Not Him Too

It’s been almost a year since I’ve written. To be honest, I haven’t really felt the need to write this last year.

But now I do. I need to process this.

Robby has been really struggling. He’s always kind of struggled with physical intimacy, but recently it’s gotten pretty severe. He started getting help for sexual compulsions (masturbating) and had been seeing his regular therapist, but he’s just continued to struggle. And now he’s putting things together.

I always knew that his first time having sex was sort of an accident. From what he had told me before, he and his girlfriend (whom we title “It”) were naked and humping and he just kind  of ‘fell into’ her. I had always assumed it was one of those “mistake but not a mistake” on both of their parts, but last weekend I found out otherwise. He had never wanted to have sex with her. He’d planned on remaining a virgin until he got married, but she took that choice away from him. After they’d had sex, he felt that since he went to that level of intimacy with her, he had to stay with her. So he did for a while, but he never felt comfotable having sex with her. She would pressure him, and demand sex of him. Yesterday, he told me that his first time she was on top and he doesn’t completely believe it was an accident that they had sex. He thinks she did it on purpose. She raped him.

It’s just so awful to write that. He said that alcohol was involved and that every time he had sex with her, alcohol was involved again. I don’t know if he was getting drunk and she was taking advantage of him, or if he was getting drunk to try and numb himself from what he knew was happening. I don’t know that he even knows.

And his one night stand with her, I always thought it was lust- and passion-fueled, but it wasn’t. He was drunk and she threw herself at him. He wanted to get out of the car, but she held him down. Oh God, she held him down.

It’s not right. It took him until this last week to realize what they had done to him. It took until he read this article to understand. He always thought he was ‘weird’ for not liking sex. He thought he was supposed to ‘be a guy’ and enjoy any sex, no matter what. But it wasn’t sex, it was rape. Oh God, why did it have to happen to him. He doesn’t deserve this, no one deserves this.

And I’m so scared for him. He’s starting therapy with Lori to address this stuff, and I know how hard that is going to be. I’ve been there. And I wish he didn’t have to go through it. I know that it will help him in the end, but I know the pain he is about to start feeling, and as broken as he feels right now, it’s nowhere near as broken as he will feel soon.

And part of me is worried about really inconsequential things in the grand scheme of things. How is he going to get through therapy and work at the same time? If he can’t handle both and he has to quit his job, how will we pay our bills? If he has to quit his job, like I did, will it destroy him? Make him feel as damaged as I felt? How will he re-enter the job market if all that happens? I had a built in excuse of TTC, but I don’t know how it will work for him.

And one of the worst things, is that he doesn’t feel like he has anyone to talk to. He doesn’t think his dad will understand, and I agree. And he already has such deep issues with his mom, that talking to her would just make things worse. He can talk to my parents, I know they’ll understand. But it’s just not the same and having your own mom and dad to lean on. And he deserves to have that. To have parents who love him and appreciate him and will be there for him, even if they don’t understand. I want that for him so badly.

I want him to not hurt. I want him to know he is taken care of. But I don’t know how to be there for him. Because I’ve been where he is, where nothing feels safe, even the people who are supposed to. And he couldn’t fix things for me, couldn’t really do anything for me, because in a way I was scared of him too. And now he’s scared of me. I know logically that it’s bleed over from his trauma, but I feel so helpless. I want more than anything to take this pain from him, but I can’t.

And it wrenches my heart to know that there were plenty of times when I pressured him for sex. I didn’t understand why he was rejecting me, all I felt was the rejection. All I felt was that I wasn’t good enough. And I really hate the fact that I was pressuring him. I pray that he never felt that I was abusing him, because I never meant to. He said the only times he ever felt ‘forced’ were after we lost Jamie and were TTC, and I completely understand. To be honest, I felt forced too.

