Warning:

This blog could potentially contain triggers. Please make sure you are emotionally safe before continuing.

Monday, February 27, 2012

A Cry in the Dark

As far as I can tell, people find this blog most often through a Google search (or Yahoo, whatever).  And the most common phrase that brings them here is "my husband is mean" or some variation on that theme.  They are directed to my post My Husband is Mean to Me and the Kids.  I am so saddened by how many women are searching with that phrase.

Sometimes they write to me.  They tell me their stories.  They are heartbreaking.  These women are so lost and alone.  And scared.

Most of them comment anonymously. 

I understand.  It's a scary thing to admit that your husband is sometimes a monster.  It's hard to admit to yourself.  And maybe they worry that he will somehow find out that they've told someone else and it will invite danger.

But because they are anonymous, I can't respond.  And that breaks my heart.  I write this post to them.

I want to reach out.  I want to tell you I heard your pain.  I feel it.  It's real.  I want to tell you that you aren't crazy.  I want to tell you that I'm so sorry he hurt you.  That marriage isn't supposed to be like that.  That you deserve better.

I want to invite you to keep talking to me.  I want to tell you that I am a safe person to talk to.  I will listen.  I will hurt with you.  I will not betray you.  Everyone needs someone to talk to.  You aren't alone; I want to tell you that.

I want to offer support and validation.  Or just a listening heart.  When you reach out to me, I want to reach back.  I want you to know that you are heard.  That you matter.  That your pain matters.

Some of you may never feel safe enough to let me know who you are -- and that's okay.  Hopefully, you will read this and know that I carry your story with me.  Thank you for sharing it in whatever way you could.  May you find moments of peace to carry you through until you find the strength and support to find change.  Thank you for sharing your pain.

If you think you don't have any options, please read What are My Options When My Husband is Mean?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Therapeutic Assignment

So it's safe to say yesterday's session led to a rather massive meltdown, on a visceral level.

Through a wierd twist of fate, I was able to take advantage of a cancellation and get back in today.  Yeah, that was a good thing.  No more processing today.  Today was all about what happened yesterday and last night and preparing for more of the same (because this work will bring more emotional pain) by building some more/better coping mechanisms into my life.

One thing he wants me to do is connect with other people to have them help me through those dark moments.  I explained that it's tough to do at 2:00am.  He asked me to try to find a way.  I have a few friends on facebook that are night owls, so I am going to connect with them and just ask if they will stay available on chat when they are up late.  Then I need to make sure I stay logged into chat and take advantage of it.  He would like me to practice whenever I'm up late when I'm not in crisis.  That way, I'm more likely to take advantage of it when I am in crisis.  If anyone out there reading this would like to be my friend on facebook, who might be willing to help sometimes, let me know (send me an email or a facebook request -- Robin Reed Grosland).  I'm not asking anyone to stay up waiting for me to need help.  But the more people I have on call the more likely I'll find someone when I need them.

My other assignment is to come up with some more visceral coping strategies.  I have several logical/intellectual ones, but when I melt down I am not in the thinking part of my brain.  I need something that works when I bypass that part of my brain and am just looking for pain.  Basically, I need to find non-destructive ways to hurt myself.  That doesn't sound quite right, but that's what it is.  Deep tissue massage that hurts.  Exercise to the point of pain but not injury.  Going outside in the cold without a coat on to really feel the cold but not to the point of freezing.  So I am to find ways to address my need for physical pain in those moments that isn't damaging.  Suggestions are welcome.

I am in a better place, although I'm still fragile.  I have made some connections for support.  And we're going to take things a little slower in therapy.

On the bright side of the dark side, he says that all the emotional pain and the fact that I self-injured indicate we are on the right track.  We are not working on a decoy.  He's proud of the fact that I didn't hurt myself worse, even though I spent a lot of time pondering doing so.  And he's proud of me for telling him that I injured myself instead of hiding it.

I'd say I'm out of the cold, dark water but still shivering on the shore.  Luckily, there are people trying to warm me up and keep me safe.

Little Girl Lost

I started.  I'm telling.  I'm talking.

I knew it would be hard.  I didn't think it would be this hard.  It's as hard as my first day of therapy several years ago.  And it hurts as much as anything I've ever done.

