My Fear Is Real

posted by Momo Fali on October 20, 2008

Saturday night, I left my nine year old daughter downstairs while I went up to take a shower. She was watching a Harry Potter movie, which can be a bit spooky when you’re alone in a room and it’s dark outside. But, when I asked her if she was okay staying downstairs by herself, she shrugged as if I’d asked her the dumbest question ever and she replied, “Sure. I’m fine.”

A few minutes later, I was washing my hair and our dog started to bark incessantly…and I started to get anxious. Obviously someone was outside and my daughter was alone downstairs, and I was not in any condition to answer the door should someone knock. My husband wasn’t home and my last post about Amityville Horror was fresh in my mind.

Eventually the dog stopped barking, but as I finished showering I came to a realization. When someone jumps out to scare me, there’s a reason I burst into tears.

This is not about the boogie-man or being scared to go to haunted houses. This is not about getting spooked. My fear is real.

When I was eight, my aunt not only took me to my first horror movie, but that was also the year that another eight year old girl, who lived near me, was picked up on her way home from school, sexually assaulted, and murdered. They found her body a few miles from where I lived. They never found the killer.

Her death was the reason that my childhood memories include staying up all night reading, because I was scared of my own dreams.

After my kids go to sleep, I go into their rooms and marvel at how they are peacefully slumbering when their closet doors are open. Then I shut them. I move hanging clothes so they don’t cast frightful shadows if they wake during the night. I shove toys out of the way should they need to come running to me. These were the things I did, and still do, so I can sleep through the night. I don’t do it because my kids need it, it’s because I do.

In my teens and early twenties, I was involved in an abusive relationship. It ended with him stalking me and threatening me. I bought a gun and learned how to use it. The police had enough evidence to press charges against him, but that’s never stopped the nightmares.

Then shortly after my husband and I were married, I was home alone when I saw a car drive slowly past our house, over and over. Something about it was unsettling. A short time later, a strange man approached my window and looked inside.

I was standing a few feet away, in a dark shadow with my gun in my trembling hand. I didn’t know if he was going break in while I stood within an arms length. He left as quickly as he appeared, but I still don’t know what he was doing or what he wanted. The police caught him that night at the end of our street and pressed charges against him. That is why we went out a few weeks later and bought our dog.

These random events have made me paranoid. These random events have done enough to scar me so that the slightest “boo” completely freaks me out.

But somehow, I have not transferred any of this to my children. They can go to sleep with their closet doors open. Somehow, despite the anxiety I have deep inside of me, my daughter can watch Harry Potter alone, in the dark, with the dog barking at someone outside.

And if that doesn’t prove that I’m conquering these demons, I don’t know what will.

    Comments

  • Heather


    I have similar fears, and I don’t know where they come from. Only, I hope I can transfer some of it to my daughter. She is 15 and too fearless, thinks nothing bad will ever happen to her. And maybe it’s one of those things you have to let someone experience themselves before they develop a more cautionary nature, but I want her to realize those dangers are real BEFORE she is confronted with them. I hate to make her like me, but on the other hand, I think my precautions are part of what keeps me safe.

  • Heather


    I have similar fears, and I don’t know where they come from. Only, I hope I can transfer some of it to my daughter. She is 15 and too fearless, thinks nothing bad will ever happen to her. And maybe it’s one of those things you have to let someone experience themselves before they develop a more cautionary nature, but I want her to realize those dangers are real BEFORE she is confronted with them. I hate to make her like me, but on the other hand, I think my precautions are part of what keeps me safe.

  • Smart A$$ Mom


    I sooo feel ya! I am notorious for throwing the shower curtain open while yelling craziness.

  • Smart A$$ Mom


    I sooo feel ya! I am notorious for throwing the shower curtain open while yelling craziness.

  • Ed (zoesdad)


    I think the greatest testament of your story is that your kids do not experience your fears. Nice work.

  • Ed (zoesdad)


    I think the greatest testament of your story is that your kids do not experience your fears. Nice work.

  • Lizzi


    I do the same kinds of things and have similar feelings with much less of a rational reason as you.

    But the fact that you have a gun and know how to use it has been duly noted.

    “Be nice to Momo Fali.” Check.

