Letter to hubby

So, I wrote a letter to hubby. It’s so vulnerable making and I’m really scared to give it to him. I keep chickening out. I’m going to post it here, and maybe you all could give me your opinions on it. Bea says it is wonderful and just perfect the way it is. It’s very much a reaching-out-in-a-loving-way gesture. I’m sure his own issues might impact in some ways how he reacts to it, and how he reads it, but I think overall he should respond positively. I don’t think it’s too much–just right.

Dear Hubby,

I don’t know how to write this letter, but I really want to, so I’m going to try. I’m afraid I’m losing you, that we are losing us. Maybe before I started therapy, I was fine with relationships staying on the surface, and I was fine with us feeling distant from each other at times; I was fine with us not talking or connecting and I was fine with the big chunks of times I was really not feeling touchy feely. I want more for us, now. We deserve more, we deserve better. 

We need to talk about communicating– really talking– and about physical touch, and sex. I think that when we can’t even really cuddle and be together in any touchy feely way, you maybe feel really shut out. I don’t like that, I don’t want you to feel shut out. I want us to be able to talk and be deeper with our feelings and thoughts, and share more than just talking about Kat or the weather or whatever. I still don’t know how to have a relationship where we stay really connected. I think some of it is communicating more, talking more about what we are really thinking and feeling, and what is going on in our lives. I don’t think I knew what it meant to be connected to someone else until therapy. It’s hard to feel connected when you are so far away. I think we have trouble keeping the connection. It makes me so sad when I feel connected to you and then that connection is lost. I think we need to figure out how to talk and share with each other better. But I also think that staying connected with your spouse includes physical touch and sex. 
I hate how I have been reacting, the freak outs I have had. In the moment, it’s awful, because I’m triggered and scared, but it’s awful after the fact, too. I’m embarrassed and feel guilty for what I put you through. And I’m afraid to bring it up, and I don’t know what to say, anyways. So, I am going to try to write to you about this. 
I spent a long time living life in this sort of numb and not really there headspace. It wasn’t until therapy that I learned that isn’t exactly normal, that to be that far away from everything is a trauma response. Being farther away, though, offered some safety. I was able to tolerate cuddling, and touching, making out, even having sex because I was so far away. I’ve really been doing a lot of work this last year or so. I have a pretty long list of things that have changed for me. One of those things is the ability to be more present in my life, and to even be able to tolerate being fully present for short amounts of time. This is a good thing, but it does make things harder, too. I’m in this really tricky in between place where I’m much more aware of how I’m feeling, what I’m feeling, and what is going on around me, but not always able to tolerate it that well. It’s almost like peeling back layers of an onion, and while I dealt with some things in one layer, now I’m dealing with those things in a different layer. And that layer is being more aware of what is happening, being more here, but because of that, many of the things I used to block out, or dissociate away from, are now triggers.
I think the next layer is being able to tolerate the things that are suddenly becoming triggers, but I can’t do that all on my own. I can do a lot of it with Bea, but the touching stuff, I need you to be my partner in that. I believe Bea talked to you about how everyone has parts, and with trauma there are parts that stay stuck in the trauma? For me, I think of that part as the little girl part, because the thoughts and feelings that take over when I’m triggered feel young to me. This new, tricky layer I’m currently in seems to bring out the little girl part of me. And that makes things so difficult between us, because when that part is running things, I truly believe that all touch leads to sex. And that makes me so very scared, to the point where I will instigate things just because I can’t take sitting in that scary place anymore. Or, on the other hand, I will do my best to avoid all touch, and anyone being in my personal space. Unfortunately, most of the little girl’s feelings and beliefs are in relation to you, because you are the romantic interest in my life, you are a guy and you are my husband. It’s not fair to you, and I can only imagine how confusing it has to feel to be in your place. I want us to try to work on this, slowly, so that I can learn to sit next to you and not have the little girl part freak out. I want to be able to cuddle with you, or kiss you goodbye without that part going on hyper alert for something bad to happen. 
I know this isn’t what you signed up for when we got married. This isn’t what you were supposed to be dealing with. And I’m sorry. You can let me feel badly about that, it’s okay. I can be sorry, and also realize that it’s not anything I planned or wanted to be dealing with either. But this is where we are at, and I think that we can work through this, and teach the scared parts of me that it is safe, that now I am safe, and you are a safe person. 
I really need you to be able to help me with this. I think I need this to go very slow. I’m thinking we could start by sitting side by side, so you would be in my fairly large personal space bubble, and I would focus on staying present, and not letting the little girl part take over, and feeling whatever I’m feeling. The thing is, I can’t do the being present thing, and feelings thing, without support. I need to be able to talk through it with you in the moment, and have you share what you are feeling, too. I need you to be present and grounded and here. And if the little girl part takes over and instigates things, I need you to (gently, and making clear you still love me, but that this isn’t safe right now because I’m not running things) tell me no. I need you to be able to help me calm down if I freak out– so asking me what is around me, what colors I see, reminding me I am an adult, that it is 2016, and that I am with you. 
I really want to be able to tell you things like, “hey, in therapy Bea and I are working on me being able to be tolerate being completely present and focused on what I am doing in the moment. We are doing this by coloring right now.” But I feel like you would laugh at me, and find me to be crazy. Right now, with being in this tricky place, it’s not just touch that triggers me. It’s all kinds of little things, like feeling blame for everything– it’s like when you were mad about the shower head breaking this morning, I felt like you were angry with me and blaming me, like I had done something wrong. It feels like this a lot. Rationally, I know that isn’t true. But the little girl part of me still is in this place of magical type thinking, and is very ego centric, so just like a little kid, I end up feeling it’s my fault. I read into all kinds of things, and often end up feeling like you just think I’m being dramatic or needy or over the top crazy. 
So, anyways, I guess what I’m saying is I feel like if we can work on this touching thing like I described, we will also be working on communicating and connecting emotionally, and that could be so good for us. I’m also really worried you are going to read this as hurtful, or feel angry, or not want to try anything. Giving you this is really vulnerable making, which is really uncomfortable. I didn’t write this to be hurtful, on the contrary, I wrote it to help us get to a place of real connection because I love you and want that with you. 

