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#60034 - 05/31/04 08:44 PM I wanna scream
desertwife&mom Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/23/04
Posts: 6
I have appreciated the posts that I have received since I first came to the site. I have been frustrated for the past week due to many different things.

I am having a problem with dealing with regular day-to-day couple issues. I'm afraid sometimes to get in arguments with my husband about things that are completly unrelated to the SA. My husband is very sensitive when it comes to what I say and do. If I am having a bad day and criticize his lack of cleaning the house or cleaning the yard, I am afraid that it will be a blow to his self-esteem.

Because my husband is not in therapy or anything like that, I'm not always sure what triggers his memories of what happened or causes him to feel bad about himself in regards to the SA.

In addition to the SA, there is also the issue of not growing up without his father and not being extremely close with his mother.

I feel bad if I am having a bad day and just want to vent. I find myself comparing. I always think...how can I complain about my job or weight when my husband has been through so much.

I'm afraid for my husband. He is a stay at home dad and all of his major friends live in other states. In the three years that we've lived here he hasn't really made any friends. He made a comment the other day that he kind of likes to hide out in our small home town.

Now I don't know if this is just because we are busy with our many different activities, raising our son, school and us working opposite schedules. But nevertheless I'm concerned.

I love my husband so much it hurts sometimes. I married him because we are great friends and we share an amazing intimacy that some couples lack. But I don't know how he has processed the SA.

He repressed alot of things for many years and used anger as a defense instead. He is not as angry as he was when we first started dating but I don't know if this is because he is hiding it or because it really has calmed inside.


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#60035 - 05/31/04 09:45 PM Re: I wanna scream
outis Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 2260
Loc: Maryland USA
Desertwifeandmom,

You have the right to scream.
Quote:
I feel bad if I am having a bad day and just want to vent. I find myself comparing. I always think...how can I complain about my job or weight when my husband has been through so much.
You can complain if you need to vent. Just because bad things happened in his life doesn't mean you need to accept everything that happens in your day with a smile. I'm a survivor, but I have no right to complain, considering the atrocities that have occured through history, right? Doesn't make much sense that way, does it? It doesn't make sense that you should have to "keep it all inside" either.

If he knows you are aware of the abuse in his past, maybe you can let him know this resource exists? Like a lot of guys, he could come around and read anonymously before even considering if he wants to post something himself. I read like that for months, but they can't seem to shut me up now. (Of course, that could be because they don't try! \:D )

The most important thing that I can suggest is that you take care of yourself. There is no way to make anyone "get help" if they are not ready and willing. There are ways to make your life better, starting by focusing your efforts on your own life and your own needs. Just as you cannot do the healing for your husband, no one else can live your life for you.

I hope he decides to seek help. There are many people here who can "talk" to him about experiences and reactions that he very well might recognize. But it is a decision he will have to make.

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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#60036 - 06/01/04 01:55 AM Re: I wanna scream
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
hi desertwife&mom,

I posted something in another thread this week about being careful not to determine limits/triggers/whatever for our partners, and while respect and sensitivity are always in order, I really do think it's important not to put it upon ourselves to walk on eggshells around our partners because of OUR worries and guilt about their pasts.

First of all, abuse is about knocking down and disrespecting boundaries, and part of recovering from abuse is learning how to re-determine boundaries and express them to others. Determining a survivor's boundaries for him isn't going to help him... providing an environment where he can figure them out and express them and you will respect them is what will help him.

Second of all, many survivors worry that once someone knows about their abuse, it will change the relationship, cause distance, make things uncomfortable, etc. My boyfriend was very worried about this. It was important to him that I saw him the same way I always had--which meant that if he sensed me getting annoyed about something and holding it back to "protect" him, he became just as upset as if I'd said whatever was on my mind, because he was so anxious about his disclosure ruining things.


That being said, I did go through a similar "arguing about minor things will ruin my self esteem" phase with my boyfriend. I can be sarcastic sometimes and I curse when I am frustrated--not name-calling, just "oh I'm f-ing late for work"-- but it was really affecting my boyfriend during the time of/right after his disclosure; his shame and guilt were riding pretty high every day then, especially where I was concerned, and my anger was a trigger for him.

I did calm it down a lot, but honestly, it pissed me off like nothing else when I felt that he was dodging my legitimate, calmly expressed feelings with "Please, this is too overwhelming for me right now--" because I was working really hard on NOT being overwhelming, and it was starting to feel like he'd never be able to hear anything I had to say--and of course I had no way to vent that pissed-offness because I was respecting his wish not to be around an angry me right then...

We have talked about this since. I've apologized for hurting him with sarcasm and he's recognized that his perceptions of being put down/attacked aren't always accurate. From there, I was able to tell him that I needed a little more breathing room in terms of having my emotions and sharing them (actually, I think I said, "You know, I LIKE saying F***!"). The whole experience has been a chance for both of us to learn and communicate better.

SAR


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#60037 - 06/01/04 11:37 AM Re: I wanna scream
PAS Offline
Member

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 577
Loc: Canada
Quote:
Originally posted by SAR:
That being said, I did go through a similar "arguing about minor things will ruin my self esteem" phase with my boyfriend. I can be sarcastic sometimes and I curse when I am frustrated--not name-calling, just "oh I'm f-ing late for work"-- but it was really affecting my boyfriend during the time of/right after his disclosure; his shame and guilt were riding pretty high every day then, especially where I was concerned, and my anger was a trigger for him.

