Karate (MMA) Triggers

Karate triggers me. Not the moves. I stand in and let my kids try to hit and kick me and maneuver out of my holds without any issue at all, despite their history of violence against me.
The triggers come when the instructor is describing scenarios. My kids are standing or sitting there, and I look at their faces and remember it happening to them, to me. I always think, if only we knew these simple moves back then, would it have helped? Probably it would have made it worse.
Blocking an attack from an enraged person sounds ideal, but abusers who want control over others often just become angry beyond belief, and that escalates the situation.
I did fight back, once. I feel awful about it, you know. I was in a headlock and I thought that was it, I thought I was going to be seriously hurt or he would try to kill me, my neck was such a vulnerable thing. I didn’t know what would happen to the children, who would care for them? I was angry, I had told him to just wait so I could feed my kids first. It was time for dinner, they were off schedule, and being off schedule at those young ages made for chaos. I just wanted to do what I had to do, and then deal with his paranoid delusional bull*&#! after.
I have to pretend to choke my children at karate, as part of the lessons. They know what to do. They desperately need to learn all of this. It is so crucial, that I am frozen by it. I am afraid that insisting they practice will instead burn them out on it, and then they will not learn at all.
I sit there watching them watch the instructor, and I try to weigh probabilities. How likely that they will need these lessons specifically for our abuser. How likely it is that we will be found. I feel a sort of desperation in karate lessons.
I look around the room and I wonder how many other kids are learning for the same reasons. No one can tell. How many are registered with state and federal government agencies to prevent kidnapping? No one can tell.
Of course we all get home crabby. Of course we come home tense. Of course we are squabbling and do not want any space, we do not want to be in separate rooms. Of course. We remember, we are fearful. We want to be together, we want to be safe. Probably we are all triggered at karate.

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