  • Lizzi


    I do the same kinds of things and have similar feelings with much less of a rational reason as you.

    But the fact that you have a gun and know how to use it has been duly noted.

    “Be nice to Momo Fali.” Check.

  • georgie


    WOW I am speechless-what a post…i just wanna give you a big ol hug from one chicken to another
    😉

  • georgie


    WOW I am speechless-what a post…i just wanna give you a big ol hug from one chicken to another
    😉

  • Colleen - Mommy Always Wins


    Sending you e-hugs…sounds like you’re doing all the right things to ease your own fears. 🙂

  • Colleen - Mommy Always Wins


    Sending you e-hugs…sounds like you’re doing all the right things to ease your own fears. 🙂

  • the planet of janet


    wow is right…

    and you are awesome for not having transferred your fears to your kids.

    and for those who don’t understand the realness, let me remind you that just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re really not after you …..

  • the planet of janet


    wow is right…

    and you are awesome for not having transferred your fears to your kids.

    and for those who don’t understand the realness, let me remind you that just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re really not after you …..

  • supermommy


    Wow! I’d say that you have valid reasons for feeling this way. I hope that things get better for you. That’s exactly why I have always had dogs too.

    Nothing like a 65 lb pitbull to scare the boogie man (and solicitors) away!

  • supermommy


    Wow! I’d say that you have valid reasons for feeling this way. I hope that things get better for you. That’s exactly why I have always had dogs too.

    Nothing like a 65 lb pitbull to scare the boogie man (and solicitors) away!

  • Jamie E


    Question: Do you think the peeper saw your gun? cuz, if he did , I wonder if that’s why he left?

    *hugs*

  • Jamie E


    Question: Do you think the peeper saw your gun? cuz, if he did , I wonder if that’s why he left?

    *hugs*

  • Bean


    Oh you are SO sticking it to me for laughing (again) about scaring you! I’m sorry! I thought about all those stories as I typed – how The Ring did not even scare you, bc that is not the type of thing you fear.

    Yep, you’re conquering those demons, all right. That’s a gift for your kids … and you.

  • Bean


    Oh you are SO sticking it to me for laughing (again) about scaring you! I’m sorry! I thought about all those stories as I typed – how The Ring did not even scare you, bc that is not the type of thing you fear.

    Yep, you’re conquering those demons, all right. That’s a gift for your kids … and you.

  • wheremytruthlives


    Yikes! Now every time you don’t post for a few days I’m going to be all worried that something might have happened.

  • wheremytruthlives


    Yikes! Now every time you don’t post for a few days I’m going to be all worried that something might have happened.

  • kaila


    I love that you close the closet door and arrange clothing and toys so as not to be scary or in the way. Reading that made me realize that I, too, do the same thing for my son – I just didn’t realize it until I read your post.

  • kaila


    I love that you close the closet door and arrange clothing and toys so as not to be scary or in the way. Reading that made me realize that I, too, do the same thing for my son – I just didn’t realize it until I read your post.

  • Walking With Scissors


    Good for you, hon. You’re a good mom. 🙂 That’s a lot of stuff to have happen – I don’t blame you for being jumpy! I cry too when something or someone (usually my husband) scares me. I haven’t had the abusive relationship, but I have had the stalkerish stuff happen (There was one night that the phone would ring and when I would answer it, I’d just hear breathing. Then, awhile later, a dark shadow at the window. Back and forth, back and forth. Phone call. Shadow at the window… I was so spooked that I called my dad. Nothing ever came of it and it never happened again, but it was freaky!) There’s other stuff too, but I won’t add to your list of spooky stuff to have to think about…

  • Walking With Scissors


    Good for you, hon. You’re a good mom. 🙂 That’s a lot of stuff to have happen – I don’t blame you for being jumpy! I cry too when something or someone (usually my husband) scares me. I haven’t had the abusive relationship, but I have had the stalkerish stuff happen (There was one night that the phone would ring and when I would answer it, I’d just hear breathing. Then, awhile later, a dark shadow at the window. Back and forth, back and forth. Phone call. Shadow at the window… I was so spooked that I called my dad. Nothing ever came of it and it never happened again, but it was freaky!) There’s other stuff too, but I won’t add to your list of spooky stuff to have to think about…

  • Twenty Four At Heart


    I think it is fantastic that you’ve been able to NOT pass your fear on to your kids. That says a lot about your mothering skills!

