It has been 6 months since my discovery that lead to my leaving my prior lover. I have not been “right” since. I know the hows and the whys and there is nothing left to discover or disseminate from the experience and yet I can’t seem to move past it. I am not holding onto it, in some attempt to remain connected to him. I have no desire to ever see him or speak to him again, even if he were to reach out to me, I would never be tempted to reply or respond.
The issue is that he damaged me.
I loved him and I counted on him for physical and emotional support. I have never been closer to anyone in my entire life and when I discovered the entire relationship was a lie, it shifted things underneath me. It bruised me spiritually in a place I had protected from pain since I was a child. I allowed a man into my head, heart and home who was dangerous and I failed to pick up on it, even though there were no signals.
The major issue is that I can’t seem to forgive myself. I “know” there was nothing to pick up on, even in hindsight. I “know” he is the damaged one and it truly wasn’t my fault I did not know him for who he was. But it is almost like I am suffering with a survivor’s type guilt that I took a chance on allowing a man into my heart and I choose someone so damaged that when I gave him my mind he proceeded to abuse it and the trust I had mistakenly placed in him.
I know I had no right to him. Both of us were married to other people. We shared no life together. Yet in every way he was more a husband to me than the man I am legally married to, so his loss was all the more traumatic for me. I “know” I am going through the stages of grief over his loss. I “know” I am depressed and am struggling to climb the emotion back to a more neutral one. But even while my mind understands it can not reconcile the logical process with the emotional aspect.
I think that in large part that is because I live in a sensory deprivation that would be considered inhumane if it was allowed in any other setting, than marriage. My spouse does not touch me…ever. There is no hand holding, no skin on skin, no casual touch in passing. I still allow him to use my body to cum in as it only takes him 2-4 minutes tops and that’s every 6-8 weeks. There is no foreplay to this event as its him entering a dry vagina, grabbing my hips to facilitate it, thrusting a few times and then pulling out. There is no kissing, no after play. There is the cold, sterile exchange of his need for sexual release and my need to keep the peace.
My teenagers are older and do not hug or snuggle mom. This is how teenage boys are and I can not fault them for it. But it means I live in a world of sensory deprivation where when I go to bed I rock myself to feel the brush of soft sheets over my skin. It’s a self soothing thing I have done since I was a child. I was never touched other than to be abused by my mother, touch for me meant fists and feet leaving marks and imparting the fact I was worthless and hated. So the lack of touch brings me right back to my early traumas and I think that because I loved the man who hurt me and because I no longer am touched, that my inability to move past the relationship is because it is tied to the pain of my childhood.
The issue is that I “know” all of this and yet it does not impact my ability to move forward into a place I can heal from. Part of the reason it is taking me so long is because I live in a stressful environment, which means natural emotions take far longer to process. My spouse is a reminder of all I do not have; all that I imagined could be mine and then proved to be a lie, really no different than my marriage. His lack of touch combined with his active neglect and inconsideration to events in my life, like remembering a Birthday or an Anniversary act like an abrasive against my tender skin.
I have a friend who I send pictures to occasionally and his comment to me is always that I “look tired”. I am not tired, I am sad and it looks almost the same. My sadness is in my eyes, its in my body and its smothered my soul. I am aware of it, I have processed everything that made it possible and I am trying to work my way through it. Unfortunately, it is taking an extraordinary amount of time and that is simply because I was hurt so badly and at such a primitive level. The thing is, as egregious as the wound was, as deep and as life changing as could be imagined; it was ultimately a “clean cut”. I intellectually understand it and am working on healing myself. The stress I am under with my oldest son, combined with the stress of a non physical relationship with a spouse who initiates conflict daily, is making the process much slower than I would like.
My writing is dark and random right now as I vent out the toxins from my psyche and heart. This is part of how I heal. I have to remove it from my brain and have something tangible in front of me and my words allow that to happen. I am so very grateful to be able to write, I really have no measure of what it means to me. I would rather lose the ability to hear and to see or lose the ability to talk or walk, than lose my ability to write. To me, writing gives my brain and heart the platform they need to make sense of my world. It has been that way since I was a very young child.
