Grief and Fierce Self-Love

So, things are still rough with my wife. I was at a practice for the choir I sing with and during the vocal warm up for freaking sake I started crying and had to leave the room to calm down. Then I came back and during the first song we practiced (which was a sad one about the loss of a loved one…) I started crying and couldn’t stop, literally couldn’t stop. I’m pretty good, as I expect most survivors are, at squashing down feelings and going numb, but literally could not stop crying. I had to run out of the room and sob in the bathroom. My friend followed me and gave me a hug and held me as I cried. It took several long minutes to calm down enough to go back in.

Interestingly, I was out of the woods a few minutes later when that same friend asked me to dance with her during one of the other songs. She and I will likely do some choreography during this specific song so we were practicing it. Moving my body in this way got me out of whatever groove my brain had gotten into. I’m all in favour of grieving when you need to, but normally am able to postpone grief until I’m in an acceptable place to cry.

The grief I’m feeling about my marriage is really deep and as is frustratingly usual, I don’t actually understand fully what I’m crying about. Generally I don’t get this information until after I’ve really let the feelings out, which can be hard to surrender to, but seems to be the way I work. It’s another part of my feelings being dissociated from the information about it I guess. I’ve been crying on average once a day since then, which was about a week ago.

What I can put together is this: My wife has been my person, for the last 10 years, who will physically be there for me in the night, and physically hold me when I have a nightmare or need to cry. She’s gotten to be adequate at this over time, although my waterworks isn’t something she gets intuitively, unfortunately. Now that we’re sleeping apart about half the time, I don’t have this body comfort any more. I have a lot less touch in my life, something I really need a lot of. Her not wanting to have sex with me any more is something I really grieve, I crave that kind of intense physical intimacy with someone who loves me. This is not something that is easily replaced. I don’t even really have that with her anymore on the rare occasions we have sex now.

There is something that is so deeply accepting and shame reducing about an intensely intimate physical connection with someone who I love and who loves me. It’s something I really crave. Casual sex isn’t going to do it, and it will be a long time before I’m even ready to find someone else that I can have this with.

There is this central theme in the Harry Potter books, of which I am a fan, that Harry is spared a lot of damage from the abuse by his aunt, uncle and cousin by the spell his mother invoked, of loving him so much she gave her life to protect him. I was thinking about this today, and though I have no-one else’s love to immunize me from pain and psychological harm, I do have my own self-love. It seems to be my duty to learn to love myself as fiercely and loyally as I can.

My wife is out of town for a few days and I’m happy she’s gone. It gives me some psychological space to grieve fully. I’m finding myself hibernating from everyone.

Today, it is probably no accident that I forgot about my piano lesson. I am kind of relived I did, as I don’t think I could have played the piano without crying either. Perhaps that’s what I’ll do over the holidays, concentrate on loving myself and making music to clear out all this pain and grief. Surely there must be an end to it if I let it flow, that seems to be how it works.

To all of you in grief this December, I send my solidarity. May you love yourself fiercely.


8 thoughts on “Grief and Fierce Self-Love”

  1. I hear you. There’s something so comforting about sharing a bed with someone you love. No matter why you break up, it’s something you miss on a really gut level.

  2. You are exactly where you need to be right now. It takes a lot of care and thought and love to be in a relationship, and one must grieve the loss of that relationship. It is painful and terrible and during the whole grieving process you wish you could fast forward, but it is exactly where you are supposed to be right now. You’re doing great. You are both freeing yourself from a relationship that had become more dysfunctional than functional, and this will free you both to find function.

  3. I think the biggest part of healing from csa is a duty to learn to love ourselves as fiercely and loyally as we can. That is interesting about Harry Potter I am a huge fan too. Singing can open us to crying (Voice in all that) and sometimes we need witnesses to our pain. What you are processing your way through now is deeply demanding Glad you get some space for you

  4. Thanks NOP, Butterfly and Janey,
    I know you get it, and that helps. Today, my body has decided to spend the day in bed with a cold, so I’m going to have even more self reflection time.

    @Butterfly, thanks, that’s exactly what I want, is to fast forward through it. I mean, I’ve grieved before, what more is there to learn? Can’t I just be done with this? Apparently not. I’ll be done grieving when I’m done grieving.

    Blessings to all of you,

    1. On the bright side, you have the maturity to know that the process is something that’s best fast-forwarded through, rather than wallowed in, so that puts you ahead of most people. And yeah, you’ll be done when you’re done. We all have our little tricks for hastening the process – just try to stick with the healthy ones, okay?

  5. I send solidarity to you as well, my friend. I know our circumstances are entirely different, but I related a lot to your post – about grieving, crying uncontrollably in “unacceptable” places, blah blah blah. Like you, I would like to “fast forward” but also know it’s not possible. Instead we can stand together. I hope that helps 🙂

  6. I think that it is lovely that you are able to focus on the fact that you do have self-love and that it can be a replacement during this time.

    You also have the love and respect of your survivor friends, and perhaps that love will help to immunize yourself from some of this pain and help to remind you that though we are not there we do want to send comfort and healing to you.

    Good and healing thoughts to you.


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