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#56805 - 07/13/05 08:40 PM Slowly, slowly a few steps forward (a fighting realization)
Wifey1 Offline

Registered: 12/03/02
Posts: 380
**caution may have triggers**
I hope that I am more capable of expressing myself in this post as to "where" Hubby & I are in our healing at this time.

As I stated in a recent post I have been dealing with my own set of triggers and the reverb from his own healing process.

I have managed to express in some short sentences WHAT some of my irritability etc has been. I did not give "details" as at this point for the 2 of us the details are "moot" - it is the effects / affects of the abuses & trauma in our relationship that has more priority for us. I was able to tell him that my nightmares are back and my frustrations have been compounded by known enviromental stuff re: school, work, illness, feeling useless and intense loneliness.

We have put into action some very good plans for "US", to be able to spend more time together so that I do not end up feeling so "low priority". For instance, thru discussion we have been able to agree that it is fair for him to give me at least a one week PRIOR notice to any "side work" AND it gets written on the calendar. This helps to compensate for my short term memory problems and also helps to keep him from "over loading" with activities in his life.

A very common behavior for him so that he then "is too busy to allow any abuse thoughts to intrude or be forced to "deal" with his SA & our relationship difficulties."

That step has been about 50 % effective since we implemented it about a month or so ago.

Today I woke and heard the shower running, it "triggered " me into a feeling of not trusting him , my mind quickly shot to thinking he was masturbating & which quickly then stepped to anger at him = distrust = with holding = ME feeling punished.

He was up earlier than he has been in the past few months & set me off to "suspect" this strange change in behavior for him. When he entered the bedroom after his shower I told him I was struggling with not trusting his sobriety re: masturbating in the shower. Compounded by our lack of sexual contact. He said he understood easily how I could think this. Told me it was OK to have these thoughts as it was going to take me time to "regain" trust and while it may piss him off a little bit, he understood it and I was entitled to it. He then took a great amount of COURAGE to share with me that the "shower" was NOT a place that he masturbated. The courage he showed by "sharing" that information helped to "release" my own internal talk. He also was so BRAVE as to ask if "I" needed for him to wake me & tell me he was getting in the shower. I assured him no as now that I had that "bit of info" regarding his drug of choice or self abuse normal behaviors was enough for me now not to quickly diaglogue myself into doubt & anger with him.

Later after a cup of coffee while he dressed we chatted a few moments. I told him I am terribly afraid to share these thoughts in case it would ruin his day or make him feel guilty enough to push him to break his sobriety , yet I felt it is important to let him know my thought process. NOT to punish him, but so that we can be "transparent" with each other.

None of this mind reading magic crap that we already know doesnt work. He admitted while yes it does hurt, it is less painful when he KNOWS what is going thru my pea brain. Which in turn validates slowly that he very much acknowledges he must work to re gain my trust.

He / we know that this is going to be a slow process until we can actually have time in our life schedule to truly devote to couples therapy. He said he was ok with me sharing. This brought relief to me, and yet I still had to internally work to push away any guilt feelings of "putting more on him" when his life is so full of stressful shit for awhile longer yet.

I have noticed over the past few weeks and maybe months since he "re adjusted" his work schedule to having 2 consecutive days off from work we are having more "fights".

I dont mind that we are fighting , or having what are more like "spats" that I have seen other couples have. Something that is really relatively "new" in our relationship. BUT, what I have been able to finally define in the difference of these "spats" is that his fighting behavior is more that of a 9 - 12 yr old.

This makes sense to me due to those ages were approximately when he was abused. So (thinking aloud here) IF the "stunting emotionally" happens as a result of abuse, so then would the behavior or "ability to argue" be more likely at that "age appropriate" at the time of the original abuse.

Of course this behavior would be and is more frustrating for me when I "begin" a discussion or "spat" with adult age appropriate language, yet I can only last so long before my own behavior has and can quickly disingrate to be 9 - 12 yrs old also. (sometimes it sucks being human :rolleyes: )

We definetly ARE getting better at just "calling a STOP" to the spat or fight IF it isnt making progress to address the "real issue" at which we started. This is TRULY taking some serious work and TRUST for both of us. Hey, we even have gone so far as to "celebrate" a "successful spat" , even if it was one we had to call off for later calmer "discussion".

I just wanted to share some of my own "enlightenment" in our healing process. Yet I can tell you that the "end of Oct. or school" feels like a million years away.

