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#233227 - 06/24/08 08:07 PM Re: Survivors and closure in relationships [Re: indygal]
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus
MaleSurvivor<

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
Quote:
Is this similar to how they feel when they act out? Or cheat when they're married, even though they are risking everything? They just do not have that ability to stand up and say no more, it's bad for me???


Well, I think it is similar, perhaps even intertwined, but one, the relationship issue, is the ability to exert an external force to do what's best for himself and the acting out, is fighting an inner demon. Does that make sense? I'm not sure it even makes sense to me, it's just what I though when I read your question.

I'm going to leave this post as is and think on it to see if I can make my brain come up with words that would explain better.

How are you BH? I have thought about you alot.

ROCK ON...........Trish

_________________________
If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

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#233239 - 06/24/08 08:28 PM Re: Survivors and closure in relationships [Re: indygal]
Liv2124 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 159
Loc: New Jersey
Indygal,
I don't think you ever have to ask yourself if you've "done enough". I have been there, looking for the one thing I might be missing. The truth is, I am who I am. I've done the best I could. Over the past few months, having talked to a few survivors from this site, I've come to realize that I've done the best I could.
When we come to care about someone, I think it's normal to find it hard to let go. But if you REALLY look at it, you'll find the differences that could exist are dependent on what THEY choose to do, not us. Yes, things might improve if HE would commit to therapy. (I have no control over that) Communication might improve things between us if he could talk. (I can't MAKE him talk.) I talk til I'm blue in the face and most of the time, it just serves to piss him off. Only recently, in one of these "talks" I saw a look come across his face that made me think it wasn't really ME he was annoyed with, it was himself.
Things have gotten more complicated here for me too. I can relate TOTALLY to your frustration.
Always,
Liv


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#233341 - 06/24/08 11:51 PM Re: Survivors and closure in relationships [Re: Liv2124]
fhorns Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/10/02
Posts: 686
IndyGal,
I posted this a minute ago in JuneFriday's "Who to blame?" post. I'm not sure if it will help, but I am a survivor. Here's my experience:

I'm scared to admit this, moreso to myself, but I can absolutely identify. I am a survivor of abuse by my mother and brother, and my wife still says I act like a child around her. She is even disgusted at the thought of being physically intimate with me because, God, why would she want to sleep with a someone who perceives her as "Mom". That was a well founded slam from her.

I have treated her with contempt for years. Literally, since our first year married. I had dove right into therapy, survivor awareness, and I expected her to be "Mom". I think, like a little child, "isn't she supposed to do that?"

It's sad for me now. My wife has worked on her boundaries for a few years now. She was fiercely codependent, and she was there to "save" me for those first years. Her being there for me tired her out tremendously, she broke, and she now insists, demands, retorts back that she is not my "Mom".

And the truth? I don't, and haven't, seen it. But it forced a threat of divorce on Friday. "Dammit, this isn't fair!" I've thought. But nothing has changed. All I can admit right now, for me, is that I have to change.

I can't be responsible for your husband, but one thing I did do last week was this: I joined the Healing Circle on Monday mornings here as MS. I needed a safe place to air, share, and hear others. I have been alone because that is what I've done to survive. I've leaned on memories of my mom because that is all I know. But damn, there will be serious consequences if I don't see, somehow, how I'm treating my wife.

Because right now, I don't. That's why I'm in this forum tonight. I can't see it. Reading this story shows me what I can't see myself. Thank you for your post. Thank you.

What's sick is that if you were here, I'd be soft and tender, hoping you would be Mom, because you didn't (and hopefuly wouldn't) yell, or possibly abuse me. This is how I think. It's like I'm crying, "Mom, please love me". I haven't got to the grieving part yet. It'll come sooner than I expect. Thank you for sharing.


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#233713 - 06/26/08 08:30 AM Re: Survivors and closure in relationships [Re: fhorns]
indygal Offline
Member

Registered: 06/22/06
Posts: 439
*update*

I mentioned that I was going to write everything down - well, I did and it turned into a letter to him. Surprisingly, it seemed to actually turn out well. I expressed a lot of how I felt our difficulties stemmed from his abuse and lack of unwillingness to deal with it. I said I needed closure and reiterated what I said earlier in this post about how I had the epiphany that perhaps survivors just couldn't end relationships in the expected manner.

