I feel trapped

Yesterday was a decent day for me.  I set a few small goals.  Probably very small to most people, but these were things I had to force myself to do.  Get out of the house, pull some weeds, walk a little, get sunshine on my skin.  Drink water and aloe vera juice (I’ve been dehydrated and apathetic about it).  Research and order something for our elderly dog that keeps having accidents now.  Not very big things, but I’ve been feeling numbly depressed and flat inside lately.  The lack of normal sleep has left me feeling physically unwell.  I wrote the goals down and kept looking at them until I checked them all off.  That felt good.  Small goals, but I did it for me.  It sounds absurd to write it down, but I really did have to force myself, and I felt a sense of accomplishment after I checked them all off.

Since the recent night that he came out in the evening to just sit and be social (to show he cared), he’s behaved unusually pleasantly.  I think that wears on him, like a burden he carries and tires of.  I can’t prove it, but it always seems that way. When I sense it wearing on him through the most subtle of signals, I become uneasy.

Rarely, he’ll express some interest in being intimate later.  I take it with a grain of salt, because he doesn’t follow up.  It’s just another Lucy and Charlie Brown running at the football thing to me.  It makes me feel irritated for that reason, but I normally just say nothing, and just let it go.  Sometimes, I feel angry and say something.

Last night that happened.  He made the comment as I was getting out of the shower.  I smiled and nodded, then jumped out to get dressed make sure the laundry machines got switched, dog got let out, stray dishes stacked for morning etc.   I felt irritated, but some part of me always wonders a little bit if he means it.  This time?  Does he mean it this time?  It’s like getting set up for a fall.  Before the shower, we were playing an online game together.  We were going to finish it after the shower, and then go to bed.  My first clue for the change in plans was when he walked in the bedroom a few minutes after I did. 

I heard this unpleasantly familiar sighing.  Oh, how I hate hate hate the sound of this particular sigh. From years of past experience, that sigh signals that he’s feeling sorry for himself, and barely under the surface of his self-pity is resentment. 

It felt like something clawing at my skin and setting my teeth ajar.  That sigh is his unspoken preliminary to letting me know that he’s too tired, not feeling quite right, not feeling well, needs to get up early, needs to get to sleep, needs rest, and all this means that he just isn’t up to sex (no pun intended).  It’s his woe is me, poor me, neglected me, pitiful me sigh. It’s his withhold sex sigh.  It partly irritated me because it wasn’t like I was planning to pursue him anyway. 

I started folding laundry on the bed, and in a matter of fact but clipped way, I told him that I heard the sighing, I knew what it meant, and I suggested he just get some sleep if that’s what he felt he wanted or needed. I said that sigh has a very particular sound, and over the years I’ve learned it has a very particular meaning.  I felt angry and told him that I felt so trapped.

He looked surprised (but not really).  He wanted to know what I was talking about, and yes, he was tired, but what was wrong with that, and didn’t he have the right to express himself yada yada.  I told him that I felt trapped.  He didn’t ask me why.  He went on defending and excusing himself.  I listened, and calmed down.  I asked myself why I was angry.  What was I expecting.  I told him that I had felt angry, because it hurt so much.  I told him that it hurt feeling so unloved all these years.  It hurt that we’ve never had normal affection and intimacy, and that even after all these years, that hurts.  I told him I just wanted a way to stop the hurting, and that’s why I felt trapped.  I couldn’t see the way.  I told him that I thought my anger response was an unconscious desperate feeling,  that thought it might change something, but that was irrational.  I told him I wasn’t angry anymore, but I still felt trapped. I was totally calm by this point. 

He had his sad face, but no response.  Not a word.

I tried not to think and not to feel.  Years and years of trying to shut down that part of my being.

I started to think about how poor my sleep has been for a month or more now.  I picked up my Bible and read silently from Psalms.  I forced myself to think about having a good day when I woke up.  I envisioned waking up with a good attitude, and setting goals for the day.  Turned out the light, and kept turning my thoughts towards envisioning making good choices again.  Drink water.  Walk.  Productive tutoring.  Get healthier, and start to create a new dream for a new life.  Then I actually just went to sleep.  I had some nightmares, but I think I feel slightly less tired this morning than I have for a few weeks. 

There are rational reasons that make it unwise and would create much fallout (hurt innocent others) if I tried to separate right now.  My physical health is poor.  I’m working on changing those things as much as possible.  If I could find a way to make really decent money, I could do it.  I want a life without unnecessary hurting.

This entry was posted in abusive husband, abusive marriage, Christian marriage, covert abuse, emotional abuse, passive aggressive, passive aggressive husband, withhold. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to I feel trapped

  1. newshoes123 says:

    of course he’ll gaslight you and deflect, they are so good at that aren’t they!!

    Get out get out get out and get yourself healthy. If only so that you can get yourself healthy and spend more quality time with your kids.

    PS. My 2 have told me recently they cannot wait for this whole thing with their pa dad to be over. And they are looking forward to better times ahead with me 🙂 isn’t that something!!


