Tag Archive | changes

Core Safety Beliefs

Cognitive Processing Therapy taught me that PTSD has affected my core beliefs in many areas. The first module we covered was safety. Below is the worksheet we discussed in class and an example of the challenging beliefs worksheet completed with a safety issue. This is the one provided for us, not my own feelings. I’ll give my own example a bit further down.


I was not aware until I completed this course how many fears I was/am carrying around. I was not aware that I feared for my safety. I had gotten so used to this fear, grew up with this fear, it was simply a part of me, and nothing I had ever named or examined. I thought I was careful, methodical, a good planner…and did not know these actions were in place to keep me in control and feeling safe. Planning each day and event down to the minute, knowing each route, mapping grocery store trips before entering, making sure I knew everything and no detail escaped my radar. This hypervigilance was normal to me and in place to keep me safe. I preferred to be home alone because I cannot control the behavior of other people and I do everything under the sun to reduce the possibility that I will not be in a situation where my control is taken from me.


My experience growing up was that those that say they love me are out to harm me. So I developed a defense of never getting close to anyone. I have no fear of strangers. Strangers come and go every day, passing by. I only get hurt by those I allow to get to know me. My wall went up decades ago. None shall pass. I’m trying to let Hubby, my kids, and my in-laws in first. But damn if the alarms don’t keep sounding no matter how much I try to silence them. This isn’t something I can simply decide to do one day. I built this belief slowly and reinforced it my entire life. It will take some time to rewire this one. Once people know the real me, they either have ammunition to truly hurt me, or I’ll be hurt when they leave me. Either way is devastating and seems too high on the probability meter right now. I still feel safer alone. My strongest safety concerns surround my children now, more than myself. I keep myself safe by staying home alone, but I know I can’t do that to my kids. I have to challenge many beliefs to send them out into a world that I know is not safe, but somehow it has always been easier with them, than with myself. Like in my mind they have better chances, or it’s not pointless for them to try. Before this CPT class, I’d never thought about that conflict in thinking before. This new counselor doesn’t allow me to get away with anything. Grrr.


This airplane example seems so simple because I’m not afraid to fly. As soon as I fill in column A with my own event I get stuck for quite some time, battling my own thoughts, digging deep into analysis, and mostly just “sitting with myself” to figure out what I might be feeling. My safety fears usually center on the fact that I can’t run, can’t walk quickly. I have a huge fear of being chased, needing to get away from someone, or out of a burning building. There are many activities that are dangerous that I don’t do because I can’t do them. I might fear them if I had any chance to do them but my bad back and leg have made it possible to avoid so much: no horses, skating, ziplining, atv riding, motorcycles, hang gliding, whitewater rafting, mountain climbing etc for me.

A. A safety fear I do have is walking alone to my car in a city parking lot at night. I’ve avoided a few outings with friends because of this fear. It’s not every parking lot, only certain ones “feel” dangerous and I’m not sure why. I know part of it is the distance I have to walk, I’ll already be tired and limping. My fear is heightened when I can’t hide my limp, which I try to do always. I have a secondary stuck point related to people knowing what is wrong with me, keeping my secrets hidden, making it impossible to ask for help or let my friends know of my concern.

B. It is dangerous to walk at night, I’ll be an easy target, I can’t protect myself or run away  – 100

C. Afraid-100, Helpless – 100, Alone – 100

D. Evidence against – It is a safe area, no one has ever been attacked in those parking lots that I know of, I wouldn’t be alone it is always busy when we go out, I have never been chased or attacked EVER

low probability – I could be attacked anywhere but it is a very low chance, no reason to fear those lots over other lots

E. emotional reasoning-feeling fear does not mean there is any actual danger

F. I can use my wits and caution to keep myself safer – 80,  and the chance of being attacked or chased is very low or non-existent – 90

G-H. This should be lowered now, but I still don’t feel like this is resolved so there must be another issue to examine and challenge. When I picture myself driving and walking by myself to that lot, it seems impossible, still 100% against it but it seems like it isn’t all fear of safety. I’m also feeling inadequate, like I can’t do it, and ashamed. I would have to do separate worksheets for those. When new emotions come up, it is likely because one event can trigger multiple stuck points, and they can work in levels and layers, one triggering the other in a lovely dysfunctional cascade.


