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#219223 - 04/20/08 04:31 AM Realizations....
Liv2124 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 159
Loc: New Jersey
These will probably come across as some random thoughts, but it's been a REALLY long week.
I realized tonight, that I've actually been avoiding HIM lately, (a real turn of events!) because I've been stressed and although I generally have a really, really, REALLY, long fuse, it was burnt down about 2 weeks ago. Just a synopsis, in January, my co-manager resigned on a moments notice and I was asked to cover the entire OB Unit until they find someone. 2 weeks ago, the State of NJ closed 2 hospitals in our immediate vicinity and our deliveries almost tripled without warning.(Increased volume, no staff, you get the picture) If this wasn't enough, JCHAO showed up for a national inspection. I know, unless you work in healthcare, this won't mean much, but it suffices to say, it sucked BIG.
This morning, as I had my coffee, I realized how I've been avoiding him lately, because I've been going off on everyone..the VP, my director, my staff, my kids... and I knew, he'd be next and it would be "my mistake."
I've also been given cause to reflect on myself. Touch was always an issue. In my line of work, everything is physical and I, truthfully, (and shamefully) have never given a second thought to casually touching someone. To his credit, I don't do that anymore. I spend ALOT more time evaluating the situation.
The funny thing is, I wasn't raised in a touch, hug-oriented family. He and I have fought over the fact that I don't jump when I'm touched. I don't. I don't know why. And I don't know why it bothers him to the degree that it does.
I think what prompted "thoughts" is that I walked in on my staff in the breakroom yesterday as they were talking about me. It wasn't anything really disrespectful, but they were talking about how strong I am and how no one has ever seen me cry. (They were referring to a full-term stillborn baby that delivered that I bathed, dressed and took pictures of) It was true. I didn't cry. Because I felt that I had to hold it together for the mother of that baby. I had to do everything I could for her, because this would be the first and last time, she would see and hold her baby.
I guess, people never actually see us in the same way we see ourselves. And it's funny how reluctant we can be to set people straight.
I cry, when I need to, for me. I don't see myself as strong, I see myself as the same as everybody else. He has often made the statement, "You're so smart." And I always reply with the truth, "I'm no smarter than you are, we just know different things."
I sometimes feel as though he looks to me for answers I don't have. I often feel like a bitch for my responses to some of his questions. For example, when we were talking about his need for therapy, he said, "Why can't you be my therapist?" and I said , "Because I'm not a therapist, and even if I were, we're too close to each other."
His last attepmpt at therapy didn't go well, for reasons, to date, I don't really know. Something freaked him out. It wasn't the therapist, because I know he was comfortable with him from his comments, it was something the guy said. Recently he brought up medication again. He'd gone to the doctor who referred him to a psychiatrist. This freaked him out. He needs medication. I know he does. When I brought it up, he was afraid of it, so I put it aside to re-visit later. Medication is a Band-aid, not a cure. He needs it because it will make him feel better, but it's not going to make this go away.
I took the conversation as an opportunity to support medication, but I went the step further to say that it comes back to the same thing. He needs to talk about what's happening. He didn't want to continue with the therapist, but he will have to talk to the psychiatrist. There is no medication that's going to cure this. Maybe I was too frank, but I wasn't confrontational...I'm really too tired for that. It wasn't a fight.
Any thoughts?


#219227 - 04/20/08 04:56 AM Re: Realizations.... [Re: Liv2124]
Freedom49 Offline

Registered: 12/31/07
Posts: 2724
Loc: Washington State
I work in a hospital so I completely understand the first part of your post and all I can say is OMG. How you handle all of that is amazing but if you are like me you just suck it up and do what you have to do.

I don't blame you for avoiding HIM. On top of everthing else you don't need to struggle with his on again/ off again recovery. He needs to see a psychiarist and get his moods leveled out and then get in therapy and get his issues addressed. Otherwise I see no future in this for you. I hate to be blunt like that but a relationship with a victim of abuse in denial is not a healthy thing.

You have to take care of you or you will be of little use to the charges under your care where you work. Even a woman and a nurse can't handle that much stress. LOL Seriously, Take care of you so you can take care of him if you have to but you are your first priority. I like the example I think someone used of the Airline safety message. First secure your O2 mask before you help your child with his. Good advice.

