Is This The "Worse" Part?
My husband and I didn't write our own vows. He thought it would be cool to, but at the time that we got married I was really clinging to traditions. So we went with the classic to love and to cherish, for rich or poor, for better or for worse. You say those words because you mean them. But really, for the most part, has a couple ever experienced anything but the happier part of those vows? My guess is not likely. In our case we definitely hadn't.
We both had our health, loving families, stable jobs, a great group of friends, and each other...what else was there?
Fast forward 9 years...the worse part was here. It is still here, just on a lesser scale (I think).
September 14th, 2018 was definitely the worst day of my life. Hands down.
And then that day ended. We had made it through. I was naive. I thought that making it through that day was "the hard part". Speaking only for myself...it was not. I knew that the follow days, weeks, and months would be hard. Would be challenging. But I thought that each little bit of time that passed would mean that things were getting better.
Better...what does that word even mean when it comes to trauma? Is it a loaded word?
As the spouse - everything that was about me and my own life went on hold. No one asks you to do this...but as if there is any other choice. You go into fight mode. You are fighting for your spouse, your family, everything you've built. And the longer you fight the fight...the farther you seem to get from yourself. But don't you dare talk about that. It's not about you and your struggles. Because really, how can you even think to begin to add more struggles into your home. So you hide them. Sometimes you will do a really good fucking job at it. And other times you'll be shit at it. But you'll think that your doing a good job.
Unfortunately, it seems (for me anyways), that with the fight mode and the hiding, resentment comes. Because in that first year and a half, I didn't know how to effectively communicate my own needs. Because it felt selfish. How could I dare think of myself when my husband was struggling? How could I dare think of myself when it felt like I had to step it up to a new level of parenting to fill the gaps that sometimes came?
You become the ultimate peacekeeper. The boat is already rocking so you do whatever necessary to keep it from capsizing. And that is EXHAUSTING.
I lost myself. I lost my spark. And when that happens, everything feels like it is crumbling around you. How can you be a good spouse when you aren't really there? And how can you tell your spouse what you need when they are struggling to get what they need?
It is a hard battle. Because as they slowly start to get what they need to thrive and heal, you've left yourself behind. Enter more resentment. But now it's resentment towards yourself because you've let it get to this point. You've remained silent with the painful smile plastered on your face for too long.
This past month, I vowed to start making myself a priority. I didn't feel like a priority to anyone - so the least I could do is prioritize myself. I started finding movement every day, whether it was through a workout or simply walking the dog. I started reaching out to friends again. I started to journal my feelings. I started to try and acknowledge that I was a person of value before all of this and I will continue to be a person of value.
I still struggle with the communication. I struggle with exposing myself to something that might hurt. But I am starting to acknowledge those struggles so that I can start to move through them.
I know that these last 2.5 years have been that "worse" part that we made a vow to. And there very well could be more that pop up during what I hope to be a very long and happy marriage.
But I am ready to step into the better.
Take care and be kind,