Tag Archives: shame

Therapy session was tough…

This is from my newer blog that chronicles my problem with using alcohol. I drink to hide from my depressive feelings and trying to break the habit is not as easy as I thought.

My Healing Recovery

This is a follow up to my last post regarding being honest about relapsing to my therapist.

Yesterday I had a session with Lynn and, after getting the pleasantries about her vacation and my surgery out of the way, I squirmed uncomfortably on her couch and bluntly said, “I should start by telling you that I started drinking wine again.”

She asked a few questions, the first one, “What day did you have a drink?”

I answered, “May 18th, the last time I saw you before you went on vacation.”

She asked me to tell her about what happened and I dismissively replied, “Who, what, where, when and how don’t matter as much as the why.” She nodded and played along. I say played along because I feel like I was deflecting from the whole truth because I didn’t have the guts to be totally straight forward. I…

View original post 1,427 more words

The twisted mind of a depressive alcoholic…

I made a decision to not drink as a way to treat my depression and high blood pressure.  By the looks of things, with over one hundred days sober, you might think I’m doing well.  I’m not.  Every imaginable self-defeating thought bombards me and I can’t get away from my inner critic.  It’s not easy giving up a vice that I used as a way to control the negative thoughts pounding in my brain.  In fact, I really miss drinking wine — it gave me a reprieve from myself.

I’m on-again/of- again with the AA program because I have difficulty looking at my defects and making positive changes.  Tonight the AA meeting was about “making amends” to those I’ve harmed.  Truthfully, I was a boring drunk.  I stayed home and drank quietly before flopping into my bed.  Aside from hurting my husband and kids for not being fully present in mind and spirit, I don’t see a whole lot of damage.  I didn’t call people; I rarely went out when I was drinking so I pretty much kept it hidden from everyone.

The AA meeting got me thinking of what amends to make and this is what my twisted mind came up with.  I stole from my brother’s coin collection when I was younger.  I also totaled the car he was supposed to get from my mother for his college graduation.  This brother did worse crimes to me, sexually molesting me when I was around age 8-11.  He still brings up how valuable his coins would have been if I hadn’t spent them at the penny candy store.  I feel anger and resentment that he has such nerve to bring up what I did to him; but, I also carry regret and shame that I’m guilty of stealing and destroying his things.  Instead of rightfully directing my anger at him, I turn it inward where it can fester and grow into depression.

Do you see my problem?  I’m supposed to make amends to become a more honest person but the amends I come up with are toward a sexual predator.  Isn’t there something wrong with this fucking picture?

This is why I can’t go deep into the AA steps.  I turn against myself; a habit learned long ago when I couldn’t depend on anyone to help me.  At AA meetings there’s a lot of time to self-analyze and berate myself; and no one is qualified to set my thinking straight. This mental work is best done with a therapist and thank god I have one.

It’s late, I’m tired, and I know this post didn’t make a clear point.  It’s a snap shot of how confusing it is to be me, a woman who suffers with depression, alcohol addiction and the aftermath of childhood sexual abuse.

♥ Daylily ♥

Aside

The decrease in Celexa did the trick.  I’m not as tired which translates to not feeling like a freaking zombie.  When I’m numbed out on antidepressants it’s the worst feeling to forget half of what I or other people say.  I’m so glad that … Continue reading

Shop for lingerie

What’s a better pick-me-up? I’ve been riddled with depression, anxiety, feelings of shame, anger, and guilt; really, you name an emotion that attacks from the inside and I’ve been feeling it.

Tonight I went to the mall and bought myself a present: panties, bras and camisoles. And no cheap Hanes briefs from Wal-Mart (which I wear everyday so don’t get me wrong about that). My recent weight loss boosted my self-image and I don’t feel like an obese sea cow swimming in the lingerie department. I went all out and bought the softest Jockey panties and camisoles I’ve ever felt. No, they aren’t satin and lace or very sexy but they are stylish and comfortably cotton. I know I will feel happier tomorrow just knowing I did something nice for myself.

