A Nightmare and a Therapy Session

I have a whole lot to say, yet nothing to say at all. I’m home, I’m tired, I’m happy, I’m sad, I’m angry, I’m relieved, I’m at peace, I’m tormented, I’m hopeful, I’m doubtful. I’m everything all at once and, at the same time, nothing. I’m still a mixed up, contradictory person, but at least I got to slow down and recharge myself on an island away from the responsibilities of my job and parenthood.

In the week before we left I had a nightmare about Carol and quick visit with HT.

The nightmare involved me discovering that Carol was failing to protect our marriage, making plans to “hang out” with a male co-worker. I confronted her and she denied that she could possibly get into any trouble. I reminded her of what happened before but she shrugged it off. As she continued to handle the confrontation with indifference, I became increasingly agitated. I put my foot down and told her straight out: if she decides to go hanging out with another man, we are done. And with the emotional investment of choosing which glass to grab from the cupboard, she chose to end the marriage.

As Carol continued to shrug and provide one word answers in her detached way, my rage escalated. Nothing I said about our history, our family, or her disgusting behaviour could get a reaction from her. I needed a reaction. I couldn’t stand her not caring, not feeling. The glassy nothingness in her eyes was driving me mad. Then I saw something that she surely still cared about: her phone.

I snatched it from her hands and threatened to break it. Finally, she reacted, reaching for her phone as mild surprise and anger showed on her face. It wasn’t enough though, so I pushed Carol away and snapped the phone in two while crying out in rage and grief.

I sat up suddenly in the bed, sweating and panting. I heard a sleepy but concerned, “Wassrong?” from behind me. I turned and put my hand on Carol.

“Are you here? Are you alright?” I asked.

“Are you okay?” Carol asked, a little more alert.

“Are you my woman?” I asked.

“Yes,” she replied.

“And I’m your man?”

“Yes.”

“Okay,” I replied then I lay back down and held her tight.

The next day, I gave Carol the gist of the dream, that she was being cold and uncaring and we split up, and I was very upset that she didn’t even care about it. Carol responded by saying she loves me and she’s not going anywhere.

I spent some time at work thinking about that dream. True, it was most upsetting that Carol no longer felt anything toward me, and I couldn’t help but think I got a bit of a taste of how she feels when she’s upset and I start to pull away and hide inside myself. But, I was also very upset by the idea of us splitting up. It was as if, after all the flip-flopping I’d been doing over what will soon be a year now- I want her, I want her not- my dreaming brain finally gave me a peak at my true desire: I do want her, and I want to be with her.

I was pretty content that day. I thought I’d be seeing HT for a quick check in to make sure I was on the right track, then I’d finish out my week and head out of the country for some fun and relaxation. I figured I’d talk to HT about the most recent conversation with Carol then I’d mention my dream, as those were the most notable things I could think of that happened since our last session.

Well, I didn’t get very far into telling HT about the conversation before she began questioning why I feel I need to talk to Carol about what happened. There’s no way I could even begin to try to transcribe this session, even if I started to the minute I left the building. It was a mess.

Basically, HT doesn’t believe I should have conversations with Carol regarding what she did. I responded that talking is better than not talking, that it keeps my anger at bay, it keeps us discussing instead of burying, and what Carol did was just a little too massively devastating to not come up from time to time. I received comments like “What do you expect to accomplish?” and “No answer is going to be satisfying,” and I found myself becoming more irritated and argumentative.

By the time HT asked how my anger has been, I answered, “It was fine, until I talked to you.”

HT said her point was that what happened, happened. There’s no changing it so all I can do is learn to let go. Carol may never even have a complete answer for herself, let alone me. Now, my getting past it and forgiving was between HT and I, and bringing it up to Carol will do no good. I told HT that I believe that Carol should be digging deep and understanding the fuck out of what she did and why or she is dooming herself to repeat her past, and she owes me the most detailed examination of her actions that she can provide, whenever that happens, and I want to know that she’s making progress in the meantime.

“How long are you going to hold onto this? You need to leave it behind you so you can move forward,” HT said at some point.

“I’m sorry, I can’t seem to be able to break the world record for forgiveness of infidelity,” I responded, bitterly.

Another moment of great irritation was HT telling me that expecting complete honesty from Carol while remaining so guarded and untrusting was a double standard.

“Don’t you think that’s unfair?” HT asked.

“Are you kidding? Has it ever been fair for me? Yeah it’s a double standard and that’s too bad, there is no fair! If there was I wouldn’t have been shown over and over again that my trust, my loyalty means shit. It’s just something to be stomped on and used up, taken advantage of. I’m supposed to give all of myself to other people? I can’t! Trust, equality, it’s all weakness to be exploited, so there is no equality anymore. Now I stack the deck in my favour, now I don’t give them my all, and you’re damn right, I expect more from them than I do of myself. Carol was the last person I trusted. She was the last good person. Now I know better. They all can be corrupted, so now it doesn’t matter close we are, I stay safe, I keep my distance. They don’t get all of me anymore. No one. Ever again. If you trust, all they’ll do is tear you apart! Especially the ones you love most.”

While my rant went on far longer and included specific examples of broken trust from throughout my life, you get the idea. All the while, HT was encouraging me to keep talking. Was it her intention to push my buttons until I gave a genuine emotional response that day? I’m not sure. I can tell you my attitude was much different at the beginning of the session. I went from providing minimal conversation to bitter remarks to full blown rant about my history with trust.

Eventually things calmed down and we talked about how I was going to enjoy the vacation and leave the past behind me as much as possible. I think I did that for the most part, but the past still found it’s way into my head a few times.

3 thoughts on “A Nightmare and a Therapy Session

  1. I know HT is there to help you through this – I just can’t help but to not agree with her a lot of the time. Anyone with an understanding of how the emotional side of the brain tends to work, would also understand that the way you’re feeling – no matter how irrational it may seem – would be considered a rational way to feel when you’ve been through everything that you have gone through. I feel like the better question isn’t ‘how long are you going to punish Carol?’ but rather ‘how long are you going to punish yourself?’ …. and I don’t think there’s an answer for that while you’re trying to mentally and emotionally work through this.

    Overall, in the big picture of things, would you agree that you’ve come a long way? Because I would say that you have. I’m over ten years down the line of having been abused and cheated on by someone I loved very much. And while we didn’t stay together, there are still times that I will break down crying because how that all made me feel still creeps in from time to time. And it still hurts when that happens. That pain is still fresh on the days that it shows up to remind me of what people are capable of.

    Feeling that way doesn’t mean you aren’t living. It means that you are human. I’d be more concerned if you were nonchalant about the whole thing. But, I’m not a licensed therapist, so this is all just based on my own opinions.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You know that as time went on I came to realise that I was never going to know everything & I was only damaging myself trying to. What I came to learn is that I had to look to myself, I had to become strong enough to know that I should no longer fear it, it was in the past; but the strong me would always protect myself in the future. But we all have different timeframes Jack. I don’t agree about nit talking about it if something comes up: as I have said on a number of occasions my sister told us that if we had something to say then we should say it and not let it fester, because it would. It was good advice. You have come so far Jack, keep going. Moisy

    Liked by 1 person

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