My husband and I were talking the other day about the things in my past. He has expressed on more than one occasion that if he could he would somehow erase, get rid of, the people or events that have left such a lasting effect on my mind, body, and soul. Those things that have left me forever scarred and in some aspects unable to return to my former self. Well, in reality I guess we can never return to the person we were before the events that have scarred us. It’s not like a Halloween costume we wore temporarily and after returned to wearing our normal skin. If it was then I guess we may not have been as scarred as we think we are. But each and every person processes trauma differently. Some have a threshold lower than the beginning level of limbo and others have a threshold seemingly higher than the height of most mountains. We all have our level that makes everything else topple over like a game of jinga. It doesn’t mean anything other than my weaknesses aren’t my strong points. Isn’t that the most obvious? It’s not like it needs an enormous amount of explaining yet, it isn’t as simple as it seems. You know some things are truly more complex the deeper they go. It isn’t the easiest thing to sum into words. I know for me, sometimes those strong points can waiver. I kind of look at it like this… You have an oak tree. Most oak trees are sturdy, strong under pressure, can withstand enormous pressure from storms, hurricanes, etc. Yet, even that oak tree has its limits. It could get knocked to the ground from a strong tropical storm or a weak hurricane and even withstand the force of a category 3 hurricane. It all depends on things that lead up to the fall.
While we were discussing those things in my past he admitted that there are times when even he thinks about it. He wondered if there were times when we were having sex if I’d seen one of the men who raped me rather than himself. He knows I have because we have had a similar conversations. Except this time he admitted to the thought of it crossing his mind. He doesn’t want me to see him as one of the men that have left me scarred. How could I blame him for thinking this way? I would assume any man who loves their wife/significant other and has shared intimate details of their lives wouldn’t want to be seen in that light. I would assume no man would. In some ways it’s like he wants to stop in those moments and ask me if I’m having a flashback. I’ve told him I won’t admit to him when it has occurred. I don’t want to make my husband feel like he is hurting me when it wasn’t any of his doing to begin with. For whatever reason, whatever moment that created a glimpse of the past, the trigger, the event or hell even the way his arm brushed against me. I don’t know what the trigger was. I don’t know what it was that occurred that caused the mental camera of my past to flash before my eyes. It is kind of ironic how in ways I look to photography as a therapy. I know partly it is in a way me trying to create a physical memory of a mental moment. There will never be that one picture that completely replaces the mental memory. Yes, the old saying rings true, a picture is worth a thousand words…yet that same picture can’t remind a person who has lost that mental memory of the feeling they had when that originally was taken. You almost become somewhat numb in emotion when you look at a picture or when someone tells you about something you can no longer remember. There are times I want with every fiber of my being to remember the feeling of moments most want to cherish forever. On the flip side you can’t have the good without the bad. You can’t pick and choose which memories you want to feel. I guess in some ways not remembering parts of my past are a good thing.
There have been times when we were having sex and a flashback occurs then all I wanted to do was just stop and have him maybe just hold me.. hell anything but continue on. I know that isn’t fair to him. I feel like if I stop in those moments and tell him I’ve just had a flashback he may always question himself or his actions around that moment. He will always walk on invisible egg shells in order to try to somehow prevent me from having a flashback. But I don’t think that’s how that works.
As the wife I have always tried my best to make him happy. I have said things to sort of “boost the male ego” even when I knew otherwise. He goes without asking for help. He never admits to hurting both physically and mentally. Some say when men ask for help that is a “weakness” some say asking for help is a sign of strength. I say it all depends on the situation. I say it all depends on the way they ask for help or even what it is that they are saying they need help with.
James has always given me that feeling of safety. The deep breath and sigh I get when kissed. He kisses my forehead in the morning before he heads out the door. He rides his motorcycle in the pouring rain on cold winter’s day not just because he loves to ride but because that is one of the things he does in order for me to have the vehicle. I won’t ever truly know how to express the small things he things he is doing that are huge in my eyes. The sacrifices he has made in order for us to have the one vehicle we possess to be able to go to the doctor. How could I tell this man, who in a moment of passion, he went from being my husband to my rapist? I can’t do that. I won’t do that. The pain I feel is mine. I own it. I live it. I know that your partner can sometimes help you bear some of the pain. But in this instance, I do not want to potentially damage those moments of passion that I try my best to cover the moments of pain. Maybe I am going about it the wrong way from a therapeutic standpoint, then again maybe I’m not. Maybe I should tell him when a flashback has occurred rather than try to push through it. I want so much for that moment just to go away and stay within the passionate bliss of the moment. I don’t want him trying to stare deep into my eyes in those moments trying to see if he can read my mind and see what I am seeing. Those moments can go by so fast and I don’t want to poison them with the pain of a flashback even if I am having one. Does anyone else have these thoughts or feelings? I know I can’t be the only one.
Until next time…