Admitting I have Stockholm Syndrome

Yesterday I ended up going to the movies because it began to rain quite steadily. I saw “Her” and enjoyed it, but it hit close to home with the breakup of a relationship, loneliness, and how much we rely on technology to take the place of real live humans and fill holes in our lives.

I met my husband online. I am very familiar with the evils of chatrooms and the vile behavior of chatters. I left that world several years ago, but it really showed me an ugly side of humanity that I will never forget and never return to.

On the way home from the film I stopped to buy groceries and I was envious of anyone who was with another person, whether child, mother, or spouse. I want to share experiences with someone. I want to hold someone’s hand. I want to feel their masculine form under their shirt as we embrace. I want to laugh with them at movies.

I have never really been alone in my life and I am finding it so difficult. I am extremely resentful that my husband’s life is full and mine is not.

Because of how I met my husband and the shame involved I pulled away from what few friends I had until I had no one. The one actual friendship I made with a woman online even died this year, because she hated my husband and wanted me to leave him. The last time I went back to him she stopped talking with me.

How is it possible that in this crowded world I am alone?

Great. Now I’ve made myself cry.

I came into the house with bags of groceries and before I could even shut the door my mom is talking to me and telling me that my brother is ready to FaceTime with us. It’s the only way we can all see my new nephew. So I plop the groceries on the counter and go get my computer to call them. My mom is utterly clueless about other people’s wants and needs. She could’t even give me two minutes to settle in.

And mom said that dad didn’t feel well so I went to him and asked him about it. He said, “I’m just sick of it.” My heart broke. Of course you are. Why wouldn’t you be? Dependent on oxygen. Very little independence left. Anyone would be sick of it.

I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to be anywhere. I am so hurt and lost and alone.

I am exhausted. It’s been a long time since I got a decent night’s sleep. I’m sure that is having an effect on my mood and outlook. I also have not exercised since Thursday, so I’m hoping that now that I can swim again, things begin to not look so bad.

I enjoyed the break from thinking about my husband when I was with my daughter. In the following three days I didn’t exercise, and I had no distractions, I became miserable. I must find more to do with my time. I desperately need a distraction. I saw a posting on Twitter that a local agency needs volunteers to be victim advocates for children in the court system. It requires an extensive background check and training, plus you must commit to a minimum of eight hours a week. I am trying to work up the nerve to apply.

I have to find a way to meet other women. I can’t stay in this vacuum any longer. I need some friends and I don’t know how to make them.

I saw that one of the community centers near me has a large and active table tennis club supposedly for all skill levels. I thought that would be a way to meet people. But I got scared and didn’t follow through.

All my life I’ve been frightened. It’s the bane of my existence. I’m so tired of it yet I never learned how to be normal. I’m clueless.

I wrote all of the above first thing this morning. Thankfully my outlook is better since I finally got back in the water.

It felt so good. Within a half of a lap I felt I was home and being embraced. I will never go three days without exercise again! I hope the pool is open all the normal days this week as I want to get six days of workouts in.

I had a realization while I was in the pool today, which won’t surprise any of you normal people. I realized I am shellshocked. I have PTSD from a very volatile and violent and traumatic marriage. I am in love with my captor — I have Stockholm Syndrome.

That’s why it’s so easy for outsiders to scratch their heads and wonder why I would  ever consider staying with him or going back to him — I know no other way. I should be grateful to him that he is being so mean to me and hurting me so badly. There’s no other way I would leave him. I am utterly dependent.

That realization doesn’t really make things easier for me, but it reminds me that this is a process and I will have good and bad days. Last night and this morning were so bad, however, and I wonder why on earth I can’t remember in the heat of the moment to breathe and know that the horrible feelings will pass. The pain simply overwhelms me.

Thank God for the pool. Thank God. It’s the only thing I can do on my own to soothe myself.

It doesn’t help at all that my husband constantly put my family down and made predictions about how pathetic my life would be without him in it. Of course he never takes into consideration that if I hadn’t met him, I’d still own my own condo. I’d still have a 401k and some money in the bank.

He has to live in a world of denial because he’s almost 50 and has never accomplished a thing and has always lived off his family or someone else. He has to be full of false bravado just to live with himself. In spite of all that, I miss him and mourn him.

Yes, I fear I will spend the rest of my life alone and that terrifies me. But I must let go of that thought and just live a day at a time, improving my body and my mind and trying to make friends. In spite of how bad he tried to make me feel about my life, I’d rather live a life of my choosing instead of the insane one we lived together.

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4 responses to “Admitting I have Stockholm Syndrome

  1. I can remember the sadness I felt when I saw other couples when I was separating from my husband. It was so painful to see others sharing love and togetherness. One summer I sat on the beach with my children and only saw the other two parent families around me. Surrounded by crowds of people and my lovely children, I only felt loneliness and sadness. Driving down the street I always noticed young lovers hand in hand and cried because I thought that was all lost to me.
    The mad thing was, my husband was a complete tyrant and I knew the future would be better without him!
    And it is, but it took time and strength to get here.
    You will too.

  2. I was thinking, could you get a bicycle and join a local cycle club? It’ll mean you can exercise when the pool is shut, see some countryside, and meet other people – you’re clearly fit enough to be able to keep up!

    • I do want a bike, but I’m saving for one. Meanwhile I will buy some hiking shoes next month so I can also do that. I’m very curious about how hard it will be given that my only exercise has been a more or less weightless one!

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