“Hubby. Hubby. Please wake up. Please.” I’m begging, desperate. Images flying through my mind, I don’t want to be alone, I can’t do this. It’s 3:00am. I haven’t slept, and when I did get tired and close my eyes, I took a trip to flashback city.
“Hmmmm? What?” He rolls over slowly, mumbling, not awake. When he turns and looks at me, he wakes quickly. “What happened, what’s wrong?”
I shake my head at him. I am so scared to ask anything, to say anything. “Can you just hold me? Sit here with me and hold me? I can’t sleep.”
He nods, and shifts to a sitting position. I curl up next to him, my head on his chest, his arms around me. It’s okay. I’m okay. Hubby will keep me safe. We sit this way for a little while. I’m shaking but okay. I find some courage, hidden deep down, and speak. “Sometimes…I’m just….the nightmares….and memories that come up. It’s too much.”
“I know. I’m sorry, you deal with so much. I don’t know how you do it. You are the strongest person I know.” He rubs my back, and I stiffen a little, but then remember it’s Hubby, he’s a protector, a fighter for the people he loves, and I will be okay. I relax.
“I don’t want you to be sorry,” I tell him.
“Well, it’s sorry like sympathy,” hubby tells me; his voice is soft and gentle, he sounds kind and loving.
“I don’t want you to feel sorry for me. I don’t want pity,” I say softly. I want him to understand and be here and hold me, but I don’t want pity.
“Okay. You are still strong, and still amazing. You’ve come so far in the last year babe.”
We talk about when I feel small, and vulnerable. I tell him how a long time ago, I locked all the bad, ugly crap up in a box, like pressing pause on that part of my life, and then I finally felt safe enough– probably because of Hubby, and being further away from my family of origin– That the lock broke, and everything came flooding out, like pressing play on a part of my life that had been paused for 20 plus years. He gets it. I tell him I feel alone, and young because of all the feelings that have been unpaused.
“It’s just your turn to be taken care of. It’s okay to need things,” he says. He lifts my chin to make me look at him. “I like taking care of you. You take care of me, and always have. I have a job where I have more time to be here for you now. Let me.”
“It’s just hard, to be the one needing. I’m terrified I will be too needy and you will leave.”
“Nope. Not going to happen. You are stuck with me.”
“I’m afraid that if I get needy…..this needy, crazy, fucking mess in my head is awful and so much and I’m afraid if I really let you see that you will leave.” It’s scary to tell him these things, but I need him to know.
“It’s okay. I get it, but I’m not leaving. You are my mess,” he says, and I can literally feel the love in his words. I feel wrapped in safety and love between his words and his arms around me.
We talk about my mom leaving me, and how those feelings are out and being transferred to Hubby when he leaves. He says how hard that must be, how awful it had to feel, and how he doesn’t want to make me feel rejected, and even when he does leave to go to work or an errand, he will always come back to me. I tell him I’m afraid because last year he did threaten to leave.
“It was different last year, you were different. Now I know what’s going on, we are doing this together, I’m in this with you, all the way.” Hubby’s voice turns serious and strong, confident.
I’m afraid to ask, but I need to know. Last year, about this time, is when things really broke for me. Kat was telling me how much she hates me, hated herself. I stopped sleeping. My nightmares came back. I started bingeing and purging again. I was just really in a bad place. But I don’t remember a lot. It was just a lot of feeling, hated, isolated, scared, like I was doing everything wrong. It’s a blurry time. “So…..what um….I mean…how was I then? What was I acting, how were you perceiving me? I don’t know exactly what I’m asking….but…you know.”
Hubby stutters, and tells me it was hard, and that he was unsure of what was happening and so decided I was unhappy with him. I have to push him to talk to me. Finally he says, “It was walking on egg shells. Never knowing what you would react to, or how you would react. It was like you had no emotions, you were just gone, unless you were having these rages, these freakouts. You seemed so unhappy, I really was sure you didn’t want this life anymore. You weren’t here. It’s like you were broken, like you lost yourself and this little zombie person ran things until you started seeing Bea,”
I nod. “I’m sorry. I think I was just struggling to stay above water and not drown, but it’s no excuse. I’m really sorry I did that to you.”
“It was okay once I knew what you were dealing with.”
“I think last year, something broke in me…the box opened for some reason……but I didn’t know what was going on, either. I couldn’t have told you or anyone else exactly what was happening,” I say.
We keep talking along this line. We agree he can ask me how I am, ask me to talk about whatever is going on, say that he wants me to talk, all of those things. I need permission to talk, and now he knows I need it. We talk about being abandoned, and trusting and how I’m learning to reach out and trust him. We talk about Bea, and Hubby says she is good for me. I tell him some Bea stories. It feels a little awkward to talk about my shrink with him, but it’s nice. She’s important to me, she’s my safe space, she helps me hold all the ugly stuff and scary overwhelming feelings, and she helps me figure things out, and I think that all of this started with her popping my bubble and my being so small and vulnerable with her and seeing it’s okay, and then learning it’s okay and safe to do that, and being able to be more open more often with her and see that she didn’t leave…..and so I was able to try with Hubby. I don’t know. I just feel like I’ve turned a corner, but I’m in this weird headspace of little girl feeling needy and scared, wanting to hide but at the same time feeling like I am going somewhere, and this is just a part of what has to happen to get there, and in the end it will be okay. I’m trying to trust the process.