It’s amazing how long it can take some to recover from an experience. I find myself longing for intimacy with a woman again. Not physical intimacy, but relational intimacy. I look back on my time being married and remember what that was like. Then, I correct myself, and remember it was never really like that at all. My attempts to open up and be vulnerable with my then wife were always met with competitiveness, belittling, or an outright verbal attack. But it’s interesting that I automatically seem to choose not to remember those moments. That’s the twisted effect that domestic abuse has on a person. It warps your mind, your memories. You live for the highs, and try to block out the lows. You find yourself doing that even after the relationship is long over. Your mind tries to rewrite history, and you repeatedly force yourself to remember the reality, how things really were. How hopeless you felt, how devalued, how trapped. I’m learning to simply accept the reality that I was a victim of domestic abuse. And as I admit that to myself, I often feel fear. The future for those who have been in an abusive relationship is often dim and repetitive. I fear that I’ll be trapped again in another such relationship. That I’m incapable of attracting an emotionally healthy individual capable of a mutual, loving relationship.
Having said that, I’m also not afraid of being alone. I have long known how to live a fulfilled, satisfying life as a single. I can say that if I never again fall in love or be in any romantic relationship I’ll be just as happy as if I did get into one.
But it also occurs to me that knowing how to really have intimacy or connectedness has long eluded me. I don’t know how to get it or what it feels like when you have it. A lot of that comes from my Asperger’s. Part of me is literally wired to make that more difficult than for “normal” people. It’s like visiting a foreign country and being asked to a formal banquet of some sort. You don’t know the customs, how to act, what not to say; and even if you’re coached on it, you’ll always be a step out of sync with everyone else there. I feel like there is a wall around me; a gulf that permanently separates me from everyone else.
I guess you can say that I’m in the highly predictable divorce recovery stage of “Will anyone ever love me again” combined with the equally predictable abuse recovery stage of “I’m tainted and no one can truly love me”, along with the sensible “Yes to the first and no to the second, you idiot” chiming in from the background.