I saw him getting ready, his back pack laying across the end of our bed. Socks, sleeping bag, dried food, and various other items for his backpacking trip. I walked by quickly, trying not to let the items bother me. Knowing that the sinking….. yucky feeling inside of me was coming from a trigger and not his actions. The fact that he started laying things out on Monday did not help me. No matter how much I tried to reason with myself that I was okay, that he was just going with his brothers, that he needs self-care, and he needs a break too, each day the panic tried to pull me into a pit of despair.
I honestly wanted him to go. I know he needs it, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t scared for me. My heart rate increased each time I entered my room and saw his stuff. I fought the trauma off pretty well until Wednesday.
The Bad Wife
Then it all caught up with me. He offered to stay home, but deep down I knew that was not the answer. After all, I don’t want to be the Bad Wife that won’t ever let her husband go anywhere, so I put on my best fake smile and shoved down all of the panic. Instead I fell back on a coping mechanism that I know well. It was time for me to withdraw, it might be the only way I survive the weekend.
It is hard to explain the panic that happens inside of me when my new husband takes a trip. To someone who has not lived it, they might start to think that I am crazy, but to all of you who have experienced betrayal trauma, I know YOU GET IT. My ex-husbands 19 years of betrayal changed me forever. The excitement that poured from him before he left with his buddies to head to Vegas to betray me. Pain….Pain….Pain!
Within 24 hours of his departure, I could rarely reach him by phone. Often times he would intentionally leave his charger at home so I couldn’t reach him. Each time I was left with small children. I would do everything within my power to stay calm for my babies, but I’m sure they could feel the anxiety and fear pouring from me. Late at night after they would fall asleep the panic would take it’s toll. My body would begin to shut down, I would shake uncontrollably. My teeth would chatter and my body would shiver. Sometimes in the middle of summer I would have the heater on and cover myself with several blankets trying to stay warm. I would rock myslef back and forth trying to calm the inner tourmoil.
This weekend my new husband is gone on his back packing trip. The excitement I felt from him Thursday morning was very familiar to me, and although the intent and the outcome are different….the pattern is the same and it creates panic. My brain goes back to years gone by…. thoughts of strippers and illegal drugs come back to me.
He is backpacking high in the mountains, I will not be able to reach him by phone the entire weekend, again although the intent and outcome will be different the pattern is still there.
They were both gone with a bunch of guys, and you know what……I know that my new husbands brothers are amazing men. I know that they are not liars and cheaters, but the fact that he is gone with a group of men…..patterns…patterns…patterms.
Weekend from Hell
This will probably prove to be an amazing weekend for him, he will feel energize and rejuvinated when he gets home, but I will have had a weekend from Hell. I will be fighting demons that will try to trick me and try to take me down with past memories. I will continue fighting them, and I will fight the lies and the panic and the worry, but by the time he gets home I will be worn out. I will have fought 19 years of betrayal in my brain. Unfortunalty no matter how hard I try to keep the memories separate, sometimes they feel the same.
Dont’ Expect Me to Be Happy to see you when you get home
I warned my new husband before he left. I told him that I woudn’t be happy to see him when he gets home. I can be apologetic, and sorry, but I will not have it in me to offer much to him. No matter how hard I try to not let the betrayal seep over, it still seeps. He will come home and a peice of me deep down inside will remember the betryal and I will keep my distance. I won’t feel safe, I will feel abandoned and betrayed. It will require extreme patience from him, and thank heavens I married a man who is capable of that.
It will take her years
Before he married me I made him meet with my therapist. She explained to him that for me, this will not just go away. She told him that it would take years of consistancy from him before I would start to feel safe. I wish that the journey was easy. I wish that I could snap my fingers and all of the pain and suffering and trauma would just go away. I wish that it never seeped over because of patterns. At the same time I recognize that it does, and I have open and honest discussions with my new husband all of the time. He will never understand it, but he does offer his patience and love.
Staying on top of Trauma: I am accountable
This weekend I am demolishing a bathroom while my husband is gone to try to stay on top of my trauma. I want as little of the yuck from my past to seep into my future as possible. As I break the old tile and wood and throw it out the window into a trailer, I am letting the pain out.
What do you do to help yourself with Trauma?
How do you let yourself feel the yucky past feelings?
Since it is not easy to move past trauma, how do you move through it and come out stronger on the other side?
I would love to hear your ideas.