In the week I was away, I discovered so much.
I've always known Hubs avoids via work and food. The internet argument resulted in his rage. Three days later, we sat down and talked, and I owned my own poor approach (and my own CSA having been triggered by his avoidance). I also stated in no uncertain terms that I remembered him telling me that his AA sponsor and therapist both had told him that threatening my security by raging that he was kicking me out was beyond unacceptable. Even though I would ultimately go to a shelter, I am prepared to leave if he does it again. No more blaming my words, as the three times he has raged with that threat were all under different "provocations" or "attacks" from me, two of which didn't have to do with sexual acting out issues. My own family is non-supportive, as my own parents are all kinds of triggered and wanting me to protect and care-take them this holiday season, as well.
Hubs is also near shutdown, I think: the over-work, barely participating in the family, non-existent sex life...all these things are common, I know, and completely in line with affects of the abuse. But he will not let me in. I'm a representation of the happy life, a comfort to have around. That hurts. I also know it provides an excuse for him to stay avoidant, and I'm sad for him. (ETA: he totally took over an ARD meeting for one of our sons yesterday, and I when I thanked him for sharing after got home, I also told him I was uncomfortable with the meeting's volume level and was afraid to interrupt him to say more than I did. He shut down again and said he just won't go next time. *sigh*)
My AA sponsor is of the "get over it" camp and reveals little-to-nothing about her own marriage or experience, which is needed in a sponsor/sponsee relationship. (ETA: the revealing is needed, not the poor attitude.) I asked a long-time friend to be my new sponsor last night, and she said yes. She's gentle, yet deeply committed to recovery without sarcasm, she's open about herself, too. I'm taking the risk and letting another woman in instead of choosing "hardasses" to be in my life. I'm choosing gentleness!
I have been given very few tools via therapy. I'm angry about that. I had to go online to find basic sensory grounding tools (using scent, touch, observation to return to and stay in the present). These are tools I feel my therapists should have addressed individually and in the group I'm in that's for survivors who are also partners. (ETA: my own recovery began in 2007.) I'm finding that talking isn't the only thing I need, nor is journaling; I need concrete action-based solution ideas.) I'm finding that just because the local DV counseling center offers programs doesn't mean they're strong programs. How can I ask for something I don't know I should be asking for? Ya know? So I'm getting a job so I can pay for clothes for the kids and better therapy for me, while saving $ to move (or have a reserve, should Hubs begin moving along in his healing instead of remaining avoidant and not breaking his cycle.)
So that's what I see. I have a few positive actions I'm taking. It's a start to get back into loving me and breaking the caretaker apron strings that bind Hubs to me. I can walk next to him, but only when mutual respect exists. So I'm doing my part to respect me first.
I still struggle with daily depression, and with anger that I've "arranged" the dynamic of "Airmid's the go-to for support and caring" in my family. My mother isn't speaking to me because I declined to "help" her with one of her over-commitments this coming weekend, and I'm almost okay with that. Her gifts generally arrive with strings attached, or with shaming, and I'm not welcoming that into my life right now. My kids will arrive home from school to find new chore charts and gaming limitations; it's time they become more involved in maintaining the home in which they live, too. (They did agree to this this morning, as well. I'm proud of them!) Hubs' belongings that he expects me to follow behind and clean up after him will now be piled daily onto his desk. It's not my job to mother him. I'll gladly care for him and walk with him on this journey, but I weaken me if I carry him.
How have you other supporters drwan boundaries without them coming across as ultimatums? growing up, ultimatums (or total acquiexcence) were all I knew, so this is new turf for me. I'm not concerned with "what will others think" or "at this time of year? You're so mean to do that!" I just want to make sure my motives are fair, loving and allow Hubs to do for himself what I have been doing.
How do you all approach you spouses when they are in complete shutdown? I thought I had been giving him space to heal, when in fact, I gave him space to stay sick by not gently confronting some of his "stay sick" behaviors. That's a fine line. What has worked for you?
(ETA)Sometimes I need to bring up concerns or behaviors of his that (in the case of the school meeting) affect me and others. How do I do that without being the bad guy?
Being true to myself is vital, regardless of the timing for others. As long as I've been over-caretaking and carrying them, it's shocking to the people around me to see me saying "no", for me to ask for help, for me to take action and not feel sorry for myself. They're angry.