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#460863 - 02/16/14 01:17 PM Asking imput--how can I grow up?
fhorns Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/10/02
Posts: 680
Hi guys and gals.

I'm here telling on myself, for the truth, though painful, is hurting me. I ask here, publicly, for imput on my relationship with my wife. We've been separated almost 3 years now, and my (almost) daily attempts have.....ouch....not moved her. The one good sign is she's not filed for divorce yet.

I married my wife 11 years ago. I came in with baggage, she did too (both of us had SA experiences), but I focused only on myself. I was here in MS those early days, feeling small and insecure, and....I treated her more like my mother than my wife. I expected her to be my emotional caretaker.........and she...ouch....complied. I knew something was wrong.....but she waited. She thought I'd be well someday.

However, her complying and handholding allowed and encouraged me to (hide) more. I found ways to escape (like a kid hiding) and she rarely stood up to me. I was in it for me, and her responsible mindset I used to my benefit. It's ugly. And it's the truth. I used her for that.

There are many other details, but that's at the core. She doesn't trust me, vocalizes that, and sees me as a child today. She's said the thought of having sex with a child icks her out, which makes sense. I rub her feet and legs almost every time I'm over. Little response, and this action of mine is frustrating me. Almost 3 years....

I wonder "should I let her go?" Nothing would have changed though. Hurt people hurt people, I've been hurt, she's been hurt.....but she's absolutely not agreed to any counseling of any sort. I've been in a marriage ministry these last 2 years, I've made headway,----though I've sabotaged it at times, allowing my resentment to surface and losing her trust.

I'm writing since I watched a movie this afternoon, and saw this unhealthy guy in it. He approached his lady in a needy, even demanding, way. And my wife has seen me do that too. She tells me months later, angry at first. But when I cross the line, she often hides her reaction, which helps nothing. She buries a lot of feelings, letting them out on Facebook and to friends.......

Finally, I'd like to admit I'm questioning myself since I have been needy. I've been aware of my codependency for years.........I've not changed much there---and THAT'S my ugly truth. Still codependent. Needy. Expecting her to love and validate me.

I'm in 12 step programs currently........I just seek hope.

I'll stop here now. I'm so used to having someone save me from my pain. (yuck)

(How do I grow up?)

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#460870 - 02/16/14 03:22 PM Re: Asking imput--how can I grow up? [Re: fhorns]
mmfan Offline


Registered: 09/25/11
Posts: 114
I'm glad you're in a 12 step program and taking an honest look at yourself. It's a painful and unpleasant look for most people, and takes courage.

Now comes the feedback part (because you asked). I do notice some childlike attitudes in your post. Now, there's no shame in it, you've been a wounded child. So I give this feedback with compassion and without judgement.

For instance a couple times you start admitting your own behavior, but then you follow it with her behavior, what she does that isn't helpful or healthy, etc. It's like you are just on the cusp of taking full ownership, but then you undermine the effort before it fully flowers.
I have NO doubt that she has her own issues (that goes without saying in any relationship) and it's good that you've analyzed the dance you two do, but to truly "grow up" you need to let HER stuff go, and focus on you. You are in charge of you, no more, and no less. Children blame others; adults take responsibility for themselves.

The 2nd thing I notice are your "daily"(your word) attempts to influence her, win her back. Your behavior sounds overly attentive and a little bit subservient, even....rubbing her feet for instance. I think a sign of growing up would be to stop seeking her approval. Stop trying to get a reaction from her or change the way she feels. Children seek approval from adults; adults find validation within.

So I suggest letting her have her feelings, even if that's disliking or mistrusting you, even if that's uncomfortable for you. It's her right. So let go of your need to get anything from her. Focus on you. Find something you're good at or enjoy, and take pride in learning to do it well. Connect with others who share your interests. Earn your own respect and BE that cool interesting guy that you would like to get to know better. Fill your life up with things that aren't her, until you truly don't need her. I do think it means "letting go" of her in a way. It's not giving up on a future with her; it's letting go of your emotional baggage.

