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#58215 - 10/19/05 11:31 AM Collapsing on the inside
TRACYUK Offline
Member

Registered: 09/23/05
Posts: 178
Three months after disclosing to me and then finding a therapist who he trusts and has made really realy good progress with, my partner has just told me that he feels like Oscar Schindler at the end of the film Schindlers list.. he told me Oscar finally collapses in grief, pain and exhaustion as the enormity of it all hits him.

I am so desperate to help because although he is telling me this is how he feels there are absolutly no signs of it on the outside!! No tears, no allowing himself to rest even, he is still working full time, none of the outer visible signs that he identifies with from the film.

How do I be there for him? How should I react and what should I actually do?? I'm previously made an absolute mess of trying too hard to help and only suceeded in pushing him away, he feels suggestions and proactive stuff as control. I've asked if there is anything I can do, answer no.

Am I waiting for something that isn't going to happen, is there anything I can do to make him feel safe enough to collapse? Can he do all this on the inside, on his own and be OK??

Tracy


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#58216 - 10/19/05 04:17 PM Re: Collapsing on the inside
Mystic Rhythm Offline
Member

Registered: 08/12/05
Posts: 96
Loc: Limbo, clawing my way out...
I empathize with how you feel Tracy. Although I have no personal knowledge of what it is like to stand on the sidelines, I do know what it's like being in his situation, as I too am in therapy.


Quote:
Can he do all this on the inside, on his own and be OK??
He's not doing this on his own, he's making progress with his therapist. I apologize for being blunt like this, but that's the way I am. As desperate as you feel in wanting to help, the best thing I can think of is for you to just be there and listen whenever he needs to talk. From my own personal experience being in therapy, I unload my emotions in her office, and whenever I leave her office, I'm never in a mood to share with other people how my session went, except for usual one word responses like "good" or "intense" or *shrug my shoulders*. Might be how he feels after his sessions too.

He's lucky though. He has you. I can only wish to have someone in my corner.

Just a thought, and feel free to disregard it, but maybe you can ask your partner to talk to his therapist about how you feel about all this, and ask for advice on what to do. If he rejects this idea, maybe try and call up a helpline and ask for advice on what to do. I'm afraid I don't have the answers, but someone out there might provide some better insight than I.

Sorry for not being much help, but I felt your pain and just wanted to take a chance and reach out.

MR

_________________________
"Don't give up and lose the chance to return to innocence" - Enigma, Return to Innocence

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#58217 - 10/19/05 04:27 PM Re: Collapsing on the inside
riviera Offline
Member

Registered: 06/01/05
Posts: 59
Loc: Spain
Hi TracyUK

I was in the same situation 3 or 4 months ago. I also felt desperate, impatient and useless. I was also very obsessed with looking for answers and trying to find the best solution and so much wanting to heal him... until I realized that it was not about " my needs" but his. I remember thinking "what if he never let this out? what if he does not do it cause I am not helping him enough?. Those were my fears. But it is about their recovery not about our fears and they have to do it at their own pace.

My boyfriend was less communicative than usual but nothing else. No tears, no anger, no letting it out, nothing. Until the need of expressing all emotions and feelings was actually stronger than the fears of doing so and the old defence mechanisms. One day he broke down in tears and that lasted for days, weeks and months, not everyday but every so often. That and a lot of talking, talking for hours (sometimes we'd spend all night talking) and me listening and always reassuring and supporting him.

Your husband will feel safe and ready to let emotions out and experience grief. You can reassure his feelings but NEVER hurry or push them. What would you like if you were in his situation? No pressure but understanding. Patience, understanding and respecting your partner needs is the key to a succesfull recovery. I have learnt that and believe me it took me a while to comprehend it but it has changed things (and me) forever.

H


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#58218 - 10/19/05 06:45 PM Re: Collapsing on the inside
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus
MaleSurvivor<

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
Tracy,

I don't know much about this, but I do know, from dealing with my b/f that he will tell me over and over and over again that everything is fine, no matter what the problem. Then, without warning, he'll fall apart. You can't predict when or if it will happen and I haven't seen that the breakdowns follow any pattern, especially because they are so few and far between.