Whats happening to me

Killer headache pain. Visual disturbance with trails and flashes.

And now – the entire right side of my body, right eye/cheek, right arm, right mid-section, right leg goes into spasm. The spasms aren’t that painful unless I try to fight it, then it clenches up. I used to get this quite often in my right leg from the damaged nerve in lower spinal cord. This is the first time anything above that injury has joined the party.

I drove myself to my counselor yesterday, no headache or major eye trouble, my right arm still hurting from friday’s event, but I was being very careful and mostly driving with left arm and right arm only to assist. Not too stressful meeting, actually quite positve and we were making plans.

Hallfway home while driving, it felt like someone threw a brick at my head. No dull pain slowly building up, it was WHACK! And then the familiar migraine stuff, nausea, light was too bright, had to turn off radio. I considered pulling over, but I knew it would only get worse without meds and I was only 10 min from home. So I kept going. Maybe that was stupid, I think my reflexes were slow as a few people beeped horns at me.

Made it home and stepped out of car, noticed extreme weakness in my right leg, not the usual weakness, it was like how it was 15 years ago. I limped inside holding my head, opened medicine cupboard and could not read anything. Asked hubby to get me excedrin (I don’t have rx migraine meds because I havent had migraines like this in over a decade). I pulled myself upstairs to bed, and starting panting. migraines and nausea always make me breathe fast, not sure why.

Hubby brought up pills and ginger ale, and when I reached for it my arm started shaking, just like friday. I also felt twitches in my right side and tummy, sharp and quick like hiccups, making me gasp each time, like a hiccup. the spasms extended to my right leg that curled up tight, unable to loosen. The pain in my head felt like that brick was lodged in my skull. Hubby brought me ice pack and helped me lay down and extend my leg. If someone else pulls on it, it can straighten. trying to use a spastic muscle only makes it tighten more.

I got it to calm down by centering myself and thinkiing about NOT moving. Then I thought…


And then I started laughing, weird, out of control giddy laughing. Nothing was funny. But the laughing felt great on top of the pain, but was scary at the same time. Never done that before. I thought, ok this is it.

You broke your brain.

Then a rational thought appeared somehow.

Ok I have the zanaflex from the ER, should I take that even though doc started me on high dose of medrol? Hubby brought me phone to call dr. She said yes, take the zanaflex and if things werent calming down in 20-30 min to go to ER.

30 min, things were calmer, execedrin/ice reduced head pain to the level of a normal bad but tolerable headache. I drifted off to sleep, no choice but sleep on zanaflex.

Woke up 4 hours later, feeling mostly ok, but right everything hurt and head was dull ache too. Started googling since I don’t see the neuro until next week.

Hemiplegic migraine, or epilepsy, or MS or other lesions on spinal cord or in brain. Did I damage something in my neck, did something happen or move in the rods or clamps or bone fusion on my spine or is this all brain generated now? I will not self-diagnose, but I know enough now to analyze and document to present to doctors to have any chance of help.

I’m a little twitchy today, a little nauseous, a little ouchy but didnt take zanaflex so I could work a bit this morning. Thought about half a pill… but I really need to stay awake. I’ll take one tonight for sure. Feeling my 6am motrin wearing off, gonna keep up on that until doc says otherwise.

Something autoimmune might explain the tendon inflammation and the odd allergy and hives. I no longer believe this is all PTSD, although I do fear my brain may be involved in some way. The first attack was triggered friday after some light yard work – no headache pain with that one. Yesterday was while driving. I am now very concerned and afraid to drive. This was so sudden, I don’t want to hurt anyone. Grandma is picking up the kiddo today, yay for Grandma again.

