1996: Tangle of Fear and Grief and Anger

From my journal for April 24, 1996

Driving over to Danville, Lynelle asked how I was doing, and I said I had been anxious until I got to the underlying sadness.  When I can feel the sadness, the anxiety goes away.  She asked if it was anything specific and I said it was feeling bad for Dana that he had got stuck with me.  The tears well up as I write that, as they did in the car, but I see now that I’m sad for Dana, but not for myself.  What I feel toward myself is anger that I’m such a failure, unable to love him back in the way he deserves, unable even to relax and open and let him love me in the way that he wants to.  The pain of that is so great, that I mostly don’t let myself feel it, I’m afraid I would die of the feeling, or that it would go on forever.  So there we have fear and grief and anger all tied up in a big tangle, and the anger is directed at myself for being a failure rather than outward toward the parents who failed me and damaged me.  Well, I don’t know what to do with that.  I’m caught in the same bind that Lynelle is, I’m angry at the part of me that’s damaged as though it were a moral failure instead, as though I could have done better and am perversely refusing to.

So painful. I’ve heard so many other people say similar things: can’t let myself feel it, afraid I would die from the pain, it’s my fault not my parents abusing me. But I remember that at first, when I was a child, I thought I was defective, and that everything that went wrong was my fault. I didn’t understand that I was wounded until I was 42 years old, when the Children of Alcoholic information came out. I still had a number of years to go before I understood that my inability to have sex with my husband was due to early trauma and not to some choice of mine.

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