(I hope writing this helps someone out there. As has been pointed out, October is Domestic Violence Awareness month, and this piece is a reminder that the adult woman is not the only victim when there are children in the house. It also demonstrates how very long the repercussions of domestic violence go on.)
Drama. I was raised with so much drama. One of the worst varieties was waking in the middle of the night, from a very young age onward, to the sounds of someone leaving to "never come back." Crying, screaming, doors slamming, cars driving away.
To say that I have a fear of abandonment is not some psycho babble. It is my core fear and it is deep and dark and entangled in every fiber of me, sometimes so overwhelming that it threatens to take over everything, convince me that my life is not filled with love, that things are falling apart, that perceived threats are real, that I will never be loved or happy again.
The saddest thing is that none of this is ever true, but my brain -- this poor, damaged brain -- cannot tell the different between now and then.
So the loneliness I feel with Marcy in Italy is not your garden variety, "oh, my partner is not with me." Many moments it is just that, but there are moments when it becomes my own personal heart of darkness and last night, in the middle of the night, was one of those times.
Waking in the middle of the night, paralyzed by fear, is not unusual for me. But to not have Marcy right there and to feel physically left alone...that is unusual.
Call it Complex PTSD; call it Borderline Personality Disorder....whether learned or genetic or whatever...it all comes from the same place -- the place of a small girl frightened for her very existence, having learned that her existence was dependent on people who were, themselves, not parenting because they were too busy reacting out of their own fears and weaving their own violent dramas.
Last night, because Marcy is not here, I had to ride this wave all by myself. These emotional storms are physically painful, extremely. Normally, in order to try to rid myself of that pain, I start an argument, but how do you do this when you are alone? (And believe me...this is hard to see about yourself but it is not intentionally done; it is part of the illness of this.)
I am starting to see, no matter how hard this is, that this separation is good, because it's time for me to fight these demons on my own.
Thanks to the mindfulness that my practices of yoga and dance have given me, I was able to watch the process. Not at first. No. At first, I was caught up in the wave, but then I felt myself pull back and watch. And I saw how the storm passed as fast as it came in.
It almost took my breath away.
For the first time, I truly saw the abnormality of it. I saw the damaged and hurt brain from which it came. I saw the "illness" of it.
I try so hard to convince myself that I am not ill, that I am not truly suffering, that I am keeping it all together. This is the opposite of compassion, is it not? This denial only keeps me from taking care of myself. It is the "push through" method, and it doesn't work.
I have big moments of Bliss in this life. I have work that I love and a partner and animals and a beautiful home, so I have this feeling that to admit to illness is to be ungrateful, but it is really the opposite, is it not? To admit to illness is to love all the parts of yourself, no matter how unattractive you may find them.
To embrace the whole of your life -- that is true gratitude.