The place of the trapped and damaged is a strange mixed up place. One day you’re fine and the next you’re back to being Alice. Those labels that say eat me, drink me? They’re real, they are all around you and usually set up by your jailor to elicit a required response. If you haven’t already read it I was trapped in my own head for a very long time, to some extent I always will be but this is the LINK in case you haven’t seen it.
The problem is you start to become desperate to escape, you become increasingly aware that it isn’t a normal way to live. You watch others around you through some hazy fog as if you are permanently veiled from them, permanently separated and even though you speak the same language your words convey no meaning to them. They have no point of reference as you are still in that prison and can only hint at things in the dimmest hope that someone will pick up on the clues and help you escape. Because that’s the other thing, you need somewhere to land. It’s no good getting out of the jail you’re trapped in if you have nowhere to land on the other side. I tried to escape a few times, but hadn’t really thought it through so ended up back there each time. And a failed exit attempt means the grip around you gets tighter to avoid you trying it again. You have to somehow become a manipulator too, sneak past the guardians and out into the light.
If you’ve never been there it’s very easy from the outside looking in to say ‘well, why doesn’t she just leave? I would’ and maybe you would, but the vast majority can’t. We have been systematically worn down to that worthless shell that once contained a vibrant human being and now functions to survive, but does nothing more than function. Our responses are programmed, our outlook tainted, our perception altered so much that reality seems such a long way off now. We have been systematically told that without them we are nothing, we may as well not be here and the Alice in you accepts this.
So, back to the escape plans. Because that’s what they become. You tell no-one, you cannot risk word getting back to your jailor, you cannot risk them catching on the fact you want out and are that desperate you will do pretty much anything to get out. But equally you are very weak, physically, mentally and emotionally. Your peer group is reduced so you have no landing spaces, you have been systematically programmed to think no-one will believe you so fear speaking up – what if they take you back there? Risks are calculated and assessed but your ability to trust other people is so impaired it’s very difficult to know what to do.
I didn’t chose well, I recognise that now but when you are trapped in a mental prison and offered scraps of cold kindness rather than warmth you do chose badly, you do react in ways that a normal (I hate that word) and rational person would not. The actions of the damaged and trapped are like that of a wounded animal, we want your help but are equally terrified of it at the same time. Ever tried to help a hurt pet that ordinarily would trust you?? We’re like that and our reactions cannot be predicted because they come from a place of topsy turvy, a place of veiled mixed up truths peppered with an illusion at life. From a mental health perspective no I don’t believe I was sane back then, not sure I am now completely but I like this little world of happy madness I now live in where friends go ‘no, that would just be you’ when I do silly things. The apple tree thrower is slowly returning!
I had asked him to leave several times but each time he managed to convince me otherwise, it probably went on for about two years and then a switch went off in my head. Legal things were involved so won’t go into details but it wasn’t pleasant let’s leave it at that. Two years of stalking followed the divorce and then he met someone else. Should I have said something to her? I don’t know, maybe, but you won’t believe an ex saying that about someone you’ve just fallen in love with so left it.
How to help someone else escape – let them know they can land at yours, let them know they will be safe and can hide from the world if necessary. Tell them you believe them and don’t take sides as the strings are not fully cut and still have power over us. Being mean about our jailor reminds us, it makes us question whether we should be back there. Talk of silly things, do normal things but expect us to react irrationally to the oddest things – our triggers are well hidden but powerful. Don’t be frightened if we react to a single word that you mean innocently yet for us it’s a command prompt. But that means they have to trust you enough to tell you which is why I say use the visiting orders we offer, they will be incredibly subtle because we fear rejection and being disbelieved most in the world as that reinforces that our jailor is right yet we need to escape them to survive.
I cannot change my past, it happened, it will always be a part of me but the messages people send saying ‘this helped me’ is enough. To all those trying to escape, try to reach out however you can and someone will recognise your distress call, good luck x