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Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water…

Deep Breath

Deep Breath (Photo credit: kagey_b)

So having had a few weeks of “should I stay or go?” I was no closer to a decision. I had felt bad for even thinking about leaving… Not just bad for him but bad for us… For how we could be and for considering throwing in the towel when really – like my counsellor had pointed out- we WERE still moving forward. I think it was panic mode resurfacing, can I do this? Am I strong enough? Will things ever get better… CAN WE EVER BE NORMAL??

I felt even more guilty for thinking all of that without telling him any of it. Usually I would say SOMETHING but every time I was close he would surprise me with a new insight or a positive move so I kept it to myself for weeks. BUT the revelation of keeping his eyes open and banishing demons (posted here) gave us the positive boost we needed- it gave me more hope… A massive point to add to the list of pros and cons building in my mind. I felt good… WE felt good.

However, I had noticed that he has stopped doing things, he doesn’t speak to anyone apart from me really, he doesn’t socialise much. I realise that this seems like a random tangent but trust me…it will make sense shortly…anyway- Last week he came home and told me about a game of paintball with some workmates but he immediately said he didn’t want to go, I questioned it, telling him it sounded fun, he should have some time off doing something fun… That I didn’t mind and would enjoy some me time etc but still he said no. I asked if he had noticed that he had stopped going out and he said he hadn’t until I pointed it out and agreed that maybe he should do something. I went shopping over the weekend and suggested he and a friend did something… He was up for that but on the day didn’t see any plans through. He never used to be like this and I’ve recognised the signs from experience- depression, lack of interest, almost hibernating because its easier.

A few days later came back from his next solo therapy session and I casually asked how it went. He was vague and didn’t really say much other than that they spoke about some “stuff” we had all talked about. I let it slide figuring he would tell me more when he was ready and when had got his head around it -like usual- but later he showed no signs of opening up. So I asked if they had spoken about the masturbating/porn. I knew they had because it was the first she had heard about any of it when I went so it was bound to have been a main topic.

stress

stress (Photo credit: bottled_void)

He eyed me suspiciously and asked how I knew so I told him the above. He then said that they had talked about it but I wouldn’t like it so…. This got my back up. I don’t like it when people assume I can’t handle something and more importantly it winds me up that something crucial for us has been discussed without giving me any insight. Obviously I know it’s his session etc but if SHE had an insight which could have helped me understand it better… then I don’t understand why she didn’t bring it up there and then -when I told her in our session. Plus this is exactly what HE does… Tell me bits which make it sound terrible and then I worry and eventually I find out that it wasn’t that bad… It drags it out, it stresses me out, it prolongs the agony.

I didn’t push him for it because … Well it’s not right to do that but I got angry (inside) and that massive pro quickly dissolved (and then some) tipping the scales back the other way and making me wonder what the fucking point was. Later still he asked if I really wanted to know (erm duh) and so he told me…

“Ok… She told me to masturbate – without you- and I said no. She asked why and I said that I didn’t need or want to because what we do works, that you wouldn’t be ok with that… and i wouldn’t either. She pushed me and tried to persuade me but I still said no and told her we would have to think of something else… She said I should because its something for me… For myself and that I shouldn’t feel guilty for doing something for me”

*Deep breath…Adopt calm voice and…*

“Firstly thank you for telling me and thank you for saying no. she’s right – you shouldn’t feel guilty for doing something for yourself but you but it’s more about the lying about it, hiding it and affecting others in such a negative way that is not ok. Also for her to suggest that makes me doubt that the extent of you doing it was discussed between you truthfully as I don’t think she would suggest that if she knew… So what happens now? Is this you telling me that someone else has suggested it so now you’re considering it or…?

He said no, he wasn’t going to do it and he had told her about the paintball etc he hugged me tight and asked what I thought about it all. Reluctant to say anything damaging I mulled it over and considered her point. Yes it’s good for him to do things for himself but ultimately it’s  his actions before now that have added to the issue surrounding it. Now she’s suggested it its added the paranoia that had faded drastically back into the mix, it actually makes me feel sick thinking about going against everything I feel is right and crushing myself further for the sake of a quick release… If I were to consider her point about the oxygen mask (posted here) then saying that any of this was ok would be the opposite of what she had suggested. Is this what he needs? Am I wrong to be so against it? Am I preventing him from getting better? Am I fuck!

