How severe neglect and abuse affect relationships

My parents did not love me. They did not hold me or care for me in even the most basic ways as a baby/toddler/child/adult.

As an adult, I know how this has affected me. I struggle to connect lovingly with other people in relationships. I don’t like to be touched. I struggle to feel anything other than numb.

There are people in my life who say they love me and care for me deeply; yet, I feel empty and nothingness and awkward to their loving gestures.

Interestingly, for me, I can feel love when it comes to my children. I genuinely love them, and I feel their love for me. I am not sure why it is so different when it comes to them.

When people other than my children say they love me, I cringe as if a dagger just went through me. I know I am supposed to give a loving reply back, but I can’t, and retreat into a state of internal awkwardness.

In case you are wondering, I am married. I don’t know why my spouse puts up with my difficulties around love, touch, sex, and oftentimes being aloof.

Sometimes, the fact that I have Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) comes in handy as there are other self states within me who do not struggle with the attachment damage from my childhood.

I don’t always control which part of me is out, and thus I fluctuate in the level of connectedness I have with others. This can be confusing to people because they don’t know about the DID (or don’t understand in my spouse’s case).

There are times when I am home with the family and I find myself very disconnected from them. My spouse will ask me what is wrong, and there isn’t anything wrong, but a self state that has more severe problems with attachment is usually present.

Other self states may go overboard with love and intimacy with other people. These self states tend to like to drink and be social, which of course is not the best combination.

My adult self-states are mostly similar enough that even the people who know I have DID have trouble distinguishing between them. But there are subtle differences if one is paying attention. However, very few people know about the DID.

My therapist seems to think my attachment problems can be healed through therapy and working through the pain of my childhood. I disagree. Though I have much more insight into my attachment problems, it doesn’t seem to do anything to help change that this is the way I am.

She would say I am feeling hopeless again, as if depression or something is causing me to come to this conclusion. I don’t feel particularly depressed. My mind is actually fairly clear, and I see my thoughts and feelings about my attachment problems as a form of acceptance of my reality.

I don’t mean to be a Debby Downer, but I do think it is better to accept reality and try to live life as it is rather than chasing a mental health that will never come for those of us who have been severely neglected as children.

That is not to say we can’t have a different version of mental health based on acceptance, instead of forever chasing a higher level of mental health and living our lives in the therapy room instead of the real world.

Too many of my friends and myself have spent almost our entire lives in the therapy rooms chasing an elusive mental health that will never come.

Please don’t get me wrong. I do believe in therapy, and it is necessary for many of us to survive in the world. But, I believe many of us with severe trauma backgrounds are using up our entire lives waiting for the wellness to begin. It’s just something to consider.

Yes, get therapy help, but don’t get caught in the idea that you will get “cured” and then miss out on living your life because you spent it searching for answers that don’t seem to transform into wellness.

*Disclaimer, my therapist and others do not agree with my point of view.

Wrestling with the truth that my parents repeatedly reinforced into me that I am not lovable has turned off a switch in me that should be on to experience the human condition of love and care.

This leaves me like one of those futuristic robots who can show the slightest bit of emotion, but fall short of the real human experience.

The unloved child

Lately, I have been discussing in therapy the fact that I grew up in a loveless home.

My therapist wants me to grieve that my parents didn’t love me.

I haven’t been able to do it as my immediate response is that I feel nothing toward them.

I do not feel love to, or from them, or even want to be loved by them. I feel nothing.

Empty. That’s what I feel the most when I think of them.

My mother was drunk as an alcoholic all through her pregnancy with me. My dad on more than one occasion laughed saying “I don’t know why you don’t have fetal alcohol syndrome given as much as your mother drank.” He always followed it with, of course, they didn’t know about fetal alcohol syndrome back then to make an excuse for her.

When I was born, my mother didn’t let up on her drinking. Both of my parents were alcoholics, and living in a middle class fantasy world. It seems almost every adult that came to our house was an alcoholic, which was weird statistically.

Our minister wasn’t an alcoholic, but I can remember him at the house sometimes to clean up some type of domestic mess.

Like the Catholic Church, our minister served to keep this chaos, violence, and abuse hidden behind closed doors.

Neither of my parents were affectionate with me in a way to communicate they loved or even cared for me.

In fact, it took my mom 50 years to utter the words she loved me. By then, it fell on deaf ears.