My mood was so low today that I almost shut down my blog and cut myself off from my therapist. The only way I can explain it is when I feel judged or criticized I get defensive. For some reason when others are disappointed in me I take on their condemnation as my own. I feel utterly worthless and push others away because I’m not worth their worry or care. The pattern goes like this: someone I trust hates a behavior of mine; I can’t change it so I hate myself equally as much.

I woke up feeling so bad I fantasized about suicide. I thought just get me the fuck out of this world. I didn’t plan anything or take the idea any further than wishing I wasn’t alive.

I called Lynn, my therapist, and we talked things out. She made me realize that I focused on one tiny part of our session and blew it way out of proportion. Lynn assured me she is committed to working with me. She observed that all of my relationships have the same dynamics and if I work on how I feel with her I am helping my other relationships too. She’s right.   I can get so stuck in inner turmoil.   The conversation was pretty long and it helped to be able to express myself to someone who was reassuring. I won’t go into the whole binge drinking thing except to say she explained her position a little better and I understand where she’s coming from. First of all, I did choose a therapist who is a prescribing doctor so of course that person would be concerned if I mix alcohol with her medications. What really made me see her point was after I asked “Would you tell a patient who self-harmed through bulimia or cutting to just stop the behavior?” Her answer was, “Alcohol is a form of medication and I am a prescribing therapist. I have a responsibility to be concerned about mixing the two.” I calmed down after that and said, “I can understand that.”

What I know is this blog is about my depression. Lynn has her eye on that when I lose my focus. Of course, she’s right that I’ll never be well until I stop drinking. It does not mix well with my medication nor help my depression.

My perspective is slowly changing.

♥Daylily

Same issues; new year.

FAITH

Greetings to all in this new year!

I begin 2013 with the same issues I had going into 2012. I’d like to think I am getting closer to healing but it sure isn’t happening at lightning speed.  This is where mindfulness and compassion come in.  I must have faith, focus on my life now and not judge myself harshly in my haste to get well.

Follow the link to a post from the early days of my blog that succinctly explain why I’m in therapy and what I have to work on.  Warning:  detailed account of incest.

https://mydepressionchronicles.wordpress.com/2011/12/04/the-effects-of-childhood-sexual-abuse-or-what-i-have-to-work-on-in-therapy/

♥ Daylily

Old patterns revisited

I like to be upfront in my blog and – as much as I wish I could say all this self-compassion and mindfulness is helping – right now – it’s not.

Things suck. I’m getting over a sinus infection and I’ve been experiencing a migraine for 2 days. These are physical and can wreak havoc on my emotional stability.

I fucking hate being unstable. I fight it or fake it until the feeling passes.

My home life is wrought with anger because I feel burdened with the household chores. I have two growing boys and a healthy husband yet if I go out for the evening, the kitchen remains as messy as when I left. I angrily make clear how I feel, “I’m not the only one in this house who knows how to clean a kitchen. So, why am I the only one doing it?” As you can probably imagine this reaction makes everyone clear the room and grow further in distance from my rage.

My family knows when I’m not feeling stable and they joke about my anger and interruptions. “Not funny,” I say. They really don’t understand this is my worst and I need them the most.

There’s a break down in communication because I never learned how to express uncomfortable feelings. Survivors of sexual abuse either take it out on themselves or get angry with the world. It’s seems there’s no normalcy or middle ground.

I can’t fix my emotional self until the physical self is better. I took charge of my health and called my doctor three times in the last week. Once to get on an antibiotic for my sinuses, the second time because the first antibiotic didn’t work and again because my migraine was not responding to a potent medication that I can only take every twenty-four hours. The medication (Imitrex) lasted 15 hours and I called my doctor. She said I was experiencing a cluster migraine and prescribed a tapered steroid.

So, I’m taking antibiotics, steroids and my usual cocktail of Wellbutrin, Celexa and Klonopin. This is positive because I’m healing the infection, knocking out the migraines and treating my depression.