All I can say is live, enjoy one another, talk when he wants and be prepared if he falls. Your partner sounds like my b/f in that he is always the one in control; he made it through his childhood and his adult life by taking control of everything he possibly could because of the control that was taken from him. For such a man to give in to the "frailty" of emotion in front of the person he loves is an almost unforgivable sin in his mind.

Be strong, be patient and continue to love.

Trish

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

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#58219 - 10/19/05 07:14 PM Re: Collapsing on the inside
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Tracy,

There are so many really good observations above that all I can do here is just add a note: something I remember from the years when I was being abused.

An abused boy isn't just being molested sexually; everything he thinks he knows about himself and his place in the world is being wrecked and torn apart. He isn't really thinking about things a lot; emotions and fears are just raging all over the place.

Where can he go with that? Until recently the answer was nowhere. CSA of boys was hardly acknowledged as a problem just 10 years ago. You were alone and you thought only you were being hurt like this. So a lot of us withdrew emotionally and closed down; we became emotional fortresses. We weren't strong, just control freaks desperately trying to act normal and make sure no one discovered our secret.

That fortress wasn't a good or safe place, since it was all about denial, unacknowledged feelings, and emotional numbness. But it was something, better than nothing.

I think that as adults a lot of us still retreat to the "safe" place we know when we just can't cope any more that day. We aren't rejecting anyone or failing in our struggle to heal; we are just sitting in a familiar place, however unsatisfactory, where nothing further can reach us (we think and hope) until we are ready to venture out again.

I have been reading a lot more of the Friends and Family forum these days. It is so great to have women like you around here with us.

Thanks so much,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#58220 - 10/19/05 07:51 PM Re: Collapsing on the inside
EGL Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 7821
Quote:
Originally posted by TRACYUK:
I am so desperate to help because although he is telling me this is how he feels there are absolutly no signs of it on the outside!! No tears, no allowing himself to rest even, he is still working full time, none of the outer visible signs that he identifies with from the film.
Tracy - The only way I know to really relate the feeling is that it's like riding a bicycle. You have to keep peddling and peddling because you know that if you stop, you'll fall over. So you never allow yourself to stop. Sure, you coast sometimes, but you never really come to a full stop. To do so means you have to crash and see it all in it's ugliness. It's a lot easier to keep peddling.

_________________________
Eddie

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#58221 - 10/19/05 11:49 PM Re: Collapsing on the inside
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Tracy
Quote:
I've asked if there is anything I can do, answer no.
Keep asking, you'll most likely keep getting the same answer, but maybe one day he'll say "yes"
Try to find the fine line between caring and pestering him though, you don't want to drive inside himself at this time, as you've already found out.
But if you don't ask he might also think you've given up on him and no longer care.
It's not easy, and if he's anything like me he'll change his mind and tolerance levels minute by minute.

One thing I did with my wife, and we fell into this purely by accident, was to talk at one particular time and leave it alone the rest of the time.
When I came out therapy it would be about 8-00pm on a Wed evening, so we'd go to the pub for something to eat and a couple of beers.
This was relaxing for both of us, even for me with the session still fresh in my mind.
But I found that I started talking about the session and that it was easier to do.

This might sound strange as it was a public place, although we chose a quiet pub, and I was talking about very emotional stuff, and graphic details at times. ( I waited until we'd finished eating :rolleyes: )
But it worked for me on some different levels.

Being a public place we couldn't let it degenerate into a bunfight, not that that was a great problem for us, but it forced me at least to be very careful about my choice of words and what I was saying. I did tell it all, but carefully.
I think the restraint that was imposed by the environment helped me to slow down and think more clearly.
I also hated talking about my abuse in our home, I still do. ( this computer is a direct link to the outside world and doesn't bother me in that way )
Now, we go to a Bangladeshi restraunt nearly every Fri night and have a great meal, and I still talk about what's affecting me this week.

