I am running. Away. Away from the pain and the confusion. I am desperate to hold on to what is real and ignore what is not. But the what is not is calling me. It knows my name and I know its name. We have woven a dance so intimate that I’m not sure where it begins and I end. And even though Abba and Jesus and The Holy Spirit and the husband and my therapist and I do our best to fight it, it is there. And it calls to me. I think I’m strong, but I’m weak. I turn to the addictions that help me escape. They promise relief but leave me wanting. More desperate then before. I keep heading down the wrong path because it’s familiar and comforting and at least in the depths of my hiding I can find relief from all this pain. But for some strange reason the pain just follows me into the darkness. I’m left thinking I don’t know who I am and how on earth can I ever be loved. I say the thing I don’t want to say, “Abba, can you please just let me die tonight?”
I want to be real. I want to be real but I want to protect. I want to be honest and vulnerable but honest and vulnerable is scary. Although I’ve done this before, it’s easier when the feelings involve someone you now don’t like very much. Or hate. Or wish were dead. But when it involves someone so close it’s not so easy.
The husband and I work together. I could write an entire blog for a year why it’s probably wise that married couples not work together. But we’ve never been known for doing the easiest, smartest or most logical thing. At first it was pretty much the two of us for most of the day and we spent the majority of that time driving each other crazy which made the evening…enjoyable. We ended up on long drives to the coast and all over the metro area. During those times we learned to be friends again. We learned to be vulnerable and trust one another and forgive. We developed intimacy in our relationship in the safety of our car.
The husband and I made the decisions on who to hire. They had my approval. I was good with the entire process. Until the actual day arrived and the husband was not leaving with me, but another woman. To spend all day driving around the metro area. And like a freaking insecure, teenage girl, I lost it. I can’t describe the pain in my heart. I was confused by the anger and fear. The fear that he walked out the door and when he came back, he would no longer be just mine. So I walked slowly to the bathroom. Sat down. Put my face in my hands and cried. Mercifully that eased the nausea. The husband had no idea why he returned to an angry wife. I managed to make it through the rest of afternoon without embarrassing all of us. 48 hours later I sat on the therapist couch, explaining how I was going to wreck my marriage…again.
She is usually gentle with me when I’m really upset. It’s why I like her. This time she dove right in. “Do you not trust him?”
Do I have to answer that?
I put my hands in my face. So I won’t cry. So I won’t feel the emotions hitting at me from every angle. So I don’t have to speak out loud the things that call me in the darkness. It’s so much easier to just ask Abba to end this all then to deal with these emotions.
“To be honest. This has nothing to do with now and everything to do with then. And I don’t want to talk about it because that’s the past and we have a good relationship. I don’t want to deal with these emotions I want them to go the hell away.”
You know, it would be good if therapists would actually LISTEN to their patient and not poke when they say go away. But, that’s why we pay her. So I spilled my guts. The whole thing. The insecurity. The jealousy. The anxiety. As I talked and she sorted I began to understand my reactions. Once upon a time the husband did not protect our relationship. He had no boundaries. Other people, especially other woman, had a priority over me. He didn’t have the tools to enforce our boundaries so he turned to eliminating my need for the very things that made me feel protected and cherished and loved. These woman became his confidant, his mentor, his guide. At the low point I would ask them to get my husband to do the things I needed. It hurt. Oh how it hurt. But if I showed my hurt it made him mean. He had no room for an insecure, clingy, needy wife. So I pretended I wasn’t hurt and all I did was bury my pain, resentment and anger deep inside.
She gives me homework. I sigh. Homework usually ends in a fight because I’ve yet to figure out how to execute her plan outside of her office without making a mess. She wants me to tell him that I need the boundaries. And I need to tell him about the pain and how it hurt and how I felt. And WE need to talk through that. I don’t want to do that. Because I’m scared he’s going to tell me no way he’s doing that and I’ll feel about as small as a bug.
I walk out the door and the husband is standing there. He smiles and asks me how it went. I tell him I don’t want to talk. Eventually I sort of talk. I’m so scared to say the wrong thing and screw things up. I finally tell him that we need to have boundaries. And then I tell him how this wasn’t about now, but about the past and how he treated us. I tell him and his response is so merciful, so kind, so gentle…I know that I am loved. I know that the man who did those things to me then is not the man that I’m married to now.
We are both learning there is nothing wrong with protecting our marriage. What other people think about what we decide is irrelevant. What other people think is normal does not matter. 23 years ago we made the wrong decisions and did not protect each other. This time we are making the right decision, our marriage is the priority.
The darkness never quits calling me back. But as I continue to rise, facing the memories I’m slowly winning the battle.