This is part 4 of a 4 part post series, “small.” Thursday was a messy, vulnerable session, and day for me. I left off in part 3 leaving therapy. I don’t believe this post is as full of triggering material as the other 3, but it still could be triggering, so please read carefully and take care of yourself. Xx
I really don’t want to be alone today. Bea has, of course, made sure I’m okay to leave therapy and take myself home, but I’m still feeling very tiny and alone and scared. I pay to get out of the parking lot, and as I head towards home I have this sense of dread. I’m so afraid I’m going to be yelled at by hubby. And I don’t want to go home and be alone. I’d rather be alone in the car. For a brief moment, I contemplate driving back to Bea’s office and begging her to sit with me for more time. Instead, I take a different risk, one that will actually be helpful in my life. I know if I really need Bea, I can email her, or even text or call her later. I call hubby.
“Hello.” He always answers the phone as a statement, like he is so in charge and confident. I answer with a question, unsure and awkward.
“Hi babe,” I say. My voice breaks, just a little, and I bite down on my lip to control it.
“Is everything okay?” He asks.
“Yeah, I’m just leaving therapy, I’m on my way home, and I wondered what you were up to.” I turn off the main road and onto one of the back roads I can use to get home. I don’t need to be driving in traffic in the state I’m in; overtired, and partly dissocisted, and feeling more little girl than grown up.
“It’s after 10,” hubby says. My session started at 8. He has to know its never good for a session to go over 2 hours.
“Yeah,” I say, and then I take a chance. “I had a rough night last night. I didn’t sleep.”
He’s silent for a minute. I imagine he is surprised by my admitting this, and isn’t sure how to respond. Finally, he says, “Yeah, I know you didn’t sleep and then got up really early. I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay. When do you have to go to work?”
“I have to be in at 3. I’ll leave about 2 or so. I was gonna tarp the boat because it’s supposed to rain, then watch some tv or something.”
“Will you..I mean, do you think….would you sit with me so I can lay down and try to nap before the ABA nanny leaves?” I stutter and stumble over my words, I’m so unused to asking my husband for things that I don’t know the answer to. I’m so anxiety ridden about his answer that I almost run a red light. He could say no. He could still yell at me for not sleeping last night.
“I’ll lay with you. Can I watch American Sniper while you rest?” He asks.
I breathe out a breath I didn’t even know I was holding. “Sure, yeah.”
“All right, I’m going to go tarp the boat then, and I’ll see you at home?”
“Yeah, okay,” I say, but again, my voice breaks and I have to fight with myself to realize that him getting off the phone is not him leaving me. My God, I never knew I had this much issue with rejection and abandonment and trust.
“Is everything okay?” He asks again. Maybe I didn’t hide my hurt as well as I thought.
“Yeah. Yeah. I’m just tired,” I say. I’m not ready to go there, not right now.
“All right. Love you.”
“I love you, too,” I say.
We hang up, and I drive home. When I get home, Kat runs out of the playroom, and shows me something, and then I change into my pajama leggings and a peach colored sweatshirt that I love.
Hubby grins at me. “You waste no time getting back into pajamas!”
“I wanted my cozies.”
I lay down with my heated blanket, teddy bear and a piece of my baby blanket from childhood. Hubby sits next to me, and I end up curled onto his chest in a ball, gripping my teddy bear and blanky in one hand, his shirt in another.
“Hey…..you really okay?” He says, and it’s gentle and soft, and I almost want to say no, no I’m so not okay. I feel young and scared because I’ve been having flashbacks for days and I’m not sleeping, and I just don’t want to be alone, and please don’t hate me and please don’t go to work today, don’t leave me.
Instead I say, “I’m okay. Mostly, I’m okay.” And I close my eyes, and rest in the safety of my husband. Because no matter how afraid I am he will leave me, hate me, be disgusted by me, be appalled and shocked by me, I never doubt that he will keep me safe. It was something I knew about him almost from the moment I met him; he is a man who is safe, and who will do whatever it takes to keep me safe.
I fall asleep for a little bit, and wake up to hubby shaking me. “You’re having a bad dream. Honey, it’s not real. Wake up. It’s okay, it’s not real.” I wake up slowly, and it takes a few minutes for me to stop jumping at noises and feeling really out of it. Hubby is right, I’m okay, and it was a bad dream. I want so badly to correct him though, it is real, it did happen, it’s just not real anymore.
I stay curled into him, and he has his arms around me. He doesn’t move a hand towards anything more than being there, being a safe spot for me. I think, on some level, he knows I’m not fully me right now, and that I’m vulnerable. I think this safety, this being held tight and not alone and feeling like someone will protect you is what Bea is always talking about, what she thinks I miss out on when I won’t wake hubby or share with him. And feeling this, maybe she’s right. But it’s scary too. I don’t trust this, not right now, not yet. Perhaps it’s like when I first started seeing Bea, and she had to prove herself to me over and over, for every memory, every feeling, every thought I shared. Now, I don’t need her to do that as much. I believe and trust that she is there. Maybe, if I keep reaching out to hubby like this, one day I will be able to believe and trust that he can accept, see, love and take care of the vulnerable parts of me? I don’t know.
“I really wish you didn’t have to go to work today, and you could stay home with me,” I say. It kind of slips out, unfiltered. That’s the problem with being more little girl than grown up– I have less of a filter.
“Awww, me too, baby, me too.” Hubby brushes my hair off my forehead, and runs his hands through my hair, combing it.
I close my eyes and rest some more. My feelings are hurt, but not as badly as if I had outright asked him to stay home and he’d said no.
When 2:15 rolls around, hubby starts to get up. I clutch him tighter, I don’t want him to leave me alone. Alone is scary.
“Honey, I have to go to work. I’ll be home early if I can, okay?” He says, and tries again to remove himself from my grasp. I’m reminded of a toddler clutching a parent’s leg, not wanting to be separated.
I shake my head. “Okay,” I say, and then I start to cry. And that is when all hell breaks loose, and I beg him to stay home.
“Babe….honey.” My poor husband looks lost. He has no reference point for what to do with me. I don’t act like this. “I’m sorry. If I had known you needed me to stay home with you, that you felt this bad, I would have called, gotten someone to cover, been on call…..I didn’t know. I’m sorry. I’ll get home as soon as I can, and you can call me anytime if you want or need to talk.”
He means well. But I won’t talk to him then, like that. If he could stay with me, I might try to explain. I already know, though, by the time he gets home, it will be too late. I’m already shutting down, pulling away, trying to close off whatever feelings I can. “It’s okay. I love you. Have a good day,” I tell him. I work really hard to smile.
He sits down next to me. “Honey, if I had known you needed me, I would have worked it out. You come first, you just have to ask.”
I nod. “Okay.”
The conundrum is of course that in order to have him stay with me, I have to risk being vulnerable and admit what I need. That in order to begin to see that it’s safe to be vulnerable and ask him for what I need, I have to do the scary thing, and ask for what I need. It’s almost like a catch-22. And while he says the right thing, and it sounds perfect and reassuring and lovely, I’ve been burned before by believing him. He makes promises like this he can’t always keep, and then I’m crushed when I risk it all and he can’t keep them. I suppose the place to start is by attempting to teach hubby how vulnerable I can actually be. To try to explain to him, and help him understand that I’m so little girl like in a lot of moments, that the little girl part runs the show sometimes, and my trust is easily broken when she is in charge, my feelings crushed, and that things most adults wouldn’t bat an eye lash over can feel like rejection or abandonment when the little girl is running the show.
Every relationship started somewhere right? And in a way, hubby and the other parts of me, the parts that aren’t miss perfect have to start communicating and forming a relationship.