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#140477 - 02/06/07 07:11 AM Family as a trigguer
riviera Offline

Registered: 06/01/05
Posts: 59
Loc: Spain
Hi has been a long time :-) adn in a way it is very good news though I need your help now.

Since my boyfriend started the healing process 2 years ago things have gotten better and better. At this point there is only one thing he hesitates dealing with: his family. Last weekend my boyf oldest brother and his wife and kids came to Spain from Ireland to visit us. My boyf was extremely excited about it (this is a pretty new emotion for him in regard to family). However since the very first second they arrive he was nervous, restless and overreacted about everything I did or say. Completely out of proportion. The only thing I could figure out that triggered him is that in one of our conversations my boyf's brother and me pursued him to start doing something more with his music(he is a musician) like contact record companies or put it on the web. We and many friends think he is a genius... He took it so wrong, went so defensive and ultimately took it out on me saying that he did not need anybody, everybody is indispensable so I was for him, and that he should disappear... Our life as a couple has been fantastic in every sense in the last while so this reaction was obviously triggered by his family coming here. Also they want to buy a house in Madrid and he went bananas saying that he does not want any family to live close to him...
To make things worse once we left his family at the airport (they had a great time and did not know anything about what my boyf was going through)he went out without telling me a word and came back 3h later completely pissed.That was last Sunday.We have not spoken since. Yesterday he did not go to work and spent the whole day in bed...depressed.

Every other time I have been very supportive and at this point I would have made a move to make him feeling better but this time I think he treated me unfair and I deserve an apology, as well as he must take responsibility of what he has done to me and him.
Besides using alcohol to cope with pain it is something that he still does whenever he feels threaten or hurt... and I have tried many ways to put him off and still no result.

But what is exactly about family that he can not cope with? does he still blame them for not protecting him? does he feel they will hurt him? or that they do not respect his decisions in life(e.g. music) but are always giving him advice (sth he hates)?

And do you think my reaction/attitude is the correct one? I am afraid that he will feel abandoned and go into a deeper depression.

Forgot to say that my boyf was sexually abused by a male adult close friend of the family when he was 7-12. Family did not know until my boyf tried to kill himself at the age of 21.
thanks for being there

Edited by riviera (02/06/07 07:15 AM)

#140487 - 02/06/07 10:17 AM Re: Family as a trigguer [Re: riviera]
beccy Offline

Registered: 05/28/06
Posts: 449
Loc: england
Hi Riviera,

it is most likely he feels shit about himself when he's with his family and whatever the reasons are for that will be personal to him. He might also still blame them for not protecting him, and feel unsupported/respected by them in his life choices, and perhaps he feels they judge him when they give advice/direction. All of those things are really horrible, powerless feelings to have, especially if he has no assertiveness to express any of his resentment. In fact, I think sometimes with those complex emotions, it can be a couple of weeks(maybe more) before a person even realises what their actual true feelings were......

So, unfortunately for you, he's taken some of it out on you. I don't know what to suggest is the best thing you could do. It would maybe be good if he could talk with you a little about what's going on for him in his head, what his feelings were when his family were there, why he was so angry with you and also what your feelings were. A bit of communication?

Even if he is a musical genius, the choice of what to do with that talent, or even if he wants to share it with anyone is up to him. If it's a real love/passion of his, he may feel very protective of it and any suggestions of where to take it will be threatening and dissorienting for him. As a creative person myself, I know just how hard it can be. It can be quite a curse in some's not easy to make money as a creative artist and if he chooses that path for himself as a CAREER, the only way that will possibly work for him, is if he does it in his own way. Even if he had guidance, he'd still have to have a good idea of everything he likes/dislikes, and the way he'd need to do things. There's nothing simple about it. Also, sharing your music with the world(or even friends) can be a huge step. You're inviting everyone to critisise/judge/like/dislike/comment. That can also be very dissorienting. He needs to make all those decisions for himself and no amount of pushing will help, cause it's not about that, it's about knowing what you want to do FOR YOURSELF because it MAKES SENSE to you.

I hope that's been of some help and I've not said anything out of line here. I know he's hurt you and you do deserve an appology, but it does sound like what's happened here is a dysfunctional reaction to strong emotions, so if he could talk about it all and get some of that out in words, it would probably help a lot,


#140665 - 02/08/07 01:16 AM Re: Family as a trigguer [Re: beccy]
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus

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

Hi H and welcome back. The last time you posted, things were going so well and from this post, for the most part they still are, which Iím glad to see.

