I spoke with my Al-Anon sponsor this morning, and I told her that things are going kind of shockingly well at my house. I am grateful for the peace that I'm finding, and I'm glad that I'm finding it, at least for now, without having to separate myself from my husband. In spite of how well things are working, however, I am frequently finding myself feeling as if I'm still braced for a blow. I am suspicious of the calm, and I'm sort of waiting for everything to blow up.
She told me a story she'd heard about soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after losing a limb. There were several reports of soldiers who had lost their limbs in battle while holding their guns with their fingers perched on the trigger. After losing their limbs, they still felt as if they were holding a gun, which made them jumpy. My sponsor told me that one way these soldiers' counselors helped them to lose the gun was to ask them to look in a mirror and picture themselves releasing the gun. After doing it repeatedly over some time, eventually they stopped feeling like they were about to shoot everyone around them.
I think I am still holding a gun in my phantom limb in ways. While everything in my life looks like it's going well, I wake up in the middle of the night fearing for my safety. I have flashes of panic and I'm sometimes suspicious of my husband.
Recovery serves for me as that mirror and that affirmation, that exhortation to let go of what isn't serving me anymore. If I keep working on my stuff, I believe that I'll drop the gun.