Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Giving in to the pain

Since moving, I am a lot calmer. I have a lot less anxiety. Less flashbacks. Less nightmares. The one thing that I cannot seem to get rid of, is the body memories. The physical pain with no physical explanation. I hurt. Its hard when I know there is no reason to hurt, and it still HURTS.

With flashbacks, I have learned how to go into them, stay present enough to "watch" them. (Like I'm watching a movie. Paying attention to what happens, how I feel, what thoughts and emotions stick out to me.) I get a blanket and a pillow, curl up on the floor, and go through it. There was a time when they were so intense, I would get "stuck" in them. For hours, my body would shake as if I was going through a seizure. I would be lost in the past. Reliving horrible scenes over and over, and I couldn't bring myself back to the present. That's not the case anymore.

So, last night as I was getting ready for bed, I realized that body memories are just a form of flashbacks. The key is "giving in" to them just like I have given in to the flashbacks. Its just so easy for me to push them away. Its just PAIN, and I can work through, push through, and ignore physical pain pretty easily. Since I want to get better, its time to stop ignoring it.

So I got my blanket and my pillow and curled up in front of the fireplace. I took a deep breath, and felt the pain. Immediately, the only thought in my mind was, "I held my own legs out of his way."

Some backstory:
With Larry, if I fought him or said no, he fought back, and I lost. The bishop told me a good wife keeps her husband happy. (To his credit, I didn't tell him what was happening to me. I didn't know that what Larry was doing was wrong. How could I explain it to someone else?) Larry had talked to him about his "sins", and the bishop called me in to talk to just me. It was a great conversation...

So, I stopped fighting.Out of what I thought was love, or duty, or trying to be a "good" wife... I adapted a position that brought the least amount of pain to me, and still let him do what he "needed" to do.

As I laid in front of the fireplace last night,
I felt the pain of that complete and total betrayal of myself.
I felt the pain of realizing there was no love in that experience whatsoever. Not him for me. Not me for him. And not the bishop who told me what I needed to do. Zero love.
I felt the pain of understanding that my experience was nothing like what most people experience.
Mostly, I felt the pain of betraying myself. I helped him rape me. That hurts.

I cried. For about forty-five minutes. I apologized to myself for letting him hurt me. I apologized to me for helping him hurt me. I held myself in my own arms. And then I felt that piece go away. My body relaxed. The body memory pain was gone, and I went to bed and slept soundly.

I share these things now, because three years ago when I started all of this, I was too ashamed to share with ANYONE. I didn't have the words to describe the nightmare that was my life. For nearly two years, I went through flashbacks like this one, all on my own (except for when BJ was around), and I sorted it out. It was hell. I wasn't sure I would survive. I did.

This is the kind of work I had to do to become who I am today. I had to see the truth that I couldn't see ten years ago while it was happening. I'm still working. HARD. I just don't have to do it as much or as often as I used to. I can write about one singular experience now... Last year, there were too many happening all at once and all the time, and I couldn't pick out one thing to write about.

I hope I didn't trigger anyone. If I did, talk to someone about it? I'm willing to talk any time.


  1. I use to get the same way after I ate my exwives cooking. Usually laying naked on the floor in a ball shaking and stuff. I hear ya on that anxiety stuff.

  2. Phoenix, I'm struggling with your comment. I feel like you're making light of something incredibly personal and hard to share. If I'm wrong, please help me understand??

    I would never compare the pain I've been through to cooking. Even really bad cooking.

    I have felt like I was going to die from the pain. I have felt like I was losing my mind. And while I don't expect everyone to understand, I don't want my pain to be invalidated or joked away.

    Again, if I'm wrong, or if I misunderstood, please help me understand. Thank you.

  3. It makes me really sad to read this. Most of this was either right before my mission or while I was on a mission. It makes me sad for several reasons.

    One is that I had no idea it was happening. Not that I'm sad that you didn't share it at the time, I don't know if I would have been able to handle hearing it at the time. I'm just sad that you were going through such horrible experiences and I wasn't able to do anything about it.

    The other reason I'm sad is that physical intimacy has the potential to be such an amazing expression of love between a husband and wife. It makes me so sad that Larry destroyed that for you.

    I'm glad you're healing. I know the day will come when you'll no longer feel the pain.

  4. By the way, good for you for being willing to put this out there. That is scary to do.

  5. Don't feel too sad, I didn't even know all this was happening. I was living through it, but I thought it was normal. How could anyone else know about the hell when I didn't??

    I don't know how I would have turned out if Larry hadn't done those things, but I was never "normal".

    Actually, come to think of it, I knew I wasn't normal. I blamed myself for sex being the way it was. Since I have never liked to be touched, I thought I was broken. I thought I was lucky to have someone who was willing to love me even though I was broken and damaged. (He repeated that to me all the time. I was so "lucky" because no one else would be as good to me as he was.) Its sad that I believed him for so long.

    And you're right. The day will come. :) Its already SO different.

  6. So, I know I don't know you, I found your blog through someone else, but what you write is truly amazing. I feel like I can actually relate to you on some level, and that doesn't happen often. Hopefully this doesn't come off as awkward or stalker-ish, but thanks for writing something that I feel. Maybe I'll be able to use my own words soon.

    I'm sorry if this doesn't make much sense. I can't seem to find the right words. Perhaps it has something to do with it being 3:15 in the morning. Anyway, thank you again for being brave enough to get it out. Thank you for giving me hope.

  7. misunderstanding- you have no idea how much YOUR words mean to me. Last night, I was feeling discouraged... And then I woke up to these beautiful words. I am so sorry that you can relate, because it really sucks. I am also grateful you can relate, because it helps me to know I am not alone.

    Your words were touching, and they made so much sense. You're closer than you think to being able to use your own words. I hope you'll share with me when you are ready.

  8. I think there was a reason I found your blog when I did, and I think there is a reason I wrote what I did. When I started writing, I had no idea why. I honestly assumed that it would mean nothing and you would most likely not even respond. I'm glad what I said made sense to you and that my understanding made you feel less alone. That feeling is there for me as well when I read through your experiences.

    I hope that I'll be able to get it out soon. It's hard to battle the demons when you're fighting alone and with the wrong weapons...

    Take care of yourself and remember you're not alone.