I know things will get better. I know we will make it through this. It was bad enough that I was sexually abused. I got used to a part of my identity being an abuse survivor. I learned how to live with it. And now he’s having to learn to deal with it, when no one should ever have to learn this. It was okay that I was broken in this way, but it’s not okay that he is too.

7 Years Ago

Seven years ago today.

Seven years ago I chose to tell someone. For the first time I didn’t feel compelled to tell, as if the words couldn’t stay in any more. Seven years ago, I wanted to tell.

Seven years ago, I opened my heart, just a little, but more than I had ever done before.

Seven years ago, I decided something- someone- was more important than my fear. I decided to listen to my heart instead of the destructive voices that had controlled me for years. I decided that the regret of saying nothing would be worse than the fear I was feeling.

Seven years ago, I received love, patience, and understanding. Seven years ago, I was accepted for the beautifully broken person I didn’t know I was.

Seven years ago, I started down a path that would not only change my life, but save it too. Seven years ago, I finally started to live.

Seven years ago, I made the best decision of my life.

Happy 7th anniversary Robby. Here’s to 70 more.

So Lonely

I’ve been feeling very lonely lately. Struggling with the feeling that I matter, that I’m worth something. That I’m important.

And I’ve talked to Robby about it lately but it hasn’t helped. He’s been sweet about it, telling me that I matter, hugging me, but it just hasn’t helped. Because he’s been the one making me feel lonely. He keeps withdrawing from me, putting up this wall that I can’t get through. So I just keep trying harder. Trying to be noticed. Trying to do everything, and do it all right.

And tonight was a catastrophe, which I won’t get into, but I ended up telling him how I’ve been feeling. That he makes me feel lonely because he shuts me out. That I feel like if I don’t try and connect with him, that we will just be here but never really together. And how it’s so confusing because some days he will want to be intimate, will really be himself, will be comfortable with our relationship. But then the next he will act as though he’s just going through the motions.

And I want to take care of him, to love him, but it hurts so much to feel like he just takes and takes without giving back. Without being sincere.

Because he never follows through. He says he’s going to make changes, says he’s going to do this and that, and for a little bit he does. But then it stops. He stops being a partner in our relationship. Stops trying. And it just goes back to the way it was, with me trying so desperately to bring him back.

And I shouldn’t have to bring him back. All I want is for him to be here, really here. And every time he pulls back, or stops trying, or leaves me emotionally, it hurts.

It hurts so much.

And to be honest, I don’t know how many times I can go through this. It seems like it happens every year. But words are just words, and I have to look at the actions. And I don’t want to reach my limit. I don’t want to have to accept that it’s never going to change. So I’m going to keep trying, keep loving him, and most importantly keep telling him when he hurts me. And maybe it will get better and be real this time. But I’m so afraid that I’m going to end up alone, whether alone in our relationship time and time again, or truly alone. Without him.

The Bad Guy

To me, our family has always been the most important thing. Rob and I are meant to take care of each other, and that includes our family and our home.

But I keep feeling as though I’m the only one who is truly making the effort to take care of our family and home. I’m getting so frustrated of having to do everything.

Of having to constantly talk him into going to work. I get that you don’t necessarily want to go, or that you’re tired or feel like crap, but you still have to work unless it is absolutely not possible. Working is a part of life. It’s necessary to keep our life going. We can’t pay our bills or buy groceries or even live in our house without our jobs.

I am beyond grateful that he worked for those years I was unable to because of the PTSD. He went above and beyond for our family, and I don’t understand why ever since then he has pulled back from being an active part of our family. Actually, it was during those years that he supported us that he started to pull back from being a member of our family. He worked, but that was about it. Slowly, I did more and more until I was doing everything for him. He even admitted that he was taking advantage of me.

I just don’t understand. Was it that he felt resentful? Overwhelmed? Overburdened? Does he need to lean on me now like I leaned on him then? I just don’t understand. I wish he would tell me.

