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#378016 - 12/04/11 03:41 AM convincing him he is cared for
mmfan Offline

Registered: 09/25/11
Posts: 115
No matter much I reassure him, he's convinced I'm going to leave, that I don't care about him and that he's not worthy of my friendship.

In fact, he's so convinced, that he pushes me away, and acts as if our friendship is over (stops sharing, stops making an effort, basically shuts down and withdraws). He is recently admitting that he does this, so at least he's partially aware. And I can understand it on one level, that he believes himself worthless, therefore no one else could possibly care for him.

It just gets to be frustrating, and painful being pushed away over and over, and no matter what I do or say its never enough. I just want him to let me in, and accept that I do care. His pushing it away makes me feel like all my efforts are in vain and I'm not enough for him.

What can I do to help him feel cared for in even the smallest way? I've seriously wracked my brain trying everything. I spend a good deal of time emailing and texting with him during the day, comforting him at night when he's scared, listening to his flashbacks and reacting to his rages (when he's in a flashback) with gentleness and acceptance, I give him all the reassuring words I can think of, send him small presents to let him know I'm thinking of him, try to accept him unconditionally and without judgement.

Seriously, the fact that he can't see all of that, makes me feel pretty crap, like why am I bothering? Sometimes I feel like giving up and letting him push me away, it feels hopeless sometimes.

#378034 - 12/04/11 04:51 AM Re: convincing him he is cared for [Re: mmfan]
Taurus Offline

Registered: 12/01/11
Posts: 13
Wow, I can relate to this too. The more I read here, the more it reflects my marriage. I would try so hard to reassure him of my love, but it was as if he couldn't accept it and didn't feel worthy of it. And I never found out what happened to him until after I had to leave.

And he did push me away over and over again, but I hung in there because deep down, I knew he loved me. But then psychosis took over and I had to leave.

To this day he does not remember his blackouts and does not remember things as they actually happened.

#378056 - 12/04/11 06:39 AM Re: convincing him he is cared for [Re: Taurus]
limit Offline

Registered: 04/23/11
Posts: 131
how best to explain this...

you think about a baby right?
like if you have kids you know this well hell most people probably know it
when it cries what do you do
pick it up
when it reaches out waht d oyou do
reach back
right? simple shit

then you have abuse where people are mentally fucking retarded
so their baby cries
and they ignore it
or they yell at it to shut up
or they cover it with a blanket or soemthing
or they ONLY pick it up when it cries
and pretty much ignore it every other time

(i gotta point bear with me)

so, in both instances the infant is learning about other people nad how other people view it
in teh first instance, the baby is looked after properly and when it cries it knows it gets its needs met so it learns well gee when i cry i trust that people around me will look after me and take care of me and meet my needs

basically parenting is simple: your kid is not crying just to fuck with you, every time an infant cries it NEEDS you
but some people fuck that up, so when their infant cries they ignore it

so over time the second baby learns "well not going to get my needs met...and i no longer TRUST these people will listen to me when i need something or that they remotely care about me at all" which as they grow older will start to evolve into how they view the world

this is the basic principle of attachment in animals
but to those people who never got their needs met, they stopped being able to trust that anyone can provide what they need like on an instinctive level
and one of the basic human needs is love and attention and care and affection and establishment of social imprinting etc

so basically because nobody ever cared for him during that crucial time
he pretty much has a completely impossible time understanding NOW, as an ADULT, that people care for him
it's like an empty hole inside of him that can't be filled

you can care 24/7 7 days a week 365 days a year
be there constantly
in his ear
constantly smothering him with love
but he may never truly comprehend it emotionally

um im not really sure how that is fixed
i know it is not impossible to fix but it does require a certain level of self-awareness which youve stated he is gaining

therapy can help with stuff even if he learns intellectually what this stuff is all about

#378075 - 12/04/11 02:14 PM Re: convincing him he is cared for [Re: limit]
Esposa Offline

Registered: 10/19/11
Posts: 811
Loc: NJ
Limit - great analogy.

I have said repeatedly that living with my husband is like constantly taking a test - one that never seems to end. I have in fact at times said "I AM GOING TO PASS ANY TEST YOU GIVE ME!! SO STOP TESTING ME!!!" But obviously, like LIMIT says, it is not something that is unconsciously remedied.

