I'll be recovering from the end of a relationship I thought was going to be for keeps. I thought I was getting the greatest lady in the world and maybe a % of two lovely and special kids. I did get a lot of wonderful gifts (not of the material kind) along the way.
It's not just a broken heart that makes this noteworthy, it is the reason. She's a trauma and abuse survivor dating back to pre-verbal times. The lovely, positive, smart, open minded, adventurous, beautiful lady I loved lived with a Dragon as a guardian. It slumbered most of the time. Then one day, something put her in a dissociative mode where she could not communicate her wishes clearly and her state of communication impairment wasn't at all obvious. The trauma got fully evoked, the Dragon woke up, and both of us sustained greivious wounds to the heart and the destruction of all our hopes, plans, etc.
Everything going fine, incident (no sign of problem), days pass of normal activity, text indicating things hadn't happened as she wished but she felt she owned it, more days pass of normal activity, small break, email declaring me the evilest creature in the universe.
I tried to get heard, to make the point about what I could know and what she could communicate, to reject projections as to my motives or thoughts, and to empathize. I tried to insert the grey and get the truth heard, but the old wounds brought forward (as happens in these cases) provided a context that tainted the memories of the current events. They also are clung to tenaciously by the brain as accepting a reaction that caused everyone harm occurred for no reason other than the traumatic past is a horrible thing for the survivor's brain to contemplate, so it buries good memories, distorts others, and generally finds rage at the impotence state they were in (again because of the old trauma) rather than face the unfortunate and tragic truth that no villains exist in the present. This is just an old, wicked wound reopening again and again.
This explains why many trauma sufferers never sustain long term close relationships and end up isolating then being desperately lonely then forming unhealthy relationships to cope. Then more trauma ensues.
I came to understand and accept this this by talking to a survivor of parochial school abuse and by reading chapter 2 (titled "Terror") in a book I think was written 30 or so years ago either called Healing Trauma or Recovery from Trauma. That chapter was hard sledding - it covers the experience and cognitive effects from the perspective of the victim and their psyche. It had examples from WWI/II/Vietnam combat victims, crime victims, and sexual assault/rape victims.
My heart wept when I understood deeply the experience she must have had. I don't blame her for the fact she could not, in the moment, differentiate the old trauma from new events. Her healing is not that advanced. She has strong hope with a good therapist and a friend of mine who is a psychiatrist said she has about an 80% chance of healing anyway within 10 years even without therapy, to be within the broad spectrum of normal.
Still, imagine that the person you care about most in the world thinks the most vile thing about you.
Then imagine that anything you say or communicate will evoke the trauma, put the elephant in the room (the trauma response not being accurate to current facts) in the spotlight, and will cause either greater harm or cognitive distortion of all of the good memories you created over nearly a year of hard work to learn to avoid any situation like this.
Imagine that person was a friend for 20 years. Imagine the love you shared was the deepest either had ever felt and that both took the time to share with the other things never shared elsewhere because of the close connection.
Then imagine that the high road, the best thing you can do for her, is swallow your desire to protect, to help heal, to try to go beyond and salvage something (anything) from the mess, is to walk away quietly, to let her version stand in her head because that will let her continue functioning, worry about her kids, and not inflict further trauma. You can't get heard, the truth can't reign, you know she has an extra dose of traumatic experience, and you know her brain may well work hard to forget you *as a valid defence mechanism for a damaged psyche*.
I don't hate her for giving up on our love or not hearing me. The Dragon is loud and powerful and she is a gentle, wounded soul.
I hate the people who hurt her when she could not defend herself or even speak. But they were probably sick and troubled too and thus not capable of much else.
I hate the world being so messed up that this kind of thing happens to the kindest, smartest, loveliest souls.
And I hate that I know that she may never, even after healing, talk to me again. And she's in a building I pass most days. And my heart is missing a piece. And that the best person I'll ever meet is stuck living in the same head as the Dragon of Trauma with all of the wounds and hurts and the gentlest, kindest heart I've ever encountered. And there's not a damn thing I can do about that.
The only things I can do is be the custodian of our love and good memories and find a way to get myself up from this horrible nuclear ground-zero to live a life and find happiness and take forward all the gifts I discovered with her. That and pray for her (or send good karma or whatever you will) and hope that she finds her healing and happiness, however that occurs.
That rebuilding of my own head, and treating my own post-traumatic stress, is going to occupy my summer.
But I won't end this on a down note:
I believe in her. I believe in the soul and spirit that animate the person who lives with the Dragon. I believe she can one day heal and have a safe and loving relationship and reach her objectives in life. I want her to with all of my heart.
I refuse to surrender hope, for her or for myself, to the harsh injuries of trauma. It's not a choice so much as a scream of defiance against the darkness. I won't give the bastards that inflicted that trauma the satisfaction.
I will recover, I will move forward into a good life of some sort, better for the good things that happened and seasoned by the awful ones. I will always love her and always want to hear from her if she elects it. But I will not let the bastards win by letting this leave me in a heap - I have a life to work on as a memorial and successor to the great things we had.
Never give up hope and never let the bastards win while you are still breathing.