I had my second session of EMDR this week. We started by talking about a moment in the present:
I realized recently when Todd is around, I ask him how to do things I am perfectly capable of doing. As I thought about it and tried to source that behavior, I came to the conclusion that it was about doing things the way he wanted. It was important to me to anticipate his needs, wants, etc. before he told me. At first, I thought it was out of fear of being hurt. In session with my therapist, I felt like it was more about being who and what I was supposed to be.
In the discussion, I felt shame. I wanted to curl up, hide, disappear. I also pictured being in the kitchen with Larry on one specific night.
He had forced me to have sex when I didn't want to from day one of marriage. On this night, I fought back. I don't remember what made it so different, but I kicked and screamed and then curled up into a ball trying to keep him from getting my pants off, climbing on top of me, and forcing himself inside of me. Eventually, he won the fight. Then he got up and yelled at me. He was upset because I had fought and forced him to do that to me. All the fight was gone out of me, and I stood in my kitchen and apologized to him. I promised I would never do that to him again. I knew it was my fault, and there was something wrong with me for not letting him do what he wanted.
That moment has always been emotionally charged for me. I feel deeply ashamed for both fighting him and for apologizing. I felt sad and angry and hurt and scared when I thought about it. At the same time, I had a hard time recalling it. I saw it as if I was outside my own body watching myself. (The picture was of me standing in my Mickey Mouse pajamas in the doorway of the kitchen with the living room behind me.)
In session, my therapist holds my hands and taps on the back of them, alternating back and forth between the hands. I also do therapy in the roundpen with a horse. In this session, she was wandering freely around us.
As I described the moment in the kitchen, Wendy (therapist) had me focus on how the shame felt. I felt like curling into a ball, so I did. She followed me down to the ground, and Violet (the horse) stood guard while I cried.
I cry often, but not in therapy. I am usually too self-conscious and hyper aware of everything around me to let myself cry. This time, I wasn't self conscious, and I was completely unaware of everything except Wendy and Violet. I have no idea how long I cried - just until I was done. Then we stood up and Violet nuzzled my face while Wendy and I talked.
(This is when I learned that Violet had started licking Wendy's butt and legs - yet she didn't lose it. She didn't even laugh or flinch. She's got rockstar focus.)
Wendy asked me what I would do if put in the same situation now as I was that night.
"I'd get up. Put clothes on. Leave and go to the police. There's no reason to take that kind of shit ever again."
It has NEVER occurred to me that I could have gone to the police; that I would have been believed; that THAT is what you can do when your husband is physically and sexually violent.
Since my session, I recall the kitchen, and I can picture what it looks like. Instead of seeing it as if i was outside myself, I see it from my own perspective. I no longer feel sad, or ashamed, or scared when I picture the kitchen. I feel strong, which is weird and cool.
I have spent a lot of time in therapy talking about that day. I've expressed anger about it, I've talked about how the shame isn't mine, there's nothing for me to be ashamed of, but nothing has been as effective as EMDR (with horses) at changing me. It's kind of amazing, and I keep wondering if it's real... but if it's not real, it feels real enough that I don't even care.
I just wrote about all of this, and still, all I feel is strong. That is very different from any experience I have ever had before.
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