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Friday, September 24, 2010


I feel like I need to clarify my last post.

I appreciate eveyone's feedback.  It helps to see how others see it.  It's so easy to be too close to the situation to see it for what it is.  It also helps me see where I wasn't clear in my writing.

Since it's my life, and has been a part of it for so long, I sometimes don't see how bad it is.  Or take it really seriously.  When others comment it helps me see it differently.  As I write my story, I honestly can't tell if the things that bother me are normal and I should just shut up and deal with it or if they really need to be addressed.  That's part of why I write and why I tell my story.

But apparently something was unclear.  I was unclear about the fear.

I apologize to my husband for not writing again for so long.  I left things hanging.  As far as anyone knew he was still not taking responsibility and things were still horrible at home.  This isn't the case.  I got sick and have not been up to writing and finishing the story.

The day I wrote that post, he and I talked about it.  He didn't remember pushing anyone (and this wasn't a shove, it was a push out of the way; still shouldn't happen, but it's a degree thing).  Once I started telling him how it affected me and what happened he started to see it.  That's part of rage.  As I understand it, from what I've studied, rage is a whole different level to anger.  The thought processes bypass certain areas of the brain, the logic center.  That's why there is no reasoning.  That's why there is no memory.  My husband is a lousy liar; I know when he's telling the truth.  I see his face when I tell him what happened.  I watch the change happen as he goes from no memory to that-sounds-familiar as I describe it.  He believes that it happened.  He knows he did it.  He just doesn't remember doing it.

Things are not like they were for so many years.  If they were, I know enough now to leave.  I am strong enough now to leave.  I have enough support now to leave.  But why would I leave now?

He has worked so hard to improve.  He has taken full accountability.  He has had lots of therapy.  He takes medication.  He is willing to admit his shortcomings and try to see how it affects others.  He knows now that he sees the world differently and is willing to ask others if his behavior is okay, if his stand on something is out of the norm.

I love him.  The children love him.  Right now we would rather have him whenever we can (when he's not retreating from the family and hiding out in his room).  We know there are bad times, but comparison matters.  It's important to see where he came from and where he is now.  I'm not going to cut and run because he slipped up and made a mistake.  I make mistakes, too, and he gives me another chance.

There are limits.  He knows that.  There are absolutes that he cannot cross or we're through (to be addressed in a future post).  It took me a long time and a lot of therapy to get to this point.  The point where I am willing to say that the kids and I are worth sacrificing the marriage if it has to be that way.  I am there now.  And he knows it.

But I wanted to address the fear.  I talked about being afraid.  And I was.  But it wasn't current fear.  It was leftover fear.

PTSD is an interesting thing.  Emotions and memories come flooding back when something is similar to a traumatic event from the past.  It's especially difficult if during the initial trauma you attempted to suppress or ignore those feelings.  If you don't feel them during the event, you will eventually feel them -- when it's safe.  So that's the point.  The fact that I felt the fear intensely is important.  It means that in the here and now I felt safer than I did in the past.  Safe enough to acknowledge that I was so afraid.  Safe enough to keep my distance and tell him I felt threatened by him.  Safe enough to protect myself and draw my own boundaries.  Safe enough to begin to process the events from the past and start to heal from them.

Because in the past I didn't.  I ignored it and waited for it to pass.  I avoided the confrontation.  I asked that things change instead of demanding it.  I tried to make things better because I thought it might be my fault.

Not this time.

I took responsibility only for my part of the problem, which was small.  I refused to take responsibility for his portion or to excuse it.  I held him accountable for it.  And once he understood, he took responsibility.

It's a growth process.  The change doesn't happen overnight.  It doesn't even happen in a few months.  It takes lots and lots of time, and there will be mistakes along the way.  But as long as we are both still working, still making progress, I'm staying.  Because I want to.


Dawnelle said...

I read Bill's comment to your last post and was deeply touched at his support. When two people feel something's worth fighting for there is no other better choice than to stay and work it out. :) ♥

Kimberly said...

That was beautiful. Truly. We can't fix people who are broken, but maybe two broken people, through love, can help each other fix themselves? So much hope in this post.

Day said...

I think it would be really cool if your husband wrote a blog. It sounds like he tries hard to be supportive/take responsibility, and it would be nice to hear more from that perspective.

At one point I dated a fellow who had tons of red-flag behaviors, but he knew when I met him that he was in the middle of a serious process of change. He was willing to openly discuss the things that worried me. It didn't work out, but he's continued to grow and get better at life in since we broke up, I think very, very highly of him. I wish there were more examples like that.

Day said...

Also. .. that process, between you holding him accountable, and him taking responsibility, seems really interesting. And important.

Hope Despite Depression said...

Wow - that's all I can think of to say. Do you even realize how strong of a person you are? To go through all that you have been through in your life (I read through your posts so I could fully understand your story) and still have such strength and courage?

I was physically abused all throughout my childhood and at times it pisses me off that I don't have any happy childhood memories, but then I remind myself that those times are over...

For you... to have to deal with being sexually abused - I can not even imagine. My cousin (who is like a sister to me) was sexually abused throughout her childhood too - and I've supported her (which included a confrontation with her father years later - (I was so pissed and disgusted with him I didn't care if my actions got me arrested) - we showed up at his work... the cops came (we didn't do much really and the cops were more sympathetic to my cousin actually).... but that's a long story....

My point in sharing this is that I too agree when you say that you can't grasp how others have grown up without being abused in any way. To me, it's all I know - it's all I've seen we me, and my cousin.... and as a result deal with PTSD.

I know I'm babbling here - I tend to do that so please forgive me...

I just wanted to say how much I admire you and your strength - you may not feel like you're strong - but the fact that you have a family - not to mention a husband with his own issues - and you can deal with all of this (in what sounds like a very positive way) is an inspiration.

I want to express so much more but the words just aren't coming to me....

Stay strong and be proud of yourself!


Dr DyAnn said...

Your last paragraph says it all... lovingly, beautifully and powerfully!Besides, who ever heard of progress without mistakes?
I have a feeling the cycle of abuse that has been going on for generations will end and NOT be passed along to your children. How great is that!?

Mel ~ said...

WOW! You are a remarkable woman and the awareness and insight you posess is awe inspiring. I fight to find the words, I struggle to feel, but I am still here (in my marriage) as well. Things are ok, but my PTSD and my self are... stunted?

I can't wait to read more of your blog, from the beginning. :)