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#237805 - 07/13/08 01:48 AM Toughest part(s) for a survivor's spouse/partner?
heismyworld Offline
New Here

Registered: 07/31/07
Posts: 25
I just wondered if anyone would want to share what is a/are some tough part(s) for a survivor's spouse/partner? 'Just whatever comes to your heart and mind when you read my question, what do you think?

Here are some thoughts I have--I think it's tough . . .

to know how tragic the abuse was and is for my spouse.

to know what he had to do to survive at the time of the abuse and to this day. And how it can make me feel about the past and future too--his and ours together.

to look back before disclosure and see how abuse affected our relationship and feeling so helpless.

to know in thinking about disclosure how scared he was to tell me for fear of losing me.

to sometimes feel mad/hurt because there were pieces to the "puzzle" that he could have given me--if he just could have.

to know "it" could be bigger then our relationship and our family.

Take care, and God bless--


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#237808 - 07/13/08 02:03 AM Re: Toughest part(s) for a survivor's spouse/partner? [Re: heismyworld]
dangal Offline
New Here

Registered: 02/09/08
Posts: 222
Loc: seattle area
For me it's all the lost time. I can honestly say that my hubby and I are better today then we've ever been. That does not mean it's all rosy and wonderful but I before he told me thought he hated me, he was around only for the kids, and part of me couldn't stand him either. He was abusive and cold, closed off and I was lonely. We were up and down and never in the same place for more then short spurts. I don't feel any of that anymore. Since he's opened up and we've started therapy he's a different man. He said he feels supported for the first time in his life, not my fault he would have had it years ago, but nice to know he's feeling it now.

Also the gap between his needs and my needs is rough. I'm a very touchy person. I'm social, I'm very much a people person. He has looked at that as needy and clingy...getting better but it's there. I love the intimacy part of a relationship, he's a once every few weeks kinda guy and it's very routine I would have to say. I would love more, love a little excitment but he down right gets turned off by anything that is not in his idea of norm.

I now know why, it made me feel so unwanted and so unsexy before he let me in. I would have liked to not have felt like that for so dang long. Knowing it has nothing to do with me is life altering.

Also, I wonder where the bottom is. I have no idea if there is more he still needs to tell me. I know he's not given me much detail and I know that he may never be able to but at the same time my mind invents what I think the details might be and sometimes I feel that might be worse. I just have no clue with how well he kept this to himself for years and years if he's going to drop something else on me such as an affair or whatnot. So trust is now an issue to a degree because I now know how well he can keep secrets.

It's all ok, it's going to be ok, we have the truth and love and the desire to make this work now, both of us at the same time and that is a plus.

It's amazing how emotional it all is. Thanks for the question. Nice to refect on things.

Take care dear

_________________________
~Jen~
Life is to short to blend in

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#237826 - 07/13/08 09:20 AM Re: Toughest part(s) for a survivor's spouse/partner? [Re: dangal]
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus
MaleSurvivor<

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
The hardest thing for me was starting over. By that I mean that I had to deal with and put away what happened before the disclosure and live in the now. My b/f and I lived through a bad, bad time because of his acting out. My head was ready to blow off my shoulders. The destruction of ME was huge. For as much as I "hated" him for what he had done, I hated me just as much, thinking that I wasn't enough of a woman to hold on to the man I loved. I thought of myself as the biggest loser on the face of the earth.

Finding me again was hard. Trusting myself and my judgments was harder. When I first found out the whole story, I was devastated for him and was in grave danger of just wiping the slate clean and focusing all my energy on him and his problems. I did do that for a while, suffering the whole time because I wasn't healing my own wounds. The men and women on this site helped me see that what I really needed was to concentrate on Trish and then concentrate on Trish & ****.

I'm still doing that. Yes, a great deal of my time is spent here, still learning and discovering. A great deal of my time is spent teaching my b/f things he should have learned as a child. It took me quite some time to figure out that telling him those things doesn't do much good, he has to see it and in order for him to see it, I have to be able to live it. So, I take my alone time, I take time with my friends, my daughter, my family. We go on vacations and have fun. We - I - am entitled to a life and I insist on having it. Lucky for me, he's willing to tag along. Sometimes, he does nothing more than observe, other times, he's right there with me having fun.

This is all still hard, the taking care of me part, but I do it because otherwise, the ship will sink. There's no doubt in my mind about that. Is it selfish? Sometimes yes, but it's not unhealthy.

