So much irritability and rage and control stuff lately. Sometimes I don’t know what to do with it anymore. Serious thoughts about doing some cuts on my calf like I did a couple weeks ago. Just a few little cuts help so much. I know that’s not a good coping mechanism. The control stuff is such a problem lately. I need to discuss it with my therapist but do not want to get into it. I know it involves more than one insider and I’m afraid everything will blow apart even more.
Something that hasn’t helped us today is a dream this morning:
I went to visit the boys at Ex-Husband’s. The boys were variable ages, mostly teenagers. Ex was pretty good about me being there most of the time.
At one point Ex got back from a bike ride right before I got back from somewhere. It looked like he had taken all of his clothes of right there in the living room. Then he turned around and really was totally naked and made sure I knew it (even though it wasn’t a sexual thing for him at all).
In the next scene Now-Husband (DH) was there. Ex had cooked strips of ham and string cheese in boiling water and was serving it to the teenage boys at the house (at least Younger Son plus friends). DH grabbed some right away but I was worried there wouldn’t be enough for the others. In the end wouldn’t have been enough anyway but I still felt bad.
In the last scene I was starting to pack to leave, but Younger Son was now preschool age (3 or 4) and didn’t want me to go. I was trying to explain why I had to leave. Ex wanted me to tell YS that it was because I’d messed up so much, even giving YS details. I kept trying to find words a preschooler could grasp and was saying something about how I hadn’t been a good enough mom and that meant I didn’t get to see him as much and that made it hard for him.
When I first woke up I was mostly just irritable because it was an unsettling dream. Now I’m seeing the ways in which it was unsettling; lots of recurrent themes that make me sad and angry. Ex always being back in some way, for example. Before I met DH, my father used to say he was sure Ex and I were supposed to be together again, that he really felt it was God’s will. I’d dream about us being back together or something similar and would wonder if my father was right. (Obviously I now don’t believe a word he said.) Now I’m married again, Ex is finally with someone even I can see him spending the rest of his life with and he seems happy and at peace. Clearly we aren’t getting back together (nor would we want to for several reasons) and yet he just keeps coming back in my dreams.
Ex standing there naked is another issue. When I first woke up, it perplexed and even amused me. What the hell was that? Now what I really see is my father, doing his supposedly nonchalant thing—oops, look at that, you saw me naked. At this point I can barely put Ex’s body and face into the picture; it’s my father’s. And it reminds me a lot of the little flashes of memory I used to get before my father was arrested. Brief images of a man’s crotch or a faceless man standing naked in our bathroom. Even before starting to remember, those blips were unsettling and made me feel unsettled about my father.
Then there’s the issue of being apart from my boys. In the dream, even though I was there, I still wasn’t allowed to spend much time with them. Interestingly, Older Son was rather absent from this dream. Not sure what that means, other than the reality that he and I aren’t as close as YS and I are.
Two things strike me about the scene where Younger Son was little. First, my being pushed into saying that not getting to see each other much was all my fault, all my doing. And as with the scene where Ex was naked, now all I see is my father telling me what I had to say. Which is horribly true. In so many situations throughout my life I couldn’t say what I needed to say, only what he literally told me to say or what he implied I’d better say. Say as I say or keep your mouth shut entirely. Thankfully, even my sons now have some clue how dastardly their grandfather is and how much he had to do with us being apart through most of their growing up.
The second thing that bothers me about the scene where YS was little is how much it reminds me of the worst nightmare I’ve ever had. I’m not totally certain, but I’m pretty sure the dream occurred shortly after the boys moved to the east coast (I’m on the west coast, so this was a huge deal). A dream from at least 14 years ago, and it still chills me to the bone and can move me to tears. I won’t explain the entire dream now, but suffice it to say my father was trying to take my boys from me, literally snatch them away from me. (Just look at that, even when I had no clue he was behind so much, I really did know it. Dreams and the subconscious are amazing.) In the last scene of that dream I was only about a block away from YS (who was about 3 in the dream), close enough to hear him screaming for me but not able to actually find him. I will never get his cries out of my head: Mooomeee! Mooomeee! Mooomeee! Over and over. The scene from this morning’s dream with him basically begging me to stay, Mommy, please stay, reeked of the dream from over a decade ago.
I want to say that I seem to relive my past in my dreams. Nope, I definitely relive my past in my dreams. Even my dreams have become about my dreams. This is unsettling at best and terrifying at worst. It makes me want to huddle in the closet with blankets all around me, fortified against all this evil shit. But even that wouldn’t help me because there are still the dreams, the nightmares, the memories, the flashbacks, still all of that mind-f***ery. As scary and shitty as it is, I know the best thing to do is to face this stuff and work through it.
But I can’t promise someone won’t end up huddled in the closet now and then, even if just in our mind. ;-)