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#59338 - 04/22/04 11:17 AM Letter I'd like to give my husband.
wifenneed Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/20/02
Posts: 91
Loc: Michigan
If anyone (guys or gals)has time and the inclination, I'd like you to read this. I'm hoping to open up some communication with my husband, and hope this letter does not come across as incriminating or blaming, and I'm in need of an honest opinion. Perhaps what I can add or change, etc. Last thing I want to do is push him away more by asking for some (or any)communication, but I have to try...

Thanks all-

Here it is:

I've been thinking and wanted to write to you in hopes of opening up some communication. I hope to hear back from you, either via e-mail or in person, but I cannot force you to communicate with me, that is up to you.

I feel very isolated from you. I wonder why, when we can talk so freely and communicate so well on most things, that when it comes to what might be bothering you, triggering you, or making you feel sideways, that you cannot come to me or communicate to me what may be happening. In doing so you would help me to understand you, and cope with things so much better. As Al Pacino said in the movie Scent of a Woman, "I'm in the dark here". That's how I feel, in the dark. I know you say that I should use my powers of discernment to come to a conclusion about how you are feeling or what your demeanor is, but if that's all I'm left with, my own deductions about things, it is never going to be correct. I need your communication, so very much. For me to remain silent and give you space is one thing, but to not communicate what is going on with yourself to me seems to lack some civility. I feel like an intruder when I ask you about things, almost as if I wasn't your wife but an untrusted reporter trying to glean information out of a reluctant person. If I dare to comment about something that has to do with your mood or something that happened, at times you just come back with "I am not, or I did not, or that's not entirely true" types of responses. It leaves me with nothing, other than to question myself and my ability to understand and interact with you.

Could you help me understand why it is so hard to communicate, even the small things that are bothering you? Maybe over e-mail it wouldn't be so confrontational. We used to have quite the dialogue between us by e-mail, and I miss that because it allowed us to talk through some things without it being in-your-face, so to speak. You know that I love you more than anything, and perhaps it is only me feeling these things, I don't know. But I do feel something, and that is distance and withdrawal. I don't like the dance of withdrawal that we seem to do, it doesn't feel right. Silence is followed by more silence, space by more space, and at times I know that's necessary, but without loving, honest, sincere communication (on anything, how you feel about your job situation, the children, the past, or your ex, whatever), I feel we make no progress or that we are just ignoring something that is glaringly obvious.

There is so much I'd like to talk with you about, so much. There never seems to be an opportune time, or mood, to do it. I guess with all that is going on in our lives that the sacrifice that has to be made is between you and me, in order to keep the machine rolling (kids, exes, family, work, and all the relationships intertwined). Perhaps I'm just missing some time for "us", to talk, to connect. One day rolls in to the next and it feels that time is pressing on and we're left behind, or maybe just me.


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#59339 - 04/22/04 12:47 PM Re: Letter I'd like to give my husband.
outis Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 2259
Loc: Maryland USA
Wifenneed,

I don't envy you needing to send such a message. But someone has to take the first step to address a problem, and it looks like you're the one.

If my wife wrote something like this to me, I'm not sure what kind of mood I would be in by the time I got to the third paragraph. Where you tell him you love him. It might be an easier read if you mention that sooner. I wouldn't take anything out, just add that to the beginning, and maybe again to the end.

I hope he recognizes what you're saying and how much it needs to be said. Recovery is private in a lot of ways, but relationships can't be.

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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#59340 - 04/22/04 12:57 PM Re: Letter I'd like to give my husband.
swartzhund Offline
Member

Registered: 04/08/04
Posts: 61
Loc: Michigan
I'm nobody to be giving advice.....hell I can't talk to my wife either and I don't know why, but you might want to let him know that you're proud of him for coming as far as he has and that you'll never think less of him for anything the two of you discuss about his past. Thats what my wife said to me when I told her I was coming on these forums...thats all I said and then I didn't say much at all to her for about 3 days. But when she left me that note saying "I love you with all my heart", "I'm proud of you for wanting to better yourself", "I'll help you any way I can" and "I won't think any less of you for anything you tell me". Well, I thanked the best friend spirits for sending her to me and cried in the dark for a while. Next step is to actually talk to her about it....not sure how to do that but I definately want to try. \:\)

_________________________
Brian

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#59341 - 04/22/04 01:11 PM Re: Letter I'd like to give my husband.
wifenneed Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/20/02
Posts: 91
Loc: Michigan
Thank you Joe and Brian. This letter is a rough draft and not complete yet, and I see the points both of you have made. I definitely need to do some commendation, he has made strides I thought he never could (and I'll bet he didn't either), so thank you for pointing that out. I don't even know if I'll have the nerve to give it to him, it just plain scares me that I'll make him feel bad or something and he'll "go away", so to speak.

Thanks guys-
Kathy


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#59342 - 04/22/04 02:02 PM Re: Letter I'd like to give my husband.
swartzhund Offline
Member

Registered: 04/08/04
Posts: 61
Loc: Michigan
This is definately and difficult thing to have in a relationship. All I can do is wish you luck and say please don't give up on him.

_________________________
Brian

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#59343 - 04/22/04 02:50 PM Re: Letter I'd like to give my husband.
PAS Offline
Member

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 577
Loc: Canada
Awesome for you to be taking this initiative...

