Easter Anxiety

Easter Anxiety

This weekend is Easter. I HATE Easter. First of all, I’m an atheist and the entire idea of a zombie Jesus is nothing short of ludicrous. But the real reason I despise this holiday is the excruciating memories it brings. Four years ago on this very weekend, my sister hosted a bridal shower that I was obligated to not only attend but pay for out of the GoFundMe proceeds I’d received after my abuser torched my house. Mind you, I received LESS than half the proceeds and the arsonist himself took the majority of the funds. But in good faith, I paid for the event and attended with the intention of making the bride’s experience a memorable one despite my raging PTSD and anxiety.

Also invited to the event (as my family can’t do bridal showers without inviting all the men in the family) was my now ex-husband, the man who 3 months prior had doused my home in gasoline and set it ablaze. He’d killed my dog and almost succeeded in killing me. But fortunately for him, he’d caught himself on fire and ended up in the ICU, thus creating compassion and support from his family (including MY relatives). I knew the man was crazed because he’d stalked, intimidated and threatened me ever since the fire. But knowing I wasn’t supposed to “make waves”, I accepted that he would be in the same house as me that Easter weekend.

What happened to me on that Saturday Easter Eve was nearly as traumatic as the blaze that violently ended the life I’d always known. My relatives treated me like an outcast, barely speaking to me and making me feel unwelcome at the party I’d paid for. My abuser appeared in a threatening manner and it was up to me to appease his rage like I’d always done. They watched as he took me downstairs, not once, but twice, so that he could exert his manipulation and control over me. I WAS TERRIFIED.

The first time we were alone in the basement, I assured him that we could talk again later after the party and begged him to behave for his family at least for a couple of hours. He agreed and the party continued uneventfully, despite the awkwardness and cognitive dissonance I was feeling. Later, my abuser again dragged me into the basement to “talk” where he demanded that I return to him immediately. When I balked, he assaulted me by slapping me and throwing me across the room toward the brick fireplace. I barely managed to recover and keep myself from falling onto the bricks as he stormed upstairs and out the front door much to the dismay of my family. I recovered enough to get myself out of the basement, upstairs and into a bedroom where I broke down and sobbed.

When I returned to the party, I was met with icy glares and harsh judgment. NOT ONE PERSON asked if I was okay. In fact, my brother in law the psychologist brushed me off when I approached him about my abuser’s violent behavior. And later, when my abuser continually texted suicide threats to me, my brother in law, the doctor of psychology, downplayed the threats so his wife could have a good Easter weekend with her German exchange student and her best-beloved children. I DIDN’T MATTER.

I survived the weekend, but my scars are still fresh four years later. The person whose bridal shower I paid for disinvited me to her wedding and my entire family proceeded to actively participate in my public shunning by attending her wedding without me. I cried alone in the dark while they all celebrated. I will NEVER recover from the damage done to me by my abuser AND by my so-called family.

I’ve thought a lot about death lately. And I’m not afraid. In fact, at this point, I think I’ve earned my chance for peace. I’m ready.

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