I wish I could feel optimistic. But, the stress of not being on top of my game has made me lose focus on mindfulness and self-compassion. Somewhere along the way I heard the voices telling me, “You’re sleeping too much.” “You need your doctor too much.” “You haven’t put up one Christmas decoration.” My head has been  full of self-defeating thoughts that I can’t run from.

I fall back on my old way of numbing the pain – both emotional and physical. I self-sabotage with a bottle of Pinot Grigio. I know I binge drink. I hate myself more for the lack of self- control.

My appointment with Lynn this week was focused on my emotional health and how I’m striving for mindfulness. I told her I recognized moments where I beat myself up with an inner critic that no one would want as a friend. She asked about my drinking and even after I told her I am drinking as a way to disassociate, she told me I’m making progress with the work of being present with my feelings.

I cannot believe she praised me even though I feel defeated and weak. Lynn told me to keep working on my emotions and allow those feelings to come to the surface.

I wanted to hug and thank her for recognizing my effort. Never have I expressed all of my vulnerability and had someone say, “Good for you.”

Daylily

Learning self-compassion

I will attempt a post about self-compassion, for the sake of growing in my ability to focus on being mindful. My tendency is to be unaware of emotions which allowed for my inner critic to have full reign for the past 40+ years. The patterns have repeated themselves since my childhood, within a family of intellectual perfectionists, I felt less than perfect due to my personal experiences with incest and depression. It is time to stop carrying shame and blame and expose them in order to limit the power they have over me.

Am I losing some of you? I will find a quote that describes this better than I ever could.

Mindfulness is “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally” (Kabat-Zinn, 1994, p. 4). When we begin to make contact with the present moment using the tool of mindfulness, the world gradually begins to look and feel different.  It is as if we are slowly becoming awakened to the reality of the constantly unfolding present moment in a new way.  Worries about the past and the future begin to fade away as you realize that you are only truly alive in this moment… right now.

My life is on a positive path. I have been exercising, meditating, drinking less and practicing mindfulness. I am beginning to recognize my marriage triggers negative emotions. My pattern has been to close-up and walk away, never to acknowledge my feelings. Yesterday an incident occurred and I pushed aside my instinct to escape and I stayed with a challenging topic. I tried to see my husband’s side, as well as my own and ultimately realize the result doesn’t matter as long as I allow myself to feel things. This is not easy, if you’ve been married, you know what I’m talking about. Conversations can easily metamorphasize into a blame-game.

So, yesterday Husband brought up our finances.  I felt like running away and not partaking in or being responsible for his worries. He rightfully complained I avoid the topic of finances which led to an argument where he became so frustrated he was throwing around the f-bomb in close proximity to our children.

I have this tendency to react without emotion when anyone gets angry and this time was no different; I built a fortress around myself. My husband was saying if the finances were up to me we’d be living in squalor and we wouldn’t have money for retirement. I fought back by blaming him for needing everything bigger and better. Our house is 5,000 square feet and I tell him let’s downsize. We don’t need so many flat-screen tv’s, a swimming pool, 3 acres to live on. It’s way more than I wish we had. He argues back we can afford all of it if we stay on budget. I dig my heels in and stubbornly believe he’s entirely at fault.

He storms to his office and I go talk to my 14-year-old. I recently heard of a study that reported children who live with parents that argue have a greater probability for depression. Son 1 is particularly sensitive but thankfully he is confident and driven (unlike me, depressed at 14). I say to Son, “I know you don’t like it when we argue and I’m sorry.” He says, “Why do you get Dad riled up? You know he is a finance guy and spends a lot of his time making spreadsheets and xls documents.” As I listen to the wise words of my son, I busy myself picking up laundry on his floor while he plays Xbox and we continue the talk. I admit I don’t understand finances and I tell him that in a marriage, couples balance each other by taking on the areas they are good at and allowing the other spouse to take care of other things. Son tells me I should at least try to listen to him and look at the budget. Son says, “I hate it when you argue.” I ask, “Don’t you think all couples argue?” Because to me the fight with Husband was nowhere near as bad as the way my parents fought. Son surprises me by answering, “When you and dad argue it is much worse than other parents.” This gives me pause. Wow, I feel like I hold back and remain calm during the fights. Son continues, “You egg him on by the things you say and how you say it.” I tell Son, “I will go and talk to Dad right now and learn all about his financial plan and our budget.” He seems pleased and puts his Turtle Beach headphones back on as I carry the laundry basket out of his bedroom.

