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#215853 - 04/06/08 05:37 PM Being pushed away - what do I do?
rchsweetie Offline
New Here

Registered: 04/06/08
Posts: 23
I've been dating a survivor of childhood sexual abuse for nearly two years. We've had our ups and downs - often as we get closer, he pulls away. This time he pushed me away, and it really feels like its the end of the relationship. I asked if he wanted me to keep fighting for the relationship (as I've done in the past, and he's been grateful for it afterwards) or to just say good-bye. And he said, "say good-bye". So I did, because you can't force someone to stay in a relationship that they don't think they want to be in.

But I am having trouble with this, because a piece of me thinks that he's wrong, that he does want/need me to fight for the relationship, to show him that I won't let him down, and that he can't push me away. And while that feels supportive, it also feels controlling. So I really don't know what to do.

I feel like "saying good-bye" and walking out of his life completely is the wrong decision, but it is the one that he is asking for. And I could hear the dissociation in his voice, he was cold and distant during this conversation. I know that this break-up isn't about him not liking me, its about him not being able to deal with intimacy and a relationship right now. But I'm not sure he sees that. I also know that while he is reluctant to go to therapy - we've made a LOT of progress on our own (not enough, I think, but a lot). Sometimes it feels like we move 2 steps forward and one step back. I'm having trouble deciding if this is the "one step back", or if its just completely over?

Does anyone have any advice for me on what to do about the relationship? I figure I sort of have three options - but I also have to decide what is healthy for me. 1. Respect the "goodbye" request, move on, and cease contact, 2. keep the door open but acknowledge the end of the relationship and try to move on, 3. ignore his request, and keep pushing for contact...

I so just want things to be "better" for us, the way I know they get, when we're at a different point in this cycle. But how will I know if the cycle will never change?

#215982 - 04/07/08 12:55 AM Re: Being pushed away - what do I do? [Re: rchsweetie]
Liv2124 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 159
Loc: New Jersey
Dear rchsweetie,
Coming back from my "mini-hiatus" of dealing with this... I walked right into your post.
First and foremost, I think you should take his "say goodbye" comment with a grain of salt. Been there multiple times over the past 28 years, heard it, got upset, left him, he always came back. I'm sure, maybe, alot of the guys will argue the point, but in our case, his words and his actions, never actually matched up.
One thing you've indicated is that you can tell when he's dissociating. This is an extremely valuable gift. I found that being able to recognize it has stopped me from F@#$%^ up in certain situations. For example, he can't stand being touched, even casually, ever. For the most part, I refrain. But there are times when I'll touch him on the arm to tell him I'll meet him at the car or somewheres else and he'll jump through the roof. When he's dissociating, I can touch him all I want. It's the only time I won't touch him at all. I mean, if someone tells you they can leave their body and watch what's happening from another part of the room, wouldn't you wonder what your touching him would look like from somewhere's else?
Ultimately, the right thing to do, is what feels right to you at this very moment. That may not sound very helpful, but give it 10 years or so, and it will. I'll give you an example...
We were living in the same house until 6 years ago when he moved out. There was no big blow-out, just a Post-it note with his intentions on it. After he left, we had no contact, but every Christmas and every birthday for 5 years, he left a gift for me. Last July, he resumed contact. He was in a significantly worse state emotionally than he was when he left. Last Christmas, I told him I wanted diamonds. (It was a joke) I didn't get them, I didn't expect them. It was an exercise of sorts. I knew he couldn't afford them and I don't actually wear any jewelry. Our birthdays are 3 days apart in March. For my birthday, I told him we weren't exchanging gifts. If he wanted to give me anything, I wanted a card and a mixtape. (Now, we're talking $5.00, but an emotional expenditure) He couldn't do it. I didn't hear from him afterwards.
It felt, for me, the right thing to do at the time. I love him, and there will never be anyone else for me, but I do get tired, very tired, sometimes.
There are times when I get tired for paying for someone else's mistakes, there are times when I get tired of him waiting for me to MAKE a mistake, and I get sad when I watch him address his issues in the same ineffective manner over and over again, expecting a different result.
I found him a therapist that could definitely help him, I can get him there every week if necessary (his anxiety prevents him from driving these days) and I can even pay for him to go. But I can't make him go. And I can't do this for him.
You have to sit alone and decide what you feel you need to say or do to be true to what you feel. I found, after years of dealing with this, is the best thing I can do is tell him what I'm feeling, even when I know he isn't going to like what I have to say. Sometimes it's followed by his pulling away, but I'd be sacrificing my own feelings if I held back to "keep him around".
This is not going to just "go away" or "get better". You have to ask yourself if your really in it for the long haul. And sometimes your feelings will be hurt, and you'll find yourself here alot of times looking for support. If it were not for this site, if it were not for the support from the wives/girlfriends and other survivors themselves, I would have left my SO a long time ago. I hope, one day, he gets the courage to come to this site himself and thank them.
For us, we will get one step forward and he'll take 3 steps back. There really is nothing wrong with him. He needs to make distinctions here that he doesn't have the information to make. And at the moment, he's afraid of said information. It took alot for me to realize that there's nothing I can do about that. He has the info to this site. I've bought him all the books, his therapist gave him articles to read. He's afraid. And at the present time, I'm working on ways to make him feel less afraid. And he's avoiding me. Because he's afraid of what I might say, or what I might ask. One of my favorite quotes is "Sometimes the questions are hard, but the answers are quite simple." -Dr. Seuss. And the other is, "There are only 2 mistakes one can make on the road to truth, never going all the way, and never starting" - Buddha.
I hope you can work through this. What's best for you, for him, and for your relationship.


#216281 - 04/07/08 11:26 PM Re: Being pushed away - what do I do? [Re: Liv2124]
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus

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

Hi and welcome.

Does anyone have any advice for me on what to do about the relationship? I figure I sort of have three options - but I also have to decide what is healthy for me. 1. Respect the "goodbye" request, move on, and cease contact, 2. keep the door open but acknowledge the end of the relationship and try to move on, 3. ignore his request, and keep pushing for contact...

I would definitely not shoot for #3. #1 doesn't seem like its a true option for you at this point, which of course leaves your option #2, which would probably be the safest and healthiest course of action for both of you.

Something that worked for me, which was recommended by many of the folks here, was to write a letter to my b/f and leave it in his hands after that. I wrote a diary of sorts of the wonderful things we'd done together and what he meant to me and my family for the 4 years we were together before all hell broke loose. I poured my heart out in that letter. I let him know all of the wonderful things about him that made me fall in love in the first place and why I was still in love him. It seems like an eternity ago, but it was really just over two years. We are still together, still fighting for the life we deserve and I am happy to report, moving in the right direction.

Letting him know you're there for him while continuing to take care of you is probably the best thing you can do for both of you.

ROCK ON........Trish

If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.


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