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#66306 - 04/27/05 07:23 PM Please challenge me
Janie101 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 6
Loc: seattle
Our therapy sessions are going slow and I canít seem to find my voice in them, additionally I am becoming concerned that I am going to disagree with some of this therapists ideas. It may be that I am just not at all familiar with how to let things go in the way this therapist seems to be suggesting.

I donít know if I believe that agreeing to disagree is the best way to handle conflicts in a relationship. I can see where it holds merit on some of the smaller more petty issues, such as whether or not someone can hang their stockings in the bathroom, or whether or not someone takes over the livingroom playing xbox for an afternoon. Everyone has their own style and quirks that are essentially harmless, but not everything that an individual might decide to do is harmless, and I believe that people bare a certain responsibility to one another. For example, this therapist described the fact that his wife was uncomfortable when he weaves through traffic and gets close to the cars in front of him and he describes this as her quirk, but I am wondering what traffic safety might say about that. I donít think that it is a quirk to be uncomfortable when someone is choosing to drag you into their risky behavior.

Additionally, I donít think that it is unreasonable for his wife to expect him to drive safely even when she is not in the care with him because they have a life and children together. I guess what I am saying is that you canít have a separatist attitude in and interdependent relationship and I think that it is dangerous to teach someone that it is ok to avoid resolving differences when they have a tendency to be an escapist anyway. It obviously frustrates me because essentially it means living some sort of stoic growth stunting life.

I could choose to leave G to himself, to not challenge any of his perceptions or inclinations and expect him to do the same with me and we could have a seemingly comfortable life but I would think that eventually we would grow bored, stagnate, and become distant because real people have feelings and need challenge. Please call me on my behavior when you see something in it that is neglectful or harmful, I want to learn how to be a better me and I canít always see my own stuff as well as the people who love me can.

Anyway, maybe what I really need is to find my own female therapist to help me sort out some of this stuff, but for now I am thankful for this forum and all those who have made contact with me here. I also would like to apologize to anyone who was negatively affected by anything on the weblink signature on my previous posts, there were some things there that I forgot about when I made the spontaneous decision to add that to my profile and I have since removed it. I love to write and I love to ponder and expound things with other people but I find that I can also be very like an elephant walking through buttercups sometimes.

Peace,
Janie


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#66307 - 04/27/05 08:17 PM Re: Please challenge me
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

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

You might want to check out this article:
A Consumer\'s Guide to Therapist Shopping

For what it's worth, I agree with you on the driving thing-- I think I might talk to my boyfriend and start a whole thread about unsafe driving...

But I also wonder if your therapist didn't have a valid point in there which just got lost in a bad example--

Until someone is ready to accept your challenge, all you can do is lay it down, and wait. No amount of "trying to get someone to see" is going to make someone see, if he isn't willing to take a step back and examine himself.

This is very relevant to the issues we face as secondary survivors-- it wouldn't make sense for me to sit down with a therapist, or anyone else, with the idea that if I can just find the exact right combination of words to get through to my boyfriend, it will unlock something in his head and all of the sudden he'll be on some next level of healing. There is no right combination of words.

There may be a right combination of life events that happen to my boyfriend, and open his eyes and mind enough that he is able to progress in healing-- and maybe my words will be a part of that at some point-- but it's not how others challenge us that makes us grow. It's how we challenge ourselves.

I get frustrated with others' lack of progress because I care about them-- but the best thing I can do to deal with that frustration is to challenge myself and my feelings-- challenging their lack of progress is not going to help me cope with the situation the next time it occurs (and it will).


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#66308 - 04/27/05 08:20 PM Re: Please challenge me
kolisha54 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/02/03
Posts: 475
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
To paraphrase The Talmud, someone who kisses your cheek MAY be your friend, but someone who kisses your butt is NEVER your friend.

Just as we must choose our friends wisely, we must also choose our cheeks wisely.

As a TRUE friend of mine recently advised me when I was having doubts about a physician: just bec. a person has an MD after their name, doesn't mean that person wasn't the last in their class....

_________________________
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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#66309 - 04/27/05 09:46 PM Re: Please challenge me
Janie101 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 6
Loc: seattle
Thanks so much, it is true...the Talmud speaks wisely. :-). And it is true that I could very well be looking for some magic set of words that will bring all my concerns home to G. I do feel a certain desperation on these issues and a need to move past them and in that I may be trying to bulldoze and bulldozing may be just making things worse. I can see that. I guess maybe I am just hoping to find willingness in him, but when an issue comes up he either shuts down or becomes angry and defensive. I do try to present my concerns respectfully, calmly and without guilt or shame tactics but maybe none of that really matters.

I know that what I am doing is trying to reason with him and that he doesn't want me to reason with him. What I can't figure out is why. Why wouldn't he want to work things out with me? If you spill something on the kitchen floor isn't the reasonable inclination to clean it up?

