Pain's Duality

Published on Aug 24, 2020

Short fictional piece on the character's healing process.

She loved this part of winter. Fresh snow made her feel like the world was new again. The hushed quiet of the new snow and everything covered in powder white delighted her, like a little girl. The air was pristine and smelled full of oxygen. It was the air she needed to breathe after the past year she endured. The memories flickered across her face, casting an eclipse shadow on her moment of joy.

‘Why couldn't he love her? What was wrong with her?’, she pondered, lost in the past again.

'No! Stop doing that.', she commanded herself.

It was a process, learning to not internalize his coldness and contempt. It was who he was with nothing to do with her. She hadn’t yet convinced the dark recesses of her insecure mind of this reality. Today was better than a month ago. In six months, she will be more self-assured with zero exposure to his toxicity. The journey ahead will be long. It will require persistent reminding to reprogram the conditioning he applied to her over the years.

The OCD was stubborn with progress slow. Therapist explained it was her attempt to control the world when feeling helpless. Suggested to keep a rubber band on her wrist and snap it every time the OCD returned. New conditioning was his explanation.

She smiled ruefully at the irony. She had to hurt herself because of the damage he did to her. This pain was preferable.

Her mind jumped to the hateful things her husband told her over the years. It was trying to understand why he said those things and what they meant. This was her dark rabbit hole. Obsessive thinking.

She took a breath and braced herself, then snapped the band on her wrist. It stung, but a reminder that he could no longer hurt her.