I had a nightmare a few nights ago.
It wasn’t about death or dying, not about monsters or zombies. There were no fires or motorcycles, no vampires or witches.
It was about Wonder Woman and I, fighting. Screaming and yelling at each other. We were fighting the way I’ve always fought. In a way I haven’t fought with her yet, the way I hope I never do. The way I’ve tried so hard to walk away from.
We were fighting so badly that I woke myself up yelling in my sleep.
I rolled over and held her, telling her I never wanted us to fight like that, that I couldn’t take it.
And then I laid awake thinking about how, to me, fighting equals screaming and yelling. I’m afraid to talk about what’s upsetting me because I’m petrified of it starting a fight. The concept of a fight being civil doesn’t cross my mind.
In my past, fights and disagreements were always highly emotionally charged events, and even if we were both fighting for a common solution instead of fighting against each other, there was yelling and screaming followed by silent treatments and tension. There would be a week long event of clashing where nothing seemed to go right in the relationship, and nothing would be resolved, but it would pass, and then we’d have weeks of everything seeming fine, even going back to being amazing, before we’d repeat the same cycle again.
I don’t want that ever again.
But the idea of it is causing nightmares.
I’ve never had a relationship where there wasn’t some degree of those types of fights.
Actually, that’s not true, because I’m in a relationship now where none of that has happened. And I honestly don’t see us allowing it to happen. Neither of us would stand for it.
But for now, when I think of fighting with someone, or even disagreeing with someone, that’s the image I see. I can’t see any other way of disagreeing. I bend over backwards to pacify everyone around me because the slightest deviation from their norm could turn into emotionally charged tension. It could turn into screaming.
I’m learning to trust that I can disagree with Wonder Woman, that I can tell her I’m upset, that I can have difficult conversations, and that it won’t devolve into fights. It’s taking time and patience. Her patience, my patience with myself. More time than I feel it should take.
I feel like I should be able to just snap out of it. Be “normal.” Stand up for myself and have disagreements like a “normal” person. But years of, trauma, is it even trauma, I hate to use that word for it because I was a part of it for a lot of it.
Years of unhealthy bullshit, have left me where there is a trauma response to the concept of fighting.
And now I’m having nightmares as I process my way through it.
PTSD is hard shit, and it doesn’t always come from expected places.