Maybe it is all a matter of what one can tolerate and if I can't tolerate a relationship with someone who ignores things that are important to me then perhaps the relationship needs to end. This is really where I am at and yet it just doesn't feel right to throw the baby out with the bathwater either.

I am very conflicted and maybe hormones aren't helping, thats why this forum and maybe a one on one therapist could be so valuable. I need the objectivity it provides to have some clarity.

I also think I really do need something to change because what is going on right now is not working for me and I need to find the strength to take that responsibility on for myself, I wish there was a handbook for it though. I swore to myself after my 14 year marriage to an unavailable man that I would never let myself fall into a lonely relationship again and I feel like this is where we are headed if he remains walled off.

Peace,
Janie


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#66310 - 04/27/05 10:06 PM Re: Please challenge me
kolisha54 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/02/03
Posts: 475
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
Well, if it helps, there are several of us here who are going through the same thing.

YOU are not going crazy & are not delusional.

You are a lovely, compassionate person & you are trying to understand this nutty cycle - and it IS a cycle. Remember Dr. Doolittle's Pushmepullyou animal? It had two heads & 4 feet - 2 sets of everything, but 2 sets heading off in opposite directions???? This is what a relationship with a survivor feels like.

We often get invested in the idea of healing & growth: and because it is so much easier to detect signs of need & signs of progress in someone ELSE other than ourselves, we end up focusing on our partner's ups & downs & forgetting about our own.

The way I see it, it is a very HEALTHY sign for you to notice that you need more than what you are presently settling for. I am at the very same place! But - I have to warn you: your survivor is NOT going to make it easy for you to "move on," if that's what you intend to do. There will be NO closure from him - he will find subtle ways to keep you enthralled, even if he has seemingly kicked you right out of his life.

Don't know that I have any answers for you, & I certainly have NO intention to be negative about men who have survived some of the worst kind of betrayal possible. But - what I am saying is that just as in a relationship with someone who has NOT been abused, we can't be in the relationship by ourselves! True, the "he's just not that into you" stuff is 100% not applicable here, but a survivor has to be in a place in his healing where he can find the time & the means to devote SOME of his energy to his partner. If it is too overwhelming for him, especially if his coping tactics are such that his partner feels totally invalidated - then it just ain't gonna work!!! We can make ourselves blue in the face trying to find the right words or the right way or the right time: there IS no "right" way until the survivor can articulate to us that we are profoundly important to him & that he is ready to heal for & with us.

_________________________
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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#66311 - 04/28/05 01:28 AM Re: Please challenge me
An Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/24/04
Posts: 151
Loc: usa
Janie,
I hope you do give yourself the gift of your own counseling. Trust your intuition.
Codependent No More (By Melody Beatty) is one of the oldest books around on this whole challenge of taking care of ourselves while caring for others but it is THE primer. And relatively quick reading. Very straight on & practical. Years ago the author used to do national tours and I'd go hear her speak each year that she came here. And I went weekly to Adult Children Anonymous groups back then that saved my self esteem- or even more so , that taught me how to save it myself! I still go to ACA meetings when I can - if they weren't an hour away I'd probaby still go every week- those groups truly changed my life and back then, going to meeting was critical (and i had no physical limiatations) - I've now got a lot of those resources within my psyche, but the support group is great, just like this board is. There are probably groups in your area (and they're free! ) either ACA or Coda (for Codependents anonymous) or EA Emotions Anonymous- all deal with this stuff.

For me I read (lots!), went to individual counseling, listened to audiotapes & watched videotapes on the subject, went to national speakers and weekend workshops and to the weekly 12 step support groups mentioned- it took that for those years to redirect the path my childhood learnings had set me on. I needed it All, but maybe just one or two would feel right for you- just options. I always think everything's possible even if it takes a lot!

I'm realizing lately that my relationship with my guy is pretty atypical in the order of things- cause knowing about the SA came with the start of the relationship which from all I've read here, is a little unusual. It's not better or worse but different.

One of the challenges I think it holds is that what was okay in the first year, when he was wrestling with his fear of wholehearted recovery, just isn't okay anymore- because we're both different people now and the situation is different- we've both grown.
I think I've got to make clear the boundaries that I now have. It may mean we have to split for now (or always) but that's much more doable for me than the thought of any of last years happenings being the nature of the relationship, that's just too unsatisfying, it just doesn't feel right. I've been thinking about it all day and sat down and made a list an hour ago about what's acceptable now to me.

