Today is the first chance I’ve had to think for days. Last week we hit the ground running with our counseling appointment Wednesday and I haven’t had a moment to process since. It was good. I remember that. Enough good was done that some pressure lifted, because the next two blogs I wrote were not about the Big Issue.
Saturday we did our therapist a favor and took part in an exercise where a group of therapists watched from another room via video feed while we had a session with her AND her supervisor.
Or maybe it was that she isn’t sure what to do and needed to call in the big guns. She assured us, though, that this was a training opportunity for her group of therapists and that they would really appreciate it if we would be guinea pigs.
So it went well, too. We were both on our best behavior, of course, but the Supervisor is so practiced at this stuff that she managed to dig really deep and get us to get down to the next layer. I left there lightheaded. I think maybe I was holding my breath for some of the time. I had a migraine the next day, too. So I think she cracked through some of my shell, because I’ve noticed when we dig deep, I tend to get a migraine the next day.
I remember at one point gazing out the window and watching birds wheeling in the sky and feeling like I was so disconnected from reality and so immersed in just emotions that I could almost fly myself.
But then I went straight to worship rehearsal, to church, to Sunday lesson planning, to Monday mega-class, to Tuesday classes, and today is the first chance I’ve had to be quiet and think.
After about 30 minutes alone in my room, trying to nap, I have come to the conclusion that I am in a full-blown crisis. I want to get up and get back to work, wash some dishes, cook some dinner, grade some papers, but I don’t want to leave it unresolved. So I’m here instead.
I think my sticking point, although it seems there were other things leading up to it, but the thing that I’m stuck on anyway, is that in the session on Saturday the supervisor said that she could see that we really love each other.
My face must have been shocked. I felt shocked. Because I didn’t know that.
I mean, I knew he loves me. He says it a lot. He tries to fix everything with those words, so frankly, they don’t mean much any more. But that is his story and he is sticking to it with an enormous amount of tenacity. But me love him? I mean, sure, yeah, I love him, but IN love? I don’t feel it. I’m not convinced it’s there.
At any rate, ever since then I’ve been taking comfort in the fact that this group of therapists were so taken with my husband and I and thought we were such amazing, nice people and so obviously in love. Because that was the only feedback we got from the Group In The Other Room, who we didn’t meet. And they are experts so surely they can see things in me that I can’t even see in myself.
Until today when it has occurred to me that perhaps I’m just a really, really good actress. Perhaps they are totally snowed by how kind and polite we both are, because they regularly spend time with truly awful people.
OH MY GOD.
I feel like I’m drowning.
How the hell am I going to get help if people see what they want to see instead of seeing me for who I am?
I went to see my therapist in the first place so she could help me get strong and take the hard steps I knew I needed to, to put a survival plan in place at the very least, and to help me down the road with an exit plan, if it really came to that. Instead she “saw” that I really do love my husband and decided to help me fix him instead.
But what if I don’t? What if I’m the only one who knows how I truly feel, because I’m too damn polite to say the awful words? What if the love burned out a few years ago?
Or what if it was never truly there in the first place? What if all these years I’ve been getting by on politeness because it was the right thing to do and I wanted a husband and family and I put all the pieces in place and played my part and now I finally realize that it hasn’t been enough and never will be?
What if the way I think I feel toward my husband when I look at him- annoyance, anger, mystification, frustration, disappointment, heart-wrenching let-down — really IS all I feel? What if that “love” is just the common decency that I would treat anyone with?
Seriously. I can’t breathe.
What if this “safe” place I’ve retreated to, in order to avoid getting hurt any more, this place of solitude that I have shut him out of, is not just a protection device but the place that I actually prefer to live in?
I took my ring off. I stuck it on my dresser. It’s that bad.
I don’t want to do this any more. I don’t want to help him any more. He has had 25 years to figure out how to win me over and be my partner. I have better things to do than drag myself through the mud teaching him the stuff he hasn’t bothered to work on during those 25 years.
So I admit, having written it out, it sounds terrible. It sounds like I’ve decided to pack it in.
But I’m not actually feeling that. I’m writing down the worst of it so I won’t forget it, but in a few minutes I will put on that wretched ring and go do the dishes and cook dinner and everything will be back to normal.
Because this doesn’t change anything. Everything is the way it has always been. All that’s happened is that I’ve been able to be honest with myself for about an hour.
Hopefully I will have the courage to say this tomorrow in our appointment.
Except that he will be in the room, and I can’t see that any of this will be helpful to him, so maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll ask for another solo appointment and spill it then.
Good Lord, if she smiles knowingly and tells me it makes perfect sense that I would feel this way but that she can see I really do care after all, I may just throw something.