Today I hit a huge trigger that caused a major rift in my relationship. My boyfriend came into the bathroom when I just got out of the shower because he needed to get to the walk-in closet. Now, for a “normal” couple seeing each other naked wouldn’t be a problem, and it probably wouldn’t have been an issue for a woman without a rock-bottom self-image. But for someone who has always felt fat, ugly, and disgusted in herself, it was a major problem.
We had an agreement; he would never enter the bathroom even if I didn’t lock the door, an agreement he had never violated until today. Even after screaming twice, he just continued to explain why he had to get to the closet—to get his wallet to give the insurance agent on the phone his license information. He spoke into his phone while I was screaming in the background, “NO!” He held his head down and didn’t look at me, but that wasn’t the point. He didn’t honor my feelings, my request. My well-being was given the back seat to the person on the phone while I felt violated.
I’ve left the door unlocked and he has never violated that trust before. It wasn’t only a
breech of trust but it made me remember all the times my brother and other abusers invaded my privacy and forced me to engage in unwanted sexual acts. My brother always tried to get into the bathroom, especially while I took a bath. I’ve mentally blocked out the times he made it in.
I realize this was my issue and not my boyfriend’s, that he’s not the one who abused me. It’s surprising that after all the healing I thought I had accomplished, there are still areas that have yet to be worked through, one of the biggest of them all being my low self-image.
I don’t know that we can ever fully heal from abuse. Scars linger and some get torn open. We can change behavior, negative thinking, and reactions, but every now and then something can trigger the senses, and we’re flung back into the nightmares of the past. Even the briefest visit can be painful, and then we have to force ourselves to deal with it or live a C- life instead of an A+. We have to settle for a mediocre life if we don’t opt for healing.
We have to keep recreating ourselves, our lives, so that we can be better than what the abuse made us.
Our subconscious minds will find a way to help us face the things that are too hard to deal with so that we can heal and move forward. If it’s too much to handle on our own, we may have to seek out a therapist. That’s what I’ll do to clear up these body image issues. I don’t want to be embarrassed in front of my boyfriend anymore. I want to share all aspects of myself with him, including celebrating my body and bringing more excitement into our sexual relationship.
It takes a lot of effort to face our screwed-up-edness, but come the day we don’t react to the same trigger, we’ll feel so much better about who we are. We’ll feel proud of ourselves every time we find the courage to work through yet another effect of abuse.