One of my triggers has always been sitting down to the dinner table family style. When I was growing up every single dinner was served this way with my Mother and one end of the table, and my Dad at the other end. L and I sat on one side and the older bother sat on the other side. The only thing about the order that changed was who my mother was more pissed at me or my sister. Usually it was her so she had the joy of sitting next to mom. The table should have been a place for family conversations, fun and laughter. Ours was listening to Dad tell stories of his day at the paper mill and my mother berating us for making noise or interupting my Dad with questions. Most of this is a blur, I'm sure that there were dinners that no one got berated at, or Dad didn't have a funny story for us, I just don't remember them. The ones I do remember were with mom pissed off and reaching out and smacking us for whatever infraction we had committed. As we got older they turned from brain dusters to punches. I remember L getting slapped in the face and bleeding from the cuts that her braces had inflicted and still having to finish her dinner. She vomited on her plate, I'm assuming from the blood she had eaten, and mom made her finish her plate anyway. Things like that happened to me as well but never that I remember did it happen to the older brother.
Moving forward to last night. I can't stand to have yelling or arguing at the table. To the point where I quit sitting down to family dinners with my kids a long long time ago. We at in the living room in front of the TV. Every time we sat at the table, X would yell at someone for something and I would get nauseous and leave the table. So I quit doing it, like 10 years ago. I can remember the last time, he was yelling at the oldest for something and I just couldn't stand it. I went into the bathroom and vomited and that was it. I even got rid of the table that seated four and got one that only sat 2 so the kids would have somewhere to eat their breakfast. When I left X I got a table that seated 4 but it was only used when we had company. Ever since M has been here, we eat at the table. The meals have been enjoyable and fun and conversation has flown and it was great. Until last week. M and I have been married for 6 months now and the kids are finally comfortable enough with him to start acting up. The oldest tried to play a game on him, and I squashed it but he was very angry with her. He had every right to be angry as it was completely stupid and would have never worked simply because he and I talk. Much to her chagrin, I busted it wide open and he was so pissed at her that he made her stand in the corner from the time she got home until I got home. He made a wonderful dinner and we sat down to it like usual. The one big difference was that he wasn't done being pissed at her yet. While we ate (me with my face down staring at my plate, trying not to vomit), he yelled at her. To me it felt like it was going to go on forever and I rushed through my food and left the table as soon as I possibly could. He thought I was angry. I wasn't angry. Angry wasn't possible for me at that point. Just not losing it was all I was able to manage. Considering my past, and what a huge trigger it is for me, I'm pretty damn proud of myself that I managed to stay sitting at the table. I did skate as soon as my food was done, but at least I finished my food. I actually managed about 1/2 hour more, then I shut down the computer and went to bed. I had to get away from him. I won't say that I've never felt like that before, but this time I didn't run. In the past I would have gotten up by about the 4th word and went to bed right then and there. Or more accurately, cowered between the bed and the wall for a while until I heard him on the stairs, then not wanting him to see what a basket case he married, I would jump into bed so he wouldn't see me there. I'm getting better. I didn't run. I didn't hide. I didn't cower. I still couldn't talk to him until this morning, but I DID talk to him this morning. And I'm writing about it tonight, knowing full well that he's going to read it, and not think I'm a basket case. And love me more because I'm no longer running. I'm dealing. Yay me!