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#461264 - 02/22/14 02:44 PM Is that normal?
susie Offline

Registered: 01/21/14
Posts: 31
My husband takes turns being loving for a few days then withdrawing himself again for some time since starting therapy which is hard work and confusing to me. There is always a bit of a pattern I've noticed: after going to his sessions he is upset followed by a phase of almost ignoring me and being sometimes rude, often rejective and cold. At some point after the "horrid" phase we get into a conversation and he manages to tell me about his feelings, and even opens up a bit about his childhood. After that follows a really good phase where he is very loving, content and basically the person I want to be with. He even initates being physical with me (hugs and kissing) which is a real rarity these days. Him going through a bad phase is me starving from affection and attention and it's not nice to live that way. We are currently having bad days again and I am quite depressed about it. Even though I try to be understanding all the time I am thinking that I have had enough of this rollercoaster ride and just want to be respected and loved on a regular basis.
Another thing wound me up yesterday and that was him defending his neglective, alcoholic Mom (she was a bystander to the abuse and possibly involved - while my husband is disclosing to me very carefully and slowly, he gave me hints in that direction). She did unspeakable things to him- now I see myself being his punchbag while he is defending her actions (to be fair, she is dead now, so he cannot put things straight with her anymore).
Another thing that annoys me is that he doesn't speak to me at all about his therapy so I have no idea how things progress, nor am I able to fully support him if he doesn't give me any infomation. Do you think it will change over time?
Sorry, for ranting away but because of the nature of the problem I feel that I cannot talk to any friends about it. So I am very thankful about this Forum, it is the only place I can talk to someone about my problems.

#461278 - 02/22/14 05:14 PM Re: Is that normal? [Re: susie]
Bliss4All Offline

Registered: 01/18/11
Posts: 9
Loc: SF Bay area, California
Susie, first off let me say that (to me) this sounds like a familiar pattern. I was a victim of sexual abuse as a child, and every relationship I've had has been characterized by an uncomfortable ebb and flow, an opening and closing of my heart and my capacity to express and even feel love. It's such an unfortunate pattern and no doubt very difficult for you to hold on to.
Being that as victims, we were forced to provide affection, to please and devote ourselves to the wants and needs of an adult while totally disregarding our own feelings, has resulted in an inability to devote ourselves in a trusting manner to those adult partners in our lives that truly deserve our love and are not trying to force it away from us... It's confusing. For me it becomes particularly difficult when my partner is asking for attention, as the hurt child in my heart turns deeper into resentment and refuses to "comply" because for once he has that power and ability to say "No!" Same goes for therapy, he is holding on to it and protective of it in a way that may make him perceive your request for him to share to be a violation of his trust.

I know this is hard. And I know that you want to understand him and support him. And it is brave of you to take this on. But you are also in this partnership and also need to be taken care of.

I would recommend that when you have an opportunity to have a discussion with him, that you share your experiences. Do so in a way the emphasizes those times when he is loving and caring, focusing on all the warmth and affection he is so capable of providing. You don't want to make him feel bad for not giving, but rather point out how much he does give, what it feels like to you when he is able to give, and then share the experience of having that go away. In that context, try to find ways together in which he can remind himself, and remind you that you are loved even when he feels completely shut down. For me, for example, I've found that when I am shut down, having my partner rub my back until I feel ready and safe to come out again seems to work, and then my heart is able to open and I turn and rub her back. It's kinda silly ceremony, but it's powerful for me. It makes me feel like I am being unconditionally loved in a non-threatening way, so I don't have to stay protected. Maybe you guys need to talk and see if there is anything that eases the heaviness of his heart even in the slightest, and focus on that to find each other again in the midst of his most fortified moments.

Remind him how much you work to understand him (like spending time on this message board,) explain to him that you do this work out of love for him, and ask that somehow in his process that he try to do the same.

#461279 - 02/22/14 05:25 PM Re: Is that normal? [Re: susie]
On The Fringe Offline

Registered: 09/21/13
Posts: 326
Loc: Southeast USA
Dealing with some of my past was like a spiritual and emotional hard workout. I was sore afterwards.

I don't like when I am cranky to my wife for whatever reason. It is hurtful to her, no matter what my reason is. I am responsible for my behavior.

