Re-traumatisation

You’re a person who has experienced some level of trauma in your life, as I have.  You work hard to get past it, marry people who won’t trigger you, but who you have to take care of.  After two divorces and three children, (including two wonderful step-daughters), you try an online dating service and are swept off your feet by a man who has his own issues that have never really been dealt with because he doesn’t see them as issues.  You had a father who would explode in a violent temper and say cruel things that cut to your soul, because they weren’t about your behavior, they were about you as a person.

Flash forward – it’s a Saturday and your mother-in-law is bringing over a casserole, as she often does.  Generous, and kind with her time.  As she arrives your three muddy dogs keep her from coming all the way into the driveway because they tend to jump and get a bit unruly.  Trying to resolve things as quickly as you can, you bring the dogs in the front door of the house just so she can park and go on with her day.  Your husband , who is disabled,  watches with mounting frustration as you bring the dogs with muddy paws in the front door and one runs over the rug in the living room.  You’re trying to corral the other two, and out of nowhere he yells, “Damnit, Odie just ran across the living room rug with muddy paws!  We live in a sh*t hole!!”  You hear your father’s voice and every voice that has ever told you “you suck”, “you’re not good enough”, you’ll never amount to anything.”  Your mother has previously shamed you (soon after the diagnosis of your 3-yr-old with a fatal condition) that you live in a “pig-sty.”  What do you do?  How do you avoid retraumatization?  I don’t know.

All my lousy ways of dealing with trauma came right back.  Every where I looked in our house I felt shame.  Leaving aside the fact that my husband can’t do many of the things that need to be done to keep the house together, never mind that he forgets to get items that would help keep the house cleaner and only require a click of the mouse on the web.  Just 30 minutes before you were hoping/planning to go on a bike ride with him and two of the dogs, but now all you can feel is hatred.  Hatred not just at him, but at yourself.  We’ve had many therapy sessions together.  He knows my issues, but does he, CAN he, reign in his temper out of love for a damaged person?  No.

All I could do was continue to clean house and try not to repeat  “sh*t hole” too may times.  Your 16-yr-old is trying to make peace, just as you used to do with your parents.  He’s taking your husband’s side, trying to tell you how you are reacting wrongly to what had happened.  Regretfully, you tell him to “shut-up” and unless he’s a licensed therapist, to stop trying to mediate arguments between you and your husband.

Those of you who have had EMDR, or some form of trauma therapy – do you have suggestions?  It’s been a really rough day.  I didn’t go for the bike ride, had no desire to spend alone time with this “monster.”  (who isn’t really a  monster, just the ghost of monster’s past) Numbing myself was the only way I could pretend to be “normal”.  I invite your responses, because I’m really sick of the sporadic, unpredictable flares of temper that are exactly what I grew up with.  Being in fight or flight since before birth has taken an enormous cost on my health, both mental and physical.  I invite your responses.  Namanste’.

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~ by janetlandis on January 28, 2012.

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