So I hate meds, and here I am full of them and likely to get a slew more to control whatever this new thing is. Some dx are better than others, but honestly I could not find any curable or not serious reason for the right side of your body to get weak and spastic. So family doc is doing blood tests, going to general neuro next week and likely on to spine specialist and god knows what else.


I’m scared.

oh my I have goosebumps


English: Independence Day fireworks, San Diego.

Time to celebrate (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am bubbling over with excitement! Life is going to get easier for my family and for my sis-in-law. My sis-in-law got the job! My current job will be hers. I am so happy this worked out, so she can quit her cleaning job that is killing her neck, knees, and back and have a cushy desk job from home. She has never worked from home, so it will be an adjustment, but I think she will love it. She has anxiety and panic attacks and I think will have less stress.

My boss made me an offer for my new role before he gave my job to SIL. He planned out my entire year as a fast track to executive level management with raises at each step. I accepted it!

He is giving me an immediate 50 % raise for any projects I work on outside my current hours.
Then when SIL starts in 2 weeks, I will get that new rate for all my hours and be back to a flexible schedule.
Then in 1-3 months he said another 20% raise when he brings me on full time as a director.
Then he said in 6 months of being full time he sees me as an exec in operations, working directly for VP and President and managing many projects and directors. He can promise at least another 20% raise at that time to get me to the rate I asked him for.
So by the end of the year I will be making as much as my husband. And if they can do this so quickly, who knows where I can go after that.
This was not a vague “I’ll see what I can do” like I had from my previous employer. This was an offer, and I believe him. My head is swirling with possibilities, thinking of all the bills I can pay off, home repairs we can schedule, trips we can plan. I’m tingly thinking we may finally have an end in sight of all the financial stress of the last decade.
Twelve years ago I sank into a terrible depression, lost my job, and attempted suicide. The loss of income and medical bills forced us into bankruptcy. We’ve been digging ourselves out of the hole for so long, that I can’t even imagine what it looks like up there.
I have goosebumps – my skin feels electric as I allow myself to dream, and as I realize that I made this happen.
Quitting my job in December was so scary. Accepting a lower paying job at the end of January felt desperate. But if I hadn’t been willing to take this leap of faith, I’d be stuck in my old position and resentful every day. I decided it was time for a change and that I was strong enough, my marriage was strong enough, to get us through whatever unknowns lay ahead. And I was right.
While still employed last year, I filled out applications occasionally, spending a few hours a week on my job hunt. After I quit, I spent about 10 hours a day searching for positions, rewriting my resume and all those cover letters. I lost count to how many I actually applied to, and only heard back from a handful. I almost didn’t apply to my current position, not wanting the pay cut, but after 6 weeks of no pay, a little less pay was looking better than nothing. I was embarrassed by my new title, feeling it was beneath me, and although I knew it was honorable to support my family, it was strongly affecting my precarious self worth.
I took a chance on the cover letter, and specifically said that I would be willing to accept the posted rate if there was room for advancement, that I would be willing to start at the bottom and work my way up. My boss said that is why he called me first, that and my experience.
My new boss doesn’t care that I don’t have a business degree or master’s degree of any sort. He only cares about what I can do, and the value that I will bring to his company. I have more experience in education and specifically online education than he does. He loves my ideas and critical thinking. And he loves my blunt style of speaking up, making suggestions. I told him I won’t ruffle any feathers unless he wants me to, and then I am particularly talented in shaking things up.
So the plan is to keep training me about current procedures, have me take on a new role for a week or 2, then have me improve the process and create the training courses for someone else to take over while I move on to the next process. I LOVE this idea. I get to learn everything, see the details and the big picture, and I will have worked in every spot that I will later direct. I get to learn something new, teach it to others, and make life easier by simplifying and trimming hairy processes.
I am so ready to be amazing and get paid for it too.
Bring it on. I got this!



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Enforcing boundaries

Anyone lucky enough to have grown up in a healthy home, not an abusive one, has this beautiful gift (many beautiful gifts actually, but only writing about 1 today) of personal boundary knowledge.

