Wednesday, June 24, 2009

And it comes full circle

Chronic masturbation. Eating disorder. Sleeplessness. Aversion to performing oral sex. These are a few of the issues that have plagued me throughout my adult life. I never connected them. I never gave them much thought at all. It was just my life. And when I could, I avoided potential situations.

The last year has brought clarity to many of my behaviors and reactions to life. Ten months ago the LOML was talking "dirty" to me (which he does often). It was playful and as often happens, it escalates to really hot, sexually tense conversations. Ten months ago during one of these exchanges, I was referred to in a rather crude manner -- as his fuck bitch. I didn't take offense because this was not said in a derogatory way, it was not meant to hurt. However, hours later in my car I had a flashback to a time in my 20's when I was raped. It was a trauma and recalling the incident, retraumatized me and traumatized the LOML. It took many months of therapy, discussions, etc. to accept this trauma into my life and his. It was the crude talk that triggered the memory. It silenced the LOML for many months.

A few days ago during a particularly pleasurable sexual encounter with the LOML something new emerged...my past aversion to blow jobs (pardon the crudity). This repulsion I always felt was in such opposition to what I experienced with my love that I laid awake that night trying to remember sexual encounters with past husbands and lovers. Did I really hate that? Yes, I believe I did but I can't remember much. It's strange that two decades of a sex life just disappears. I couldn't remember a specific encounter but the feeling in my gut wasn't good. More importantly, I realized, was that oral sex was just not something I did. Semen repulsed me. And I know from personal experience (I think) that when someone drinks alcohol and eats spicy food, their sweat stinks and their semen is worse. That stench filled our bathroom growing up. Maybe it was closer to me than I imagine.

Later that night, after our sex play, the LOML went home and sent me emails which I didn't open until the next morning. The first email was again very crude and not meant to harm but it pushed a button in me. My eyes welled up with tears and I quickly hit the delete button. Then I emptied my trash so I wouldn't have to see it again. The LOML knew none of this and for the rest of the morning continued to send me very sexually explicit text messages. Each vibration of an incoming message felt like an electrical shock zapping my emotional soul. Still I didn't tell the LOML that I was in trouble. I texted back - nothing too sexual -- but nothing that gave him an inkling that I wasn't okay. I didn't want to him to know. Finally I couldn't take any more. I felt on the verge on an emotional break and I emailed him. I wasn't able to explain to him what went wrong because I didn't know. Again, I think it was the sexual crudeness of the that early morning email that triggered something upsetting.

I could go on and on about this topic because I have many more thoughts but I can't right now. The LOML is positive that my reaction the other night and months ago is the proof of my sexual abuse - oral sexual abuse.

I still live in a place of emotional denial. This makes sense; it is feasible; it is probably reality, but when I try to feel it, I dissociate. Last night I convinced myself that I have made all these stories up. But have I made up the effects? The LOML has lived them with me; he has suffered them with me. And why would I make this up? Am I a total psycho? And if I was a psycho, what caused me to become one? Abuse. And it comes full circle.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

memories - cobwebs in my mind

I spent several hours in the car with my sister and mother today. Our conversations started with my sister turning to glance at me in the back seat and asking, "Do you remember when...?" I asked her earlier in the week to spend a little time with me and share any memories she had about growing up. They didn't have to be about me -- just our family. It was my homework from Dr. B. She decided being captive in the car with our mother was the perfect time for sharing memories. My mother was very accommodating. Me, not so much.

"Do you remember when mother was tucking us into bed and she heard dad coming down the hall to kiss us goodnight and she hid under the bed? I was about 3 and I remember us both giggling because we thought it was so funny." No memory.

"Do you remember all the parakeets we had in our room? They only lived about two weeks." Uh-uh.

"Do you remember when I spent your birthday hiding in the closet because you weren't really a princess?" Not really but I've heard the story for decades.

I have a photo of Christmas morning and a pink puppet theatre but I don't remember if it was yours or mine. "Oh, it was mine and I loved it."

Reading The Reader Reaction

I found so many parallels to my own relationship with the LOML (love of my life) in The Reader.

Watching the movie, I was immediately struck by the forbiddenness of the love, the shameful secrets they both coveted, and how those secrets choreographed the movement of their lives. I tried to tell the LOML about it but he wasn't interested in discussing it and although I didn't understand why, I chalked it up to exhaustion, candida die-off, and a bad mood (which is frequently the case). A week later I got my hands on a copy of the book and started reading and again I brought up the subject, to which he snarled just a little and the subject was dropped. It came to my attention a short time later in a text message that he had tried to watch the movie but turned it off because it was too upsetting. He had little compassion for Hanna - she was a rapist and an abuser. When he witnessed Michael's pain in the courtroom upon seeing Hanna, he could take no more. It made him angry and turned the movie off. No more.

Yes, Hanna was an abuser and yes, she committed statutory rape (according to our standards). But I was filled with compassion for both her and Michael and I couldn't quite understand what or why the LOML was filled with such contempt for Hanna and with such agonizing pain from watching Michael's struggles. But he (my love) was clearly suffering. He couldn't sleep. It occupied many conversations we had in person, in email exchanges, even text messages. I tried to understand what he was feeling. He connected to Michael - not knowing who this woman was that he loved so intensely, this woman that altered the course of his entire life. She took advantage of him sexually - she sexually abused him -- and it left him as damaged goods with a lifetime of issues that he didn't know how to heal from.

My love equated that to what happened to me - abusive love that damaged me. But there was no love in my abusive relationships -- desperation, yes; loneliness, yes; fear, yes; terror, absolutely. As I look back on my relationships now, there was no love - there was a driving fear to not be abandoned again and it pushed me into the arms of men I never imagined would be in my life...an abusive alcoholic and a severely mentally unbalanced emotional abuser. It is upsetting my stomach to write those words.

After reading The Reader, a whole new world of understanding unfolded, slowly, page by page, about how the LOML dealt with his love for me, the forbiddenness and the secrets, my hidden past and the force with which it controlled our relationship. Set in another era, it could have been our story.



Saturday, June 13, 2009

Joy was fleeting if felt at all


The LOML gave me gerber daisies a few weeks back. Looking at them filled me up with joy. Such a simple flower, such a simple gesture of love, such a simple yet powerful emotion surfaced. Joy. I've spent decades telling therapists that I felt no joy in my life...it was missing. I knew what should bring me joy and I pretended to feel it when appropriate. But it was a lie. I was numb. I was detached. I was even dissociative.

I did talk about my life - a little. What I could remember, much of which was unpleasant...no, actually, it was bad, really bad. But I told it like a story. A story that had no emotion, no connection. I talked and people gasped or cried like the LOML but nothing registered with me. I had more emotion attached to novels I read than anything in my own life. It was a joke -- my life was a laugh.