My eleven-year-old is not as sensitive and, as I walk by him on my way to Husband’s office, I joke, “Wish me luck as I go learn all about our exciting finances.” Son 2 says, “Have fun. I’ll see you in 3 hours.” He and I smile knowing this is not far from the truth.

I pour myself a rather large glass of Pinot Grigio and head to Husband’s office. (The tidbit about the glass of wine is not really part of the story except, in a way it is.  I recognize I depend on alcohol to cope but that’s a whole other post). There Husband sits, in front of a giant flat screen, working on a self-assessment for work.   Husband is pleased I’m there and gives me the full tour of everything, from tax bills, our paperless accounts, his retirement plan, our projected social security income and how many more years he must work in order for us to retire comfortably. When he shows me how little I contribute I get defensive and feel like a non-essential member of this family, in fact I feel insignificant in every way. (I do work but nobody could live on the social security I will receive at retirement). 

My self-loathing is pervasive and I say something depressing about how little I contribute. He immediately gets angry and says, “I’m not saying that so if you want to go there that’s all in your head.” He knows me too well. I am the queen of feeling bad for myself. I explain that my mom always wanted me to be more than I am and I feel depressed looking at those numbers because it shows just how worthless my life is.” Husband says, “If you want to get a higher paying job, go ahead but that’s not what I’m saying.  I’m just showing you what we have right now.” He takes all of the emotion out of it and so I stop my pity-party while he continues to discuss the giant spread sheet on his flat-screen.

The bottom-line is he wants to live debt-free and we spend way too much on sports, compared to the amount allocated for that line item on the budget.  I take responsibility for my part in loving all things sports and getting my boys into every opportunity that comes up.  Husband points out Son 1 didn’t have to participate in the winter training, for which I recently wrote a check for $540.  This option hadn’t occurred to me until now.   I say, “Fine, I will tell Son 1 that this is his last year with a club soccer team (where the fees are outrageous – close to 2 grand a year). Husband tells me not to do that – it will give him nothing to strive for this coming spring (which we already paid for). Then I tell Husband Son 2 wants to join a club basketball team. Now, instead of saying no, he says, “Son 2 needs something like that” and tells me I should look into it. WTF? Where will that money come from, Mr. Financial Wizard?”  (Excuse my sarcasm but I couldn’t help it.)

About an hour later, with his anger diffused, I manage to cut him short and go toward the office door. Husband is visibly relieved after sharing everything that’s been on his mind. I, conversely, feel like crap. My fervent hope is that once the kids are grown I die first so he can have his carefully planned retirement and I won’t have to be a burden.  I say something about how I will tell the children we made-up and he says, “Not completely yet.” He gets out of his office chair and hugs and kisses me. I go through the motions but I am emotionally shut-down. I feel like a useless human being that nobody could really want to love and be with and all I want is to get away.

I tell the kids I talked with their father and everything is okay now.  Then, I go to my own office and try to stay in the moment. I recognize that my inner-critic is coming down hard. I feel my old pattern of self-blame and become aware I don’t feel worthy of all that my husband does to support me and the children. I barely feel like I’m worth a dime. I recognize how awful it feels to encumber myself with these negative thoughts.  But I also know that my feelings are real.  Not realistic but nonetheless, real.  I consciously release them and turn my focus to right now. The good things I do have.  My marriage of (almost) 24 years. The love my husband and I have for each other. Our wonderful children. I see how I contribute to the household. I am worthy of having a good man who loves me. I don’t need to carry around old stories that just sabotage my self-image 

I must appreciate and be grateful for who I am.  These baby steps of self-awareness are monumental in terms of the long-term benefits.  If I can re-learn how I think of myself, life will be good.