Looking back, now it makes sense how when I first confronted him about his abuse, he broke up w/me in an email, refused to speak to me on the telephone and had me frantic for quite a while before he settled down enough for us to talk. That is, he was unable to respond coherently but rather just had one major-non-ending panic attack.

Actually, it took nearly a year. I wouldn't have thought in any situation something like that would ever happen, but then, I've never dealt with something like falling in love with a survivor before.

The letter went on a bit to emphasize how strongly I felt he needed help and that even if he just came to the ms website, that would at least help him realize he wasn't alone.

Something significant I haven't yet mentioned here I also added. I told him that ever since I found out about his csa, I had felt very sorry for him. The fact that he couldn't deal with it in my mind meant it was just too painful. This, in turn, made me feel more sorry for him. Moreover, this pity created an imbalance in the relationship that I strongly felt was unhealthy for me. That is, I could not be in a relationship with a man I felt so sorry for all the time.

I don't know how others feel about this - but I do know, I've had a lot of tragedy in my own life and I absolutely abhor any kind of pity at all. Sympathize if you will, be kind, but do not pity; it makes me a little nuts as if I somehow am a victim when all my life I've fought for my own rights to live. I think that's what any healing journey is about - survival, not staying a victim. I can feel for the little boy that was hurt of course, but I want to be proud of the man who fights for his life.

I could not be proud of him, to let himself continue to hurt that way. It is, in my mind, just as self-destructive as substance or chemical abuse. Taking the path to recovery is hard, no doubt, but it also signifies a sense of wanting to live and to try and find a way throught the pain. I could not tolerate someone who can't fight for their own life. I would have been willing to be beside him, of course, for that fight, but he pushed me away; punished me in fact, for trying to love him. That, too, I cannot abide by for love should be rewarded, not punished.

I mailed the letter and the next day called him and asked him to read it, he said he would.

Thanks for all who've shared on this topic. It's been a rough one, for sure, and I hope it's helpful to understand ourselves in our relationships a little better. Unfortunately, I can now understand how it may very well be impossible to remain friends with a survivor after having broken up. Again, it's just not the way you all deal with things. That's what's so hard for women like me. We have to break off all contact even though in our hearts, you are always present.

I only knew this man for a little over 4 years yet it's like it's been all my life and certainly, I will remember him all my life. This is all so very strange to have to end what was once so beautiful in such a sad manner.

I can't say any more right now.

Indy

_________________________
my avatar is one of the Battle Angel characters, fighting the good fight.

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#234459 - 06/29/08 02:27 PM Re: Survivors and closure in relationships [Re: indygal]
evanescentjoy Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/28/05
Posts: 46
Quote:
one must surely be convinced one can never stop anything, that one simply doesn't have the power, or deserve anything else?


This is learned helplessness...

Quote:
I can also see a parallel with battered women who came from battered childhoods, like myself. I'm not sure why I was able to fight my way out of it, but I often attribute the few kind people I knew along the way who encouraged me and nurtured my soul. Perhaps w/survivors the stigma is partly to blame? those who tried to tell no one helped? or because it was family? I don't know those answers and can't speculate any more right now.


The Golden Key is one or two nurturing and encouraging people in the midst of the abuse.