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

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

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#238292 - 07/15/08 10:41 AM Re: Toughest part(s) for a survivor's spouse/partner? [Re: Trish4850]
Junefriday Offline


Registered: 06/05/08
Posts: 113
Loc: Canada
For me the toughest part is knowing that there is very little I can do. To watch him change so rapidly makes me feel as though the abuse has won.

Further to that, when I think about his behaviour toward me, I feel as though I have been abused too. I've read a lot about survivors becoming abusers...I never thought my husband would be one of them. But, I was only thinking of abuse in the way that he was abused. I never thought about emotional abuse. The degrading comments, making me feel as though everything I do is wrong, picking away at my self-esteem until there was very little left...that is abuse. And it breaks my heart to realize that is what my wonderful, caring, loving and sweet husband has become.

_________________________
"Love comes to those who still hope even though they've been disappointed, to those who still believe even though they've been betrayed, to those who still love even though they've been hurt before.

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#238518 - 07/16/08 01:06 PM Re: Toughest part(s) for a survivor's spouse/partner? [Re: Junefriday]
riviera Offline
Member

Registered: 06/01/05
Posts: 59
Loc: Spain
For me, seeing him unable to acknowledge, enjoy and finally "free" the wonderful man within.

Plus, the times when my boyf started to face the trauma and was unable to come home for hours after work, wandering in parks scared. At times he would stay speechless for hours (physically incapable of talking),absent like mentally gone, he would have severe depressions, anxiety, he could not stand presents or being credited for sth, he could not stand friends showing affection to him. He would dissociate, collapse, have panic attacks, crying jags, I caught him many times trying to self-mutilate.. the list goes on and on...

The good news is that he got over all that.

Now he is in a different stage of the recovery process.

Good luck to you all.

H




Edited by riviera (07/16/08 01:09 PM)

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#238547 - 07/16/08 06:15 PM Re: Toughest part(s) for a survivor's spouse/partner? [Re: Trish4850]
LittleMiss Offline


Registered: 07/02/08
Posts: 66
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Trish4850
I hated me just as much, thinking that I wasn't enough of a woman to hold on to the man I loved. I thought of myself as the biggest loser on the face of the earth.


That's the hardest part for me. I'm just not enough. I feel like I have failed him somehow. Some small thing that I did or didn't do, has lead to this major meltdown. 7 years we trudged along, then boom. ONE miss step - that I can't even pinpoint - and everything fell apart. He told me that he had thought in the beginning that maybe I could 'make it better', but now after all these years, he has finally realized I can't. But in the same breath he'll say - I can't fix you / You can't fix me.

The hardest thing for me is just watching him and knowing that he won't let me touch him, won't let me love him, won't change his mind. The hardest thing is that his childhood was ruined beyond his control - and now his adulthood is being ruined too - but he is doing it to himself. He won't seek help.

_________________________
LittleMiss

The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.

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#238597 - 07/16/08 11:14 PM Re: Toughest part(s) for a survivor's spouse/partner? [Re: LittleMiss]
NY Daisy Offline
New Here

Registered: 02/29/08
Posts: 183
LittleMiss,

THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU. Your H is transfering all of his feelings about himself onto you. He is having trouble dealing with all the emotions he is having, and is taking it out on the closest person to him, YOU. Now is that fair? NO. Do his words hurt? YES,BIG TIME. He is not letting you help him so there is not much you can do at this time. YOU DID NOT FAIL HIM. When things get to much my H turns on me. I always forgave him because I knew he didn't really mean it. This time out, I'm like, "ENOUGH" I will no longer tolerate this behavior. I told him there are better ways to deal with this, than hurting me in the process. His reply," how did I hurt you?" I told him he was being emotionally abusive to me, he laughed at me, mocked me, told me I had no idea what it was like to be abused. He could not see past his own pain to see anyone else's. I sense maybe your H can't either right now. This break might be what is best right now, without you there, he will see what he is losing,and maybe that is just what he needs to encourage him to get help. I too, am forever hopeful.

JUST REMEMBER,YOU ARE AWESOME,IT'S NOT YOU. NYDAISY


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#238613 - 07/17/08 01:18 AM Re: Toughest part(s) for a survivor's spouse/partner? [Re: NY Daisy]
Brokenhearted Offline
Member

Registered: 08/07/06
Posts: 644
Loc: TX
If I may chime in, dangal, what do you think caused your survivor to finally "open up" to you? I'm still waiting for my H of 15 yrs to do just that; 2 yrs ago he changed ovenight into a cold, unreachable, distant person who admitted to having many affairs throughout our marriage. I was devastated to say the very least. Lost lots of weight, then gained too much, went on anti-depressant/anti-anxiety med Lexapro b/c of panic attacks I began having...

