I am a mess of stuck emotions right now. I have so many things to say I can’t say anything. I have tears bulging, pining to flow like rapids in the spring. I have screams twisted up in a lump in my throat. I have anxiety pumping fiercely through my heart. My hands are shaking and my body is tingling with nervous energy. My breath is hot with anger as I inhale deeply trying to keep it from exploding into a fire-y ball of hysterical chaos.

Little by little these feelings stuck inside of me are leaking out, like a slow drip or the barely audible whistling of air escaping it’s containment. I become painfully aware of their tactics to escape. I do a little patchwork here, apply a little duct tape there, to try to maintain composure and hold it all in. But the pressure is building. The faint whistles want to become like the blaring screeches from water boiling in a tea kettle, and the drips, a raging waterfall crashing down on boulders below. They are pushing and pulling, looking for their way out. But it’s too much. I’ve never felt this way before, or really ever felt anything at all, and now, now it’s everything at once and more than I feel I can handle. The fear of the unknown has infiltrated into the act of feeling itself.

Fear leads to numbing. That place of safety and solace…for me at least. Numb is where I like to live. Numb is where I go when I don’t know how to cope. Numb is my friend. Never failing, never hurting, always available at a moment’s notice. I slip numb on like an oversized fuzzy bathrobe and pull it up close to my chin. It envelopes me in comfort and coziness and I become oblivious to the reality around me as I snuggle in and fade away. But now that I know numb exists, I don’t like it. I wasn’t aware of numb before, so it worked out just fine. “What you don’t know doesn’t hurt you…” Right? Wrong. Now I know all about numb. And it’s not a good relationship anymore. I see all the red flags. The warnings. The patterns. I need to let go of numb and move on. But I don’t know how.

It’s interesting how this picture of emotion perfectly explains my conundrum in my life right now. My feelings mirror the reality I’m living. It’s a perfect storm. I’m faced with so many important, life changing decisions. Do I stay with numb (pretend happy marriage, pretend kind and loving father/mother/family) or do I go with emotional chaos (end pretend happy marriage, return to abusive father/mother/family) and live forever afraid I’ve given up too much and created a new conflict and chaos that’s just different (traumatized children now in a broken family, financial ruin, no more family connection anywhere)? How do you even choose? I know what I’m involved in now.  I’ve survived it and could probably continue to. But I’ve lost my comfort in it. The bathrobe is matted and old and full of holes. It’s cold and drafty now. It rubs my skin raw and offers no protection or warmth. I’m becoming…exposed. And exposed is not at all comfortable or desired when you’ve been hiding out in numb your entire life.

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25 thoughts on “Discomfort…

  1. You describe your feelings so well. Your words are so lovely (although clearly very painful).

    I think it is a good thing that your cloak of numb is getting tatty and old – the fact that you know numbing isn’t the answer. It is just so scary because it has been your defence for your whole life and obviously the alternative is painful. You will get there though, you will. Slowly, when you are ready, keep fighting. x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, and yes, the more aware and awake I become, the more scared I feel. But I know I need to find a new way to cope and live. Thank you for your compliments and encouragement. I appreciate them very much.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I noticed that you said the word “or” . Well in my opinion that’s asking yourself to make a choice. There’s no in between those two choices you’re asking yourself. It’s either be happy with husband, mom, dad, life, etc OR be depressed with husband, mom, dad, life, etc? Which one sounds healthier? Which predicament would you rather be in? Maybe your like me where no matter which I chose I’d still find myself in happy. Maybe that’s the real answer to your own question…The answer is that, There’s really no difference… That’s just my opinion…

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    1. I hadn’t even thought of it from that perspective. You pose excellent thoughts and questions here…the most important being “Which one sounds healthier?” which I would change to “Which one IS healthier?” You’ve given me something to ponder. I know right now I’ll be unhappy in both situations…I feel like my choices are all bad, bad, bad, bad, aannnnd bad. I hope I would be able to find contentment somewhere along the line, it’s just hard to see past the current moment and think anything could be better. Some days I feel like I can’t catch a break and it just keeps getting harder. Maybe I’m just being too overdramatic and negative about it. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate your perspective.

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      1. Secret, I’m not gonna lie. I’ll tell you right off the bat that I’m a negative and unhappy person… And I’m beginning to think like you “Am I being too over dramatic. Am I over thinking these things, and if I’d even be happy in a heathier environment if I actually was in a heathier environment?” Someone JUST told me the other day that the reason why I’m unhappy was because I didn’t think posive enough… dude that bullshit to me, because I don’t live in fantasy land. lol, and thinking “posive” never got me anywhere anyway, ya know what I’m saying?? We (people like you and I) tend to “overthink” these things because we’re scared. We suffer from anxiety because of it. We’re trying our hardest not to take it to the worst level possible which is… (gulp) suicidal thoughts. And thinking positive ain’t gonna save us either way. There has to be something out there that will either heathily help us cope or snap out of this dreary dark hole. There just has to be and we gotta keep searching….

