Since coming face to face with my past, my system has been “jacked up”. This is my technical term for “too much going on for me to comprehend using logical thought processes”. Part of my confusion comes from my many parts. My parts come from using dissociation as a defense mechanism, but it is important to note everyone has parts to some degree. Sometimes, it is difficult to identify which part needs attention and integration. But that identification is important to my healing journey.
While I have that adult part who wants to make responsible decisions when faced with life, I have other parts who are not quite so interested in making convenient and logical choices in the present moment. I have parts that live in the past. I have parts that want to resolve the past by repeating it. And unfortunately, my parts don’t agree. In some cases, they vehemently disagree. And so things get a bit “jacked up”.
You see, there is this inner child part who is convinced that all those who have hurt her should apologize and “make it right”. And to be fair, she is right. That is exactly what should happen … in a perfect world. But it isn’t likely to happen. And waiting for the perfect world is a waste of time. Yet she waits. But through years of therapy and integration, she is starting to trust there might be another way to resolve her trauma, slowly but surely.
But then, there is the inner escape-artist. She’s not interested in apologies. She’s not interested in waiting for others to do the right thing. She’s not interested in others at all. She wants to hide away from the world because that is the only way to avoid the inevitable pain that comes from relating to other human beings.
She is the part who will leave a relationship before it gets scary. She is the part who hates schedules or anything that must be done every single day. She is the part who loves to travel far away from home as often as possible. She is the part who feels trapped most of the time.
My desire to escape has magnified significantly in the past week and I have come to realize that the escape-artist is in charge. And because I am so creative, escape can come in many forms. Of course, my favorite method is dissociation which can manifest on a continuum. Sometimes, I find myself daydreaming about being somewhere else while making breakfast. Sometimes, I am writing a blog post in my head while taking a shower. This kind of dissociation happens to most people and it isn’t overly damaging if I can remain aware of it.
But it can take a turn for the worse. So, when I sense that lightheaded feeling, I have to take action. I will talk to someone nearby. I will look at the trees to help ground me. I will list out my current activities to remind myself of where I am. I do what I can to come back to the present moment and I try to understand the triggers that sent me away.
But my escape can also take physical forms. I have spent most of the past week thinking about and looking for a vacation getaway for my family. You may be asking what is wrong with that. Everyone needs a vacation. But I know what I am up to. I will spend a ton of money to go someplace far away only to discover that I can’t escape myself. Then, I will spend most of my time there trying to be someplace else.
I have noticed my increased interest in the houses for sale in small towns. I seem convinced that I can escape my past if I move to a place where nobody could find me. But I know that I belong where I am. I love it here. And my kids love it here. I know I don’t really want to move. But I keep looking. I feel like Julia Roberts in that hard-to-watch movie during which she escapes her violent husband by pretending to drown. But there’s a major difference. I don’t live with an abuser anymore. My only abuser is in my head.
And yet I run. Or I plan to run. Maybe I just run on the inside. I live my life in constant escape-planning mode.
And it fixes nothing.
But more importantly, it is futile.
If I constantly try to escape, no place will ever feel like home, not even home.