Editor’s note: The following article refers to spiritual concepts. Please read Lovefraud’s statement on Spiritual Recovery.
The Downward Spiral to the Bottom
A year and a half after the downward spiral of a 10 year relationship came to the ground, I started noticing new behaviors of mine surface. New thoughts, new spikes in anger, outward and physical expressions of fear, anxiety, being paranoid, scared.
I’m not sure why in my case it took longer to surface. It could be because I was dealing internally with so many other facets of breaking free like the divorce, custody battles, financial wars and deep betrayal and confusion over the last year.
I started to have these “episodes” that were seizure-like, which one time last year sent me to the hospital where they diagnosed my with acute aphasia. They shot me up with some Lorazepam and I was good to go.
I have been suffering from these attacks for the last year on and off and have been trying to get to the bottom of it. In addition to these attacks, I have been also experiencing something else.
I finally went to my PCP in search for answers. My gut was that it was PTSD related, but I wanted to be sure. He referred me to Crisis Prevention and Recovery for a formal medical, psychiatric, physician analysis. Yesterday I spent about and hour and a half speaking with the physician, in which she confirmed that what I’m suffering from is classic PTSD symptoms.
There is a part of me that is relieved because it further validates that what went on in the relationship with the sociopath actually did happen, and it’s not a figment of my imagination. But then there is a deep sadness because I am still suffering from being in a relationship with that person, and it’s a bit disheartening.
I have and am going to continue to take steps in a forward direction to take hold of this issue. A counselor of mine gave me a mini booklet about PTSD called “PTSD Healing for Bad Memories” by Timothy S. Lane. (There is a red panic button on the cover. I kept pushing it hoping it was going to work immediately.) Skimming through the booklet, I came across something that explained exactly what I sense is going on which is this:
“The symptoms of PTSD reveal a memory that struggles to stay in the past. A traumatic memory becomes detached (dissociated) from its identity as an event locked in the past and takes on a life of its own in the present. The memory then persistently intrudes into the present in debilitating ways by distorting what is currently happening.
If you struggle with PTSD, a present circumstance that even mildly resembles a trauma you’ve experienced might cause you to lose any distinction between your traumatic memory and your present situation.”
The Uncontrollable Storm
I have found myself in very “normal” situations in which I have jumped to a complete panic and fear in the matter of minutes. It starts with shortness of breath. The muscles in my limbs begin to tense up.
Then my heart races; I fill my emotions start to well up inside like an uncontrollable storm. My mind starts to battle with being hysterical and I lose control of myself.
I feel hysterical in the sense that someone is running after me with a knife and is going to stab me to death, or I am in a narrow tunnel and it is filling up with water and I am trying to swim upwards to get out, but there is nothing to grab hold to. I PANIC.
I can’t make sense of where one thought started and which thought it was that started it, and how I ended up in this state so quickly. My mind is cloudy, my brain is cluttered, I can’t think right.
Which Way Is Up?
I feel myself questioning everything I know; I am disturbed and confused. I feel like I don’t want to feel anything. There is a fear deep down that anyone I meet might be lying, and I am waiting for the bomb to drop. There is an anxiousness and expectation that this is my reality and it will happen; it’s only a matter of time.
I feel anxiety and fear that I will have to feel what I felt before if a new person lies and is a sociopath too. I feel gross with having been with a person like my ex and the details makes me sick. I feel nervous and nauseous.
There are fears of being abandoned and disappointed again. I feel very emotional even having short thoughts about these things happening again, at any level, like I’m going to lose control. I gag in the sink. Then I feel tired and weak. Lethargic with no drive to move forward. Then there are feelings of intense anger, then afraid again.
This is the roller coaster of life right now. Then after the moment passes, I come back to my senses and push forward until the next time it happens.
A Look Into My Past
I came across a journal entry of mine from July 12, 2011. A lot of my journal entries either start as a journal entry and become a prayer, or they start as a prayer and end as a journal entry.
This entry was during the time of the Gina and Laura girlfriends during my pregnancy. During this time, obviously in reading the journal entry, I was still in denial about his sex addiction. But I am hoping that in sharing this entry, it will help others to see these signs in their relationship and in themselves, and encourage them to take steps to get out.
Journal Entry July 12, 2011.
“Ok God, I am asking for strength and clarity and you are providing. I want to write this so I can make sure I understand what your Spirit is telling me. My husband is going to continue conversing with women. He is going to continue to hurt me on a daily basis knowingly.
I made it clear to him that I know I cannot change him; I am waiting on you for that. I also made sure he understood that during his time of rebelliousness, we cannot grow together; we will grow apart.
It makes me very sad. But just like in my relationship with you; I cannot live in a lifestyle of sin against you that has been confronted and I knowingly choose to continue to live in that pattern and grow close to you. You have made it clear in your word that if I make that choice to sin purposefully, that there will be a disconnect in our relationship.
Now I understand more from your perspective why that hurts you so much. Because you love me so much and you greatly want to have a deep relationship with me, but at the same time purposefully sinning continually hinders a growing relationship, and they cannot co-exist.
I desire to love my husband, but at the same time I cannot grow towards him until he makes a desicion to change for real. I told him that we would be growing apart until this is fixed. I also told him I wouldn’t check the computer any longer, but that until he comes to me and proves that he has truly made a heart change, I will assume he is continuing to have inappropriate relations with women.
He has admitted that he does “talk” to a lot of women and that that might be a problem. He does, and it’s excessive and not necessary. I don’t feel secure in this marriage because when we get in these arguments, he says and threatens me that we won’t be together; that if I do something, that will be the last time I see him. Now doesn’t that put me in a corner?
It feels so unfair that he gives so much of his time and energy to other women. I am really hurt. I want to do the right thing in your eyes. So I know from now until this changes, I will do my best to be kind to him and wait for you to work in him. But at the same time, there will be a disconnect between me and him.
I will be detaching from him emotionally. It’s a shame time has to be wasted like this. It’s really painful. I feel like I don’t know him, like he is another person. I don’t know what his intentions are.
I am very confused and sad. Please give me the strength and widsom to maintain boundaries and at the same time love him. Also he mentioned tonight that he doesn’t want to be loved too much. What am I supposed to do with that?
Please help me, I know your word says love never fails. Help me, I really need it. In the name of Jesus, Amen.”
Looking back at this entry, I can see that I was on the right track, however it took another 3 years to come to terms with the full realization of all that was going on. Now I am on a journey of fighting the past and pushing forward; day by day I try to put him away.