Reaction of two people whose personal space ar...

Reaction of two people whose personal space are in conflict. See also http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:PerSpa1.png (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Up until a few years ago, I was not aware I had any boundaries. Growing up less than human removed my sense of self before I was ever able to establish one. I never knew I had the right to personal space as a child, there was no such thing. It wasn’t something I wished for either, because I never knew it could exist.

Both of my parents regularly violated my emotional and physical boundaries, it was my norm.

A few years ago I finally had enough knowledge, strength, and belief in myself to push away my still harmful parents. Yes, at age 35 they still had a hold on me. I am not ashamed of this, it is a simple fact. Several events came together to wake me up and release me from my delusional prison, way too many to list right now, from my earliest posts.

I realized quickly that I had to push away my AF completely. He had no remorse. He will never admit to being anything other than a perfect father, he says his only problem was he loved me too much. (did you just vomit a little? I did)

At the time, I also pushed away everyone from my family of origin, until I could sort out who was safe and who was not. My brothers respected the line and did not cross it. But my mom? At first she was outraged at the change. She was not able to step outside her bubble of perfection yet, her beautifully handcrafted world based on denial and lies. Every time I drew a line, she pushed it, and was often able to cross it. Until I built up enough strength to enforce my boundaries. The first time I kept her out, and me safe, was a huge victory. I was no longer helpless and powerless and it felt so good to get out from behind my protective fortress.

It took years, of her pushing, and me pushing back. It became an expected cha-cha, back and forth. Tiring? Yes, you bet. But worth it? Yes, unbelievably so. For something near miraculous happened. She stopped pushing. She let me take the lead and only came as close as she was invited. I didn’t answer every email or phone call. I stopped calling her so often. Weeks would slip by without her influence, and I started forming my own opinions, seeing the world with my own eyes. Once outside of her bubble, I allowed myself to be imperfect.

And then the miracle happened. At age 66, she popped her bubble. A series of events became undeniable, and brought out her mama bear instinct, and showed her she had a self as well. My AF had also removed her own sense of self, we were all hurt by him, wounds cut clear through our souls. You may recall the wedding from last October, the one with not one, but two pedophiles in attendance. Two pedophiles invited and warmly welcomed into the family celebration. Two pedophiles permitted access to dozens of cousins and nieces. I lost it that day. I could no longer play nice, and had an outward display of rage and loudly warned my brothers and mother of the harm of these men, and left the wedding. I said I could not control who they invited, but I could not be a part of it. I allowed my mother see my fear, my anger, and above all, she saw my pain.

For the first time, she saw my pain, and could not deny it. The magnitude was unbearable and changed her world. Why had I kept that hidden for so many years? Because I thought I had to. Because I didn’t know how to express it. Because everything was locked up deep in side of me.

Since that day, my mother has been changing. The lies have stopped. We have real conversations that include the ugly stuff, not all unicorns and rainbows. I still keep her at a safe distance, but I have noticed that her pushing is less like pushing these days, and more like polite requests.

I made a choice last month when I was in a severe PTSD crash of depression and suicidal, to let her know about it, after the worst had passed. At first she reacted badly and started calling and emailing constantly, and trying to get me to go back on meds.  I recognized that she wanted to help, not to control, and so I told her,

“I know you are trying to help, but my therapist and I don’t feel I need medicated at this time. The crisis has passed. If I weren’t coming up out of this, then yes I would seek out other measures. If you continue to push me like this I will have no choice but to push you away and keep you at a safe distance again.”

Her response did not come immediately. But I was overjoyed at her response, oh yes I was. She changed her tune, said she loved me, that she is there for me and asked if it was snowing. She backed off. She did not retaliate or manipulate. I dare say she understood. She had just slipped into bad habits for a bit there because she was fearful. I have to allow her to make mistakes, just as I now allow myself.

