I’m Not As Bulletproof As I Thought…But I’m Closer

I feel like I got shot in the brain with an emotional bullet. I thought I knew how to fight this off. How to dodge, duck and weave effectively. I thought I was strong. Bulletproof.

Yet, here I stand. Emotionally mind fucked (pardon my french), one more time. The trigger was pulled and before I even knew it was headed straight for me, it blasted its way right through my head and my heart.

It causes a literal ache in my brain and body. Packed into that bullet was every single emotion I’ve ever felt. All my love, all my hope, all my strength, all my pain. I gave him all his ammo, and just as he always did, he used it to level me.

And I thought I could handle it. I thought there were no chinks in my armor this time. I thought the walls around my heart were strong enough to not be shaken by his words and his tears.

But they weren’t. At least not entirely.

My brain is strong enough to hide behind the walls I’ve built. But my heart… My heart sneaks out through the cracks without me knowing and before I even see it, it gets shattered again.

No matter how many times he’s broken my heart, it somehow never hardens completely. It hardens enough to carry on behind a brave facade, but it stays tender enough to be bruised again. Even in the face of deception. Even on the heals of disappointment. Even wrapped in evidence of betrayal. This heart still wants to believe the impossible.

The pain of losing this love is nothing compared to the pain of knowing the promise of it can never be fulfilled. Because I’m fighting for something I never had. The ache in my chest and the wound in my brain do not come from the loss of a marriage. They come from the careful and constant balance of hearing all the right things while seeing all the wrong ones. But only occasionally. Only when he’s desperate to find solace for his own pain. Only when it suits his needs and satisfies his selfish desire in that moment.

This pain comes from watching the man I gave my all to hold my heart in one hand and a loaded emotional gun in the other as he slowly pulls the trigger. One. More. Time.

Its cruel. A special form of abuse.. A highly refined skill of manipulation. A sneaky mind game and an emotional ploy.

Genuine love doesn’t just disappear, even when it should. But when a faithful heart finds its way into the hands of someone who not only has no idea how to hold it, but also no desire, the damage is almost irreparable.

I spent nearly 5 years willing a man to become who I believed he could be. I dug in with all I had, and he dug out with all we both had. After I was broken beyond repair, I gathered myself and all the gumption I had left and walked away against every fiber of my being knowing I had no other choice. After realizing that no matter how much I wanted him to be something different, he was who he was, I reached the point of finally meaning enough to myself to release him into the life he claimed he wanted, while letting go of the one I wanted.

Now, when it’s too late, with no action to back it up, he says all the things I wanted him to say years ago. And it’s still filled with emptiness. His desire to change is contingent on my willingness to risk my heart again, knowing he isn’t capable nor willing to do the work it takes to shelter it.

This mental contort and subsequent wreckage happens every once in a while. Even after recovering from the wounds and believing that that last time, was the very last time. But I’ve learned this tender heart isn’t ready just because the damage has been mended on the outside. Its not safe to take it out from behind that wall of protection because, waiting behind the corner, every single time, is the emotional gun loaded with all its own contents.

I pack the bullet. And he pulls the trigger. Every time.

I thought I’d healed enough to stand in the face of that gun. I thought I learned how, if nothing else, to dodge when the bullet was released. But after one more round of narcissistic whiplash, I stand here just as dizzy. My heart is bleeding, once again. And my head is having to work over time to drag my busted heart back home.

The difference this time is that my head is strong enough to bare the weight. It hurts. And it’s hard. But I now know I can do hard things.

This time, it doesn’t take as long to pull my heart back to safety. It doesn’t stay broken and bleeding for the same length of time. My heart aches, and it struggles. But it knows where it belongs and it finds its way home much faster now.

The moments in between are still just as intensely brutal as they always were, but my pain tolerance has increased and my head strength far outweighs my heart strength.

And so I survive.

I give it up. Again. I fall to my knees. Again. And I ask God to peel open my clenched fingers and take this thing from me that I so easily pick back up, not because I’m so desperate for love but because I so desperately want him to get it. I claw my way back home and I sit in this pain until it subsides.

I get back up. I hold my chin high because I’m strong enough to do it, and I keep walking. With each stride, I am one step closer to freedom. One more pace away from the scene of the crime, with one more experience to draw from the next time I find myself across from that gun.

