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#58368 - 10/22/05 09:37 PM Boiling Point Frustrations
sunshine2 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/23/05
Posts: 16
I think one of the hardest things about being in a relationship with a survivor is the instability. Just when I think things are moving along smoothly - and I even dare to say so in public where somebody can actually HEAR - something happens to send my boyfriend into a tailspin of some sort and that pulls the rug out from under my feet.

Since he started the intensive therapy I have found myself pushed to limits emotionally that I didn't think I was capable of going to. I know people constantly say that as supporters we're supposed to take care of ourselves. That's easier said than done. Some days I feel very strong. Yesterday I felt very strong. Today, realizing that I'm STILL not going to see the man I love after he moves clear across the country to be closer to me is pretty much sending me over the edge.

Perhaps it was wishful thinking on my part, but I honestly thought that once he moved the avoidant stuff would end - at least with me, because I'm supposed to be the woman he loves. Over the past few months I've seen with his therapy exactly how that whole avoidance thing works. It stems from the therapy, not being an actual avoidant condition. He is afraid of how people will perceive him or judge him because of what happened in his past and so he dodges them all together if he can. With me, it's different, I'm the woman he cares about and he fears reacting violently. But, as I said, he'd been doing better with interaction. I thought that part was behind us. I found out I was wrong.

I know that there are no therapists here, but, in all honesty, this is my last and only place to vent. I cannot discuss his problems with my friends, they don't understand, my family isn't interested, I cannot discuss what his problem is doing to me with "Mark" because he takes it personally that he can't do anything right, that I'm badmouthing him, and it sends him spiraling even worse.

He's only been up here for two weeks and maybe it was unrealistic that he'd be ready to at least come out of hiding but that's not proving to be the case. It was unsettling in the beginning, now, now that he's less than four hours away, it's violently painful.

I attempted to find some help for how I was feeling on this end but was told by two different therapists that 'if the relationship makes you this sad and miserable, dump the man and move on and Nobody is worth this much pain and torture'. Yes, one of them actually said that, word for word - amidst a few other nasty comments.

So, here I sit, feeling badly for being selfish enough to want to spend some time with the man I love and knowing he's angry with me because that's what I want and he can't give it to me, at least not yet. After he got back from therapy last night we argued long and hard about this and I came very close to walking. I just know that I love him and someday he's going to be okay and we can move forward. Until then, how am I supposed to deal with this situation?

Furthermore, how are we supposed to care for ourselves when we ourselves have reached a weakened frame of mind? By the time he's healthy enough to say he's a survivor (and he won't at this point) I'm going to be majorly screwed up. I wasn't in that great a frame of mind to begin with, having been in an abusive relationship before this man, but I thought I was strong enough to move forward and be there for this man because I love him.

How are we supposed to have any hope for a future with the survivor we love when every single time we find a glimmer of hope it's dashed and shattered? How are we to plan a future and stay focused on that when something inevitably rears its ugly head to remind us that the relationship will never truly be 'normal'?

Sometimes I think he'd be better off without me because I cannot respond the way he needs me to. I can't be "up" 24/7. I can't be pleasant and happy and ultimately supportive constantly when I'm being forced to carry on a relationship over the stupid phone. I can't be "positive" all the time anymore. I'm not sure WHAT I can do anymore because nothing I do seems to be the right thing anymore. I try to share how I feel, I'm being nasty to him. I try to discuss what he's feeling when he expresses himself and I'm being nasty to him.

I guess this is what the 'downside' ultimately looks like. Today I'm very sad and not sure if I'm going to be able to handle six more months of this. The therapist says it's not going to take that long, he'll be able to feel okay about seeing me before then. I'm not sure what to think. . . I need to find someway to cope with this situation while he works through his pain, guilt and frustrations. I'm just not sure that there is really anything that I can do to feel comfortable with this situation at this point.

Thanks for listening to me vent guys. . .


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#58369 - 10/24/05 03:10 PM Re: Boiling Point Frustrations
TRACYUK Offline
Member

Registered: 09/23/05
Posts: 178
Sunshine

Do you think you would have the strength to minimise his importance in your life? If you don't wnat to leave him you could maybe agree a period of "leave of absence" where you didn't have to be there for him, this could be that 6 months which you describe above. It sounds as if he is getting most of support from his therapist??so maybe he would be ok??

Maybe it would be OK for you not to see him for a while and to just live your own life. That way when you do come back together he will be further down the road of recovery and you will still be sane.

I know this seems the direct opposite of what you want, you say you want to be with him more. But neither do you wnat to have a nervous breakdown yourself or end up hating/resenting him.

I know this is hard, I planned a night away with friends, not an unusual thing but the first time I'd done it since the crisis began. Half way there he rang to say he really needed me to come home that night. This is the first time i remember him being open enough to say he needed me. What bl**dy timing I thought. I need space, you decide to let me know you need me!!!

I know its hard when youre in the midst of it all to make time for yourself. Its hard to clear your head enough to even THINK what your needs might even be.... maybe some time out would make that space for you?

