Trigger Warning! - Adapted excerpt from Rock Bottom and Faithless
My first Valentine’s Day with Tom was in 1987, back when we were dating. It was a memory I held in secret and pulled out every once in a while, to try to soothe my fears and pain.
We were stationed in Korea at the time, and he couldn’t decide what to get me. So he got me one of everything.
A big box of candy…
A huge, beautiful card…
And a six-foot-tall stuffed polar bear.
I was overwhelmed. I had never felt so loved. Imagine being showed with so many gifts so early in a relationship – this was surely a sign of greater showers of affection to come!
I held that memory tightly during the moments I watched his steady breathing after he had fallen asleep… moments after screaming filthy names at me
I feel stuck in a revolving door of tiring and consistently selfish thoughts in my mind lately. That’s how I ended my day yesterday; totally focused on two situations in my world and how the situations impacted me. Honestly, when I woke up this morning I found my mind drained of anything positive; just yuck rolling around and around waiting for me to jump on some negative thought and toss it around for a few hours.
My daughter has been conditionally accepted at the two colleges she’s applied to. Her grades, volunteer time, church involvement is all great; but her ACT score is too low. Both schools have indicated what she needs to bring her ACT score up to and then she’ll be accepted. Definitely easier said than done.
Triggers are Painful Memories
I continue to be overwhelmed by thoughts and feelings that bring me back to my abusive past. Daily, I struggle to keep these domestic violence triggers of my past under control. I have learned that minimizing triggers from my domestic violence abuse lessens my anxiety and safety concerns.
It seems unfair that my abuse was so horrendous that the memories are deeply ingrained in my head. After being removed from my abuser, I still experience anxiety attacks or overwhelming feeling of being unsafe coming out of nowhere. Deep in my subconscious, where I am or what I am doing strongly triggers a painful piece of my past. I feel like I am reliving the event again. My abuser isn’t around anymore, but my reaction to triggers makes me feel like I am reliving the event all over again.
Kryptonite (ˈkriptəˌnīt), n. something that can seriously weaken or harm a particular person
Anxiety is my kryptonite. I have struggled with it for years and fell victim to it again prior to the recent holidays.
I know the coping skills I must activate when my mind starts spinning out of control. I know the boundaries I am supposed to construct around me when people in my world start leaning in close with their opinionated, directive thoughts.
Sharing my children with my abuser during the holiday season is gut wrenching hard. As the weekend before Christmas approaches, once again I lose my children to join his family’s traditional Christmas weekend get together.
I couldn’t even set up Christmas lights outside the house correctly. It didn’t matter how hard I tried, I continuously put the lights either to close together, not close enough, too high, too low, and always not fast enough even though my fingers were frozen. Of course, the knotted-up strains were always my fault for how lazy I was taking down the lights the year prior. Although tempting, walking away with a “you just do it then” clearly wasn’t an option. Instead, year after year I was heavily critiqued during what should have been a fun evening with the kids.
Celebrating birthdays is one thing I struggle a lot with. This all changed yesterday.
This is one of the first blogs I ever published, and today we're revisiting it because the message still rings true in my life. The devil still tries to divert my attention- but every day I strive to listen to the word of the Lord.
Hi, I'm Sue
Welcome to my blog! I served twenty-one honorable years on active duty, living a double life of capability and accomplishment in the service while enduring brutality and abusiveness in my twenty-one year oppressive marriage. Today I'm happily married and have three children who are my inspiration and motivation.
My goal is to help combat the lies of abusers with the truth of God. I hope you find my words to be healing and helpful through your own life experiences.
Being separated from my abusive husband didn't make me a domestic violence survivor. It surely didn't release me from the grip of his brainwashing control and the innate power he had on me.
Read the full raw story in my new book, Rock Bottom and Faithless.