I've read everything I can get my hands on and posted on this site endlessly, learned a lot, but still even though I have loved him unconditionally and reached out to him, he remains closed off to me. I feel repulsive. But I know I'm not. In fact as soon as I learned that I AM an attractive woman and "enough", that this coldness was not about me, I have blossomed in my self-esteem in that area, bought new clothes, and feel pretty enough to wear them for the first time since I don't know when.

But how can I help him see that it's ok and even beneficial to "open up" to me? What was it like for you? Did he just all of a sudden tell you his story and let you in, be emotional in front of you, feel close to you? Mine says he is sorry, but that he just does not "feel close" to me. It hurts a lot.

And he won't seek help either, even though he has admitted to me that he's thought of suicide now and then! I've told him he needs to take care of himself, that he can be treated so he won't hurt so much, etc. He won't talk about his abuse, just says he's depressed and then he starts looking for something external to "make it better," like buying something or a new this or that, or a different this or that, on and on. "Maybe I should work out more," you name it. We recently relocated for his new job. He thought what he needed was a new job and new different city to live in. It didn't change anything.

The hardest thing for me is just being shut out for so long, 2+ yrs now. Some things have improved, we're still together, he'll give me a little hug now and then, but still, he tells me he just does not feel close to me. I didn't change, I've been forever understanding and kind and forgiving of his affairs, anything I can do to help him and keep our marriage. But I'm paying a very big price.

Like Trish though, I am taking care of myself. I'm going back to school starting in the fall - hey, majoring in what else - psychology. I'm also doing things for my health I didn't used to do, get eye exams (first one in 15 yrs) and glasses, work out when I get a chance, buy new makeup and perfume and stuff to make me feel pretty. I'm trying to live my life regardless of what happens with us.

Lately he loves to say we're "good friends." He knows it gets to me. I tell him no, we're married, so we're supposed to date now and then. One day last wk he asked me a serious question. He said, "If you had to pick one, which would you rather be: a wife or a good friend that one can talk about anything w/?" I said, "Well, I shouldn't have to pick because we're supposed to be able to be both...." and I didn't choose one. How can I? I am a woman married to him! Yes I want him to confide in me and let me in, but also I want to remain his wife, not have him going to some "other woman" for sex or whatever. Good grief. I told him he's not supposed to separate the two out, I even said that he did that himself, separated his sexual self from the rest of himself. I told him it needs to be integrated, that no one is just one or the other.

Anyway, sorry this is so long. I feel everyone else's pain, ladies! Take care of yourselves, and decide how much you can take, but also - to the ones whose survivors are in an advanced stage of recovery - please throw the rest of us a lifeline and tell us how it happened for you and yours, how we can help our survivor to open up to us so that recovery can advance and be possible for us also.

_________________________
Brokenhearted

It were better for him that a millstone were hanged around his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.
Luke 17:2

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#238618 - 07/17/08 02:45 AM Re: Toughest part(s) for a survivor's spouse/partner? [Re: Brokenhearted]
dangal Offline
New Here

Registered: 02/09/08
Posts: 222
Loc: seattle area
Brokenhearted:
I'm so sorry this is all going on, for you and all of the gals on here. Hard to know so much unnecessary pain is going on.

Honestly what happened was his step brother told me that my husband had been abused. Now I've always had my suspicions but hubby always denied and got downright angry if I brought the abuser up at all (he's a friend of his family) fell into a real good deep denial.

I found this out after months of therapy, anger management classes, meds, and whatever else for my husband anger issues. Most of which he blamed on me being a horrible wife, lousy person, everything my fault, I made him mad, I was the reason he was nuts, he didn't feel like this towards anyone else....
I had one foot out the door and told his step brother I was probably leaving. That is when he told me.

I told my husband what I had been told, he flipped, no no no, never happened. When really crazy. I dropped it for a few days, brought it back up, flipped out again. This went on for weeks. The final time I tried to talk to him I remember having to be down the stairs while he was up the stairs because he was soooo enraged at me for bringing it up. I had to talk to him up the stairs...

When he finally calmed down I sat by him and stopped expecting him to "admit" anything. I just told him how sorry I was. How horrible I felt and how much I wanted to take all that pain away. I told him I wished I had known and I was trying to figure out why he had kept this from me...he said in a quiet little voice "maybe I didn't know how"

We went back to therapy, this time with the knowledge of what was really causing his anger. We had a rough rough few months, I was angry at him for keeping this from me, yet I was trying to be as loving and supportive as possible and he would get angry at me for making him deal with it and for wanting him to keep moving forward with getting help.

