Don't Go In The Basement!

I have a new problem, it's a very strange problem and I'm not quite sure how to fix it.  In Texas, we didn't have basements, and I moved when I was around 18 or 19, so I didn't realize this was an issue.  Now that we just moved to Illinois and we have a basement, and although we've lived in our house since the beginning of February, I just now realized I may need help.

I've been in our unfinished basement several times, always during the day.  I don't like it all, but there are big windows with natural sunlight and I turn on the lights as well, I do what I need to do and get out as quickly as I can.  I knew I hated going down there by myself, but didn't think about it much.

The other night it was raining very, very hard.  Water was leaking through the front door a bit, so we were going to check to make sure there wasn't any water in the basement.  While Mark was still at the front door, I went to the basement door, opened it, saw that it was pitch black with the stairs leading down and froze.  I thought how ridiculous of me and took a step down and just could NOT do it, I was terrified and stepped back up, turned the light off and shut the door.  Mark came to the basement door and I told him I could not go down there with him as we went to check for water.  I stood at the top of the stairs asking what he saw.  I knew it was not normal to be so petrified of going into a basement, but this huge fear overcame me and I did not want to have any sort of panic attack.  If there was not a reason to put myself through that, why should I?

Mark knew why I couldn't go down there, I knew why I couldn't go down there.  Neither of us had to say anything about where my fear came from, I just didn't know I had that much fear.

When I was a teenager and living with my mother and stepfather, at night, he would drink heavily.  He would get angry.  My bedroom was in the basement, and it seemed like he really hated me.  We got into horrible arguments and he was very mean to me all through my childhood, but it worsened the older I got.  Blah, blah, not trying to tell a "feel sorry for me" story, just explaining what happened.

So...my mother SAID she would get worried about me and for my own safety lock me in the basement at night.  I would try to come upstairs and find the basement door locked.  I would beg for someone to open it, but no one would. There wasn't even a bathroom in the basement.  But, apparently my stepfather would sit in his chair with a loaded gun when he was drunk and she was afraid he would shoot me.  I don't doubt this.  He got totally crazy towards the end, not that he wasn't evil and crazy from the beginning.  SHE said the only reason she divorced him was because she was trying to protect me from him and I guess she expected some sort of gratitude from me.  Huh?  So she would have stayed with a drunken lunatic sitting in a chair with a loaded gun had it not been for her trying to protect me?  Why didn't she divorce him when I was 7 then?  10 ?  12?  13? 14? 

So yeah, me and dark basements at night, they don't mix.  I'm absolutely terrified of them and don't even like them during the day but I can force myself down there at least if there is natural light.  HOW can I live in a house with a basement and not be able to go down there, ever, at night, even with someone?  Yes, I can go to counseling, but...that would require me to eventually go down into the basement at night to get over my fear and...I don't want to do that. 

Writing about it is making me mad, just thinking about WHY I can't go into the basement at night, the feelings I get, feeling trapped, afraid of not being able to get out.  I *know*, I just *know* that you are supposed to forgive people of things they have done to you, God expects that, but it is so, so hard for me when things like this come up.  There are many things like this that still haunt me and I'm in my 40's!  And to think my mother doesn't even try to reach out to me and acted cold towards me when I did try to reach out to her a long time ago?  Is it best to keep her cut out of my life?  It's so confusing to me.  I try to think what I did as a teenager to an adult to make my mother hate me, but it must have been pretty bad.  As my own father once told me, I did not win the lottery when it came to parents. 

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