Children depend heavily on 1 person to meet their needs; adults look to a variety of people, and ultimately themselves. And healthy adults choose romantic partners because they enhance their already full lives, not because they "need" them. I get the sense that your wife wants you to be a happy, full, fulfilled person, before she can see you as a partner and that sounds like a healthy goal to strive for.

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#460888 - 02/16/14 07:41 PM Re: Asking imput--how can I grow up? [Re: fhorns]
fhorns Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/10/02
Posts: 680
mmfan,

I'm chewing on words as I write......for your words were 100% accurate. I felt both shame and relief, for....it was truth. I shared this with my sponsor, and he smiled, agreeing with your message.

There's a lot of gold in your nuggets. I'm like "wow, truth", then "ouch! truth". So it is.

Thank you for pointing out my ways and pointing out possibilities for my change.



I thought of a story immediately after I'd read your reply. In the beginning of "Codependent No More", it tells of a woman going to a guru to learn everything she needs to know. He gave her a mound of books and a lot of alone time to study all she needed to know.

On a daily basis, he'd enter, ask her what she'd learned, and without hesitation, hit her with the big wooden cane he always carried. This went on for months.

One day, he entered, asked his question, received the normal remark, and went to strike his student. This day, however, she caught his cane in midair. She feared reprisal, but looking up, she saw him smiling.

"Congratulations. You've graduated!" She was stunned. He told her she'd never be able to learn everything she wanted to know, but.....she'd learned to stop the pain. That was ALL she needed in order to survive.

I can stop the pain in my life. It is a possibility.

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#460891 - 02/16/14 07:51 PM Re: Asking imput--how can I grow up? [Re: fhorns]
fhorns Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/10/02
Posts: 680
"Children seek approval from adults; adults find validation within."

"Children depend heavily on 1 person to meet their needs; adults look to a variety of people, and ultimately themselves."


These two statements are priceless. I do this, and it causes me pain, daily. I'm considering how I can (specifically) stop the pain. I can do this.


Edited by fhorns (02/16/14 07:52 PM)

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#460892 - 02/16/14 08:07 PM Re: Asking imput--how can I grow up? [Re: mmfan]
pufferfish Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6875
Loc: USA
Fhorns, that was a well written statement of the problem. I'm sure that many here in MS have similar problems and backgrounds.

And mmfan, I like your response very much.

And I have had similar problems to those of Fhorns. In my case I had huge amounts of abuse as a boy. I married with a sense of delight and with a vow to never let my hurt side loose. But it was like holding a tiger by the tail, it was bumping around to get loose. Then when I remembered the abuse I experienced (or it might be said that the amnesia broke) the tiger got away. eek Actually I felt like a boy of 12 who had endured horrible abuse. But yet I was an adult. I had 2 children. The younger was 11; but I as the father was only 12. Wow! I think I started growing up as I went to counseling sessions. But I had a very long way to go. I had huge problems to solve. So, YES. What I went through as a child has affected everybody around me. That is the statement of the problem.

So, what are the things that have helped me? What has helped that poor bruised 12-year-old that I was to grow?

