The aftermath and PTSD

(I wrote this post yesterday, but was still upset and decided to sleep on it.  I felt particularly vulnerable, but it’s a real snap from the day.)

What a mess I am.  I thought I was dealing with yesterday okay.  Then for some reason, I couldn’t get the bang bang bang of him smacking the car and windshield out of my head.  It was like I was there again, but then suddenly instead it was years ago.

I was in the car with him and he was hitting me, bang bang bang in the arm.  The shock and the pain all came back of that physical abuse from 26 years ago.  How could it be so long ago and still hurt me like that?  I remembered how surreal it felt as each punch seemed to knock me deeper into this strange territory, a place I didn’t belong, a place I never ever thought I’d be.  This is what happened to other women.  Women I pitied.  Women that lived in a strange, sad world that I was, just the moment before, so sure that I’d never be a part of.  The lumps that began to rise on my arm, and the unexpected physical pain that screamed and took over my attention.  I was someone else that I didn’t know at all.   A stranger to myself.

I started crying, eventually started to calm down, and walked back to check on something business related.  He could see that I’d been upset, and asked me if something was wrong, and just as unbidden as before, the tears and now anger erupted from deep inside of me like volcanic pain.  “I’m crying because I can’t get the sound of your shouting and banging on the car and windshield out of my head, and it made me remember you hitting me in the car!”

He made a sad crumpled face of dismay, but didn’t move.  Was it real?  I wanted to believe it, but I walked away to do whatever it is I do any and every day.

He came out shortly afterwards to update me on the original business matter, and then he started right in on wanting to change our internet provider (which I don’t really care about), and slipped in getting rid of our landline (which I do really care about and he knows it).  I said, “I’ve told you before that if I’ve said no to something, it doesn’t help for you to just keep repeating something like a steamroller trying to get me to give in.  No.  I said no.”

Then it hit me.  It hit me how vulnerable I was.  How he’d just seen me crying and that he knew why I was crying.

I said, “Wow.  You chose now of all times to try this.”

He started up with some indignant response, and I replied, “Just go away.  Leave me alone, and go away.”

My stomach has felt like painful tight knots since yesterday.  I need to stay focused.  It’s so hard when I want to curl up and sleep.

The ‘someday’ of him changing and it getting better, him keeping his promises for his support for me to go back to school, all turned into the dust of years past.  He wasn’t changing.  By the time I figured this out over the years, my physical health was wrecked, and I was financially enmeshed with him in great debt.  The changes, both for good and ill, were in me.

Now it’s a fight and a race to make the most important changes of all.  Health and independence.  I wish I felt more confidence about winning this race.  Every inch forward is a draining battle, and time doesn’t wait.  I need to learn to walk and run when I’m too tired to crawl.

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6 Responses to The aftermath and PTSD

  1. Exodus says:

    The piling on of layers and layers of traumatic hurtful experiences will never end and each new experience carries the weight of all the other ones. It will never feel better or easier- only worse and more difficult. I really am amazed at how strong we must be do endure this shit day after day.

    Yesterday I walked out to my car and noticed a whole bunch of silver coins laying on a bare spot in the grass next to my car. ” Not again” I thought. Not again. All the years that Norman has been throwing his money away, literally. I don’t even wonder if he did it on purpose anymore because it doesn’t matter anymore. The facts speak for themselves. For whatever reason or whatever pathology, Norman feels the need to throw his money away in order to feel powerful by devaluing his income and upsetting me. I picked up the coins and washed them off and put them in my piggy bank. I’ll never look at a coin on the ground like a happy child who found a treasure ever again. I believe that I’ll always be traumatized by the sound and sight of loose change. I’ll never be able to to garden again without remembering how Norman turned gardening into a dog-eat-dog competition. I’ll never cook again without feeling the fear of resentment rising in me. There’s other stuff that will trigger me that I simply won’t be able to avoid.

    One of our contractors was married to a woman who was PA with borderline and I knew there were issues but he never talked about it. Last night he called me about a job and I broke down and told him what was going on. He described what he went through and what the divorce was like and then he said, ‘ It took me every bit of 5 years to recover from 21 years of daily insane crazy destructive behaviors’ and he went on to tell me that now that he has a new girlfriend and creating new memories and having normal experiences that he’s less traumatized and triggered and beginning to feel normal again. That’s the key to healing- replacing the old painful with happy new.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. paescapee says:

    PJ that really feels like a horrible experience. Him trivialising the experience is really showing his lack of empathy. Well done for noticing, it isn’t always easy to make those connections, is it? On a hopeful note, I really believe that once we have identified a trigger that we can begin to work on dismantling it. Breathing through the stress and reassuring our inner child. I hope that I am right in this belief, for your sake. Strange that we’re all thinking of ‘triggers’ as I have also had a ‘triggered’ day. Not as serious as yours but my newly-mortgaged (!) daughter has just had a row with her boss and I have been in a stew of co-dependent anxiety all day about HER money worries. Been giving myself stern lectures and deep breathing all day but not quite winning yet. Never mind, I daresay sleep is over-rated anyway 😦


  3. Seeing the Light says:

    PJs, it’s like a predator seeing their prey in a vulnerable state and going in for the kill. I can see the wheels turning in his head…that in your weakness – especially over the kind of behavior he used in an attempt to overpower you – he tried to get what he wanted that he knew you didn’t want. So disrespectful of your personhood, among other things!


  4. Newshoes says:

    Omg, you poor thing! I know EXACTLY how it feels sadly. Mine is so bad from so many years and events that I relive events in my dreams… Sometimes when a new event occurs I’m present but my mind is racing to other times and I get flashbacks… My ex pah says I live in the past, right. Then why is all this stuff still happening? I dream in real life of the day when I don’t have those dreams and memories ever again. They take me back to painful places and times and I’d much rather focus on a positive future free of all of this. I wish it for all of us and you PJ. Xo

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Newshoes says:

    Oh and I forgot to mention… He’s a horse’s rear end for minimizing his abusive actions…. Dumb rear end (I’m being polite but he doesn’t deserve it).


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