In Star Trek Voyager (yup, I’m a nerd!) Captain Janeway is battling a character that is the literal embodiment of Fear, in this case, a clown. She is negotiating with Fear to release several hostages, and this quote comes from her lips:
“I’ve known fear. It’s a very healthy thing, most of the time. You warn us of danger, remind us of our limits, protect us from carelessness. I’ve learned to trust fear.”
As someone who grew up surrounded by trauma, encountering abusive people and scenarios from a young age throughout my young adult life, fear was a familiar feeling. The longer I lived, the more of a foundation fear built of my eventual psychological construct.
What became different and what may resonate with other trauma survivors, is that though fear built my foundation, I was unable disallowed to head its warnings. Fear would tell me that someone was dangerous emotionally, but I would need to use them to get where I needed to go. Fear would tell me about how stairwells were dangerous places, but unless I walked through them to get to class I wouldn’t be able to graduate college. Fear would tell me that I needed to stay with this partner because without them, maybe I would never find someone who would see me as anything other than broken.
If one sits down with a trauma survivor and attempts to logic them through why they shouldn’t fear (a stairwell when they have been raped in one) (people taking notes when information has been used against them in the past) (providers when helpers have abused their power) (the church when they have spiritually/emotionally abused them) (the male voice outside the window that sounds just like ‘him’) (et all) they will fail gloriously. We’ve learned to trust fear, to a fault.
It’s impossible to bring people into our world, without them truly sharing our experience. This can cause us to form these inner worlds of fear, no one can understand, why attempt to explain?
We see danger everywhere, and it is all in our minds.
And it’s real to us.