Even though the beach has always been a haven, and I have had no bad memories of a time at the beach, this trip was different. Heck, everything is different these days. My understanding is different. My life is different. Still I was hoping that a beach trip would not be different. I was hoping it would be good still.
And for four days it was. But Wednesday was not a good day.
I am reading at www.youarenotcrazy.com. It is very disturbing. As I read down through the list in the left-hand sidebar (Withholding, Countering, Discounting, Disguised Jokes, Blocking and Diverting, Accusing and Blaming...) I am feeling nauseous.
Under the topic Withholding:
When a man refuses to empathetically listen, validate, or share emotions, he's destroying the core of what sustains an intimate relationship. He's withholding.
For a relationship to be truly intimate, it requires mutual and empathetic listening, validation, and sharing of emotions. These acts of sharing listening and validation must be empathetic. Without empathy, you cannot share in your partner's joys or sorrows, therefore have little investment in goodwill towards your mate. At some point, you'll begin to resent "giving happiness" and begin to await payback. If you feel owed a "payback" when you give because you can't empathize in their happiness, you'll constantly feel ripped off - your unrealistic expectations can never be filled. In short, it's your job to make yourself happy, and it's your partners job to be happy with you.
A couple may not always understand each other and may have times when it's difficult to share feelings, but the intention to empathize is there with expressions of goodwill such as "Is this what you meant?" or "Help me understand how you feel..." or "It upsets me when you're upset . . ." or "Your laughter is my favorite sound at the end of a rough day. . ." (Don't you just want to be happy for your mate to share in it? Such goodwill towards you! That's intimacy.)
Withholding sounds like "Whatever. You're always upset about something or another."
Under the topic Blocking and Diverting, I read:
Blocking and diverting specifically controls interpersonal communication. The verbal abuser refuses to communicate, establishes what can be discussed and withholds information, thereby preventing all possibility of resolving conflicts.
Blocking may be accusatory; however, its primary purpose is to prevent discussion, end communication, withhold information, or "win" an argument.
Through diversion the topic is changed, often turning the tables on the partner so she must defend herself on an unrelated topic.
Under the topic Countering:
Abusers see adversaries, not partners. He must maintain power over her to keep "his enemy" from getting too close and seeing his vulnerabilities.
Under the topic Disguised Jokes, I read:
An abuser may also startle or frighten his partner, then laugh as if it were a joke, especially if the startle causes her to damage something. This is not a joke, it's physical intimidation.
And it all comes back again. The whole incident.
My husband wanted to go ocean kayaking with my son. When we had walked down the beach the day before, I saw red flags by a life guard stand. No one knew what they were for, and I assumed they had the same system as Florida beaches. A red flag would mean unsafe swimming conditions. Still, some people were swimming, though close to shore. So it did not necessarily mean unsafe conditions.
Also I had recently read that the general geographic location we were in was prone to riptides. I remember reading stories about people getting lost at sea in our area because the folks renting boats, scuba tours, etc., are unregulated. On one of our last trips, we had been to a beach that was clearly marked as having dangerous riptides. So, since there were no signs like that near, it was probably safe. But on the other hand, we should probably ask.
So I shared my concerns with my husband, and he more or less just discounted them. I thought of the times in the past my husband had discounted my concerns, and I in my misguided understanding of theology and marriage had just...shut up. Shut up and let my husband decide things on his own. And I knew that I absolutely could not ever do that again.
On those occasions, my life, my son's health, the life of a beloved family pet and my precious daughter's fragile emotional state had all suffered. They suffered because my husband discounted my valid concerns and made decisions based on how he felt about them. He did not consider the danger or potential harm to the people he was supposedly responsible to care for; he only considered himself.
Newsflash: The doctrine that if you submit to your husband no matter what, God will still protect you, is a lie. You won't ever find that stated plainly in the Bible because it's foolishness. Submit to people who know more than you and have your best interests at heart. Otherwise, look out for your own safety. Never blindly surrender to someone who takes the responsibility for your life lightly. Do I really need to even write that? Duh.
So now I not only need to make it plain to my husband that I will not allow my son and daughter to go out on kayaks until I have determined it is safe, I am having to deal with all the trauma of being dismissed and abandoned in the past. I am talking life-threatening situations for me and my children, not a little inconvenience here.
And since my husband had been so open, communicative and kind the past few days, I expected to be able to talk to him about it. You know, I was expecting that he would empathetically listen, validate, and share emotions with me, like partners in love relationships do for each other.
But instead I got withholding, countering, blocking and diverting. Why I was so foolish as to continue looking for love and empathy in the face of all that abuse, I do not know. But I did. I kept trying to break through what I saw as an inability on my part to communicate clearly. I pleaded. I reasoned. I was stupid to do so.
He blocked me by saying we weren't going to discuss it anymore, and I foolishly gave it one more try. That's when his anger no longer stayed veiled and he began to physically intimidate me.
He jumped up from where he had laid down on the bed, "Okay you want to fight? Let's fight!" He kept repeating this while pushing his chest out and walking towards me.
I retreated to a corner by the door, saying, "No, I don't want to fight! I don't want to fight! Don't say that about me! You know it's not true." I was crying. I huddled next to a pillar by the door, covered my face with both hands, and started praying desperately through my tears, asking Jesus to please help me and protect me and show me what to do.
That's when he got quiet, silently crept up next to me, put his face close to mine and then said BOO!
This scared me when I was already scared! Of course I jumped and then I started crying harder, I couldn't stop. I left the bedroom and went across the hall to the teen's room and tried to collect myself. My daughter wanted to go and confront her dad but I told her no, please just let me stay in here awhile, and let's all pray together.
I stayed there for fifteen minutes or so. The kids prayed with me. I went back to my room and knocked quietly on the door. My husband told me to come in and told me he was sorry for losing his temper. The next day he told me, "You know I didn't mean physically fight, didn't you? I would never do that."
As if by merely not physically assaulting me this is all okay. :\
He was truly humble later that day, saying that he knew he was messed up and he was so sorry and he's getting help.
The thing is, now that I know it's not me, it really doesn't make things any better. In some ways I wonder that if I get treatment for the PTSD I already had, then maybe these incidents won't rattle me so badly. But then I find a website like You Are Not Crazy and I know each new incident will still be a new trauma for me.
I have an appointment Wednesday. Say a prayer for me if you read this. If I even post it, it will disappear the next day.