Has it ever happened that you’ve never heard a certain word or phrase or song and then once you hear it for the first time it comes up a hundred times a day every day after that first time? Or when you don’t watch a tv show often but every time you catch it on tv it ends up being the same episode? Isn’t it strange how that happens?
Well, last year I was talking to my friend about all of this BS that is my life and the one word that came up in the conversation to describe it all was… numb. I said…numb? That’s stupid. That doesn’t even make sense. How am I numb? I’m not numb. I can feel. I am hurt, angry, pissed off, etc. Everything opposite of numb. He said…no, you’re numb. Maybe you don’t realize it…but it’s true.
About 4-5 months after that is when I started this blog. Since then I have come across so many accounts of people telling their stories of abusive relationships and I can’t even tell you how many times the word numb has been in their description. And every time I see it I kind of just smirk to myself and shake my head and think, could it be?
It’s been more prevalent in the past couple of months. Popping up almost daily on posts I’ve been reading. I was basically throwing my hands up saying, “Okay, I get it .. I get it.” So I thought maybe I should think about this and what these people mean and how it applies to me.
I mean, I feel that I am pretty forthcoming with my emotions and feelings and my descriptions of such. What I didn’t really think of was how I am perceived by other people in my actions of keeping this lifestyle under wraps. After sharing my story with a couple of friends, one of them, who I’ve known for as long as I’ve been with my husband, said to me…”I always wondered why you were so hard. But now it makes sense.” I don’t know why, but that struck a chord. Not in a bad way but in a way that made me look at myself from her point of view and, for maybe the first time, I could see what others may be seeing.
There’s this shell that I have. I thought it was always there but in retrospect I can see how it really started to form during the time I started dating my husband. I mean, to me I always had a toughness about me. A “who cares” attitude. But I wasn’t always that way. I had my self doubts and I wasn’t always condifent. Typical fears and anxieties going from childhood to teenagedom. I just always seemed to know how to put up a good front and since I had a quick wit I was easily able to zing back any comment that was less than kind.
So when my friend said I was hard it made me really think about it and I realized how I was learning to shut myself off from the outside world because of the manipulation and control of this loser. I don’t remember exactly when it happened but during the beginning stages of getting beat of course there is crying, pleading, asking why…all of that and more. At one point, and I don’t know if this happens to everyone, I remember…I took it. I took it like a man. I didn’t fall. I didn’t flinch. I didn’t whimper. I took it. Kept my eyes level with his. Kept my posture ready for more. And most important of all….I didn’t cry. And I think that was the beginning of this hardness. The beginning of the end and of being….numb.
Even now, in writing this…I won’t admit it. To being numb. Not to my friend. He’ll know it when he reads this and he’ll say he told me so and that’s fine. When he does, I’ll tell him he was right. 🙂
I guess I’m in some sort of strange denial. I understand there are many layers to this life that I won’t know have been put on me until I’m gone and start to peel them off one at a time. I’m only starting to learn as I write about my own world and read stories of others. When I come across something relatable, and it opens my eyes and my mind and makes me think about my nonsense, is when just a little bit more makes sense to me.
When I started to see numb pop up everywhere I laughed. One day it came up a good 3-4 times in a row with different peoples’ posts that I read. I sat back and said okay…show me. Help me to realize how and why this applies to me. And it flooded. There is just so much of me that I have shut down because of this man. When I say I have an I don’t care attitude…I actually don’t care. I have days where I don’t care what happens. I don’t care if I die or if he dies, either way I win. There are days I feel like taking a match and saying fuck it all, burning the house down and walking away from everything I own. There are days I say screw being the responsible one and working hard and making sure everyone has what they need. I’m fucking exhausted and I don’t care.
But then the little voice kicks in…make sure there is food for tomorrow…make sure everyone gets up on time for school and work…make sure my work gets done…the house gets cleaned…the laundry gets done. And that’s how my days, weeks, months and years snowball into 25 years later. Add in just enough strength to survive another day without going to prison and there you have it.
So whatever it is….it is.
I’m numb for now…but the time is near.
Bring it on.
This amazing woman read my post and it resonated with her in such a way she broke down exactly how I have felt all these years. It is beautifully written and oh so accurate. Please take a moment to read Doors to the Spirit.
To read from the beginning… my story starts here.