My husband isn’t perfect. I know that, so this post isn’t going to be about castigation. In the grand scheme of things, this probably isn’t a big deal either. It doesn’t change how I feel or that I now need to write about it. We’ll start off with therapy first as this led directly to the conversation with my husband.
I told my therapist about what happened the other night. I explained to her that even as I was experiencing these feelings, I knew that they were…well, not wrong, because that’s not true, but that they were out of sync with what was actually happening. She agreed with Freasha and Broken Girl as to the nature of what happened and what I needed to do to help the situation.
She said that I experienced feeling memories (which can also be called emotional memories if you like). I asked her how she knew that. She talked about studies about the brain and war veterans that showed how a person could be sitting in a perfectly calm environment and suddenly feel a surge of emotions that makes no sense considering where there are. She said that when you feel strong emotions that are out of proportion to what’s actually happening, you know that it’s a feeling memory.
We listed those feelings: the sense of betrayal, the feeling of “How dare you touch me there!”, the fear, the thought that I deserved it and should therefore just lay there and take it, etc.
She said, “Isn’t it obvious that this is connected to what happened to you?” I couldn’t fully agree because I don’t know everything that happened for sure. I brought up the example of feeling my husband slide over next to me in the bed and the accompanying feelings of fear. I told her that I have no reason to feel that way. She quickly responded with a, “You don’t know that. You don’t know if there was a bed, or if he came up behind you in some way. It could even be about someone sneaking up behind you, because a predator isn’t going to talk to you face to face and say ‘Hey, I’m going to touch you.’ (I’ll add: at least not at first perhaps)There’s a reason, you just don’t know it.”
Fine, I’ll yield to that thinking for now as I can admit that I don’t know. Not knowing seems to be the theme of this whole damn process.
Anyway, I realized belatedly, that I felt sadness at the thought that these feelings were based on something real that happened. My mind has gone back from time to time during this last week to the sensations I used to have when I was growing up of having a man in my bed. Those times would I would wake up and sense a presence there and I would just freeze in terror. It would take an eternity for me to turn over and look. There wasn’t anyone there but I still remember how that felt.
Moving on. Since I told her that I was unable to speak up in this instance, my therapist suggested what Freasha suggested, which was to have a word that I could say to let my husband know that he needs to stop whatever it is that he’s doing. Let’s fast forward to yesterday then.
I told my husband that my therapist wanted me to talk to him about the other night. I told him that I was supposed to speak up when I felt triggered or freaked out by something we were doing sexually but that this last time I had been too confused to say stop. I told him that she suggested we come up with a word that I could say. His reaction was not what I expected.
He kind of looked at me funny and said something to the effect of, ‘Why can’t you just tell me?’ at which point I felt like he hadn’t been listening to what I just said, but I repeated it anyway. I also stressed the part about the him coming up behind me in bed, and I told him that my therapist had suggested that he give me a heads up first before sliding over. He said, “Riiight” drawing the word out like that in a sarcastic manner. He then proceeded to go and sit down on the couch and watch T.V. and after a few awkward moments of me standing in the kitchen fidgeting, not knowing what to say, he asked me if there was anything else I was supposed to tell him. There was. She thought I should tell him that I’ve been writing about all this. I told her that I would not tell him that I have a blog as he gets very worried about internet safety and might feel compelled to dig into what I’m doing out of concern for me. We talked about various ways that I could be more honest about what I’m doing without saying the word “blog”. So at this point when he asked the question, that’s what I did. I kept it very simple and didn’t say “blog” but he knows now that I write about this.
After I told him about the writing, I said in a light tone that we still needed to choose a word and he basically implied that the idea was stupid and that he wasn’t going to do that. I tried to joke and said, “What about a gesture? Like the “tap” they talked about on Seinfeld?” He said no and kept watching T.V.
That was the end of it. Later he came in the office and I was on the computer and he said “I love you.” and I muttered it back in a not convincing way and he was like, “What’s wrong with you?” and I said, “Nothing.” and that was that.
The problem was that from that first moment in the kitchen when I brought it up, it was so,so hard to even speak about it. I couldn’t even look at him. I even waited, not bringing it up when he first came home, so he would have time to relax first. And then for him to just…I wanted to cry right there. I didn’t, but my eyes felt all weepy and stupid. In that moment I felt completely alone in this world. I felt that I was dealing with this on my own.
Actually in real life (not here), I am. Yes, I have my therapist, thank goodness, but when it comes to day-to-day living and feelings etc.? I’m on my own. My friends don’t know, and no matter how much my husband has said “I’m here for you.” He’s not. Not really. I think about it now, and I feel like he says that, but that’s only because I don’t actually talk to him about it too much. He can ask, “How was therapy today?” and I say “Fine.” and it stays there. If I’m supposed to talk to him about something it gets more complicated and I get weird looks and I feel like an alien.
Yesterday I ended up failing my goal of eating only 800 calories a day, because I thought I remembered how many calories were in a particular dish and I was off by 200 calories. I’m really angry about that and I’m going to have be harder on myself today to make up for it. I’ll also have to be extra vigilant on the weekend so I don’t mess up. I tend to lose track easier when my husband’s home but I can’t keep doing that, it’s unacceptable.