Even when my writing was used against me by a mother who did not respect limits and used my private thoughts as a weapon against me, it still had value. I would spend hours writing and then burn the pages and in the smoke I would pretend my words were part of the world and be breathe in by people who could help me. That a part of me was taken in by people who breathed the smoke particles and I was held safe in the sanctity of their bodies, spread far enough apart that a part of me would always remain, even if the majority of who I was, ever was destroyed completely and I died one day from my mothers abuse. Because I actually thought that even if she killed my body, she would never be able to touch my mind or the words I had released into the world.
I think that my ability to protect my soul from damage, even as a young child was remarkable. It just lends credence to the fact I KNEW who I was and how to protect myself mentally for almost as long as I can remember. I could immediately see people who were not like me, people who would give up and did not know how to fight back, even if it just meant closing off a part of your heart and mind to protect. For me it was as obvious as determining someone’s sex as male or female or looking at someone and seeing their skin color. It always surprised me when other people did not see it.
I knew I was “different” by the time I was 8 years old. That my ability to see someone was vastly different than others and that I should not share my view as it deeply disturbed other people. To me, they were blind. For them, I was different. I could not be included as part of a social group unless I conformed and stopped acknowledging the reasons why I would do certain things or say things that made no sense to them. I am assuming that as a child I could see peoples auras. As I got older and repressed more of who I was, I lost the ability to see it as clearly as I did then, but it in no way diminished my ability to get a feeling about someone.
If you are in a dark room and the hallway light is on, then someone stands in the entrance, they are in shadow but are backlight from behind with the light from the hallway. THIS is how I saw people in my childhood. Only everyone did not have a clear light behind them, but a myriad of colors as individual to a person as a fingerprint. Plus their front was not in shadow, but in the normal light of wherever they were located. Do you have any idea how confusing it is as a child when one day you are talking to other kids and realize that they do not see people this way? At first you do not believe them. It’s like they are saying they are looking at the same person and don’t see 2 arms and 2 legs or can’t tell if the person is white or black. But then as other kids support the fact, that they do not see colors around people, you start to question YOUR senses.
Do you continue to believe what you KNOW to be true and trust your senses or do you try and conform to what the rest of the world sees. It takes years of ignoring it and not talking about it for it to diminish. Yet there are times that it flares up. Times when I called it my “spidey sense” once I read a Spiderman comic as a child. The biggest time for me is when I am in danger or when a person is not “right”. I can sense darkness in someone’s soul. For me it registers as a clenching of your stomach, a sharp exhalation through my nostrils. Fear. At it’s worst, I can feel it so strongly that it gives me goosebumps and makes me feel like I about to lose control of my bowels. It is acknowledgement of evil.
This is also why as much as I do not like my mother in law, I am not afraid of her, nor do I think of her as truly evil. She is just mean and uneducated. A truly evil person makes my body respond like feeling an electric current along my nerves, similar to if you ever grabbed an electric fence used around a cattle field. Everyone creates first impressions of people. There are endless studies done about how the first 30 seconds, people subconsciously make tons of assumptions about the person they are interacting with. Well, how do you think that occurs? I think that all people had the ability I did as a child, but that they are color blind, where I wasn’t. This meant they are left with impressions and feelings about others without knowing why. For me it was much easier as I KNEW why as I could simply see the color. I had no one tell me that what I could see was abnormal and so I trusted it as one of my senses, no different than seeing or hearing.
I think THIS is the reason why I am so incredibly hurt by my inability to see who the real person was that my lover hid from me. The main way I made sense of my world, failed me. That has never happened to me before. BUT, I also am wondering what it means. If I was not so emotionally tied to the event, I would say that he was not evil. He is simply damaged and lashing out. But how would that explain the lack of hurt and anger I did not see in him? If he truly did not feel those things, then how was he capable of hurting me so badly by his lies. People who lie and tell partial truths are as clear to me as looking at the greenish dark grey, murky water of a salt water marsh.
Perhaps I was so involved with him that I failed to look at him? I actually think I misread how he made me feel because his actions were so at odds with how my subconscious saw him. I think the main reason this happened is because I don’t think he did it on purpose on an intellectual level. I think he is so damaged that all of his pain and hurt is subconscious and it means he truly does not know what he does is wrong. It’s also why as much as he hurt me, I am not angry with him. My over riding emotion surrounding him and the relationship we had, is sadness.
