As I was doing dishes, ruminating on the acting out my husband was doing, a thought came to mind: Maybe me ruminating on past trauma and painful memories is a natural coping mechanism- an attempt to protect myself. Like cavemen who had to remember which berry was poisonous or where the dangerous animals where, they had to rely on memory, so they held up those memories in order to protect themselves from future harm.
Maybe that’s me, just enacting my primal instincts to protect myself from future emotional pain and betrayal. This might have been important 300 thousand years ago, but does it truly protect me or serve me well now?
The one thing I failed to realize is that it doesn’t prevent the event from happening. In fact, no amount of spying, snooping, nagging, threatening, or manipulating kept it from happening. He still acted out. He still lied. He still hurt me. My ruminating just kept me in a state of panic, anxiety, worry, and confusion.
Maybe a part of me felt spent so much time thinking about it because it justified that he was wrong and I was right; that he was the evil villain and I was the innocent victim. I constantly worried and ruminated on the acting out because if I didn’t worry I might trust again. I might get lazy or absent-minded and forget about the danger and fall for future betrayal.
It was a tactic that didn’t work because it kept my mind off the here-and-now (what was really sitting in front of me) and paralyzed me in What-If Land.