I felt powerful too. I know understand I have this power to enforce my own boundaries with everyone, all of the time. Relationships take 2 people, and the line is different with each person. I’m starting to understand this delicate social dance. Sure wish I learned all this as a teenager like so many do, but hey, I’m a firm believer of better late than never.

It is never too late to make a choice, make a change, and make it better.

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Nothing Feels Right

Feeling like Goldilocks, except I went to the wrong house, no baby bear here, and everything is too hot or too cold, or too hard or too soft. Nothing is just right.

I keep soul searching for reasons. Is this depression? Do I need meds? Am I sleeping? Is there a singular cause or many? Is there no cause at all? Is this a natural cycle of who I am? Are there extra stressors in my life? Why do I always come back to this? Is there something really wrong with me or is this just me and I need to accept it? Do I need to try harder to make changes or go with the flow here?

Are they irritating or am I irritable?

What do I want?

I want to withdraw completely from the world. I want everyone to leave me alone. I don’t want to make any decisions. I don’t want to listen to anyone. I don’t want to be in charge. of anything. Maybe I want a chance to be the child I never was. Will this always haunt me? Will I ever feel grown up?

I have found some relief through watching TV alone in my room. I turn out the lights and escape into the TV fantasy world. I am aware my kids are roaming the house and I respond if needed, but mostly they are fine this way. Better than fine actually, because I’m not asking them to do the daily chores. It takes too much energy and patience to monitor them these days.

I am still exercising 30-60 minutes daily. It is a habit now and something I look forward to. When that wii fit timer dances after 30 minutes, I feel proud of myself for doing something right.

I am still working every day, and didn’t even have that urge to call off work today like I did all of last week. I am grateful for that, grateful one part of my day does not require the inner battle of will.

Despite my best efforts to be grateful and think positive – I feel like a dark foul stench. And I don’t even care. I want to own this ugliness and accept it as part of me. Maybe it is time to look directly at it, sit in it, and get comfy instead of perpetually trying to squash it and battle and change my thoughts.

I am just so weary of doing the same things every day here. Once in a while I feel like Sisyphus and wonder what the point of my life actually could be. I am so sick of washing the same dishes, same laundry, same dust bunnies. I do not look forward to 50 more years of this.

I am so ashamed to admit how many of my thoughts lately actually wish for a terminal illness for myself. See, this isn’t quite the same as suicidal thoughts, but pretty close I guess. I would never take myself away from my family, I know now that I am loved and important to them. I will do everything in my power to give my children every chance at an amazing life. But, there remains a part of me that doesn’t want my own life. I have played out entire fantasies in my mind of me fighting cancer and dying as a brave hero, remembered as this amazing person my kids could be proud of. See I want out. I always want out. Even on the good days, even when I feel happy, loved, or joyful, there is always this part at the back of my thoughts that say it isn’t good enough, no point, too hard, too much pain, why am I here, why am I doomed to be alive? (sorry hubby, I know this hurts to read, but I realized I have been sugar coating my reality for you in this blog. I need this blog to be real, since it is the only place, here and therapy, that I am allowed to be me)

Sometimes I wish I had no children, less responsibility, maybe a trust fund and a house full of waitstaff to cook and clean and manage the tedious tasks. I would fill my time volunteering, traveling, and getting multiple PhDs, maybe giving speeches about my latest research.

Sometimes I wonder if we are born with this innate wish to survive and love life, that I do see in my own kids and even in hubby. Sometimes I wonder if my father took that away from me at so young an age that I simply can’t get it back. I can pretend for a while, but it always slips away. It just isn’t in me. My first suicide attempt I was in 5th grade. The age my daughter is now. I sure hope the thought has never crossed her mind.