Thinking of you

Love

Tracy


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#58370 - 10/24/05 04:16 PM Re: Boiling Point Frustrations
Bluebird Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 15
Hi Sunshine,

I agree with what Tracy said. I know it is hard, but if you can minimize your time with him, at least in the short term, you might give yourself a break AND give him the chance to miss you and realize your importance in his life. You mention talking on the phone--do you call him mostly or does he call you? Perhaps you could tell him you are there for him when he's ready, then not call him for awhile. Perhaps you could write letters to each other for a few weeks. That type of communication makes it harder for him to be rash and say things without thinking, and with a letter in hand, he can really digest what it is you have to say. But if you take a little space for yourself and do a few things for your own self preservation, I think you will feel stronger in just a short time, and more than likely he will reach out to you sooner because he won't feel any pressure. Men are funny like that, as Tracy's story about space suggests. But do a few nice things for yourself, sunshine. Maybe go shopping or get a pedicure with a friend. Or maybe let out your stress through some exercise. Get together with friends. I bet you he will come around, but those first months of therapy can be really scary. Just knowing you are there for him when he is ready should be a great comfort to him.

You mentioned you were in an abusive relationship before. I trust he does not hurt you? I hope you are willing to set boundaries for him and let him know that although you love him deeply, you will not allow yourself to be mistreated. You deserve to be loved and treated with respect.

I wish you strength and courage and love. You sound like a special person that he is lucky to have in his corner.

Love and peace,

Bluebird


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#58371 - 10/24/05 05:09 PM Re: Boiling Point Frustrations
Abby Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/18/04
Posts: 36
Hi Sunshine,

I can relate much to most of your experience. I agree with Tracy and Bluebird, about the fact that you HAVE to take care of yourself and maybe distancing from him if you are afraid this situation is consummating yourself. Dealing with a survivor is difficult, and we – supporters – should not be supposed to be perfect 24/7, because we are normal human beings with our personalities, our own past and issues to take care to and deal with. We are really secondary survivors, and in case we are ourselves survivors too or anyway found us in abusive situations previously, it’s even harder.

If your boyfriend loves you, I am confident that he could understand your distancing, because he is experiencing this need too towards yourself. Writing emails or letters instead of phone calling is an excellent option. It’s true that it’s a “colder” way to communicate, but it allows to the people involved to have all the time and space they need to express themselves. Provided you (both) are honest in the writing communication, in a way it can be an additional tool to the healing process. Surely, sometime it can be hard because in case of misunderstanding or a desire of clarifying a word or something similar, the answer can be not immediate or even impossible to obtain. It’s a risk. But maybe it can worth anyway.

Anyway, what’s most important is that you find a convenient way for you to take care of yourself.

Peace,
Abby


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#58372 - 10/25/05 10:03 PM Re: Boiling Point Frustrations
sunshine2 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/23/05
Posts: 16
*sigh* I attempted to talk with him regarding distancing and all it did was make him angry. He looked at it as abandonment.

Maybe I didn't make myself clear enough - I can't be in the same city, let alone same building with the man, he totally freaks. I haven't laid eyes on him since April of 2004. I want to spend time with him because I haven't SEEN him, let alone touched him, in over a year.

All we have is the phone and he's the one that calls me the most. He gets upset if I don't call.

Yes, I came out of an abusive situation but my fiance isn't like that. He doesn't even have that type of demeanor that my ex had. He's never been violent in any way. Although, he CAN get mouthy when he wants to but I think every guy does that. I've yet to meet one who doesn't.


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#58373 - 10/26/05 01:30 AM Re: Boiling Point Frustrations
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus
MaleSurvivor<

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

Over a year is a very long time.

I've read alot of your posts because the abuse suffered by our partners seemed similar. What isn't similar is the manner in which they are dealing, or not. You haven't seen him for a year, not for lack of trying on your part. It isn't only distance that is keeping you apart.

Too many of your phone conversations seem to revolve around him yelling or getting upset with you for trying to have a relationship, albiet a long distance, no physical contact one. I'm not talking about sex, I'm talking about the very human need for human contact. For me, the ability to touch another person, whether it's a hug, holding their hand or just a gentle stroke across my cheek is necessary to my survival. I know that about me and it sounds to me like you require that too. Not being able to even lay eyes on this man has to be torture for you and it's not fair to you that he's keeping you so distant yet relying on you to the point that he's bringing you down with him.

We all expect and will deal with more than our fair share of hardship because we are trying to understand and help our partners through what has to be the most difficult thing a person must deal with. BUT and this is a big but, there are rewards. The survivor should not be the only one to reap those rewards, especially at the expense of the person trying so hard to help him.

You say he moved to within 4 hours of you, that's still very far, but it's closer. Maybe he just needs time to reflect and figure out if he can even be in a relationship and maybe you do too. You can't be on edge 24/7 wondering if just saying hi will set him off - on you! That's not fair to you.

It's true that the only people who really know what a relationship is about are the people in it, but what I'm hearing from you is more frustration, anger and sadness than any person can handle and still be a whole person.

As Abby, Tracy and Bluebird all said, you are entitled to respect from your b/f. I think even more importantly, you have to respect yourself and truly believe that you deserve it from others, no matter who they are.

Take some time for you. Continue to be there for him, but don't allow him to ONLY use you as his sounding board or his whipping post. Enjoy your life with your friends, your family, your job, and learn to enjoy your own company. You may find that the strength you find in yourself, while continuing to care for him and love him will be an inspiration to him and then maybe you can be together. That's not a selfish thing to do, its the right thing to do to survive and thrive.

Be well Sunshine and do your best to find the strength that you need to be a whole person and let the world see the caring woman we see here.

Trish

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

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