This is another contribution to the UNCO synchroblog. You can read other posts in the UnResolved series here. In typical UNCO fashion, I wasn’t sure if our theme was about things in our life that are left unresolved or making an UnResolution to start the new year. So, in typical Derrick fashion, I chose to do both. This post comes with a tigger warning, particularly for those who have experienced domestic violence or abuse.
I occasionally have very violent dreams. They are, I guess, revenge fantasy dreams. They have often had my stepfather at the center of them and they usually involve me overpowering him in some sort of confrontation, sometimes just verbally, but oftentimes more than that. I had one the other night that was probably the most violent I have ever had, only the subject of the violence was not my stepfather. It was my ex-wife. In the dream I was hitting her, I was choking her… I had no regard for her life and no real remorse about the pain I was inflicting.
It’s hard to even type those words. I am not a violent person. At least, I try to not be a violent person. I was horrified by the dream when I awoke from it. I’ve never laid a hand on my wife in anger. Sorry if I sound defensive… it’s just that I want you to know that that’s not me… except it is.
At some level, these images are at the core of me. Like I said, these are revenge fantasy images. They are my angry self, the self I keep from public consumption. And they are striking back at the people who I imagine have hurt me. They are the powerless me exerting power over those who I feel have used power against me. They are the manifestations of desires.
If you’ve been keeping up with my writing as of late, you know that the undoing of my marriage was largely my fault. I won’t go into detail here, but use your imagination. Ask if you’re curious. So why would I want revenge? Why would I strike out at my wife? Shouldn’t she be the one having revenge dreams about me? Maybe she is. How do I have any right to be angry with her?
I didn’t want the divorce. Some would say my actions say otherwise, but I truly didn’t. I wanted to be heard. I wanted to be understood. I wanted to be loved and accepted. I wanted to feel wanted and needed. I didn’t feel like I was finding that. I totally own that that may have been much more to my not paying attention to my surroundings than to anything my wife did, but perception is reality. I didn’t want to be a part from her, I just didn’t know how to ask for what I needed.
What makes me angry is the feeling that one bad season, admittedly one very bad season, nullifies the entirety of our relationship. The trips. The dates. The long talks about big important things. The long talks about silly things. The laughs on the couch. The kisses. There were times when I was a damn good husband and I became so without a whole lot of role models to follow. I am a good father. I was building a career and a life for us. I finally had a family and I wanted to keep it. Doesn’t that count for anything?
When we first got married I had a difficulty with expressing anger. I would go silent for long periods of time when I was angry. People who talk to me now would say “hey, you still do that!” Not like I used to. We’re talking days of not talking, not minutes. Over time, with counseling and wanting to be a better person in my marriage, I was learning how to express my anger in better ways. I’m an internal processor and so my anger is more likely to seep into my subconscious than come out of my mouth. So I struggle with insomnia and night terrors. I was working on these things. I am working on these things. I had finally gotten to a point where, in a dark moment I felt like I could talk about what was hurting me and I felt like it fell on deaf ears. I don’t mean to paint my wife in a bad light. She’s an amazing person and I can’t say that enough! I love her dearly. But I felt unheard in my darkness and that was hard. This is my side of the story. I can’t speak for her. I know she loved me. I know she was worried about our growing family. Nothing justifies my actions. It’s all so messy…
I keep hoping that there will be some magical moment of closure, that I’ll be able to move on and leave the past in the past. I don’t think that’s going to happen. There won’t be reconciliation. There won’t be a kiss and make-up moment. There won’t be bloody retribution for either of us. Just a lot of unresolved hurt, anger, and pain…
So my UnResolution – to live with the anger. I commit to being angry. I commit to being sad. I commit to grieving my loss. I commit to wallowing. I commit to genuinely feeling these feelings that I have because they are real. I’m not committing to being ruled by them or to letting them take over my life. But I do commit to being honest.
I’m not okay. And that’s okay.