Home→Forums→Relationships→Emotionally Abused Man
- This topic has 103 replies, 19 voices, and was last updated 2 hours, 1 minute ago by Peter.
November 20, 2016 at 11:41 am #120789SunnysideParticipant
Ok. And how long after you were married did you stop having sex? Who’s idea was it to sleep in separate rooms?November 21, 2016 at 4:21 am #120804
To answer your questions…. The intimacy stopped after a couple of years of being married. It was my idea to sleep in a separate room.November 21, 2016 at 4:46 am #120806
Thanks for taking the time to respond. Everything you mention has been clear to me for a long time and I recognise my own compliance in this problem. I think it is difficult for most people to understand the situation, as it difficult for me to understand why anyone would stay in any relationship that has brought such unhappiness, when there is no barrier to leaving? It makes no sense at all and I know I have a problem that needs to be resolved in some way. As you rightly pointed out, “there is something deep down and emotional keeping him tethered to this marriage”.
Thanks for the input. I sense the frustration in your message and suspect you understand my problems only too well but it sounds like you have endured worse. I have done a lot of research on personality disorders as I have tried to understand more about what has happened to me and why. Much of it seems to fit reasonably well. I wish you the best of luck in your recovery.November 21, 2016 at 1:25 pm #120826
I hope you feel better soon. Everyone tells me that I need to get out and move on and I tell myself the same. Hopefully you have seen the light and done the same as your pain is clear from your writings. Be strong for your sake and your sons.June 14, 2017 at 12:07 pm #153252ElianaParticipant
I’m sorry I’m a bit late in getting back to you. What it all boils down to is “hurt people, hurt people”. There is an excellent book I have read that reads this subject, and it has helped me understand myself alot better, and the people who abused me terribly in my childhood and the men I have met in my adulthood.
I It also helps me, understand me, and why I hurt the ones I love. However, I am not in a relationship, and I have learned alot in intensive therapy and 12 step programs, as what drives your wife to do what she did, drive me to do what I did. I have learned alot about myself and why this happens, and think I can help you and give you alot of insight. I have to get to a mandatory group, but would like to re-read your post and get back with you tonight if that would be okay. I am happy to see you are getting alot of great responses from others as well.June 14, 2017 at 12:30 pm #153256ElianaParticipant
I just wanted to add one more thing before I get to group. People who hurt people can and do change. But only when they are not in denial, they know what their problems and issues are and they are in intensive therapy, on medication and have a supportive network.
With me, I started out getting a BA in Psychology. I was then diagnosed with BPD, PTSD, MDD, panic attacks. While I do not consider myself “cured” I want to get better and have made great strides in doing so, yes, people can change, with alot of hard work. The ones that don’t change, are the ones that don’t want to. I hope this makes sense. Not everyone with a severe mental health disorder is hopeless. God does not make junk. Through my own pain, emotional distress, has given me great insight, an ability to help other’s. You can, and will make it through this.June 15, 2017 at 9:00 am #153452
It seems that recent additions to this thread have been removed. Thanks to whoever arranged that.June 15, 2017 at 9:21 am #153454tinybuddhaKeymaster
You’re most welcome!February 28, 2023 at 5:31 am #415899
Still stuck after all these years. The lady I love has moved on. Me less so as she is never far from my thoughts. I can hardly imagine the amount of pain I must have caused her. My behaviour was atrocious but I wasn’t in control of myself when things finally fell apart for the last time. I live in hope that one day I will see her again but I don’t think that will happen. We still talk but needless to say it isn’t like before. I finally lost the love of my life and deservedly so. If only I had been able to do what needed to be done, I could have been so happy building a life with her. We both wanted a life together for a very long time. Decades in fact, so what we had must have been something very special for it to have endured for so long and with such a lot of stress on the relationship. To anyone who might read this, do not let the same thing happen to you. You will waste your life on a controlling abuser. Don’t think it can’t happen to you as it happens all the time. Let my story and countless others be a lesson.February 28, 2023 at 11:26 pm #415946
I haven’t been on the forums when you’ve originally shared your story, but I got to read most of it now. I am so sorry that it got to this, and that you couldn’t move on from the unhappy marriage.
As others have told you before, you’ve got an excellent insight and rationally, cognitively you understood everything. But it seems that on the emotional level, you got stuck and the fear of leaving was too big. It would cause paralysis and you’d always return to your wife.
The emotional level is related to our childhood, and I believe that the paralyzing fear that you felt (and are probably still feeling) belongs to the child in you. The child in us feels helpless to move, unable to act on its behalf. Not the adult.
That’s why I believe that working with the inner child could unlock the secret and finally give you a push in the right direction, i.e. towards freedom. You said you’ve worked with a CBT therapist. This might not be enough, since CBT remains on the cognitive level, while you need to go deeper. You need to access the emotional level and maybe even the pre-verbal level. So if you’re still considering therapy, I’d suggest working with a therapist specialized in Complex PTSD, i.e. in childhood trauma.
I know you said nothing was wrong with your childhood, but as others have said, it’s very unlikely that an emotionally healthy person would put up with the abuse for so long. We’re often not even aware of the way we were deprived in our childhood and how our essential needs were not met. If there was no physical abuse, we don’t necessarily see how we were harmed. There is also a thing called emotional neglect, so even if we weren’t abused, we might have been emotionally neglected and our needs not met.