  • Twenty Four At Heart


    I think it is fantastic that you’ve been able to NOT pass your fear on to your kids. That says a lot about your mothering skills!

  • Rachel


    Wow. Wow, Wow, Wow.

    I am so sorry that you’ve experienced these things, but it sounds as if you’re handling it really well.

    The fact, as others have said, that you haven’t passed those fears on to your kids is amazing and it’s a testament to the woman and mother that you are.

    I am sending you hugest hugs!!! and about a gazillion gallons of respect.

  • Xbox4NappyRash


    Well done you.

    It’s genuinely hard to equate the momo fali we read here everyday with the past you talk about there.

    Again, well done.

  • Kimmylyn


    I got chills just reading and understanding your fears.. it is a huge testament as others have said about your mothering ability and not transferring those fears on your kids..

  • LiteralDan


    Hey, you can be forgiven for needing a lot of time to uncoil yourself– you’ve earned it! I’m glad your kids haven’t had to earn that, and I hope they never will.

    Now I kinda wanna watch a Harry Potter movie.

  • Lisa@verybusymomwith4


    Hugs and bravo to you for being able to not transfer fears to the kids–you are braver than you think!

  • AlisonH


    Wow. I’m so glad you got out. SO glad.

    When I was about 12, I was out walking and had a car approach me and the most intense sense of prickly fear as it did so. The driver then tried to kidnap me, and thankfully someone pulled up behind him just in time, when I most needed a witness and help.

    My best friend from high school had a paranoid-schizophrenic husband in a marriage that lasted 26 years (and shouldn’t have). We offered her plane tickets 24/7, call anytime day or night, and being across the country from her, I was the one person she would unload to about what was really happening. When she finally did decide to divorce him was when she finally got some time away from him: while he was in jail facing attempted murder charges. He has been found to be a danger to society, institutionalized, and should some quack decide he’s now “sane,” he will then be referred to the court for the criminal charges and kept in jail. He has continued to threaten, on record; the guy ain’t gettin’ out.

    I am SO glad you didn’t waste so much of your life on someone like that! And that you found your sweet husband!

  • Sadia


    Hugs to you. Any pointers you have on not passing our fears to our kids would be most deeply appreciated.

  • Jaina


    That’s scary. But I’m glad you aren’t passing your fears to your children. Those things are scary though, and definitely real.

  • BabyShrink


    Did you ever see that movie “Parenthood?” We saw it again last night. Remember when Steve Martin’s Dad talks about how much he cares about his kids…and how you NEVER “cross the finish line”, no matter how old the kids get? You always have this crushing, burdensome, miraculous love for them, no matter what.

    Your post reminded me of that…we all have our baggage from the past, and the more we are aware of it, the less we WILL transfer to them….I also have my nightly ritual of “making the rounds” to sleeping kids. No matter what a rotten day it was, how difficult they were…that quiet time is wonderful (and sometimes scary).

    Much aloha!!

  • meleah rebeccah


    Yep. Your fears are completely justified.

    I too am very overly cautious and nervous and SCARE very easily. (For some similar reasons.)

    I think you are doing a FANTASTIC job of not transferring all of that onto your children.

    Somehow my 12 year old is not afraid either. So I must have done something right along this path called motherhood.

  • worldmomma


    Very powerful post. Fears can be helpful and useful (have you read The Gift of Fear) but othertimes paralyzing. The trick is to know when to act upon the fear. You seem to be doing a good job.

  • Aunt Debbi/kurts mom


    Wow, what a world of worry.

    I took on a peeping tom with a garden hose one time. Didn’t work. He came back a few times until I let a German Shepherd dog loose on him.

    Be well and find a way to be safe. I like the pistol action.

  • O My Blog!


    It's freaky when you have had something like that happen to you.

    You brought up some icky memories for me, ew.

    I hate abusive men, and even though you think you have gotten over it and stand up for yourself, something happens that breaks into that scared girl and you end up shaken all over again.

    I feel so bad for you that you went through this. How icky.

    >hug<

  • DysFUNctional Mom


    I think it’s amazing that you have not transferred that to your kids. Who could blame you if you had? That’s a lot to deal with.

