As I sit thinking about this week I feel overcome with fear. I don’t know how to do it. I don’t know how to trust someone new.
I have been seeing my therapist for three years now. She is a private therapist as the NHS would not help me at the time.
It was a whole year before I even began to trust her and another 6 months before I would even utter the words “rape” or “abuse”.
She has helped me get to where I am today. She helped me start to realise that I am innocent, a victim. That my abusers, my family are the guilty ones. She helped me find the strength to finally walk into the police station a year ago and report my stepfather.
I am so grateful for her support, however our time together is now coming to an end.
As the police investigation is now beginning to pick up pace and move forward, I have finally been offered professional, low cost support, in the form of not only a legal advocate but also a therapist. Both of these provided by Rape Crisis.
The support they can provide me is everything I have longed for and needed for a very long time. However it does mean I now have to leave my current therapist and that terrifies me.
She has been my only constant in a world full of unknowns since the police investigation started. She has been the one person I could trust without fear. Now that is all going away.
This week I meet with my new therapist for the first time. I have never met her. I only know her name.
She is specialised in supporting sexual violence and abuse victims. She is specialised in supporting severe self-harmers. She is everything I need but also everything I fear.
She is new. She is unknown. She is reality.
She is someone else I have to try to trust in a world where I don’t know how to trust.
My parents, my abusers, betrayed me so very much that I do not know how to trust. Trusting someone new means that there are new ways to get hurt. There are new people who could betray me. I don’t know how to trust her. I don’t know how to let her in.
Pain changes us. We trust less. We build up walls to shield ourselves. We become guarded and push everyone away. We protect ourselves the only way we know how – by shutting the pain out.
We long for attachment yet at the same time we fear it. Instead believing that every person we get close to will eventually break our heart. We put up barriers to keep ourselves safe.
It is what I have done my whole life. The day my mother chose my abuser over me was the day my walls went up. That was the day that my faith in humanity was lost. That was the day that a blade to my skin was safer than letting someone in.
I want to trust so very badly. I crave connections and relationships but I am too scared to let anyone in.
I long for freedom and to be happy but I am too scared to touch happiness for fear of it being taken away. Just like my childhood was. Just like my innocence was. Just like my life was.
Slowly, over time, I have tried to lower my walls a little. I have tried to believe the police officers who say they want to help. I have tried to trust my victim support worker.
But now, adding someone new into this process, I can feel myself slipping back into old habits.
Changing therapists terrifies me. I know it is the right thing to do but it does not make this any easier. How do I begin to trust her? I am at my most vulnerable, the police investigation making me feel like that scared little girl again. How do I begin to trust another stranger? How do I let her in? How do I let that little girl know that it is OK to try to trust? I just do not know.
Instead I feel myself becoming guarded once again. I push people away to arms length, too scared to let them in. My walls are growing higher and my self-harm grows more frequent as I try to shut this out.
The little girl within me is back in self protection mode.
However this time part of me is holding onto reality. The adult part of me knows that I will drag myself to my new therapists office no matter how scared I am.
Because we don’t stop being afraid by pretending the pain or trauma doesn’t exist. I know because I have tried.
I tried to shield myself by pretending the abuse never happened. It does not work. It is a lonely, scary place full of darkness and self-harm
Somewhere deep down inside I know that trying to trust this new therapist is the right thing to do. I know that, no matter how scared I am, I have to do this.
I know I have to try to trust her.
I know I have to try to trust the unknown.
I have to follow this unknown, new path.
For who knows, this new therapist may finally be the key to setting free this little girl within me!
Thanks for reading.
**Image courtesy of Google Images**