Yes this is forever later than the date my PTSD flared up so significantly. I was able to handle it quickly without the intrusive thoughts festering much beyond the date/time frame surrounding them. They weren’t festering and bothering me so I couldn’t muster the emotional energy necessary to sit down and write about it. lol.
Anyway… I had a significant PTSD flare up… For the longest time I couldn’t place why I had been struggling with January 30th for the past several years. With the help of my sister and her paper journals I was eventually able to piece it together.
There are actually two significant events that took place on/around January 30th which had a significant emotional impact upon me. They do both have to do with my ex (unfortunately) and probably just now surfaced due to the amount of healing I’ve accomplished in recent months. I’m not going to get into specifics about each event because they’re not necessary. What’s impacted me so significantly even a decade later is the theme of both events and the stark contrast which it paints in my mind of the person whom I loved in my youth.
He never loved me, and chose to abuse me from day one until long after the relationship ended. Only recently has he began to lose interest in making me his victim to be honest, and even that waxes and wanes with whatever mood strikes him. Those parts of our relationship have always been true, but like many other victims of various forms of abuse I wasn’t always able to see it so clearly. The two events which triggered me are a big part of that reason. I’m not even going to begin to speculate his reasoning behind them, but two of the most honest and poignant conversations happened between us on/around January 30th.
The first was an argument which escalated quite quickly and intensely. All these years later I don’t even really remember the specifics of the argument only that we were screaming at each other and being particularly brutal in our verbal barbs. He kept insisting that he was merely giving me honest insight into my mental state to “help me”, and I kept fighting against him knowing that what he was saying wasn’t true, and certainly wasn’t said with anything other than hurtful intent. The argument ended with us standing in the front doorway. He stepped forward to strike me; then thought better of it and slammed the door in my face instead. Which should have been a huge red flag that he would eventually physically strike me several weeks later. On Feb 28th, 2006 actually while we’re talking about past traumas…
ANYWAY… fast forward several years after our breakup when my ex and I sort of made amends. At least the goal was to make amends, but I think it just made everything more dramatic in the long run. We had a conversation which was civil and cathartic. He repeated some of the same sentiments he had shared during the past argument explosion, but this time since we weren’t screaming at one another I took them to heart. In essence he did help me providing the insight I needed to seek professional therapy.
The second event is much like the first. He was regularly seeing another woman (or two) at the time. I ended up in the emergency room because I had contracted a UTI at some point from his various escapades. Thankfully it was only a UTI, but it knocked me off my feet for almost a month. During that month he was very attentive to my every need. He stayed with me nightly for two weeks while I was on the strongest of my various antibiotcs and unable to take care of myself. He cleaned the apartment, he prepared me meals; he took care of me. He even came and picked me up from the ER and carried me up the stairs to my third floor apartment. Of course he was also the reason that I was in such a state to begin with, but it’s still difficult to accept that he was capable of being a loving and concerned individual, yet also callous and uncaring at the same time.
I’ve long since come to realize that his “caring” wasn’t much more than a clever manipulation to keep me around, but still those emotional memories are some of the hardest to release from my trauma loop. The date of the most violent rape between us comes and goes without so much as a flicker on my emotional radar. The date of our initial break up passes as well. I’ve been able to come to terms and release the emotional energy surrounding all of the bad things that happened between us. I keep getting stuck on the good things that he did for me, even if his only intentions were to manipulate me.
It makes it very hard to trust my memories of the horrible experiences he put me through. Which is probably the motivation he had behind “caring” about me at all. It’s a fairly textbook form of emotional abuse. But it’s also within the realm of how one operates while coping and recovering from a traumatic brain injury. In fact, I fought long and hard for him because I couldn’t distinguish the difference between his behaviors until last May. Last May he made the choice to vandalize my home; then violate my privacy by breaking in. My daughter identified him, and we filed a report with the police. Unfortunately my PTSD kicked in and blocked most of the memories until a week later when all of the evidence had been compromised and there was little the authorities could do about it.
That was the truly eye opening moment where the last shred of doubt was removed from my mind. It made me feel incredibly foolish for giving him the benefit of the doubt for so damn long, using the few “good moments” as justification for his criminal, and abusive behaviors. Even in the midst of dealing with my own emotions regarding the damage he caused me I fought so hard for him to be the good guy. I made every excuse under the sun to defend his horrible behavior hoping that the good moments actually made him a good person with a difficult past, brain injury, and good albeit broken heart.
He is a person with a difficult past, and brain injury. That was about the only truth he ever told me, but his heart is far from good. He shared troubled and often fabled things from “his past” with me then left them open for my interpretation. I saw a hurting, troubled boy who just needed someone in his corner to help him overcome the shitty hand that he had been dealt in life. I’ve since come to realize that the depressing reality is that he doesn’t want any sort of help. He’s entirely self aware and capable of healing the wounds inflicted in his boyhood, but he doesn’t want to.
His life is his own, and those choices are his to make. It doesn’t make him less than for choosing that path. I just wish I wouldn’t have fought so hard on his behalf toward something he didn’t even really want. I wish I would have realized sooner that I could forgive him for every wrong he’s ever done, I could love him until the sun fell from the sky, I could have gotten the highest paying job, supported his every dream wholeheartedly, been the mother of his children; but none of that would have ever mattered because he wants to be broken. He’ll never break out of his cycle of self sabotage. He’ll never be faithful. He’ll never grow beyond where he is right now. He’s comfortable in his identity and the perpetual cycle of abuse that surrounds him. He’s complacent in this empty shell of a person who lashes out an random both emotionally and physically toward anyone in his path. It’s not because he can’t, but because he won’t.
That’s the fundamental difference between us and why our broken souls could never be whole. We have many of the same wounds, and even share some abusive tendencies. The difference is that I want to get better. I want to fight for the good parts of myself instead of giving in to the patterns of abuse so deeply engrained in my psyche. I could just as easily give up and justify bad behavior, but I won’t.