  • Mama Dawg


    Good for you. I found that living out in the country with all it’s scary noises and PITCH black dark, I’m actually braver than I was living in the city with bars on my doors and light running 24/7.

  • Andrea


    Great post.

  • Mz. Nesbit


    your fears sound completely understandable to me.
    when i’m home alone, i turn on every single light. every single one.

  • Ms Picket To You


    yes, you’re right: this proves it. good on you!

  • Ms Picket To You


    yes, you’re right: this proves it. good on you!

  • Mrs. Schmitty


    How scary! No one could blame you for your fears. But it’s really quite an accomplishment that your children are not affected from it! Great job!

  • Mrs. Schmitty


    How scary! No one could blame you for your fears. But it’s really quite an accomplishment that your children are not affected from it! Great job!

  • ria


    I can’t say enough how AWESOME it is that you’ve be taken care not to transfer your (very legitimate) fears onto your kids. I think that is very important and a mark of a great mom. Kudos!

  • ria


    I can’t say enough how AWESOME it is that you’ve be taken care not to transfer your (very legitimate) fears onto your kids. I think that is very important and a mark of a great mom. Kudos!

  • Blithe Revival


    Wow – Momo you are INCREDIBLE!

    Way to be brave writing this post too. Well done.

    You are an AWESOME mom. Being a Mom is scarier than anything else sometimes, and you’ve stood strong and fought back.

    Keep fighting the good fight… you are kicking ass.

    xo

    Psalm 34:7

  • Blithe Revival


    Wow – Momo you are INCREDIBLE!

    Way to be brave writing this post too. Well done.

    You are an AWESOME mom. Being a Mom is scarier than anything else sometimes, and you’ve stood strong and fought back.

    Keep fighting the good fight… you are kicking ass.

    xo

    Psalm 34:7

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  • nola


    Wow. We all have those fears about our children, and I can imagine how unsettling your past experiences are on your nerves. It speaks volumes that you are calm enough around your children for them not to be anxious. Congrats on a job well done.

  • nola


    Wow. We all have those fears about our children, and I can imagine how unsettling your past experiences are on your nerves. It speaks volumes that you are calm enough around your children for them not to be anxious. Congrats on a job well done.

  • Mimi aka pz5wjj


    Wow… I have nothing to add or help you but I know the feeling.

    Sending you virtual support…

  • Mrs4444


    Bravo on this post AND on not plunking your baggage onto your kids 🙂 Nice.

  • VDog


    Oh honey, I’m so sorry all that happened to you.

    I used to be afraid to go out alone at night. So let’s just say I’ve had some similar experiences.

    My husband closes our son’s closet doors as well, and I tell him, ya know what? *That’s* what’s going to cause him to have issues w/ the closet being open. LOL But it’s for my huz, not for the kiddo. Totally get that.

    Hugs, hawt lady. 😉

  • Jo Beaufoix


    Blimey Momo you definitely have reason for those fears. I’m like you. I close my girls wardrobe doors. I make sure their curtains are completely drawn as I can never get that image of Jodie the pig from Amityville from my mind. Miss E is so like me it worries me as she does get scared about stuff, but so far Miss M is a little braver. I hope she stays that way. Hugs.

  • Christina


    I understand – I am extremely suspicious of any stranger around my house or my kids. When I was eight I was nearly kidnapped by a strange man who saw me walking alone down a quiet street. I’m just glad I was naturally suspicious and ran fast when he tried to grab me.

    I keep our house completely locked up nearly all the time, and I have a ritual of walking through the entire house before bed, checking each door and window is locked, and checking each room to see if there is anything suspicious.

  • Missives From Suburbia


    I’ve always theorized that the last step in healing yourself is ensuring your children don’t carry your fears/faults/stupidity with them, even if you still do. Bravo!! Good job, Mom. You’re healed.

  • Maureen


    Wow, Momo… great post. I am sorry to hear of the reasons, but I can totally understand your fears. You are a strong mom indeed. Bravo for not instilling those fears onto your kids as some parents do.

  • Carol


    Oh my. I hope I didn’t *actually* scare you over at BD. I am glad that you are working towards conquering your demons though–the ones rooted in childhood are the hardest ones to untangle.

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