Oh My God . This morning, I took a look at a copy of my transcript from the local university, where I studied for a couple years before transferring out of state.
Not only did my life with Sam erase nearly every bit of self-worth and self-confidence that I’d had, but I’d actually forgotten which classes I’d taken. I’d forgotten that I had taken THREE college level math classes in high school that transferred over to credit at the university. I’d forgotten that I was on the Dean’s List or Chancellor’s List EVERY semester while there. I mean, I remembered that I’d made the lists, but that I’d done it more than once – every semester. No. I didn’t remember that. I was STUNNED when I saw my transcript.
I’d let him convince me that I wasn’t smart, that I was nothing. I knew that I’d let him tell me that. I’m recovering from believing him.
What I’m running into now is the idea of just how much I’ve actually forgotten. Stuff that doesn’t pertain directly to Sam. And it’s not just which classes I took, my grades. Friends will reminisce about high school or college, about stuff we did, weekend trips we took. There are, maybe not many, but a few (so far) that I don’t remember. I do remember some when they tell the story – I think that’s normal. Others are just blank. Completely gone. Not even an inkling of “oh, yeah, I vaguely remember…”
They’re not joking; they’re not lying; they’re not relaying drunken party stories. I can understand forgetting some things. Different events carry more weight for some than others.
For example: Jane may have been thrilled when I offered to drive her up to Portland to go shopping when she was having a terrible week. It may have been a big deal to a freshman far from home for the first time, having a new friend from the dorm borrowing a truck from another friend to make the drive in an effort to cheer her up. While for me… meh, it’s just a short trip, an excuse to not study for a few hours. I didn’t remember it until she brought it up. But when she brought it up, I did remember it. “Oh, yeah! It took me a few minutes to figure out how to put the truck into reverse the first time, because the shift pattern was worn off the gearshift.”
There are stories that sound like they should have made some sort of impression on me; like skipping studying to go to the beach, a car I was riding in nearly crashing during an ice storm, of which I have not even the dimmest glimmer of having experienced.
And the grades, man! Don’t you think I should remember that I was getting straight A’s or A’s and B’s? It’s not THAT long ago. I can recall taking the classes, but I’m still wondering if maybe they sent me the wrong set of grades with my name on the top.
I’m curious. Does living with an abusive alcoholic do that? Is it some intense-weird survival mechanism? Does it happen to quite a few survivors?
Like an unconscious thought process: He says you’re stupid, you know you’re not, but if you’re not, then he’s lying, and he’ll be mad at you for thinking he’s lying or (and) for you being smart, so remember that you’re stupid so he doesn’t get mad, so he doesn’t take it out on you…
So how to explain losing the other stuff? Overwriting it with “How to Survive Your Alcoholic Abusive Boyfriend / Husband” ?
Or is it just me? Is it normal and I’m making mountains out of mole-hills? (Pfffah. *waves hand dismissively* You’re just getting old. You’re not in your twenties any more, you know…)
I’m really curious if it happens to others. I’ve got an appointment with my counselor tonight and will discuss this with her. Maybe she can explain it.