**caution may contain triggers***
Your positive energy is very infectious and that is such a good thing. I do want to share with you tho' thru my own trials & travels that in taking care of YOU through out supporting your partner. Give plenty of time to YOU, and your own issues that may be triggered by your partners.
I never realized for so many years how much my own Hubby & I had "fed" off of each other so often. Whether it was positive or negative energies. As you know we (hubby & I) are in a positon of enviromentally being forced into what I liken to "pergatory". Now I am not saying that we NEVER talk about our SA & the issues that come up daily around that. But, currently we are without having a T involved in our healing process. We just know already that it would be adding something to our already overly full schedules & it would just lead to not being able to fulfill a goal for us. = failure.
We've had enough of failure and so are being careful to "plan" better for our healing process.
When you said "shadow boxing" - that was such a wonderful way of saying exactly what I was dealing with my own partner for sooooo many years. I knew of his abuse, (one incident his dad rescued him in the act), but not of the 2nd very long lasting violent act. Even knew the guy still lives in our area & Hubby quit a job when this asshole showed up to work there. He came home such a mess & was asking me what he should do he said "i just want to quit my job" - I then responded telling him yes that was a very viable option and I would support him in what ever his choice then. He did quit his job, but it took just a few hours of us coming up with what would appear as a "viable" reason without disclosing to others WHY.
Now several years later after he has been forced to be in "classes" with this same son of a bitch, he has no problem just "telling" what the asshole did to him to his co workers who have the guts to "''ask". He has only been able to share since his break through of the rest of the memories, he had blocked much of the violence that went with it.
I now know "What" I am boxing with. Though many times I don't recognize what my own "subtle triggers are" that I still continue to sometimes shadow box - often it is I think a form of "transference" of HIS issues mixed with MY issues. Hubby is or at least so far as I am aware has not been able to confront me when we may be in an "argument or spat or discussion" to point our what is MY issue separate from his.
Part of me fears our upcoming marriage counseling & last night he said again he too carries some fear with this as we don't know IF we will remain a couple AFTER the counseling. We know this is a reality of possible outcome, not that we are actively wanting that outcome, we just know it is a possibility. No matter how much we "love" each other or need, depend , or care for each other. I like that WE can at least vocalize our fears and be "real" with each other & yet still remain calm and loving during the conversations.
I think too that we are entitled to not just chocolate cookies as a Ya Ya Sisterhood, but some mighty BIG accolades for our work done so far. AND I know for my own personal self if I ever got to meet Maya Angelou & Ellen Bass & Laura Davis (some writers who have helped me tremendously)I would probably "tackle hug" them to the ground!!
I remember along my healing path I even had to take sticky notes and post them to remind myself I was worthy & especially post it notes for when I was on the phone with extended family to "remember" what I could say to excuse myself from being trapped into their sickness & yet still hold my own integrity. sometimes I still need them, sometimes I desperately want a "note" from my HUbby just saying he loves me - or that He is thinking of me --
Our history (hubby & I) is filled with many lies, lies that are going to take a long time to rebuild trust with EACH other. I even lied to myself so much just to "get thru" the day. Not only about HIS behavior, but my own in HOW I was dealing with what I knew Hubby was doing tho' it was still in the shadow boxing stage. ( i didnt have exact details of HIS behaviors only suspicions).
I was so used to the aftermath of my own SA that it never occurred to me to examine it and confront it as its own entity. I've been wrestling it to the ground for over four years now and I think it's too weak to bite me very hard anymore.. maybe just a little nibble now and then... I'm pretty proud of that. It feels good to shatter the mirror of lies that I have looked into for so long and see the real me. I'm glad I have an understanding of that now and I feel hopeful that this understanding will make me a better support system, and better able to work toward a relationship of partners who are both "who they really are."
I dont want to put a damper on your energy that you have now Judi - but something I feel like I need to say -- For ANY survivor it is a lifetime of dealing with the after effects. Currently you have this new found ability and knowledge on WHAT you (we) are have been shadow boxing. I know you are in a place that your own "entity" is more quiet & you have been wrestling it to the ground. I want to say that while our own issues from SA can be quietly sitting on the ground, at times unexpected they can re gain power & effect us. With less power most often, and we can and often do have the ability to quickly pull out of our tool belts the proper tools to put the issues back in perspective. Yet what I have found is my own issues "morph & change" with my knowledge.
