“We cannot selectively numb emotions. When we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive ones.” Brene Brown
I just happened to hear this quote from Brene Brown recently, though. It made me think. It made me consider this numbness and the trade offs that come with it.
Is numbness always a bad thing? Doesn’t denial have it’s place? Am I choosing something that will help with survival and self-preservation?
Or… Am I harming myself? Am I numbing the bad along with the good?
In the span of 2 and a half years he will have been gone for about 17 months of time. We are at a place where it feels more normal for him to be gone than it does for him to be home. I know my role there. I know the emotions I should feel. I know how to sink in and just keep getting things done on my own.
It is harder to include him in the everyday feelings, each time he is home. It is harder to want to talk to him about some of the things that I feel outside of the comfortable arena of email. With seven months being the longest span of time that we’ve had him home lately, is it any wonder that I have a hard time wanting to lean on him? If I do this time… if I make the decision to lean on him for support…..
I do so knowing that there is a good chance that the next time he won’t be there.
But what is the cost of this numbness? Could killing my heart be the reason that our experience of intimacy has seemed so shallow lately? Is this why we go days without even kissing much less anything more physically intimate?
What other parts of my family life is this touching? Does numbing my heart to his going, numb a part of me to my children as well? To the pain they feel when they miss him?
If I am numbing the positive along with the negative does that mean that I am taking less delight in them than I could be?
Still I am reluctant to give up this life saver. Is it even healthy to?
I don’t know the answers to these questions. But they trouble me.
Because I want that delight. I want depth out of the relationships that I have with my family. I want to know that we have jumped squarely into the deep end of one another’s hearts. And it scares me to think that this mechanism that I cling to to protect myself could also be hurting us as a family.
Am I sacrificing really living for the sake of surviving?
I just don’t know the answers.
But I will keep thinking about it. Keep considering it. And maybe I will even keep trying to feel, to go deeper, and to lean….. even if it makes the goodbyes that much harder.