I like the routine, even though I'm hoplessly disorganised as a rule.
I don't feel any need to pluck up courage or to find the right time to talk about something that's affecting me, I know that on Fri night I have my time to talk, and I like that. It also gives me time to think for myself and that's important to me now, as I've changed I've discovered that I can figure things out for myself, sometimes I even get it right ! \:D But I still like to discuss it and get my wifes take on whatever it might be.

I know that I couldn't have dealt with it 24/7, it would have driven me crazy. Yes, I might have been thinking about it almost all the time when I was in therapy and for a good time after, but discussing it at every available moment would have done my head in.

This might not work for everyone, but I found my routine worked for us, it still does as well. I can now talk about my abuse in our home, but I still don't like it and rarely do it. It was always someone elses problem in the respect that I never wanted it, they just gave me their problem to keep for while, but not in here, not in our house.

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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#58222 - 10/21/05 10:56 AM Re: Collapsing on the inside
TRACYUK Offline
Member

Registered: 09/23/05
Posts: 178
Thankyou alL so much for such sage advise and kind words. I think in my heart of hearts I probablt know what you are telling me and know that its right its just so..... frustrating doesn't come come close. Its like I'm sprung, on my toes.. in his corner.. ready to unleash the most viscious fight on his behalf because he has been attacked!!!!!! and now he's starting to fight back... and I'm on the side lines waiting to dive in and kick the living daylights out of that agressor... and then you come back down to earth and see that in that boxing ring is just one silent lonely man stood on his own with his head bowed and the fight is in his head. theres no room for me there but the agressor is still real and the fight is life or death. So what do I do??? I ask if there is anything i can do, answer no. so i don't fight on his behalf, i dont even hug him because he hasn't asked me to.. the feeling of redundancy is overwhealming... i cant add to his pain..so i go shopping. i hate shopping.


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#58223 - 10/21/05 11:15 AM Re: Collapsing on the inside
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Tracy,

One thing I have been noticing among the partners/spouses/girlfriends here is a kind of neglect of your own needs. Maybe I am wrong; I'm not sure the posts give an accurate idea about that.

But you say this Tracy:

Quote:
the feeling of redundancy is overwhealming... i cant add to his pain..so i go shopping. i hate shopping.
I know all this must be hell for you, and it's pretty clear that how you feel just reflects your love and concern for your partner. That's great. But try to give yourself a break and deal with your own needs as well. Above all, don't succumb to the temptation to feel that if things go slowly (or nowhere) for awhile, that is somehow your fault.

It isn't! Just bear in mind that both of you are being torn up by this. If he needs TLC and love, so do you. He isn't in a position to give that to you now, but try to find things that you like and enjoy and will give you some peace. We all need that.

You and I would be great shopping together, by the way. I loathe shopping!!! ;\)

Take care,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#58224 - 10/21/05 12:34 PM Re: Collapsing on the inside
TRACYUK Offline
Member

Registered: 09/23/05
Posts: 178
I think you are spot on Larry. Its hard to get out of the rescue mode, clear your head enough to think selfishly, (I use that word in a positive sense)and even THINK about your own needs when there is a crisis going on in your home that involves someone else.

I also think that the pain I see seems to provoke something maternal in me. This has thrown me lately because I'm no big fan of kids really and don't remember ever feeling this sort of protective mother thing before.

I guess only a proffessional would really be able to say whether the pain I can see is a childs pain but thats how it seems to touch me and the feelings it provokes seem maternal... they are certaintly strongly strongly protective.

I think what I'm learning here is how to help an adult who is experiencing a childs agony. When he's in dispair Its as though he doesn't KNOW me let alone trust me.

One time I was trying to smile encouragingly at him, sort of trying to connect with him without touching or talking to him. He looked at me with fear and confusion and asked me if I was sure that I wasn't a smiing assassin.

Words to describe the hearbreak fail me. They really do. What did they do to his little soul that make him SO afraid to trust.


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