Sunday, September 26, 2010

drifting off to sleep last night...

Last night I fell asleep spooning with my husband, his arm wrapped around my body and then this funny wrap arm thing that we do, he holds onto my wrist and I pull both our arms then close to my body. It's a gesture that says, I am here for you, I won't let you go.
I've not always been able to sleep like this, and some nights, I still can't. (quite honestly the majority of those are due to hot flashes, but I will admit, that some are probably due to past conditioning). I used to sleep on the very edge of my bed, with my two year old son wrapped tightly into my chest.with my ex-husband on the other side. (As I write this a tear has just come down my face...I just realized how similar the "I am here for you, I won't let you go", refrain of life can be)
While drifting off to sleep last night I did drift into memories of the past. I landed on the night I awoke to paramedics banging on my door. My ex-husband had called 911, his intestines were leaking into his body. He'd had surgery a few days earlier and demanded to be released he was dying in our bed, with our third son fast asleep, oblivious to the sheer horror that surrounded him.
What I thought last night was the same horror, fear, and complete detachment from this man who I called my husband then. I'd already learned about detachment through ala-non, through Melody Beattie, through wonderful self help books. I'd already learned that when he questioned my being at church for too long, and called me a slut and a liar, that it was him not me. But still, the words. The words still came in. And somehow, the words still hurt. And I still believed the words.
I write this now, so that you know that you are not alone. I've been there. You do not have to stay there. I've been blessed by wonderful Authors: Melody Beattie's  The New Co-Dependency: Help and Guidance for today's Generation,  Eckhart Tolle's The New Earth, Geneen Roth's, Women, Food, God. All of these books have helped me understand that living my life right now, not the life of my past, or the fear of the life in the future, is the life to live.They have brought me back to trust in the power's that be, you may call It God, you may call It Nature, you may call It Buddha, something in the universe that is larger than yourself, the name does not matter, the knowing is what does. And yes, flashbacks may happen, so I will feel the pain they bring, the disappointment, the anger, the sadness, and feel through it. When I feel through it, it doesn't have the same grip on me as it once's amazing. I've found, like last night, that yes, it may pop back into my mind, and I may start berating myself for being so stupid, so trusting, so....wait....NO...I lived through a terrible situation the best I knew how! How courageous of me! That is what It brings. The ability to stop the abuse, even my own self-abuse.
What I'm learning now is, eh, I'll call it better detachment. The night of the paramedics, and the weeks to follow, I was detached, yes, but I had no empathy for this man. If he died, so be it,  he brought it on himself. Yes, this is true. What a very cold place in my heart. I don't want that place to exist anymore. I think that when it does, it's taking up valuable space that instead could be filled with warmth, compassion and love. That is a sensation that belongs in my heart.  That is what I am learning now. Thanks for letting me share it with you.
Warm Smiles to All,


  1. Wow.
    It all sounds so familiar.
    I still cannot sit, or sleep, with my back to a door or window, nor can i sleep with a radio going. I was well conditioned to always be alert to sounds around me, and to keep my back to the wall.
    My shrink said it's post traumatic stress whatever.
    It's been 30 plus years since those days, but he was a genius in his cruelty, so i carry the survival tricks still.
    But, he did not win. He just taught me well.
    Thanks for your post, it always makes it better to know there are other's out there who really do understand.

  2. What a wonderful post.
    God Bless You Brenda
    Thanks for sharing

  3. I have never experienced this.
    I will never understand how my daughter was involved in an abusive situation, though I do understand why she stayed until we found out.

    You are lucky that you have found a loving man to be your partner. So many women never do.

  4. Dear Brenda, Thank you so much for sharing this with us and being so honest. I came out of an abusive relationship 5 years ago, and I think if I was younger I would have been able to let it all go, but I can't anymore.
    I sleep alone every night and often long for those comforting arms wrapped around me, not that I ever had that with my ex, but I always wanted to feel safe and never did.
    I am happy, as happy as I can be. I have wonderful friends and I adore my children and grandchildren - but my ex broke my heart and my spirit. I doubt that I can ever trust anyone with my heart again, which is so sad because I know that I am a loving kind caring human being.
    I wish you well in the future and you deserve to be valued and appreciated by your kind and caring husband.
    Once again thank you for sharing.

  5. Very well written. We have walked similar paths. May I have your permission to share this post with my class and professors in my graduate program of counseling?

    Here's to continued healing for all of us and increased understanding for those of different paths.

  6. To everyone, thank you for your responses, and appreciation. Sheri> Yes, please feel free to share this post, I'd like you to also drop a plug for the Comfort Doll Project itself.
    Caryl>I'm still learning to hold myself and allowing myself feel the support of God, the Universe or whatever you may call It. Surrendering to what happened is a weird relief. It allows me to be open to love, and yes, pain. But, that is part of life. Don't cover your own light. I know it's a kids song, but I often have it going through my head..."this little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine...."blessings to you.
    Smiles to All,