Coming to terms with PTSD and domestic abuse

March 31, 2013_ Today, depression grab me again as I drove with my children to church to celebrate Easter Sunday. Suddenly, I was overwhelmed with a feeling of sadness, fear and dread as we hurried off to church.

About a mile into the drive and the awareness of sadness, I paused to think about why I was sad. Bright sky. Wonderful holiday. Time with my children. Nothing troubling about the day.

But, my most quiet thoughts, deep down in my psyche, were running on the treadmill of reliving the pain of abuse. I wasn’t expecting it, nor did I think I was especially upset about anything. But, when I drove on with my thoughts, I realized that I was feeling the pain about abuse all over again, as if it was happening right then.

For years, I thought that these deep, dark feelings, made me crazy and it scared a sane and logical person like me to no end. Today, I know that after 10 years of physical violence and 20 years of emotional abuse by my ex-husband’s and co-parent’s hands, I have been seriously dramatized and that leave a very big mark.

Almost anything to do with my ex-husband can retrigger the fear and panic of domestic abuse. Memories. Words. His name. News of his activities. When you have two children together, the proximity to your abuser is two close for comfort.

As I sat in church, and cried, I tried to figure out what triggered this episode of PTSD. My oldest child just got accepted to college and his decision was made by the three of us: me, my child and my ex. Though we barely spoke, we had more interaction than I have had in a while with him. He holds some power as he is financially responsible for college education for our children. So, we have had to engage.

My narcissistic ex likes it when he holds all the strings. He likes to feel the power and likes to feel superior. My ex is also trying to connect with me, with hollow words of kindness or nasty accusations. Each week, it is a different email that switches back and forth from businesslike,friendly, and intimately abusive.

But, we have to engage frequently due to the kids. So, I am learning to take it.

Change is another big trigger. Every new turn in our lives invites a reason to speak. I don’t like to speak to my ex. He is a bully, a blowhard and mean. I used to find safety in trying to be bigger than him, just as he does. It worked for a the moment, but always felt worse afterward. In fact, it felt lonely. Trying to stay on top of the heap, when the heap is the father of your children is awful and sad.

I find that as I get older, my fight to protect myself is slipping and when it does, depression sets in. I have a long history of “winning” the battles against my ex. But, the war, well, I think often that I’m the loser. Who wants to spend their life battling an unwin-able war? I want to get to the point, where my ex stops abusing. Wants to stop. And that is never going to happen. He will always be involved in some program of destruction. It is how he gets through the day.

And as long as we have a connection, and we always will, I am a potential target. I want to make him stop. But I can’t. No way. No how. And that is depressing. So when I think of my ex for any reason …. I see his name in print or hear my children speak of him or read an email from his address, I am re-triggered and within a few seconds, I’m sad.

I am sad that I can’t live without such pain. I am sad for my children, who despite my best efforts and prayers, are not free of a relentless work of a narcissist. I am sad that I ever hooked my wagon to such a man. I am sad that in this live, there is no apparent escape from his evil. I am sad that I don’t have the husband to share my children with. I am sad that anyone ever lives this way. I am sad that I have no control over this. I am sad that anyone ever believes his crap. I am sad today. And writing helps.

Thank you cyperspace for being here and thanks to anyone who reads this.


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