Caught Off Guard

Sal: Make sure you get enough sleep and drink lots of water. The emotional implications of this may catch you off guard.

Me, in my head: ‘ya, ya, I’ve been through a lot. This is nothing. I feel great!’

Sal warned me, I just didn’t expect the amount of emotion that was coming my way. I had to work later than I wanted to last night, until well after midnight. I then had trouble falling asleep. As I kept drifting off, I was dreaming of that girl from the barren wasteland. At one point it was me and her, sitting on this stone in a secluded area, with a couple toddler mes and a baby me playing outside on the grass. 

And my teenage self looked at me and says “they needed some fresh air”

And I say “thank you for giving it to them.” 

And that’s it. 

I woke up this morning after not enough sleep so full of emotion that was close to the surface. My husband is still angry with me from the behaviour I exhibited just over a week ago, and has not felt like touching. I get this, and I don’t think he is doing anything wrong. If I didn’t feel like being touched I wouldn’t want him forcing it on me. But this morning I asked him for a kiss goodbye, or some sort of contact at all and he said ‘no, I’m not ready yet’ and I deteriorated into this mess.

And by mess I mean emotions everywhere. Sobbing on the floor of the bedroom, in the fetal position, unable to form coherent sentences. It was this sense of being denied comfort, it was this life or death feeling of not being heard. It was WAY out of proportion for what had happened but Sal had unearthed that longing and sense of loss and my husband managed to tap it right on the head with his “no” to contact this morning. 

I could not convince myself to go to work. Dave, my boss and good friend, ended up convincing me I would feel better in the office and I shouldn’t be alone, so I took an Ativan (the first time I’ve ever used one during the day) and got through my work day.

Now I’m at home making quinoa and salmon, alone while my husband is at our sports game (that I captain, but I just could not go tonight – plus I can’t play). 

I’m finally taking some time and taking some breaths. I still feel like those emotions are much closer to the surface than before seeing Sal and I definitely better understand the need for space between sessions of cranio. 

I will listen more closely next time. 

I’m also curious if this will last until I see A on Thursday. I am hopeful it does, honestly. I’ve come in contact with some very real and very raw emotions around longing and loss, about self sabotaging, and about my preoccupation with receiving male comfort, as if it could fill that need gap. I also have this desire to just be held. 

It’s going to be an interesting week. 

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7 thoughts on “Caught Off Guard

  1. I’m so glad you’re sharing this in such detail so we can follow the process through. I’m continually surprised in my own work at the intensity of the reactions that come up when working with anything other than just talk. I think we can build barriers with words that protect us from thoughts and feelings, and when you don’t have those to cushion the rawness of those it can be very confronting. I’m glad you have Sal who clearly seems to understand what she is doing, I think that makes an enormous difference in being able to tolerate and accept working with such painful stuff. Is it part of CST to discuss your reactions much with her, or is that mainly something that you’ll do with A?

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  2. PD, I have some thoughts here and I’m not sure if they are appropriate but feel very compelled to share my perspective. I am so sorry if this hurts you or angers you in any way. My intention is just to offer a different perspective to chew on. So, my initial reaction to your husband’s refusal to touch or offer comfort or support when you asked was very emotional and defensive for you and my thought was that this is emotional abuse. A characteristic of this type of abuse is withholding affection to the detriment or punishment of another (silent treatment, no touch, etc…) Now I realize this may not be a common occurrence, but maybe it is when he gets angry? It’s been over a week since you made your choices. Two days later…ok, maybe. But over a week? This feels like intentional punishment. That is not a picture of unconditional love or respect in good times or bad. Also, if your husband is fully aware that you have the trauma markers you do and have been neglected and denied as much as you have, there should be an awareness on his part that this would be revictimizing you. Maybe you don’t even see how that could be? I don’t know. That emotion just hit me very hard in the gut when I read this. Maybe I’m defending myself right now through this. The thought of you curled up in a ball sobbing just broke my heart because I know how that feels. This might be something to talk to A about and then your husband. You don’t deserve this. I realize your behavior was irrational in that moment. And his frustration is real, but it doesn’t warrant deprivation of the commitment he made of his unconditional love or to have compassion or empathy towards you. Your description sounded more like bitterness. I think when we are mistreated over a lifetime, it is hard to see a pattern of mistreatment again in our adult lives because it was always our “normal.” I just don’t want you to think you deserved that or that his response is normal. It was uncaring and unloving from my perspective. Especially if he witnessed your reaction and still did not comfort you….which you didn’t disclose one way or the other. I’m so sorry you felt this way in that moment. That must have felt so unbelievably lonely. Be careful not to blame the therapy you are trying for things that the people in your life are actually responsible for. It’s not always you or your healing process that’s at fault. It can be the opposite. I care for you. You have helped me a lot with your sharing of your experiences and I so appreciate you and your willingness to be so vulnerable. I hope I haven’t hurt you with this.

