On being ready to run away

As a child, I was small and weak. Being blessed with a well-functioning intellect, I automatically focused on developing the mind, rather than the body. At boarding school, from the age of seven, I was bullied, naturally. When it came to fight or flight, the fight option never seemed in the least feasible, so I focused on flight. When I couldn't do that, I sometimes got hurt – not really badly, just flicked with towels, or perhaps given what was called a "dead leg". That was when an assailant kneed you in the side of the leg, so that the leg felt incapacitated for a short time.

Perhaps I was never miserable enough, but I never did run away from school. My complaints at home fell on deaf ears, and I continued to be left at school to fend for myself. Home was tolerable, with the background stress of having parents that never seemed to get on well, and were too often arguing, but there again it wasn't bad enough to run away from.

Ever since I was aware enough to notice and compare, I have always suffered from tension in the muscles of the outsides of my thighs. Reflecting on this in the past, I would think of this as a kind of Reichian "muscular armour", a chronic tension developed in response to the chronic stress of steeling myself against such attacks. But just today, reflecting again (in dialogue with Ria) I thought maybe there was another side to it.

What if tension in my legs was also to do with being unconsciously prepared to run away? Or to do with thinking about running away, but never getting round to it, so leaving the tension itself unresolved? Or, maybe later in life, having one part of me that would like to run away, but other stronger parts telling me to stick with it? Maybe even, to develop the strength to fight, when that was appropriate?

Put it another way, what if I felt so safe, so emotionally secure, that I was completely comfortable not needing to be prepared to run away – psychologically, if not physically? It's odd, as I've never thought of myself as someone who runs away from things psychologically, so I'll need to check that introspectively.


Topics: self-analysis


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