1. Attending personal counseling sessions regularly.
This included EMDR sessions and light hypnotism sessions. There was a lot of "talk" therapy but it was necessary because I had 10,000 questions about life which needed to be answered.
2. Reading as much as I could about abuse and dissociative disorder. I read mostly books
3. Listening to a radio broadcast led by reputable counselors.
4. Gradually learning how to be honest with people and myself about who I really was and what my needs were. This was difficult because many people have their own problems and/or they are caught up on their own wants and needs. But I did find a few precious people who were willing to help me.
5. Persistence.
6. Reading Bible daily, especially psalms.
7. I used light hypnotism with myself to merge dissociated personality states. This was highly successful in dealing with child states.
8. I determined that since a lot of my mind (my brain) was still in a child-like state, it had to be dealt with. I didn't have any therapists who knew how to do this very well so I devised some of my own therapy. In terms of DID-talk, I had alters who wanted to do child stuff, like watch movies which portrayed children. At first this seemed like a perilous path, and my T was worried about it. But I came to regard it as an aspect of PTSD which guys who have experienced CSA will have. My T said after consideration that it was a manifestation of depersonalization disorder. Yes I did tend to watch movies which seemed to portray myself as a child. So I found a short list of movies which seemed to aggravate my dissociative disorder and/or PTSD. One that I found was Father and Scout, with Bryan Bonsall. I would identify with the child actor when I watched that film. So I decided it wasn't really harmful and I watched that and other films. That procedure gradually normalized my childish emotional response. I didn't do this blindly. I had seen a news report on how therapists at Emory University were treating returned army survivors who had PTSD by having them watch segments of movies showing the cause of trauma they experienced on the battlefield. I decided that was what I was doing by watching movies such as Father and Scout. Yes, in a way it had been my own personal battlefield. It really did work for me and provided a great deal of normalization of my emotional (PTSD) responses.

I wish I could say that regular church attendance was helpful. However, I think the churches I attended were very caught up in their own dramas and were for the most part unable to extend a helping hand. This needs to be heavily qualified because the people who did help me were active in churches. But the ratio might have been 1000 to 1. That is, out of 1000 people encountered in church I found 1 who was willing to pull me out of the quick sand.

Pufferfish





Edited by pufferfish (02/16/14 09:38 PM)

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#460895 - 02/16/14 08:59 PM Re: Asking imput--how can I grow up? [Re: fhorns]
Esposa Offline
F&F Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/19/11
Posts: 708
Loc: NJ
All of these posts really powerful.

mmfan - really profound pieces of insight and advice. And so true. It is the exact situation in which I have found myself. I married a boy that wanted to be kept safe, needed a mother and a fixer and looked to me for approval on everything. It wore away at me and served as fodder for resentment in him. Your advice is very similar to the work that we are doing in marriage therapy.

And puffer - wow. The tiger analogy is the same one that I have heard my husband speak. He has frequently said he thought that being under "my umbrella" would keep him feeling safe - and he hoped that feeling safe would keep the tiger at bay.

fhorns - you have two great posts here and your own insight to your own behavior is a great place to start.

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#460898 - 02/16/14 09:33 PM Re: Asking imput--how can I grow up? [Re: Esposa]
pufferfish Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6875
Loc: USA
Thank you Esposa,

After thinking about what I wrote above, I felt it was important to make several points clear.

9. In the things that helped me, I should have listed my (late) wife, who was an honorable and good woman. I was very difficult to be married to at times. She stayed faithful and ultimately helped a great deal. I'm very glad that she remained faithful. I did not deserve it. For instance, at times I would compulsively buy things which were not needed.

10. Music has been very healing in my life. I especially enjoy music of Mozart and Mahler.

I had to learn to communicate with a broader spectrum of people. I'm still learning this. I had learned to hide behind a mask or a facade and to communicate in a limited sense. I had to learn how to talk about traumas I had experienced. People then and now were unable to relate to a blatant "dump" of what I had experienced.

I was trying to address the problem that came about in my case when I was compelled to perform sexual activity with other boys. What can be done about the emotional scars which this leaves on a boy and later on the man he becomes? Can these emotional scars be dealt with or are they permanent?
I don't think I've ever read much about this and I think it needs to be dealt with.

I was pretty critical of the church in my response. I changed churches several times during my healing journey. It may be that I'm unaware of a lot of church "benefits" at this point. I was faithful in church attendance and it must have had a positive influence on me. I can now think of about 7 times before I reached maturity in which God made me aware of Himself. These times were mostly outside of the church. Those times were extremely important and I will post on this soon in the Spiritual Forum. But a lot of the time I went to church out of obedience rather than because of delight. It wasn't all my fault. It may be that the church is about to emerge from it's state of deadness. After all, it was from the church that I found the people who helped me, including the therapists who were all members of various churches.