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    • First, I want you to know I appreciate you looking out for my well being.

      Second, I want you to know that I don’t think you’re wrong or anything for writing what you have and I appreciate you efforts to look out for me.

      Third, I think it’s important to clarify that my husband and I have a relationship that goes back a decade, and for the first five years of that relationship I lied to him. About everything, and anything. And he has forgiven me, and doesn’t hold it over my head, but it is a sore spot. So when he is mad about something a week or two later (plus the other fights I didn’t write about here) it’s justified.

      Finally, as much as I appreciate where you are coming from you didn’t see him come home from work yesterday and wrap me in his arms, and ask how he can help, and ask me to communicate better. You didn’t hear our conversation about how I actually found it helpful for him to walk away so I could figure out how to ground myself back into the present. You also don’t know that when I was basically harassing him for a kiss he was halfway out the door and late for work.

      He has spent many late nights up with me, many days in the hospital, and many many nights holding me as I cry. So while I can appreciate where you’re coming from when it is the situation only as I’ve written here (and again, I appreciate you looking out for me), it is only a part of the story.

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      • This is the exact reason why my hesitation to even respond in this way was so great…I knew there could be more to the circumstances and parts to this story. While I’m so sorry this may have sounded like an attack on your husband, I’m kind of glad I still put it out there. I think there are so many people who legitimately experience abusive relationships and genuinely just don’t know until someone points it out to them. Sometimes, those doing the abusive actions don’t even know that their behavior is text book abuse and can and will immediately stop as soon as they realize what they are doing. I never thought in my gut your husband is an abuser, I really didn’t, but there was just this place in me that felt so much compassion for you in that moment of reading this part of the story that I could not risk the very small chance that you might have needed someone to voice that for you.

        I have felt such a draw towards you and your story ever since I found myself reading it. So much so, that I have gone back and I am reading your blog from the very beginning to absorb your journey in it’s entirety as you have shared it. I have so many similar experiences that I plan to share with you after I finish reading each entry in it’s entirety and in order and can share from having that knowledge. But I really want to read everything before I do so I have the full perspective. I’m about half way through now.

        I get that there is always history in relationships. While the circumstances are different (and some are actually very much the same), I too have had a very difficult childhood and also used to lie to my husband about anything and everything before we were married. I confessed everything to him before we were married when I realized our relationship could take that path and I wanted it to. So I know the guilt and shame that might come up around that and the feelings of him being justified on his part to treat me a certain way when he does. It doesn’t always make it right, but you are right, it is a factor. I was relieved and thankful when you described what your husband did do when he came home and what he has done for you in the past and I was so hoping I was wrong and this was the case instead. Praise God for his love in those moments and for the lessons you reaped from this experience.

        I am so intrigued by this emotional process that has surfaced for you through your first experience with cranio. My greatest need is to find some of my emotions. So I will be waiting anxiously to read your experiences and how you are processing all of it. You have such a strong sense and awareness of yourself even when you waver and experience and try new things. You have an amazing ability to put words to things I experience and struggle for long periods of time with and that just helps me understand myself in moments that I previously couldn’t. I think that is what I appreciate so much about you.

        I also want to point out that your response to me was amazing. It was kind and loving, firm in your defense of your husband and the story, but also eloquent. You have a maturity about you that most people never achieve and can communicate so beautifully.

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      • It didn’t sound like an attack, and as stated above I appreciate your worry. I even thought about it and considered your points. They weren’t bad points, they were just missing framework (and how would you know about things I don’t tell you?).

        I’m so glad that you are reading it front to back, really! When I started, I did that with two blogs that really inspired me, and it’s so meaningful to me to have that same ability to inspire.

        It is a factor. We have talked about how unhelpful it is, but we have also talked about how he needs more space between request and action because he needs to get over that initial feeling so he can help. And I get that, I do. I am the same with a lot of things, where he makes a request or whatnot and I need space. As I’m sure you know, marriage is a conversation. A long one, and often a hard one.

        That paragraph about my ability to put things into words is so kind, secret keeper, it really is. It means so much to me that I help you in such a way and that you’re willing to share. I look forward to your continued readership and those insights you will share with me one day. ❤️

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