There’s a well-observed (but rather inexplicable) pattern in my Borderline world: If I have a really good day (mood wise), a not-so-great one is never far behind. You know that feeling you get after a raging surge of adrenaline? When the fight-or-flight hormone ebbs its way out of your blood stream, and all your left with is heavy limbs and an exhaustion so deep it feels as if you’ve been draped with a weighted blanket? It’s kind of like that. Only instead of exhaustion, I feel rage.
So after three good days — full of hiking and running errands independently — I woke up yesterday morning feeling nauseous, sore, and fully encased in an I just can’t… state of mind.
I had fallen asleep on our terribly uncomfortable couch the night before, and ended up with a painful knot on the left side of my spine. It hurt to move; so I just didn’t.
Pain and illness in my world always cause a dark and melancholy state of mind; and anger and resentment constantly simmer just below the surface of that depressed mental state, patiently waiting for an excuse to roil to an explosive boil and set the Witch Bitch free.
The Hurt Feelings of Asexual Betrayal
Yesterday, the harpy within was focused on sex — or more to the point, on the sex that my husband and I have not been having for more than a decade now.
We’d been watching “1883” (the prequel series to “Yellowstone”) for a couple of days; and there was plenty of romance, canoodling, and sex. (Have you ever tried to watch television and/or movies that do not portray physical intimacy between couples? It’s damn near impossible in our modern-day world.) When exposed to these images, my mind seethes with resentment towards my husband. Resentment that I cannot express (because it gets us nowhere), and therefore bitterly swallow.
I love my husband; but I feel betrayed by his decision to live an asexual life. He has zero interest in sex with me — or anyone else, for that matter — but claims to find me “sexy and attractive”. (A statement that I do not understand in the least.)
The end result of his unilateral decision is that I feel unattractive, undesired, unloved, ashamed of my sexual desires, embarrassed that I cannot excite my husband, and entirely alone.
These thoughts have become a plague in my darkest hours… and often, I act out on the rage and hurt that accompany them.
Immature (But Non-Devastating) Revenge
Yesterday, I contemplated reaching out to an old flame and asking him if I could make a “friends with benefits” visit (knowing he would say yes, even though its been years since I last saw him); but Mitch and I have been in a better place these past long and faithful years, and I have little desire to ruin that.
My rational mind recognized the impulse as one born of anger, and was able to squelch it with a concerted effort towards self-reflection. “You’re hurting, and that fucks with your mental processes. You’re angry that Mitch is leaving again; but he has to for work, and shouldn’t be punished for that. You’re frustrated, but doing something stupid won’t alleviate those feelings… it’ll just delay them and make them worse.”
But an addict is an addict; and I desperately craved an external salve for my emotional wounds. I decided I’d watch one of my favorite shows as a personal indulgence, but couldn’t find it on any of our streaming services… so I went online and bought all seven seasons on Blu-ray without telling my husband. It was a minor act of immature revenge; but it sated much of the rage within.
I then watched several musicals by myself for a couple of reasons:
- They do not contain any depictions of sexual intimacy between couples.
- Music and big, choreographed dance numbers just make me happy.
- Mitch absolutely hates them.
Distant Avoidance & Self-Punishment
My husband and I had made plans to visit his mom in Tubac yesterday; but I knew that being near him in such a dark state of mind would be a problem. I explained that I wasn’t feeling well, and that he should go alone. He offered to stay and take care of me, but I insisted that he “just go.”
Distance from Mitch is sometimes the only way to deal with resentful feelings towards him, and he recognized that I “wasn’t myself.”
When Mitch was here, I was short with him out of necessity (for if I had tried to communicate without brevity, the hurt feelings would have bled all over him in a highly unproductive manner). Every time he leaned in to hug me, or give me a quick peck on the lips, I (rather irrationally) wanted to bite him, but managed to maintain my civility.
I did not, however, manage to care for myself very well. I couldn’t write because the words were too ugly. I couldn’t read because my mind was terribly preoccupied with bitter resentment. I didn’t shower because the Witch Bitch convinced me I wasn’t worthy of feeling clean. All I could do was bolster the walls of my emotional damn, and hope that my rage and resentment didn’t breach them.
Mitch could feel that I was upset; but I never yelled or said something that I couldn’t take back… and for a Borderline that feels betrayed, that’s a victory.
I got up this morning, showered and brushed my teeth, and began to write.
I haven’t hiked in two days; and though I’m disappointed with that, it’s also kind of okay. I am giving myself permission to just sit with my feelings today. They’re uncomfortable as all hell, but (blessedly) further away today than they were yesterday; and I will not let them defeat me.
I will be back on the trail, bright-and-early, tomorrow morning… while, at the same time, recognizing that bumps in the road are merely that — not a defeat, but a reminder to slow down and examine the path in front of me.