It can be both

On how the media directs blame

As we’ve discussed, I struggle a lot with the guilt of things that have happened to the men I’ve loved (and I did love them) during my PTSD anger blackouts.

I was 20 when my first blackout occurred. I had come home from dinner with my grandfather and I was a little tipsy. I had something I really wanted to talk to my boyfriend about. I found him laying in the field in front of my parent’s house with his dog. I ran up to him and collapsed on the blanket, joyous about the realization I had just had, but as I opened my mouth to speak I realized that what I was about to say to him would have been rude to say to him as my boyfriend and that I was treating him like a best friend instead of a partner. I quickly tired to dance my way out of what I had started to say and made for my cellphone. “Who are you texting?” “Chrissy.” “Why can you tell him and not me?” He took my phone away.

I spent the next hour attempting to explain to him that as I pay my own phone bill and am a grown woman, he has no right to take my phone from me and keep it as a way to prevent me from talking to my best friend. The argument went on and on with no hope of coming to an agreement. Finally, he stuck his fingers in his ears and began to walk away. I remember the horror I felt as I realized what was happening. I walked up behind him and collided my Sierra Nevada bottle with the side of his face. He pulled his fingers out of his ears, spun around swearing, snatched the bottle from me and threw it into the trees. He grabbed me, pinning my arms down by my side. He went to his mother’s for a week and I cried and cried over the 1/2 inch cut under his left eye.

The birth was quick, but the death is slow.

I have been thinking a lot about him lately, mostly because I now see how many things he was right about compared to my brokenness at the time. I spend a lot of time focusing on my brokenness. I drown myself in the guilt of things that I was unable to change, but at the same time I am aware that I am not always the only person to blame. I have been wrong, but others have been wrong too.

As I sit with this truth, that we can both be wrong, I realize how often the media sends me a different message. Pop songs are always either, or. He was wrong. I was right. I was wrong, he was right. The world is wrong, I am right. This does not bode well with my pre-existing tendency to place things in extremes, and I’d be willing to say it puts others in a rough spot too, because it takes out that piece, which I also wrote about recently, of accepting where people really are.

I have done a lot of wrong things in my life. I should never have struck anyone, ever, with anything, under any circumstances, but I did, and I will apologize to them until the day I die should they request it of me, but there are other sides. Accepting the other party’s wrongness in no way diminishes my wrongness. I was wrong, and he was wrong to take my phone. I was wrong, and he was wrong to not respect my needs. I was wrong, and he was wrong to metaphorically walk away. I was wrong, and he was wrong to scare a person with PTSD. I was wrong and he was wrong. Our wrongness also doesn’t take away the truth that we loved each other, and our love for each other doesn’t take away the fact that we were a toxic combination unable to help each other. Being a toxic combination doesn’t make us bad people, or imply that we intended harm to each other. We were wrong. We loved each other. We were toxic. It’s not him, it’s not me. It was us. Us is gone. Problem solved.