It's helpful to clarify it while I'm alone- e.g. I can agree to let him opt out of plans we've made if a "mood" hits, but not without "notification"- In contrast, last year he'd literally just "no show" and I'd get the apology when he came out of his dark spell a week later. I won't go through that again. If he can't commit to that then we'll just have to be on hold and if he ever can, then we can check out the relationship then. It's not that I'm not devoted to him, but I'm devoted to me too! and I just think it does no good to let him be less than he can be - I always believe what's meant to be will be and know it wisest to have faith in my intuition.
If it's too much for him to be considerate of me while he's doing his recovery, then it's too much for him to be considerate of me while he's in recovery.
I guess what I'm saying (& feeling & thinking through as I write- cause this topic has been my own inner theme today), I feel like I've given the reasonable and loving allowance for the recovery considerations in saying that I'll not be upset if he has to call off plans due to processing SA stuff, but it's unreasonable for me to be treated as if I don't exist.
That's his "challenge" - that hard as it will be for him to not just "turn off and tune out" , he'd have to just make that effort to communicate - just as I'd be making the effort to be understanding that the plans had changed due to his needing the change.
Fortunately, we both are interested in fairness. I literally want us to prediscuss this stuff and write down what we've agreed too- Like changing any habits, it's going to take a deliberate effort on both our parts. If we write it down, it willhelp us both be sure we're being fair and when we both may lose perspective, it'll be a grounding point.

We each operate in our own way and our own systems- i've been trying to analyze my current feelings. I think it's that now that I know he's hooked up with the resources to find a way to live different than in the old behaviors- [and that guidance wouldn't be coming from me but instead through counseling and his own work], i think now it's a matter of choice whereas before it wasn't. He was his own victim before and now he's his own hero.

i'm glad he decided to go for my offer of a little "moratorium"- a break for a few weeks for us each to refocus on our separate lives. It felt needed for balance since there'd been so much intensity around the workshop time and right before that my surgery time. I needed to depend on him through my physical surgery and he needed my help during his "emotional surgery". and we both needed a break since we both had intense needs recently. (plus I've been very "hormonally challenged" as I go through my own transitional time of life!

Just sharing both sides of our globe- our emotional world. sorry so long, but I always learn as I write. Thanks to all, Peace, An


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#66312 - 04/28/05 01:53 AM Re: Please challenge me
An Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/24/04
Posts: 151
Loc: usa
two things hit me after that post-

1) i absolutely love my guy, but I don't love the way he'd treated me last year

2) the moratorium came about because of these boundaries. He had stopped being open and communicating responsibly and I'd said I'd need a break if that was the way things were- My first choice would have been staying in the close communication and emotional intimacy state we'd been in the weeks prior,but given that was no longer an option, I came up with this one. I still let it be his choice and as always following intuition goes well

- just sharing these insights as they come to me since we're all on the journey and trying to see around the corners! ~


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#66313 - 04/28/05 06:59 PM Re: Please challenge me
Janie101 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 6
Loc: seattle
Oh My Gosh...a million thank yous to all of you!!! And Kolisha...wow, you said exactly what has been going through my head "I am not crazy" only when I have been saying it the words just become one great big echo in my head with no place to land. Thank you for giving it a place to land.

I think maybe that is what is at the core of my desperation, having no one to validate that all of this stuff is not just in my head. G can't do it because he is too busy defending himself to even hear me right now, and the subject matter has been far to sensitive for me to share elsewhere till this forum.

I think An and SAR have made some points that I can use, I am going to try and step back a little and lower my gauntlet. I took out my copy of "Co-Dependant No More" and put down my book on MPD. I have been so wrapped up in trying to figure out him that I have lost track of me.

This weekend is going to be a perfect time for me to reset, he will be away all weekend for a bachelor party and I have plans to make sushi with a girlfriend at my place Saturday night, the rest of the weekend should give me some time to do some reading and reflecting.

I feel strong today, and I do feel as though I little light went on but I am also over the hormonal hump too. Hopefully, I can gain some strength and tools before the next flux but if not at least I know I can always come here and get things off my chest. I just can't stop being thankful for this forum and all of you.

Peace,
Janie


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#66314 - 04/28/05 08:26 PM Re: Please challenge me
kolisha54 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/02/03
Posts: 475
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
Found myself thinking the other day... "Hmmm: I wonder if there are any other partners out there who have NOT had these experiences????? I wonder if there are any partners whose SO's are nurturing & responsive & consistent & validating ALL the time???? I wonder if we are just not hearing from these people because they do not 'need' a forum like this????"

NAH!

What silly questions!

_________________________
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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#66315 - 04/28/05 09:12 PM Re: Please challenge me
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
Quote:
I wonder if there are any partners whose SO's are nurturing & responsive & consistent & validating ALL the time???? I wonder if we are just not hearing from these people because they do not 'need' a forum like this????"
Well... my boyfriend's partner sure isn't like that :p

And I'm glad he doesn't expect her to be.

We can't heal for others... but we can't ask others to be so perfect that our own lack of healing becomes irrelevant.

Just my free opinion.


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