I know I have a continued to grow, and sometimes I have gotten so "complacent" in my comfort that seems to be when my past can re empower itself BEFORE I can recognize the new and changed issue. A new level of the same old issue ??
You ARE a better support system now that YOU have knowledge of WHAT you are shadow boxing. I geuss what I want to share with you is that YOU are so important to take care of you.
In my own experience I found that often it was easier for me to find others (co dependant) to take care of, rather than to find my own self worthy enough to take care of. I especially did this and struggle with this right now with my own Hubby. Some of my drivers right now that I can identify is my own selfishness of wanting "just time with him", and for him to "hurry up and catch up with me" - so that our conversations can go smoother and quickly. I know why. I simply am still afraid that in dealing with Hubbys issues it may trigger ME into finding yet even MORE bullshit I haven't dealt with, or a "new memory" of my own. AND yet it brings on the self inner talk of negativity from my own survivor issues.
It becomes and could become a "struggle" as to whose issues become higher on the priority list. I want so badly for Hubby to face down his monsters, that in looking back from my own perspective now seem so small, yet I know in my mind and heart they are HUGE and still at times seem insurmountable.
Yet, I thank myself for "surviving" in anyway I could and anyway HE could when it was actually happenning , I KNOW we can get through this layer and portion of our life together also. For me it seems a bit of "twisted hope", that yes I am glad I was abused in a sense because now I can KNOW I can survive and even THRIVE in spite of what others may do with evil.
Without those "experiences" I am not sure I could be strong enough for us when needed. I CAN understand when he is in a position that he cant speak, I dont HAVE to have him tell in great detail if he chooses not to. I CAN have empathy and not just "sympathy", and can validate his anger and talk about WHAT we would like to do in gruesome detail to our abusers, and yet KNOW he is not going to act on those thoughts. Yet, I am also aware that he needs someone who can know WHEN he is in a situation of real danger to himself or others.
So, in a way I geuss my own abuse helps keeps me "grounded" when he is having a totally shitty day or week or month. I also know that I have to keep reminding myself That "I" am just as brittle as he is during our healing of our individual selves and as a couple.
Little by little he is re gaining my trust, and little by little I am actually learning that I can trust even myself to make good choices. I had thought for the longest time I had "put my issues" in a proper place. Only to find out that as I mature and age, so do my issues and so will his.
There IS hope and it is Valid. I know and he knows WE (he & I & other survivors) cannot do "this" alone. We will pick back up our tools we have learned that work along the way, we will need at times others to remind us that we even HAVE that tool available. AND we both know, for US we will need a very good professional who can help us as a couple to heal not only from our SA, but from a long union filled with hurts , some we chose and some we did not choose.
We know we cannot do "it" alone. We also know that we will also need to do our "own" work along the way.
You are so right in saying how good it feels to find out "who we really are".
"Letting go" is something I still very much struggle with. Partly due to Hubby's lies and his acting out that he did. Partly due to the lies I told myself just to "survive" and have what I percieved as my "perfect family". AND of course I still hold fear that in his process of "letting go" - he may decide it is best to let go of me.
So I struggle with the fear of him possibly letting go of me, and I know I personally am not ready for that emotionally nor physically. I want the best for Hubby, but my selfish self wants his best for him to include me. Warts and All...
When Hubby & I were separated in 2 different homes I bullshitted myself often into thinking I was feeling so much better without him. Only to look back over these past 3 or 4 yrs to find out I never completely let go of him -- we did grow for our own selves, and some of his personal growth I like, other parts I dislike. I know reasonaably he too has found those same feelings about me.
Yet we continue to "Try" each day, and it is getting better. The bad days feel really bad, probably like they are "supposed to", and good days feel good, and again probably like they are supposed to. Finding reality for us is truly a challenge. One I have some fear with, yes I know this must be "normal", the other part is something we can "celebrate" with a Ya! Ya!
We go on carrying Faith, Hope and celebrating Joy, and even celebrate being able to feel sadness and grief --- It is "freeing" in so many ways to heal.
Be prepared Judi to take good care of YOU along the way. Forgive yourself, and others as much as possible.
Peace for us All, Sammy