Will I Be This Way Forever?
Tyler (the husband) and I had a very honest and difficult conversation the other night. It began as a light-hearted reference to something from the past, and became a long-winded complaint about his mother from me. Understandably, this upset him. We talked about several issues in relation to this, but what really stood out, to me at least, was my inability to move past old hurts.
When I first became part of the family, I don’t think Tyler’s mom handled it well. She hurt and offended me several times, especially the weekend of the wedding. Now, though, things are much better. We understand each other more, I think, and she has become accustomed to the idea of my being the focus of her son’s life. But still, the old resentment lingers. No wonder Tyler feels frustrated when the subject of his mother comes up.
Why is it that I can’t move past things like this? Old hurts are never old to me. When I am reminded of them—and my brain likes to dredge them up with disturbing regularity—they are as painful as ever. Time does nothing to dull the sharp sensations of betrayal and rejection occasioned by these incidents. And it’s not just Tyler’s mom. Most of it, truly, is stuff my dad did. I can remember things from when I was five years old, things that still upset me as if they happened yesterday. I think his refusal to accept responsibility—his constant blame, his dismissal of my feelings—robbed me of the ability to heal from wounds. I’m an emotional hemophiliac.
I can see this very clearly now, especially after the talk with Tyler. My problem is that I really don’t know what to do about it. I can’t just tell myself “Hey, get over it.” That only makes me feel stressed and guilty because I can’t get over it. Not only am I still tormented by these old feelings—I hate myself for letting them have power over me.
I always feel helpless in moments like this—when I see a flaw of mine in startling clarity. What do I do? How do I shift the foundations of my whole identity? How can I cause my mind to arrest its instincts, and adopt new patterns of thinking? I feel powerless to control my thoughts and feelings, and hopeless about ever learning to change.