This morning around 5 am I woke up and could feel my heart beating really fast. I couldn’t calm down the feeling of anxiety. I quietly said, “Rick, could you get the oximeter for me? My heart is racing.” It was in our headboard more on his side. He woke up and kindly said yes and got it and put it on my finger and yes, my heart rate was high. We both wanted to go back to sleep. My heart was still racing so I reached out and just had my hand on his arm. Then he reached and held my hand and he fell back to sleep and I fell back to sleep shortly after.
As I laid there thinking about life and taking deep breaths and trying to calm down I found myself thinking about what just happened. It was monumental - 25 years in the making or even longer.
I pondered different situations in my life:
I’ve always disliked touch. Due to the sexual abuse starting at a very young age and then additional sexual abusers over 13 years until my mission touch became a very obligatory, abusive, negative, bad thing for me
The loss of my dad. Growing up we weren’t a very touchy, hugging family. I’m not sure when things changed, but I remember hugging my dad as I left for my mission, getting married and over the years hugs became more common as we would leave their home. The last time I hugged my dad and he said, “I love you sweetheart” and I felt it so deep. I won’t ever forget how deeply I felt of his love and grateful for that hug and value of touch.
Over the years I’ve been extremely task oriented. I wasn’t really sentimental and for sure didn’t have time to just sit and enjoy time together. If I did sit down, sit next to Rick or with the boys to watch a movie or something I had my computer out and was working and doing other things and “watching” the movie or “not really engaged” in whatever we were doing. There weren’t real feelings tied to the moment.
I’ve always struggled to feel enough or loved in my home. I was constantly trying to be more, do more, buy love, why can’t what I do be enough and beating myself up with guilt. I found much more comfort outside of my home. I would turn outside of my home for closer friendships, comfort and understanding. The reality is I didn’t really open up to anyone. I kept my cards close and didn’t let anyone past the surface, the safe parts of me. The big thing was the pattern of turning outside of my home for the deeper, closer friendships.
As I started counseling 2 years ago there was a lot happening in our home. I found myself keeping with the same patterns of turning outside of my home for the greater support. As a whole family we had lots of healing to go through so we all were in tougher spaces. I believe greatly that Heavenly Father knew who I needed and I was blessed with very dear friends that I would have never imagined in my life if I hand picked them myself. They were in my life at the right times, in the way that I needed them most, but over time things changed and the closeness and need for as much communication wasn’t needed. That shift was super hard for me. In a way it was excruciating. I had opened up my heart. Trusted. Felt I needed them. How could they be taken away? Would anyone really stay in my life? Could people really love me and stay? My abandonment filter has been very strong and heavy through the changes. I’m grateful to be in a healthier place with one of those dear friends. One of those friendships is in the loss phase right now and it super painful. I honestly never thought this friendship would go south and be as bad as it’s been. I’ve been going through this loss the same time as losing my dad. My heart aches. Gratefully the healthiest relationships have stayed in my life, but with my abandonment issues sometimes I get destructive and think just go, everyone go, because you will at some point.
Yesterday was one of the worst blow ups I’ve had with one of my sons ever. There were some hurtful things said between both of us and I couldn’t hold back my feelings and how hurt I was and I told him to get the hell out of my house. I’ve never said that before to my boys. I’m very grateful that by last night things were worked through and the feelings of love were back. The reality is with our children the feelings of love and growth and frustration and not doing things quite right are often there. In the long run, it’s unconditional love, but often there are feelings of conditional love.
As I laid there in bed, holding hands with Rick, calming down my heart and wanting to fall back asleep and pondered this simple touch and all of these different experiences in my life I thought I am blessed with the most amazing, loving husband who has loved me unconditionally for 25 years. He’s always been there for me. He’s never judgemental. As he’s learned so much more about my past over the last couple of years there’s never been feelings of anger towards me. He’s just shown more love. As I got in more of an overwhelmed, struggling state through counseling he took over all of my medications. He knows everything we need to know about the medications. Last week when I accidentally overdosed - took the wrong medications - I was able to call him and he immediately called the pharmacy and all day took care of me as I worked through the medications going through my system. When I’m crying he’s always respected me asking for space. Now as I’m healing he reaches in and will strive to give me comfort, but plays it by ear. If I want to get out of the house or need connections with my outside friends he lets me go. He’s been willing to do his own counseling and work on things so that we’re both progressing together. At nights when I’ve been in my child mode and for sure didn’t want comfort within my home and turned to others he was patient and loving and let me do my thing. Today we laughed so hard together we cried. We play games with the boys and have so much fun. Going for a drive or running an errand together we just enjoy the time together - no expectations. The list goes on and on and on. . .
What I realized this morning as I turned to him and reached out for him and he reached for my hand and I calmed down is I’ve always been loved by him. He’s always been there for me. He’s my safe space. He would never hurt me. He only wants the very best for me. I can share everything with him and he won’t judge me, he’ll only love me more. He protects me. He’s got me. After 25 years I realized I don’t need approval or love or have to wonder who is there for me outside of my home. My value isn’t based on any of these past experiences, but my value lies within myself and Rick’s got me and I don’t have to be afraid of abandonment. Touch is safe with him. I am loved and enough for myself and for him!
A wife and mother of 4 boys and 2 daughter-in-law, I have spent my entire adult life devoted to my family. I have been busy in their schools, supporting them in all of their school work, sporting events, activities, etc. I spent years heavily involved in the PTA, church callings, etc Life for me has always been overwhelmingly busy. While I thought this was my sanity, the truth is it masked issues - real issues - that I needed to work on to gain true sanity. I am sharing my story in this blog. I do this so that I might be able to help other women find their true sanity