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#419986 - 12/24/12 05:08 AM Emotional retard needs help
whome Offline

Registered: 05/07/11
Posts: 1739
Loc: Johannesburg South Africa
Ive posted this on Male survivor, but I would like some advice from you guys too.

After nearly two years on this site and a lot of progress, I thought that things were well.
Now for the third time in two years my wife has asked me for a divorce again.
So what do I do? give up? Im not that sort of person, so again I start to examine my life and well, move into the spare room for now. Last night I lay in bed reading Mike Lews book, and I heard my daughter and wife laughing and joking in the other room.
IT HIT ME, I dont know how to relate to those closest to me, I cant seem to have a relationship with them.
I cant even relate to my daughter, they talk about things that I dont know about, it is like the world has moved on and I have been left behind. Why can I talk to people at work and not relate to my own kin. Why do others think I am great and my family thinks that I am an emotional retard.
I lay in bed and cried all night, I woke up at three in the morning and cried some more.
What the hell is it that I cannot connect to the ones that I love, I know that I love them, but just cant seem to connect?
How can I fix this?

Help Please.

Matrix Men South Africa
Survivors Supporting Each other
Matrix Men Blog

#420002 - 12/24/12 10:18 AM Re: Emotional retard needs help [Re: whome]
northernflicker Offline

Registered: 08/20/12
Posts: 88
Martin I'm so sorry you have to deal with this. Know that you are not an emotional retard. Marital bumps and breakdown happen all the time.

Before finding out about my husbands CSA I spent many, many hours on another site dedicated to marriage breakdown and reconciliation. Please PM me and I can give you some info from there.

As for relating to your wife and daughter, do you ask them questions about their lives, their hopes, their thoughts and opinions? Do you spend quiet time with them just being and enjoying their company? Do you go out and do fun things together and laugh together? These are things that make us feel wanted and valued as human beings and individuals. There is no time limit on when you can start to do them.

Think about what your wife said to you. Did she state any specific behaviors of yours that she has trouble with? If yes, can you begin now to make changes in them?

It is another painful road you find yourself on and it feels unfair I'm sure. Please do PM if you wish to carry on this conversation more privately. Or I can try to help you publicly if you wish. I will do the best that I can.

You have been a tremendous help to people here, always giving willing Guidance and support to all stripes. I want to pay some of that back to you if I can. I dont know your day to day life obviously. Over the past couple of years have you put much love and energy into you and your life and your family in a holistic way? You've been battling some huge demons; have you also taken time for you? For pleasure?

Hugs, Martin.

#420004 - 12/24/12 01:00 PM Re: Emotional retard needs help [Re: whome]
SamV Offline

Registered: 12/13/09
Posts: 5971
Loc: Sunnny, South East USA

The key here may be in the training you have received. How did your parents teach you through their actions? How did they show you how to interact with your wife and your children? How to be approachable, vulnerable and when need be firm and determined?

How were you raised? Was it different than how you were trained to be at work, or in recovery in a group?

You may find that your training at work was with peers at an age that you could feel a camaraderie and mutual respect, but when you were raised, that feeling was muted or non existent. Too it could be that the abuse created a desperate need to separate you from those who loved you as you may have felt the abuse would stop if you were inaccessible.

This is another process Martin. You have been through many processes before, some heartbreaking, some intellectual. In every one of them, you learned something and were able to hold on to where you were in recovery or make progress. You survived and gained ground in recovery. Keep working through those processes.

No man is an island. If you feel you can, you may want to talk to your wife about your fears, listen to her tell you hers and then talk through how to minimize them in your lives.

Survivors have much mature healing from the abuse and surviving it, keep healing fellow survivor.
MaleSurvivor Moderator Emeritus 2012 - 2014

#420014 - 12/24/12 03:27 PM Re: Emotional retard needs help [Re: whome]
Dewey Offline

Registered: 11/13/02
Posts: 140
Loc: the sunshine state
Yeah, those arranged marriages never work. See, if you had courted her before you were married then it might be different. But since you are only a taker and don't know how to give, then I'm sorry but you are doomed. Hmmm, I wonder if you could tell her that you wanted a divorce right before Christmas then go giggle with your daughter while she cries? Emotional retardation? I'm sure you don't know how to relate to loved ones, I can tell by the lack of concern that you have for others. It's a two way street, this relationship thing. It's called a marriage covenant because it gets hard sometimes. That's why we have witnesses at the ceremony. But hey, now it's very common to just throw in the "D" card and move on if you don't blow me kisses anymore. Just sayin'.......

praying for all of you-
I refuse to use my past as an excuse to not have a future.
My hero Dad; Trigger warning-

#420016 - 12/24/12 05:38 PM Re: Emotional retard needs help [Re: whome]
Candu Offline

Registered: 07/01/12
Posts: 312
Loc: Canada
Hi Martin. I've only been here a short while but I have always been impressed you posts and the work you do for survivors. So because I know little about your situation then take the following with a grain of salt.