And so I told him

“Again, it’s good that you said no but do you agree with it? Do you think it would help? (No) Honestly i don’t know if i can do this… do you know I’ve been thinking about leaving? (no…for how long?) for a few weeks now but every time I’ve been on the edge something good has happened and we have moved forward. The other night I turned you down because I couldn’t take it anymore, because all this shit about sex and wanking makes me feel sick and I don’t have the mental energy to pretend I’m ok with it every time but then we had a breakthrough and it felt great but now it’s back to square one.

What she has suggested puts the paranoia back because you’ve been given the go ahead by one person so surely that plants that fucking seed again? We had been making progress in the bedroom and it was working for us but now I’m going to be worried about saying no again in case you do it yourself out of spite (I wouldn’t do that… Is that what you think?) yes! And now even more so. I mean am I supposed to sit downstairs and be ok with it? (No because its not going to happen) you already get to do that for you the difference is that I’m with you… you’re still the one doing it! that’s a compromise we have established and i thought that was good for both if us (it is… i like that you’re with me) It’s already enough that we have to do that together – me being there is the only way I can get intimacy from it and I’m sorry but there are others things to do for you… You could go out, you can do what you want (i know and that’s what i told her) I don’t turn you down and then go and have a wank to suit myself.

Aside from that she’s now made me think I’m wrong, its made me question whether or not i am actually helping or adding to all of this and its made me doubt my own morals. I’m sorry but I can’t go along with something that will make me feel even worse than I already do… So if YOU want to do it then do it… I will understand and i don’t want to be the one hindering your progress…But I will not be here anymore. THAT by the way was a 10 on the scale of difficulty”

WELCOME TO MY WORLD

WELCOME TO MY WORLD (Photo credit: FUNKYAH)

He kissed me and thanked me for my 10. He reassured me that I am NOT hindering anything, that he wasn’t going to do anything and that “if it wasn’t for you god knows where I would be right now… You’re the reason I’m trying to get better so I can be a better person for me and a better husband for you… Because I do not want to lose you” he told me I should talk to him when I feel like leaving and asked how to make it better. I told him I understood how hard it is for him and that I’m never going to force him to tell me anything – its not like j could if i wanted to!- but I just need to be let in and feel PART of his world … Just like I let him into mine…

And that’s when it happened…

To be continued

xBx

 
 

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A new perspective: Thinking INSIDE the box

Three-Point Perspective

Three-Point Perspective (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As mentioned yesterday I recently received an email from a fellow blogger. He told me he knew personally about the numbness of PTSD and wanted to give his perspective on the whole situation… ‘How I felt, what caused it, and most importantly, what you can do for your husband as he goes through this’

The emails went back and forth between us, we established that all experience of PTSD is different…every PERSON is different and that some situations or causes are more complex and deeper rooted than others… BUT regardless it was encouraging to read his account. It helped me to understand SOME of what my husband is going through and he’s also offered to write some guest posts for me to delve deeper and explain more about it so those posts will be up soon. For now…I want to share with you some of the points which struck a chord with me and hopefully help YOU to understand a little bit more too.

‘I want to try and explain this part clearly so you know what your husband is going through. I know this probably has to be the most confusing aspect of PTSD for you – I knew I had a heart because I could feel my pulse, but I could not FEEL any emotion whatsoever.