We've had long talks about feelings but he's not really gotten mad or sad yet, scares me because I know it's in there and it's got to come out for him to heal...he's not giving details, which is fine, but I do know he's got to talk to someone about these things sometime. He's ashamed more then anything.

Now the angry I think between us has really deflated. He's not perfect, nor am I but we are working together. Therapy is the key. Having someone to tell each of us what we might be doing that is not helping the situation is critical.

I just asked hubby what it was that made him really get with the program so to speak and he said that number one I knew now and there was no going back, and secondly he was tired of living that way, he wanted to be more positive and to have a better life.....have your hubby read some of this, if he's able without getting upset.

Good luck dear! Chin up. I'm proud of you and all the work you are doing for YOU...it's important. You are important.

_________________________
~Jen~
Life is to short to blend in

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#238632 - 07/17/08 08:07 AM Re: Toughest part(s) for a survivor's spouse/partner? [Re: Brokenhearted]
LittleMiss Offline


Registered: 07/02/08
Posts: 66
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Brokenhearted
And he won't seek help either, even though he has admitted to me that he's thought of suicide now and then! I've told him he needs to take care of himself, that he can be treated so he won't hurt so much, etc. He won't talk about his abuse, just says he's depressed and then he starts looking for something external to "make it better," like buying something or a new this or that, or a different this or that, on and on. "Maybe I should work out more," you name it. We recently relocated for his new job. He thought what he needed was a new job and new different city to live in. It didn't change anything.


I understand that exactly. We've lived in 8 different places in 7 years. Sometimes we just move within the city we live in. He works out like a mad man. etc etc. Suicidal thoughts, depression, and, of course, he won't seek help.

Thanks for the support NYDaisy. I need it. I appreciate it.

Maybe the hardest part was thinking all this time, that I was alone in this insanity. I thought - geez, there is no one, NO ONE, out there that is in this situation, that walks this tight rope, that smiles anyway - because if she doesn't - HIS world falls apart. I just felt so alone. Our life was a mess, and the whole world thought we were perfect - it was a lot of pressure.

I don't want to leave. He is making me. But he keeps saying "I love you", he keeps saying "we don't know how this will work out". Maybe the hardest part is that this will never NEVER be over for me. Family thinks that if we get a divorce, then it is OVER. For me its not. For me I keep HOPING. They don't have a clue.

And ya'know what else? There is this teeny tiny little flicker inside me that is kinda looking forward to living in my own place and taking care of me. Most of the time, I feel overwhelming anxiety and sadness that this is 'ending', but there is the smallest part that doesn't. MAYBE that is the hardest part.



Edited by LittleMiss (07/17/08 08:08 AM)
_________________________
LittleMiss

The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.

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#238681 - 07/17/08 05:51 PM Re: Toughest part(s) for a survivor's spouse/partner? [Re: LittleMiss]
indygal Offline
Member

Registered: 06/22/06
Posts: 439
toughest part?

maybe it was one of the clinchers for me that ended us - that no matter what he just didn't have joy in life - no joy, no real happiness.

I love life, with all its dirt and grime and struggle and challenge - I complain and moan, whine and protest - but at the end of each day I'm happily exhausted and will get up the next morning and welcome the sunshine or rain - which ever. I love life, I love myself.

Yes, it's hard when someone doesn't empathize, of course. But for me at least, more than anything else, any partner of mine needs to share the joy and love with me. That's just as important, IMO. It's not that he was never happy, he was, clearly he was a lot when we were together. But he didn't have that unidentifiable JOY of life, of living that comes from recognizing how mortal and small and insignificant we ALL are in the general scheme of things. I think to him, my joy was trivial and insincere, which to me was hurtful and negative.

In the end, we all want to be happy, and I strive very hard for happiness in my life. He didn't and doesn't. He only copes. It's hard to explain but maybe some of you understand.

Indy

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

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#238693 - 07/17/08 07:26 PM Re: Toughest part(s) for a survivor's spouse/partner? [Re: LittleMiss]
Abigale Offline


Registered: 07/16/08
Posts: 28
Loc: Northern NJ
My husband is going for counciling, but has horrible mood swings. I am trying to get him to understand that we all love him so much, we don't judge him. He is no less of a man. I know he has to work this out in his own head. He doesn't want to tell his family. I think they need to know. Maybe when the time is right.
Thank you for all your kind word and wisdom on this site. I just came here for the first time yesterday.


