“When dealing with matters of hurt, harm and abuse, it is common for complex trauma survivors to need time to process through all the facts. Overwhelming of facts and proof of hurt and harm, can be detrimental and dangerous on the emotional wellbeing, so slow processes, are needed.”
I’ve been trying to deconstruct and understand my “deer in headlights” reactions to Greg that have become more acute as of late. I noticed over the past year it was happening to me more and more, but I could only stand in observer mode to get unstuck. This means I hadn’t ever been able to get to the root cause because I was too busy pushing back panic.
No matter what question he’d ask me, I’d freeze.
At 9:00 a.m., “what do you think about dinner tonight?”
At 12:45 p.m., “do you want eggs with cheese and maybe some ham?”
At 4:15 p.m., “any thoughts on dinner?”
Somewhere, and I wish I could cite it, I read that PTSD/CPTSD affected people have these reactions because they have reached a general overwhelmed state from coping with life in general, let alone the trauma(s) that they’d experienced in the past that re-wash all over them at inconvenient times. I have read soooo much over the past months and have kept copious notes and even annotated bibliographies (in APA form) that I seem to have stumbled on this one. Nerts.
Nonetheless, these are the things that I absolutely cannot talk about with Greg. We had a delightful [not] conversation whilst preparing dinner and he made the mistake of saying that I hadn’t ever taken our marriage seriously – from the beginning. I gasped out loud and put my hand over my mouth like “oh no you didn’t!” But, yes he had. He later retracted, of course, but dammit, that’s confusing as hell. It may also be one of the reasons I have trouble responding to him at all, about anything, unless he pisses me off.
After dinner we were sitting outside, because he has to follow me everywhere, and I told him “I don’t want to strangle the life out of our relationship.” He said nothing. Then he changed to subject to something absolutely trivial and I had to mentally step away from the situation for a second. Call it dissociation or compartmentalization, but it saves lives sometimes. After a few minutes I said “I just told you something very personal and sincere and all you can do is change the subject? And not respond?? What am I supposed to do with that?” He said he heard me and that was nice and he agreed. I got up and walked away.
Here’s the kicker: what finally spurred me into leaving on Friday afternoon was a rude comment in response to small talk I was making. I read an article where someone had added a 6th love language to the concept of the 5 love languages. I summed it up in two sentences, telling Greg “isn’t that interesting?” He looked at me and said “No, not at all.” I packed my stuff and left.
I’m sick of him and me. I need space. He refuses to give it to me but tortures me in the process by dangling it in front of my face like dangling a dog biscuit in front of a hound. “I fully support you moving out if it helps you get better” with the tacit “but I’m going to make you fucking miserable if you do.”
When he goes back and forth like this, as he usually does with emotional matters, I get confused. I don’t know if what I say will trigger his anger or disgust and so I shut up. Plain and simple. I’ve been doing it my whole life. Sometimes it’s pretty valuable. Most of the time it causes me more problems. (Witnesseth “the blawgggg”.)
At least now I have some sense of root causes for the things that stop me cold. Greg is blissfully ignorant about his status in life. How nice for him. [sarcasm]
BTW, I unregistered his Kindle app on his iPad. I wonder how long it’ll take him to notice. Might be awhile because he’s sure making no effort to educate himself on his parts of the process. I did share my not-so-happy opinion about what I perceived to be his lack of effort in this area. He deflected and told me I am obsessing and then proceeded to twist the words of my therapist to support his point. He may not be blowing up at me and raging, but he’s certainly deploying the more covert tools of disgust, belittling, and sarcasm. Yeah, I’m obsessing because we’re both *crazy* and I want it to stop. I told him I cannot do all the work for both of us. Right over his head it went.
For a very intelligent woman I can sure be dense. Malignant optimism.