My impression on MS is that some survivors work really hard on recovery (good) and that is their only focus.(not so good) A healthy marriage takes a lot of work.(no direct experience but I have been doing a lot of reading and observation because I hope I can try after I improve some of my issues). How much work have you been able to put into your marriage/family?

But also what about her? She has to also be willing to make it work. You might want to explain to her that you have been so focused on yourself that you haven't given her the attention she deserves. Tell her that you love her and you want her to help you make it work. While you may have to do more its not just you that has to try.

Don't worry too much about your relationship with your daughter. Work on it but don't expect to ever get the same relationship as your wife and daughter have. If it happens great but consider that a long term goal.

#420017 - 12/24/12 05:48 PM Re: Emotional retard needs help [Re: whome]
GentleSoul Offline

Registered: 03/05/07
Posts: 244
Loc: San Diego

I'm sorry for all the pain you're feeling. But northernflicker is right. You are not an emotional retard. I too have issues with intimacy. However, I do admire you reaching out for help and baring your soul. It's very inspiring.

I can finally admit I pretend to say and do nice things so people will think I'm a standout guy.

#420036 - 12/25/12 01:09 AM Re: Emotional retard needs help [Re: whome]
RunningOnEmpty Offline

Registered: 10/08/12
Posts: 91
Loc: georgia
You aren't an emotional retard. I'm sure you are feeling a multitude of feelings right now- confusion/lonely/left out/unloved--etc? If you are able to feel your feelings then you are making progress. Please don't discount the hard work you have done. Your marriage isn't necessarily the measuring stick of your emotional/mental health.
Allow yourself to feel what you are feeling- those are your feelings- and they are real.

#420090 - 12/25/12 09:57 PM Re: Emotional retard needs help [Re: whome]
whome Offline

Registered: 05/07/11
Posts: 1739
Loc: Johannesburg South Africa
Thanks all that responded

I have gotten a diverse and balanced response it seems.

I read John Gottmans book on the 7 principals that make a marriage work, and well i got some pretty good insights.

I know nothing about my wife and daughter, their hopes and dreams what they love and what they love to do. For so many years it has always been about me, my pain and now, My healing. All that my wife has been waiting for is for me to get better and for things to change, and needless to say that has not happened yet.
I am going to work through the 7 principles and use them, (O boy another 7 steps) but in my brief perusal of the book I have liked what it says.
I have tried to work through fireproof, but it didnt make sense to me, but this book is going to force me to communicate with her and learn things about her.

Again thanks for responding all, I wish I could make her see in me what a lot of you said on this forum, but this will take some work, deep down I know that I am now a good man.

Matrix Men South Africa
Survivors Supporting Each other
Matrix Men Blog

#420110 - 12/26/12 02:12 AM Re: Emotional retard needs help [Re: whome]
northernflicker Offline

Registered: 08/20/12
Posts: 88
I'm so happy you have found some positive direction. I wish you and your family the best for 2013. You are a generous soul, Martin, and you deserve all the love and joy the universe has to offer.

#420479 - 12/30/12 10:18 PM Re: Emotional retard needs help [Re: whome]
lucylives Offline

Registered: 04/07/11
Posts: 367
Martin, superficial relationships like those at work are easy. It is the emotional intimacy in the relationships close to us that is difficult. That is where we need to risk, with those closest to us.
My husband is the same way....great on a superficial, casual relationship basis but when it comes to taking off the mask and showing his most vulnerable side, he falls short.

I hate that and pray it gets better.

#420609 - 01/01/13 07:44 PM Re: Emotional retard needs help [Re: whome]
aksnowyowl Offline

Registered: 08/18/12
Posts: 47
martin, you have posted on my threads before and it has ALWAYS helped. those posts are emotional, which to me says that you are capable of being quite emotional within comfortable contexts. close relationships aren't quite there yet.

first off, i don't know about the rest of the populace, but what you say about feeling on the outside, by not understanding the inner lives of your wife and daughter, feeling like you don't's not unusual. i go to step 12 meetings and i hear it constantly. everyone in there feels that way. then we embarked on addictions because it helped us ignore that feeling.

i've approached my own struggle with those feelings from this perspective "i want to know how to really live and to really live i need to learn from a community." i spent a lot of years trying to simply survive.

