Domestic Violence Healing PTSD

Just like a little girl

sculpture-2406517_1920

A dear friend — my much loved friend — my friend who loves me — once told me that whenever she hears Dylan’s ‘Just Like a Woman’, she is reminded of me.  At the time that she said it I felt hurt.  I even felt a twinge of anger.  At the time that she said it, she was right.  It had been three years since my husband passed away and I was in the midst of an untenable and abusive relationship with a man that daily stripped me down to a trembling shadow of the person I was before.  I broke ‘like a little girl’ on a weekly basis until little by little, through the years that followed, I no longer felt hurt, sad and broken.  Instead I felt nothing at all.  Oh, he continued to regularly abuse and humiliate me, but I had so thoroughly vacated my emotions and my body, that I experienced it more like one witnessing the onslaughts from a distance.  The spectacle was disturbing, but not as internally devastating as it had been in the initial years.  I became stunningly detached from him, from pain, fear, anxiety and grief.  I detached from nearly everyone and everything.  Then one day, I simply and without fanfare left him.

Numbness.  The absence of pain and complicated emotions should not be confused with contentment.  My numbness was like being encased in this body that belongs to me, but did not feel like me; this body that felt detached from the air that surrounds me, from the thoughts, feelings and perceptions both inside and outside of me.  I find it difficult to describe.  It is as though I (dis)engaged with the world around me, people, pets, whatever environment I inhabited at any particular moment in time, as though I was surrounded by protective glass.

Break through.  Chisel through. Smash through.

As I was gearing up to leave him I had this assumption that once I was ‘free’ I would simply return to being the woman I was before I met him.  I assumed that Numb-Heidi would retire her post and quietly evaporate into the space I left behind.  I assumed I’d just pick up the discarded mantle of that other Heidi, who had checked out, who was hiding somewhere in the wings, waiting for me to signal that it was safe to come out now.  I’d throw it over my shoulder and Voilà! my former self emerges from the wreckage, hands on hips, like Wonder Woman, roaring my happy return.

That’s not how it works.  I’ve got a renovation project on my hands.  It’s not a complete demolition/reconstruction job, but there’s some faulty wiring that needs addressing, some rooms that need freshening up.  There are some walls that need windows, and some door hinges that want oiling.  It’s not a condemned  building – far from it.  The foundation is strong.  It’s not perfect, but so far, I like what I’m doing with the place.  I’ve even opened it up to guests now.  It’s still a work-site, but a warm one, a welcoming one.  Most importantly, it’s not a little girl’s playhouse; it’s becoming a woman’s home.

Oh, and the song?  I like it again.  It’s not my song anymore, which is the best part.  This version by Richie Havens is from Bob Dylan’s 30th Anniversary concert.  It’s one of my favourite versions.  I hope you like it too.

Advertisements

About tilliemom

My name is Heidi. I am an American born mother, grandmother, and long-distance friend to some amazing men and women I don't see often enough. I live in West Cork with my partner, four cats and two gloriously sloppy, spoiled dogs (including Tillie). My interests are feminism, politics, literature, photography and psychoanalysis (or a combination therein). Oh, and I work in a tiny grocery shop in a tiny village at the most southwesterly point in Ireland, where you can buy tea bags and butter before you dive in and swim towards America.

0 comments on “Just like a little girl

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

A Writer's Path

Sharing writing tips, information, and advice.

MICHELLE MONET BLOG

365 BLOGS in 365 DAYS CHALLENGE!

Harriet Ann Ellenberger

RIVER SONG (poems & more)

Writer Support Services

Where your story comes first!

glenniswritingabc blogs

Historical Fiction published Author and Blogger

yamarella

An armchair travel blog that takes you around the world.

Itsmystyleofliving

Lifestyle & Personal Development

Abigail Talks About

Lifestyle and Opinion Blog!

Animals are Wonderful

A great WordPress.com site

Poetic Words

Poetry from the heart and soul

The Annual Bloggers Bash

The Official Website for the Best Blogging Event of the Year!

Out of the Shadows

Can you hear me now?

Mostly Blogging

Practical solutions and established strategies to improve your blog. Suggestions that will make a difference.

Red Pepper

Tea is on the hob. Sit down for a spell.

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

(Somewhat) Daily News from the World of Literary Nonfiction

GJ Stevens

Writing Fiction. Blogging Fact

Vanessa Skye, Author

Vanessa Skye writes crime fiction & other dark stories examining human behavior.

Lisa Stowe - The Story River Blog

Writing, Editing, Reading and Words in General

Lucid Being🎋

THE STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS!

%d bloggers like this: