Rage Against The Machine
A rage bubbled up in me tonight. One that I’m familiar with. One that I’ve been pressing the lid on for months. Okay, years. It is one of the many reasons I decided to leave my husband. So many feelings are at the foundation of this rage. Namely, forgotten. Unimportant. Alone. Stuck. Obligated. Tired.
Nine years ago, I made a commitment to die to myself. Endlessly. Until I actually die. Sounds exciting, right? Biblically, both people in a marriage should be doing this. And I was willing to do it… am willing to do it again… for someone who is willing to die to themselves. Until they actually die. It sounds morbid, I know, but honestly I believe in this idea so strongly, that I endured years of emotional self-mutilation.
Granted, I chose this life. I chose to love a man whose life was (is) committed to the military. But this was years before I knew myself or even the basics of what I needed to maintain my sanity or how important it was for me to self-actualize. I didn’t resent the life, per se. I resented how misunderstood I was. How completely oblivious my husband was of who I was or what I needed… despite prayer and so many many MANY conversations in which I explicitly said “THIS IS WHAT I NEED...” In between these emotionally charged discussions (which always began with a honeymoon phase), things would change temporarily. Until he was safe. Until I had “forgotten.” The rest of that in between phase was spent convincing myself that I could endure. That I could live without being understood, that I could parent and sacrifice my dreams on my own.
I sustained that mentality for such a long time. Painting pictures and building facades for the rest of the world. I needed them to believe the lie… that things were perfect… so that I could go on pretending. But when you’re enduring the hardest parts of parenting (creating a sleep schedule/rocking for HOURS, potty training, disciplining, creating everyday schedules, etc.) on your own, it can send you into a dark place. I wish I could call it single-parenting. At least there’s no expectation there. No. This was an 80/20 situation. Deployments? A year out of her life… 95/5.
Tonight brought it all back. It’s midnight and she JUST passed out 20 minutes ago. Her bedtime is usually 8/8:30. I rubbed her back, I lay with her, I scolded her, I threatened her. Nothing. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ve had plenty of conversations with other mamas about bedtime to know that this is not abnormal. However, the memory of complete desperation, loneliness, exhaustion, frustration, abandonment, washed over me. And then the rage. The feeling (as untrue as it is) that this would be my life forever and no one would ever be there to give me reprieve. That no matter how many times I voiced my brokenness to the person who should have my back no matter what, I would never be heard.
I tried, but I couldn’t endure that life forever. Not as a mentally stable person and surely not as a person functioning with anxiety. But the waves of guilt still come. Particularly in the middle of the rage… which tends to fuel that fire. I wish that I was as strong as I pretend to be. Or at least I wish my strength was for me and not just everyone else.
I’ve started looking for therapists again. Because no matter how justified my feelings are, I owe it to my daughter to own my pain. I don’t want her caught in the whirlwind of my disappointment. I don’t want her to think that this brokenness is about her. No matter how complicit the other parties are, it’s my responsibility to find healing. It’s my responsibility to bulldoze that shaky foundation.