Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Dreams and history

I had a dream several nights ago, and I've been vaguely sick to my stomach ever since. In the hopes of making that stop, I'm going to post it, and then talk about it a bit. Might me triggery for some folks, and there's language involved.


I'd gone to an SCA event back in the East Kingdom (the northeast US, more or less). Which is fine and something I plan to do when I can get back there, but for some reason I'd had to go to the event with Lewis (The ex). The fact made me feel vaguely ill and I spent as little of the actual event with him as I could.

Which was fine, except that we had to pack up together, and go home together. Packing up after an event was very rarely pleasant with him, and this time was no exception: there was grumbling and cursing and a lot of me not getting out of his way quickly enough, or not anticipating what he wanted quickly enough. And then I had to wait in the van until he was actually ready to go, since of course he'd suddenly remembered five things he had to go before we could go.

So I sat in the van, and laid down after a bit, and wished, with all my heart, that I were back in Colorado. Or indeed just about anywhere other than where I was. Somehow this morphed into me being in bed (I may have partially woken up here, because I remember very vividly thinking about missing Chocolate, who was sleeping next to me at the time). But it was Lewis's bed, and I couldn't leave, and I knew he was going to come in and lie down next to me soon. And probably want to have sex.

And while I knew I could say no, I also knew that I wouldn't, because it was just easier to put up with it.


He never physically forced me into sex. I want to be absolutely clear on that.

At the same time, sex slowly became, over the years, one of the things we fought about most. More accurately, one of the things he yelled at me most about; fighting requires two people and I never really got a chance to give an answer back to any of his accusations other than 'I'll try to do better' and 'I'm sorry'.

He accepted no blame for my lack of libido; that was all my fault. And he couldn't understand that getting yelled at about it was possibly part of the cause. (My depression was another, certainly; but telling me that I should have sex with him because it would make me feel better, when pressure to have sex was part of the problem, wasn't any help either.)

I remember one time vividly. We were lying in bed, talking and, I thought, having a relatively nice conversation. He apparently decided that we were going to have sex right then and, with no preliminaries, reached directly for my pink bits. I was actually in the middle of a sentence at the time.

I was less afraid back then and, rather annoyedly, moved his hand away from where it was and asked him if perhaps he could wait until we were done talking. Or at least until I wasn't in the middle of a sentence. Well, he got up and stomped off, and when I rushed after him to apologize, shouted at me that I was a frigid fucking bitch.

In the course of the conversation that followed (and I use that word advisedly) he made his position clear: any resistance to sex when he wanted it, regardless of side issues like me being in the middle of doing something else, was a deficiency of mine, a statement that I didn't want him. And me not wanting him meant that I didn't love him, didn't in fact care about him.


Years later, when it became apparent even to him that there were problems, I reminded him of this (he'd forgotten, of course). He did admit that he was perhaps out of line but still insisted that I should have (mentally) dropped everything I was doing and had sex with him right then. And while he understood that such repeated treatment just might have something to do with my libido problems, now that he'd admitted he might have overreacted slightly (though not, in fact, apologized) I ought to just get over it. Right then. *snaps fingers*


For quite a long time, sex was something I put up with, simply because it was easier. I still enjoyed it, physically -- I've been blessed with one might call good nerves -- but emotionally it was awful. And the least admission that I wasn't enjoying things sent him into paroxysms of 'you don't love me' and 'I need to know you want me' and other such inducements of guilt.

The feeling, in the dream, that I would once again just have to put up with it was awful; it was something I thought I'd escaped. Need to have escaped. I don't ever want anyone to have that kind of hold over me again.

I woke up before anything awful actually happened, and just spent a while, awake, snuggling my kitten, before I got up. Chocolate's purr was a big help as was the bright sunlight coming in the window, the light you just don't get on the East Coast that reassured me that I was, indeed, in Colorado. I got up and took a shower and ate something right away, to try to ground myself in reality. And I spent the rest of the day with Tim, up in the mountains that I love. It all helped. But I wonder, how long until I've really freed myself from him?


Gus said...

I have these dreams, too. They have become fewer and shorter and further apart as time goes by. I've found myself thinking and thinking about the dream, but then I've been able to start believing it when I tell myself, "Yes, but that's over now, and besides, it was just a dream."

Hang in there! You're not alone.

Mother Laura said...

Oh, dear one....I am so sorry to hear of such abuse and that someone would not treat you as the precious child of God you are. But you are so brave to speak your truth and bring this into the light. That is what will make them go away.

Lots of love and prayers.

Danielle said...

This sounds like something I could have written a few years back. Sex and my supposed frigidity were two of the (many) issues that drove Steve and I apart. Fighting about it just made it worse.

This still surfaces for me, all these years later, but I'm blessed with a partner who is patient and willing to let me hash things out.

I can't say that it will magically disappear - the fallout from my relationship with Steve still whomps me upside the head every now and again - but it does get better with time.

You're strong, and you are loved, and eventually this will all seem like a distant bad dream.


Cecilia said...

My friend, what a painful ordeal you have been through. I am so sorry.

And I am so glad that you are able to see that emotionally abusive relationship for what it was, and that you are able to embrace health and joy now.

Some things we never forget. And in a way, we wouldn't want to... we would never want it to be "less important," because it was. It is. But I do believe that over time, even if we do not forget, we can be free... especially if we are living as wholly and healthfully as we can, now.

Pax, C.

seeking chivalry said...

Thank you all for reminding me (since I know, though it's hard to remember) that it does get better. And especially from those of you who've been through something similar.

Good to hear from you here, Dani! *hugs* And heya, Gus -- do I know you? :)

Cecilia, what you say here echoes what someone else told me -- I'm already free, in that I've gotten out of the relationship; and yet I'll never be free, because it is part of what made me what I am now, awful as it was.

Mother Laura said...

Love the new header sister-friend!

Kate said...

Yay thanks!