Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Am I really one of them?

I'm going to begin this post by saying I'm not sure if I'm going to post it or not. I have lots of stuff swirling around in my mind... and I'm thinking that maybe writing it out will help - in the cathartic way writing things out does help & also to just get it out, look at it, & think about it.

So. Ok. The other night I had another PTSD experience. J was over, something happened that was really pretty minor... I got through it - or so I thought - and fell asleep. Then woke up at about 3:00 am, remembered what happened & then started almost hyperventilating and then just... well... sobbing. It was strange. I mean, when I cry now it's not like this. Not this sobsobsobbing. You know, pass me the tissue box sobbing.

And I'm pretty sure I know what it was from. What happened with J reminded me about something that used to happen with X. Stuff that wasn't very nice. Stuff that I can't even bring myself to write about here - because to write it out would really be the final step - to really really talk about what an absolute bastard he was. Mean stuff. Stuff that just makes you feel really really small.

So while I knew that this is what happened with X & that it would never ever ever happen with J - I got scared. Scared that maybe it would. And I was sad. So, so sad. So sad that I had been in that situation. That these things happened to me. That I did not extricate myself from it. That I allowed it to continue. That I did not even say anything to X - just took it and tried to rationalize it away. (He's stressed, He's depressed, Things will be better once X, Y or Z happens....)

J woke up, comforted me and we talked about it. (You know, I don't think X ever comforted me. I don't think he knew how. He used to say that women used crying as a form of manipulation.) I told J about what I can't bring myself to write here. But it's good that I *can* talk about it with him. Very good.

The feelings were so strong that night -- that I even had a sort of hang over from them the next day. My brain was fuzz. It was overwhelming. The convergence of the past with the present & coming to terms with all of it.

So today I went to my shrink. And she was like.... 'Well, that's pretty normal.... you really went through a lot, etc. etc. etc... emotional abuse, blah, blah, blah." And while I might have tossed that term around when thinking/talking about my relationship with X -- it was just a term to be tossed. I never really thought about it. Emotional Abuse.

Shrink asked if I had ever talked to anybody about the things that happened with X - when it was happening, and I realized that I didn't. I wasn't seeing a therapist then... and honestly -- how many people can you tell that your husband says things like: "Well, I don't want to go to that pizza store tonight - the girl who works there is cute & I'm ashamed to be seen with you -- looking like that...."?

Uh huh. He did. And no, I didn't slug him, or yell at him, or anything. I just kind of went quiet. Telling myself: "It's not true. You know it's not true. It's just his "stuff" that he's working out... and once he works it out it will be better -- you just have to get through this... being married means you deal with the good and the bad" And, when things got worse I'd always think: "Ok, you're married - if somebody is physically ill you wouldn't leave them -- so do you leave if somebody is mentally ill? Aren't *I* the one who is suppposed to stick with him? Who else will, and isn't this what it's all about?"

Butcha know - you can't live in an environment like that & not have it impact you. And that's what is happening now. What I supressed before. What I didn't talk about before. What I kept in before, feeling like that was being strong -handling it. Is now coming out because I really am strong - and able to talk about it. Deal with it. It is making its way out now. I guess feelings are like water... they seek their own level & will just kinda worm their way through...

I asked the shrink if it will ever stop & she said the more I talk about it, the more it will dissipate... and go away.

But also, what I've been thinking about is the whole "Emotional Abuse" label. You don't like to think of yourself as "one of those." Or, ok - maybe I don't. I don't like to think of myself as an "abused woman." I'm tough - I talk back. I'm from a close family; a psychologically helathy family (whatever that means, but relative to others... yes!). I know what's what, I know the proper way for a woman to be treated... I was in social work school, for crying out loud! A social worker!

But... errr... the way I was treated was no way for anybody to be treated. And if you think of how I never would tell anybody what he said - or did (and no - he was never ever physical although he did fly into rages... and there was always the threat of violence... he never did.), and his father abused his mother.... (and that's really something that does pass from father to son).

It's such a strange, strange feeling to... I guess acknowlege this. Can I really label myself an "abused woman?" (And for some reason I keep hearing that Senator @ the Anita Hill Hearings: "Are you a scorned woman, Ms. Hill?") I could be one of those commercials: "YES - it DOES happen here!"

But, you know, on the flip side - my shrink constantly marvels about J. The fact that I am not repeating the pattern - and how I am with somebody who is pretty much the polar opposite of X. It's almost to the point that she just doesn't get it. These things don't happen! There are RULES to be followed!

Good to know, though, that I'm in the right place now.


Loz said...

Any form of abuse is wrong and there are times when you don't even know it's happening until years later when perspective reveals the truth to you. Talking helps, writing a journal helps even if you don't publish it for all to see on your blog.

G4 said...

I'm coming from a completely different place, thankfully, but I sure do understand being uncomfortable with a label. Thinking "but I'm not one of those people. Don't pity me, I'm not a victim."

I think the trick is to find a way to expand the label, to redefine it so that it includes you. Yes, you're a victim of abuse; you're a victim who woke up, escaped the situation and the cycle, and found something better. Victim triumphant.

Just my opinion.