With each passing day I find myself more amazed by the ways in which the brain protects itself. As a result of my childhood traumas, I have developed an insanely effective and diverse cache of defense mechanisms. I feared being abused or otherwise hurt so I tried to be very agreeable. I found what brought praise and kindness and excelled there. I found what brought mean words and sometimes fists and there I found my fault and my worth. I try to avoid things that elicit those feelings. That’s the thing, right there. “Avoid”. Avoidance is one of my specialties. I am very good at pretending that I don’t see the elephant sitting in the dining room.
My other specialty is repression. With avoidance I can get away with not dealing with something. With repression I can get away with pretending that this thing, this memory, this person never existed. This helps me to adjust reality to a more palatable and tolerable experience.
I’ve found that this adjustment is simply a distortion of the truth, which is nothing more than lying to yourself. I have to remind myself of this.
I believe that something in my spirit collapsed under the pressure to be agreeable and to appear okay. I did not trust myself. Echoes of threats, sharp heartbeats and flashbacks to “what happens in this house stays in this house”. I stepped into familiar shoes and the hurt feelings, the hurt pride, the broken spirit and the shame welcomed me back.
By utilizing those mechanisms, I was able to remain in a relationship that I called abusive within the first year. I was able to forget that ever happened. By utilizing those mechanisms, manipulative and abusive tactics became “that’s just how he is”. These old shoes walked me back into blaming myself for the treatment that I received. I was able to rationalize that.
it isn’t that bad…
I’m glad that my spirit was so weakened that I surrendered. I am so glad that I gave up on you and on myself. I couldn’t hold the image together and an incident that would have been reduced to another At Least walked out of the house. It didn’t stay within the walls of the bedroom that I was dragged across.
I was held accountable. I was held down. Until my closed eyes at least began to squint at what is glaring in front of me. There was no avoiding this. There was no pretending this did not happen.
I can see where stress bred fissures.
I can see where temporary bonds were shattered.
I can see where the fissures originate.
I can see where the stress peaks.
I can see where we were no longer able to remain intact.
Denial housed the love that remained.
Time has allowed me to reflect and reexamine both the last several months and the entirety in ebbs and flows. This web is complex and fragile because this is so tightly woven into the identity that I live(d) inside. To unravel the truth of our relationship is going to require me to look at myself just as intently as I do the web.
I’ve swept up my pride and my broken pieces.
This time they’ll be put together with gold.
It’s alright that I’m broken. At least I know it.