I'm scared.  I'm violating the rules.  If I am caught I'll be in trouble.  It will get so ugly.  I will be punished.

And I'm so sad.  It hurts so much.

I scratched today for the first time in a very long time.  Not much, and it only left a few tiny lines, but I did it.  I wish I'd been better prepared for that temptation.

Why did I do it?  It wasn't to punish myself, as it has sometimes been in the past.  It wasn't to feel because I was numb.  It was to change what I was feeling.

It was my lifesaver.  I was drowning in an ocean of emotions, so many that I couldn't name them all.  Choking on them.  Scratching kept my head above water.

I can't seem to turn it off.  I was okay during the day while I was busy, while I was with my family.  Then everyone went to bed and the house got quiet.

That's always when the ghosts rattle their chains, isn't it?

Memories.  Emotions.  Images.  Monsters.  Skeletons.  And lots of dark water.  All threatening to devour me.  Chasing me.  Breathing down my neck like fire.

A little girl.  Lost and alone.  Trying to force herself out from behind the safety of the shield.  Trying to lift that big, heavy sword.  Knowing that she, alone, can slay the dragon.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Cancellation

My therapist had a cancellation so instead of seeing him in a month I am seeing him tomorrow.  I'll admit it's got me a bit anxious.  It's nice to be able to prepare myself emotionally for therapy.  But I guess I'm going, ready or not.

Positive thoughts in my behalf would be appreciated.

Monday, February 6, 2012

My Father's Hands

I'm going back to therapy.

Through a strange twist of events, I was able to meet with my therapist very quickly a month ago.  I updated him, we discussed those things in my life that he could help me with, and we chose a plan of attack.

Then I set appointments.  I couldn't get scheduled for sooner than March.  That seems like forever.  And way too soon.

You see, we're going to talk about my dad.

I went to therapy off and on for a couple of years a while back.  I attended a support group for a year or two.  I did lots of therapeutic writing to process some of the dark things in my life.  My attention to my relationship with my father has been lacking.  I have touched on it, but not really done much work.

Even though I feel like it's the source of so many difficulties.  Maybe all of them.

I have stayed away.  I have stayed mostly silent.

I knew I had other work to do so I always steered therapy that direction.  I avoided discussion about my dad whenever I could.

Why?

Because I am afraid.  I don't understand.  I feel so small and helpless when I think about my dad.  I worry that I'll get caught.  I worry that I'll get in trouble.  I worry that he will know, that he will find out.

I'm forty-two years old.  I'm still afraid of my father.  And I don't really understand why.

My memories are so inaccessible.  So foggy.  So vague.

And when I think of them, of my dad when I was little, all I feel is fear and sadness.

I am sad because I never had a daddy.  He didn't like me.  I was in the way.  I was trouble.  I was a disappointment.  I needed to be invisible to be safe.  I was a thing.  An annoyance.  A money suck.

As I have waited for my appointment I have tried to avoid preparing for the work.  I have tried not to think about it.  It causes such intense anxiety that the rest of my life becomes difficult.  I cry and shake and collapse.  I curl up in an attempt to hide.  To protect myself.  To be little and unseen.

But my mind started working anyway.

I still don't have many memories.  But my fear has found a focus.

I am afraid of his hands.  They are big and strong.  They hurt.  They are so strong.  They hold me in place.  They are in control.  They don't care about me.  I am a possession.  I am to be what he wants me to be.

When we are out together in public, I am never allowed to stray.  I must stay right by his side.  He grabs me by the shoulder or the back of the neck.  He holds me this way as he talks to people. 

I don't move.  I don't squirm.  I don't wiggle.  I am still.

I smile and say my lines, what I think he wants me to say.  Anything that will make him look good.  Anything that will make him let go of me.

But he doesn't let go.  Because I am bad.  I will misbehave.  I must be kept under control.

So I just do what he wants.

Don't worry, dad.  I learned my lesson well.  I do what I'm told.

Thanks a lot for that.  You set me up for a lifetime of abuse.  Boys and men telling me what to do and me obeying.  Because that's how to stay safe.  That's how to be loved.  Just do what you're told.