Daylily

Freeing myself from shame

Wonder and astonishment are the best words to describe what I am discovering about myself. I always felt different from the rest of the world. My intellect told me it was because I suffered an incestuous experience that isolated me from others.  However, knowing the cause of an ailment does not make it better. Instead, I suffered more with the knowledge that I couldn’t get out from under my own self-loathing. As many survivors will tell you, we learn to fake wholeness in order to keep up the façade of normalcy. It is painful enough to hate yourself and it would be more painful to have others know those reasons because they would hate you, too. I know that thinking makes no sense unless you’ve learned to protect yourself through self-loathing; then you too would understand how real it feels – so real that others would admonish you if they knew. But, something is shifting and I no longer feel like that girl who is hiding her sense of inadequacy.

I am immersed in a book that so concisely describes my emotional pain that it blows me away. It’s truly extraordinary! How uplifting it is to read another person’s description of my life. If a book was written that matches my struggle there must be others out there who are buying and reading the same book. You have no idea how liberating this revelation is.

Sounds simple; pretty basic, really. Didn’t I say I always knew what my problem was? And don’t I know that 7 out of 10 women are sexually abused? So what is so special about this book and this moment in my life?

It is as if the stars have lined up perfectly and I am feeling what I’ve intellectually known all along. A new sense of freedom like no other. The emotional work I’m doing is paying off. Practicing mindfulness is putting me in touch with my negative thoughts and emotions in a way that’s allowing me to be aware of the hurt and pain, acknowledge it and then release it. My shame is diminishing and I am feeling stronger.

The following quote is from the book I’m reading.

“As the light increases, we see ourselves to be worse than we thought. We are amazed at our former blindness as we see issuing forth from the depths of our heart a whole swarm of shameful feelings, like filthy reptiles crawling from a hidden cave. We never could have believed that we had harbored such things, and we stand aghast as we watch them gradually appear. But while our faults diminish, the light by which we see them waxes brighter, and we are filled with horror. Bear in mind, for your comfort, that we only perceive our malady when the cure begins.” Francois Fenelon (1651)

Daylily

How childhood sexual abuse affects my marriage

It’s not news to anyone that a child who was sexually abused suffers long-term effects that carry over to adulthood. The early trauma is not an event that can be isolated because abuse touches all parts of a person’s identity, their social-emotional lives as well as the perceptions of themselves and others.

I have written about my experience of incest. I was prepubertal and research shows that the onset of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) factors into measuring the extent of trauma. Some studies show that younger children are somewhat more vulnerable than older children to trauma. I don’t need research to tell me this; of course a brain that has not developed (especially in terms of maturation and puberty) would be more affected. Other research shows that if the survivor lacks a sense of being protected by their parents, which is especially true with incestual CSA, the trauma can be worse. When I say trauma, I broadly speak of all the ways a child could be hurt; the more trauma the more far-reaching the effects and the harder the road is to recovery.

I’d like to address how CSA has affected my marriage of 23 years. I struggle with the ability to trust and be intimate with my husband. I fear re-traumatization if I stay in any relationship with the potential for emotional harm. When my fears over-power my rational thought, I want to escape. Yesterday in my blog I shared that I felt my husband does not respect or value me. Do you have any idea how many times I’ve had similar fears? More than I can count. Just about every time I don’t get my needs met.

My marital relationship is a concern but I am awakening to a realization that the bigger problem is that I continue to replay the same stories in my head. Recovery is hard because I keep my shame, guilt and sense of unworthiness hidden.

