I dropped Noah off at the airport at o’dark’thirty and I didn’t feel like I could go back to sleep so I called my cousin. In addition to the new baby coming I got confirmation that my brother is divorced. So that’s his second divorce. I suspected that was true when he unlinked his facebook account from hers and started posting rants about how evil women are for calling themselves “single mothers” when they have alienated the father. Ok then.

It was good to talk to my cousin. We spent a lot of time talking about how I fucked up last year. She’s definitely #TeamSexualAssaultSurvivorsFuckUp. Which is interesting. She wants me to find more compassion for myself because the amount of fucking up I’m doing is still low on the scale of what is kind of expected from me. Relatedly we talked about my sister a whole bunch and how she was acting out the programming she received.

Noah is right that he doesn’t have a clear view into my priorities. I don’t think I know what my priorities are so how could I have communicated them clearly?

My cousin spent a while intensely lecturing me about how even if I don’t actually like or respect or value myself… I need to demand that Noah act like he likes and respects and values me.

Noah isn’t wrong when he points out that he tried ways to change how our sex life worked. (He did.) But it was always…. It always felt like he was offering me a huge variety of sauce toppings for my shit sandwich. It’s still a shit sandwich.

Noah doesn’t demand sex. He doesn’t force it. He just… complains and whines and mopes.

The trouble is that Noah is my sunshine. When Noah is depressed I fail in ways big and small. When Noah is unhappy I internalize that it is all my fault and I have to do something to change it. But the only thing that works is sex.

So that means that if I want Noah to be happy I have to not care how much my cunt hurts and I need to show up and offer sex… even if it makes me bleed.

I’m not saying that Noah presents it this way and I’m not saying this dynamic is all his fault. It isn’t all his fault. A tremendous amount of this comes from me and my broken mental health patterns. This predated Noah in many ways.

But when I tell Noah for years that sex is hurting me and that I can’t keep doing that and he keeps fucking me dry while I cry and cringe…

It sure feels like Noah is agreeing that I’m not very important, or at least the structural integrity of my cunt isn’t very important.

I’m a huge fan of the work of Victor Frankl, a psychoanalyst who survived the Holocaust. He wrote the book Man’s Search for Meaning and it centers on how people survive horrifying events by having something that motivates them. I have mostly found his approach to be more useful than the vast majority of psychologists I’ve read. Why are you here? What are you living for?

I am… ridiculously and disgusting outward focused. I depend on other peoples opinions of my merit and worth to convince me that I shouldn’t hurt myself more or that I shouldn’t die. I have never internalized that I am important in my story.

I am important to the extent that I can provide support or help or resources or… something. It’s part of why these periods of disability are so hard for me. When I can no longer show up and provide a bunch of labor in exchange for my right to breathe I should stop breathing.

This is complicated in so many ways. How am I going to handle my children growing up and not needing me? I’m scared of that. I don’t think the way I parent is the ideal way to parent because I don’t have a lot of self or identity left after what I am supposed to give to them and that’s not healthy.

I don’t like me very much. And I’ve spent my life see sawing between violently rejecting people for trying to treat me in ways I don’t like and semi-consciously/fully consciously subjecting myself to people who would abuse me because that is what feels comfortable and right and appropriate for me.

Why have I stayed in a relationship where being in that much pain from sex was just considered an acceptable cost?

How much of that is because I don’t think I deserve better?

It’s complicated how Noah has given me both the same’ol’same’ol’ and dramatically different/better than I have ever gotten in the past. I am deeply aware that some of the expectations I have of Noah are ridiculously unfair. I depend on him to love me and show me what loving me is supposed to look like. I depend on him insisting that shitty treatment isn’t good enough for me. And when he seems to agree with a piece of it (it’s totally ok to hurt my body as he chases his orgasm) I feel… I feel invalidated and small and worthless and like I will never really matter to anyone.

I hate myself because when something starts shifting, like our recent attempts to have non PIV sex, I am so upset with him while I’m glad that it is happening. Why did it take 11 years and me almost completely destroying our marriage before this could be an option on the table?

I had to hurt his feelings bad enough that he would consider looking at the severity of damage that was being inflicted on me and consider changing things. That sucks. I tried asking nicely.

I tell my kids that they should try hard to be nice and if nice isn’t doing what you need it to do… go for effective.

If I were trying to be compassionate towards someone else going through strife I would say that change hurts and sometimes you have to decide if the pain you will inflict through demanding change is greater or less than the pain you will endure if things don’t change. Then do what you have to do.

A lot of what I expect from Noah isn’t fair. But most of what I expect from myself isn’t fair either and that’s a difficult equation. I’m not really sure I know how to have fair expectations. I wouldn’t know what that even means. My life has never been fair.

I don’t want to “win” the argument. I want to not have my cunt hurt. I want to feel like I am not just a worthless whore who has to trade my cunt for my right to be here. I want to feel like I have value and merit in this relationship besides my ability to trigger orgasms.

I want to feel like I am worth keeping. Even if my cunt doesn’t work.