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      2. I’ll admit, I’ve had some of those same thoughts you have at one time or another, all the way to the suicidal “life isn’t worth living anymore,” as well. My mother said all the time “just be positive…” in every situation that got uncomfortable to her, while all the while she was emotionally abusing and neglecting me while she probably also knew my father was hurting me. I hated when she said it. So obviously I can be negative and cynical about “just be positive” as well. I don’t like to live there, though, and try hard not to, but sometimes it is what it is and no amount of “feel good” talk takes the negative away. I don’t think you are alone in how you feel. I like the thought of something that healthily and practically helps us out of this place…so yes, we have to keep looking for that place that walks us towards healing and peace. My therapist would tell me it’s God.

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      3. I stop questioning about it. I live in the here and now, now. lol! I need results now, not over time. Do you know I stayed unhappy for the first 10 years of my marriage as a true Christian all because I was told to “pray” on it by other Christian women? Puh! I’ve already been waiting over 35 years to get straight in the head. Lol! I’m done being patient…

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      4. There are some Christians that end up being the most insensitive and naive in handling these horrible situations. That is not good advice. Praying, yes, is good, but it’s absolutely not the be all, end all magic wand to fix all problems. Faith can’t exist without action. Sometimes you just need to make choices for your own sanity and safety. God doesn’t instruct us to stay in abusive relationships, nor do I believe He’d want us to if it hindered our growth.

        Ugh, I’m so sorry that was your experience. That’s awful and frustrating and very unsupportive and invalidating. I had a similar experience as well about 10 years ago from a woman in my church who learned about my husband and also told me “just pray about it.” Well, 10 years later I’m also still in a bad situation. I was so frustrated with her at the time that I never talked to her about anything again…and our paths crossed very regularly. When Christians are the ones who drive others away from the church, that stirs up an angry fire in me. It’s not how God designed the church to work.

        I think being in the here and now is ok. There’s a time for needing results now, and there’s a time for waiting. This is your journey. You know you best. You do what you need.

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  3. I don’t really know what to say… I was in a similar place for way too many years. I don’t really know how I escaped except that in many ways it was forced upon me. I would be lying to say joy and “freedom” was felt on the other side. Once free, the real battle began and I was raped by my therapist that I was trying to get help from for all my past abuse. So no, life did NOT get better for me… not in the way I had hoped. I still struggle today.

    I do understand all of your fears. I have lost ALL of my family… everything! It has been heart wrenching. I will not mention the extent of all that I lost.

    But because I took that step, as painful as it was, I did find my very devoted and loving husband. Was that easy, NO! It was excruciating letting him into my life, but he
    stayed.

    I won’t tell you it will be easy to leave everything behind. And it has taken me a very long time to be able to realize… but it was the best thing I could have ever done. There was no place for me to exist or grow or be where I am now.

    I am terrified of my repressed memories. And I don’t know when or if they will ever be remembered or what they hold.

    It is kind of like being in labor… you NEVER feel ready to give birth and go through labor pains. And yet somehow we manage to survive… which is as miraculous as the new life we give birth to.

    One thing I will tell you, I don’t regret leaving. But I do regret that I didn’t leave sooner. This is a choice that is individual and one we each must make on our own. No one can or should ever judge an individuals choice. It is not an easy one to make. It feels like jumping off a cliff without knowing how far you will fall or if someone or anything will catch you! I get that!!!!

    My heart truly does go out to you!!! Always follow your gut instincts. We are taught through abuse to feel guilt and feel responsible for others. But being stuck in that cycle is a part of the abuse we must free ourselves from! I truly wish you the very best. You deserve it!

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    1. I know you have been through so much. Your story was the first one I found and read when I was searching for anything I could relate to and I still have so much anger and frustration for you. I do feel what you have realized over time. I don’t know if I can grow or exist in my current world. I feel stuck and stunted. I just want to feel better. Even though everything hurts so much right now I am curious about it all. It fascinates me as things make sense or a new revelation or memory comes in. I’m curious about what could be, but the fear is insurmountable for me right now to pursue it sometimes. And I battle it and question it and wonder if it’s really true…I feel like a bad person for even thinking about these things sometimes and I feel responsible for so much and take the blame for a lot of things I probably shouldn’t…like you said…

      “We are taught through abuse to feel guilt and feel responsible for others. But being stuck in that cycle is a part of the abuse we must free ourselves from!”

      That second sentence has really helped me start thinking about what patterns I am stuck in.

      I’m so so sorry for all that you have been through and the betrayals that you have experienced along the way as you tried to heal and move on. The loss you have suffered is so great. You give me hope that things can change despite the losses incurred in the process, though. I’m close to having lost everything…it breaks my heart that you have. I appreciate so much when you share and I can connect (which is always). It always helps, so thank you.

