Rape. It’s a really scary word when you start applying it to your own experience. Using it to describe what happened to you means you acknowledge the lack of control you had, the domination another person had over you.
Before my therapy session with E yesterday, I sent her my blog post about the road trip, or more precisely, about the flashback. I thought it would be much easier to have her read it before I got there; otherwise I probably could have spent the entire session simply trying to spit the words out.
So when I arrive, she already knows. Good thing, because I find I cannot say anything. “I like the way you wrote it up,” she tells me. “But now what you write about. It’s horrific.”
I think I mumble something and look away. It feels like I’m naked. I get up from the chair, pick up the blanket on her couch, lie down on the floor and cover myself with the blank and pull the pillow to my chest. That feels more protected.
We talk. I’m mostly there but not entirely. We talk about sharing some of this with my husband, so I can have the benefit of his support. We talk about all the physical sensation that I’m feeling so intensely now. E says, “Use the physical stuff to do some deep listening to what you need. Take action on the symptoms to bring yourself comfort, to soothe yourself.”
I write this down because I don’t think I will remember anything otherwise. I tell her I want to to let this pain be, to experience it. Because if I push it down, I know it will just come up again. I might as well ride it out now. Maybe then I can be done with it. Maybe.
E also suggests I gather things together that I can break, thin plates or old Christmas ornaments or whatever. At some point then I can honor the impulse to smash things if I want.
Only after I leave her office does the word “rape” actually sink in. I text her when I reach my car.
I actually never thought of it as a rape before.
Sounds like the definition
I want to throw up. But I drive home, shaking. After dinner, I decide, fuck it, I cannot tell him but why should I keep hiding everything. I give my husband a pdf version of my blog post. While he reads it, I go outside and pull weeds. He’s a slow reader, so I had a big pile of weeds by the time he was done.
What does he say at first? I can’t remember exactly. Something about how selfish Miguel was. He’s sorry this happened to me back then. And how it didn’t affect how he saw me at all. I don’t know. It is fine but it doesn’t touch my growing distress. After a few minutes he changes the subject to tell me about how Iceland played in some European soccer championship. A few minutes later I leave the room and text E again. I feel guilty to bother her after I just had a session but I’m exploding inside.
I gave B the blog post too.
But he doesn’t get how bad it feels, how it can seem to be happening right now. His reaction is more like “Miguel is not a good guy. I’m sorry this happened to you a bizillion years ago.”
But a bizillion years ago and yesterday are the same thing to my body. I think that’s what he doesn’t see. And I’m not going to explain it bc it was a big enough effort to share the post. I am just done for now.
Celebrate your courage at shring the post. His reaction will fuide you in clarifying what you want and don’t want from him when you tell him more at some other time.
Somehow his not understanding what it feels like brings me very quickly to my second “r” word..
Rage. Rage is a resident of my emotional house who doesn’t show up very often. She might be wandering the back corridors or something, but I seldom see her. I think I spend years telling her there was no place for her, that I am a nice girl, so I don’t get angry.
But now she’s right there in the common room, and she’s hot. She wants to break things. She wants to hurt Miguel. She wants to scream. She wants to protest to her husband; doesn’t he see this is not just a bad day from years ago?
This is my husband though, you know, the good guy. It’s not long before he’s followed me into the bedroom.
“You’re not okay, are you?” he asks.
“Um. No, actually.” I am kind of pouting and being unreasonable. He’s not really the one I’m angry with, but he’s the one who is there.
“I love you,” he tells me.
“I know that.” I say. “But you don’t get it.”
“I see that. I’m trying though. I want to get it.” (I know, he’s great, right?)
“It doesn’t feel like this happened to me ‘back then.’ It doesn’t feel like old history. It feels like it happened yesterday. It is fresh! It is burning me! It is making me sick!”
I’m glad he has come to me, glad he is trying to learn what it feels like. But now Rage is here, and she’s powerful. And Humiliation and Self-Loathing and Revulsion, they are all here too. They take turns with me. And okay, they all have a place here. But it’s hard to go to work. It’s hard to concentrate on anything but them.
The intensity will pass. It will. I will survive this, even though in the moment it takes my breath away. I want to use all my coping skills and get through this.
The part that scares me is that I have already done this many times, thinking, okay, this is the end of it. And then there is another memory that surfaces. Tonight I feel afraid that this isn’tthe end of it.