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#68350 - 01/12/07 02:34 PM carrying his shame?
abandoned Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/12/07
Posts: 14
Hi, I just registered here. I've been in despair over a relationship that started 4 years ago.

It was such an intimate connection - neither of us spring chickens and having been through a lot of recovery and he having a lot more knowledge about it than I. We aknowledged our mutual co-dependant tendencies and our dysfunctional childhoods.

I struggle with pretty severe depression and anxiety and have major abandonment issues (father). But I am considered to be strong, independent, resiliant and have overcome quite a lot in my life.

BF had an alcoholic father with PTSD from WWII and as it turned out a brain tumor that he died of. BF and his mother had to do the damage control. We had open discussions about the 'emotional incest' as it's called he suffered in having to meet his mother's emotional needs. Otherwise, she too was a strong, independent, business-like woman.

He told me both his parents were dead but I didn't know his mother had died just the year before we got together - I just happened to overhear him telling my mother.

Shortly after we starting dating I went back into individual therapy for the anxiety I was experiencing. These games were starting up with the push/pull, come here/go away. He even acknowledged 'keeping me on edge' (chuckle chuckle). My therapist urged me to drop my 'pride and ego defenses' (?) and make myself vulnerable. I was so crazy about him I took the advice.

It seemed to be working and we did get closer and closer learner more about what we loved and didn't love about each other - until it got too close - literally he said "I've let you get too close" ? "We don't have a relationship" ?

I've been devastated for 2 years now. We've had intermittent communication if I initiate it and if he happens to want attention. I've been in so much pain I can barely get myself to work and back.

Just in the past couple of months, in looking back and putting several things together I got this sudden insight that makes me 95% certain that the incest by his mother was more than emotional - it was sexual too. Part of the problem I've had is I start the crying everytime I take my clothes off - seemed like he never wanted to look at me. Sex never felt like it was with or about me - he was off somewhere else.

I've searched online for mother/son incest and there is very very little information. In fact, boys abused by women is not covered much more.

So, about a month ago, I texted him (his favorite means of communicating - not too personal) my suspicions about who the blame really belongs to (his mother) - that I was so sorry I must have done a lot of things to trigger him and probably the best comfort I could offer was to just let him be. He did not confirm or deny my suspicions and I would think that if it was untrue there would be a huge outburst

I've read just a couple of the women's posts here, and they sound almost identical to the process my relationship went through.

I thought at first that this realization would help me feel better - but I felt so bad for his trauma - and the really sad part is I can partially empathize with his mother as far as knowing how it feels to have an absent partner.

Finally, yesterday I had the thought that all this pain could be that I'm carrying his pain and shame. He always deals by numbing. I need to try to give up that stuff that doesn't belong to me.

The few friends I have don't really want to hear this kind of stuff, in fact I'm not much fun being so depressed and they're tired of that, so I'm here for information, support, and hopefully to support someone else.


#68351 - 01/12/07 06:32 PM Re: carrying his shame?
sweet-n-sour Offline

Registered: 10/03/06
Posts: 409
Loc: chicago
Dear Stephanie:

Welcome to Male Survivor. This particular forum has helped many of us through some very rough patches in our lives. I think for me the weight began to lift the minute I began to understand my H as a survivor. This forum has a tremendous lifeline of information in the form of articles, personal accounts and support.

With any relationship there is always a chance of being hurt. I know that it does not make any of it better, the hurt is just a human indicator to let us all realize we are vulnerable to the experience. None of us can help our pasts nor the pasts of those we care for. The trick is to put one foot forward, appreciate the good times and try to cope with the harsh realities we are given.

""I've let you get too close" ? "We don't have a relationship" ?"
This behavior is familiar for a s/abuse survivor. It almost seems as if they are experiencing an inner struggle...a want for intimacy/connection, but the need to protect and be left alone. The need to be left alone sometimes overpowers the want for a relationship and they often times run away.

"Part of the problem I've had is I start the crying everytime I take my clothes off - seemed like he never wanted to look at me. Sex never felt like it was with or about me - he was off somewhere else."
S/intimacy can be very difficult for a survivor.
The key here though is to keep in mind that it was his problem and not yours. His behavior has no hold over you as a woman or your self worth. If he missed out on truly connecting with you, it is his loss entirely.

I hope I did not overstep in sharing my thoughts on this. You have my support and I truly understand how difficult this all is.
Please take some deep breaths, you are not alone but among friends here. ...and again, welcome to MS.
Best wishes,

"As long as he continues to try, I will meet him in that determination and commitment."

cm 2007

#68352 - 01/13/07 07:32 AM Re: carrying his shame?
wantstohelp Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/17/05
Posts: 26
Hello abandoned,

I'm running out the door right now, so I will write more later, but I just wanted to post to say that I completely understand how you feel!

It is so so hard to be pushed away by someone you love, especially for the reason that you ARE so close.. and especially, especially when you have a fear of abandonment yourself. I've struggled with those same feelings a lot in my life, and I wish I had more advice to give.. but I haven't quite figured out yet how to process them myself, either.

Just do try to remember that his actions are about him, and not you (I know you know this in your head, but it's always hard to KNOW it.. because your heart is always fearful in these situations, or at least mine is).

Also, I think what sns wrote about the inner struggle with survivors between intimacy and self protection by withdrawing is very very true. It's a very hard thing.. and VERY painful.. to have someone pull away just at the point where you are truly connecting with them. In fact, I don't think there is a more painful type of a situation in the world.

All I can say is that I am so glad you came here, and I really hope that we can provide you with some of the support that you need. And definately you should know that you're not alone in all of this. There are so many women on here that are struggling with feelings and situations that are very similar to you. So welcome!

Take good care of yourself,

#68353 - 01/13/07 11:02 AM Re: carrying his shame?
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus

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

It sounds like you are in a lot of pain and I'm sorry for that. I know how hard it is to feel unwanted and lonely in a relationship, and how new knowledge can feel overwhelming.

What would help YOU, today? I understand that you still feel such a deep connection to this man, but two years of intermittent communication and it seems like he has a great deal of power over you and your feelings about yourself. This must be taking a very big toll on you. What could you do to really break this pattern and start experiencing some joy? Do you like your work? Do you volunteer or belong to a religious group? What would make you feel beautiful again when you looked in the mirror?

It is not very fun to play the push/pull game alone. Why not let him figure that out, while you take some of the energy you're spending on him and focus it on yourself?


#68354 - 01/13/07 01:14 PM Re: carrying his shame?
abandoned Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/12/07
Posts: 14
SAR you make a good point - one that my therapist has been pushing. I've had so little energy.

About 2 months ago I made the decision not to initiate any more of the contact - it probably only hurts him. He has been known to do it himself if the silence is too long.

But, since having the "moment of clarity" in realizing I've been carrying his pain and shame I've been feeling a little lighter the last few days.

And then to have all of you respond to me with such understanding and empathy, I finally feel like I've found the right place. I'll know where to come if I start slipping.

There are lots of things I need to do to make myself feel better - I've neglected my house and yard and self-care. I've put on a lot of weight from being so sedentary.

Thank you all for the encouragement.



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