Pufferfish



Edited by pufferfish (02/16/14 10:41 PM)

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#460907 - 02/16/14 11:23 PM Re: Asking imput--how can I grow up? [Re: fhorns]
pufferfish Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6875
Loc: USA
Fhorns was asking about his relationship with his wife. I answered his question in terms of the part "how can I grow up?"

So I've come back to this post to try to address the wife part of his question.
Originally Posted By: fhorns

We've been separated almost 3 years now, and my (almost) daily attempts have.....ouch....not moved her. The one good sign is she's not filed for divorce yet.

I married my wife 11 years ago. I came in with baggage, she did too (both of us had SA experiences), but I focused only on myself. I was here in MS those early days, feeling small and insecure, and....I treated her more like my mother than my wife. I expected her to be my emotional caretaker.........and she...ouch....complied. I knew something was wrong.....but she waited. She thought I'd be well someday.

I think that happens in most marriages. The wife enters marriage with idealized visions of what she expects of the husband. These are perhaps fantasies and they are part of what is seen as love. They are framed in terms of relationships she's had in the past.

At some point the wife if forced to acknowledge the fantasy part of the relationship and she may hit the pavement with a thud. In my marriage, I'm sure that my wife at some point began to recognize that I was very child-like in some respects. I have had some recent memories of when I asked her permission to buy something in a store. It was reminiscent of how a boy might ask his mother for something. I had to outgrow that behavior pattern.

Originally Posted By: Fhorns

However, her complying and handholding allowed and encouraged me to (hide) more. I found ways to escape (like a kid hiding) and she rarely stood up to me.

That seems normal enough on her part. However, when you wanted to escape, you were possibly inserting responses you had learned from your own mothering. Perhaps that could be outgrown as you talk this out with a trusted person. And/or you could write it out until that emotion zeroed out.
Quote:

I was in it for me, and her responsible mindset I used to my benefit. It's ugly. And it's the truth. I used her for that.

I don't think that's ugly. Perhaps your needs as a child were not well fulfilled. You learned to experience guilt for wanting to be loved. It should be normal for a little boy to be loved and his needs met. It's not greedy. You do not to feel greedy for the motivation of getting your emotional needs met. Yet when you were so intent on this she sensed it and sensed that she could use it as a little whip to control you.

Quote:

There are many other details, but that's at the core. She doesn't trust me, vocalizes that, and sees me as a child today.
She's said the thought of having sex with a child icks her out, which makes sense.


It seems she has some anger issues from her own childhood and she has found out that she can use these devices to put you on the defensive. So she vocalizes about that and possibly uses your childish focus to keep you away because she doesn't trust intimacy because of her own background. It's not your fault.

Quote:

I rub her feet and legs almost every time I'm over.
Little response, and this action of mine is frustrating me.

Almost 3 years....

Yes that would be frustrating. But she must be enjoying it or it wouldn't be going on and on. It is a right and good thing to do for her. Yet, it can't get beyond that possibly because of her own childhood issues. She can't let it progress because of her own internal fears.

Quote:

I wonder "should I let her go?" Nothing would have changed though. Hurt people hurt people, I've been hurt, she's been hurt.....but she's absolutely not agreed to any counseling of any sort. I've been in a marriage ministry these last 2 years, I've made headway,----though I've sabotaged it at times, allowing my resentment to surface and losing her trust.

It looks like you are doing much that is right. I would urge you not to give up. It's actually encouraging to hear that you have this level of understanding of the marriage dynamic.
Quote:

I'm writing since I watched a movie this afternoon, and saw this unhealthy guy in it. He approached his lady in a needy, even demanding, way. And my wife has seen me do that too. She tells me months later, angry at first. But when I cross the line, she often hides her reaction, which helps nothing. She buries a lot of feelings, letting them out on Facebook and to friends.......