…as for your husband, I have no idea why he has PTSD so I cannot tell you what to avoid or how to specifically help him, but I can tell you what I would have liked as I was going through it…

  • Love him – This part is going to SUCK, because you won’t get much love in return. Hold him. Kiss him…While his heart may not understand, his head will. When he finally awakens, you will have a stronger relationship.
  • This one will be especially hard. Make love to him. Loveless sex may be difficult for you, but the intimacy would be appreciated by him. His sex drive may be lower right now. If so, it definitely isn’t you, so don’t put that blame on your own shoulders. With his brain in overdrive, the thoughts may not be focused on sex.
  • Get him help – This is beyond your abilities to help him by yourself. PTSD is evil. Being a zombie is evil. Living that way feels awful. The sooner he can talk about it and deal with it, the better.
  • Encourage him to write – It helps. Buy him a notebook and pens. If he is writing, don’t disturb him. If he asks that you not read the notebooks, respect his penned words and leave them alone. The words will only hurt you and it will break his trust.
  • Encourage him to exercise and eat right. After fights with the ex, I would walk the city streets at 1-2 am. It was the only thing that helped calm me down. Look for a co-ed sport that you both can participate in. Talk walks together. If he wants to talk, let him talk. If he doesn’t, talk to him about ANYTHING OTHER THAN THE PTSD. Make walking and meal times PTSD free zones. Don’t let him eat fast food as it will only make him feel gross physically. Encourage him to eat right because he needs all the brain power he can get.
  • Limit video games – I’m a gamer and I started playing A LOT. I didn’t have to think when I was playing. I didn’t have to feel when I was playing. I could get lost in the world I was playing in. While it can be a help at times, don’t let him go overboard. Men like to go to our “cave” when we are dealing with issues. Don’t let him get lost in his online cave.
  • Don’t ask him how he feels. He doesn’t fucking know. Honestly. Pressuring him to answer that question or any other question about feelings is going to make it worse. In fact, try not to talk about emotions as much as possible. Yes, that is unnatural and completely foreign to you.
  • Don’t take what he says personally – I remember saying some crazy shit during that period of time. Remember, he cannot feel, so statements he makes have no emotional motivation to them. They are just words. Conversely, try to remember that your husband is in a PTSD cocoon. He may want to tell you that he loves you…but he can’t feel it right now. When he does say the words, in whatever form he says them, cherish them. I’m sure it was hard for him to say them.
  • Find a support system for yourself – You will not be getting the same kind of love from your husband as you are used to. Rely on family and friends. Treat yourself to a spa day once in a while and keep up your appearance. Go out with the girls and get drunk and dance your ass off. You deserve it. This is FUCKING HARD! It is perfectly OK to spoil yourself once in a while to recharge your batteries.

You two CAN DO THIS! You can win against EVIL. You can get your husband back. You can have an AMAZING marriage. It CAN BE DONE. Do not GIVE UP. Failure is NOT an option. I have faith in both of you.

I will do my best to help you understand what he is dealing with and I will give you as much insight as I can. Honestly, I lived with that shit for far too long. If I can help your husband get better, I will, because I know exactly how it DOESN’T feel.’

There IS hope

xBx

 
 

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#1 Brown paper packages tied up with string…

Brown Paper Package Tied Up With String

Brown Paper Package Tied Up With String (Photo credit: Peter E. Lee)

Today my husband told me…

‘You are my favourite person – because you accept me as I am’

xBx

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2013 in Honestly...

 

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And she’s cracked

Cracked baseball

Cracked baseball (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Am I strong? Or just really fucking weak?

I apologise in advance if this post is all over the place (and full of bad bad words & exclamation marks), this is the raw shit coming out, the floodgates have opened and the panic has set in. I hope that by the time this is published I’m in a better place. Unlike the back-story- this is being written in (my) real time (and published up to a week after) but I’m writing it as its happening and as I’m feeling it…and I don’t know the ending of this one.

I’ve finally cracked, I’m angry, I’m worried, I’m anxious as fuck; I’m crying – A LOT, I’m sad, I’m hurt and I’m so confused. Is putting up with all of this really strength? Or is it just stopping fighting because I don’t have the energy for it anymore?