Sometimes I wish I was born in a different era, where things were simpler and slower. where I didn’t have nosy neighbors. where my kids didn’t expect expensive electronics and classes and teams. Where I could get on my horse and ride as long as I wanted. (in my fantasy I don’t have a bad back and would be strong and pain free)

Sometimes I wish I had schizophrenia like my brother, so I could be left alone and no one would tell me to try this or that. Everyone accepts who he is and doesn’t try to heal him. They applaud him for his good days. They don’t pressure him to fit in. No one expects him to be social. I want out of my expectations to be ‘normal’. I want to stop trying to be normal for everyone and have them accept that I am not, without all of the guilt if I do excuse myself from a social situation.

Sometimes I think about my future with so much dread I actually cry. My pain is so high now, my energy is so low now, and I am still relatively young. How much will I endure when I am older? Can’t think about that too long, or hope slips away.

Sometimes I wish I was born an animal or an insect, or a flower. Free from these thoughts and just live the life I was meant to live without questioning it.

So I start my regimen of positive thinking, silencing those thoughts, finding something to enjoy or distract myself, enlist help from supportive people in my life, and keep going. I make plans to keep myself busy. I look around for ways to make changes in my environment, thinking it may help if I try something new. But those are only temporary bandaids, and always, I return to this dark place of wishing I could be released from my life. I have no plans to end it, being very clear on this, I am not in crisis. Some where I have this hope for things to be better, but I don’t always believe in it. Like I am waiting for it patiently, trying to make life better, not giving up, changing what I can. Being a good girl – always.

I’m so tired of explaining this to hubby and in laws over and over again. Tired of hiding it from everyone else. They want me to be ok, it is so easy to overlook my unspoken thoughts. And I’m tired of hurting people when I do speak them. I am full of hurtful thoughts, nearly constantly.

This is me. Nothing feels right, but I guess this is as good as it gets. I will try to be grateful and find moments of joy in what really feels like a Bill Murray Groundhog day life.  (so many people loved that movie – I hated it!) Because I do find moments of joy, and sometimes the happiness slips in to fill the void. I just never know if I should simply wait, or if I need to be actively changing and trying to get back to it.

Playing it Cool When Clueless

Survived a most dreadful interview.

Now I wait.

I hate waiting.

Really hate waiting.


First my interview was pushed back several times. The manager kept having other things come up all day and asking me to wait. I told her I ad to leave at 6pm, and she finally called me at 5:40 pm. She made it my decision to have the interview and be late to my non-profit volunteer board meeting, or to ask her to reschedule and go through this waiting again. I quickly decided to be late to my other meeting and keep her on the phone. (I work remotely, many states away from corporate office, so did not meet in person)

So, a little distressed at the waiting (I really hate waiting) all day, and then the interview was not what I expected and I was completely unprepared. The Manager that interviewed me knows me. We’ve worked together for years, so I was shocked when she turned into the Ice Queen for the interview. I was expecting a pleasant discussion, some give and take. But she gave me nothing.

And the questions, fired at me military style, were so vague and text book that each one caused me mental pain.


Manager: What are 3 words you would use to describe yourself?

Me: (Really? We’re starting with that? OK, I’ll play along) Intuitive – I  learn quickly and assess new situations to catch on to old processes while looking forward to future improvements too (Intolerant of pointless questions), Flexible – I can readily adapt my framework, schedule, and goals to meet the company’s bottom line or current priority, (brilliant, amazing . . .), Professional – I have a knack for diffusing difficult or tricky situations and making all involved feel satisified. (There. Can we move on to something real now?)

Manager: What 3 words do you think your current supervisor would use to describe you?

Me: (Another pointless question? Why are you doing this? Go and ask my supervisor) I think she would say I’m responsible, as she always says she gives me the tasks and she knows they will get done. Creative – She always comes to me for brainstorming solutions to current problems. Diplomatic – She tends to give me the difficult tasks and contracts that need handled with extra care.

Manager: Describe you current supervisor’s style of management.

Me: (No feedback? No discussion? Nothing for me to go on? Why aren’t we discussing current projects and goals like we did in last week’s meeting together, face to face? What do you want from me? How does any of this prove I can or can not do this job?) My current supervisor does a great job of knowing the strengths of everyone on her team, and delegating tasks to those she can trust with minimal followup. She keeps us focused on the current goals, but also helps us keep an eye on the future demands. She is professional yet approachable.