I hate feeling like I am forcing him to be a part of our family. Like I am the bad guy. Part of me wants to just let it go. If he doesn’t want to be part of us, part of our family, then I shouldn’t make him. Because I am so hurt, and so tired of this fight. But another part of me can’t let it go. I feel like if I don’t make him go to work and don’t tell him that his apathy hurts me then it will get worse. That it will fall apart. But it feels like things are falling apart, because I don’t want to be the bad guy. Because it’s been years and he keeps doing it.

And I keep being the bad guy.

Crying in Steak n Shake

We went out to breakfast yesterday morning and I told Rob all about what I realized at Lori’s.

And when I finished talking, I looked at him through my tears and he said the most perfect thing he could have. “I never thought that for a second” And he said it with this look of shock in his eyes, this almost startled blankness that you get when you are so caught off-guard, that I knew it was true.

And the tears just rolled down my face.

“For the longest time I felt that it was my fault. That I didn’t take good enough care of you and Jamie”

I never expected him to say that, so I’m sure I had the same dumb-founded look on my face when I said “I never thought that for a second”

And we held hands and cried in Steak n Shake, because that’s what we do.


Realizing God’s Love

Last night the GIRL friends group that I’ve written about before began their winter session. And again, I went mostly for fellowship, not really expecting to get much out of the study, since I had already done a study on Ephesians. Boy was I wrong.

Our meeting leader, Kathy, explained how the book of Ephesians was laid out and we started by reading Ephesians 1:3-14, where Paul is listing the spiritual blessings that are ours simply by accepting God. Then Kathy went back to verse 4.

Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.

She asked us what it meant to be chosen, and for a while the room was silent.

To me it is such an abstract idea. It has nothing to do with you, you have no control over it. You don’t get to decide if you are chosen or not, it is just something that happens or doesn’t. Some women said that, to them, being chosen was a feeling. I know that God loves me and has chosen to love me, but sometimes I don’t feel the love. How can you feel loved when something horrible happens? How do you reconcile the abuse? Losing a child? I know I still hold a lot of anger and confusion about things that have happened, and I know that those are issues I have to work through, but I hadn’t realized how greatly those issues had impacted my relationship with God until I sat there listening to these women extol their feelings of being chosen, and all I could think of was the struggle inside of me.

The conversation eventually dwindled and we moved on. Ephesians 1:5 says this:

God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.

Kathy asked if anyone had any experience with adoption and my hand shot into the air. Having 5 adopted sisters, I tend to be the go-to adoption expert in most rooms. Kathy asked me to describe the relationship between my parents and my adopted sisters and to compare that to the verse and the idea that God has adopted us.

Why did I raise my hand?

I knew what she was asking, but I didn’t have a clear idea of what to say, so I just started talking in the hopes that my words would lead me down the right path.

My sisters know that they are adopted. It’s kind of obvious because they are Asian and my parents aren’t, but it’s always been talked about in my family. They know they were born in China or Taiwan. They know they were adopted. And it’s funny, because my parents get the same reaction from so many people. People are always coming up to my parents and saying things like “Oh, God bless you for adopting them. They are so lucky!” But my parents always respond the same way “We are the lucky ones”

It was around here that the light started to come on. I was starting to see what this verse really meant. But it wasn’t until I finished speaking that I truly ‘got it’.

And my sisters know. My parents tell the girls how three sets of parents have been blessed by them, have gotten to love them. They’ve brought joy to their birth parents, their foster parents, and their forever parents. And it’s funny because we always think of how blessed we are to be loved by God, how lucky we are, but if we are adopted by him, then it’s amazing to think that God looks at us and thinks that He is the lucky one, for getting to love us.

And when you adopt a child, you love them before you know them. When you have a biological child you know them a little before they are born. You know their background, you know their movements inside of you. But in adoption you don’t know anything until you are handed that file. But you love that child long before then. It’s just like the Bible says in some versions ‘even before the world was made, he decided to adopt us’. He loves us that much. I don’t think I truly understood that until just now.