A way to test authenticity with mom?

After therapy, I think a lot about my mom and telling her the truth. I think about anger, and what being mad at her means. I think about Bea’s term, “enmeshment”. I’ve heard it before, and I have some idea what it means, but I’ve never applied it to my mother and I. I read up on it, between Thursdays appointments, and I think Bea may be right.

Later that day, while Kat plays in the bath tub, and we create a magical world where mermaids swim and play, I text my mom.

My car won’t be fixed until Tuesday or Wednesday. I’m sorry, I won’t be able to come for the party. I can try to meet you halfway when I pick up the car, or I will come when the car is fixed for a day. You can always come visit me, too. I love you and I miss you. I’m sorry.

Her response wasn’t as awful as I had feared. She texted back, asking me to take the train, and was upset that Kat and I weren’t coming. In the end, she decided that she and my Dad would come visit on Sunday.

It feels good, making a choice that is safe for me, and sticking with it. I don’t feel any guilt over it right now. I’m thankful I did not have to lie. In a way, I got lucky that my car broke. I do know I won’t be so lucky again. And I can’t keep lying and hiding and pretending. I need a plan.

And so, I play mermaids with Kat, but my mind wanders, and the wheels turn and turn. I can not stop thinking and thinking about what to do. I realize, there is something I could share with my mom, a way to test the waters, or at the very least be somewhat more truthful with her. I can not keep lying like this. It’s not me anymore. I don’t know when I changed from a person who hides everything, all my thoughts and feelings, to a person who doesn’t want to hide anymore, but I have. I might still retreat to the closet, but I don’t want to spend the rest of my life in that closet. It’s not my place anymore. My safe space is growing, as long as I’m not feeling majorly triggered.

If I can get the courage to do so, the plan is to tell my mom about Kat and the little girl who touched her inappropriately. I’ll explain how it really affected Kat, and how thankful we were that she was already in therapy when she told us what happened. I’ll talk about her nightmares, and her struggles to feel safe with other peers. Then, depending on how my mother reacts to that, (and I’m not expecting a great reaction) I plan on explaining that it was very upsetting to me what happened, and it brought up a lot of things for me, including the sleepover incident with a friends cousin.

(Okay, probably I need to give a little backstory. This may be triggering, although I don’t have many details….there is mention of ED, self injury, and sexual abuse.
When I was 13, there was a sleepover party at a friends house. Her older cousin was there. I don’t know how much older. He was old enough to drive, and to be left in charge of us girls for a period of time. While we were watching a movie– Grease– curled up on the floor with blankets and pillows, in our pajamas, her cousin sat down next to me. He put he hand between my legs and touched me. I reacted like the traumatized girl that I was (although I believe I blocked out a lot of the abuse with Kenny at that point and didn’t relate the two things at all), and I froze. I dissociated. I don’t remember anything else until much later that night, and then the next morning. I held this in for a few months, reacting by my ED and cutting behaviors becoming worse than ever. I finally I told the therapist I was seeing at the time, who reacted– in my mind at least– by questioning and attacking me. I left feeling horrible and crazy. I overdosed that night and my parents consequently fired that therapist. I’m fairly certain that when my mom called to “fire” her, the therapist would have told my mother what happened at the sleepover.)

I plan to explain that my teenage years were really difficult, and it wasn’t until now that I was ready to deal with them, and I want to work through all my stuff before I am the parent of a teenager.

I’ll be breaking all the rules by bringing this up. But at least it will be am explanation for why I want to be in my own home, for why it’s hard to go back to my childhood home– too many memories there– and for why I have seemed withdrawn. I will be able to say that I’m in therapy and be honest about it. I’ll be able to tell my mom that it would be simpler for her to come visit me because I miss her and love her but I’m worn out from therapy and Kat and life this week.

If I can do this, if I can get this tiny piece out to my mom, I think it would go a long to helping us have an honest relationship. Which is what I want more than anything; to be authentic with my mom, and with others in my life.