Two weeks away from trauma therapy has given me some time to process and sort through some of the changes that are happening as a result of the work I’ve been doing. I’ve had nightmares and spent one afternoon dissociating.
I don’t feel great. I don’t even feel good. I thought a break would be a rest from the work but I
I’ve felt a lot of nothing. Like everything I experience in the EMDR sessions took all the energy I have for feeling. I don’t know what to do with that or even if I need to do anything. Is this part of the processing? Feeling spent?
Strangely, my time off from trauma therapy coincided with our marriage therapist leaving town for two weeks. I feel like I’ve tried reaching across the void to connect with my husband. Not super hard, I admit, but as I felt able to and even that effort had to be extremely motivated by fear that if we don’t start finding ways to connect, doing the work outside of our therapist’s office, then our relationship will continue to degrade.
In that time he hasn’t once asked me to do anything with him. I shared my most recent blog post with him and after he read it I told him I’d be available to talk or listen or answer questions. I’d rather not talk about it but I was willing to do so because I think maybe letting him into that process would be helpful for both of us and for our relationship. He never said another word about it. I asked him if he’d be willing to get up at 11 one morning so we could spend an hour hanging out before he went to work. He was willing to do it but when the time came he got up and told me he’d sit and listen to me talk but he wasn’t feeling up to saying anything.
I’m starting to think our disconnection is not something only I’m responsible for. I’m wondering if he’s depressed or just not feeling up to doing the work it’s going to take for us to get closer. I realize that I’m like a ghost a lot of the time and when I am available I’m giving the kids what they need. I’m so deep in my own work that I don’t feel I can touch another person fully, especially not him because he’s one of the few people who could really see the depth of the pain I’ve been wading through. It’s not ideal but I can’t seem to help being where I’m at right now. I plunged into the work and one of the consequences of that is feeling really isolated and not wanting to reach out to anyone. I’m not calling my friends for support either. My therapist is the only witness I have of the work I’m doing and I honestly don’t want anyone else to see it. It feels too raw. If I’m seen as I really am then I have to admit to myself how the abuse devastated every part of me and my life. I’d have to admit how it’s affected our children and my ability to be in relationship. I’d have to see the devastation when I’m not in the safety of my therapist’s office. Even writing this right now feels terrifying. Feelings of sadness, terror, anger…PAIN are rising and I don’t want to feel those things when I can’t process them within the containment of the work. I knew the abuse was bad. I knew it fucked me up. Now I’m realizing I don’t know how I survived. The abuse was horrifying beyond anything words can express. I’ve always thought I had a firm grasp on how pervasive and destructive the effects of it were/are. I was so wrong. It’s so much worse than I could have recognized without giving up and ending my life with a bottle of pills. I can look at it now without wanting to die but only very briefly and only within the bookends of EMDR. When I’m in session I feel like I’m under hypnosis. My therapist can tell me I’m safe and I believe her. Before I walk out of her office I lock up all the terror so I can get through my life for another week before going back and putting it all back under a light. It’s so big that I’ve begun to wonder if I’ll ever really get through it. Can I ever be a healthy person? Can I trust or love deeply or have sex again? I wonder if the answer to all those questions might be a big fat NO.
So there’s me. I don’t feel much shame for not being able to connect as I make my way through the darkness of this work. It makes sense to me that I don’t have the energy and don’t want to be close to anyone else. But where’s my husband? I’ve told him I would make an effort to include him in this process somehow. And I really would sit down with him and open up about it all, even though I’d rather not. I would do it because I love him and I know connection is important. I would do it because I think maybe it might be healing for me and for us. I can’t help but wonder what he’s thinking and feeling about our relationship. Maybe his distance has little or nothing to do with me. Or maybe the disconnection has gone on too long and he’s giving up.
He seemed even more distant than usual yesterday. Didn’t get out of bed until after 1pm and said very little to me during the day. Today was the same except that when I asked him how he was doing, really doing, he said “good and bad”. When I let him know that I’m available if he wants to talk or needs support his response was “nah, we have therapy tomorrow”. I felt so angry in response to his distance that I wanted to storm out of the house and go anywhere away from that chasm I feel when he’s around and we’re not connecting. Instead, I did the things I needed to do. When I get home I’m going to do my best to help the boys get ready for bed, clean up and go to sleep.