_________________________
"Become who you are." -Nietzsche

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#234528 - 06/29/08 09:28 PM Re: Survivors and closure in relationships [Re: indygal]
Liv2124 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 159
Loc: New Jersey
Indygal,
Composing my own letter to my SO... (must be the lunar cycle, if nothing else) I'm tired. I never thought I would be, leaving issues home and carrying on at work and elsewhere, seemingly unaffected.
His behavior over being my escort to the recent party, (and believe me, giving myself license to act like he does, it's NOT about the party) this has opened mt eyes and allowed me to see alittle further down the line.
I've accomodated the anxieties, the nausea, the depression, the restroom issues when we're out, the touch thing, the sex thing, the gay thing etc. etc. etc. Last night was the dealbreaker.
I'm not putting all the blame on him. In part, I've allowed this. I was always understanding. I was always the one to try to find a way to work it out.
I've been thinking of relocating down south for years. I just received my South Carolina nursing license. I can go. I was so worried about how to approach this with him. I would have no problem if he wanted to come with me, but for business reasons, I knew he probably would not. Now, I'm to the point where I can't worry about it. I'm going to love him there as much as I do here, but the reality is, the distance won't necessarily be any greater. Today I came to the realization that nothing between us will change, even if I'm 600 miles away.
I'm not going to blame this on him. I know he loves me. But the way things are, it isn't going to work. It's sad, because together, we've been through alot. But he's always been the center of his own universe, and I've apparently been the distant second.
In contrast to your post, I have to say that I found what you said interesting and examined my feelings towards him CLOSER as a result. I really have never felt sorry for him. I've felt angry that this happened to him, but I never pitied him at all. I always felt that he would rise above this, work through this, whatever... That's why I stayed with him. Because of who I believed he was. My focus was always to put him in touch with people who could help him out of this.
It's not like I never gave him a break. Let's not even take into consideration the 14 years I DIDN'T know, it's not like it's been wine, roses and song. But it's been 16 years since his disclosure and he's not moved much. What am I waiting for?
Just wanted to let you know, that through your pain, you've inspired me to take steps I should've inspired myself to do LONG ago.
Always,
Liv


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#234612 - 06/30/08 08:51 AM Re: Survivors and closure in relationships [Re: Liv2124]
indygal Offline
Member

Registered: 06/22/06
Posts: 439
Liv,

I'll write more later - but for now - the ultimate irony is a couple of weeks ago we were having a discussion which turned into an argument and just before the inevitable hang up came from his end - he said to me - I think too much about myself.

It made me chuckle for days - really - he was angry when he said it but all I could think about was how people caution me about becoming too involved with his issues and how the number one piece of advice on here people keep saying is to take care of one's self first and foremost.

I wouldn't even have been talking to him if I was so involved with myself - that is - I do have better things to do than listen to him complain about me - but something somewhere must have gotten thru to him that I wasn't going to let him bring me down.

We mustn't, no matter what. It's hard, I know, lord knows I know. Hang in there Liv, be strong.

Sometimes by letting ourselves go and live a life we show them it can be done. I don't know how that works exactly, but I do believe it.

all the best,
Indy

_________________________
my avatar is one of the Battle Angel characters, fighting the good fight.

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#234778 - 06/30/08 09:23 PM Re: Survivors and closure in relationships [Re: indygal]
Liv2124 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 159
Loc: New Jersey
Indygal,
Here's one to make you laugh...
Once, during a "discussion that turned into an argument", before he hung up, he said, and I quote, "I don't think there's anyone who can meet your emotional needs."
I laughed for 6 months over that...
Liv


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#234878 - 07/01/08 08:23 AM Re: Survivors and closure in relationships [Re: evanescentjoy]
indygal Offline
Member

Registered: 06/22/06
Posts: 439
Originally Posted By: evanescentjoy
Quote:
one must surely be convinced one can never stop anything, that one simply doesn't have the power, or deserve anything else?


This is learned helplessness...


this absolutely stunned me because it fits him to a "T." when I see him in his paralysis state it's so strong it's almost like time itself has stopped and he can't move - can't break its hold. One can almost picture the barriers placed on him even tho they are invisible.

yes, learned helplessness. many women - MANY - have this - taught to stand still, step aside, don't react; let the man handle it - and of course, children are taught it, to let the adult take care of it.

I can see how a child who's been abused would have learned this, and can only imagine how difficult it must be to unlearn it.

those of you survivors who fight this must have the strength of St. Michael himself on your side (no offense to those of you nonbelievers I meant it in a good way).

Indy

_________________________
my avatar is one of the Battle Angel characters, fighting the good fight.

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#234879 - 07/01/08 08:26 AM Re: Survivors and closure in relationships [Re: Liv2124]
indygal Offline
Member

Registered: 06/22/06
Posts: 439
Originally Posted By: Liv2124
Indygal,
Here's one to make you laugh...
Once, during a "discussion that turned into an argument", before he hung up, he said, and I quote, "I don't think there's anyone who can meet your emotional needs."
I laughed for 6 months over that...
Liv


but we can conjure up all of 6 different personalities to meet theirs, right? or 10 or 12 or whatever - sigh...

yeah, I totally get it.

_________________________
my avatar is one of the Battle Angel characters, fighting the good fight.

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