I think it's safe to say I still have some unresolved issues with my husband. If there was any doubt before, it was all cleared up over the last few days.
I've said before that things aren't the way they used to be. And for the most part that's completely true. But every once in a while we have what I could only call a relapse.
We had one this past weekend.
Emotions and tensions were building. Why? I'm not sure. A multitude of things probably.
And Sunday night it fell apart.
The spark that started the fire doesn't matter. It was a stupid thing. But soon it was raging out of control.
He yelled. I yelled in defense. We went our separate ways. He wouldn't let it go. He came back again and again with the fight. He dragged the kids into it. He treated me with disdain. He mocked me. He contradicted my parenting choices with the kids. He blew off commitments. Everything in his approach with me that night said, "Screw you. You're worthless anyway."
The children cried and/or got upset. One left the house to avoid listening to the fight. Another asked if we were getting divorced. It rocked their foundation.
I think he forgot to take his pill that morning. I can't confirm this, but from the way he'd been acting all day it seems pretty evident. The kids even noticed. One of them asked me why he was picking fights. I had no answer.
Now, the pill was originally prescribed for his OCD. I don't know how much it helps with that. He says that it helps with the obsessive thoughts.
What I do know is that it helps with the anger. When things got really ugly a while back and we were talking divorce, the medication was one of my bottom lines. He can only stay if he remains on the medication. He is a different person on the medication.
Sunday night he was the other person. The angry person. The person that hates me and sees me as the enemy. The person who radiates hatred and a desire to destroy. The person who is looking for war. For blood.
No, he didn't hit anyone. He did push someone. That was not okay. I addressed it in the moment. He probably doesn't even remember it. He often doesn't remember his actions when his rage is flowing like this.
As ugly as it was, and it was so ugly, I also gained some important insight.
The next day he felt fine and thought it was all better. This is typical. He feels better so in his mind it's over and resolved. No talking about what happened, what went wrong. How to prevent it happening again. No acceptance of his misbehavior. It's just over.
And in the past that was often enough for me. I was just glad the hatred was gone. I was just glad the fire was out. I could bandage my own wounds. I could move on.
This time it wasn't enough. Lines had been crossed, important boundaries. I no longer felt safe in my home.
But I didn't initially see it. For the first day or two I was edgy. I was still upset with him. Any contact from him sent my anxiety through the roof. When he got home from work and was near me or talked to me, I wanted to back away. I wanted to hide. I was afraid.
It was Tuesday or Wednesday that I realized he had triggered a PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) episode in me.
The fear. The holding my breath. The claustrophobia. The need to run and hide. The crying at almost nothing. The avoidance. The defensiveness. The snapping. The tension in my body. The explosion in my headache. The extreme sensitivity to touch. The desire to climb out of my own skin. The desire to curl in on myself. All of these things were a PTSD response.
And that's important for me to understand. It will help me figure out where the triggers are.
I don't know yet. I believe this triggered something from our past, earlier in our marriage. But it's possible that it was something from before, from when I was a child. I just don't know yet.
I've calmed down some. I've done a little work on it, although not much. It's scary work to do.
I told him what was going on.
But I still feel threatened when he is near. I still can't relax when he's home. There is still work to do.