Today I was telling a new counselor about my husband and my situation. I have found that it is a sad, disturbing thing for me… to give someone a rundown of the last six months. Or to give someone an update. I hate being faced with the silence of someone anticipating my answer to such a difficult question, and maybe the silence of someone excited to hear the drama. I dread having to text my friends back when they ask “how are you doing?” I am in no condition to put these insurmountable feelings into a 10-word response. And maybe that’s it. Maybe they don’t want much of an answer anyway.
Today instead of my friends, I was giving my counselor a rundown of the past few weekends, the past few interactions, and I was starting to get that panicked response that my body has. The stress, the nerves, the stomach gripes, the headache, the chills. I get all of those symptoms when I dive into the truths of the details. And I realized in the middle of giving this “rundown” about my husband to the counselor that it was actually a run-down task, and was running me down. I felt weary, sitting there telling the story. Weary but burdened with the responsibility of telling it.
He stopped me. Interrupted and seemed agitated. It actually unnerved me a little because it reminded me of my husband. At first I got a little offended. Weren’t counselors there to listen?!
But he asked me a question that completely shut me up.
“I know what he is. We know what he has done. But what about you? What do you need moving forward? What do you think would help you this week?”
First, I didn’t quite know what he was getting at. Second, no matter what he was getting at, I didn’t have an answer. Well, my first one was “that my husband just disappears.” But obviously that… yeah.
So I looked at him with a dumbfounded face. He asked again. I continued to look at him and then the ground. I wanted to say, “No, you really don’t know what he is. You weren’t there, and you don’t know what he has done.” But that wouldn’t have answered his question.
“I don’t….” my voice trailed off.
“I need….” my voice trailed off again.
It made me think. And tonight, I am sitting here still thinking about it. I didn’t give him an answer. I still don’t have one. I still don’t completely get his point. But I think that’s the point.
I haven’t thought about what I needed in a long time. I have been so stuck in my past, caught in the anger, the guilt, the hate, the heartbreak. I am still caught in the shame, the victimization, the anguish and the frustration. The confusion. The aggression. I can’t get past any of it. But I ignored it for almost 11 years. It has been forced up and out of the box I put it in and refuses to be ignored anymore.
So now, what do I need?
Validation. Constant validation. I’m like a girl in high school that is constantly trying to get her classmates to tell her what she needs to hear. Except for me, I need to hear that I’m strong and to keep going, that I was emotionally abused and abandoned. I still have a hard time believing I am any kind of victim.
Affirmation. Constant affirmation. I doubt every single thing that I do. I doubt how I parent. I second guess how I spend money. I doubt my intelligence. I doubt my worth as a human and as a woman, and I doubt what value I add to to anything. I need constant affirmation right now.
Money. I need money. Do counselors help with that? No money management, but just plain money.
Calm. I need calm. I need kindness and calm. I do suffer from trauma that I endured. I cannot handle someone that doesn’t handle a situation calmly. Don’t shake your fists at me, don’t punch things or throw something, don’t yell at me, don’t stomp and slam doors so hard you break them.
Happiness. Right now I need everyone to be happy. I just absolutely cannot handle anyone’s unhappiness.
Rejection. I am a girl that likes the pain of rejection because I feel like it is what I deserve, but then after feeling it, I wallow in my own self-pity for being rejected. It is a vicious cycle I put on myself.
Direction. Some days I feel so very numb. I don’t want to take out the trash and I don’t want to clean the floors and do the laundry at the end of the day. I want to curl up into my bed and sleep away the passive aggressive energy my husband throws my way when we talk (except when I try to sleep, I find counting sheep or lies doesn’t work as well as I’d like). I almost want someone to give me a list of things to do and hold my hand while I do each task.
Friends. My old friends are silent these days. They have no idea what this new life is like or what it has done to me. And I think it is too messy for them. They have no concept. They cannot relate. I have been shocked with the support I’ve received from complete strangers who have experienced something similar. I don’t share my story much, but when I do, some people pull out their own personal stories and are so supportive and humble and loving. There are people that were complete strangers to me three months ago who I consider part of my support system, out of sheer understanding of the situation. Of course this will pass and those old friendships will reconnect. But for now, they provide nothing enduring, and actually drain me more than I ever expected.
These are very raw thoughts. And as I sit here I wonder if I am being honest to myself. And I think I am. It is hard to say what I need without feeling guilty or stupid or wrong.
As the night sinks down upon my house and as my bed calls, I find myself asking not what I need, but do I know (facts) and what do I have (faith) that comforts me during these times?
I know that my husband really did a number on me.
I know that some parts of me will never heal.
I know that some parts of me will be stronger.
I know that I am a good person.
I have God, and I know he will not abandon me.
I have family, and know their love is limitless.
I know that this is my path, and it is part of my purpose.
I know that God will deliver me to where I need to be, and that he will never give me more than I can handle.
I stop and look out at the darkening sky. Anything else? I ask myself, digging deep and thinking about it. And then I chuckle.
I know without a doubt that my husband is a lying sack of shit.