Monday, March 24, 2014

Him and Her

Lying in the dark, I often think back to the times we used to share.  The times before all of this started.  In my dreams you are still that man.  You are the one who laughed with me and cried with me through our best and worst times.  But that man is gone. 

I find myself wishing you could be that man again.  I look into your face and try to wish into it the lines and creases of someone familiar.  Instead, I am left with a man who has been hardened by life and who resists even the most basic contact with me. I see the changes in your features and know that it means that man is not there.  The man who once had a soft smile and a loud laugh.  The man who once told me he would love me no matter what. 

I feel empty. 

Not because I no longer have a self, but because the melding of our lives and our souls has been broken and I am unsure how to mend it.  I am alone.  Where once two people resided in the same space and time, there are now two separate entities simply ghosting around each other in a similar space.

You can’t be him again.  And I can’t be her.  And as much as I wish we could go back, back to a time before wars had to be fought, before the desert names of countries and provenances I’d never heard of became seared into my memory.  But we can’t go back.  And while I wish desperately that I could be that young, naïve, carefree girl whom you married, I can’t be her anymore than you can be the young man with the contagiously loud laugh, who could hold my hand and make me think I could take on the entire world if only you wouldn’t let go.

I am not her.  I can’t be her ever again.  And while I look into your hard and distant eyes and sometimes think I see the remnants of the man I am looking for, it is time for me to let him go, just as it is time for you to let her go. 

All we have is what is here now, in this moment.  In this moment, we have a history that can’t possibly measure up, a life lived that can’t possibly be recaptured, and a present that is painful to move through when still carrying the remnants of that old life.  That life we can’t have.

Now is the time to remember that while I look into your face and know that you can’t be him, you can be the man I need now, in this moment.   But you must also look into my face and know that I can’t be her, but I can be the woman who will hold your hand and walk through fire with you if it means we come out the other side together.


Sunday, January 12, 2014

It's Not About You

When you live with someone who has PTSD if feels like nearly everything in your life is about them.  And it sort of is.  I know I've mentioned before that all the advice tells you how to structure your whole world around your spouse while simultaneously telling you not to become all consumed by making everything in your world revolve around them.

They must think I'm Wonder Woman.

Over the holidays we had a few things pop up that had nothing to do with my husband.  For the first time in what feels like forever, I had things that needed attention.  This has not been going well.

My husband doesn't seem to be able to accept that sometimes not everything is about him.  On the one hand, he has a very real condition that needs a lot of time and attention for us to work through.  On the other, he has also sometimes taken advantage of that.  I'm sure he's not the first person do so.  And while he only takes advantage of me and not the system, it still bugs me.

Today we hit a breaking point.  He is walking around the house pouting and generally acting like a brat because he's "frustrated at the world" because I'm sick.  He went so far as to come to me and begin to yell at me for being sick.  Which is where I hit MY breaking point.

I looked at him, dead in the eyes, no softness, no gentle kid gloves and said, "THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU." I didn't yell, I simple said it firmly. 

I understand that he can't always control his temper.  But sometimes, it's not about him.  Sometimes, things in our life go wrong that have nothing to do with him or his PTSD.  And sometimes, I get sick.  And sometimes that means he has to take care of himself a little more than usual.

I don't generally get very firm with him because it's very hard to predict his reaction.  Usually it's more of a gentle verbal walking through to help him reach a point of understanding or keep him calm enough that he can think about it and come back later and calmly discuss.  He doesn't do well when I am firm or yell and today was no different.  He clenched his fists in anger and glared at me, angry that I told him what I did.

It's not about you.

Sometimes, not everything in your life can be about your spouse.  Sometimes, we give up so much and sacrifice so much of us to be who they need us to be that we forget to take time for ourselves.  And sometimes, you get sick and can't do anything about that.  And while I didn't yell, I did lose my temper.  I probably shouldn't have.  But sometimes, he needs to understand that not everything about him and not everything can revolve around him.

Every now and then, it's about me.


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