I was the child who could never sleep alone. Even with a nanny, I was terrified of the dark. Plagued by nightmares that I screamed awake from, it was difficult---for my family mostly. I was indulged, a younger brother would sleep beside me. Once he was old enough to realize that it was not his duty to take care of his older sister, my mom would keep vigil falling asleep on the chair beside my bed while I watched her unable to just shut my eyes.
It got worse when I found myself in an abusive relationship. After having watched The Sixth Sense, I forced my best friends to sleep over and we crammed ourselves into my bed. I slept between them, well didn't really. Hindsight and wiser people told me I was not being haunted---I was yelling at the world about the explosive anger and manipulative affection without saying a word. Today, I can't help thinking that the sixth sense episode (no real sleep for 3 months) was telling. I knew about every single haunting in that movie beforehand, he told me. Most horror movies work on surprise, but when the terror is in the place of safety---prior knowledge actually heightens the experience.
I have been sleeping alone for the last decade. I'm out of the relationship and have been for a dozen years. Nightmares are not as bad and don't come as frequent.
Strangely enough, my mother's death was what made me brave. I guess grief trumps fear, and you're so stunned that you survived such loss that monsters become what they are---stories to be told, retold, and rewritten.
Sent from Samsung Mobile