It’s funny how out of the blue a moment of clarity can be. We can be faced with a situation for years…think it through in a million ways…never fully finding the answer…and then one day…BAM! Like a football to Marcia Brady’s nose.
It’s also funny how we can truly believe we’ve handled a situation fully and then…that football hits and…well, shit…
It doesn’t mean that we handled it WRONG, but maybe we missed a huge piece of the puzzle.
Today I got hit in the nose with a football.
Anyone who’s known me long knows that I sometimes have nightmares. It’s a standard part of PTSD. The nightmares aren’t usually of the events themselves, but are representative of the trauma. They can come during times of extreme stress, or after certain triggers and…for me…they often come at times of happiness.
Weird, right? Why would happiness cause trauma nightmares?
Because (my trauma tells me that) happiness can be taken away.
(We’ll address those parentheses. They’re rather important.)
So, when I’m especially happy about something or excited about it…the nightmares come…always different, but always the same…my abuser takes everything away from me and laughs at me for believing I could ever keep it.
The past couple of nights I’ve had those nightmares. This time they were followed by good dreams, so they didn’t even fully click until this morning. But then some random thoughts reminded me and…yup…she was taking everything from me again. But then…a new follow up train of thought happened.
SHE was taking everything from me. Just like SHE always does. I’m so glad I’ve gotten away from HER so SHE can’t hurt me anymore. Wait…then why am I still hurting? She isn’t there anymore. Well, it’s not reasonable to believe that will end the trauma. No, but…if I continue to lose things…to someone who isn’t actively taking them…
I’m giving them away.
Well, crap. Let’s follow this train of thought.
Every time I think I’ve found my place with people…a moment will come where I feel left out (it happens to all of us)…and HER VOICE reminds me, “I always told you no one would really want you around…”.
Every time I believe I’m smart enough to succeed…HER VOICE tells me that I’m a fraud and everyone will see it soon enough.
Every time I find hope…HER VOICE reminds me that I am unworthy of happiness.
Every time I find joy and love…HER VOICE reminds me that I’m ugly and unlovable.
Every time I hear HER VOICE I withdraw and overthink and lose everything.
Her voice. Seriously. Her voice. A disembodied remnant from the past. The woman is still a lunatic and would love to hurt me, but…that part…who’s listening to a disembodied memory and letting it alter the course of their happiness?
Ohai! That would be me. Right here.
Every time I LISTEN to her voice tell me no one wants me around, I GIVE HER my sense of belonging.
Every time I LISTEN to her voice tell me I’m a fraud, I GIVE HER my success.
Every time I LISTEN to her voice tell me I’ll never deserve better, I GIVE HER my hope and happiness.
And every time I LISTEN to her voice tell me I’m unlovable, I GIVE HER MY HEART AND ASK HER TO BREAK IT.
A disembodied memory can’t take anything that I don’t give away.
Many many things were taken from me by my abuser. I was a child and had no control over their loss. Many Many reasons still exist as to why I need to stay vigilant and strong so that she can’t hurt me. None of that has lost it’s validity through this football to the nose.
BUT…the happiness that I want…the future that I hope for…the belonging and love that I dream of…
I’m giving those away.
And I’m not doing it anymore.
Happiness and love and hope…it’s MINE. And I’m not giving (it) up anymore.