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07/20/2009 07:07 PM

Looking for a connection

Brian64
Posts: 19
New Member

I joined because I saw a couple other guys who may relate to my situation. After 20 years in an emotionally abusive, roller coaster relationship I'm finally looking for a support group, and am starting with this one. Happy to talk to everyone else in the group too, of course. And I hope this leads to some healing, understanding and safe space.
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07/21/2009 03:22 AM
NewLen
NewLen  
Posts: 286
Member

This may be just the place for you Brian. Welcome.

We learn from and help each other sometimes just one day at a time.


07/21/2009 06:07 AM
nicolechittock
nicolechittock  
Posts: 475
Member

Welcome, Brian. We all take things one step at a time, and talking to others in your shoes is a great first step. I look forward to hearing more from you! Smile

07/21/2009 09:02 PM
Brian64
Posts: 19
New Member

Thanks so much for the warm greeting, Len and Niki. I just watched a romantic comedy, Catch and Release. Among other things, it reminded me how different life would be if I had chosen someone who would not only allow, but treasure emotional closeness.

She can't tolerate vulnerability (in either of us), a light touch, a soft word. Closeness, trust, humor, romantic connection, encouragement, is my greatest self-perceived need, so I guess everything else is fine. That's the positive spin I'm giving the situation anyway.

I'm not angry at her, just frustrated. It's obviously some sort of learned behavior, or other type of emotional dysfunction, or disconnect. It is what it is, nothing more, nothing less.

All my years of research, notes to her, (attempted) conversations with her, our counseling, didn't really amount to much improvement. Really hurts if I create a desire for what might have been. I'm thankful for what we have, especially our children.

I wonder if I will live my whole life in the hope that positive change may occur at any moment in this area of our relationship.

By the way, I "believe" in a metaphorical heaven and hell, a metaphorical afterlife, if that helps you see my philosophical perspective a little better. In other words, this life is it before my matter and energy gets absorbed and recycled into the biosphere.

A cousin, my only chat connection on the subject before now, said that I'm "in the soup" and should seek counseling for myself at this point. So, here I am. His fist marriage was somewhat like mine. He's happily remarried now (with undercurrents of secret pain).

I don't really have much interest in telling my whole story again to a therapist, but would rather just hang with people who understand first hand. I'm open to thoughts and suggestions and will try to help others out if something I read inspires me to respond.

Thanks again, Brian


07/21/2009 09:20 PM
nicolechittock
nicolechittock  
Posts: 475
Member

You're welcome, Brian. I would agree your cousin that seeking counseling for yourself is definitely a good idea. It definitely helped me when I needed it. But you have to be in a place where you can benefit from it, and only you will know when you've reached that place. I wish you all the best.

07/21/2009 09:49 PM
Brian64
Posts: 19
New Member

Thanks Niki,

I think the number of years involved is what has left its toll on me and adds the tragic to the magic in my story. But what you and others have experienced is punctuated by much more severe and traumatic events. It's an honor to have you as a group friend. I'm sure you have been a great support to many others, as your nearly 500 posts attest. Be gentle with yourself, and accept nothing less from others. You deserve kindness and respect. ~B


07/21/2009 09:51 PM
nicolechittock
nicolechittock  
Posts: 475
Member

Thank you, Brian. Smile I'm so glad you've joined the group. I think your experience and insight will be a valuable contribution here.

07/22/2009 07:53 AM
NewLen
NewLen  
Posts: 286
Member

Hi Brian -

This is kind of a turn-about for me as most of the posts I see here and on some of the others has the women seeking a closer relationship with their men.

Have you ever talked with your wife about her childhood? There is a reason for her distancing herself. Many time when people come out of traumatic homes of origin they learn to be loyal to the secrets and dysfunctionality that they were raised in. Sometimes they also have such trauma that they deny or bury their pain and don't want to deal with it.

Some (myself a case in point) go through life having very low self esteem based on how they were treated. We have much difficulty with intimacy because we don't want others, particularly ou closest friends and lovers to know the 'real' us. We perceive ourselves as damaged and 'less than' and are certain we will be left if we reveal what's inside.

I agree that since you cannot change anyone but yourself, you should look at how this affects you and seek help to deal with your loneliness and pain. I would get a counselor, and check out any or all of the following 12-step groups: Coda for dealing with your feelings about her; and ACoA because I would bet that she is from an Alcoholic or otherwise dysfunctional home.

In any case, the things you learn at these meetings will help you better understand her and possibly help her.

You sound like a caring and loving man and a little knowledge to go along with your patience with her may be what is needed to get through to her.

I hope this helps some.


07/22/2009 02:32 PM
Brian64
Posts: 19
New Member

Thanks for your support and counseling references. I will check them out. My self-esteem was pretty much crushed in childhood and my wife is overcompensating in that area as well - can't be wrong, nothing can be her fault or she thrashes about in a fury. Examples come to mind, but I'm trying to be brief. We are both sensitive to criticism, but she is insensitive or unaware in her use of it. I try to create harmony and friendly negotiation, she typically opts for overwhelming force. Usually, she does not speak to me without including criticism. Even a compliment is phrased as criticism. The dynamic seems to be that I can not be right, and she can not be wrong.

I am working toward fair and healthy communication as well as a closer relation. She can't be close, because it would leave her vulnerable and she would have to share control and trust the process. We both come from hypercritical environments. Her childhood communication model was combative rather than cooperative and collaborative.


07/22/2009 03:30 PM
NewLen
NewLen  
Posts: 286
Member

Sounds like your wife has to be in control, in charge, and right at all times in order to feel safe.

The problem is that control is an illusion not a fact. The only thing we can control is how we respond or react to the many things that happen around us.

Those of us who never learn to accept and adjust to painful circumstances and allow resentment, anger and try to 'control' them will seek change when they get sick and tired of being sick and tired.

Also, people like us with poor self images expect to lose, expect to be abandoned etc., and actually act to bring about this self defeating outcome by the way they treat those around them.

She sounds as if she really, really needs help and it is available if she is willing to seek it. If not she may start to show physical signs of all this internal stress.

Sadly, sometimes people have to hit rock bottom before they are willing to seek this help. She sounds like currently she just wants to sit in her stuff and be a victim. That's a very non-productive way to live.

I would ask you to examine your relationship with her and try to figure out if you are enabling this behavior by putting up with it.

Only you can look at your relationship and make conclusions in that area. From what you report there is kind of an unhealthy dynamic being played out between you both.

Over time this will create division and distance which ofcourse is not the direction we all want in our relationships.

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