Yes, Dates Matter

Coffee is therapy. Read along as I relate and offer affirmation to the struggles of living with Complex PTSD over my morning coffee.

As I try to make my way through the story of the January 9th trigger, I find myself caught up in additional triggers due to trauma anniversaries. Yesterday was emotionally tough and today I am tired. I was so caught up in the stress of helping my sister that I didn’t spend as much time as I wanted on the grief that surfaced about my father. Yesterday was his birthday, he’d be 70 if he were still here.

The Cause of My Grief

My mother died 18 days after I was born and I was raised by my dad until age 14. While my father did not physically abuse me; his emotional abuse, neglect, and his deep betrayals are some of the biggest and most tender scars I have. He told school officials I had a vivid imagination, he pretended to listen when I spoke up only to tell my abuser I was talking, and the final blow was his sworn testimony as a witness for the defense at the trial against my abuser.

When I left his home at 14 we became estranged for almost 8 years by his choice. When we did reconnect I was so angry and hostile towards him that the little bit of communication we had was tense and uncomfortable. The day before he died (I was 25, he 54) I snapped at him in an email and told him I was so tired of the mundane bullshit he wanted to talk about all the time.

It is clear to me now that I was yearning for acknowledgement, for an apology that would never come. I still feel so deeply the guilt over my last words to my father and I am not sure what to do with it.

I am Grateful for Support

I told my husband in the lead up to the date that it was coming. Yesterday morning, he brought me my coffee, he asked how I was, and then he pulled me into the greatest embrace I could have ever asked for in that moment and I just let my tears fall. I am so grateful for him and his ability to hold space for me as I grieve.

I feel multiple intense and conflicting emotions: anger, betrayal, love, loss, guilt. I miss him and wonder if he would be proud of me, and then I get so angry that I would even care as the weight of his betrayals crash down, all resurfaces because of a date. Trauma anniversaries.

If you are struggling with dates, you aren’t alone – I am too.


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