My therapist asked me today where I was regarding my upcoming move. She wanted to know where I stood on the scale that ranged from being really really super excited to being very unsure and thinking I was doing the wrong thing. I told her I was very far up on the excited end. Then she asked if I had any concerns about moving. Well, there is one.
Jay has PTSD, among other things. Sometimes in the middle of the night he can really get caught up in a dream. Then, he wakes himself up and usually continues thinking he is in the dream, to a certain extent. When he wakes up disoriented, he usually starts yelling. It may be about one thing initially, but when he gets worked up like that and is loud and yelling, he usually continues yelling about other things. He may wake up from an intense political dream and start screaming at me for being a “dirty liberal” (I’m a libertarian). He will talk about how I voted on a certain bill and how I take everything that he says and will twist it to Obama’s benefit (he thinks I’m a congress person, I guess). None of that is real. He is immersed in his dream and caught up in what’s happening. Once he realizes I’m not a liberal hell bent on destroying the values he stands for, he is still amped up and in yelling mode. The topic will change from how I think Obama walks on water (I don’t, by the way), to what I did wrong during the day. Or last week. Or years ago.
Part of PTSD is thinking that things are happening RIGHT NOW, even if it happened years ago. Jay has intense memories and dreams, and gets caught up in them. Once he is caught up, it’s hard to bring him down. I don’t think that’s the PTSD, though maybe it is. I think that is more his bipolar or BPD, but I don’t know for sure. Jay gets easily trapped in his memories. We were watching some show the other day that had a funeral in it. He became very upset and started crying. Watching the funeral reminded him of the traumatic deaths of his brother and father, and made him feel like it was happening all over again.
My concern is that, since we will be staying in a hotel for at least the first few weeks, he will become upset during the night about something and start yelling, allowing all the people I work with (it’s a hotel for business travel and long-term corporate housing) to hear some of our issues. Even if it’s a night where he is not upset at ME, but upset over a DREAM he had, they will still hear yelling. They will hear him yelling at me, think that he is a dick who is mistreating me, and try to talk me out of being with him. Believe me, it’s happened before.
Not only was my birth family pushing us to get divorced, I have had a couple employers talk to me about leaving him, and even a “friend” or two. Professionally and in public I present myself very different than what I feel I actually am. Professionally I am calm, dependable, productive, and efficient. I am also very quiet and reserved professionally, and in public in general. Since I feel I don’t quite know how to act around others, I tend to keep my mouth shut. I don’t want to do something to embarrass myself. What people see is that I am this nice, sweet, quiet, vulnerable girl who needs protecting, and that I am married to the Big Bad Wolf. Believe me, that is so not the case. Neither side. I am not sweet and vulnerable and he is not a predator looking to take advantage of me.
I worked as the Office Manager of a real estate office for a little over a year while back in Virginia. We lived just down an alleyway from the office. Jay would visit me on occasion, oftentimes bringing me flowers. One day, after only being there for a couple months, my boss took me aside and asked if Jay was abusive towards me. I’m sorry, WHAT? Where did this come from? I at least acted like my boss was crazy if I didn’t straight up tell him that. A few months later, the male AND female boss took me into their office and said that if Jay “didn’t get his act together”, I would really need to consider leaving him. Since when did MY MARRIAGE become the business of my EMPLOYER???
A couple years later, while working as the Assistant Manager at a fast food establishment, I had at least two co-workers telling me I needed to leave him. They had seen me on the phone with him, and knew it usually ended with me crying. During that time I also had my AA sponsor ask me if he was the best thing for my recovery.
I had a “friend” ask me several times if it was good for me to stay with my husband. She said she wondered if he may not change his behavior if I threatened to leave.
At the start of my DBT group, my doctor let it be known a time or two that she thought he was abusive and I needed to “stay safe”. She wasn’t so bold about it, but I got the gist. I am also aware that she and Jay had several over-the-phone confrontations. Mainly Jay confronting her because I desperately needed treatment and she was dragging her feet. I always got the feeling that she had negative thoughts about him just because he called and raised hell to get me in that DBT group.
A co-worker at my current job lent me a large sum of money. Then she told me I didn’t have to pay it back. She made a point, though, to tell me NOT to mention that to Jay. She said the money was a gift to ME. Then she said that “there must be something good about Jay since I am with him.” She has met Jay ONE TIME.
I have learned that I cannot let others see into my relationship with Jay. They can only see the surface. No one else understands the dynamic of our relationship. If I talk about things Jay has said or done, people see me as the victim and him as the monster. Even if I tell them what a bitch I am. Even if I talk about the times I have thrown and broken objects, or punched holes in the wall. I’m afraid that someone I work with will hear him upset in the middle of the night, and then think they have a right to judge our relationship. No one gets it. I know that we have issues as a couple, but we have issues apart, too. We have talked about it, and we both agree that we would be worse off apart than staying together, even though we sometimes experience serious problems.
When my marriage is questioned, I immediately want to rip out the other person’s throat. How DARE they tell me what to do, and that I am with the wrong person. Jay and I firmly believe that God has brought us together, and God has kept us together. It really boils my blood when people try to question that. Even if they don’t agree that God has anything to do with our marriage, who are they to question it? They only have gotten a snapshot of our life together. They don’t know about our past together. They don’t know the things we have been through and prevailed against. They have no idea what they are talking about, and it INFURIATES me when people try to comment on my marriage. I would stack my marriage up against any other, and I’m sure it would be found to be stronger than most.
My therapist gave me some tips for how to handle it if my marriage is questioned again. She recommended I use GIVE. When I practiced with her, she said I did a great job staying calm and keeping my tone even. I laughed and then told her that it would be very different if I was actually confronted again. In the past I may have let people walk all over me. Now, I am a different person. I am more willing to stand up for myself. I am also more volatile, so WATCH OUT! Jay is the only person I have left in the world. You think a mother bear is nasty when her cubs are in danger? Wait and see what happens if my marriage is called into question again.