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#68379 - 12/02/03 07:04 PM Re: Does it help?
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
I know this sound like I'm making HUGE assumptions, but sometimes it's hard not to notice that some couples are remarkably similar in having an 'abusive' background - whether sexual, violent or emotional abuse.

And from the few couples I know, or knew - most have seperated, they had a relationship that was so intense when it was good, but the slightest problem sent them overboard into the worst violence and emotional fights I've ever seen.
It seems to me now, looking back with hindsight ( a wonderful thing ) that they were just acting out against each other.

So, what I can't figure out is why the relationships even get past the second date ?
I can remember a friend of mine fighting with his future wife in the back seat of my car - he'd only known her about five days !
It took them 10 years before they divorced, and they both remarried and don't fight with their new partners.
I now know they both came from 'difficult' childhoods, and now I also see some of the reasons for their behaviour.
But as far as I know neither has had any kind of help with their problems,or anger management even.

They say "opposites attract" - there might be some truth in that.
My wife and I are as opposite as you get in most things, and we don't even argue really.
But like two magnets, two "same" repel.

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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#68380 - 12/02/03 08:30 PM Re: Does it help?
stpbb Offline
Member

Registered: 03/03/03
Posts: 103
You've gotten a lot of good replies here. I will just add from my own experience. My ex bf & I went through that kind of process. We were very involved, then not, then back etc. As he made discoveries about his abuse he decided that he wanted a 'casual' sexual relationship. Instead of getting someone else for that, he tried to have that with me. We were officially broken up, but would 'get together'. Of course, the reality was not so casual for either one of us since we had already developed & nurtured a very close emotional bond, but he was trying in some way to create the emotional distance from sex in order to feel safe & in order to not get affected by the emotions that it brought up.

Well, it didn't work. We then went on getting back together, not together, etc. Finally we agreed to be friends & NOT have sex & that was the best step we could take in our relationship. It wasn't easy & I had to be the 'enforcer'. Even though this was HIS agreement for HIS emotional progress, he would still try to make our encounters sexual & I had to push him back & let him know that we were really going to live up to that agreement to be friends. That didn't come until I realized that the way I connect sex & love is TOTALLY different than how he does. It isn't that he isn't sincere in the caring or affectionate moments, it is that he splits that off from his daily reality & categorizes it in some way that keeps it more understandable. I would think that we were connecting & together, but just when I thought that, he'd be running away...very hurtful until I realized what was going on.

Establishing the friendship made me feel much more valued & valuable to him. He still does stuff that is insensitive, but he is much more expressive of his emotional connection to me when he isn't running away from the sexual connection. The sex just seemed to cloud his ability to see the friendship.

I don't know if this makes sense. It is kind of hard to explain how the dynamic changes and it is also difficult because I haven't got the same 'categories' for people that he seems to have.

My understanding of the psychology may be flawed, but the way I see him is like a tiny child, adolescent and grown man all walking around in a grown man's body. They are all part of him -- he isn't DID to such a degree that he has alters or experiences that he doesn't know about. But sometimes I think the tiny child is exposed & the grown man doesn't know how to protect him. The adolescent is the part of him that is going through therapy & learning the new skills to protect that child. But he is still learning & the skills aren't mastered, so he can be very vulnerable & expecting the relationship to be adult isn't really realistic.

The way PAS explained the selfish phase is kind of what I see this process as doing to someone. He, like any adolescent is self-focused & just learning how to cope as a true adult. The child is completely self-centered & the grown man suffers from the pain of realizing that he isn't as capable or responsible as he wants to be.

Anyway, just as we all grow at different rates in normal development, I see him going through a process of re-development. He is an adult, but he has learned so many ineffective coping mechanisms that he has to re-learn much of his interpersonal & emotional skills. He is learning how to establish boundaries & how & who to trust & not to trust. He is also figuring out what he wants in a relationship, what kind of life he wants to life & how he wants to spend his time. That is not the time to commit to a life-long partner.

I don't know if this is helpful to you, but that is how I've managed to answer my own "why" questions about him not appreciating me or not wanting the love & support I have to give him. (Well, he does, but not in the committed reciprocal way that it should be.) Looking at the process helped me not to feel so rejected or to read his actions as meaning what they would if I did those things. I donít excuse the inexcusable, but I can understand better & keep myself from getting too hurt by his uncaring behaviors. And it allows me to sincerely appreciate the good stuff without 'erasing' it because it wasn't the complete package deal!

-BB.


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#68381 - 12/03/03 03:40 PM Re: Does it help?
PAS Offline
Member

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 577
Loc: Canada
>>>>And from the few couples I know, or knew - most have seperated, they had a relationship that was so intense when it was good, but the slightest problem sent them overboard into the worst violence and emotional fights I've ever seen. It seems to me now, looking back with hindsight ( a wonderful thing ) that they were just acting out against each other.

Ding ding ding! We have a winner! \:\) You just described my relaitonship exactly.

>>>>So, what I can't figure out is why the relationships even get past the second date ?

- common awareness of what we are doing when we are fighting/acting out

- not blaming ourselves for acting this way

- commitment to the relationship in order to explore oneself to reduce "fake" or "reactive" fighting (fighting based on our reactions that are shaped by damaged belief systems due to the abuse - recognizing that we are NOT fighting due to actually anything that either partner has done!!)

>>>But as far as I know neither has had any kind of help with their problems,or anger management even.

>>>They say "opposites attract" - there might be some truth in that.

Yes indeed - a double edged sword - two trauma survivors can certainly understand where the other person is coming from but when we are all insecure and triggering each other. When times are good then we get along great. We can help each other, even in times of some stress as long as one of the partners is in a semi safe space its ok but when BOTH are triggered???? MAN its a round-and-round, trigger-palooza!!

It takes a LOT of learning and self awareness and a STRONG committment to the relationship and to the other person to MAKE IT STOP enough to keep the relationship going.


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#68382 - 12/03/03 05:55 PM Re: Does it help?
Caetel Offline
Member

Registered: 11/05/03
Posts: 322
Loc: Paris, France
"It takes a LOT of learning and self awareness and a STRONG committment to the relationship and to the other person to MAKE IT STOP enough to keep the relationship going"

Well PAS this is exactly the challenge I am facing in this relationship with V. We broke up twice and every time we both grew from there, we learnt to recognize our faults and the issues we had to concentrate on. I have learnt to be more considerate, more patient and more delicate.
I have also learnt to be more honest with myself and not take the easy route to say "that's his fault". I think a relationship between two survivors has that flexibility that can make it work. There is openess and respect on both part to give that space for individual growth, thus making the relationship stronger. But sure it takes a lot of courage and patience.
I am struggling to get to that point where at least we would have strong foundations and things will be easier as we both heal over time.
But I am confident. I must say that I woke up this morning and I felt so much love for V. it was extraordinary. The feeling came from all the support I got from you guys over here and also from the thinking I am doing to make this relationship work. I have been thinking a lot in the last few days. I also got rid off the anger and the frustration I felt for V. So feeling all this pure love in my heart was a true gift.

_________________________
Mitakuye oyasin ! We are all related !

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