james, i too recognize withdrawal and avoidance as typical survivor mechanisms; if you polled people here, you'd likely get a lot of guys who'd agree that this is a challenge for them as well. being aware that you are engaging this as a pain management technique is a great place to begin trying to reduce the behavior to acceptable levels.
withdrawal can be good and necessary and healthy thing for the survivor, in my opinion, particularly if he is crowded by demanding people places and things in his life. as long as it does not lead to long term isolation.
the recovering survivor needs the understanding and compassionate support from those who are closest to him. he is not the only one in recovery; they need to recover too, and to be aware and deal with their own frustrations in this joint process. it's about both sides trying to be aware of and understand each others' needs.
finding the right boundary can be quite difficult. i think it's important to recognize that, and avoid inflaming that particular energy, because doing so has the potential for creating yet more stress in an already tense situation. you need privacy, they demand more availability ..... which pushes you further away, and makes them more aggressive in their demands. that can cause you to feel as if you are being victimized again; understandably, you'd want to run from that.
i understand how hard it can be .... i just hope your loved ones are able to strike a balance between your need to withdraw, recoup and refresh, and their need for access to you.
it's a two way street.
warm regards to both of you,
Ron Schulz, MSPC, NCC