Cindy Bodie shared a link to this blog post yesterday. It goes along with some of the things I have been reflecting on recently. I get frustrated with those who think that what happened to Daughter was a long time ago and she should just get over it. I've been accused of making her worst by seeking counseling and help for her. If I didn't keep bringing it up, I'm told, it wouldn't be an issue.
I have been reflecting on it more because of my own fear. There are times when I am terrified of going down stairs. I passed on a tour of a lighthouse, because I was afraid to face coming back down the stairs. I know my fear is irrational. I get that. Last night I went to a national touring company performance of a Broadway musical. We were in the second row of the balcony. I was terrified. Once the show started I was fine, but we were in the center, and getting to my seat and back out was challenging. I was holding the seats beside me. My companion was behind me, and put her hands on my shoulders to steady me on the way out.
So why am I so afraid? As a young child, I fell down our basement steps. I was a toddler. They were open wooden stairs to a poured concrete basement. There were some shelves next to the stairs with some of my toys on them. I have one flash of memory-- I hit a toy train that was on the top of the shelves and knocked it off on the way down. (That is the only memory I have of that particular toy, so it wasn't a toy that stayed around through my childhood.) I don't remember how I fell, how far I fell, what happened when I got to the bottom, if I was hurt, what my mother did, or anything else. When I was older, I mentioned something about falling down those stairs and my mother made some comment about being terrified. I didn't ask her for details.
There are times when I can handle stairs with no problem whatsoever. Other times I go out of my way to avoid them, and cling to the hand rail all the way down when I can't avoid them. This fear has been a bigger problem since I fell and broke my arm. I worry about falling again.
Does Daughter milk her PTSD and play it up to her advantage? I'm sure she does. Does that mean it's not real? No. There are times when an experience I had over 50 years gets in the way of me walking down stairs. Her trauma was much worst and over an extended period of time. I fell down the stairs once. She was molested and beaten by family members on more than one occasion. I know it still has an impact on her. Yes, she is manipulative. That doesn't mean there aren't times when her terror is real.