The really “awesome” thing about dissociating during a traumatic event and your brain temporarily blocking the memories until you’re safe enough to emotionally address them is that the most cozy, comfortable, intimate times are suddenly wrought with flashbacks.
Hubs and I have our 8th anniversary coming up in a few weeks. We’ve already exchanged gifts (just because they arrived and we’re too impatient/curious to wait lol) and we’ve been planning our get weekend away. Things are going great in the House of Hale of late.
Hubs and I were in bed the other night cuddling. I was safe, warm, happy and secure. It was past our usual bed time and I had my eyes closed. He rolled over from his back to his side effectively making me the “little spoon” in our cuddle and all of the sudden
Flashback. I wasn’t with my husband, I was pinned down to the mattress in my apartment, one hand on my neck and the weight of my intruder on top of me. I startled and jumped enough to wake my softly snoring Hubs. He rolled over and that was that.
As I settled back down from the initial shock a few minutes of the memory before and after the initial WTF in my face flashback moment came around. It’s a nice little chunk of the entire puzzle of the break in, but otherwise hasn’t been too emotionally taxing.
I think this event is a lot easier to decompress than my first recovered memory because I’m not grappling with conflicting feelings toward my attacker. I’ve accepted that he’s just not a healthy person capable of making rational or healthy choices. As long as he remains unhealthy, he’s dangerous and there’s nothing that can be done about it. Looking at him through that clarifying lens instead of the blur of love and compassion makes it much easier to wrap my head around the horrible crime he’s committed against me in recent years.
I think it’s also easier to handle my flashbacks now that I understand that they actually are flashbacks and not just “bad memories” that I can’t get rid of. Before I always felt guilty when I had a flashback especially in an intimate moment with my husband. Like I was somehow being subconsciously unfaithful or something. Now I understand that I really don’t have any control over them and the only thing I can do is try to remain grounded and engaged to avoid them, or pause for a few minutes to emotionally address them before moving on.