My father, who was nicer to me than my mom, never told me he loved me his entire life. I wanted to believe he loved me because he was kinder to me once he stopped drinking. But, as I sat with him for months on his deathbed, I heard him tell others he loved them, but never me, the only one who was loyal enough to see him through his death.

Growing up without love is a hard thing to work with as an adult. The only loving behavior I received was when I was being sexually abused. Otherwise, I was invisible in my world.

I once had an African-American maid who worked for my family in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Her name was Annie, and she had a son who went to school with me named Tommy (he ways my friend until he was taken away from me). Annie tried to look out for me and my brothers. She would try to make sure we had food and other things that children should have. Though she was strict, she was kind to me, and gave me a few moments of stability.

As embarrassed as I am that we had a maid, I am grateful God put her in my life for a brief reprieve of some of the horror that was happening to me. I was so sad when she was gone.

It turns out you can grow up without love, and not always turn into something horrible. But the price of that admission is to walk around feeling empty, not getting too close to people, and not needing anyone outside of myself.

Interestingly, the main place I feel strong love is with my children. I love them with every ounce of my being, and I know they love me. I don’t know how I learned how to love them like this since I never saw this in person. I am grateful that somehow I have this inside of me when it comes to them.

I don’t feel lonely, which is strange for someone who doesn’t get too close to people. I think I am so used to living on my own, and in my head that it is comfortable this way. When I am alone, I don’t have to worry about someone hurting me.

I don’t know how to get close to the grief my therapist thinks I need to experience to heal. I suppose my intuition believes my world will come to an end if I touch on this type of grief. Maybe I am better off staying numb to it.

Parenting with Dissociative Identity Disorder

I am blessed to have two amazing children, ages 6 and 12. My spouse and I adopted both of my children at birth through open adoption (when the birth parents choose who they want to adopt their baby).

Both of my children are happy, healthy, and smart kids. My life wouldn’t be worth living if I didn’t have them in it.

Neither of my children know their mom has Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). The older child does know that I sometimes gets depressed, and that some bad stuff happened to me when I was a child, which is why I am so protective of her.

If you have seen the television show “United States of Tara,” my life is nothing like that. My parts do not freely and recklessly interact with my children, and there is a reason for that. That show makes me cringe from a parenting perspective, though I know other people with DID disagree with me about it.

Every person with DID has what we would call a system of parts (or some might call them alters or alternate personalities), and every person with DID has a very different system at varying levels of recovery, functioning, and beliefs about the world and how they fit into it. This writing is only about me and my parenting beliefs and choices.

I have been diagnosed with this disorder for 28 years, and I have made incredible progress in creating a system that is less chaotic and more cooperative than when I was first diagnosed.

My system is less chaotic in that I do not switch to another part without any control or knowledge of what is happening. Usually, I switch under extreme stress/triggers, or when in therapy to work on trauma my parts have experienced. I can control which parts of myself are out with my children through the internal cooperation we have with each other in our system.

I also have co-consciousness, which means I am aware of what is happening when another part is out. I may not have control over what the part is saying or doing, but I do know what is happening. Not everyone with DID is lucky enough to have this ability, and I didn’t when I was first diagnosed.

My system is cooperative in that everyone in it knows there are certain rules in place when it comes to the outside children. For starters, we don’t let our outside children see any of the many inside children that live in this body. I knew this would be confusing to my children, so I made this rule early on.

As someone who was terribly abused as a child, it is extremely important to give my children the stable and loving life I never had. And every part inside of me agrees with this goal.

I don’t want to give you the idea that my life is a bed of roses and has no affect on my children. My level of functioning fluctuates, especially more so over the last 3 years. I was out of therapy for many years until a series of traumatic events happened to me, which unfortunately destabilized my DID quite a bit.

I experienced a Major Depressive episode about 1 1/2 years ago, and as a result I spent the better part of 17 months in my bed unless I absolutely had to be at an appointment or one of the functions for my kids. My kids noticed this change, and we talked about it with them giving them limited, and age appropriate detail. We also had the ability to have both of the kids in therapy to deal with any anxiety or other feelings they had about it.

My children have experienced me leaving for weeks at a time when my DID, PTSD, and Depression became too severe and I went to a treatment facility. This caused them a lot of anxiety as they worried whether I was going to go away again because I had to do it several times over the last three years.

