trauma brain

Today is a hard day, and it’s not even 8am. Last night, I fell asleep to my boyfriend on the other end of a video call – something we do every night as I finish my degree before moving to Boston. I told a story about one of my favorite places before we went to sleep. All night long, after a great day of relaxing, friends and talking on and off, I felt like something was off. Not off in a miniscule bad day sort of way, but off in a you did something and now your behavior needs to be punished sort of way. What I did? I didn’t know. But the worst part was, it was only in my mind. My mind made this scenario up entirely. He did nothing to create these thoughts, to create this sort of environment or to create doubt in my heart. I did that. My brain did that. The trauma imprint did that. And what people don’t tell you, is that this is the hardest part of recovery.

I spent ten years waiting for the other shoe to drop. Each time I felt happy, fulfilled and like I was really gaining traction on my goals personally, professionally and in our marriage, it happened. An energy shift. It was as if my happiness was a threat to his well being. And then came the shoe drop. The treasure hunting for pain. The finding of text messages, calls, dates, naked bodies – the betrayal. The confrontation, the sobbing, the bargaining – the worthlessness. The alligator tears, the gaslighting, the promises of fixed behavior – the honeymoon phase. The cycle would continue like this for ten years. 

Having someone in front of you who loves you for you, is something that is just not acceptable to my trauma brain. Having someone who loves you for the way your mind works. For the kindness you show to others. For the way you love them. For the light you shine in this world. It’s just not conceivable to this brain. At least not today. At least not last night. And the guilt you hold for knowing you’re not letting your walls down one hundred percent because of that little part of you that’s still fearful of your ex somehow possessing your new boyfriend in some sort of demon-scifi-hollywood sensation, is fucked up. It is. You can tell yourself over and over again he is not the person who hurt me. But until that fear response learns to sit the fuck down, the point is mute. 

I guess what I’m trying to say, is that divorce is hard, cheating is hard, rape is hard, betrayal is hard, but what I didn’t expect to be hard is allowing someone to love me, broken pieces and all. This was supposed to be the pot of gold at the end of the relationship rainbow, after all. It was supposed to be the culmination of all my healing work. Of the almost hundred hours of therapy sessions. Of the shadow work. Of being able to say I put my healing first and the well being of my future partner first, over putting my hurt on another by rushing right into a relationship again. But guess what? Even after all that healing, I am still broken. And admitting that your rapist’s voice still echoes in your head after not hearing his spoken words in almost a year? That’s hard. Admitting that the day you last saw him plays on repeat in a nightmare scenario at least weekly? That’s hard. Admitting that part of you still wants to just walk into your home, pet your dogs, and get a hug after a long day is terrifying. It doesn’t make sense. It’s not logical. It’s not even what you truly want. This is what healing looks like. It’s not linear. It’s not pretty. And if I’m honest, it just fucking sucks a bag of dicks. 

But this is where I’m at today. And it’s all I’ve got to offer.

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