He was angry at me for wanting the things I wanted. He was angry at himself for being a hypocrite. He was very angry. The way he viewed our relationship had changed, the way he viewed me had changed. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t sleeping with anyone else anymore, it didn’t matter that we had closed our experiment, his anger lingered.
We went to counselling together, then he went to counselling alone. I knew he was wrestling some wretched demons, I tried to give him the space he needed, but it was hard not to take it personally. Behind his anger was a lot of hurt, and fear of abandonment. He was afraid to let me close, and his defences were oh-so-effective. He wouldn’t let me in.
His distance was draining me of any hope that we could figure this out. I grasped any sign that he was warming up to me, and then became devastated each time he grew cold again. I waited for Spring, hoping he would thaw. Summer came and went, then Fall. He was there for me but it felt superficial, icy, like an obligation. I’ve come to learn how sensitive I am to intention.
He pushed and I retreated. We’d always valued “fearless communication” but now I couldn’t even say certain names without inciting rage or contempt. I felt rejected, unacceptable. It changed the way I shared myself with him.
I started being less forthcoming, biting my tongue more, censoring what I said in an effort to keep things smooth.
I threw myself into distractions; my social life, my blog, my work, connections with other people. I convinced myself that failing to mention something didn’t count as lying. I convinced myself that it wasn’t his business who I fell in love with, who I turned to for support, who I thought about when I was close to cumming. As long as I wasn’t physical with anyone else I wasn’t breaking rules, right? (The thing I’ve learned about rules is that if you’re arguing the semantics of bending them, they’re probably already broken.)
He was depressed and focused on his own healing and I was stuck in this pattern of acquiescing to his needs; don’t rock the boat, don’t make things worse, these old habits from my childhood reared their ever-enduring head. I became so sensitive to his anger that I could sense it before he even knew he was angry. I learned to read the way his mouth twitched, the way he exhaled, his posture as he walked in the door, my whole connection with him was reduced to thinly veiled attempts to keep the peace. But what peace could be found amidst our resentment and slowly-healing wounds?
We lived like this for far too long, retreating from each other while we navigated through our days; together but disconnected.
(Click here for part for part 1)
“Oh,” the girl said, shaking her head. “Don’t be so simple. People adore monsters. They fill their songs and stories with them. They define themselves in relation to them. You know what a monster is, young shade? Power. Power and choice. Monsters make choices. Monsters shape the world. Monsters force us to become stronger, smarter, better. They sift the weak from the strong and provide a forge for the steeling of souls. Even as we curse monsters, we admire them. Seek to become them, in some ways.” Her eyes became distant. “There are far, far worse things to be than a monster.”
-Jim Butcher, Ghost Story
PTSD Counselling 13
My therapist and I both agree I’m ready to reduce my sessions to every 2 weeks. My panic attacks are less often and less intense. The fear is still with me but it feels less oppressive.
This week we spent half of the session talking about bdsm and my blog and a new project I’m working on, we were laughing a lot. My trauma wasn’t taking up all of the space anymore, there was room in my session to talk about other things. It felt really good.
I’m realising as I recover that this has changed me. Truly changed me. Shaken me to my very core. And I’m not angry about that anymore.