Abuse has a way of crushing trust and destroying confidence, to say the least. There came a time in my life when I discovered that I no longer had faith in my own judgement in nearly any situation. When I married my husband, I loved and trusted him. Not long into our marriage, I realized his disdain for me. Toward the end of our marriage, it appeared that he wanted to kill me. How could I not have seen this coming? How could I, entering the most important contract of my life, have made such an error of judgement? And how could someone who I believed loved me want to hurt me so badly?
Logic, close friends, and years and years of research in Anthropology, told me that not everyone is untrustworthy; not everyone is destructive and hateful. Emotionally and psychologically I had difficulty believing it, but I made a conscious decision to try to return to state of reserved trust and to allow myself to listen to my inner voice again. I scratched and clawed my way back to that point and by the time I returned to Syria, I was beginning to ease back into the pleasantness of life again; not worrying about the repercussions of every little decision or the hidden intentions of every stranger.
But now I find I’m slipping backwards again. Since my return home, my family has rallied around and supported me, but they’ve also become suffocatingly protective. As soon as an unfamiliar name slips from my tongue, the third degree is implemented. I can’t go many places on my own – someone always feels the need to escort me. I know their intentions are good but their actions are having negative results. When I complained to Sadeer, my eldest brother, he simply said “Each time I look at that scar above your eye, I swear to myself that I won’t allow anything bad to happen to you again.” Bless his heart. I reminded him that I was a survivor, that I was still alive, and I needed to live my life. I needed my family to trust me so that I could trust myself.
I don’t know if my words resounded with Sadeer or not. Only time will tell. I do know that I if I am to love again, it has to be fully and completely. I can’t have a “fortress around my heart” built of suspicion and doubt. Happily, the object of my affections is someone I have always trusted implicitly. It would break my heart to see him hurt by something that happened to me so many years ago and that is no longer part of my life, even though it still touches it. Of course everyone brings a little bit of baggage to every relationship. It’s only natural; but some bring more than others. I’m hoping to lighten my load in order to live and love more freely and unburdened.