I may have packed the bullets, but I’m taking back the gun. Because I may not actually be as bulletproof as I thought.

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48 thoughts on “I’m Not As Bulletproof As I Thought…But I’m Closer

    • Thank you so much! Its encouraging to at least know that it only takes me about a day to recover now… So that’s a lot of progress. But it’s still harder than I want it to be. Tha k you for your support and encouragement ❤

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  1. I love the way you write. But I hate the struggles you are facing. You may not be bullet proof (yet) but you are stronger and wiser. As a reader, I am glad you are able to see through the words you want to hear. I always admire your grace, strength and poise in all the situations you face. Sending love and hugs.

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  2. Rachael ~ Your story is so close to my heart, as I too have been a victim. My faith and my 3 boys keep me moving forward. I want to thank you for encouraging me/others through your blog. I can’t tell you what a blessing it is to feel that I’m not alone, and other Christian women who have become single moms through choices that were made for us, and to feel encouraged to keep going. Thank you for sharing your personal struggles. :> 

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  3. Girl, you can flat out write! I admire your bravery in sharing the deepest, hardest parts of you. I have women in Bible study who share these struggles with us every single week. Keep giving it to God. That’s the advice I give. And we pray that slowly God could make a change in the offender’s life as well. I appreciate your sharing Rachael.

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  4. Beautifully written. I’m glad you are taking back the gun. He doesn’t deserve to hold any power over you. I feel as if I’m actually watching you grow stronger as time goes by. Let me tell you, it’s amazing and so very encouraging.

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  5. Very beautifully stated.

    Sigh…there is something said for the kind of love we give, for those of us who believe, are hopeful, and loyal, down to the last shred of our broken hearts. What’s more amazing is the strength our hearts have, when the last shred is gone.

    NIBSIH. 🙏

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    • Beautifully stated and so very true! Despite it all, I pray my heart never fully hardens because although it has loved the wrong people, I want it to stay open and capable of loving the right one when and if he comes along. Thanks for your comment!

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        • I agree… That’s what my focus is now. Myself and my boys. I will never again be in a position to NEED a man. I will have someone in my life if and only if they are an addition to me and my boys, not someone who needs me or who I feel I need. I want to be fully stable and strong on my own and within myself. I am getting there. And that is the ticket to healthy relationships in my opinion. At least a big part of the ticket! Thanks again!!

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  6. Oh, honey, so beautiful and raw and heartbreakingly honest! I wanted to read this first thing, then there I was dodging bullets after all these years from a man (I use the term loosely) who donated seed but little else to my three eldest kiddos. Even though I am in a wonderful marriage now. Even after all this time of prayer and healing. He snuck in unexpectedly with insults and uncaring masked in his usual deception of innocence. But, you are so right. We get stronger. Tolerance increases. Every time we give it to the Father. Thank you for writing the very thing I needed to see. As always.:)

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    • Oh Marisa, I am so glad to hear this was a timely encouragement for you, as so much of your writing has been for me. I’m sorry you have to endure that, but glad to see your strength powering through it!

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  7. I can only imagine how difficult it must be when the man you loved so much says things you really want to hear. No one is bulletproof, but you are one pretty strong momma. Thanks for sharing…

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  8. Wow what an intense post but I am so blown away by your skill of capturing your emotion so powerfully through your post. You are an amazing writer.
    Sometimes we need to realize that it is time to let go.
    The pain now will save you from a worse pain later.

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    • Oh Nadia, you are so right about that!!! I hold onto that and remember it in the moments of intense pain and letting go. Thank you so much for your heartfelt comment. It truly means the world!

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  9. Thank you for sharing this heartbreaking experience. Reading your post brought me to tears. I am so sorry that you had to go through such pain. It’s not easy, but one day we just wake up and take back the steering wheel of our lives. Many blessings to you.

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  10. Once again, a beautifully elloquent, and raw piece. They say, ‘Time heals all wounds’. But when you’ve been unconditionally in love with someone and then had three beautiful, perfect baby boys, there’s no way that is possible. Even visitation must open up the wound a bit each time. May you always stay armed with faith as your shield. Lots of love to you. You are so strong!

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  11. Oh wow you wove a story so heartbreaking yet soul fufulling all within a matter of minutes. I’m so glad that you’re packing the gun and there’s no bullets. I loved this story of your triumph over adversity. 😊

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