I answered the phone to hear my new husband’s voice, there was some chit chat, then he said, “You know how I asked for an intern at work, they hired one.” Initially, I felt relief. He has been bombarded and often he has to stay at work late to catch up. I was happy for him, feeling relief that he will have help. Then he continued, “It is a girl.” I froze….this changed everything for me. Panic…Panic…Panic…shallow breaths, heavy chest, nauseous. My brain is on fire.
I was beyond triggered…my trauma brain speaks, “Is she attractive?” He tries to dart the question, he knows where my wounds are and he doesn’t want to hurt me. “She is really young, I have no interest,” he replied. My brain is on RED ALERT….. I said, “You didn’t answer the question, is she attractive?” He replied hesitantly with, “She’s not ugly.”
I am in a full panic at this point. My husband will be working with a young attractive girl every day at work. In that moment I wanted to die. My brain is on fire…. so many thoughts bombarding my consciousness, feeling so sick…more panic.
I know he could sense it…… I know he is trying to be transparent, all the sudden he seems too loud. I don’t know why he continues telling me the story. “We interviewed her a month ago, mumble…mumble”…..I’m shutting down. “In the interview, my co-workers asked if she was a dancer, yes, she is,” … more mumbled talk….. More shutting down. I feel like I am in a large warehouse where they are shutting down the lights. First one section of my brain, then another, each click of a switch brings more darkness.
I manage to tell him I am triggered and I have to go. He apologizes, but I can’t bear to hear more.
I Don’t Have the Skills to Cope
Sometimes I don’t have the skills to cope with things that happen. It is not for lack of desire. If only I could share with you the energy that I put into trying to heal. My secret library of self-help books about addiction, co-dependency, divorce, and attachment. That only hits the surface, the list goes on and on. My hours of counseling trying to make sense of my brain that sends me mixed messages and leaves me confused.
Sometimes I crash just like a hard drive that can’t perform one more task. My brain may be down for a day or a week, working from a trance like state. Other times it is almost like it clicks into super human mode…. ultra-aware of everything going on around me. I am able to take care of my kids and meet their needs, but the motions are robotic. Eventually, I come back online, I get up and I try again. I want to heal and I am giving it everything I have. I want to live a happy life filled with color.
Wounds Around Other Women
My deepest wounds, the ones that take me close to bleeding out are those around OTHER women. If you look at my history you might be able to understand why they are the ones that scare me the most. The ones that make me feel nauseous and make me wish I wasn’t me. They are the ones that make me think I would be better off single, so that I wouldn’t have to fear them or feel them if another woman ever enters the picture again. When you don’t have an attachment figure the other woman isn’t as threatening.
My Brain Tells me He is the Enemy
I fight it, but my brain tells me that my husband is the enemy. If he didn’t exist I wouldn’t have to face any of my attachment wounds. I can logically say that he is different than my first husband, but my ex-husband left me with very deep stab wounds. I put bandaids on those wounds for years and they got infected. He was always looking at, seeking, wanting other women. I sat on the wing watching his eyes wander when we were in public places. When I would ask about it he would attack me, making it all my fault. Fear and inadequacy became my companions and unfortunately after so many years they still are.
I am scared to death that my new husband will do the same thing to me.
The Perfect Storm
Somehow faulty beliefs that I developed as a child, mixed with being married to an addict for 19 years created the perfect storm for me. I have times when I really don’t know what to do with myself. My brain sees the perfect storm and says “RUN.” Most of my conscious self sends messages to my brain telling me that there is danger and I need to go….quickly. The messages feel life threatening. I will get all choked up, start rocking myself, feel queasy….it is too much.
The small piece of my logic brain that is online is saying, “Norma, you are okay, you will be okay.” While another part feels shame, it tells me I am selfish for so badly wanting my husband to tell his boss he no longer needs the help. Back to the part that tells me that I can handle this, flipping to another that feels I might die. So many different parts of me sending contradicting messages. So today, I just sit, feeling unable and incapable of doing anything. I don’t have the skills to handle this right now.
I do know my patterns and I am afraid I will push my new husband far away to protect myself.
I will try not to be mean so I don’t have additional shame later.
I will try to take deep breaths.
I will probably go for a run to get rid of anxious energy.
….and at least for now I will sit in a corner of that very dark warehouse with the lights off….. fighting my demons. I will try not to do anything that will make the situtation worse and I will wait for God to shed more light on a dark situtation that I don’t know how to handle.