My children aren’t aware that I have suicidal thoughts on a very frequent basis. My system of parts who often argue that suicide is the best way out of the pain we experience, will not make a suicide attempt when they are reminded how much this would hurt our outside children.

There was a time over the past 3 years when the intensity of my pain and psychological distress was so great that I did self-harm by cutting into my arm in hidden places. My oldest child accidentally caught a glimpse of a scar on my arm that had the initials of someone who hurt me. I lied about it and told her it was a scar from something else, and she never brought it up again, and my system made the rule that we would never self-harm again in that way. So far, we haven’t.

I go to therapy three times a week to work on the trauma I experienced as a child. Some days I feel the feelings I dissociated as a child, and they are awful, so sometimes the best thing for me to do after therapy is to go to bed to take care of myself.

Some days my PTSD gets triggered so severely I can’t function. This can cause younger parts of myself to be “out” in the body. This is when my spouse and I have to work together closely as a team.

Noises are a major trigger for me when my PTSD is activated. Having two young children doesn’t equal a quiet household. My spouse is really good at trying to shield me from their noise when this happens. Fortunately, my PTSD doesn’t happen to this degree often.

I do have other parts who interact with the children. These are parts of me who are adult, and who most people wouldn’t detect as different, and would just chock it up to me being in a different mood.

Sadly, I have parts of me who don’t claim any relationship or interest in the kids. They stay far away from the kids, and usually don’t pay much attention to what is going on with them. By far away, I mean they don’t come out for anything that has to do with the children.

In some ways, my children are better off because they have me as a parent. They get a super caring parent who understands things from many different perspectives. They also get someone who will fight for them like nobody’s business, and teaches them to fight for other, less fortunate people in this world. They have a strong sense of justice.

I do realize one day I will have to decide whether to tell them my story, and this huge piece of my life as someone with DID. I imagine when they get older I will tell them my story, but it will be super hard for them because they will learn some horrible things about people they love, and would never dream are capable of such horrendous things. That is a challenge for another day.

Parenting is by far the hardest job in the world. I didn’t get to pick my parents, and they caused me great harm. My children didn’t get to choose us as parents, and I hope they will always feel grateful for the love and kindness we have given them as parents.

I believe loving your children unconditionally, and all the time, is the best recipe for happy, healthy kids despite what other issues are part of the picture.

Not everyone deserves forgiveness

I was just speaking philosophically about the concept of forgiveness with a therapist, and I agreed with his perspective that forgiveness generally is to the benefit of the victim. But, I disagree that everyone should be forgiven no matter their crime, or that forgiving someone will always benefit you.

As a survivor of extreme abuse from my mother and many others, I told him I wouldn’t even consider the concept of forgiveness of my mother. It would serve no purpose for her or me. After all, when your mother is a sadistic narcissist, she does not see any reason for a need to be forgiven.

She doesn’t need it, and I don’t need or want it.

As commonly found in survivors of child abuse, I struggle with blaming myself for the abuse that happened to me. “If only I wasn’t so bad, maybe it wouldn’t have happened.” It is really hard to get off that train ride of blaming yourself, if ever.

I have forgiven other people for betrayals because I knew by me doing so, I was setting myself free and letting myself move on. But, there is a big difference in hurting someone, and intentionally perpetrating evil on someone.

In the case of the evil my mother perpetrated on me, I will feel no better by forgiving her, especially since I don’t believe it is my job, or within my capacity to even consider it.

Where I stand today, I am not sure everyone deserves to be forgiven. I know there are many people who would disagree with me, which is totally ok.

Some things are bigger than the capacity to understand. For those, I leave it to God or a higher being to make that call as to whether they are to be forgiven or not.

In the case of my mother, she perpetrated such evil and intentional abuse that has robbed me of so much I should have had in life. There are long moments of feeling like she has ruined my life, and brief moments of taking that power back and trying my best to live a life that is still broken in so many ways on the good days.

I survived the woman who was supposed to be my mother. I wish I had a mother, but sadly I don’t, and never will. Even with my mother still alive, I would never want HER as my mother.

I have no desire to try to make amends or to fix anything. I have found when evil is nearby, it is best to step aside and let it keep going by instead of trying to tame it.

My mother will one day meet her maker, and will have to answer for her extreme sins. It hurts me to think of her possibly going to Hell, as I feel pity for her.

I was an innocent child who deserved a “good enough” mother. Sadly, she was far from it, and has no remorse for it.

