This odd week

I had a breakdown and bathed in humility, realizing I really wasn’t a great wife or mother. I cried, wrote apologies and berated myself for not being useful. I decided maybe God didn’t design me to be useful; maybe this is what I’m good for. That stung.

My husband got in a car accident, almost two years to the day of his last one, and had to be transported to the hospital. Terrifying. He wasn’t badly injured, I got very lucky…but bad enough that I worry. And he’s sad that they cut off his favorite shirts.

My son, who has been holding his pain inside for a very long time (and successfully convincing me he was fine!) unleashed his fury on his abuser for the first time in his life. My heart bleeds for him as I know the backlash he’ll receive but won’t share with me. He protects me though he should never have to; it was my job to protect him.

My daughter, who was already very nervous about upcoming life changes, realized that things she’d stayed silent about to protect her abuser were now being made open; I think she panicked. She also vented, but her overall reaction seems defensive and scared. She’s so wounded and I’m worried that she’s having something akin to flashbacks.

I realized that I’d been gaslighted by their abuser, and having someone else say “I saw that, too” fractured a broken part of me that I didn’t know was there. I’m really trying not to keep asking “do you remember… do you remember… do you remember…” because honestly, none of it’s good. I don’t want to hurt anyone, and it doesn’t really matter if they remember; now that I know some of what I remember is true, it’s likely that it all is. My kids aren’t the glue I use to piece myself together, they have bigger meaning than that.

As I am reminded of events by my kids, I am vividly remembering my own abuse. Some are the same dreadful memories I always carried, some I’d blocked. Some are hazy, some are as vibrant as if they were happening right now. I am haunted by the ghost of the toxicity between the abuser and myself, and I cannot stop thinking about how I made it worse and what I could have done if I’d known anything. I feel like he’s waiting around every corner to punish me for not stopping the flow of honesty. I know this is irrational.

Their abuser’s distant family has started attempting to reach out to me; probably because I have blocked every avenue the abuser might have used to get in contact. This is bothering me. On the one hand, I’m sure they’re hurt and feel misrepresented and want to state their peace. On the other hand, I’m not a human toilet for people to purge their ugliness into, and legally it no longer matters who any of us think is right or wrong. At this point, all that matters is the perceptions and wounds left residing in two shaken adults. No one has a right to devalue or argue that.

Today, I’m going to a family reunion of sorts with my own extended family, where there are various levels of rejection and acceptance from sources you wouldn’t expect either of those things. And while I’m trying to remain calm about it all, I’m actually very anxious. I’m trying to focus on what I know will be positive, and trying to put away for now what I know cannot be fixed. That’s hard.

My birthday is coming this week. I am dreadcited about it for no reason. My birthday hasn’t been a big deal since I was a child; I’m getting older and further into my 40’s where I felt like I should be more “fixed” and settled. People who have meaning to me are getting older too.

One thought on “This odd week

  1. Who decides if you’re a great wife or mother? Surely not you. Surely that judgement comes from the husband and kids. Your current husband adores you, and your second husband still thinks the world of you too. Your kids all love you and think you’re amazing. They all know that they’re loved and that you’re there for them. Those are the people whose opinions matter, and I think you’re being too hard on yourself.

    I had a conversation with my mother once about what constitutes a good mother. I’ve never been a tidy person – my room and my house is always a mess. Someone said to me ‘I don’t know how you think you can be a good mother if you can’t even clean up after yourself.’ I had no kids at that stage but had always wanted some. It really stung, and after letting it fester in me for some time, I spoke to my mother about it. She said ‘Kids don’t care if the house is tidy. Kids care that their mother loves them and pays attention to them.’ She said to me that if I had a perfectly spotless house after I had kids, she’d be worried that my kids weren’t getting the attention they deserved. So I stopped worrying about it.

    Just food for thought…


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