Fear the Dark
There are some things you just can’t hide in marriage: Your habit of leaving your socks under the coffee table or forgetting to close the cabinet after picking your coffee mug for the day. Your morning breath. Forgetting to put down the toilet seat. Putting a roll of toilet paper on the wrong way. Snoring. The way you make a silly face at yourself whenever you walk by a mirror. Your paranoia about being watched. The way you run from room to room when it’s too dark to see. Your habit of waking up your husband in the middle of the night because you’re terrified of going to the bathroom alone.
Okay, those last few are just things I wasn’t able to hide.
Most things you can’t hide in marriage are totally harmless, even if your wife occasionally bumps her head on that open cabinet door. But some of those weird little quirks aren’t quirks.
They’re deeply rooted issues tied to past trauma in your life.
One of my weird, deeply rooted issues was a paranoia of being watched at nighttime. I couldn’t hide it and I had some strange ritualistic behaviors like waking Andy up at night when I had to use the bathroom because I was paranoid about someone being in our home, waiting to attack me on my way back to bed. Andy would crack jokes that the boogeyman wasn’t in our hallway after I’d return to our room almost breathless after turning off the light in the bathroom before sprinting back to bed. All this bizarre behavior was normal for me because it was just how I was: Skittish and afraid of the dark.
Or so I thought.
Andy suggested talking to my therapist about my “fear of the dark”. So I humorously told her about how ridiculous some of my rituals were. I shared that I didn’t know how they started. Then she leaned back in her chair and in her infinite therapist wisdom told me that my “fear of the dark” was actually tied to being molested as a child.
As she explained it pieces of the puzzle fell into place. It was undeniable. And utterly earth shattering for me in a good way. My bizarre nighttime behaviors and paranoia of being watched were tied to that traumatic childhood experience. At the not so tender age of 24 I couldn’t shake a fear that was rooted in unprocessed trauma from almost two decades earlier.
This experience is trauma summed up
Trauma is a thief that steals your peace and leaves you with an altered brain chemistry. Trauma unprocessed leaves you as an adult with a fear of the dark. Living trapped in trauma is no way to live. I’m sharing this story to point out that the weird quirk or odd fear you have might be rooted in trauma. Process it and pursue freedom; don’t let trauma keep you trapped.