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#238708 - 07/17/08 08:36 PM Re: Toughest part(s) for a survivor's spouse/partner? [Re: heismyworld]
Liv2124 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 159
Loc: New Jersey
Dear heismyworld,
The toughest parts of knowing about the csa?

That I'm the only one he chose to tell because I was "in" before he shut down completely.

That I can't touch him, even casually, because someone else used that against him.

That he doesn't trust me because someone else betrayed a similar trust.

That he won't get professional help, when it's his ONLY way out of this.

That I have to let go when all I want is to spend the rest of my life with him.

Always,
Liv


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#238853 - 07/18/08 09:49 PM Re: Toughest part(s) for a survivor's spouse/partn [Re: Junefriday]
heismyworld Offline
New Here

Registered: 07/31/07
Posts: 25
Spouses are victims too--I've read it and I believe it. We want our spouses to heal, and we need to heal too. Our spouses need counseling, and so do we.

I trust if you haven't tried counseling for both of you that you will. Or if you've tried, try again. You both are worth it.

Take care.


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#238855 - 07/18/08 09:51 PM Re: Toughest part(s) for a survivor's spouse/partn [Re: heismyworld]
heismyworld Offline
New Here

Registered: 07/31/07
Posts: 25
Junefriday,
I meant for the reply above to go directly under your post, but it didn't work that way. I'm still reading the others!


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#238858 - 07/18/08 09:59 PM Re: Toughest part(s) for a survivor's spouse/partn [Re: heismyworld]
heismyworld Offline
New Here

Registered: 07/31/07
Posts: 25
I hope sharing and reading other posts helped us all. We are doing well and I know that is by the grace of God, his-my-our strength, and Christian counseling.

Spouses are victims too so we need to take care of ourselves so we can be okay and help him be okay--and family too.

I will pray for all of you.


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#240958 - 07/29/08 10:47 AM Re: Toughest part(s) for a survivor's spouse/partner? [Re: heismyworld]
smiling wife Offline


Registered: 07/29/08
Posts: 1
OK - my first post. I found this place last week. My MS husband is in therapy. It's all a bit overwhelming and I have no one to talk to about it, and that's the beauty of the internet - connection with like-minded people. We have been married for 13 years and have a wonderful 7 year old son who inspires us and keeps us moving ahead. I am the supporter of the family and get pretty exhausted about it all sometimes. We moved across the country last year and don't have many good friends here, but it's not the kind of thing you tell people anyway. I have to keep up a front that we are fine, and it's coming together for us. I believe it will, but would like the magic of knowing WHEN! I may find a therapist when I go back to work next week - I will be on a business trip this week. Anyway, It's nice to be able to post here and I know it will help.
Peace and blessings to all,
Smiling Wife


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#240968 - 07/29/08 11:25 AM Re: Toughest part(s) for a survivor's spouse/partner? [Re: smiling wife]
NY Daisy Offline
New Here

Registered: 02/29/08
Posts: 183
Welcome smiling wife, It does help alot, being here with people who know what you are going through. getting back into therapy for yourself is always a good idea. I see one on my own and it is the best decision I made. I can bounce off all my thoughts to her, and she never judges.

It sounds like you are committed to making your relationship work, it is hard, it will go back and forth many times, there is never one right answer, only you and your H will know, "WHEN" you'll know, you just can't rush it. When it does happen I believe it will be worth it. I'll tell you when we get there. LOL

warmly, NYDAISY


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#241703 - 08/01/08 09:31 AM Re: Toughest part(s) for a survivor's spouse/partn [Re: NY Daisy]
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus
MaleSurvivor<

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
Smiling Wife, welcome to MS.

Quote:
I believe it will, but would like the magic of knowing WHEN!


Me too! Sadly, there's no graduation day on the calendar and the curriculum is all over the map. Some of the courses are only for the survivor with his tutor (T) and others including the class (family/partner). My feeling is that as long as they stay in school, it's a victory!

I hope you do set up a T for yourself, it's a priceless release.

ROCK ON........Trish

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

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#253704 - 10/08/08 07:17 PM Re: Toughest part(s) for a survivor's spouse/partner? [Re: LittleMiss]
loc Offline


Registered: 10/03/08
Posts: 12
I'm very new to this site and only recently started to connect H's self destructive behavior to his abuse as a child.I feel incredibly sad for him and for me because it's tearing us apart. I am fearful that on one of his binges he will be physically hurt and that I will get "the call", I feel that what he has told me is only the tip of the iceberg and that he is unable to be honest about anything. I struggle with wanting him to to leave and wanting him to stay. I feel unable to help him.


