It occurred to me that my trauma relates to bedrooms. Probably obvious but still an interesting pattern.
The rape occurred in a house in a bedroom. This changed my life irreparable. Both the nature of the crime and the things I was left without. In a place I should have been safe.
Then in my relationship, N, was able to maintain his fury and jealousy until we got to the bedroom. For some reason it was there it all exploded. Even the final blow when he wanted to stab me, that occurred in the bedroom. I’d wake in the night with his hands around my throat, or him doing things that I couldn’t even begin to say out loud yet alone write here. I was slowly dehumanised and worked to only to please him which was rarely possible. Especially towards the end when drugs and alcohol ravished his mind. But the bedroom became my prison as he grew more paranoid and more controlling.
Now years on, it’s in the bedroom I experience my worst panic and nightmares. At the height I don’t even recognise my husband.
My coping mechanism is to list things around the room. Identify the windows, the drawers, the television, etc. that usually works and our room is never very dark. On a bad night I keep the light on.
When I go away I do the same, I get familiar with the lay out, usually keep some lights on. Fortunately in hotels they are rarely dark and I book bigger rooms and I always have my torch. Little routines that have become normal life for me.
I don’t lock bathroom doors because of my ex either.
I’m terrified of the dark. Im clautrasphobic, I don’t like to feel like I’m losing control, space is very important to me, drunk men scare me, howling wind scares me – it creates new shadows, impairs my hearing, moves things.
And my bedroom. I want my bedroom to be a sanctuary. A place to feel safe and rest. During the day I can have a nap and sleep peacefully. I move the furniture around. We have nice bedding, it’s not cluttered, it’s spacious and airy and looks out onto the valley. It’s peaceful and sunny. There is little more I can do. At night every bedroom to me moulds into a place where I was hurt, humiliated, exposed, vulnerable, helpless, confused, powerless.
Maybe the more I give in therapy this will change?