Every time I get on the freeway my enhanced hyper-vigilance is rewarded. I am super aware of cars changing lanes, speed demons racing up from behind and near misses that keeps my hyper-vigilance on alert. It is exhausting being super aware all the time of every person around. I didn’t know it was unusual. I thought everybody had a super developed “Spidey Sense.” We were at a park with friends and my husband came over and casually asked where the kids were. I pointed out all 6 of our kids and where their 2 kids were located in the park. Yup, my husband won a bit that I would know where they were. His friend was astounded because he didn’t know where his kids were but I did. In counseling, we talked about my heightened awareness. I explained if I didn’t stay constantly aware of my mother’s fluctuating moods, I could get back handed. Hyper-vigilance was how I survived. My counselor pointed out that I functioned from the amygdala before the rest of the brain even knew what was happening. This was how I survived. I like Will Smith’s quote in the movie Enemy of the State, “It’s not paranoia if they‘re really after you.” My conversation with my 89 year old mother assured me that she hated me because her distorted thinking was if my father loved me then he didn’t love her. It was a distortion but one she believed. I walked away from her and ‘let’ her win in her mind. She really was out to get me and hyper-vigilance keep me one step ahead. So why would I want to get rid of something that is helpful. Because it is exhausting to be constantly on alert all the time. I GET TIRED.
I like what Lilly Hope Lucario suggests: “This can be exhausting. And it can create a deep skillset of discernment about people. The aim of healing fear-based hyper-vigilance is turning it into non-fear-based discernment.” https://themighty.com/2017/08/life-impacting-symptoms-of-complex-post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/
I learned the hard way that ignoring my hyper-vigilance is unhealthy. I kept ignoring my ‘spidey Sense’ thinking a lady I worked with was my friend. My sister listened to what was happening and tried to alert me. My DH listened to me and tried to alert me. After the lady quit, I found out from a coworker that she used my PTSD/CPTSD as her excuse as to what was going wrong in her classroom. She made me her friend to learn more and be able to blame me. I was devastated that I trusted her more than myself. If a person treats you like an enemy behind your back, they are the enemy. Or the cliche comes to mind, “Friends like that, who needs enemies?” Interesting thing is healthy boundaries quickly shines a light on their behavior. Learning to trust myself that my hyper-vigilance is working in my favor. Taking my time to get to know people and trust them slowly is not a negative thing. Abusers want trust without showing they deserve it. They use trust as a way to get to their victims. Sometimes I need a break. I learned that some days I am done Peopleing and I need time alone. When I stopped seeing this as a negative thing and started accepting it was a special survival skill set that needed refining I no longer resent how tiring hyper-vigilance can be. I stopped fighting my intuition. I accept that not every one wants to be my friend and not every one is trust worthy. I am learning to tone it down a bit and I am learning how to go in my back yard and paint and be in my happy place.