Nothing is as hard as speaking our inner truth. Allowing others in. I’m discovering this is true for everyone, not just abuse survivors.
Adjusting to our back-to-school hectic schedules has been stressful on our family. I noticed Hubby and I falling back into familiar icky patterns of speaking and tromping on each other to get through the day, and complete the insane amounts of tasks required of parents of young children.
Hubby and I were speaking harshly to each other, adding blame, or hearing blame, and putting little hurtful zingers out there. This went on several days, until the wave capped and broke. I had enough yesterday. I felt attacked and did not know why. It seemed Hubby was angry with me and I did not know why. His words were not matching his tone. I got shaky, dizzy, and retreated from our conversation abruptly, saying something like, “My world is not right, I have to get out of here”
I left the room, and the house, as I held back tears and kept this reaction from overtaking me. I took my laptop to the library and wrote Hubby a letter, asking what was bothering him. I calmed down once I wrote the letter, and enjoyed the peace at the library, and got a great book called The Angry Heart:Overcoming Borderline and Addictive Disorders by Jospeh Santoro and Ronald Jay Cohen. Just started reading it, but I can already tell if will be helpful to me, even though I may not be Borderline exactly. It discusses the effects of psychotraumatization on children in dysfunctional families and has a narrative from someone on his own healing journey.
I gave Hubby the letter when I returned home, and when to our bedroom to start reading this book. He read the letter, and came upstairs and gave me a big hug. I asked him what the hug was for. He always looks so confused at me, but he said, because I wanted to hug you. I thought maybe the hug was an apology, or a peace offering, or even maybe pity for me. (I told you my world was not right)
So we chatted a bit, and then got into the heavy scary stuff. Our true feelings. I told him I feel attacked and I don’t why. I asked what was bothering him, and although he didn’t get right to it, he did actually tell me! This was huge! I am so proud of him for opening up to me. And proud of me for listening. He criticized me, told me something he needs from me and has not been getting. I told him I did not know, and will work on that for him. I want to be there for him, and I want him to expect me to be there for him. I have leaned on him for so many years, the guy deserves his own soft place to fall – in me.
Then we went through some of my new book together, helping him understand what my reaction was to his perceived attack on me earlier. If the book wasn’t exactly me, it was at least a conversation starter. And it helped us realize a few things I had been hiding from him, from my therapist, and I think even from myself. I’m not all better. My strong face is just a face. Inside I am swirling chaos. I was explaining my reaction to my son touching me a certain way, and realized my fear and anger and pushing him away was because it caused a flashback. As I described it to him, I broke down sobbing and shaking. My flashbacks have not completely stopped, I just learned to manage them. Oh dear – what do I do with that? I keep going. I keep working. I also revealed that I often have suicidal thoughts. Now if you don’t have these thoughts, this will not make sense. I am NOT suicidal. I am not in danger. But I do have to throw out thoughts that pass through my head and tell me life is not worth living, and that I’m not worthy of living. Not everyday, but often enough.
So by opening up honestly and sharing the scary, we gained new understandings of each other, and another level of connection, trust, and intimacy that I never knew possible.
- Loving someone who was abused as a child must be so hard (roots2blossom.wordpress.com)
- PTSD or Just a Bad Memory, Who Cares What You Call It (roots2blossom.wordpress.com)