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#57121 - 12/30/03 02:16 PM Silence and tears...
wifenneed Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/20/02
Posts: 91
Loc: Michigan
It's so hard to give what my husband needs at times, and I'll just keep doing it, but the silence from him over these past days, coupled with the times of "normalcy" if you will, it's just eating away at me. It feels like a roller coaster and each time it happens my stomach is in knots. I want to support, support, support, and love love love....and then I feel guilty for being angry about wanting any interaction from him when all he wants and needs is space. Blachhhhh...I don't want to make this about me. But why do I feel so bad and so hurt and so alone? I feel just like him, but for totally different reasons......and I'm right here for him??? It seems no amount of reading and preparation and thought ever prepares me for these bleak times. My throat is clenched and clamping down, I;m in tears. Sorry all....


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#57122 - 12/30/03 02:23 PM Re: Silence and tears...
phoster Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/21/03
Posts: 758
Loc: ohio
one truth is that the only thing we can control in life is our own actions. the bottom line is that we all have things we need from the people in our lives, and he isnt meeting your needs. you know there is nothing selfish or wrong with telling someone your needs are not being met. sure as a survivor he has problems, but you still must get a 'pay-off' or you will be unhappy. it is great you want to support him, but you cannot do so at the expense of what's right for you. either with outside help or directly, you two need to talk about this. there is nothing wrong with saying that you need affection and intimacy to be happy, in my opinion

_________________________
compassion is a light even to the darkest soul

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#57123 - 12/30/03 02:57 PM Re: Silence and tears...
kolisha54 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/02/03
Posts: 475
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
Yeah, it's pretty awful. Since most of my relationships have been with men who have had "issues" one way or another, it's hard sometimes to know what is "normal." However. The good news is - you have forged a marriage with your Survivor. There is some level of commitment there, although it may not be enough for you right now. Believe it or not, I would suggest that you re-read a little John Gray Mars/Venus stuff - yes, it may be written in a very silly manner, but it might just help you to put the male-female push-me-pull-you dynamic into perspective. Just hand in there! Things will become clearer with time.

_________________________
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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#57124 - 12/30/03 05:58 PM Re: Silence and tears...
Freedom Offline
Member

Registered: 09/21/02
Posts: 164
Loc: US
I like what phoster said. Thank you. What a ssmart wise person you are.

As for the Mars/Venus bit, if you consider how research is done and, if the statistics are correct and millions of people have been abused, then that research must be based on a lot of them. So, is that truly "normal" behavior, or a disfunctional reflection of consequences of abuse of all kinds?

Personally, I do not see how abusing others can help you get better. I'd hope that in the adult state we could try for a little give and take, a bit of balance.

Now, to the lady that originated the post: you have the right to be loved, honored, appreciated, and cherished. In my book, if you miss those things, you a normal human being.

Now, I just wished I knew how you can get that from your marriage.

All I can do is let you know that you have been heared and hope things get better soon.

Hugs.

_________________________
Life is moving on. AM I?

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#57125 - 12/30/03 08:51 PM Re: Silence and tears...
blue Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/26/03
Posts: 11
"I don't want to make this about me"

Why? You matter. You are important. What you need and want is just as important as what he needs and wants.

It is obvious to me that you love him very much. You value him greatly and try to meet his needs and respect his desires. That is a wonderful thing. He is blessed to hhave you in his life.

What I don't see is that you honor what you need and desire. If you aren't getting your needs met, you will be angry. That is normal.

I think this is the perfect place to focus on what you need and to talk about that. Maybe that is because I am new here. Maybe I am misinformed about the function of this "family and friends" forum, but isn't it so that we can support each other and share how we deal with the particular challenges of being in a survivor relationship?

In short: I think it is OK to make it about you. We can't really take responsibility for anyone else.

_________________________
The opposite of fear is faith. Faith is necessary to love. Move away from the fear toward the love.

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#57126 - 12/31/03 10:54 AM Re: Silence and tears...
wifenneed Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/20/02
Posts: 91
Loc: Michigan
Blue, and everyone, thanks for your comments.

