This afternoon we attended our weekly couple’s therapy appointment. Things were going pretty well. We were discussing the “new” schedule and how Blue Eyes was generally handling being at work more and having all that responsibility and not having his addiction as a coping mechanism, and his eyes started tearing up and became red rimmed. He spoke for quite a while. His voice broke many times. When I was talking about how great things were going for me, watching him handle the reality of his career, seeing him manage some of the stress without caving to his addiction, and me having more time to myself, he was breathing deep and heavy trying to ground himself. His eyes were shut, tears trickled down his cheeks. We were pretty exclusively talking about him and where he is at and how difficult every little fucking this is to him.
We moved forward into discussing some other aspects of the past week and how we communicate and Blue Eyes continued to be moved and a bit emotionally overwhelmed. I thought this is good. He is present with his emotions. I then brought up the “broken” incident from Saturday. Ms. Second Chance wanted to know if I had wanted Blue Eyes to hold me right then, on the hillside in our front yard. I said, “no, not really and I definitely did not want him to just say, I’m here, I’m here.” I told her, “If he can’t say how shitty it is that he has basically shattered my world, I would prefer he not say anything at all and not touch me.” She suggested that when I am going through a particularly difficult episode, Blue Eyes should ask me if I want to be held and that if I say no or don’t answer, that should be his cue to open up and be honest with me regarding how he is feeling. At that point Blue Eyes started blabbering on about himself and basically repeating exactly what the therapist had just said. She asked me what I was thinking while I was sitting there crying in the yard. I told her pretty much what I wrote about yesterday on the blog and then, I knew I needed to go to a deeper place there in therapy. I told her that I feel empty inside sometimes and that I have stopped telling Blue Eyes what I want because he rarely if ever is able to give it to me. Do I think he is getting in touch with his own emotions? Yeah. Do I think he is better able to go in there with me and understand what he perpetrated on ME? Maybe, but he sure as hell isn’t able to verbalize it. This is when I knew I needed to be bluntly honest about how I feel. I knew it was going to be terribly painful for me to voice this. I have said it before in individual therapy and I have thought about it a great deal on my own, but I knew I needed to say it out loud and I was sincerely hoping that because Blue Eyes was in an emotional state, he would join me. That he might even be able to verbalize, like in one past therapy session, how he feels about what his behavior has done to me. I said that while I was crying over the brokenness, I felt bitterly alone. I generally give a lot more than I receive. It is just the way it is. I was trained to be a giver and I think I put off an air of not needing others, of not needing compassion. The fact is, EVERYONE needs compassion and understanding. It is a human right and Blue Eyes knows he abandoned me in this regard. He bought in like the rest, depriving me of honest to goodness empathy. We all need to be treated with dignity and respect, and told the truth. I have gone through most of my life carrying the torch. I have been the giver of guidance and the nurturer of spirit. My parents were overwhelmed with what they were given with my sister. I learned to take care of myself, to be independent. I received a great deal of positive energy from raising my children, but as the years went by, my tank was running low. I was happy with my life, but emotionally abandoned. Just about the time I was desperate for high quality attention from my partner, our children had flown the coop, our nest was empty, our company was stable, I got hit with dday. NO, I got SLAPPED in the face with dday, and then I got pummeled with months and months of trickling disclosures. Lies upon lies upon lies. I sobbed in the therapist’s office talking about how empty I feel because everyone assumes I will be strong, no matter the circumstances. Well, guess what? I thought that too. I thought I was the tower that would never fall. I was wrong. I also thought I had a partner who would never betray me. Again, I was wrong. As I looked over at Blue Eyes, I realized he had completely changed. He was now vacant of true emotion. His eyes were clear and bright. He was sitting up straight. He was completely disconnected from my pain. He looked present, but he was shut down from his feelings. It was time to wrap up. The therapist had interjected a few helpful comments along the way to Blue Eyes about how to be more emotionally available to me. Her words were falling on deaf ears. I was defeated and frustrated and I know Blue Eyes could tell.
On the way home I waited for Blue Eyes to speak, but he didn’t. I explained to him how distinctly his emotional availability had shifted between his sharing about himself to the end of the session where I was sobbing out my pain. I waited for him to respond. He started to rebut what I had so clearly seen with my eyes and felt in my heart. I am not even sure it was debatable. I absolutely wish it was on film. I wish he could see himself. I wish he could see how he shut down from me and my pain. In the car, he accused me of not giving him the chance to speak. For many long quiet minutes in that car, I wasn’t saying anything. The excuses and deflection are getting really old. Finally I said to him, “at this point, I feel like throughout my life all the times I needed nurturing and then empathy, compassion, tenderness and understanding, and I didn’t get it, I sustained little cuts to my body that healed, but left scars of vulnerability. Then, all of the sudden dday hit and you just started stabbing me, over and over.” At this point he was pretty overwhelmed and unable to do much other than talk about how he needs to be present for me and be a real partner going forward, blah, blah, blah… I pretty much stopped listening. Even though I had literally just said in the therapist’s office that I need him to say something like, “I feel like absolute shit for the way I treated you. You absolutely did not deserve the pain I dumped on you. You are my rock and I am devastated by what I have done to you… ” (Oh, I could go on for days with this), he could not do it.
I still feel totally sliced up and in pain. I need to heal, but I guess it is ridiculous or naive to expect the person who inflicted the cuts to administer the bandage. I can bandage my own cuts, but it would be great if my partner could actually wake up from his abusive stupor and help me bandage the wounds. It is like I have purchased the first aid, laid it out on the table, explained to him how to administer it and then instead, he just throws it all away and stands there. What I surely do NOT need, is someone lamely saying, “I will help you, I will help you, I will help you,” and then doing absolutely nothing for me.