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Britney Spears’ Fear of Freedom After Abuse Is Relatable (Because I Felt It Too)

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Editor's Note

If you’ve experienced domestic violence or emotional abuse, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact The National Domestic Violence Hotline online by selecting “chat now” or calling 1-800-799-7233.

You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “NEDA” to 741741.

Britney Spears recently made an Instagram post about her newfound freedom from her 13-year conservatorship, expressing her fear that she would do something wrong now that she finally has a taste of freedom. As I read her words, they resonated with my own story of gaining freedom from an abusive home.


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A post shared by Britney Spears (@britneyspears)

To explain, as I was turning 18, I was in the hospital and adamant that I would not be returning to my abusive home, but instead that I would be leaving the hospital as an independent adult, free from the abuse for the first time in my life. I was hesitant to share stories of the abuse, however, so I had many who were convinced that I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I was told I needed to go back home where I belonged, that I’d never make it out there in the “real world.” After all, I didn’t have anything — no high school diploma, no driver’s license, no source of income — none of the things one needs to be able to function independently in our society.

I did leave the hospital as an independent adult, however, staying with a few other family members for about a month before moving into my own place, having nothing but my college savings to survive on. Once I moved into my own place, things felt directionless. I was so used to having my every move controlled by someone else; I didn’t know how to do this all on my own.

I eventually figured it out, though, getting a job just as I was running out of money, getting my GED so I could apply to college, and figuring out how to use public transportation. Now, it’s four years later and I’m a senior in college with a dual major and a 3.6 GPA, starting applications to Master of Social Work programs. Still, though, when I make a mistake and forget to pay a bill on time or forget a doctor’s appointment, it all comes back. I start to ask myself if maybe everyone else was right — if maybe I can’t do this on my own after all. Those thoughts have become less and less frequent over the years, but every now and then that sense of doubt comes creeping back in.

The thing is, though, that I already did it. I already figured it out. I already got what I needed to get on my feet and I’ve managed to not only keep it up, but to do what I needed to go after my goals too. I might have started with nothing, but now I have everything I ever needed — most significantly, freedom, and peace.

So yes, of course Britney is feeling some doubt and anxiety — she’s spent the past 13 years having her every move controlled, and to go from that to full freedom is quite the shock. She isn’t starting with nothing, though. She’s been on her own before and she can do it again; it’s just going to take her some time to figure things out.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Originally published: November 2, 2021
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