Also, his school re union is dated for Oct. He very much has invited me to go along , yet his "sisters" will be at this reunion. During our "separation" & the after effects of dealing with settling his mothers estate, ONE particular sister has NOT been supportive of our re uniting and steps to heal our relationship. She has in fact said some very mean and critical statements about me. Even tho' he has told me that he told her basically it wasnt any of her business & to keep her comments to herself. I am for the FIRST time actually feeling "afraid" to be around this sister.

In the past for the longest time the ONLY contact he had with his sisters was due to MY connection & relationship with them. Bascially he "let me" manage the family social schedule. Now, all of a sudden I am classified as the "bitch" because I did date other men while we were separated. This apparently pissed off this one sister who holds a "holier than thou" attitude, even tho I "know" her own "dirty secrets".

I dont understand my "fear" of being in the same room or social gathering of this sister. Part of me understands that her behavior is now much like my deceased MIL behavior toward me. I also recognize that some of my anger feelings toward her come from a point of view of "how dare she judge me" when I know of her own "dirty secrets".

I know that I have the capability of long tolerance of snotty comments, & criticism. Yet I also know that when I have had enough I do not hold back and wont have a problem going "toe to toe" and even to lower myself to expose her own "dirty secrets". YET, I also know that I absolutely do NOT want to cause ANY damage in the relationship between Hubby & his sister. That relationship is for the 2 of them to work out.

I also recognize that I am still very angry at her for NOT being supportive of Hubby when he took a HUGE step in disclosing his SA to not only his parents but his sisters. Hubby took GREAT Courageous steps to "try" to talk with this sister about taking steps to be "aware" that her son is at risk just as any child for SA. Her response was that this child was "safe" at "Catholic school" - he tried (bless him) so hard to explain to her that was not some "automatic protection" against being SA'd.

It was all I could do to keep my "mama bear" self out of the discussion and not knock the snot out of this self rightous prententious wench as I stood beside Hubby as he attempted to talk with reason to her.

In the end of course it was very emotionally difficult to get to a point of helping him to the best of my ability to accept that he made steps to not only disclose his own long held secret but that he did his best to "educate" his sibling. Hubby has finally over time been able to say with true conviction in his voice to me that he has done the best he could to educate his sister should anything happen to her child re: abuse.

Hubby & I both agree it is more than frustrating to watch BOTH of his sisters raise son's to be "perfect victims" for some predator. Yet, we have no control, and have made the steps Hubby felt neccessary to "warn" his sisters.

I'm not sure where my "own" fear is coming from with the potential of physically seeing his sisters again. I am very sure that if I dont bring up the subject of our relationship OR raising children then "avoidance" will be more than happily played out by his sisters.

Of course Hubby will be setting the guidelines and rules of "engagement" during this visit. I will respect his wishes without hesitation, just the same as he has done with my own extended family.

But WHERE is the fear coming from? What about these sisters is so frightening to me? Or is the real question that I am more afraid of my OWN self in wanting to "bite back" at how mean they have been with me? Once we were very close for years, and now they wont even call the house phone, only his cell phone so as NOT to accidently be "forced" to converse with me. Is it my own personal pain of feeling "betrayed"?

Any thoughts?

Peace, Sammy

#56806 - 07/13/05 10:03 PM Re: Slowly, slowly a few steps forward (a fighting realization)
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
Hello Sammy

I have to make this brief.


But WHERE is the fear coming from? What about these sisters is so frightening to me? Or is the real question that I am more afraid of my OWN self in wanting to "bite back" at how mean they have been with me? Once we were very close for years, and now they wont even call the house phone, only his cell phone so as NOT to accidently be "forced" to converse with me. Is it my own personal pain of feeling "betrayed"?
For myself, I've learned that a lot of the heightened anxiety I get about my boyfriend's family has to do with a desire that HE will "choose" me or at least protect "us".

It spirals out of proportion very quickly, in the same way you described your own thoughts moving from a specific fear (husband breaking sobriety) to huge, generalized anger and punishment feelings-- only this one is about a fear of stagnation and regression, which eventually leads to a feeling that he is rejecting growth-- rejecting any progress he's made-- anything that's healthy for him-- anything that really belongs to him-- his independent self and life-- yeah, this gets a little silly. But the end result is that I am not so anxious about holding my own in front of the sisters as I am about what his reactions will be and whether they will "feed" his old self or his new self-- and that's emotionally important to me where I am concerned.

I know that when they are attacking me, they are really attacking something they see as a threat to their way of life and hold on their son. Part of his sick family's way is to knock down their children, back to the level of no identity other than sick kids, belonging to a secretively sick family. The more his life makes the statement that he is an individual who can make his own best choices, the more desperate and mean-spirited they get.

