After pacing around for more than 2 hours, fighting with myself, I decided I needed to take space. I finally began the conversation, knowing it was almost guaranteed to spiral into a confrontation. Keeping in mind that we had a nice day together shopping for furniture and going out for an early dinner, I reminded him that we’d had a nice day. He said “Oh, was it nice?” My comment: “I thought it was!”
(Well, of course it couldn’t have been nice because now you’re rejecting me by tending to your own needs. If you really loved me, you’d sit here and suffer. If you really loved me you’d give me what I need, forsaking your own needs, just like you have for more than 2 decades.)
I held my ground. I stayed connected to my inner voice [screaming in my head]. As I held my ground I watched the switch in H’s head flip and saw his facial expression morph into a snarl. He became cold and withholding and emotionally abusive by flipping anything I said over to benefit his angry minimization of how I was feeling.
I asked for a hug, he told me he would “pass“.
I expected it and was thankful for the studying I’d done on wounded adult children. He tried to make me feel crazy but I knew I was not. I was clear in my mind that I simply needed a break and that meant I felt I needed to take some space. I responded to his snarls by saying “Wow, that’s so mean!” which, of course, produced his reaction; meant only to justify his treating me with disrespect.
“It must be nice to have an apartment to go to when things get rough…” [the apartment issue, again…]
(You don’t have the right to take care of yourself. You’re supposed to be taking care of ME!”)
Lots of traumatic things happened at my house over the past year and I have trouble being there for days on end because I experience anxiety and flashbacks. Despite things getting incrementally better because I am healing, I feel trapped because H expects me to be there all of the time. Feeling trapped exacerbates my symptoms and is a common theme from the beginning of my C-PTSD (childhood abuse). The feelings of being trapped and hopeless can grow and when I’m alone, in a different environment, I can better manage those feelings. So, I stay there for as long as I can but if I get overwhelmed, I have to take a break because staying in that hotbed of triggers is not healthy. For me, dealing with whatever triggered me – away from that environment – then coming back, is healthy.
When I don’t listen to myself I tend to get overwhelmed by the noise and tension and that can sometimes lead to nightmares and [not as often] flashbacks. I know what I need. He doesn’t want me to have what I need because it makes him feel insecure. I get this but I can no longer forego taking care of myself because the stakes are so high.
I know he’s fragile and I am very careful not to do anything that would break him, however, those efforts absolutely cannot come before self care. His reaction to my “selfishness” is clearly distorted. After a lifetime of such distortions, I can now see what a distortion is and how my enabling has added to the problem. As I change my behavior and try not to enable, he tries to pull me back again and again. I knew I’d be confronted with these reactions but now I’m feeling better in that I understand that my feelings and needs do not matter to him. As another blogger (@hemmingplay) commented in another entry, H is in survival mode too. All of this is expected and reinforces the fact that unless H deals with his individual issues, We can go no farther.
I’ve said this before and it still rings true: H would rather have me in a mental ward than at my apartment. That way he could keep tabs on me all of the time.
Sorry, I think I’ll pass on that one.