The tricky part is being understaning and giving for him, and waiting for the storm to blow over. It's not fair to me, yes. The silence and glares and disdain he seems to aim at me is a result of his abuse, not something I did necessarily. We have a strong and loving and intimate marriage, most times. However now, like toher times, he is set off, and in these times there is no other way for me to describe how he treats me other than with indifference and shortness and hurt. He is never violent, not physically or verbally abusive, just kind of snippy and rude, no affection, no communication, nothing, and behaves like I should know what I did. This is it, how to find that place where I can support him (leave him alone, unconditional love), and keep myself occupied and not obsessing over "why this, why that, why are you treating me so poorly, what did I do" types of thoughts. It is easy for me to slip into this analyzing and it will get me absoletely no where. Sometimes I just feel like giving up on my needs, just treat me however you want to, I'll always be here to love you when you come out of it. That's what I do already. But I hurt like hell in the meantime, and try to put up a brave face so that I can prove something. But what? I have an idea of the awful things he was put through. He is not bad, dirty, worthless, all those things he says he feels about himself at times. He is my loving, caring, kind, hard working husband. Until the black stranger arrives and takes him from me. This other side person, he hurts me emotionally and the only thing I can do is bide my time until things turn around. I'm not in control of this, he's not either really. He says my unconditional love is the greatest help I can give him. But that doesn't appear to matter when this sets in.

I know how good it is, and great it is, how great we are together. I want to stand by him no matter what..........and I don't want to feel so darned helpless and hurt while doing so.

Time to just concentrate on other things. What else can I do......just post here. My family would just say why do you put up with this? We hate to see you so hurt all the time. Can't share it with them, they don't know what he went through. My only place to share is here.

Life's not fair right?

To any survivors, I apologize if I offend you by posting here. I see some persons would rather not see women here at all. But honestly all I want to do is love, help and support my husband, and not go nuts in the process. Without this place, I don't think some of us would have any where else to turn to talk about this intense situation we find ourselves in. I would never and will never talk about our personal situation to anyone my husband knows, as it would be betraying him. But.....I can come here, thank God I can do that, at least.


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#57127 - 12/31/03 01:10 PM Re: Silence and tears...
phoster Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/21/03
Posts: 758
Loc: ohio
His silence may not be aimed at you. I have struggled with it. Whenever things don’t go perfect, I shutdown and retreat. I don’t mean to ignore and hurt my wife, but it does. Let me outline this, because it just came to a head this year.

My wife was very adventuresome in the beginning. Our sexual relationship was a sexually screwed up man’s dream. Then she began finding her faith, and drew back to a more conventional relationship. I felt the change in her, but with our history, I felt I needed to step up and give more. I told myself I needed to be happy with what I had, and stop looking at the grass on the other side of the fence.

We married and she got pregnant on our honeymoon when we started trying. Pregnancy made her ill, and further restricted things. I began fighting this battle inside between doing the ‘right thing’ and resenting her. I felt cheated, because we had been one way and had gone backward in my eyes. My silence grew deeper, my depression worsened, and my esteem went in the toilette as I couldn’t talk to her about it. I knew to come out and admit she wasn’t fulfilling me sexually was going to hurt, and I felt I had hurt her enough. I had learned to avoid fights by withdrawing and retreating, and I shut-down badly.

It started coming out as fits of rage. Only months ago, I blew up at my son over taco shells, and I finally went into therapy after my wife called me on it and warned she was leaving if I didn’t get help. Feeling I had nothing to loose, and realizing that if I didn’t come clean I was going to loose her, I finally told her what I had eternalized for almost two years. It wasn’t as much about her as about myself. I felt cowardly for not speaking up, and the longer I kept silent the worse it got. There comes a point where you feel you’re in too deep to open up now. You pull yourself out of it for a time, but because you haven’t really addressed the root of things, you keep slipping back in.

You know what puts an end to all of it? Total Honesty. Putting the cards on the table, and saying what needs said. If your mate is withdrawn, he is likely fighting within himself to talk to you. He likely feels worse because he can’t. Sure he blames the abuse, but he blames himself more.

I hope a glimpse into my head will help. I was withdrawn and didn’t talk, but things will never get better until that cycle ends. Somehow, someway he must stop withdrawing, stop running and take a stand. That is totally on his shoulders…phos

_________________________
compassion is a light even to the darkest soul

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#57128 - 12/31/03 05:02 PM Re: Silence and tears...
outis Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 2260
Loc: Maryland USA
Quote:
Sometimes I just feel like giving up on my needs, just treat me however you want to, I'll always be here to love you when you come out of it. That's what I do already.
Please stop doing that. This man you love deserves your best. That is not your best.

He deserves to know that this is hurting you. Telling him won't be easy, especially if there are already communications problems in your relationship.

I went on and on about how the endlessly recycled abuse feelings and fears are real, very present to me. My wife looked me in the eye and said, "I didn't do that to you."