When my boyfriend and I act in ways that refute any of the lies that he was supposed to learn as a kid, they attack me. I guess I am so anxious about him "choosing" me in this situation, when normally I am not possessive, because I know that part of the message of THEIR attack is that he can either be with them or against them.

I don't need him to jump to my defense as much as I need his actions and words with them to affirm that he is rejecting the judgments and limitations that his family is placing on him and his life.

#56807 - 07/14/05 12:18 AM Re: Slowly, slowly a few steps forward (a fighting realization)
Wifey1 Offline

Registered: 12/03/02
Posts: 380

WOW! Great points you've brought up. I know for my own self I can hold my own against or with my own peers. I also & Hubby (we) recognize that WE need each other to help protect self and our relationship/s against our "sick" familiies.

So - Your point about needing Hubby's "behavior" to "choose me" or protect me is probably EXACTLY what my core fear is. I know that verbally he has stood against them. Hubby was brave enough to admiit to me that during our separation he had his time/s just as I had (occassionally still do) where we "vent" out our anger about each other to a "safe" person. One who knows we are just doing normal venting & won't injure either of us later or use it against us in anyway.

Hubby admitted in the past he did say some rotten shit about me on occassion. That is ok, heck I did the same with my own siblings. However he laid down the "rules" to the sisters a couple times repeated that HE is allowed to bash/ vent about me but THEY were NOT allowed to do so to his face or to mine. What the 2 of them do or say together is their business.

But you are so right. This process of healing and allowing enough time to pass and behaviors to happen that "prove" that he IS and HAS chosen me is what is important. In fact in our short discussion this morning I had let slip past the part where I had directly asked him "What makes your drive so importantly different this time to remain sober?" - Hubbys answer very directly without hesistation or waiver in his voice was this; "I worked so hard to get you back into my life NOTHING is worth losing you all over again for."

The lies he battles from his own SA of course is huge, and I keep forgetting about those "family lies" that kept/ keep them dysfunctional. Both sisters have taken up so much of "our time" trying to settle his mothers estate recently I recognize now also that I am feeling that WE are being attacked. That those intrusions of them trying to drag him into the middle of their disagreements (even on shit so simple as difference of opinions on raising theirs son's) - yes it does trigger a fear of him returning to "old bad behavior".

I do have to give more creedence to his behavior of hanging up the phone even if it was done with a "little white lie" (i.e. oops someones at the door gotta go) & then to let him vent on me about "how damn dumb they are" - validates Hubby's progress.

While I am sure my own thought processes & behaviors wont change in any greater leaps and bounds than Hubby's (different rates & hot buttons) I do have to keep OUR relationship in perspesctive realistically.

Thank you yet again for the superb insights!

Peace for Us All, Sammy

#56808 - 07/14/05 03:04 AM Re: Slowly, slowly a few steps forward (a fighting realization)
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
Back again.

I want to add-

Part of putting things in perspective is realizing that this "them or me" business IS ITSELF a sick game, and that *I* don't have to play it or make him play it.

It is from them, from a sick place, that he got the message, "You will lose the confidence and approval of people you love if you make decisions that we don't like." ALL the either/or business is limiting and plays to our fears that we will be abandoned for making our own best choices. I have to recognize that even as I am doing it.

I need it affirmed to me that he's making progress, that our relationship is secure. I don't need to see his mother broken-down and abandoned-- and I can usually muster some understanding that it is her own irrational fear of abandonment that causes her to cling so destructively to her kids, to undermine their growth and to feel so attacked by the places where their lives are different from her own. (notice, I can *usually* feel some sympathy, not always, and it doesn't excuse her behavior at all)

SHE doesn't understand how her son can reject some of her beliefs and way of life, and not reject her. SHE doesn't believe that he can be self-determining and still choose to include her in his life. That's why SHE pulls this "your partner or your family" junk.

It is up to me to say, I do understand that he can make decisions that are different from mine, without rejecting who I am as a person. I don't love him less because he wants to keep these people in his life. I believe that he can make the choice to put his personal healing first, to protect our relationship, and also make the choice to include these people in his life in a healthy way.

It is up to him to show me that I CAN believe that, by interacting with people in healthy ways, by making progress, by communicating with me.

Maybe in some ways this too is about our basic fear as partners-- that we are buying a line-- that his actions will prove that we can't believe it-- and in that case I hope that any of us would re-evaluate the situation we found ourselves in, rather than hang on to a situation that IS in fact invalidating who we are and what our relationship should be--

Peace to us all, you're not kidding.


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