I can’t imagine what went wrong in her life to make her into the person she became, but I still can’t excuse her, and I won’t give her forgiveness.

It was never ok what she did to me. And somehow I think if I contemplate forgiveness of what she did to me it says “it wasn’t so bad, or I am over it so I am going to let it go,” but that is never really going to happen. It will always be a part of my damaged soul.

Today, for me, courage is to stand up and say “I will not forgive you for what you have done to me. You have controlled and hurt so much of me. It is my right to never forgive you.”

And I know this is right today, because just saying that sends terror through me that you will find out I said it. A child should never be terrified of their own mother.

All I can say that seems appropriate is may God have mercy on your soul.

Understanding My Identity


I have been diagnosed and aware of my Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) for 28 years now. That is the majority of my adult life. As a child, I knew things were off here and there, but didn’t quite understand what it was.

I was thinking today what is it like for me to have DID today, and my mind stays relatively quiet as I am working extra hard to hold things together during a stressful time.

My mind is often not quiet. I often hear someone or someones commenting on things going on in my life. I hear criticism or a mean remark coming from in my head as if it is my invisible friend talking to me.

I am well-trained to know that no one else can hear the talk in my head, so I do my best to hide it. It is something I learned to do as a child. At that time, I thought everyone experienced an inner dialogue from different voices. In the 1980s, I wrote it off as my inner children voices since that was all the rage back then.

When I was around 10, I got invited to a birthday party of a friend to see the new Star Wars movie (you know, the original one as it was released in the theaters). It was a big deal for all of us as kids didn’t regularly get to go to the movies back then, and this Star Wars movie was the first of its kind back then. To this day, I can remember playing in front of the theater, giddy with excitement to see this amazing movie. The next thing I remember was being outside the movie playing with the other kids as we re-enacted scenes from the movie. Except I had no memory of seeing the movie, but the message I knew in my head was to not tell anyone and pretend as if I did.

I wondered about Star Wars from time-to-time, but I never understood what happened to me that day. I was used to weird days, so I knew it was part of that weirdness that I didn’t understand, but knew to keep to myself.

I can remember one day I was hanging out in my parents’ bathroom when I was 11. I was having a conversation with other people in my head about whether other outside people could hear other people in their heads. I knew the answer was no, but decided to believe they could.

Fast forward to high school, when I experienced dramatically different interests and identities. I knew it was strange that I had such varied interest, social groups, and behaviors. I was all over the place with no consistent identity. Again, I knew something was wrong with the way my mind was working, but I needed to not think about that to survive, so I pushed that thinking away every time it came up in my mind. Occasionally, I would try to rationalize it as normal behavior, but I looked around at the other kids and learned rather quickly they didn’t have these different identities.

In college, the first time away from my biological family, I excelled at school, extracurricular activities, friendships, and even fell in love. Life was nearly perfect, yet I managed to have my first Major Depressive episode with suicidal ideation, and landed in a private psychiatric hospital for 6 months.

Super confusing to both my treatment providers and me, my successful outside identities crumbled into nothiness and could not function or get better. Every time things seemed to be getting better, I would suddenly get intensely suicidal and my providers would scratch their heads trying to understand what was happening with me.

They could not figure it out, but one day sitting quietly in a chair when things had gotten better for me again, I heard the voices in my head talking about killing themselves because our therapist was out of town.

I tried to talk with my doctor and therapist about these voices, but they dismissed it. But from that point on I started realizing more and more that I was not the only one occupying my body. I didn’t have a name for it yet, but I knew there was something going on with me that was my truth, but my mental health providers could not or would not accept.

When I was 22, I was working at a psychiatric hospital and I learned the name for what ailed me—it was called Multiple Personality Disorder (which is now called Dissociative Identity Disorder). I went to a psychologist who specialized in it to confirm my suspicions. She confirmed it, and life became very unruly as DID can be for some people, especially at the beginning of their diagnosis.

This is a secret I keep from almost everyone  I have known for 28 years. It can be lonely sometimes, but my upbringing taught me to tough it out so I could survive.

Why do I keep it a secret? Two reasons: Hollywood has made a mess of teaching the general public it is a scary, dangerous disorder that should be feared (just ask my last church minister as she told my spouse to leave me and take the kids when my spouse shared the diagnosis with her). The other reason is because people don’t want to believe that horrific child abuse and neglect happens at such a severe level in this world to create the thousands and thousands of us who have this disorder.