From my experience I have to try to be really short in any communications to my partner. He starts to "click off" if the letter or discussion is too long. However, I dont know if thats just his attention span or because he's being triggered... anyhow something to keep in mind???

However, I do note that writing letters does work better than talking. he gets REALLY triggered by heated discussions.

Blah maybe I'm rambling here....... making no sense... in any case I do try to look at how he may recieve my messages before I send them. Sometimes that causes a big ol brain fart though!

P


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#59344 - 04/23/04 01:16 AM Re: Letter I'd like to give my husband.
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
Kathy,

This really is a brave letter to write, even if you never send it, because it means that you were brave enough to sit down and think honestly about what you see happening in your relationship and how you're feeling about it. It's not easy to face especially when times are tough. But I hope you do send (or revise and send) it, and if you can, try to remember that he might just need some time to process all that you've said, and that's not the same thing as pushing you away.

My experience has been much like PAS's in that 2 paragraphs into any letter, my boyfriend "clicks" off. But, to be honest, I've found that when I write letters like the one you've written, I "click" part of myself off too-- I don't want to be angry or emotional or rambling, and so I shut myself down a little as I'm writing. Maybe my boyfriend can sense that and responds to it? I'm not saying that this is what your letter does, Kathy, but I do notice a lot of detachment and isolation in what you've written-- and it's okay for you to feel frustrated and angry about being shut out of your own relationship, and okay for you to let him know that too.

Personally I know that any ambigious "we need to talk" statement creates anxiety for my boyfriend--he doesn't like to be "ambushed" with information or problems, and he comes up with worst-case scenarios right up until the minute we actually sit down and talk. I can't just say "There is a lot I want to talk about with you," he does much better if I say, "We need to talk about X and Y when you feel up to it."

take care
SAR


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#59345 - 04/23/04 09:38 AM Re: Letter I'd like to give my husband.
wifenneed Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/20/02
Posts: 91
Loc: Michigan
Hi SAR-
I wanted to be as unemotional as I could be in writing it. I have anger and frustration and didn't want that coming across in it. The less emotion I show during these situations, the better it seems to go. I feel bottled up with unexpressed frustration, some anger, and sadness in what seems to be him ignoring or avoiding rather than just talking and communicating things.

I don't know why I get so afraid to express my anger and frustration and disappointment to him. Maybe because so many others did this to him when he was little, and I don't want to heap on more guilt/pain? It's a conundrum, and right now I want to throw up my hands and just live. I want to live and learn together, but I feel like eggshells are everywhere, and I hate gauging my every move, and his every mood. \:\(

Sorry all just frustrated right now and needing to vent.


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#59346 - 04/23/04 01:05 PM Re: Letter I'd like to give my husband.
AB Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/15/03
Posts: 11
Loc: N. America
I have the same diffculties with my husband. I still love him very much but he was unable to stand constantly 'disappointing' me by his behaviour (read 'acting out') and we had to separate. We talk only by e-mail, but in the end this seems to be easier for both of us...I am not going nuts thinking about what he is going to do next, and he is able to continue to go to therapy and deal with his issues without pressure. it is hard to build trust this way, but if your husband and you have a history of being able to communicate better through writing, then I suggest you try it. You can get yourself to a less stressful place where you can make some decisions for yourself, heal your anger and frustration through counselling or reading or whatever, and be in a much better place to support him. Just don't give up. I keep telling my husband that I beleieve he can do this, I love him and I have not given up on the idea that he is capable of change. I hope this is some sort of help for you. I understand exactly where you are.

_________________________
AB

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#59347 - 04/23/04 08:53 PM Re: Letter I'd like to give my husband.
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Kathy
what a brave step, and I can't add much else to what's been said already. Just remember to sing his praises a bit - we need that. ( it might just be a 'man' thing, but it never hurts ;\) )

A guy in our group therapy was trying to get his relationship with his parents back on track for a long while. They lived close by him and he'd call around and try to talk most days. It usually ended in tears.

So he wrote them, and they replied. A few basics got sorted and he called around again. And things progressed from there. Now he has a good relationship and plenty of support from them.
It's hard to ignore or misconstrue a well thought out letter.

I think it has some similatity to the technique I use along with my wife.
I've mentioned it here many times before, we go for a meal once a week at an Indian restraunt where we feel prepared to talk. It's an odd place to talk I admit, but for us it works. It started off after I was in one to one therapy on a Wednesday early evening and to save cooking we went out to eat.
We don't get angry there because it's public - and we want to go back. It's relaxing, it's neutral, and we accept that this is our time for talking.

Even though I 'work' for MS and our local Survivors charity Axis from home, I don't like polluting our home with 'my abuse' I just don't feel comfortable talking about here, I 'do' but not much.

The similarity lies in the fact it's structured, and I like that personally. My wife doesn't spring stuff on me, or me her. We have time to think about what we would like to say. We do have some spontaneous talks, but for us the most effective are the regular friday night curry chats.

Some nights, like tonight we barely mentioned my 'problems' - this week has been good for me and I had nothing to say so we just talked the usual married couples stuff and planned the weekend. She 'needs' shoes so I'm going to hide away in my garage. \:D

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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