Well, it would be better if she let out her feelings privately with a counselor or trusted advisor. She needs to work out her feelings.

I think I've seen this happen with other wives. They find that they talk easily with their friends and they never realize, as they should, that this is hurtful.

Well, it seems she is hiding. She senses that her own stuff isn't completely what it should be and she's hiding. She doesn't allow marriage therapy because she would have to change. She senses this internally.
Quote:

Finally, I'd like to admit I'm questioning myself since I have been needy. I've been aware of my codependency for years.........I've not changed much there---and THAT'S my ugly truth. Still codependent. Needy. Expecting her to love and validate me.

Well, that's a word for it. And you seem to understand the content very well. But it doesn't seem beyond management but you both need some outside help to work out the emotions, fears and past hurts.

Pufferfish

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#460976 - 02/17/14 08:40 PM Re: Asking imput--how can I grow up? [Re: fhorns]
fhorns Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/10/02
Posts: 680
Thank you Puffer. I appreciate you redirecting. I'd seen the focus drift and it angered me last night after reading it, me perceiving it wrong. I thought about it and stayed away to cool off. I'm glad I did.

Thank you for making it right. I appreciate your wisdom here.

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#461116 - 02/19/14 07:30 PM Re: Asking imput--how can I grow up? [Re: fhorns]
fhorns Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/10/02
Posts: 680
To keep this honest...

I'm uncomfortable admitting it (I'd like good counsel really), but holding on--as I've done so--is really hurting everyone. I'm ashamed to admit I've expected, wanted, even demanded (though rarely doing it verbally) she talk with me when there's pain between us.

I'm sitting here knowing it's unhealthy. I keep thinking "she'll make me happy if she agrees to talk out our problems together".

It'd scare the sh** out of me initially if she agreed, just being honest. I react since she has this angry wall saying "keep out of my comfortable place". No change, and anger festers in me. I think "doesn't she know working it out TOGETHER is how it's done? Everyone knows that". It's the painful part of it.

owwwww.....my reaction: small SHARP words (just little ones right--more denial). I bite at her in my most concise way: a few words. Words that cut. Slice. Rip. Discourage. Dishearten. All when I'm hurt. Hurt people hurt people.



I saw a concert at church Tuesday night by a young band. I was in tears a good bit (same last year when I saw them). The lead singer spoke of how God will hang out just outside our chaos waiting...waiting....waiting.....for us to give up our fight. The parallel is of real lifeguards who are trained the same way: wait for them to give up, or they'll take you down too. I cry now thinking of it. I prayed for this then, again last night, for me to be willing to give up. I'm thrashing around, scraping people around me in my pain.

This is an emotional fight. I'm thinking, praying, wishing I were good enough to love her......as she is...........far away.

I don't desire that. I know this is sick too. I'm hoping being honest will ignite truth from others too, for being alone in it is a hell by itself. Thinking I'm alone is hell.

And is being un-codependent a good thing? ---ooooo...am I comfortable in my pain???? Owwww... is that why I'm here..???

Painfully...YES. I know she's empty emotionally. I still fantasize, in a childish mentality. (would you be my mommy?---don't shoot me guys and gals) If she were to come back to me I'd put on my face real quick (thinking not healthy stuff, real selfish childish stuff).....and she's my wife. She retreats emotionally since she sees my "taking" look.

Sidenote: I realized I had this "can you fill my needs?" face on Saturday around a man I've perceived as very authoritarian in my church. He saw it (I wore it) and he avoided eye contact with me most of the day. I simultaneously felt both ashamed AND needy. Being social and spongy there hurts more.



I'm just dumping stuff here: I'm.....(avoiding) listening to Codependent No More (free Youtube audio). WHY is freedom SCARY?

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