We had been in counseling for a year by then, and I understood (I think!) what she was saying, so I didn't blow up. Instead I feel good now that she is safe enough in our relationship to tell me things like that.

Being abused in childhood makes trust and relationships and self esteem a quagmire. But a relationship has to have two people pulling together to grow.

Thanks,

Joe

_________________________
"Telemachos, your guest is no discredit to you. I wasted no time in stringing the bow, and I did not miss the mark. My strength is yet unbroken…"—The Odyssey, translated by W.H.D. Rouse

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#57129 - 01/01/04 01:37 PM Re: Silence and tears...
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
Hey all.

Phoster, you said that total honesty puts an end to the fear and silence...I must say that YOUR honesty and support are appreciated here and elsewhere. I hope that they are working for you as well. But I have to really wonder if honesty is the end of something. It is, but I think it is the beginning of something just as hard. Maybe harder because it's entirely new. Honesty with just ourselves is pretty hard. And then, like the situation with your wife, there are things that will hurt the other person no matter how careful you are about how they're said. And sometimes that's because what you're saying would be hard for anyone to hear, but sometimes it's hard because of what's going on with the other person.

Joe's example is a really good one. I'd bet that just about every survivor's partner on this site, male or female, knows the "I didn't do that to you" feeling. But I don't think that all of our partners are in a place where they can hear that. "I didn't do that to you" means, I don't want to be blamed for someone else's crimes. I want you to see that I am not LIKE the people who did this to you, and that no matter what they've done, I'm not going to do any of that. But there are some survivors who don't believe that there's anyone in the world who's not like their abusers. There are some who see a statement like this as a refusal of responsibility or support. There are some who don't want to deal with the personal hurt that might come with being honest to themselves about the fact that they've been hurting someone who wasn't to blame.

And if we're being honest, what kind of a promise is it to say "I won't do any of what they did to you?" I would hope that we're not going to do most of it, but any of it? Is it legitimate to say, "I will never say or do anything to make my partner feel hurt and isolated, I will never make my partner feel guilty, I will never force my partner into a difficult decision?" For us, not taking the job or not going to the bachelor party is clearly a decision that isn't on the same scale as not telling a terrible secret. But we can't control the intensity or the range of our partner's emotions, especially when, as Joe said, there are very real, endlessly recycled feelings of abuse.

I don't know what the answers are here. I certainly do believe that honesty is better than silence but honesty has an aftereffect just like everything else. And it's not always smooth sailing afterwards. When you know that being honest (like with a withdrawn and angry husband) is going to make things more difficult, it's not always the obvious choice.

Sar


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#57130 - 01/01/04 01:53 PM Re: Silence and tears...
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
I forgot something. :rolleyes:

Wifenneed, you said:

Quote:
he hurts me emotionally and the only thing I can do is bide my time until things turn around. I'm not in control of this, he's not either really.
And why not? As adults, even stressed and hurt adults, isn't it part of our business to control our actions? If he's not controlling himself, who is?

I understand that your husband has been through some terrible things and that this may still influence him very strongly. But influence does not have to mean control. Isn't this a lesson that we should be learning as adults reclaiming our lives? Maybe once influence did mean control, for him. But it shouldn't have to anymore.

Your husband is the only one in control of the things your husband does today. That includes hurting and ignoring you, today. I'm not saying you need to act like everything's his fault and that it would be so easy for him to treat you better if he only wanted to. I don't think that's true. I am saying that you shouldn't fall into the trap of thinking that he's not the one doing the things he's doing. If you can't hold him accountable out loud yet at least hold him accountable in your own mind.

peace
Sar


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#57131 - 01/02/04 03:18 PM Re: Silence and tears...
wifenneed Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/20/02
Posts: 91
Loc: Michigan
Phoster-
You are amazing. Thanks for your comments as well. I think he does beat himself up...over everything. When I read about what some survivors went through and still do, and then think of my husband going through some, many or perhaps all of what I read, it puts things in perspective. I have told him that all I can do is imagine what happened and try to be there for him if he would only let it be. He has only told me his age (3 years of abuse, age 7-10) and how many times (28), but not what happened, where, all of that.

All I can do is wait and hope that one day he'll not have to retreat, that he can stay wtih me emotionally and physically and just talk and let it be. Sounds like an old Beatles tune, sorry. And he'll see I won't go running and screaming and think he's horrid.

He's come out his funk for now, though. No aplogies to me, just right back to being sweet as he usually is. And I feel I am left to go on as though nothing has happened.

