Thoughts from a Secondary Survivor
Originally posted at Learn.Love.Live.
I suppose as the spouse of a Survivor I am called a Secondary Survivor. This is something that until recently was not a big deal. I knew of the things that happened to my spouse from early on in our relationship, they were never a secret, but I never knew them in much vivid detail. It didn’t seem to bother her so I didn’t ever worry about it. It was the past.
Well, this year we hit a brick wall. My wife of 16 years had a massive triggering event that brought hell back to her. After hitting the wall, on many occasions I felt like the tourist behind the glass at the zoo. It was horrible watching her crumble, and I felt I was unable to help. I did what I knew to do; I offered a shoulder, lent an ear, a hug, stayed up for many late nights being as supportive as I could, but at times I didn’t know if I was helping.
She tried to explain what was going on, but could I really truly understand? I had no experience to relate, nothing even close. Hearing her explain EVERYTHING in graphic detail, churned my stomach and reduced me to a shaking mess on several occasions. I went through emotions that I had never felt before. True hatred and rage over things that happened twenty plus years ago.
Knowing now what all she went through those many years ago, also helps explain a lot of “quirks” my wife has. It allows me to understand why my high school sweetheart ditched me after four months freshman year. Why she insists on sleeping with the TV on.
So what is my continuing fear now that I know everything? I really only have one big fear. My big one is that I will trigger a relapse by an action, a touch, a phrase, etc. My loving wife says that it’s not possible, but still I worry. We are a very amorous and physical couple (Yes, we make people sick because of it, but I just think they’re jealous). I have always made it a point anytime I am near her to touch, kiss, caress or in some way let her know I’m there. And much as I hate to admit, I have become MUCH more aware of how I touch her now.
I am in constant second guess mode, at least for now. The road to recovery started out on a very bumpy unpaved gravel road full of potholes and narrow passes. Now I feel we are on a well-worn paved road. This path is a little smoother, but still with a bump or two in the road. We are searching for the freshly paved smooth highway. I know we will find it, as long as we travel together.
~Written by my husband.