Trigger warning for talk about sex, touching and mention of childhood sexual abuse. Please be careful, and take care of yourself.
I’m curled on my side, facing away from hubby. I’m trying to hold back the tears and the panic. He lays down, and curls himself around me.
“I love you,” he says. His voice sounds far away.
“I love you, too.” I whisper it, for if I speak out loud, I know my voice will crack and I will cry.
A half hour ago, I was sleeping with my husband. I think I instigated things again, but I’m not 100% sure about that. I remember snuggling up to him, and then the next thing I know, we are having sex. Well, not sex exactly, he was touching me, and my body was feeling good, and my mind was panicking.
He seemed intent on touching me until….well, you know. And I can fake it. But he was doing something that was overwhelming, and I felt out of control, and it was all too much for me to handle. I felt held down, I felt scared and alone, helpless, like I couldn’t stop it and I wanted the too good, too much feeling to stop. I felt like I was 5, maybe 6– a child.
Some part of me remembered I am a grown up, and that this is 2015. “Stop, stop!” I yelled, begged, pleaded. It took a moment, but he stopped touching me. He didn’t get it, though, didn’t realize I was stuck in the past, having a flashback, and he bent over me to kiss me, hands on my shoulders. I screamed again, “Stop, stop.” And rolled on my side, curled in the fetal position.
That’s when he realized it wasn’t okay. “Hon? Are you okay?” He asked.
I panicked. Old habits kicked in. I rolled over, smiled, “I’m good, come over here. I’m sorry. I’m okay.” I was dissociated and numb, but I made out with Hubby until he was convinced I was fine. And we had sex. I said sorry a few more times. Old lessons from the boyfriend told me it wasn’t safe to say stop, to ruin the mood. I wasn’t there, not really. I couldn’t feel or think. I was frozen. When it was over, and he went to the bathroom, I rolled over, facing away from him.
“Are you okay?” He asks.
I nod my head. I don’t think I can talk. The tears really want to fall.
“Are you sure?” He asks again.
I nod. “Yeah.” It’s another whisper. He holds me, and I let him. Even though he’s right there, I feel so far away from him.
I wonder what he would do if I had said I wasn’t okay? I think this over. Maybe this is the time to be honest and authentic, to be real. Maybe it’s time to start. “Hubby?” I whisper, in case he is asleep.
“Yeah?” He asks.
“Nothing. Just checking if you were awake,” I say stupidly. I’d wanted to ask him what if I said I wasn’t okay? What if I said I was feeling flashbacky and like I might cry? But at the last minute, I chicken out. I can’t be sure he will go along with the hypothetical, and let me pretend it’s really a what if in order to feel safer. I’m not sure he won’t be hurt by this. So I say nothing.
“Are you sure?” He asks.
I pause. He’s double checking, something I have wanted him to do. But now, it feels like he is distant, not really there or caring. “Yeah.”
“It doesn’t sound like you are okay.” He sounds serious. “You can talk to me,” he says.
I’m not so sure I can. I want to tell him I don’t know if I can talk to him, if I can trust him with some of my pain, and if he can hold that pain, not try to fix it, be okay with the broken parts of me. I want to tell him I’m afraid his reaction will be wrong, and I’ll only be more hurt. I want to tell him that I want so badly to talk to him, because I feel so disconnected from him, and that hurts. I want to say that I feel like crying, and I don’t know exactly why. That it was too much, and I felt out of control just like I did when I was a child, and that I’m really quite dissociated and feeling much more like a child than an adult right now. I want to tell him I’m afraid if I start talking, I won’t stop, and he will leave because it will be too much, because I am too needy.
Instead, I say, “I know.”
When he asks a third time if I’m okay, it’s because I jump when the dog gets up and loudly stomps to the kitchen for a drink. “I don’t know,” I say in response.
“What don’t you know?” He asks.
I’m quite for what feels forever, hubby even repeats his question. “If I’m okay or not. I don’t know.” I finally tell him.
“Why don’t you know? What is it that’s bothering you?” He asks. I’m sure it’s not, but his voice sounds very business like and annoyed.
“I don’t know, babe. Go to sleep, I’m okay,” I say, reverting to the familiar. He argues about it for a moment, but he finally rolls over and shifts around until he is comfortable.
I grab my iPad. “I’m going to read or write for a little while. Sleep good.”
“I love you. Sleep good, honey,” he says. He sounds content now. Things are back to normal. I’ve told him I am okay, and he can stop worrying. His life is back on track–smooth sailing, easy and calm.
How am I ever going to talk to hubby? I love him so much, I want to protect him, and allow him the calm, easy life he wants and needs. But….I love him so much, it’s lonely feeling disconnected from him, and it hurts. What’s a girl to do?