now in recovery, i want quality of life. that's a big leap. not an easy one.

i'm glad you found gottman. we have the collected works of:)

my husband and i are just starting to come out of a difficult time. for us, it's a matter of being reminded of things we already know, tools we already have. we both chronically forget.

i worked with children on the autism spectrum disorder for a long time and i don't want to be insulting, but that background helps with my husband. my husband isn't autistic, but the legacy of prolonged trauma has left this trail of disorders that resemble learning disorders, attention disorders, autism spectrum disorders....luckily my husband can joke about it and luckily, i have experience.

so! where i'm going with this is that i no longer ASSUME that my husband knows much about "living indoors with people." he tells me was essentially raised by wolves and while it seems extreme, it's a good starting point.

i have to lay out what i want ALL THE TIME: this is what i want my birthday to look like, this is what i want christmas to be like, this is what i want the weekend to look like, this is how i like being touched, this is how we do the dishes, this is how we discipline the kids, this is how i want a date to go.

then i say "your turn, tell me what you want it all to look like."

then we have to let go of those expectations and try and meet in the middle.

mostly, it goes astray:)

but when i'm at my best and he's at his best, we have resilience for trying over and over again. we can laugh and go "well, that didn't go like either of us wanted." we can laugh when we don't get what we want.

at our worst, we act like children who also don't get what they want. we throw tantrums, in different more adult ways.

our counselor has mandated very specific guidelines for living indoors together. we have to touch each other for 15 minutes a day. we have to ask each other specific questions about the day and our thoughts and our worries.

honestly, i get sick of it. i forget how long i spent in survival mode. i forget that while i know how to do dishes and raise children, i don't have instincts for trusting other people.

when i don't take care of myself, i get sick of having to lay it all out. at my worst, i get mad at him for not having these tools, for not having taught himself much earlier in his life. at my worst, i'll think that he is being this way on purpose, that he is self-centered. at my worst, i'll resent him for creating "all this emotional work" for me.

i'm deeply flawed. and as it is with life, if i don't own up to these flaws myself and apologize to him, a situation will arise that will completely level my pride in front of him.

so martin, that's how it is from my perspective. i don't know if it will help you any. but to me, it seems like you are on a good path. it seems like you love your wife and daughter. it seems like you want recovery and relationships. it's a good place to be in: leveled and humbled, wanting more, and pursuing it, even if it feels painful and full of fumbling.

a lady in my AA group calls these situations "another fucking growth opportunity." hilarious!

#420620 - 01/01/13 09:44 PM Re: Emotional retard needs help [Re: whome]
sugarbaby Offline

Registered: 08/17/08
Posts: 382
Martin - It is funny how things work. I haven't logged on here in a long time and I did today EXACTLY because I wanted to vent about what your wife is probably upset with AKA (as you call it) my H being an "emotional retard". I call it "playing the victim" H pushed people away and then feels THEY slighted him when they are no longer available to him.

Your post is so far the only one I read and I found the words I need.

"As for relating to your wife and daughter, do you ask them questions about their lives, their hopes, their thoughts and opinions? Do you spend quiet time with them just being and enjoying their company? Do you go out and do fun things together and laugh together? These are things that make us feel wanted and valued as human beings and individuals. There is no time limit on when you can start to do them."

That is exactly it. That is what I need so perhaps that is what your wife needs. For me, without it, it leaved a horrible hollow feeling inside me and H doesn't want to hear it.

Think about those words, try them, see what happens. I am going to post some variation of that on my frig.

#420669 - 01/02/13 08:37 AM Re: Emotional retard needs help [Re: whome]
whome Offline

Registered: 05/07/11
Posts: 1739
Loc: Johannesburg South Africa
Hi Lucy, Snowy and Sugar.

Thanks guys for your words. I have taken a lot of it to heart, and yes naturally I do fall short grossly short in many areas. I feel like I am drowning, there is no respite to the anguish in my life, I feel like I am always fighting, I struggle at work, I struggle with clients, I struggle at home.

I am just so damn tierd. I need a break from all the anger, I need somewhere that I can just switch off and say, no one is going to scream at me now for the next 6 hours I know I have peace.

I so long for peace. Please I just want peace.

For the first time in 20 years I am actually thinking about ending it all. I have not had these thoughts for 25 years. I wont do it, dont worry, but the fact that I am thinking these things bugs the dung out of me.

Al that I wanted to do was fix my marriage and take care of her to try and make up for some of the pain that I caused her.

Thanks all.

