Monday, May 6, 2019

When He Pays Attention

The first time I told Eric anything about the assault, we were walking around a track after work, just getting to know each other.  I mentioned it casually, a side note to another unrelated story.  Eric did not press, but tucked that tiny statement away as something worth remembering.

Months and months later, Eric and I were discussing vacations, teachers, and people in the lives of our children.  I let it slip that the assailant was a family friend, involved with my kids, their school. He mentally tied the comment to my initial statement and together they rested in the back of his mind.

Years and years later, Eric and I were married but there were hangups with my ability to relax and enjoy sexual intercourse without anal, without roughness, without pain.  That's when I explained the assault was a rape that I held onto through guilt and shame, blaming myself for missteps; wrong place, didn't fight back, returned to the scene again and again and again.  Eric made no judgement, had no harsh words, voiced no response other than, "I'm here and I love you."

Today, on the phone, Eric told me my reaction to the bamboo opened his eyes to a possibility.

"When I get home," he said earnestly, "I am going to have you tell me your entire assault and rape story from start to finish.  I've pieced most of it together but I want you to say it all at one time."

I took a deep breath and let my mind panic at the thought of rehashing the nightmare of more than a decade ago.

"I do not blame you or fault you for anything that happened to you that night but I don't think you can forgive yourself for what took place afterwards."

I agreed.  Told him that it didn't matter how much I understand about grooming or PTSD or how distant the whole thing has become. There are just certain moments that I can't let go of and still affect me now. It's stuck on me, a part of my failings.

"I know love," he said tenderly.  "We are going to talk through them all and when you get to the part, after the nightmare, when you returned to him again, and again, and again, I am going to punish you with the bamboo.  You are going to take a full strike for each time you returned because those are the only times you actually had a choice and I'm hoping, if I punish you for those choices, you'll finally let it go."

My back turned to sweat and my head buzzed a bit at the idea of that searing pain, not for curiosity but for real, across my skin.  I sat perfectly still, waiting for it all to sink in, when Eric's voice cut into the silence.

"I want you to think about what I've said and let me know if you think that will help.  I've been paying attention to you all these years and I still hear the ache in your voice, see the remnants of that night on your face, and I want to set you free.  Think about it and let me know.  I don't need to forgive you.  I don't blame you for any of it but you need to forgive yourself and I'm hoping this will help you do that. I'll be home soon, Amy.  I'll take care of you."

I've thought about Eric's proposal all day.  It's taken it's time weaving throughout the layers of protective walls and barricades I've created to keep my tender underbelly of sadness and shame buried deep.  What he offers is a path to forgiveness, a chance to let go and move forward, to lay my own guilt and grief down, let it be using a ttwd fashion that works for us.  I don't need to think about this.  I simply need to let him know.

"Yes Sir.  Please help me. I'm ready to let it go. Yes."

Amy

10 comments:

  1. Amy, my heart goes out to you for what you have been through and been holding onto.

    I think it is awesome that you have been able to share this with Eric and wonderful that he has really listened and paid attention. Wow, he has given this alot of thought, and I love that he reiterated there is nothing for him to forgive.

    I truly hope this helps you to let go.

    (((Hugs)))
    Roz

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    1. Eric has always studied me, been fascinated by the things that make me tick. It's been a long time, carrying the burden if my past. Something new to try. I trust Eric. He will stand by me for whatever comes next.
      Amy

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  2. Amy,
    I am really unsure as to how to comment today. I do think it would be good for you to talk about it, face it, and hopefully put it aside. You and Eric will have to be the ones to decide about how to set you free. You will know what's best in your hearts. Love gives us that gift.

    Hugs From Ella

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    1. Perhaps I shared too much here. The reality is, there is a small open wound of self loathing I've carried for far too long. Counseling solved much of the anxiety and panic attacks, as did time and distance. Unfortunately, no matter how much I beat myself up, how hard I work to get over, or how many hail Mary's I utter; a part of me hates the girl inside who never stood up for herself. I'm willing to try again, something new. Eric is willing to help me and though this idea is certainly not conventional, it just might work.
      Amy

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  3. Hey I commented right after Roz today. I wonder where it went?

    I said, " The mind is a very powerful thing. I trust that if *you* believe it will work, then it will"

    love willie

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  4. Amy, I’ve read of ‘clean slate’ punishments to let go of past events but have no personal knowledge. You and Eric are the only people who can decide whether this might work. Do what feels right for you.
    Rosie xx

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  5. Oh Amy, the things you have been through! I am so sorry for it. You need to do what ever you need to do to forgive yourself (even though you KNOW it wasnt your fault).

    I hope you and Eric can work this through so you can finally see how amazing you are!

    Hugs
    Boo

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  6. This is a tough one, Amy ... only you and Eric can figure out what will work for you both ... hugs! ... nj

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  7. Ames no i,
    My thoughts are simple. You have used this type of stress relief/cleansing before and it has worked beautifully for helping you to move forward, move past, and find forgiveness in yourself. I see no reason why you cannot use it again if you both feel it would help. I only try to understand how difficult it would be to recover from such extreme trauma, but you are a beautiful and strong woman. You can do this. I know you can heal. Be strong and courageous. You got this!

    --Baker

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  8. Lord, what youd been through is incredibly awful. I hope this type of treatment will let you forgive yourself and get past it.

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