My thoughts regularly turn pessimistic and I fall into an all too common space in my mind that is self-protective. The proof is in every journal I ever wrote. I go between drastic states of believing that my husband is safe and loves me to an overriding sense that he hates me. Realistically, I am not in a relationship with a man who hates me. The relationship is unpredictable because I cause it to be so. A published piece of scientific literature about CSA says that dysfunctional family dynamics may occur in the families of survivors. These include “denial, unpredictability, lack of empathy, lack of clear boundaries, role reversal, a closed family system, incongruent messages (body language differs from speech) and extremes in conflict (too much conflict may result in abuse, too little may result in hiding problems and not dealing with them).” (Engel, 2000)

This is my reality — I do not think or react normally. CSA causes extremes in the quality of my intimate relationship with my husband.

My past shoves its way into the present and I re-live feelings of trauma and express myself in an extreme manner. I’ve never been diagnosed with a personality disorder of any kind, so this behavior is your standard post traumatic stress disorder. The reality is that my husband does not hate me nor does he think I’m stupid.

Yesterday, on Thanksgiving, I believed he hated me. I admit throughtout the day, I was recalling my childhood and I suspect it triggered my thoughts to go into protective-mode, hence the previous blog post threatening divorce. I have similar journal entries from the past 30 years, stating my husband doesn’t love me and I would be better off without him.

He proved me wrong yesterday by working in the kitchen all day, cooking the Thanksgiving dinner, from stuffing the turkey, to peeling potatoes to heating up rolls in the oven. I showed up just in time to set the table. He didn’t complain and in a sense proved he is good to me, to the kids and to my emotional health.

Dinner was followed by some television and then mutually satisfying sex that left me completely satiated. So much so, I forgot to take Klonopin at bed time and slept well regardless of missing my medication. This morning, my husband initiated more sex and I responded positively because he proved he could be trusted yesterday and so I felt safe.

This flip-flop in my thinking is the aftermath from CSA. It’s so paradoxical that half the time, I can’t trust myself. Is my husband loving or is he full of hate for me? My distorted thoughts aren’t reliable and so I’ve learned to go into isolation-mode when I feel unloved and low on self-esteem. I don’t want to do anything rash or sudden because I think it will hurt me more in the end to not be with this man I’ve loved for 30 years.

My instincts are good because it protects me from doing further harm to myself. Otherwise, I would still be living out my adolescence with sexual promiscuity, an eating disorder and drugs. I realize that when my thoughts turn to self-hate, I should isolate myself in order to stay safe. This defense mechanism has kept me in a good marriage, allowed me to raise well-adjusted children and kept me employed.

Things are beginning to change. I’m recognizing these stories and past patterns of thought are hurting me. No doubt they impact my relationships, and especially my marriage; but I count my blessings. I’ve never threatened divorce, I’ve only fantasized it would be best. I know it wouldn’t be the answer to my problems. My husband is aware of my past CSA and has stuck by me. He is a good man and I am ready to change my thoughts so that I can both give and accept love fully.

Daylily

Am I just “settling”?

Is my marriage healthy for me? Is it allowing me to be the best that I can be?

Huge questions.

Life changing answers that I admit I’m dreadfully scared of.

There’s so much buried anger and resentment in my marriage of 23 years. If I were to complain to my husband, he would respond “How do you think I feel?” He would go on to list things I don’t do for him, ways in which I don’t show love, behaviors of mine that make him feel isolated from me.

I have the same feelings of resentment for how he talks to me and how he responds to simple requests. I can list numerous ways in which he sounds bitter, angry and hateful toward me. It seems he always answers me by being snotty and angry.

He could say the same about me. We both feel unloved and unsupported.

It’s a vicious cycle of our emotional needs not getting met.

Did I marry someone with the exact likeness to my parents? I feel constantly criticized just as I did as a child. Brief interactions cut me down everyday – it’s no wonder I continue to have a low sense of myself. My husband treats me like I’m stupid. The same way I felt growing up.

Why have I been in a marriage to someone who can’t offer empathy for my emotions unless they are spilling out with sobbing tears?

