Forum Replies Created
September 9, 2022 at 7:52 am #406845EmmaParticipant
Thank you for your comments. I have been doing a lot of thinking about what you have all said.
I can see that everything is not my fault. I feel I have some clarity on what my part has been and I have things I want to work on. But I know that I am not solely responsible for my husband’s trauma and pain, which is what I need to keep reminding myself.
I think that he does have a victim mentality, but I don’t like the term ‘Poor Me Syndrome’ because I feel it trivialises his pain and experiences. Victim mentality can be a coping mechanism for people who have suffered trauma and it becomes a thought pattern that can be difficult to recognise and even harder to get out of. He has suffered – and continues to do so on a daily basis – and I can see how easy it would be to get sucked into that way of thinking. He is not doing this to get sympathy, as he pretends to the whole world that everything is fine. I am the only person he has ever told all of this to. I don’t believe he wants to be like this, but I also don’t think he can see that he is standing in his own way.
I have found a male therapist who I think would be a good fit. He specialises in male sexual abuse and is an advocate for issues affecting men. I have gently approached the subject with my husband and I hope that he is seriously considering it. While he doesn’t believe it will do anything, I said that if there’s even a small chance that things could be better for him, that he could sleep without being disturbed by nightmares, that he could wake up in the morning without feeling the way he does, then isn’t it worth trying? I am not going to push too hard because I know he will get resistant and think I am just trying to put the blame back onto him again, which isn’t what I’m trying to do.
In the meantime, I will continue to work on myself, to keep my eyes open to the injustices and unfairness around me, to listen to him and support him in whatever way I can. And I just have to hope that the future holds something better than this.September 8, 2022 at 2:21 am #406723EmmaParticipant
Thank you for your comments, although it has been difficult to read them. I am so conflicted.
I know that my husband has a lot of issues, and he understands that as well. Before, he was very resistant to admitting that he had unresolved trauma, but he does now. However he firmly believes that he is so damaged that nobody can help him. He believes that any sort of therapy will likely make things worse, and I can see from reading other men’s experiences of therapy that it can happen. Therapists are predominantly female and for men that have suffered at the hands of women, therapy can be an unforgiving and unhelpful place.
One of my husband’s dominant feelings is of being alone. When I failed to support him in the way he needed, failed to listen properly, failed to stick up for him to my family, that reinforced those feelings of being alone. He has been suffering alone for the majority of his life. He was always different to other children (he is highly sensitive and empathetic) and things affected him in a deep and violent way. He has always been very adverse to violence, whether in real or fictional form, and he cannot understand how anybody could enjoy violence as entertainment. He found it easier to avoid others as he got older, as they tended to affect him in a negative way.
I can understand a lot of what he is saying. He feels like all he has done is try (he is incredibly hard working and he has picked himself up more times than I know) and all he gets is the raw end of everything. Nobody is trying to do anything for him. He is alone. Everybody around him behaves how they want and he has to deal with the consequences of it while they just get on with their lives.
There are a lot of things I could have – and should have – done differently in our relationship. I have not connected emotionally with him as I don’t know how. I can be distant and I prefer to focus on the practical side of things rather than the feelings side, which means I am hard to get to know properly. I don’t even feel like I know myself sometimes, and this is something I am exploring and trying to rectify. I can see that I was controlling in a lot of ways, not letting him get involved in raising our son, and I have a lot of regrets about that. I have a tendency to micro-manage people and I have an incredibly stubborn streak that makes me argumentative and unwilling to accept that I am wrong. He is not the only person to have mentioned this and it has caused me to clash with people before. These are things I want to change about myself, not just for him.
In terms of what he wants from me, he says he just wants me to have absolutely nothing to do with the things that are damaging for him. By engaging with it (in his eyes) I am saying it is okay and I am part of the problem. I can see his logic and there really isn’t a sensible argument to counter it. The only argument would be “I will watch what I like because I am entitled to” and that just seems like a very childish and selfish thing to say.
I have considered leaving many times. There have been so many occasions where the relationship just feels too hard. My husband sees it as giving up when the going gets tough. He wants me to face the consequences of my actions, to be accountable and understand what damage my actions can cause to other people, whether I intend them to or not. This is a difficult lesson to learn but I accept it is an important one. Nowadays we are taught that we can act however we like, say what we like, do what we want, and other people just have to go along with it, but sometimes there are consequences to being like that and we can hurt people. So far I have avoided consequences and now it’s catching up with me.
I love my husband, I want to build a life with him. I want him to be happy and to be able to live his life in the way he wants. Right now, that seems very far away.