I mean, what the fuck am I getting out of this? Am I really settling for a MARRIAGE where only one of us loves the other? I’ve built up barriers so anything I did have left of us is non existent because what’s the point in cuddling up and kissing when none of it is real? I even flinch when he comes near me, not because I think -even for a second- that he would physically hurt me but because its like a stranger coming on to me, I don’t know which him I’m with, I don’t know where the affection is coming from, I don’t know what he’s going to get out of it and I don’t know what mental weapon he’s going to surprise me with next to psychologically beat me with.

And yet I’m still here, why? Oh wait…its because I’m fucking weak! I must be…otherwise why would sneaking into bed with him just to cuddle up and cry while he sleeps- blissfully unaware- be any kind of comfort for me? A strong person doesn’t live on hope every day…do they? They don’t pretend to everyone that nothing is going on…do they? If I wasn’t weak surely I would have left by now…but I haven’t.

194.365- Tea for Who?

194.365- Tea for Who? (Photo credit: Send me adrift.)

Its because the thought of being with anyone else is absolutely terrifying. To even consider going through this again with anyone…to contemplate ever trusting anyone else…to imagine having to rebuild my entire life AGAIN! How the fuck would I do that? How could I ever trust anyone after this? How could I ever be happy? I don’t WANT to do it again, I don’t WANT to find someone else and I don’t WANT this to be happening! So I either have to fight for it and keep trying and keep HOPING that something changes and something gets better or I let it go…but I don’t know how to do either of those things.

The idea kills me, it really does, I see no light at the end of the tunnel in either situation. I’m lost, I’m confused and right now I would welcome a bus to the face just so I could avoid having to deal with any of this anymore.

As anyone who has read my past blog will know- I was happy, I was totally, madly, deeply in love with this man; I didn’t see this coming and I doubt any of you did either….and I can not believe that that wasn’t real! I don’t WANT to believe it…because that would mean accepting it and having to actually face facts that my marriage is over!

Oh my god that’s so hard to say! It hurts SO much! And HE has done this! HE has ruined it, he’s ruined our marriage…he’s broken my heart and ruined my life! How could I even consider pretending thats OK? How am I meant to act as if nothing has happened? How am I supposed to carry on, to support him and to keep sight of why all while reminding him why he wants me to be the one to be with him through it? How am I supposed to be able to stay ‘me’, to stay stable and consistent when so much has changed?

I couldn’t even walk away from this and feel like I’ve learnt anything…because the only thing I have learnt is that you cant ever trust anyone…ever! Not even yourself because you play tricks on yourself and put yourself through shit with no good end result. But I knew that before, I knew it and I let him trick me into believing otherwise…and I did! I fucking fell for it!

And yet I don’t blame him, I wish I did but I really don’t. I honestly don’t believe he’s done this on purpose, I don’t think he’s set out to play some cruel game on me I genuinely believe he is as messed up and as confused as I am. I believe he has an illness, I believe he doesn’t know what he’s feeling or what’s acceptable behaviour, I believe subconsciously he’s doing things without understanding it…and that’s what’s stopping me from heading for the door…but is that strength or stupidity? And that’s what I believe…I’ve believed other stuff and look where that’s got me! I don’t KNOW that for sure, I don’t KNOW anything any more. I don’t know how I can carry on like this, I don’t know that anything will get better – or even if it COULD. My mind is all over the place, I don’t know what to think, I cant think any more because it gets me nowhere but overall I don’t WANT to think about it anymore, I don’t want to have to think about anything.

lies [disneyfied]

lies [disneyfied] (Photo credit: the|G|™)

I feel like a toddler having a tantrum, stamping my feet and screaming ‘somebody sort this out for me RIGHT NOW!!’ its like that fucking puppy in 101 Dalmatians that almost dies and the owner ‘hopes’ that by rubbing it it will come back to life….but it does doesn’t it? They hope and it works…another Disney LIE…just like that happily ever after shit.