  2. GainingStrength says:

    I understand the trapped feeling. My abuser’s gone, but still things come up that I know will be a problem when it will have to be addressed. I try not to think of it, try to push the anxiety away. Try to banish the worry, the doubts that arise when I even think of having to deal with him. I couldn’t understand “triggers” before, I think I understand now. The anxiety is instantaneous when I think of having to see or deal with him.

    The looks, oh my goodness THE LOOKS. The innocent look, the confused look, the hurt look, there are so many of them that my abuser had perfected. They are just as false and empty as the abuser’s heart is.

    You say that leaving now would hurt innocent others. Have you ever wondered how hurt these innocent others are witnessing the abuse you endure? I believe the hurt will heal faster away from the abuser. Understanding will come when the abuser’s chaos is left behind. Health will improve away from the abusers, also. Take care not to build the trap that keeps you with him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • WritesinPJ's says:

      “You say that leaving now would hurt innocent others. Have you ever wondered how hurt these innocent others are witnessing the abuse you endure?”

      Of course. I’m actually feeling some kind of emotional reaction to being asked that question here.

      It isn’t about others needing to understand. I think most, if not all of my kids would understand. I don’t care what other people (other than my kids) think about it. I hesitate to write more than I have in past posts when it involves personal information about my kids.

      I have two minor kids that I can’t support financially (yet). Both are currently hard working honor students that deserve stability for their education, and want to be with me. I’m also their teacher. The youngest one isn’t ready to fly solo without my tutoring, but probably by next year she will be ready. I could walk away and lose my time with them regarding just mom time. So far, I’m not willing to make that choice or pay that price.
      If he moved out? My husband is self-employed so he could easily play havoc with any financial promises or commitments if we were separated. If he moved out, he most likely would do that. I’m fairly sure that’s exactly what he’d do. There would be no legal or effective way to stop that either.
      We don’t currently have enough money for two households. We have one old car that’s in poor condition.
      I have a chronic debilitating illness that flares up, but is right now in guarded remission. I don’t have a degree or certification to brush off and bring up to date. Besides the two minor kids, I have one freshly graduated from high school and finding his way but still partially dependent, one with a TBI (traumatic brain injury), and one with a still undiagnosed serious illness from when he was deployed overseas. I won’t let their temporarily vulnerable lives drop in a chasm by choice. I won’t screw with my daughters getting a good education. My parents were falling apart when I was their age, and so did my education at a critical time, and that hurt my life.

      This is why I’m trying to regain physical health and strength. This is why I’m working towards becoming financially independent. This is why I’m blogging, and fighting, and determined.

      Liked by 1 person

      • GainingStrength says:

        I’m sorry if you read criticism in my reply. I meant no disrespect.

        I look on you and others with minor kids with mixed emotions. On one hand I am glad my kids are grown and not part of this, but to have minor kids around and feel their love for you…priceless. I just want everyone away from the abusers. I know from my own experience that leaving is at it’s own pace. My heart just hurts for you that you are having to endure this.

        I pray for peace for you, a sweet peace, a calming peace. And I apologize again if I hurt you in any way, that was not my intention.

        Liked by 1 person

        • WritesinPJ's says:

          Gaining, I’m sure you didn’t, and I hesitated to respond because I’m also sure it’s my own issue.

          It’s the constant questioning I put myself through that makes it a sensitive issue. It’s simple and complicated, so part of the reason I did respond was because it’s entirely natural for anyone other than me to ask why I’m still here.

          You made an important comment in not doing anything to build the trap. I’m very careful about choices that could do that. It’s why I even hesitated to adopt the cat we did. I look at everything in that light now. It’s a constant dichotomy for me because my nature is to hope and plan ahead in life. I’ll think about which flowers I want to start ahead in pots to plant in the spring, and then hesitate… and question myself. That also becomes tiring.


      • Seeing the Light says:

        PJs, I understand the constant push-pull of getting out vs. staying for now. I am in a similar situation. My health is so poor and I can’t explain it without damaging anonymity. Some days I feel like I could actually be in danger of my life health-wise. We struggle to get better inside the carbon monoxide-infested houses, while someone trips us as we round a corner and delivers a few paper cuts, only to get up tomorrow and try to sabotage us again. The kids don’t see any normal family dynamics or get to feel like part of a unit with individuals that care about each other. They daily learn everything upside-down. But I have allowed myself to imagine what happens if I try to leave now – no guarantees of getting the kids, no way to support myself, no oversight of his time with them (he is so immature, they are not necessarily safe with them), no way to do damage control if he gets them. Things could be ten times worse, believe it or not. And it won’t do my healing any good either if I am constantly worried about the kids because he ends up with more control over them instead of less. Not only that, but what does it do to the kids’ stress levels and friendships in a Christian circle where divorce will be a huge source of pressure for them. I say all of this so that you will know that I totally understand. It is the biggest catch-22. “Trapped” has been the word I have been saving up for my next counseling session.