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#255039 - 10/14/08 12:47 AM Re: Toughest part(s) for a survivor's spouse/partner? [Re: loc]
cinaflower Offline


Registered: 10/13/08
Posts: 14
I've been married 21 years to my survivor. I do want to make it work, it's been difficult. He's been distant and cold, wierd and defensive. He makes excuses constantly and tries to make me feel like his not being there for me is somehow my fault because my expectations for life are too high. He acts like he doesn't want me, doesn't see me when I'm right in front of him. When I'm hurting and need him he's not there for me- he tries sometimes when he can and he's a kind and gentle man but he just doesn't get it- he doesn't see how he goes away and that it's all he can do to just make it through the day- let alone try to act compassionate or interested in me. He's never really wanted much sex, I've felt rejected our whole marriage. And then there's the times he tries and it takes so long and he's not there with me in spirit and he give up or loses interest- or the times when only kinky stuff works. And then there's the many many weeks and days when he'd just rather go to sleep than fool with me or try to find the energy to have sex. All the years I knew that something wasn't right with him, I knew he was struggling- I didn't trust him because I knew he wasn't being honest with me or himself- that he couldn't enjoy his life, couldn't stand up for himself, couldn't make his life what he wanted- he let it all just happen to him- and every time he got taken advantage of, more shame developed- whether it's some lady at the mall trying to sell him lotion, some guy working on our house, a homeless man asking for money, his dad who won't give him a raise or treat him with respect at work- the things he thinks he let happen to him- it keeps telling him that he's not good enough. I try so hard to pump him up but I never was a cheerleader type.
I just put it all together. The abuse and the way he is. He mentioned it many years ago like it was no big deal, something wierd that happened. I didn't realize how devastating it is- he told me it wasn't a big deal and I believed him- but I read something and it opened my eyes and I know this is the reason he can't let himself be really happy, why he can't spend any of his energy working on our marriage when he can barely function as it is. I understand now. I feel so bad for that little boy- but I'm tired of being married to a child and having one more person to take care of. I need him to deal with this and grow up- I need him to have hope that he deserves to be happy. I will be here to help him but I need him to face it.


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#255119 - 10/14/08 03:08 PM Re: Toughest part(s) for a survivor's spouse/partner? [Re: cinaflower]
sweet-n-sour Offline
Member

Registered: 10/03/06
Posts: 409
Loc: chicago
I'm really hesitant to not put a "whammy" on how far my husband and I have come. I believe the toughest part was in the very beginning, when my husband first disclosed. He had carried this huge secret for the twenty years that I knew him and it just all felt as if as much as I believed we were connected, I really didn't know him at all. Once we worked through some very difficult issues pertaining to our relationship, we seem to be in a much more stable place present day. After peeling back the layers of confusion, he still is the man that I chose to spend my life with so many years ago, he is still my Mr. Wonderful.
The thing that I learned was that it took letting go of what was wrong and to place more focus on what was right with him and with us...and there was/is a lot that is really good. I realized that positive grows positive and negative only keeps a person focused on the unfavorable.
With that said, are there still issues he needs to address? Probably, but his healing process is his alone and it is not my place to go there. I also believe that no matter who a person is with there are going to be quirks and I know that I have my share of such quirks that he has been kind enough to overlook as well. Hey, maybe my H and I are a perfect match after all. smile
S-n-S

_________________________
"As long as he continues to try, I will meet him in that determination and commitment."

cm 2007

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#255154 - 10/14/08 04:58 PM Re: Toughest part(s) for a survivor's spouse/partner? [Re: sweet-n-sour]
NY Daisy Offline
New Here

Registered: 02/29/08
Posts: 183
Dear Cinaflower,

You must tread very lightly. If your H is not ready to deal, your pushing him will only alienate him. Of course this is not easy. now that you have put 2 & 2 together, you want to work it all out and move foward as a couple, it just will not happen until he is ready. Even then it might not have the results you are hoping for. He is very lucky to have your support, love and understanding, just know he may not always appreciate it.

This is a hard, hard road. You will take many steps foward, and then twice as many back. I have known for 14 years, my H says he is completely over everything, and no longer wants to discuss it. He has been to therapy a couple of times, we have been to therapy together, and just when I think we are back on track, he throws another curve ball, and I am left dazed and confused, because I never see it coming until it has hit me right smack in the head.

Good luck with it all, we are here for you.