I don’t know what to do, are you all screaming at the screen and telling me I’m being stupid?
is it stupid for me to stay? Am I just a fool? Is it understandable for me to want to stay and see this through to whatever end result it brings? I cant stop hoping, I’m not ready to; if I stopped hoping then I really would have nothing left…am I allowed to keep holding on to hope?

xBx

***I wrote this one week ago, and reading it back now its safe to say I am feeling much better, I considered deleting it but decided not to because I feel that anyone reading this should see ALL of my journey; unedited and raw. It shows that I AM human, it proves the ups and downs and the physical strain on a person at a time like this. Hopefully anyone who is having a hard time will find comfort in the thought tha It DOES get better, you CAN make it out the other side and you ARE allowed to grieve.***

 
 

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Part 11: Hope

elephant talk

elephant talk (Photo credit: gin_able)

A week after he had thrown the word ’divorce’ at me, he came home and was ready to talk.

He told me that despite me telling him not to think about therapy right now…he had done and he had realised that he needed help. Basically he gave the ultimatum that its therapy (not starting tomorrow but within the next 2 weeks and with a different therapist) or it’s over between us because he couldn’t allow me to put myself through this unless something was going to change for the better.

I had asked if he loved me and he told me honestly that he didn’t know…but he did know that he didn’t want to be without me. He enjoyed having me around, he liked spending time with me and I was the only person in the world that didn’t make him feel alone. He wanted me to be the one by him side, the one to help him through this… but he understood if I wanted to leave.

I told him that I intended to stay with him, to support him but until I had experienced the real him I had no idea how I would cope or react. I would need to keep seeing my own counsellor for moral support and I would need to understand his frame of mind…his motives…his world. I wasn’t going to push him into anything again but at the same time I wasn’t going to allow him to shit all over me. If he wanted 2 weeks until he started thinking about therapy then fair enough…but if it gets to 2 weeks and nothings been booked then I would choose one for him and hand him the fucking phone!

I had asked what would change…he’d said he wasn’t sure. I’d asked if hugs and cuddles were out of the window if he came back (he said no) which prompted me to ask whether he would benefit from them…or actually want to cuddle…or whether he would be doing it to shut me up…he’d said he could go for cuddles.I asked why he had done it, why he didn’t just be himself from the start and see what happened, and why he had gone as far as marrying me when it hadn’t worked? He’d said he thought maybe I could be the person to change him, he wanted to change and he wanted to feel something. He felt guilty…which I pointed out was a feeling…an emotion…he thought maybe he felt a little guilt, sometimes a little sad or a little happy but he didn’t know for sure. Mainly the only thing he ever felt was numb. He didn’t look numb though, he actually looked quite sad -which of course I pointed out- but he said he didn’t feel sad…maybe he’d repressed it that much that he didn’t realise it anymore.

I told him I would need to ask him questions all the time in order to try and understand what was happening…that’s just the way I am; that I was worried that that alone would push him over the edge or simply push him away. I told him he would need to be honest and “himself” in order to go anywhere…there was no point in falling back into the old habits because that would just prolong the bullshit. He agreed with all of the above, he seemed OK in general, just a bit quieter…sadder than the normal him.

...Hope...

…Hope… (Photo credit: ĐāżŦ {mostly absent})

Of course I was apprehensive about things to come but there was no way I was giving up on us. By this time I had googled ‘emotional numbness’ until my eyes ached. It was actually reassuring and a massive relief to see that so many other people were going through the same thing as him. I had cross referenced symptoms and causes, downloaded articles…talked it out with my counsellor…with people on specific forums…my trusted friend…everything I could think of. It was through doing this that the idea of mental illness/disorders (apologies if that’s not the right terminology) in particular PTSD (which i have an added an info page about here) came to light, everything fitted, my counsellor agreed and I felt better in the thought that there was an answer to all of this…a reason…a cause. OK so its still shitty and we still dont know for sure but at least its something we can work with, something we can try to understand and most of all its not because he’s just a massive dickhead. It doesn’t excuse everything but it does make sense of it all…most of all it gives me hope.

He was home, for me that was all that mattered right then. The fact that we have a chance to work through this and a chance for closure one way or another; a chance to figure out whether we could live with the changes that were due to come…and I felt ready…until he went up to bed…without saying ‘I love you’
xBx

 

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