Pain….my chest is tight….no air. Breathe, just breathe….the air does not come naturally, I have to force it…..conscious effort.
My brain is flooded with questions…..I watch his every move looking for the betrayal….looking for the moment that tells me that I should run. All of my senses are heightened…..What is he thinking? I continue to watch. As the cheerleaders move out of my vision my shoulders relax a little. The betrayal didn’t come, but my brain is still on fire. My heart continues to race. A wall goes up around my heart, my trauma super powers kick in…….I can protect myself.
His addiction took from me
This past weekend I went to a parade. I used to love watching dancers and cheerleaders. I love to dance. I still enjoy watching them, but I can’t seem to really enjoy it unless I am alone or with other women. My ex-husbands addiction took that away. Something I used to long for and find such enjoyment in….is now smothered by fear.
The cheerleaders from a local university stopped right in front of us to do a routine. I didn’t want them there. My trauma is deep, the cheerleaders are a painful reminder that I am not enough. It feels as if they are mocking me with their bodies….taunting me with memories that I never looked like that.
I am unable to pay attention to the once loved flexibility, moves, and tricks. I am too distracted watching his face, fear grips my heart and is just waiting to squeeze. I’m watching for the enjoyment on his face that will betray his intent. It never comes, but trauma takes over and I am sure it is there.
The wounds of his lust
That day at the parade a wall went up around my heart. I have been betrayed more times that I can count with looks and smirks of appeal. For 19 years I was married to a sex addict. My ex-husband left long lasting deep wounds with his lust. Wounds that still impact me to this day. His glances towards other women betrayed him. His smiles and sheer enjoyment were like daggers to my heart. His lust left deep lasting wounds that still fester and leave me parlysed.
My Trauma Super Powers
Over the many painful years during my first marriage, I developed Trauma super powers. I wish that I could say that these powers are good, but often times the power itself can take me down. No matter how many times my new husband reached for me, no matter how many kinds words were spoken, I shot his comments down before they could reach me.
The kind, “I love you, Norma.” Shot down with thoughts, “Don’t lie to me….I am not stupid, I know that I am not lovable.”
All his kind gestures trying to let me know that I was important. Shot down with words, “You don’t need to be nice to me, I know I don’t deserve it.”
Anything that he did to show me that I have value to him….well, those didn’t even pierce my armor.
You see the wall was built for 19 years, it has been fortified in every way possible. There is no way through.
My new husband pays the price for my wounds
Some people may look at this and think that I am crazy. I am not crazy, but I do have a lot of trauma that I am still working on healing. The damage has been done and my new husband often times pays the price for the past.
I do not like going to swimming pools with my new husband. There are shows that I will not watch when he is around (beauty pagants, dancers). These activites feel too risky. If I do these things with him I am too worried about what he is thinking and doing to enjoy them.
The parade was on Saturday, and finally today I am at a point that I am slowly opening my heart back up to him. He has been kind and loving and has offered his support over and over again just to have it deflected by my trauma super powers. Finally I am ready to peak around the side of my armor. Checking to see if he is still there waiting for me. Testing the waters to see if it is safe for me to put the armor down. Over the years I developed a quick trigger finger and can raise it back up quickly and beleive me I am ready.
Getting through the armor
The scariest part is that there is no way through the armor. It is I who has to choose to drop it.
Sometimes I don’t want to put my armor down. In fact I want to take myself to a deserted island where there is no danger and then I will take it off. I am so afraid of being hurt again. When my trauma powers are on, the are great at blocking out the bad. I like the feeling of safety. I used to wear it all of the time until I learned that it was also blocking out the good.
My world had lost it’s color. When my powers are on I am not connecting with my children. I am not seeing their needs. When my powers are on I am not helping others. When my powers are on I might be safe, but I am alone. I can’t connect!
So yesterday as I listened to Brene Brown’s new book Rising Strong, I heard a powerful message.
When we run from struggle, we are never free. ~Brene Brown
When my powers are on I am running, and more than anything I want to be free. Free from the pain and suffering of my past. So today I slowly and fearfully lower my armor again. I do it slowly, and I do it because I want to live, I want to connect, I want to love!
Will you join me?