Warmly, NYDAISY


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#255160 - 10/14/08 05:07 PM Re: Toughest part(s) for a survivor's spouse/partner? [Re: NY Daisy]
NY Daisy Offline
New Here

Registered: 02/29/08
Posts: 183
SNS,

I am so happy for you. you were very kind to me when I first came here, and it is nice to see that things are going well for you.

I wish you continued progress, and much happiness, NYDAISY


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#255170 - 10/14/08 05:49 PM Re: Toughest part(s) for a survivor's spouse/partner? [Re: NY Daisy]
cinaflower Offline


Registered: 10/13/08
Posts: 14
Thanks for your advice. I'm really at a loss right now. I feel crazy- and I haven't even talked to him yet. It really just all hit me in the head the last two or three days- how much this has affected our lives and everything I couldn't forgive in him- his distance, his weakness, his exhaustion, his disinterest, his not wanting me, all the excuses and things we couldn't resolve- the way he is with our kids and his family and other people. He victimizes himself continually by being a doormat to everyone but me. But it has a reason now- I understand now and I feel closer to him and more compassionate and understanding than I ever have- and I see how I inadvertantly made him feel worse about himself when I said I needed better for myself. I will be gentle, I will be patient, I will help him and be there for him. I made an appointment with a therapist finally. If he won't go, I will. I'm not sure I can afford it- but I don't know if I'll be sane without it.


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#255232 - 10/14/08 09:01 PM Re: Toughest part(s) for a survivor's spouse/partner? [Re: NY Daisy]
kolisha54 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/02/03
Posts: 475
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
Originally Posted By: NY Daisy


just when I think we are back on track, he throws another curve ball, and I am left dazed and confused, because I never see it coming until it has hit me right smack in the head.


Thanks so much for the insight! I am going through this right now & it really helps to know I am not alone! My Survivor has also made great amazing breathtaking progress - so every time things get better, my soft & willing heart wills me to believe we have broken the spiral.... well, not exactly. And it always does feel like a smack in the head.

_________________________
If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now... when? --Hillel

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#255417 - 10/15/08 02:27 PM Re: Toughest part(s) for a survivor's spouse/partner? [Re: LittleMiss]
Olive Offline
New Here

Registered: 01/01/08
Posts: 16
Loc: New Jersey

The hardest part for me is having the knowledge of how the abuse affects a survivor, recognizing why he is saying what he is saying and why he is behaving or reacting the way he is, and knowing what steps need to be taken to begin the process of healing.....

and he has no clue.


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#255456 - 10/15/08 05:30 PM Re: Toughest part(s) for a survivor's spouse/partner? [Re: Olive]
NY Daisy Offline
New Here

Registered: 02/29/08
Posts: 183
Kolisha,
It really does help to know that we are not alone. Before I found this sight, I really started to question my sanity, I started thinking that maybe it was me. Friends and family saw what I saw, but HE SAW WHAT HE SAW, everyone else was nuts, He had many convincing arguments, and I felt either I was nuts or that I was being gaslighted.

Olive,
my H still does not think this affects anyone, but him. He, even after several rounds of therapy, is still clueless.

Warmly, NYDAISY


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#255499 - 10/15/08 08:07 PM Re: Toughest part(s) for a survivor's spouse/partner? [Re: NY Daisy]
kolisha54 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/02/03
Posts: 475
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
Oh my goodness! I was just thinking about the gaslighting technique! It's uncanny that you should bring it up!

I don't want to hijack this thread, so please let me know if I should start another one... I'd like to get everyone's thoughts about how to respond when we believe we are being provoked.
Don't know about the rest of you, but I have discovered that I don't make a very good victim - even a secondary victim once removed. But NOT to respond to his silent treatment gets me so frustrated. On the other hand, if I just let it go, I feel like I'm condoning it.

Any thoughts? How can I communicate this lovingly to him?

_________________________
If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now... when? --Hillel

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#255619 - 10/16/08 01:28 PM Re: Toughest part(s) for a survivor's spouse/partner? [Re: kolisha54]
NY Daisy Offline
New Here

Registered: 02/29/08
Posts: 183
ESP, girl, ESP. LOL.

How can you communicate this lovingly to him, hmmmmmm........ is that even possible? I can put mt thought on an icecream sundae with whip cream, nuts and a cherry, and if it is not what he wants to hear, well then I am just a condesending witch.

For the most part, with therapy, I have learned not to take the bait. I do not feed into it. I do not think it is condoning the bad behavior if you do not react to it. Alot of times I will just explain to him, how I did not appreciate his behavior, if he cannot except that oh well!

