When will the fatigue end?
The ever present exhaustion has been in existence for so long that I can’t remember when it started. I have been in various levels of Autistic Burnout for what feels like years and years. I have written about being exhausted multiple times.
Here is just a taste of some of these posts over the years:
Being Emotionally Exhausted – posted on February 27, 2014
Exhausted All The Time – posted on March 16, 2014
Here I am Again – The Long Road of Living Exhausted – posted on January 8, 2015
The Hidden Meaning Behind “I’m Tired” – posted August 24, 2016
Autistic Energy – A Depletion of a Person – Posted on January 19, 2020
The exhaustion I experience never seems to end, not fully. It seems to come in waves of intensity, but never fully ebbs away. I give myself recovery days, but it is not enough. My counselor even told me that I need a good month of not having to worry about anything, but resting with people bringing me food and drink. That sounds great and all, but not realistic. I am a single mom with disabilities and Complex –PTSD of two older teens who have multiple disabilities and PTSD who are entering online college in the fall while living at home. I am in graduate school again seeking my second Master’s degree. We are in the middle of a pandemic and my abusive ex-husband has taken away the kids’ primary medical insurance for a second time. Ya, taking a month to recover is a luxury that I can’t afford.
My ex-husband seems to be incapable of seeing beyond his own self interests. Everything is about him and it has only gotten worse with age. He is a covert narcissist. Much of my Complex-PTSD is due to his treatment of me. What is astonishing is that he doesn’t see it as abuse. He has this notion that everyone thinks like he does and that you need to hurt others before they can hurt you. He plays this push/pull game lashing out before anyone can do anything leaving trauma in his wake.
The kids haven’t seen their father in three years. This is not the first time that this has happened. The first time lasted about two and a half years, and then he popped back in their lives for about 18 months before pulling away again.
He is very good at charming people and playing the quiet, country boy who is the victim in all that he does. He surrounds himself with enablers, and I will admit I was once his enabler before I realized what was really happening. He is an emotional vampire, feeding off of his various supplies and then discarding them. He is on his sixth girlfriend in less than eight years since he decided he didn’t want the responsibility of a family anymore. The first three were during our last two years of marriage. The current girlfriend is living with him and is signing the child support checks using their joint account. This really hurts the kids. He has shown them that they are not even worth less than a minute of his time to sign those checks and fill out an envelope. The kids have never met this newest girlfriend. A stranger is sending their child support checks.
You know it is serious when each of the counselors who are working with my children and I separately explain that, in order to heal, we must cut all contact with their father, including financial support. Unfortunately, that is not fully possible yet due to still being stuck in a financial abuse cycle with him. He keeps hurting the kids and projects blames on to them as to why he does what he does. A plan is in place to help us escape.
What do you think of when you hear the term “domestic violence” or “domestic abuse”?
What images come to mind? Do you only see a battered woman or a battered child? Domestic violence/abuse comes in many forms. Physical abuse is only one of those forms, but it seems to be the only one that people think about. “At least he doesn’t hit you!” – like that is supposed to be a good thing? No! That kind of rhetoric keeps people trapped in abusive situations.
What about all the other forms of abuse – emotional, mental, financial, sexual, medical, educational, etc.?
More about abuse:
Abuse and Its Many Forms – posted on October 29, 2018
Studies have shown that emotional abuse is as bad as or worse than physical abuse. With physical abuse, people see it, they believe it, you can get help for it, and your physical wounds tend to heal faster than emotional wounds. The physical abuse doesn’t just start out of nothing. Other types of abuse start first. The manipulation, the gaslighting, the invalidation, the projection, the denial, the blaming, the lies, the threats . . . and then the calm. Eventually, the cycle starts again and again and again no matter what the abuser says during the calm.
The cycle of abuse is very, very hard to get out once you are in it. I didn’t understand what was happening until it was too late. I was an undiagnosed, developmentally delayed, autistic person. I didn’t have the language to describe or the knowledge of what to look for as warning signs. I was taught to comply and that everyone else came first before me. Growing up, I had been conditioned to be a co-dependent. I had no idea what this was until after my marriage failed, but this conditioning lead me to be a prime target for a narcissist. I married what I knew and I knew how to survive it, but at a great cost to myself and to my kids.
I know better now, but the damage was done.
I am here today learning how to live rather than just survive. This is a long, painful process. It took years to accumulate the all layers of trauma that I have, it is going to take years to unravel is all so that I can heal. I made a promise years ago that the generational trauma that I am a product of stops with me.
Here are some of my posts about being a domestic abuse survivor and healing:
Moving from Surviving to Healing – posted on June 30, 2019
Midnight Thoughts – posted on April 28, 2020
“The conflict between the will to deny horrible events and the will to proclaim them aloud is the central dialectic of psychological trauma. [ . . . ] When the truth is finally recognized, survivors can begin their recovery. But far too often secrecy prevails, and the story of the traumatic event surfaces not as a verbal narrative but as a symptom.”
― Judith Lewis Herman, Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence – From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror
Burying trauma or trying to ignore it and refusing to talk about it only leads to the trauma festering and turning into resentment, fear, and anger which can lead to unhealthy coping methods and passing trauma onto the next generation. Trauma needs to be talked about in a healthy way, but it can’t be rushed. Rushing can lead to more injury and adding to the trauma.
“Trauma is personal. It does not disappear if it is not validated. When it is ignored or invalidated the silent screams continue internally heard only by the one held captive. When someone enters the pain and hears the screams healing can begin.”
― Danielle Bernock, Emerging With Wings: A True Story of Lies, Pain, And The LOVE that Heals
Trauma not only needs to be talked about, but it also needs to be listened to and validated. Healing is a personal journey and it can take a long time. Telling someone to just let go of it and move on is harmful and invalidating. People can only move on when they are ready.
I have worked very hard to get where I am today. As I discussed in Midnight Thoughts, I am ready to fly!!
“Taking care of myself doesn’t mean ‘me first’, it means ‘me, too’.”
I do not own any of the images. Images are linked to sources.