        Sometimes I think I am actually going to die here and what can I do about it? I have no one speaking anything positive to me and I just need someone to look at me and say, “you can do it,” or “God loves you,” or “your body can heal,” or anything good, anything to counteract the negative energy. I have no way to make new friends, (even though I don’t usually struggle to do so when I can be around people). Even if I could, no one but those of you who have been through it understands.

        PJs, is there some way we could help each other? Like you, I have no choice but to try to gain strength here – in the middle of all the poison. Can we encourage each other on the road to health and freedom? Keep each other accountable even to drink our water? Eat healthy? Anything? To start moving away from letting them take up so much space in our mind? Just brainstorming.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Exodus says:

    “I want a life without unnecessary hurting”

    That’s the thing I’ve been telling myself for many years. With all the unavoidable annoyances and stresses of daily life, why should I have to deal with the unnecessary negativity of one man? Norman’s negativity devours most of the oxygen in our atmosphere, leaving very little for me to survive on. I even have the oxygen-deprived blue lips and blue under-eye circles to prove it!

    I worry about money too. If it wasn’t for money, I would have left very quickly. I really have no money and I don’t trust Norman to send me any or assist me in any way. We know how reliable and dependable PA people are. I know that I’m on my own. Besides, if I can do this without Norman’s financial help, the happier I’ll be. I don’t want a penny from him.

    Try not think of yourself as trapped because just that thought in itself is enough to create disabling anxiety and depression. Easier said than done, I know. Lately, I’ve been trying to focus on the blessings in my life and always having an open door to walk out of. I have to almost constantly remind myself that I can walk out, get in my car and go to a peaceful hotel ( with room service 😀 ) if need be. Just knowing that I have that option, provides enough relief that I can keep functioning. I don’t think about how long I’m going to be stuck here or that I haven’t been hired yet. I trust that when I’m ready, the universe will respond at the best time. This is a test of my patience but it will be worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. paescapee says:

    I’m sorry your situation sounds just awful, awful awful. Security, particularly for our children, is such a big issue. You cannot control his behaviour, but you can control your response to it. Your expectations are that he will be caring and intimate with you- Isn’t that normal in a relationship? But I regret unlikely in yours ( or mine). Your yearning is giving him the power to hurt you. How sad it is for him that he cannot experience your love, but for whatever reason he is not capable of it, any more than your kettle or frying pan is. Please visualise him as an object that cannot give or receive love. I know it’s not fair and you don’ t deserve this. But it really is not personally about you unless you make it so. Grieve for the lost opportunity of a loving relationship but please expect NOTHING from him and then he cannot hurt you. Detach emotionally- he might even sense this and then pursue you sexually for a while! Just until you trust him again of course. Frying pans are useful sometimes but please do not attempt an emotional engagement with them! I suspect you will be disappointed!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Seeing the Light says:

      This is some great insight from paescapee. The part that really got me is, “Your yearning is giving him the power to hurt you.” Painful, but true.


      • paescapee says:

        Thank you Seeing. Took me a very long time to stop trying to engage with him, understand him or fix him. These relationships just aren’t reciprocated, sadly. We need to look after ourselves and harden our hearts. Not the way I viewed marriage, but there you are.


        • Seeing the Light says:

          Yes, paescapee. It has taken me a long time, too, to get here. It has been a process of detachment and decreased engagement. The engagements I had with him just over a week ago sealed the deal for me that hardening my heart toward him is absolutely necessary for my survival – literally – and I no longer feel guilty over it. It doesn’t mean my heart is actually hard. Toward the rest of the world, I am borrowing a phrase from a commenter at graceformyheart.wordpress.com. As “Cookie” put it last Friday, “My goal is to be a person with high boundaries that surround a soft heart.” Amen. I am always so happy for those of you who have gotten out 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  5. lost7658 says:

    My PA does the sighing as well. It is the most annoying thing ever. Of course he has a different sigh for every thing that he resents. He also sighs about sex as well. When I eventually lose interest he pursues me , we have sex ,usually lame and the withholding and porn start all over again. it is like a sick twisted dance that is restarted over and ovet again. Each time I sleep with him , I ask myself why and I guess I am so desperate for attention and to be touched I give in. Even though at this point I could sleep with strangers and I wouldn’t feel as bad as when I sleep with him. I think we are always in a cycle of repeating trauma. For example you have a cycle of begging to do the dishes , you fight , he does them once or twice , starts sighing and does do them , and the cycle repeats.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. lost7658 says:

    Other cycles also include the leaving cycle , the sex cycle it goes on and on . Until your life with them is nothing but games. I think that is why we always feel tired and emotional drained . Even when they are being nice they are still playing and we take it as a breather moment when it is really all apart of the overall game. The leaving one is hard because you are always playing the game of nice not nice so you always feel guilty and question yourselves.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. marsocmom says:

    You wrote, “I tried not to think and not to feel. Years and years of trying to shut down that part of my being.”

    Detachment is a wonderful thing. No more guilt from trying to connect with the unconnectable, no more expectations because you know he will not follow through, and no more disappointments because you no longer hope for any kind of change.

    “You must unlearn what you have learned.” — Yoda


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