We learn that fear means one thing: stay away. Our trauma response has been honed to take over the minute something appears dangerous. And while this is not exclusive to trauma survivors, we are definitely more sensitive after childhood trauma. The response is tripped more easily.
I have grown up this way. My inner defender has played her role well. She has kept everyone safe. All inner parts are still alive and accounted for. We made it through everything. But she is convinced that her tactics are the only way. Hyper vigilance is her favorite tool. She ratchets up the fear when things are slightly out of the ordinary.
And the more out of the ordinary it is, the more the anxiety and fear will increase. The emotional experience by itself would not necessarily be debilitating, but when I am not paying attention, the thoughts get involved. And all hell breaks loose.
“You can’t go on that plane across the country. You are a single mother. What happens to the kids if you die?”
“You can’t go meet those new people. They will reject and abandon you like everyone else.”
“You can’t go to that conference with those important people. That will make you too visible. And that’s not safe.”
These thoughts are extremely believable. I have been hearing them my whole life. They are familiar. They are comfortable. But there’s another voice. It is a whisper in the background. It has been there since I can remember, but I have learned to ignore it. I have always thought my inner defender was right. Bad things happen when you do something new, exciting or otherwise out of the ordinary. But the whisper remains. And even in its quiet state, it is hard to ignore.
Why is it hard to ignore? It is right. That’s the whisper that holds the path to my purpose, my future, my freedom. But there’s a problem. That whisper, otherwise known as my intuition, is taking me right through the fear. And while the message is clearly sent with love, it is obvious there is no general care and concern for keeping my anxiety at bay.
“Go do that thing. Go meet those people. Fly to California and present at that conference.” It says.
“Everything will be fine.” It says.
What? Do you expect me to believe everything will suddenly just be fine when nothing was fine before?
“Trust.” It says.
Right. Just trust.
“I’ll take care of you.” It says.
And that is the truth. My intuitive higher self has every intention of taking care of me. She has my back. But the idea of letting go and letting her run any aspect of my life makes me want to throw up. And that is before my inner defender hears about it. Her response involves curse words, a mega phone and my sleep hours.
But I do follow the whisper, not all the time, not right away. And I am not always sure I am better off after I do it. I am often comparing the results to safety and security, so it doesn’t always look good at first. But there is certainly one truth. When I got through the fear, it never turns out to be horrific. It turns out to be different. And compared to my old life, different isn’t necessarily bad. And when different is piled on top of different in baby steps, it doesn’t take long for life to be better than ever before.
The whisper starts to get a little louder as I listen more closely. And it starts to take a more prominent role in my inner conversation. And my faith in it grows stronger. And my inner defender starts to relax. And my inner child heals more.
But it all started by listening to the whisper. It all started by going through the fear.
Written By Elisabeth Corey, MSW
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