She reached a limit and demanded I get help. I did, but something happened that was much more important than therapy or medication.
I started to talk.
I was so exhausted by the constant stress of holding everything back, second guessing what I did say, talking guardedly about what I was feeling rather than just saying what I was going through at that moment. I was too confused and too scared at what was happening to me to keep fighting off my wife.
We were alone after the kids had gone to bed, and she was trying to draw me out yet once more. And then I said just two words, the truest words I has spoken to her in a long time.
It was such a relief to get that simple statement out. I felt relaxed and so did she. And I could go on from there. There were so many things I was afraid could happen. The enormous and terrible things I was trying to hide suddenly seem smaller, less powerful. She felt the genuineness of me once more. I was really there, talking through the fears that had been consuming me
This was only the first step, and the turnaround didn’t last very long. Habits of a lifetime don’t disappear, and I’m still struggling to drop the defenses every single day.