Manager: How would your supervisory style contrast to hers?

Me: (Wow, good one. Ask me to describe how I would do a job I have never done.) I have learned a great deal about management from my current supervisor and would likely use a similar style, however, I would add in a more personal/emotional component. When leading my smaller teams, I have been able to increase morale and build team efforts through regular check-ins, providing support, providing forums for discussion, and using positive metrics to show how goals are met.


This went on for an hour. I kept talking more and more to fill the dear air, and felt so uncomfortable and ready to hang up. She never said anything about what I said. Not even, “I see” or “Thanks”. Just stonily, icily stated each question and paused in between as she wrote her notes.

So now I wait for a call back for the second round of interviews.

And I really hate waiting.

Ending Emotional Abuse in Marriage – I need to be heard

Koala sleeping on a tree top

Nothing to do with my post, other than he's so cute and peaceful and I needed to smile (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

No more denial. No more excuses. We have an unhealthy marriage. There I said it. It’s not me, it’s not him – it’s us.

I finally spoke to husband about all the inner pain and turmoil I have. That I feel lost, scared and confused with him, not loved, cherished and understood. I asked him to leave for a while so we can work on our issues separately.

He said No. No he won’t leave.

And now he’s playing the sick, wounded puppy role, attaching himself silently by my side, saying he loves me each hour. But that’s it, no other communication, he says he doesn’t know what to say. The pattern is too clear to me now. I speak up, he professes his undying love, I learn to trust him again, and then get hurt again. It won’t work this time, I can see everything way too clearly now. I have been emotionally abused in this marriage since the start. And now he’s moving on to the kids, and I just can’t let it happen anymore.


He came home early from work and just sat silently next to me while I tried to work. I just wanted to kick him. Leave me alone. The stress is killing me. Then he finally says “I’m so sorry for hurting you, I never meant to, and I guess its been going on a long time?” But I don’t think he believes it. I think he thinks I am going through some sort of phase and he just has to hold on and put up with it. But I don’t know what he thinks, because he has never ever told me.

I gave him a letter I wrote to him last year and he never opened. I also gave him a new one I had just written, then went out to fly kites with the kids. He came out with us later, no reaction at all to me. We played nice during dinner, but I avoid his eyes, too afraid I will cry right then and there, and then he retired to his chair and fell asleep. I got kids in bed, tidied up, and thought we could talk now. “Are you really sleeping or can we talk?” “I’m sleeping” he said.

I watch a few mind-numbing TV shows, then go to bed. I whisper “good-night” as I head upstairs. He jumps up and follows me. We get into bed together, which is unusual anyway, he tends to sleep downstairs. I ask if he wants to say anything, he says no, just “I love you sweetie” and rolls over and starts snoring. I debate going downstairs, but don’t want to avoid him, or have my actions taken as hostile. But I could not fall asleep for forever, laying next to him, so confused.

Who reads a letter from their wife, saying I want a separation and will not be able to trust him until he has counseling or anger management, and has nothing to say? No tears, no anger, no emotional reaction at all. Did he even read it? Is he hiding from the truth and pretending? How do I reach him? How do I get him to talk to me? It would be so easy to fall back into routine, and play nice again. But I would be on guard for the next attack, and it surely will come as soon as he thinks he has won me back again. We’ve done this so many times before, the unhealthy patterns are quite predictable now that I look back over the years with new eyes. How did I get into this? I think I know now, but more importantly, I think I know how to get out – finally. Maybe not out of the marriage, but out these patterns. But maybe out of the marriage, too soon to say.

I will not continue in this twilight zone warped world. I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m leaving the twilight zone. And although this is difficult, I know it is right, because I feel so immensely relieved. Scared and sad, but mainly relief to not pretend all is ok.

And why am I blogging this for strangers? Because I have to talk to someone that will listen and have a reaction. Any reaction. I need to be heard.