Hypervigilance Hell

Lynda Claire
5 min readNov 25, 2021
Photo by Alexander Krivitskiy on Unsplash

This is the part of both being in and then leaving an abusive relationship that is the most exhausting. It is never quite being able to relax and let my guard down because I always have to be ready for the next round and for what is coming my way. Hypervigilance can suck the energy out of me in no time at all and way too much of my mind is taken up by this even now that he can’t legally come near me. I know he’s broken the law plenty of times and I know the way his mind works so I can’t stop being prepared for what he might do next.

While in a relationship hypervigilance is something that gradually became part of my life. It was the constant monitoring of his mood and energy and then adjusting myself to that so that I didn’t set him off further. It was making sure everything was perfect so that there couldn’t be anything for him to criticise or complain about and yet he always found something. It was tracking his movements through the house and tensing up when he came into the room and fury poured out of him. It was the sound of my phone ringing and the ding of a message which made me anxious for what I might read and that I had to reply quickly otherwise a stream of messages and missed calls would follow. It was being in the thick of one of his rages and still being on guard to not do anything that would push him further along. It was him being more physically intimidating and me monitoring his movements and the space between us to see when he would lunge towards me screaming in my face. It was knowing he was lying to me and seeing the evidence and trying to stand up to him only to have him lie even more and then tell me I’m crazy. It was a constant, debilitating state of stress and anxiety that could not have been more toxic and I truly don’t know how I was able to wear a mask outside of my home that I was okay. I don’t know how I lived in a state of constant readiness, of fight or flight.

After leaving the relationship it hasn’t got better. At first it was streams of messages and missed calls in the middle of the night, then this spilt over into the day. It was trying to work while he called and messaged me repeatedly demanding my attention for his emotional crisis. It was getting home every day to a panic that he might be waiting there for me or might have done something. As the time passed of us separating he continued to lie to me and I continued to tell…

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Lynda Claire

Seeking those moments of magic and trying to capture them with words. Exploring my depths. Living on an island at the bottom of the world.