying to hide from them.

It was a fun game to play and probably helped relieve some of the stress of growing up in a dysfunctional home. But even more sinister underneath was the fact and reality of my life that in the mornings it would become a survival skill of escaping my dad so I wouldn't be hurt. Dad would call me around 6 am before he headed to the barn and I was expected to be dressed, (combed?) and in the barn in 15 minutes to help feed calves.

Most times I already went to bed late because I either didn't work fast enough or good enough. It was so hard to get out of bed when I was called due to lack of sleep and the only thing that got me awake was the terror of what would happen if I wasn't quick enough to avoid dad coming to fetch me after he had fed his share of the calves.

More times than not dad was already on the way to fetch me. He would often cut through the shop and if I was quick enough I could sneak along my secret routes to escape him and get as much distance between us as possible so as hopefully not get hurt.

He would threaten to dump cold water on my face or use the horse whip. The most harrowing morning memory that I have is of being late once again and seeing dad go into the shop on his way to the house to find me. This morning the buggy happened to be parked outside the mudroom door and hearing the bucket, that mom used to sit on to milk the cow, hit the concrete I knew I couldn't hide in the barn so I jumped into the buggy and just so made it...or so I thought...

I was horrified when I realized that mom had seen me and told dad where I was but...I was beyond horrified when I saw what dad had in his hand. It was even worse than the horse whip in my mind. The cattle prod.

(Sarcastically: I guess I was like an animal apparently in his mind that he had to stoop to such measures of force and punishment on a young girl.)

As he came closer with determined strides I hopped out of the far side of the buggy trying to keep distance from him so I don't get hurt even though I knew he was furious. I don't know what kept him from hurting me but I don't know what would have happened if he had because I was so close to losing my mind from terror so as it was.

Well, I guess that went deeper than I expected...

The words that were ringing through my mind when I started were:

I'm so ashamed of myself for having such an overwhelming reaction to seeing law enforcement officers in uniform or others, sometimes even just hanging out with friends.

But now after writing about my most harrowing morning memory the words that keep going through my mind as the vivid memories and emotions keep the adrenaline rushing through my body even though it is midnight and I should be sleeping and can't:

No little girl should have to live with such constant fear.

No little girl should have to be so terrified of a parent.

No little girl should be treated like an animal.

No little girl should have to live with both parents agreeing to such horrible measures of force and punishment.

No little girl should be so deprived of safety, security, and nurturing that she has to resort to coping mechanisms just to survive.

No little girl should have to live with so much fear.

I guess now I'm not as ashamed as I was when I first started writing. Now I see that there is a much deeper reason than just the surface reaction to seeing law enforcement in uniform. These memories are embedded deep inside my mind and body. It will take a lot of time to heal them. A big thing that will aid the healing process is therapy. IFS(internal family systems) therapy to be specific. Other just as important factors will be safe friends who support me as I try to heal these painful traumatic events that are now memories. Safe friends who do things as simple as listening, joining me in an activity I enjoy, or even just joining me in trying new things. It doesn't have to be deep or serious things at all.

When I started writing I thought it would help get it out of my system so I can sleep but I certainly didn't expect to write everything I did. I have mixed feelings about all this mess. I hate the present day effect I have to deal with and I'm honestly ashamed of it and hoping that the other person doesn't notice. Sometimes it happens just to go out and socialize with people...

( ( but... maybe it would be a healing experience to be noticed in the midst of it🤔.I think it would make me feel very vulnerable and if the person handles it with compassion and care, understanding what lies behind the present effect of my "shivering ", it could be soothing and comforting. Its just a thought I had but I'm not sure if I like the idea of being aknowledged or to have the root acknowledged. It would feel really vulnerable🤦‍♀️. So much fear and shame.))

Anyway now its 1 AM and I am not expecting to feel too great in the morning because of all this mess but I guess it's just part of the healing journey. A journey that I'm planning to continue regardless because I know that the outcome will be better than what I have to deal with now. If my writing all this is a help or encouragement to someone in any way then it will be worth the late night and the time I took to write this ant how I may feel tomorrow.

Thank you for taking time to read about my journey. Thank you for listening to my voice. Thank you for being here. You matter. I matter. We all matter. And our experiences of abuse and trauma and the emotions that go with them are valid. Let us go forward towards healing and supporting those who are trying to heal. It may be painful and uncomfortable but it won't be in vain.

HURRAH for those who are brave and courageous enough to face and heal the dark painful things of the past!! And HURRAH for those who care enough to walk alongside of those who are trying to heal!! I appreciate you very much!

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