Of course this does not always work. I find that sometimes he will say something, purposely to hurt me, something that he has used before, and it triggers me, and then I feel all the pain he has caused me come rushing back, and it is scary. I think I have PTSD now. I am going to discuss it with my T. Is this even possible? We can be going along great, and then BAM!!!!!

Boy, this is so darn hard.

Did I even help you? I think now I hijacked the thread.


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#255695 - 10/16/08 09:48 PM Re: Toughest part(s) for a survivor's spouse/partner? [Re: NY Daisy]
kolisha54 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/02/03
Posts: 475
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
People who are subjected to sustained emotional abuse can, actually, begin to experience symptoms that are similar to PTSD, so YES please talk to your T about this!

I think in the past I was very strident in my reactions to the provoking behaviors (& have you noticed how they also work in tandem with the gaslighting???? THAT is enough to convince you that you are REALLY crazy!) But now, I just remember that when I act in the heat of my anger, it just ratchets up the drama & gives the Demons more power than they deserve.

Just to update - I think I did find a way to communicate in a subtle, loving manner to him without becoming a doormat or a victim - and I feel like a much better person for it. I am going to try to maintain my dignity & not get pushed into re-creating the abuse he suffered - because that's what the provocations are designed to do: feeling loved is just too threatening, so by baiting us into becoming condescending witches, we are actually creating a familiar dynamic for them, one that they know how to protect themselves from. If we are acting shrewish, abusive, & angry - they don't have to be vulnerable to our tenderness. Tenderness always lead to betrayal & pain in the past, so how can they risk it with us?

And yes - you have helped me a lot! I feel a lot less lonely! Thanks!!!

_________________________
If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now... when? --Hillel

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#255773 - 10/17/08 11:38 AM Re: Toughest part(s) for a survivor's spouse/partner? [Re: kolisha54]
NY Daisy Offline
New Here

Registered: 02/29/08
Posts: 183
Is this why he keeps telling me I am just like his shrew of a Mother? LOL

you are right on the money Kolisha - Thanks!

Warmly, NYDAISY


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#255986 - 10/18/08 08:59 AM Re: Toughest part(s) for a survivor's spouse/partner? [Re: NY Daisy]
Olive Offline
New Here

Registered: 01/01/08
Posts: 16
Loc: New Jersey
NY Daisy,
Now that you've officially high jacked the thread, you've brought up a very interesting topic...

I just listen to him rant and rave, trying to explain or rationalize whatever he's upset about never seems to work, just escalates him, and when he's done, I get the silent treatment for days. Once he has an idea in his head, I can't make him see any other point of view. Then I get the ol "Oh I'm bad guy, it's always my fault, nobody else does anything wrong..." crap.

Sooo, I'd love to see if anyone has had success in "deescalating" a rant.

A fellow shrew,
Olive


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#255989 - 10/18/08 09:16 AM Re: Toughest part(s) for a survivor's spouse/partner? [Re: Olive]
kolisha54 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/02/03
Posts: 475
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
Let's start another thread, Shrewish Sisters???

_________________________
If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now... when? --Hillel

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#256196 - 10/18/08 09:47 PM Re: Toughest part(s) for a survivor's spouse/partner? [Re: kolisha54]
cinaflower Offline


Registered: 10/13/08
Posts: 14
What is gaslighting?


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#256223 - 10/19/08 01:45 AM Re: Toughest part(s) for a survivor's spouse/partner? [Re: cinaflower]
coaster fan Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 04/17/07
Posts: 11

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaslighting
HTH
Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse. It involves an increasing frequency of systematically withholding factual information from, and/or providing false information to the subject, having the gradual effect of making the victim anxious, confused, and less able to trust his or her own memory and perception. A variation of gaslighting, used as a form of harassment, is to subtly alter aspects of a victim's environment, thereby upsetting his or her peace of mind, sense of security, etc.
The term was coined from the 1940 film Gaslight and its 1944 remake in which changes in gas light levels are experienced several times by the main character. The classic example in the film is the character Gregory using the gas lamps in the attic, causing the rest of the lamps in the house to dim slightly; when Paula comments on the lights' dimming, she is told she is imagining things. Paula believes herself alone in the house when the dimming occurs, unaware that Gregory has entered the attic from the house next door. The sinister interpretation of the change in light levels is part of a larger pattern of deception to which the character Paula is subjected.
This technique is also supposed to have been used by the Manson Family during their "creepy crawler" burglaries during which nothing was stolen, but furniture in the house was rearranged.


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