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      1. I think one of the hardest parts for me has been the crushing feeling that everything was my fault, that I am a bad person for freeing myself from the evil and chaos that was my life. It almost broke me so many times. We can know intellectually in our minds that what we are doing is right, but emotionally it is very hard.

        I shared with you all of that only to let you know that I do get you. I understand your struggle and the stronghold your current situation has on you.

        I would advise you to talk to your therapist about all of this. He will be able to gauge your emotional stability and help you in whatever choices you make.

        I wanted you to know that life can be different for you. And yes, sometimes it means trading one struggle for a different one. But what we are talking about is emotional freedom as well as physical.

        You don’t have to feel rushed into anything. I did take time to plan and prepare my escape. You do need some sense of security. I opened a bank account in my name, got a PO Box for the statement to be sent to. And saved some money to have what I needed to get a place. I talked to an attorney. You have small children and may be advised to try and keep your home, and not leave it. You don’t have to feel rushed.

        You are amazing! I do feel deeply for all that you struggle with!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, exactly. Even though I know things logically, emotionally it’s torment. I told my therapist today I feel such a weight lately to make a decision about what to do. He just looked at me and said, “No you don’t.” I appreciated hearing that, so thank you for saying it too.

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  4. You’ve hit THAT point where you know you deserve better. You don’t have to go back to the abusive family if you choose to leave an unhappy marriage. There doesn’t have to be a trade of bad for bad does there? I wish you the smoothest transition in whatever choice you make. I wish you a new fluffy robe that comforts you

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    1. I don’t think I will ever want to go back to my family…I don’t know though, time will tell if those relationships can or will be reconciled and I don’t need to go back to leave my current situation, and I wouldn’t. That would be very unstable and not at all good. You are right. I have learned I what I’ve had is not at all normal…I don’t ever feel like I deserve better…but I know I don’t necessarily deserve what has come my way throughout life.

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  5. I have only just started to know you through your story, so it’s very presumptuous of me to give you advice, but I do know a little of what it is like to leave one abusive situation, or think you’ve found someone to help you, only to discover that you’ve walked into another abusive situation. Looking back I can safely say that in every case where I’ve left a relationship (whether with an individual or a group) that has been hurting me it was better to leave sooner rather than later. I always wondered in retrospect why I stayed so long – it was nearly always because I thought things would get better, or other people tried to convince me they would. In my heart I knew they wouldn’t, but it was acceptance of that fact rather than mere knowledge which made the difference.

    So I would say to you – please don’t go back to an abusive family. I know you are also in a really difficult position with such a large family of your own and that makes it very difficult to consider leaving an abusive marriage. I do not believe that leaving an abusive or unfaithful husband is “breaking your family” – HE has already done that, and whatever choices you make are with the intention of saving what you can from the broken pieces. Only you can know what feels safe and right for you – if you ever were to feel that you or your children were physically in danger at any point I would urge to leave as soon as possible whatever the financial consequences, but if you feel safe in that regard maybe right now it is enough to have the idea that you *could* leave at some point in the future and to think about what that freedom might mean for you and to slowly gather around you the means to take that step if and when it feels right. I am with Bethany on this – don’t feel as if your only choice is between two abusive situations.

    I want to say as well that in my own life I have found a few people who are solid and trustworthy, but understanding this about them has come over a long period of time. One of the things I am learning to do at the moment is to see what it is about these people that makes them ‘safe’, and to apply those same standards to new relationships.

    I hope I haven’t stuck my nose in where it wasn’t wanted – please say if I have overstepped the line. Best wishes, DV.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you so much for sharing your experience, your insight, and your thoughts. There were several things you said that really impacted me in a positive way and have helped balance out my thoughts some around this. I do have regret that I did not have courage to leave sooner (like 10 years ago, sooner…) as things only get more complicated as time goes on, it feels. So I don’t have that in my corner. However, the point you made about him breaking the family first was a good reminder and I like the picture of looking at it as the gathering and saving of the good that’s left and preserving it and protecting it from further harm. We are not in physical danger, so there is not an urgency in that sense. Holding to that thought of what freedom looks like for me is something I have begun to think about some, so this encouraged me to keep doing that and to work towards taking that step if I decide to. It’s intentional. I like that. The awareness you are practicing in your current healthy relationships is also very good. This will be something I will be paying attention to now. Thank you again for your thoughtfulness. I understand your hesitation around commenting with what you did, but I appreciate and am thankful that you took the risk.

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  7. I know those feelings well. I took a anxiety course many years ago. One exercise taught me to separate the things I have no control over and let them go. Also to jot down possible ways of facing the things I can control and start trying them out. It’s all about baby steps.
    I’ve also learned to find what I have to my advantage in any situation and use it.
    I’m still searching for the light at the end of the tunnel myself but at least now, I can believe there is one.

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