I know why – because when I make a commitment, I stay with it. I tell myself I must endure, regardless of whether the relationship supports me or not.

The following are deep-rooted excuses that I believe down to my core, ways to justify staying in my marriage:

I would still be stuck with myself, no matter who I was married to.

That’s one of my classics. But doesn’t that thought hurt me? It takes the blame off my husband and puts it all on me. I recognize self-blame as my lifelong pattern, learned in childhood, as a way to avoid abandonment. If I entertain thoughts that others are not good for me and I, God forbid, voice those feelings – I could very well be left alone and abandoned.

Children cannot survive on their own so the thoughts were justifiable when my parents divorced and I feared being alone.  But, I’m an adult now and I could survive. Why do I blame myself instead of my husband who hurts me constantly with his tough, hardened exterior?

My husband doesn’t physically abuse me nor intentionally hurt my feelings. He is a good man and I am just sensitive to how others speak because I live with a sense of unworthiness.

Which is it? I’m too sensitive or my husband is an egotistical hard-ass who doesn’t think before he speaks? My perspective is so distorted that I just do not know the answer. My dad was the same way and my brother’s grew up strong, ambitious and competent. They didn’t feel the criticism that I did. I truly could be over-sensitive.

I hope my two boys don’t feel their father’s judgmental attitude and turn it against themselves. Perhaps that is how men raise children and as a girl I am overly sensitive in close relationships with men.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

I try to follow the word of the Lord and not be selfish. I have intentionally never written down the numerous ways my husband’s words have hurt me because that would be keeping a record of wrongs.

In my childhood, as a survivor of sexual abuse, I learned to rise each morning and shut out how I felt about my brother molesting me each night.

In my marriage, comparably speaking, I do the same thing and block the painful interactions and have learned not to remember.

My childhood patterns helped me master the ability to separate from painful emotions – to the extent of not being able to retain information that caused emotional pain only moments before. In my current life, this allows me to go to work, raise the children, do the household chores and stay married.

No marriage is perfect because no person is infallible. Any marriage has times of neglect because humans are not faultless creatures.

I must stay in my marriage and accept culpability for my part.  I can grow from this relationship.

That is true but I can only grow so far and no further — if my partner chooses to not see the part he plays in the relationship. Each person comes to a marriage with a past wrought with baggage. I’ve gone through a lot of therapy and I’ve been working hard to release my past baggage and learn to live in the present. Can I say that is so about my husband? Would my husband admit to his faults and accept he is not blameless?

That’s the question I’m dreadfully afraid of.  He most likely would blame me, depression, my history of sexual abuse, my inability to let go of feelings, my sensitivity and my self-imposed isolation.

The answer I would most like to hear from him is, “We both play a part in this marriage and we are equally at fault for the anger, resentment and lack of intimacy.”

This ideal is not far-fetched because my husband does care about me. He tries so hard to give me the love I need but over the years I have been unpredictable and he has rightfully used caution.

Where does all this lead me? At this moment, as I look truthfully at my marriage, I feel beat down. I don’t honestly know how much more I can improve in terms of building up my sense of worthiness and ceasing my behavior of drinking to numb my feelings, while I’m in this marriage with a guy that when I pull away the blinds, I see as playing a part in me continually feeling a sense of shame and guilt. I am perpetuating my past and something has to change. I can not continue to disengage from my emotions and think I will develop self-love and the ability to stop the negative thought patterns from my past.

If every relationship is wrought with fault and built-up resentments then I seriously wonder if I would be better off alone? At least until I could work out my own issues within a healthy atmosphere that doesn’t continually replay past patterns.

But, I must ask myself, why would I bail on a good man who has gone with me this far in my journey of self-discovery? He is painfully aware of my past and my present. Am I hiding from my own issues and wishing I could be alone so I don’t need to make those final steps to finding intimacy and real love?

Seriously, why would I want to start over after 20+ years?

I must talk to my therapist about this revelation and eventually discuss it with my husband.

Really big questions with no clear answers.

Daylily