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#356387 - 03/13/11 10:53 AM Re: Question to survivors about stress and distancing [Re: worldscentre]
eyesforward Offline


Registered: 03/13/11
Posts: 92
Loc: Ontario
sally123
Thank you so much for starting this thread. Much of this has rung true for me. It does feel something (not good, but better?) to know I'm not alone either. We live together and plan to marry in the next 12-18 months.

There are times when my partner withdraws -- usually when there is something going on in his life where he needs to speak up or stand up for himself. I can only imagine this is especially painful for him when he needs to stand up for himself with me, the woman he loves.

Given his childhood experience -- thinking that as a 10-year-old boy, he had to bear the abuse by himself and tell no one under threat of further harm to himself or his family -- withdrawing makes *perfect* sense.

Knowing all this doesn't make it any less frustrating for me most of the time. Occasionally I respond to his withdrawal in a way that works. It seems the best combination has been compassion, steadfastness and humor.

Example: Withdrawals using involve him telling me he's leaving me because I should find someone better. I say "I get to choose who I want to be with. That's not your decision. Do you want to leave me? If *you* want to leave me because you'd rather be somewhere else on your own or with someone else, I'll support you." We usually circle back and forth on that a few times, then he tells me "You're crazy." Then I'll sing some song loudly, goofily and off-key. One that fits is Billy Joel's song "You May be Right" -- Lyrics of the chorus:
You may be right, I may be crazy, and I just may be the lunatic you're looking for. Turn out the light, Don't try to save me. You may be wrong for all I know, But you may be right.

(showing my age by being able to sing and quote that grin)

That said, I could have anything in this relationship, I'd *really* *really* like to support him to love the little boy who did the best a 10-year-old could do to get himself through. And, that's up to him.

So, in the meantime, I get to stretch my patience and compassion, and be creative in finding ways to
- connect
- be loving
- expand my understanding of my frustrations and resolve them effectively
- define my boundaries in the relationship and gently, lovingly communicate them.

And that's a rich, rich field -- for me at least. wink



Edited by eyesforward (03/13/11 11:22 AM)
Edit Reason: missed the MAJOR growth opportunity ;)

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#356465 - 03/13/11 09:41 PM Re: Question to survivors about stress and distancing [Re: eyesforward]
sally123 Offline


Registered: 11/29/10
Posts: 54
Eyesforward, thank you for your insight... I agree! I keep working on me... Ugh! I get frustrated with myself because I find myself over thinking lately,(trigger? Porn use? Distance? Me?) I have to stop driving myself crazy...all this maybe in an attempt to control/not hurt...this relationship is like self growth boot camp... I am grateful for this, but damn, it's been hard!! I continue to grow and hope to have your peace and wisdom. smile


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#356469 - 03/13/11 09:51 PM Re: Question to survivors about stress and distancing [Re: sally123]
eyesforward Offline


Registered: 03/13/11
Posts: 92
Loc: Ontario
Sally -- I have *moments* of peace and wisdom, as well as moments of teeth-grinding, hair-pulling frustration, and moments of despair "will we ever get through this?" I'm no saint. blush

One of the things I try to remember is that I'm choosing to be with him. I know that if I chose to be with another man, there would be some other issue or set of issues to deal with, maybe not his CSA, but there would be something. I don't think it would be better, just different. So I stay and love as imperfectly as I do and get to see glimmers of him loving himself. That's worth it.



Edited by eyesforward (03/14/11 09:26 PM)

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#356473 - 03/13/11 10:07 PM Re: Question to survivors about stress and distancing [Re: eyesforward]
sally123 Offline


Registered: 11/29/10
Posts: 54
You are very right...everyone has issues... It is so great to have this forum and know that I'm not alone and others understand... It's an amazing gift.


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#356537 - 03/14/11 01:42 PM Re: Question to survivors about stress and distancing [Re: sally123]
gussie Offline


Registered: 03/13/11
Posts: 4
Loc: Alabama
It IS an amazing gift indeed


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#356552 - 03/14/11 05:58 PM Re: Question to survivors about stress and distancing [Re: gussie]
aloved1 Offline


Registered: 02/22/11
Posts: 65
Loc: Texas
Yes, Sally, I agree...thank you for starting this thread! Before finding this site, and a little earlier into my boyfriend's and I's relationship, I thought I was crazy! On the one hand, I saw such a caring, loving, affectionate man. On the other hand, I saw someone who became withdrawn, pushing me so far away that I felt like i didn't know him at times. Eyesforward, I get what you're saying! It is a journey, and when you see strides taken, even baby steps, it is so rewarding. When you see someone you care about so much, who was so hurt at one time that it hurts you as well, WANT to break free of his chains, there is such a JOY and PRIDE in seeing that. We have a ways to go, no doubt. We are 4 years into our journey, and man oh man, it has been a tough one. But he told me so early and never denied that he didn't have "issues" or that it would even affect me, and that if I wanted to walk, he'd understand. But when you are blessed enough to see that person inside...that man who just wants to reconnect in a healthy way with that little boy...geez, I'm getting emotional just as I write this. Ladies, hang in there. We are a unique family and I am so grateful for this site and for getting to correspond with you all. Stay blessed!