I donít really know what to think about this last episode with your b/f. Maybe having a houseful of people who are close to him was just too much for him to deal with. Having company for a week or more, especially family, is stressful under the best of circumstances, even when itís exactly what we want. It can also serve to bring up old insecurities. You say it was his older brother - I donít know what their relationship was as kids, but maybe your b/f felt out of his skin hosting his big brother. Add nieces/nephews into the mix and the stress level can really climb. I suppose until he decides to talk with you, all you can do is go about your business and be the same you he fell in love with and has stayed with all these years. You know better than most that being supportive is important, but no matter what we do, we canít hurry things along. When he wants to talk, he will, but in the mean while, you donít have to put up with nasty crap. Hopefully, when he comes out of this funk, he will apologize because you do deserve it. He had no right to dismiss you and your feelings and to treat you disrespectfully.

The two of you have worked very hard and come a long way. I can only believe that this is just another bump in the long, long, loooooong road and that youíll soon be back on track.

ROCK ON.........Trish

If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

#140681 - 02/08/07 02:43 AM Re: Family as a trigguer [Re: Trish4850]
indygal Offline

Registered: 06/22/06
Posts: 439
hi riviera,

i'm just taking a wild leap here but am wondering if perhaps your bf might have felt just a little bit more in the light than he wanted? and that perhaps he might have even felt as if you were 'siding' with his family in pressuring him about his music? like beccy said, any move, absolutely ANY with respect to a creative talent, has to be under the artist's control - add to that the need for a survivor to maintain control in their lives and it sounds like perhaps he felt what control he had gained recently was being taken from him - and in his mind, perhaps he thought you might be complicit in this?

no doubt whatsoever you were only trying to blend in with his family, get along, welcome everyone and him together, but maybe he only felt strong enough to have them there because he had you with him - and the stress was just more than he anticipated.

it's important you share with him about how he's making you feel right now and let him know his actions are hurtful. just as important is reassuring him that you support his decisions about his music, only that you wanted to encourage him and reinforce that you are not the only one who believes in him and his talent.

being privy to someone's art is a kind of intimacy - it is not like knowing someone's work is a lawyer, or teacher or construction foreman or whatever - art is created out of our beings, our soul, it's who we are and how we see the world. sharing your art with someone can be even more difficult than having sex - really! you are opening up a part of yourself and saying this is who i really am - and the person seeing/hearing/ (whatever) may not even like or appreciate it! and you know that but your wanting to share with that person rises above your fear of what they might think about it.

your bf has shared a huge amount of himself with you and with his family, all together in one place. this has been an enormous and no doubt mentally exhausting challenge for him -

i think what i'm also saying here is not only are you the partner of a survivor, my dear, you may also have to deal with the temperment of an artist, and that, i know (because i am one) is no picnic ;\)

hang in there, glad you posted,

my avatar is one of the Battle Angel characters, fighting the good fight.

#140696 - 02/08/07 04:45 AM Re: Family as a trigguer [Re: riviera]
dean1320 Offline

Registered: 02/06/07
Posts: 129
Loc: Atlanta, GA , US
i don't know you from a hill of beans however i know someone that went through what you have. you have to respect , what you find acceptable behavior,

that respect is not about him... he should respect you, and you should not tolerate people being mean to you.

good luck,


#140709 - 02/08/07 07:17 AM Re: Family as a trigguer [Re: dean1320]
riviera Offline

Registered: 06/01/05
Posts: 59
Loc: Spain
Hi Trish ;-) and all

Thank you very much for your kind and wise responses.

Just wanted to let you know that we held and talked...we talked for a wee while and then held for ages until we felt asleep. He said he could not ask for my forgiveness cause he would never deserve it. I shared with him that everytime this happens leaves a huge mark and one's heart can only take so many... I could see this time he was really disappointed with himself and afraid of losing me and us. HE is tired of having old and unreal feelings and subsequently using old coping mechanisms. As we have read and heard so many times the real big challenge for a survivor is to stop this and create a new sense of self and ultimately be able to react in a constructive way not in a destructive one. My boyf is still fighting an old ghost and I will keep being by his side. Must say that I did apologize for pushing him and reassured him that I support his decisions in life no matter what.

We have just gone through another learning experience and we feel again as close as ever.

And Indygal you are right about the temperament of an artist :-)



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