Realizing Joy While Triggered

Greetings from somewhere above the middle of the United States.

I’m on my way back east to spend Passover with my family.

On the one hand, I know I will enjoy it. I know a week surrounded by my loved ones will be good for me. I know staying with my father and stepmother will be restorative. I know seeing my niece and nephews will be a delight. I look forward to seeing some of my oldest and dearest friends. I know overall I will have a good time.

On the other, I know this will be hard.

This is my first trip home without the Narcissist.

I have not seen my brother, my father, my stepmother, my Nana, my stepsister and her kids, or my high school friends, since the breakup.

I have not been in my hometown in almost two years.

It is my home. It is my soul. It is where I feel most whole.

Yet I dread the feelings I know are bound to arise this week. I know there will be questions. I know horribly painful memories will come up simply from being there, along with the conversations that are bound to occur.

The abuse happened in private, where most eyes did not see.

I know many of the people I will see this week saw the Narcissist as charming and delightful and had no idea how negatively he would speak about each of them behind their backs once we were alone. They cannot know how the Narcissist’s kindness to them then became something I owed him for. They have no idea he understands kindness and decency as transactional, or that it was always used later as a means of controlling me. They did not see him as insincere.

I do not know if there is any point in trying to explain his disingenuous nature or to help them understand it as a fact of his existence and not anything personal. I am not sure how these conversations will transpire, or how I will fare after engaging in them, or if it is in any way worth it to try.

I suspect I will wind up greatly triggered at many points throughout this trip.

There is this, though:

This week I will get the hugs I need.

I have not had a shoulder to cry on available to me in the year and a half since the breakup.

I have only once been held while I sob, and that particular sob session was, unfortunately, a brief one. My sobbing has occurred in private. The hugs I have received have been far too short for my liking.

This week I will spend time with my loved ones. There will be laughter. There will be discomfort and awkwardness. There will be forgiveness. There will be togetherness.

And there will be hugs. And probably, on my part, some long overdue sobbing.

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