Matrix Men South Africa
Survivors Supporting Each other
Matrix Men Blog

#420687 - 01/02/13 03:07 PM Re: Emotional retard needs help [Re: whome]
sugarbaby Offline

Registered: 08/17/08
Posts: 382
It seems to me that you are half way to your goals Whome. Your identifying problems. You know what you need to do. You just need to figure out the steps to doing it. Think in mini steps and make habits of the stuff that works.

#420691 - 01/02/13 03:30 PM Re: Emotional retard needs help [Re: whome]
CdnDW Offline

Registered: 08/24/12
Posts: 105
Martin, you have always been a beacon of hope, so reading your last post concerns me deeply. Take the time you need... everyone deserves a break. But use the break to re-energize. Know that we are not entirely shaped by CSA and sometimes other factors impact our relationships. Maybe there is more impacting your wife's state. Don't assume anything. Ask, ask, ask. There is nothing more important to me than to have my husband ask questions and listen, really, really listen to the answers instead of assuming the cause and trying to fix it. That just leaves me feeling more misunderstood, more emotionally isolated. Remember also that this is a journey we are on and nothing but our final breath on earth is final. Things may seem terrible with your wife and daughter, but what never changes is the fact that everything changes. Be patient with yourself and your life.

Also Whome, I have found myself at times spending too much time in the safety of this forum and helping others in the past to the degree that I realized it was becoming a way to avoid my own reality. Take care this does not happen with you. Your support here is appreciated by so many, but all will understand if you post less in favour of spending more time on the relationships with those that really matter to you.

Nothing more insightful or specific I'm afraid... but at the end of the day, we all just seek hope I think. We must (will) stumble through the details on our own, but here I hope you can find hope to go on with strength and optimism.

Be well Martin.
I am not your rolling wheels, I am the highway
I am not your carpet ride, I am the sky
- Audioslave

#420791 - 01/03/13 12:03 PM Re: Emotional retard needs help [Re: CdnDW]
petercorbett Offline

Registered: 07/27/08
Posts: 2509
Hi, my fraternal brothers,

New Year in healing greetings temporarily from Germany.

I'm not one to offer advice on how to relate to a wife or to any other female for that matter.
I had known nothing but hate & fear from a female, just one damn female in my life and I had condemened all of them in hate & fear. That female was my 'mom.'
Being born gay, most likely didn't help either.

But, after about 70 years of my life and I was involved with a 12 week PTSD sexual abuse group. The T had decided to challange me on my life long hate & fear of (all) females. He asked me Pete you are telling me that there was no female in your youth that might have tried to love & comfort you? No one? Here is what I want you to do when you leave here and between now & next session i want you to ge deep inside of yourself in a healthy way and think about my question.Make a list of any female that you remember fondly during those trying times. OK, sure did and lo & behold there were about eight. I wrote them down. Next session he confronts me on my assignment, infront ofthe group. What have you come up with?
Here is your list. Well Pete, you have told me that you hated and feared all females, and here you are giving me a list of females whom had shown you some sort of love & care. So, Pete how can you say tht you hated and feared all females, when here is a list of eight that you did remember and you did not hate, or did you? No sir.
Well Pete, how about you try and rewire your emotions & feelings about your hate & fear and accept the new meanings that you didn't trust all females? You only hated one and wished that she was dead. One, Pete of all the females that have come accross your path in your life, including your (seperated) wife of 36 years.
I have spent a week here with my seperated wife, trying to get her to understand that I never had made any kind of an emotional and mental bonding with a female in my life.
I never knew how to love & bond with a female, but, I knew and had bonded emotionally & mentally with males.
Yes, Helene,I did ruin your life, for that i'm truly sorry. I didn't know how to love you, but I had always cared for you.
I'lladmit that you gave me 100% plus of yourself, but this gay boy/man never could give you any in return.

So, my brother, you seem to want and try to keep your wife & family. Trying to re wire our emotions mentally and re learn how to care for and appreciate the females that we had come in contact with.

I have tried my level best to try and get my wife to understand on how she got involved with a closeted gay boy/man, and is now paying the price of loving him.

Perhaps a 12 week PTSD group therapy might help you. I'm sure that those other books are of a help and naturally a competent T will be of a help.

My, brother I offer you my compassion, understanding & hope
in trying to save your family life. Wishing& hoping that your wife will try and lead you along.

Hope this is of help for you. You are not alone in being an emotional retard.

'I will take that lost boys hand, and I will lead him from the depths of darkness, into the sunshine, forever into eternity.' As he is me.

Working Boys' Home 10-14 yrs old, grades 5-8. 1949-1953
A very humble alumni of the WOR Dahlonega, GA.
May 15-17 2009, Alta, Sep. 2009. Sequoia, 2010.
Hope Springs, 2010.

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