If you’re going through hell, keep going. W. Churchill
Today it is exactly three months since I ended my relationship with him. Those three months have been exceptionally hard but I am getting there very, very slowly. Unfortunately my health is not very good at the moment because I have been neglecting myself for far too long.
This morning I went to see my GP and she diagnosed a chest infection. She gave me a course of antibiotics and told me that I am not allowed to exercise and I must rest. So much for my new-found resolutions to exercise more and be healthier! Well at least she also prescribed some sleeping tablets, so I might be able to actually rest.
Last week was a bad week. I suffered an emotional flashback which had me on the floor for two days. I was unable to find solace in anything. I was paralysed by my emotions. This is the third emotional flashback that I have experienced since the separation. At first I did not realise that they were emotional flashbacks, I thought that I suddenly became very sad and depressed without any reason. Emotional flashbacks are common in victims of emotional and psychological abuse and are a manifestation of Complex PTSD.
The triggers are very hard to pinpoint as they can be anything. My latest flashback was caused by a very minor event. My daughter was watching Modern Family, a series that I used to watch with him, when I came into the living room three days ago. I looked at the TV and said to her: “I like this, I used to watch it with B.” Then I sat down with her and watched the episode and I did not think about it further.
But as I was going to bed that evening, I was suddenly overcome by an intense feeling of sadness. I felt a cloud of darkness descend upon me. I was submerged by intense emotions of fear, panic, helplessness, hopelessness and starting sobbing my heart out. I was reliving the intense emotions that I felt when I was with him. I don’t know how Modern Family fits into this. Maybe we had an argument after watching or maybe it simply brought me back to being with him.
The first emotional flashback was triggered by listening to a woman sing in Spanish and the second by looking at a picture of him and his mentor on Instagram (I described this in my post Meltdown but at the time I did not know that I was experiencing an emotional flashback). It is impossible to know what the next trigger might be. As we get closer to the summer they might be more. I know that he has a UKBFF bodybuilding competition at the end of July and we had worked so hard to get to that stage, that I know my emotions will fluctuate around this time of year. I always imagined I would be there when he received his first trophy, but I am sure he will have someone else supporting him.
There are many things that bring on panic attacks such as the engine noise of a Honda scooter and the WhatsApp message alert sound, but panic attacks do not last long. They are usually over after one hour or two whereas emotional flashback can last up to three days.
When I am in the midst of an emotional flashback, I always experience a deep urge to contact him and tell him how I feel and to get him to comfort me. I think that the reason behind this is that during our relationship, he would cause the problem and then provide the solution. For example, he would do something that would get me upset and cause me to cry and then he would hug me. My brain is still expecting this and it is extremely hard to resist the urge.
I keep going back and forth thinking that he is evil, then thinking that he isn’t, thinking that he was hurting me on purpose, then that he wasn’t. He had to know that he was hurting me, because I told him many, many times that he was. That is what I must try to remember. He knew that he was hurting me when he texted his ex-girlfriends Marta, Paula, Lourdes, Lucia, Sonia, etc.. He knew that he was hurting me when he openly flirted with his colleague Gemma and his clients Maria, Sole and all the others whose names I do not know. He knew that he was hurting me when he pretended not to see me or hear me. He knew that he was hurting me, when he broke his promises. He knew that he was lying. I cannot go back to him for comfort or even think that he could offer me comfort.
Now that I have identified what emotional flashbacks are, I might be better able to deal with them. I read How to Stop an Emotional Flashback by Leyla Loric and Richard Grannon quite a while ago. I need to read it again and find a way to deal with these emotional flashbacks. I must keep moving forward and not look back.