Sunday, May 6, 2012

Trust Issues

As we all know, all too well by now, that I don't trust easily. That I trust anyone is close to a miracle. After multiple trips to the pyre and PTSD symptoms on top of it, getting me to trust is like trying to hold the sun in your hands, an impossibility.

We all have our little issues I guess. From what I hear, even people without PTSD have trouble trusting. Others have had so many bad things happen to them that well, trust just isn't high on their priority lists.

But, I'll tell you a secret. I got this guy... (and that is such a subtle 9 1/2 Weeks reference) See, he's one of those guys who is so frustrating at times that I want to pull my hair out. Other times he's Mr. Romance, so much so that it makes it hard to believe that he's real. That he could be a hero in a Sherrilyn Kenyon novel is no small stretch. However, when you have someone that frustrating and that wonderful all in one body, that's where we get into tough territory.

You see, the classic Kenyonesque hero is incredibly heroic but at the same time extremely emotionally damaged. Go get one of her books, pick any one of her heroes and they're all basically the same. They each have a very hard, traumatic past which precludes them from really being emotionally touchy-feely on the outside. Underneath though, oh wow, those guys have romance "on lock" and they are faithful as my darling DalPal Lucky. That's why I love her characters so much. They are just riddled to high heaven with trust issues and broken hearts, but it takes the heroine in every novel, from "Bride" who is every bit of a size 16 in the book "Night Play" to the little 5'2", 100 pound pipsqueak "Dangereuse" in "Sins of the Night" to help those guys find what they were missing in the middle of their chests, essentially dispelling their trust issues so they can live happily ever after.

Ok, so back to my guy...I don't even need to tell you do I? I'm sure you can guess by now that I've got my very own dyed-in-the-wool Kenyonesque hero. But with all heroes we have to make sure not to place them on too high of pedestals because it makes it impossible for them to recover should they fall. Oh let's just say it out, if place your guy up too high, you risk forcing him to land with a very loud, resounding "thud." The whole trick with guys that wonderful is not to put them in a no-win scenario. Place them up too high, and that is exactly what you're doing.

Well, since our last trip to "Jay" the therapist, Ace and I have been doing wonderfully. I've been battling my flight reflex, he's been biting his tongue and we've both tried our level best to not trigger each other. But if you know anything about PTSD, you know that triggers are going to happen even if you do your damnedest to avoid them.

It seems all semester long, before going to see Jay and after going to see Jay, I've really been putting in the work. I've been worrying about our triggers, our this, our that, everything else but what I should have been keeping an eye on, namely school and this cluttered excuse of an apartment of mine.

Here's where the loud, resounding "thud" comes in.

Remember, the addict brain knows only one thing, what it is screaming that it wants, nothing else comes into play. Well, the other night, I got triggered hard. It seems as in my attempt to be "committed" I overextended myself to the point I realized I had been neglecting myself and my personal needs. My addict brain had become addicted to being around Ace. I didn't care about anything else, he was the center of the universe. So, when I finally realized that my addict brain had tripped me up again, I got into a fight with him. I had placed him so high up on the pedestal of importance that when I expressed my need to take care of me, I unintentionally forced him to land with a resounding "thud". Poor guy. I feel really bad for him - he's got to deal with me and I'm not easy in the least - especially when I'm triggered.

I had originally planned to spend four days out at Ace's, hanging around the pool and working on my suntan while I studied for my Media Law final. When I saw myself getting distracted and my books not being cracked through day one, I realized I needed to get back to my little cave and really focus. Even though I had everything I would need at my fingertips over at Ace's, my flight reflex kicked in HARD. But you have to realize something, I have been fighting and winning against my flight reflex for close on to a month. When you fight it for that extended period of time, when my PTSD is bad enough to begin with, that's almost an eternity. Sorry to say, I cracked. I couldn't fight any longer and the more I fought, the more constricted I felt which made my flight reflex even stronger. I was triggered beyond being reasonable.

Now remember, I'm used to betrayal, violence and overwhelming "epic suck" in my relationships. To go a solid month without a fight, just wrapped up in bliss was enough to make me so suspicious that the other shoe was about to drop, well guess what, I dropped it for myself, leaving poor Ace in the cold, not fully explaining that I had realized that I needed to hunker down on my books for finals without outside interference.

Well, that ended in a fight. Excuse me while I lean forward and have my forehead hit my desk with a resounding "thud". When Ace and I fight it's not pretty, and it is, as I said in Love, War and PTSD, roughly the equivalent to a nuclear explosion, charring us both. We never know whether or not we're going to stay together after each one. Well, long story short, I had placed him up so high that I felt that I was being neglected, that I wasn't as important as he was.  Basically, I gave him no alternative but to land with a resounding thud when my triggers became more than even he could handle. And as you know, when I get triggered, it triggers him. So not good on so many levels. Believe me, I hate my illness right around now. Oh I so want the bullies I grew up with to pay my therapy bills...

As we all remember all too well, when things went south with my ex, we know where he went, straight to the BHFB (that's the Basset-Hound-Faced-Bitch to those of you who are new). To boot, he would lie to me as to where he was, so after that being the umpteenth relationship that had been like that (remind me sometime, I'll tell you the story of my 28th birthday, that one will make you cry and very grateful for Spago's Creme BruleƩ), so of course my suspicions and my gut instinct said that trust was out the window, that I couldn't believe a single thing that came from any man or anyone for that matter.

So, when Ace and I go south like we unfortunately do (hey, it's part and parcel of a triggered couple), after two days I thought he was through with me for good. I thought for sure that he'd be out with his buddies doing 'the gods only know what'. So, I did the most stalkery thing because I wanted validation that I was being screwed over again. I'm so ashamed, but it ends funny... I got into my car thinking "oh, he's not going to be home... he's so going to be out with his buddies... oh, when I get over there, his truck is going to be gone and when I text him he's going to tell me he's at home... I bet he's going to have no issues lying to me..." and so on.

Well, as I pulled up to his house, in the driveway was his diesel-driven steed. My jaw hit the floorboard of my Prius. He was at home! He wasn't out doing the gods only know what! He hadn't lied, he hadn't done anything at all! Actually, he was re-arranging the furniture in his room so I'd like it better!

What I found could have knocked me over with a feather! But before I could fall over in shock, I had to remind myself to ask the simple question,"Why would I be shocked to begin with?!" Of course you already know the answer, this really doesn't have anything to do with him. It all has to do with my emotional baggage and all of the horrible things that other people have done in the past. I just feel so bad. You all know how I hate it when each of us is forced to do battle with things that we didn't cause or do. For me to make Ace go through that, I'm having an overwhelming amount of guilt. Serves me right for my stalkery weakness, I got exactly what I deserved, a smack in the head that said,"Why the hell did you doubt him for an instant? You know that's not right. He's never let you down. He didn't deserve for your resolve to falter."

You see, I've been trying really hard to overcome my trust issues and give Ace the fighting chance he deserves.  I've also learned that if I let go of my expectations and plans, and simply trust him, things turn out better than I could ever dream. So over the course of the last month, I gave myself a little mantra: "Trust Ace and everything will work out fine." However, PTSD sometimes doesn't like to listen to reason, it doesn't hear  you when you're trying to tell it to shut up and just let things roll along. What's worse is that sometimes you don't even know that your illness is what is causing all of the bad things that are happening around you! Intrusive memory likes to remind us to be ready for pain and bring our past traumas right in front of us so that we're not battling what's happening in the present, instead we're fighting a battle from the past that has nothing to do with the here and now.

I really don't like my illness right now and I don't think I really have to like it at all. Right now, it's messing with my relationship and I don't appreciate that very much!  But, like any issue we deal with, it's all about baby steps and it's all about running as fast as my feet can carry me into Jay's office next Tuesday.  Oh, I'm so overdue!  I completed step one, which was to commit.  In the immortal words of Agnes Gooch in Auntie Mame "I lived.  Now I've got to find out what to do now!"

Well at least if I get forgiven for my latest trip into Posttraumatic Stress, I'll be able to say I have a guy who is strikingly similar to Vane, the hero of the Kenyon novel "Night Play": He likes a girl with a bit of meat on her bones.  And I quote from page 267 of the paperback when Vane tells Bride she's beautiful the way she is,"Meat is for the man, bone is for the dog." I'm just grateful Ace is that same way, he loves me just as is and says he'll leave me if I get too skinny.

For the song of the day, a little something I heard in my weak "stalkery" moment - Gavin DeGraw "Not Over You."

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