For Survivors (and all of us), it seems to be an issue of consciousness. Learning to identify and then override old brain responses to situations or stimuli. This seems only possible with work, support, therapy and incessant repetition of the message. Unfortunately for supporters, we get tired or hurt or frustrated and trust me, a survivor can pick up on that in two seconds wink

#378155 - 12/04/11 11:07 PM Re: convincing him he is cared for [Re: Esposa]
stripeysocks Offline

Registered: 11/28/11
Posts: 43
Loc: US
I could be off base, but I wonder if he feels weak and is reacting because of it? Could you ask him to do something practical for you? Like is he good at something practical like putting something together? I wonder if you ask him for support with something like that if it won't kind of improve his self-esteem?

#378182 - 12/05/11 01:14 AM Re: convincing him he is cared for [Re: stripeysocks]
Staying Sane Offline

Registered: 11/30/11
Posts: 28
Loc: Iowa
As a survivor, I can speak to this somewhat.

My wife is amazing. She is always telling and showing me how much she loves me. It is hard for me to accept it because (as limit said) I don't process that emotionally. It doesn't make sense that someone could truly love me for me.

Until I have those rare moments of clarity where it hits me. And I feel overwhelmed by the fact that she truly does love me. But as limit said too. It requires an amount of self awareness and sometimes we have it and sometimes we don't.

I will say this. It is likely that he appreciates all of what you do MUCH more than he can say to you. You have to trust in that if you can.

My Story

#378222 - 12/05/11 07:18 AM Re: convincing him he is cared for [Re: Staying Sane]
mmfan Offline

Registered: 09/25/11
Posts: 115
Staying Sane I hope you are right that on some level he can let it in, at least some of the time. It sounds like you are able to feel it at times from your wife.
What you and limit and esposa said about self awareness makes sense.

Limit you hit it on the head there. My friend believes (and I do) that he suffered infant neglect.
At times I get the sensation like he is a very young child seeing me as a mother figure. It feels like a big responsibility at times. He needs me to be so totally consistent, patient, gentle, perfectly reliable -and I understand why. This is what an infant or very young child would need.

One thing that concerns me is that he's not in therapy. he tried it for a while and then left. I respect his choice and keep my mouth shut. But (privately) I wish he would go, and work on some of this stuff with a professional.

Taurus my friend suffers blackouts also, and near-psychosis at times. He has shouted (nearly screamed) on the phone at me, saying things that don't make sense like he's talking to someone else, and he doesn't always remember later. I've learned these are flashbacks. They can be terrifying to witness (as I'm sure its terrifying for him to experience) -and I know if we lived in the same house, I would fear for my safety. Not because he is a bad person, but because he does get totally irrational and out of control at times, and is reacting to ghosts rather than the person standing right in front of him. I can see why you needed to leave, and my heart goes out to you.

#378223 - 12/05/11 07:23 AM Re: convincing him he is cared for [Re: stripeysocks]
mmfan Offline

Registered: 09/25/11
Posts: 115
Stripysocks, you gave me some food for thought, thanks. smile It does seem to boost his self esteem when he feels "useful," and he seems to enjoy when I turn to him for support (as long as I walk the fine line of letting him support me, without overwhelming him).

#379869 - 12/17/11 10:50 PM Re: convincing him he is cared for [Re: mmfan]
mmfan Offline

Registered: 09/25/11
Posts: 115
I'm happy to report that my friend and I have made some progress.
We had a few heated arguments following my posting. I finally blurted out that when he rejects my care, I feel invisible and rejected. I was upset and crying at the time as I was so at the end of my rope. By some miracle it seemed to get through to him. I could tell he was having one of those "AHA" moments, like, "Wow, so she really DOES care!" lol.
Also, I needed to own some of my own crap as well, that I was projecting onto the situation. That reduced my frustration level a lot, as I could see how some of it was my own baggage.
I've come away from it feeling like my friend and I have both grown and are stronger for it. smile I feel hopeful that we will eventually get through this. smile

#379940 - 12/18/11 06:24 PM Re: convincing him he is cared for [Re: mmfan]
Sailor John Offline

Registered: 10/04/11
Posts: 310
Loc: Newfoundland & Labrador

It's so good to see that you guys have made progress. Because of my abuse, I also have a "my space" that is larger and probably quite a bit larger than most. One time my niece got too close to me and when she kept comming after I told her to, I really yelled at her for not stopping. I wanted to apologize but couldn't even do that. I actually think she went into minor shock. I realized that I shouldn't have yelled at her, but I couldn't help it. It just happened.

I will mourn the teenager I never was and strive to make that dot of light way out in the far reaches of the end of the tunnel turn into a bright sun.


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