I've mentioned before that I was married to a batterer, not once but twice. Each of my first two husband's had problems, huge problems, with anger. Having chosen that type of man to trust is the reason I sought out therapy in the first place, wanting to know what it was about me that caused me to make such decisions.
Those years of being afraid for my life are long since over. However, recently one of the soap operas I sometimes watch has run a story line of teen battery. A couple of weeks ago I watched a scene that I had to turn off it so struck a cord with me.
The teen age girl was being assaulted by her boyfriend in a scene so realistic it brought tears to my eyes and fear to my heart. For the first time in many years I relived the terror of those days when I thought I was going to die at the hands of my then husband.
My reaction to this scene caught me off guard. My heart began to pound as fear immobilized me just like it used to back during those days. I felt trapped when all I needed to do to escape was change the channel. I had to get my now husband, Dave, to do that for me.
Since that episode aired I have been drawn to that story line. Each scene tugs at my heart strings as a part of me experiences feelings from so long ago. While the circumstances are very different, the feelings are the same. I remember the feeling of a neck tie or a phone cord around my neck strangling the life out of me as I tried to push my attacker off. I remember the family and friends of the attacker blaming the abuse on me. I remember the humiliation. I remember believing it was my fault.
I remember stuffing all those feelings in a box and putting them away so I didn't have to feel. Putting things on a shelf somewhere was the only way I could survive. It was the only way to prevent a repeat performance before the man had time to settle. Episodes too close together could easily have resulted in my death.
Now, Pandora's box has been opened and those old feelings have spilled out to never be contained again. I will no longer be a victim of fear whether it be fear of those feelings or fear of repercussions because I dared tell. Instead I find myself processing these old things from nearly forty years ago and finally healing up the wounds.
The memories flash before me like a slide show of horror. Again I am surprised at all the things I have lived but never felt because of the coping mechanism that is MPD/DID.
I am grateful that today my healing process does not take the time it did those twenty years ago so that when I now feel these things the horror is only fleeting. The self-loathing and contempt nothing more than a hiccup as my new perception of me holds strong. I am a survivor worthy of a better life. Still I cannot help but be touched by this reminder of what I have survived and the things that MPD/DID saved me from.