I wish I knew what the key is to the lock....to let those old ghosts out. I won't run and hide or be frightened of him. I won't think any less of him. I love him..........

Now I'm getting weepy so I'll sign off for now...


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#57132 - 01/02/04 09:52 PM Re: Silence and tears...
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Quote:
Joe's example is a really good one. I'd bet that just about every survivor's partner on this site, male or female, knows the "I didn't do that to you" feeling. But I don't think that all of our partners are in a place where they can hear that. "I didn't do that to you" means, I don't want to be blamed for someone else's crimes. I want you to see that I am not LIKE the people who did this to you, and that no matter what they've done, I'm not going to do any of that.
If you had that tatooed on your foreheads we'd still get it wrong sometimes !
Yes, I guess a lot of us are guilty of blaming everyone for all our problems.

Some, many, are actually our own problems that we have to find a way of admitting to. Then we have to seperate the abuse problems.

It's the easy way out - blame everyone.

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#57133 - 01/05/04 02:38 PM Re: Silence and tears...
PAS Offline
Member

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 577
Loc: Canada
Quote:


It's the easy way out - blame everyone.

I thought the song went "Blame Canada"??? \:\)
Hee.. I can say that..

OK back to the serious part of the post...

I guess the one thing that my partner pointed out on the whole "blame" thing was that once he started to NOT see himself as a victim and that he was actually an adult and had power over his choices/actions today he stopped a lot of the blaming and the anger.. that he had more to do now as an adult than sit there and rail against an unfair authority figure... not to say everything's perfect and fixed, but things are getting better in this regard!!!

The only advice I can get is to "ride it out".. your partner will unfortunately go into this routine from time to time.. as mine does... (but he's been in a whole pile of intensive therapy lately and he stays in these phases shorter and shorter times, and they are less and less frequent) Just DO NOT take it personally.. it is NOT anything you have done. He's there NOT because he wants to hurt you but that he's off in his own world of pain for the moment.. and that you do have the right to tell him how this affects you.. and that it hurts you and confuses you - just be careful how and when you tell him this.

As partners we do have to be strong.. to ride out these phases.... we dont need to have our partners validate us all the time.. there will be times in the relationship, particularly when they are in a fragile stage when we just cannot expect our partners to fully "be there".. we need to keep a support network outside the relationship.. all of those things are critical to the partner of a survivor-in-recovery. Also we have to be rational about all of this and in ANY relationship, abuse survivors or not, there will be times when your partner will act less than ideal and supportive. It's all part of being human!!

P


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#57134 - 01/06/04 02:53 PM Re: Silence and tears...
wifenneed Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/20/02
Posts: 91
Loc: Michigan
Yes, PAS, thank you for your reply. These episodes of withdrawal do happen less and less, and the duration is lessening as well. We did discuss how if I did express my feelings of unfairness or anger at how he is treating me, that it would be best to wait until after he is past the protection of his silence, so to speak. We talked about if I were to try to do this while he is in this withdrawal (or protection) state, that it would probably only make things worse. So yes I ride it out, at times not so patiently, but most of the time patiently. He is human and so am I. We had a great discussion about this after the fact. I simply said that his actions and responses are so illogical, especially for someone as typically logical as he is. And his reply was "yes, it is illogical, and so was my upbringing." I cannot tell anyone how important it was to me as a spouse to actually hear this from him, but it helps tremendously to understand why something minor, something totally out of context can strike this severe reaction from him. As he said it is his protection against any hurt, of any kind.

There is an old Billy Joel song titled "And So It Goes" from the album Stormfront, and in it is the phrase "My silence is my self defense". I remembered this song from many years past and printed out the lyrics and gave them to him. Here they are. They seemed to have summed up how he feels at times, and me too. Thank you everyone for all of your comments as well-

Happiness to all-


And So It Goes
Storm Front Released: 1989

In every heart there is a room
A sanctuary safe and strong
To heal the wounds from lovers past
Until a new one comes along

I spoke to you in cautious tones
You answered me with no pretense
And still I feel I said too much
My silence is my self defense

And every time I've held a rose
It seems I only felt the thorns
And so it goes, and so it goes
And so will you soon I suppose

But if my silence made you leave
Then that would be my worst mistake
So I will share this room with you
And you can have this heart to break

And this is why my eyes are closed
It's just as well for all I've seen
And so it goes, and so it goes
And you're the only one who knows

So I would choose to be with you
That's if the choice were mine to make
But you can make decisions too
And you can have this heart to break

And so it goes, and so it goes
And you're the only one who knows


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