I remember coming to terms with what happened to me. Not as a fact I observed in someone else I could distance myself from, but me. My body doing things.

It was humiliating and I know for sure I had no sex drive for a few weeks, maybe a month. Not everyone is the same though. I put it off for years. Then after deciding to tell two friends in my 12 step group, it felt like a purge in a good way... But I still felt utterly soiled and humiliated.

Until it finally got thru my thick skull that I did not consent to sex with a 15 year old boy at 7, until I realized my body reacts to stimulation no matter what I think, until then... I would be washed under by memories. All of the guilt and shame would flood back in and I just felt like everything I wanted to be as a man was washed away with the tide. It would be the last thing on my mind to be a man with a woman. I was not worthy of a good woman. It was just easier to be an asshole and push her away.

It must look hopeless and frustrating from the outside. I don't know your situation or your man. I only know me.

In a strange way, getting past the fault issue has helped me with the need for external approval so much. In a strange twist, now that I have accepted this dirty stain on my young life, I really don't care so much about what others think or external approval.

Fuck em if they don't like me. And that attitude has helped me make some normal male friends. I think it is the typical normal male attitude.

Sorry your situation has brought you here. I hope you find what you seek.
I feel more like I do now than I did when I got here.

#461331 - 02/23/14 03:01 PM Re: Is that normal? [Re: susie]
Valkyrie Offline

Registered: 04/27/12
Posts: 167
I'm going through something very similar. The ever persistent moodiness from my H is soul crushing at times. I've learned to give him space and let him "come back" to me, but I have to tell you, after three or four days, I find myself getting very angry with him and just want him to pull his shit together...

I know how difficult this is for him. We've come a long way in the last 2 years, still when does he get out of the "fault" stage? When will that reconciliation between the logical and emotional? Between what he knows is not his fault and the opposite emotional response? Like OTF used to, my H seeks constant external approval and not always in a healthy way. He has nearly destroyed our marriage over it...

Trying to be patient. Trying not to get angry. Trying to hold it together in my head. It just doesn't always work.

#461335 - 02/23/14 04:07 PM Re: Is that normal? [Re: susie]
On The Fringe Offline

Registered: 09/21/13
Posts: 326
Loc: Southeast USA
This sounds very superficial and childish in simplicity... But...

I told two women in AA, they were amazed that I was not mad at my perp. That struck a bell. I heard them, I saw their rage.

I started working out and taking better care of myself. I started to feel better about me. I started to feel more like a man. I stopped being obsessed with the approval of others and gradually, I mean gradually, started thinking of what I want.

At some point, not sure when, I actually started to believe I was lovable to a woman. I started to think I look ok. It was a nice ego boost to be noticed and chatted up by other women at the gym. I started to feel like, it sounds silly to say, but I felt like a teenage boy little. Feelings that were there but never really there in the right way.. It dawned on me that I have a woman very much wanting to have sex with me at home.

At times I just wanted to fuck her. Like a younger normal guy would. Not some metro sensitive crap. I wanted to hit that! Ha! Ha!

She felt it and loved it.

Now I talk trash o my wife sometimes. Send her sexy text messages. I would be lying if I left out that once in a while something triggers a memory that is bad. I don't do anal for reasons of memories.

I know I have a few weak spots, and try to work with them.

It has been strange to be more expressive of my desires. Physical ones. Not feeling guilty or weird. It was uncomfortable and strange to say it face to face. Texting with her was step one. Then the face to face.

It feels like it just takes time to be comfortable being a man. The things that we did, that happened to us tear away at everything society tells us a man is. So taking charge sexually and giving it good to a woman is more of a huge leap than you can imagine. To be 'The Man'. Used to be a pressure packed, terrifying proposition. In the past I would feel guilt or shame in saying it, but it does feel good in a primal way to have that great screaming sex. Not he physical sensation, the emotional feeling of being that guy... The one that can satisfy his woman. What is more key to self esteem? I admit it, it makes me feel awesome!

But it can happen in time, with dedication and courage to take steps in fear, on faith.

We are damaged but not destroyed. Hope is not lost.
I feel more like I do now than I did when I got here.


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