Edited by Freedom49 (04/20/08 04:57 AM)

#219229 - 04/20/08 05:45 AM Re: Realizations.... [Re: Freedom49]
Liv2124 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 159
Loc: New Jersey
LOL...didn't know you worked in healthcare... my whining about JCHAO was understood! Remember those old cartoons? They showed up on Tuesday and by Friday I was expecting the Acme anvil to fall on my head!
I don't find your response to be blunt. It's the truth. But 29 years with him makes it difficult to walk. But to your credit, I have to say, I haven't laughed as loud as I did when you wrote about his "on again/off again recovery." He's made 2 attempts at addressing it in 17 years. The last attempt prior to last September was in 1993.
I do see the positives. Like I said, he needs medication, he needs therapy and probably some EMDR. And I didn't keep these thoughts a secret, I've shared them with him. He's just not in favor of any of it. And, I'd be lying if I said I didn't find it disconcerting to watch him exhaust every other possible option he can think up to avoid the aformentioned. I truly believe that if I told him I'd found a witch doctor that agreed to bop him on the head with a club, he'd be all for it in lieu of therapy. The positives are subtle, but they are there. His anxiety is out of control. That's what's getting to him. He can accommodate the flashbacks, the dissociation, etc... but he can't accommodate the anxiety, because he can't drive now. It's visible to everyone. He went to the doctor on his own about medication. He told me afterward. It's wearing him down. He brought it to me when the doc mentioned a psychiatrist. Freaked him out. Sad thing is, the root cause isn't about him. If he could understand that, he wouldn't be so afraid. If I could fix this for him, it'd be done already. Whatever the therapist said to him struck a nerve, but maybe that's a good thing. And if I'm nothing else, I'm consistent in my beliefs with regards to this. What I believe and what he believes are 2 very different things. And his affirmation has always been, that I wasn't there. No argument, I wasn't. But... If what he believed were really true, and what I believed was wrong... none of this, would be happening to him now. And he's not making THIS happen now any more than he made THAT happen then.
I'll stick with my own beliefs on this one
And I REALLY don't bring any of this to work. I make it a point to leave it at home for 10-12 hours a day. I have a certain amount of OCD that keeps me disciplined in that respect.
I love the Airline analogy...makes SO much sense!

#219234 - 04/20/08 07:22 AM Re: Realizations.... [Re: Liv2124]
Freedom49 Offline

Registered: 12/31/07
Posts: 2724
Loc: Washington State
One other thing I thougt of Liv, while reading your response. So many of us who were in long term abuse came eventually to believe we wanted it on some level and even instigated it toward the end. If that is a secret belief of his that he does not want to face it would explain his avoidance of therapy at all cost. He would not want to admit that or go there. Also if the perp was close to his age he may be having a lot of trouble seeing it as abuse even thought intelluctally he would know that. Just a thought.

#219303 - 04/20/08 04:56 PM Re: Realizations.... [Re: Freedom49]
honey girl Offline

Registered: 10/09/06
Posts: 245
Loc: Midwest US
Dear Liv,

I am tempted to reply to a couple of different topics in your thread, so I hope I am not going beyond what you were seeking with this post. Of course, please make of it what you will.

I admire your commitment to your profession and to serving people in extreme circumstances. You clearly have great dedication to your work, and great skill as well.

I wonder sometimes for all of us who are professional caregivers what, and who, we have to care for us. Do you have someone like that in your life at all? It is so draining to give and give. What replenishes you? I suspect that may be what your colleagues (subordinates?) may be wondering, because the physical and intellectual demands of your job, as taxing as they must be, are as nothing compared with the emotional demands. And so what you model to them about how to sustain yourself is extremely important.

As far as your BF is concerned, I wonder if you can tell him in a way that he can believe that revisiting his abuse experiences will be extremely difficult, but not ever quite as bad as having lived through the original abuse. For a survivor, it can be so intimidating to go back to that place of terror, shame and grief, it seems better to be stuck in the resistance to memory than to be go back to try to heal it.

Still--as horrific as it is to remember the original offense(s), people have, and he can, do better afterwards than he is right now. If he is like most people with PTSD, then he is plagued with "intrusive thoughts" about the abuse--unwelcome, unbidden flashes of memory that were part of it, or associated with it--probably 24-7, waking or sleeping. It is exhausting beyond belief to keep all of that at bay, and therapy really can relieve that.

It's not easy, though, and it cannot return him to an unwounded state. The analogy that comes to mind here is with healing from a serious burn. Is it not true that the dead skin must be cleaned from the burn area for the skin to heal properly? I understand that this is a hideously painful process at times, and yet, without that pain, one risks death from infection. And of course, even healed skin is not quite as fresh and attractive as it once was. But it does work, it is effective, and it is not in pain.

You're in medicine, and so I do realize you probably have told him all of these things about therapy already; you can also come up with better analogies, I am sure. But sometimes taking a slightly different angle can help.

Otherwise, and as always, you have to decide when you have done all you can do. The choice to pursue healing will be his, never yours, all your encouragement notwithstanding.

Good luck with getting some sleep and getting through this tough stretch!


I'm just a poor wayfaring stranger, a million miles away from home.


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