There is no other way to get DID unless you have been exposed to unbearable trauma that was so severe that your mind splits off to try to help you survive. People aren’t just born with it. There is ALWAYS a horrific story that goes with why they have DID.

Those of us with DID are some of the most abused victims in our world. Yet, we are rejected by the majority of our world and even the mental health system that is supposed to help us. I am not scary, but people are still scared of this diagnosis.

In the major city I live in, there are no treatment facilities to help those with DID, and even though it is considered a psychiatric condition in the DSM V, many mental health providers choose to ignore it and pretend as if it doesn’t exist. Yet it is much more common than most people realize.

We were raised to hide this disorder, so we sometimes refer to it as a disorder of secrecy. I am your neighbor, your friend, your professional, and your go-to for advice, and you have no idea that I carry this secret struggle with me everyday.  You also have no idea that I fear each day of being “found out” by the wrong people, and then further rejected by a world that has been so cruel to me.

Yes, I live in a body that is shared with many different people or parts, and it is a struggle to live this way. But, I am not to be feared. My people are lovely and hurt and deserve to be treated better by this world.

How did I get Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)?


If you ask some jackasses, many who are child abusers or protectors of child abusers for whatever reason, they would tell you I don’t have DID because there is no such thing. They do not know me, but they will assure you that I am faking this disorder for attention or to not take responsibility for a crime or some other life event.

Let’s suppose their wrong for this post, so I don’t have to go into an angry tirade expressing my feelings about them and the damage they have done to so many by their actions.

Ok, so let’s start with the premise that I have DID, and that it is a real disorder that affects my daily life. 

I don’t have a true sense of who I am, I don’t feel connected to this world most of the time, and I have looked like I have early Alzheimer’s my entire life because of the amnesia created by the DID. Oh, and I have lots of people who believe they live in a body we all share (most “outsiders” would just write me off as psychotic with that statement alone), and these inside people are children, teens, young adults, and middle aged. These different people take control of the body at different times and use it as their own.

Though I am not certain of this because I am still on my journey of discovery, I am fairly certain I have more boy or male people living in me than girls, but we occupy a female body. These parts do not generally see the body you would see, they typically see a modified version of my adult body, or a very young body that doesn’t look anything like me.

My people all have different things about them that make them different than one another. They might have wildly different personalities and IQs. Some people may cuss like a sailor, others do not cuss at all. Some are very social, others are terrified of social settings. Some are very interested in world events, technology, self-help, politics, social justice, parenting, helping others, God, etc. and others are so depressed they don’t care about anything. Some are asexual, bisexual, heterosexual, and lesbian. Together, we are a complicated lot who have had to learn to live with one another.

It is fairly common that if you ask one of the people whose roles are to be with the family and parent the kids in the evenings what they did earlier in the day, and whether they ate lunch or breakfast, they would not have any idea unless another inside person was nice enough to tell them. This is called internal communication when people can talk to each other inside.

Most people’s exposure to DID is that it is this rare, dramatic disorder that may involve chaos and violence. My experience with myself and many others with DID, is that it is neither rare nor dramatic, but it can feel chaotic internally to manage all this for the person with DID. 

But why do all these people say it is so rare if it isn’t? Just my theory, but for two reasons: 1. They have a vested interest in saying it doesn’t exist. 2. People simply don’t want to believe the world is as cruel as it truly can be to create people with DID.

You see, people are not born with DID, at least not like the theory that people are born with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, which I’ll leave it to others to debate that statement.

I study DID and read a lot, but I’ll be honest,  I don’t exactly know how I formed DID as a child. I don’t remember consciously doing it, but I know others who say they do. Most of my internal people are confused and run the gamut of explanations for how this happened to us. 

Some children who live in me believe God somehow made a mistake and accidentally put too many souls in one body. Some other children have no idea, and the rest believe what the prevailing professional theory is on why we have DID. Extensive exposure to childhood trauma at an early age.

Most of the people inside know we have experienced severe childhood abuse that involved sexual abuse, neglect, violence, mind control, religious abuse, torture, organized abuse, and severe betrayal by our biological family.

Some would like to say that therapists or Hollywood put these ideas in my head, but I have heard voices inside my head talking to me since I was little, and I have always known about the abuse my entire life. I’ll give you that I didn’t know how off the traditional family path my family and others involved were until my 20s. I needed to not know that so I could stay living there, and not end up dead or on the streets.