You add this on top of the relationship between my oldest son and I and that between my spouse and I and how about the conflict between my mother and brother right now as well as my sister and it all becomes unbearable. The common thread would SEEM to be me, but it’s not. I have reached a point in my life where I am letting go of relationships that do more harm than good and I am not investing any more time into people who harm me by their lack of emotional context for me. I am not keeping them in my life JUST because I am related to them. I am in the process of renegotiating new relationships based on what is acceptable behaviour to me and if someone consistently fails to respect my boundaries then they do not have a place in my life other than in the periphery sense.
These people will either be in my life and respect the fact that they must behave with honest and open respect or they will not be a part of my life, period. I am done being abused and I have spent far too many years trying to make relationships work as a one sided effort. Plus, I can not focus on my relationship with my children if I am continuously being attacked by the insensitivity and mean spirits of people who use subterfuge to create drama instead of supporting me or helping me. Blood relationships mean nothing where there has been a past filled with abuse and neglect.
I am not worried about my ability to recover. I will. I am not worried about my ability to love someone again. I will. I am not worried about becoming bitter towards all men because of my recent experiences. I won’t. I have to trust the fact that I will heal at the pace that my mind and body deem necessary to start over from. Emotional wounds are impossible to gauge. They leave fragments of damage in your heart and mind and shards of hurt have to be meticulously removed before the healing can begin. They always leave scars and new pathways have to be forged around them. My recovery is taking longer than expected because the wounds were so deep and so close to childhood traumas. It meant that there was more roadblocks to healing, less space to manoeuvre around to enable me to get past it, simply because there was so much damage and old scars that keep throwing up roadblocks.
Once I allow someone back into my life that can touch me and exchange his positive energy with mine, it will help the healing speed up. His touch will stroke a damaged soul and not just superficial skin. People need to be touched or they can die from the lack of it. Part of me thinks this is what happens as people age. Being alone exhausts you and depresses your soul to the point where death is a release from the hurt of living. I just can not imagine actively seeking out the type of comfort I need when I am not in a place to welcome a man into my life with honest and eager expectations.
You can not force yourself to be ready and in a place you are not. This means I am going through the motions of my life, doing what I must and what is expected of me. I gain no enjoyment or pleasure from things I am doing. It is not because I am not doing them, it means my emotional damage is preventing the sensations from actually touching me. I keep doing them in hopes that one day I will actually enjoy the simple pleasures I get from living, once again. When this happens, I will know that I have actually started to heal and have turned the corner towards the light again.
I really do appreciate the kindness of people who have reached out to me or who may have visited and read my blog. It lets me know that my struggle has not gone unnoticed. This type of mental support adds a layer of responsibility to my psyche to keep pressing forward as there may be others who might learn something from my stories and experience. Even if it is a simple moment in your day that makes you make a better choice in something you do or say, then the pain I have endured matters on a larger scale than that of a personal lesson learned.
My hope is that as I move through this experience and back into myself, that people understand that depression is simply a moment in the grander scale of a lifetime. You don’t have to lose yourself to it. Giving up is not an option under any circumstance. We have a responsibility to ourselves and to those whose lives we touch, to keep fighting until we leave it behind again. It is just one of many emotions we will feel over our lifetimes and it is no better or worse than any of the others, it simply is what it is. We have to stop giving it power and be so presumptive that it can ruin lives. Depression does not ruin lives at all; it’s our response to it that causes damage. Allowing yourself to feel emotions is the first step towards understanding that you can cope with them.
Some people can battle it alone while others need therapy and medication to support their fight. There is no right way to deal with it as depression is so highly individualized and personal. Just know that sharing your challenges takes away the isolation you feel because when you share your journey with others who understand or who have been there, it helps to validate you and support you while being able to eventually help others who may not be as far along in the process as you are.
I made turkey noodle soup this morning, after I fed and walked the dogs. Comfort food. I have a batch of sweet rolls rising on the counter and boys who have entered the kitchen 3-4 times to “see how things are going”. I guarantee that they will barely be out of the oven before they are buttered and being eaten, so hot that they can barely touch them. After 1-2 eaten this way, they will remember to get out the peanut butter and jam like it was the best discovery in the world and finally, they will take one to be eaten with their soup. The second batch will stick around a bit longer and disappear one by one until none remain at bedtime. It’s a small thing that makes me happy; their enjoyment of eating what I have made for them.