I did calm it down a lot, but honestly, it pissed me off like nothing else when I felt that he was dodging my legitimate, calmly expressed feelings with "Please, this is too overwhelming for me right now--" because I was working really hard on NOT being overwhelming, and it was starting to feel like he'd never be able to hear anything I had to say--and of course I had no way to vent that pissed-offness because I was respecting his wish not to be around an angry me right then...

We have talked about this since. I've apologized for hurting him with sarcasm and he's recognized that his perceptions of being put down/attacked aren't always accurate. From there, I was able to tell him that I needed a little more breathing room in terms of having my emotions and sharing them (actually, I think I said, "You know, I LIKE saying F***!"). The whole experience has been a chance for both of us to learn and communicate better.

SAR
Are you sure you're not me??????

Am here right now.. ugh!!! Am glad I read this post!!!!

Will try to have the same talk that you did.. that I need more breathign room to express myself and he needs to work on the hypersensitivity.

Good to konw that there's hope on this.. am feeling.. choked!!

P


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#60038 - 06/01/04 05:39 PM Re: I wanna scream
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
PAS

Yup... I know all about it... so many days I would say, "Hey did you get a chance to go to the bank?" and he would react just as if I'd said, "Hey, you stupid good-for-nothing, I bet you didn't make it off the couch to go to the bank, and now we're going to lose our lease because of you." BLAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH It's so maddening but at the same time I feel guilty for being mad at him, and in my clearer moments I find it hard to be mad in the first place for someone whose perceptions have been so distorted that the first statement really does sound like the second.

A word of warning... I may have misrepresented events by calling it *a* talk... I think it was more like 4 or 5 talks over a 3 month period of time :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

The first few were about gently pointing out the discrepancies in how he was acting vs. what I'd said... I would just ask him specifically what I'd said that bothered him and if there was a better way to say it, and let him know that I was confused about why he'd reacted a certain way. At first he was standoffish about that, he'd say, "I don't know, I'll tell you next time it happens" but I think he started asking himself those questions and working out the faulty perceptions on his own.

It helped too that he could see that I was really making a huge effort, even if he came back with expectations for me that I thought were irrational, at least I gave it a try.

The last time we talked about it, I explained to him about feeling choked etc., but I also talked honestly with him about why I express my anger the way I do and how it's worked well and not worked well for me... I had to do a lot of thinking on my own before I could say anything constructive about that. But it was really a talk about me and how I wanted him to understand *my* behavior. He was the one who brought up his hypersensitivity, if I'd done that I don't think he'd have paid attention.

SAR


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#60039 - 06/06/04 03:43 AM Re: I wanna scream
Leosha Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/18/03
Posts: 3614
Loc: Right here
Even among people who have been through very much, it is not competition. It is not 'oh, they been through so much worse'. People, all people, deserve chance to 'vent' at times. You are a person also. It does not all have to be about him. You are an equal partner, in an equal relationship. Please allow yourself to have rights to 'bitch' at times also. You deserve that.

Leosha

_________________________
Avatar photo in memory of my younger brother Makar.

"Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted."~~~Martin Luther King Jr., 1963

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#60040 - 06/09/04 10:44 PM Re: I wanna scream
MrsTJ Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/09/04
Posts: 1
Loc: St. Louis
dwm,

I am a the wife of a SA survivor. He has only acknowledged his abuse for the last two years. He spent months in EMDR therapy and now is in weekly talk therapy.

We deal with all the issues you discussed: especially the anger & the self esteem. TJ has had lots of therapy but still struggles with identifying triggers so I feel that's just a really long road.

You must be a lot like me -- you vent, but it doesn't really MEAN anything. When I do, TJ's supersensitivity/low self esteem kicks in.

Now for the good, TJ & I also have a fantastic intimacy which most survivors don't enjoy. Also we relate as soul mates and both feel our relationship in the most important thing in our life. Also, TJ recognizes his anger, sensitivity, and self esteem issues. He usually apologizes sincerely and never holds his issues against me.

If I were you I would try to get your husband on this website or into therapy. Both have definitely helped my husband!!! \:\)

hope this is helpful. at least were not alone.

Bea


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#60041 - 06/10/04 11:22 AM Re: I wanna scream
PAS Offline
Member

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 577
Loc: Canada
Quote:
Originally posted by SAR:
PAS

Yup... I know all about it... so many days I would say, "Hey did you get a chance to go to the bank?" and he would react just as if I'd said, "Hey, you stupid good-for-nothing, I bet you didn't make it off the couch to go to the bank, and now we're going to lose our lease because of you." BLAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH It's so maddening but at the same time I feel guilty for being mad at him, and in my clearer moments I find it hard to be mad in the first place for someone whose perceptions have been so distorted that the first statement really does sound like the second.
Blah.. I went away last week for work.. spent time with non survivors with thick skins.. felt like I was normal and sane and not this big bad meany that my partner paints me to be.. felt for a fleeting moment that I was part of the real world again....

Things are better since I came back. I think space and time is good in all relationships, especially survivor ones.

I just get tired having to work so hard, to choose my words carefully to avoid being crucified.

I just wanna be me!!

P


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