I can remember horrific trauma that I endured, and my best guess at how this happened is that my mind had a good capacity for dissociation as part of my DNA, and somehow I learned to dissociate these horrific experiences into different people who all now hold “jobs” and memories that are designed to keep me alive. 

It’s weird I suppose to have people living in you that feel very different about all sorts of things in life. It’s weird that they have memories of where this body has been and what it has done that I don’t have. I am lucky in that my people work well enough together that we have rules that most everyone follows that keep things from getting crazy or out of control.

For instance, I have lots of people who have no relationship to my children or my spouse, but would not do anything to harm any of them or our relationships with them. It’s just one of the rules we all follow.

Some folks with DID have elaborate systems of their people, and each person has a name, age, gender, etc. Though I have about 20 people who do identify with a name, gender, and general age range, the vast majority of my other people do not have those things, which makes it confusing for us and any therapist who works with us.

You have to realize DID is formed no later than age 7, and typically much earlier. During that time when we were forming it, there was no text book that told us how to do it. BUT, it is important to note there are many abusers (including our government) who know how to intentionally induce this condition. Some call it “Designer DID.” Most mental health practitioners won’t speak about it because they know how crazy it sounds. I mean, DID by itself is hard to believe, then you want to talk about government and scientific involvement. And gosh, maybe cult or organized abuse by a religious institution. Simply not going to fly with the American public.

Even though the evidence is available, most people won’t believe what they don’t want to believe. If you are interested in learning more about it, research the work of psychiatrist Colin Ross who has written about government studies to induce DID, and the scams the average psychiatrist knowingly or unknowingly participates in by not thinking or caring.

Sorry, it is hard for me not to digress on important topics.

Anyway, so what is the short and sweet of how I developed DID? 

I was born with a mind that figured out how to survive horrendous child abuse. The only way we as a system could survive what we were subjected to was to break it up into many pieces or people who hold different parts of our childhood. 

Imagine, I have been kept up all night by some form of abuse (I am intentionally leaving that stuff out for now), but my family still expects me to go to school the next morning and act normal. The only way I can accomplish that is to have other people take on the school roles, which is why my education lacks continuity.

I wish I could say I was brilliant and that is why I was able to form DID. Many like to utilize that theory, but I am on the fence about it. I think it came down to me being lucky or unlucky depending on how you look at it. From a human’s basic desire to survive, I was lucky.

Now, as an adult, my life is very difficult as a result of my DID, but I suppose I should leave those thoughts for another post. 

If I didn’t adequately answer this question, let me know and I’ll take another shot at it.

Thanks for reading.

This is what PTSD can look like 


Mommy has her PTSD this morning. Ever since a surgical procedure involving anesthesia last month, mommy has been getting PTSD symptoms a lot.

My PTSD has changed over the years for the worse, or maybe I am just more aware of what it does to my body when it comes around.

Noises tend to be my biggest everyday trigger to get it going. I don’t know why this is, but it is. This is not the best combination lately with my 5 year old son.

My son is loud. A lot. Just as you would expect him to be, meaning nothing out of the ordinary.

Today I was really tired and wanted to sleep in, but my son gets up early everyday. His older sister was hanging out with him in our play room. Of course today he chose to get on a video game.

I feel guilty, but my son’s sounds of acting out the game and loudly announcing his wins had me terrified. I know it is just my son playing a video game, and I am home safe in my bed, but some part of me processes it differently.

I feel terrified, like someone is about to kill me. My stomach and entire body begins to feel sickly as hormones are being released to deal with the “danger” of the noise. Except, there is no work or response for the body to use the hormones, so they just build in my body.

I wish I could stop this reaction. I think of taking a pill, but quickly realize there is no pill that is going to make me numb to the noise– short of taking a pill that will knock me out for the day. That’s not an option.

My spouse comes home from her walk with a friend. I tell her the truth that our son is triggering my PTSD. She knows I seem scared and wants to do something. She finally decides to take him out to play.

I feel better now, but I know my spouse is tiring of my various symptoms of mental illness. I worry she will come back from one of her walks and tell me she just can’t do it any more. 

I understand. I can only imagine the burden I have become. Sometimes love is not enough. And sometimes I imagine I have become too much.