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#356698 - 03/15/11 09:30 PM Re: Question to survivors about stress and distancing [Re: aloved1]
sally123 Offline


Registered: 11/29/10
Posts: 54
Aloved, I have felt pretty crazy lately... I think he triggers my hard wired response to run... but i cant do it...so I loop around in my own head, confusion...not fun. I popped out of my depression today felt ridiculous for feeling so low. It's an interesting dance. My therapist keeps asking, can you deal, what do you want?? I would normally agree with this thinking, but I feel like what is going on can not really judged like that... This is a relationship that no one can really understand, with exception of everyone here. I think that definitely adds to the anxiety... my best friend has NO idea what i'm going through... puts distance between us and adds more sadness and loneliness to mine. Ugh! i love him, and he is working very hard... I wish I could open him up so he could feel all the love I could give him. (i know he has to do work, but fun to smile at his receiving my love). The distance is hard when you can see and feel everything that you want/love/need dangled in front of your fingers, only to hide, and I really wish that my new MS friends were all around me, but ah... isn't the lesson that I am here for myself smile... and that what we need is inside all of us... wishing everyone peace tonight


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#356770 - 03/16/11 02:59 PM Re: Question to survivors about stress and distancing [Re: sally123]
aloved1 Offline


Registered: 02/22/11
Posts: 65
Loc: Texas
Sally123, forgive me if you have already disclosed this information. But if you don't mind me asking...how long have you two been together and how early on into the relationship did he tell you about his CSA? The reason I ask is because while it does feel like things have gotten better in time...albeit they've been tiny baby steps...there was a time I felt JUST like you describe yourself in your last entry. I, too, was at a point of seeing a therapist for MYSELF! Again, the only word to describe it is crazy! But one thing that took me a long while to understand and break myself of was the backing off thing. Back then, I would ask so many questions and try to "talk" him out of his mood, when all I was doing was backing him further into a corner. I totally understand that now. As hard as it is, all we can do is back off, but let them know we are still here for them. And you right. It's not like I could go to any of my friends and say, well we are going through this again because my boyfriend was such and such at a young age, etc. It just doesn't work that way. For one thing, they have confided in US! And we are to carry that as far as they want and not any further. Secondly, if no one has been there, it is just too hard for them to understand. Too many people want to say "snap out of it" and it just doesn't work that way. Sally, number one rule for loved ones...take care of YOURSELF! Don't lose yourself in this. But if you truly love him and if he is indeed working hard, stand by him. I have told myself that no matter how I am in my boyfriend's life, friend or girlfriend, I have become a part of this and I will always be here to support him, as long as he is trying smile Thank you for being here, Sally. I know we wish things were different, and in all honesty, wish that we didn't even know this site existed. But we are here, on this journey, for whatever reason. I wish you peace as well!!


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#356794 - 03/16/11 07:57 PM Re: Question to survivors about stress and distancing [Re: aloved1]
sally123 Offline


Registered: 11/29/10
Posts: 54
Aloved, thank you so much!! We've been together for over 1.5 years. around 11 months I found out he was abused after I discovered the porn addiction and said I would leave if he didn't go to therapy. I knew the porn was covering pain. So things started getting better, I worked on me being patient/not pushing (MS has helped answer so many questions!!) I guess the recent discovery of porn (relapse) has really kicked my more 'critical' voice to scream 'RUN, I can't believe your still here...ur an idiot...blah blah" I have been divorced for 4 years in very abusive man with narcissistic personality disorder and I started my own therapy at that time. I have been very careful to not forget about myself, and validate my own needs (I'm still working). So you are so right, I have to watch that I don't think more about him than me, and that is a life lesson for me. As you know, communicating my needs is so hard when for the most part is really doing the best he can. He is absolutely the man I want to spend my life with. I'm getting older (late thirties) and really want to have children. Its not a fair pressure to put on this situation, but it is my reality. I want it all smile my therapist wonders that with my own painful childhood and past that his issues may always trigger me and just be to hard. I'm not ready to quit...so to everyone here I hope I'm not a horrible broken record..sorry if I am. I hear all of you and feel ur support...thank you!!!!


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#356839 - 03/17/11 04:17 AM Re: Question to survivors about stress and distancing [Re: sally123]
worldscentre Offline


Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 36
Loc: Ireland
Hi, just reading the last few posts and can't believe how similar some of the situations are to my own.

aloved1, you said you are willing to offer support as a friend or girlfriend. How did you get to that place? I'm experiencing all kinds of emotions and even though I offer my support if it comes to us just being friends I don't know if I can be there. He has backed away because he needs space, his T kind of broke up with me! But I want us to find a way back.

Sally, I too am in my 30's and want children, etc. So while aiming for what I want I'm trying not to put pressure on him, but I'm sure he knows the things I want.

At the moment I don't get to see his steps forward or his breakthroughs, so it feels like I was the vessel. He disclosed, he hit a wall and started T and I was pushed away. I don't even have words right now, I can't explain the feeling. Outside of the abuse issues I have the usual relationship fears, will he find someone else, does he still love me, etc. But I feel I can't acknowledge those because its insignificant compared to the other stuff. It's like I'm dealing with two different relationships. I don't even know if I'm making sense.


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