Isn’t it amazing? God, the creator of everything, Master of the universe, loves us so much that He thinks He is the lucky one, simply because he gets to love us.

And no, it doesn’t make the bad things okay. Just like we get mad at our parents for reasons they don’t deserve, it’s okay if I sometimes get mad at God for things He doesn’t deserve. But when I think about how much I love my sisters–how much I will love a baby if we adopt–it helps me remember that God is not The Bad Guy, He is the Comforting Arms when the bad things happens.

Letter to Rob

When Robby and I started dating I (obviously) had a lot of issues to work through. One of the boundaries I had to overcome was being able to admit my feelings. Being me, I tried to analyze my feelings scientifically in order to validate them, as well as protect myself. I thought that if I could fill out a check list then I would know what to expect, what to feel. I thought my feelings had to fit a universal definition in order to be ‘real’. While I was trying to sort all of this out I started to pull away from Robby, but I finally wrote him this letter around the end of April/beginning of May of 2009.

This is the other half of why I brought up the fact that I can feel myself protecting myself because I’m expecting you to leave. I could feel myself putting that wall back up. These are basically some things that I didn’t want to tell you because I was afraid of opening up to you, but I recognize that part of a relationship is opening yourself up to the other person. I’ve just worked on the assumption so long that if I keep things that could complicate a relationship (any relationship, friends included) hidden, then the relationship won’t be complicated. But the thing is, I know that that is not how life works, and that hiding things will only make our relationship more complicated, and I don’t want that. I’m writing this to you because I want to break down that wall I’ve been trying to put up. So here goes:

I’m trying to find a way to say the things that I’m scared of the most. I want to say things that in the past I’ve always run away from, but for some reason, I feel as if I’m going to lose you if I don’t say them. I don’t feel pressured to say this, but I don’t want it to come out wrong. I’ve always been frustrated by the phrase, ‘I love you’ because it can mean so many things. It’s too ambiguous. And it’s so frustrating because I don’t know how to say what I’m feeling. The thing is that when I think of you, I can’t stop the words ‘I love you’ or ‘I love him’ from popping into my head. But I don’t know what that means!!! I know that I miss you when you’re not here, that I smile when I think about you, that I feel like every situation would be better if you were there. That when I think of home, I think of being with you, in your bed, in your arms. That I want to wake up next to you every day, that I want you to be there next me when I graduate, when I go to grad school, when I’m happy, when I’m sad. Whenever. Quite possibly forever. And while that scares me, I really do want to be with you, and I’m going to fight with all my strength to keep us together. I think that Becky had it right, that I finally found a good thing, and I really can’t imagine finding something better, and I don’t want to try. I am so happy with you, and I’m sorry I have to write this, but I’m still a little too scared to actually say this to you. Today, when you said that you were also preparing yourself to get hurt, my heart just broke. I don’t want you guard yourself against me. I never realized how much it must hurt you to hear me doubt us, or you, until you said that. I never want you to doubt us. And I know, sometimes I doubt us, although it’s not really doubting us per say, but more of a ‘this is too perfect, it can’t be my life, so there is no way that it will work, my heart is going to get broken’. But the thing is that I trust you. I really do. And that’s huge. For me to say that and actually mean it, really means a lot, and I never would be able to trust you if you hadn’t been so patient with me and worked with me on my issues. You have no idea how grateful I am to you for that, and I know it can’t have been easy, and probably still isn’t easy, so I just want to say thankyou. Thank you so very much Robby. Basically, this entire rant was to say that……..I love you…..I don’t know if it’s the dictionary definition or not, but it’s what I feel. In my own messed up, weird, confusing kind of way, I really do love you. I’ve wanted to say this for a few days, and have actually been holding it in because I wanted to say it when I wasn’t scared anymore. But I think that I’m just going to be scared until I actually say it. Or write it in this case.