Labyrinth of Shame

I say something insignificant and he answers abruptly. The vibe is off, I look at him.
That expression on his face, the sudden weight in the atmosphere instantly fractures my heart and it triggers someone inside, her pain always makes me want to die instantly.

I struggle to contain her and fail, I’ve fallen into her rabbit hole and nothing else matters anymore.

Shame instantly washes over me with such force that I forget how to breathe and I become lost inside it, racking my brains to try and work out what it is I’ve said or done this time to cause distress in someone that I am supposed to love, someone that is supposed to love me.

That look of sheer disappointment, aimed at us, it has rattled our soul in a seemingly impossible to undo way. I know in that moment, from that one single look he gave, that I am unequivocally the worst person that has ever lived and I need to end my life, immediately, before I can cause more harm to others we love.

It sounds ridiculous to feel that way, from a single look, from a vibe – and intellectually I guess I know it is. Without Little One’s influence and with a lot of exasperated commentary from V, I can look at the situation more objectively but when Little One pushes forward I completely lose myself to her emotion. All the self awareness in the world vanishes and I’m at the mercy of her pain.

She lives in it always, this insufferable feeling, I only have to visit.

We let The Husband in, to our world that is, just a little but enough, and so when we disappoint him or hurt him and he looks at us like he’d rather be anywhere else, Little One’s sense of safety melts away into a pool of tears on the floor.

It’s always happened with him. He holds that power over us in a way few others can these days. She doesn’t just love him, Little One, she needs him and she doesn’t seem to know she has the others too, V, Catherine, Kate, they’re stronger than me and with them she too could survive without him.

I don’t want to be bad or mean or disappointing but I somehow often seem to hurt him. It’s never intentional but something I carelessly say or do inevitably causes him to become upset. And when he says he’s fine and ‘there’s nothing wrong’ those eyes burned with sorrow and disappointment won’t meet my gaze, the energy surrounding us tells another tale.

I’d rather he hit us, I’d rather that because if he beat us and yelled at us, if he told us why he was upset then maybe we could change, be better, do better. When he’s giving us the silent treatment and we’re being left to guess or he’s pretending everything is okay when it so obviously isn’t, it’s impossible to fix it.

V commented when I wrote that last paragraph “don’t be stupid and of he hit us I’ll bloody well hit him back!” She doesn’t get it. She doesn’t understand how hard it is for me to cope with the mind games, she’s much stronger than me.

I think if he punished us physically then we would have a boundary to know what we deserve, I would know where we stand and what to expect but instead we’re left to punish ourself for an unspecified crime with an unknown sentence length, how do you do that?

I don’t want to be like this. I hate who I am. I don’t want to hurt him. I don’t want to feel hurt like this either. I’m trapped in a cage of my own creation, my wings are but bloodied stumps from frantic attempts to escape my invisible bars, escape my invisible selves, yet still I am here. Always here. Fractured, lost inside an impossible labyrinth of shame.

– Katie

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