So I encourage you not to give up, because I am sure there is a way out, if you really want it. You’re not doomed – you only need to find the proper therapy, which will address deeper levels too.March 1, 2023 at 1:15 am #415948
Thanks for your thoughts and taking the time to read my story. My latest thinking is that I am suffering from what is known as the Fawn response. It is basically a people-pleasing response to aggression but for me, it relates only to my wife and not to others. Some people have the Fight, Flight or Freeze responses but the Fawn response is another possible outcome that is now widely recognised. Many believe that it is something that develops as a childhood protection mechanism that can also be manifested in later life. It’s appeasement behaviour to try to reduce the aggression. As well as developing in childhood, it can develop later in life as a result of Complex Trauma from on-going abuse. Emotional abuse in my case. I think it is this second, later in life, scenario that is more like my experience. For me, everything points to the issue developing in my early twenties when I met my wife and it developed almost instantaneously. Perhaps back then I still had enough of the child left in me to be susceptible. I do not think it relates specifically to trauma in my childhood years as I don’t recall any childhood trauma that would fit with my experience. Everything in my experience relates to something that developed later in life and has been with me for nearly 40 years. It’s a very big price to pay. So much lost time and the loss of the person most precious to me for 30 years. We had hopes and dreams that came to nothing because of my issues. I still have those hopes and dreams but I know it is no longer possible. Time and again she would try to help me get away. It has ruined my life and done a lot of damage to much of hers. She finally got out and moved on and I am trying to be happy for her as I love her dearly. Total and utter madness!March 1, 2023 at 10:32 am #415955
Yes, it’s quite possible that you’re suffering from the fawn response, i.e. appeasing the bully, rather than setting boundaries and protecting yourself.
You say your childhood is not a likely source of your trauma, but only what happened with your wife, starting from your early 20s. Maybe that is so, however I do see some potential red flags in what you said about your childhood:
[about your mother] In many ways she is a very ordinary person who just likes to stay at home in a quiet and peaceful environment where no one bothers her.
[about your parents] She is a good natured person and got in very well with my father in that they never had any significant arguments in all the years they were married.
[about yourself] From childhood to this present day I have never really discussed any of my problems with any family member. … I was never discouraged from discussing problems but I would never raise them as I would not feel comfortable in doing so.
This potentially paints a picture of a quiet and seemingly “peaceful” home, where your mother expected not to be bothered by you, your brother or your father. And where you as the child might have felt uncomfortable seeking help, protection or soothing from her, since that would have upset her.
If you didn’t want to upset your mother with your problems, that’s already a sign that you haven’t received proper emotional support while growing up, but have learned to deal with problems on your own. Moreover, you might have concluded that you shouldn’t ask anything for yourself and that your needs are not important. If so, you’ve learned how not to stand up for yourself and to endure whatever bothered you silently, on your own.
If any of this is true, it would have been a setup for you later not having the courage to stand up for yourself, even in an abusive relationship. For enduring and trying not to upset the bully – similarly as you tried not to upset your mother. I am not saying your mother was a bully, just that perhaps you’ve learned the pattern of self-abandonment (abandonment of your needs and desires) as a child, in the relationship with your mother.
What do you think?March 2, 2023 at 12:14 am #415964
What you conclude might well be true but I can’t say that I recognize the situation you describe. Perhaps a little. Assuming it is true, any idea what I need to do to fix the problem and what would it actually involve. Therapy of some sort presumably.March 2, 2023 at 1:11 am #415965
Assuming it is true, any idea what I need to do to fix the problem and what would it actually involve. Therapy of some sort presumably.
I think the most important for you would be to realize that your basic emotional needs were probably not met. And that you’d need what is called reparenting of the inner child.
There is a great video about it on youtube, by Barbara Heffernan, titled “Reparenting yourself.” It gives an overview of what it means to reparent oneself, and what our basic needs are (some of them are self-care, emotional validation, emotional regulation etc).
You can do parts of the reparenting process by yourself, but it would be better to have help of a therapist, someone skilled in working with the inner child or complex PTSD. I’d look for such a therapist, because you said CBT wasn’t too efficient for you.
If you’d like to talk more about it here, on your thread, you’re welcome. I’d be glad to help if I can.March 2, 2023 at 2:28 am #415966
I’m not convinced this is the problem and the solution for me but thanks for your input as it is good to hear all possibilities. Like in good detective work, possible suspects need to be eliminated from enquiries and whoever is left is the one who committed the crime. Some sort of phobia is what fits well with my thinking, but only partially. Some people are terrified of spiders, which we all know is irrational but close proximity to spiders promotes a very real reaction in these people. Similarly, I know that my problem is irrational and also know that it is very real as well, hence the idea it might be phobia related. Also, the idea of complex PTSD seems to fit quite well with my self-analysis, but not fully. I suspect the two are somehow linked to my situation but, the idea that they are linked, also doesn’t quite work for me. If it is a phobia then the solution to that is usually considered to be exposure to the stimulus with the gradual realisation that nothing bad is happening, so the fear dissipates. I have had plenty of input stimulus but it has hardly reduced the anxiety levels. Repeated aggression/abuse is one of the causes of complex PTSD and it took me a long time to realise that abuse is what I endured, so I conclude that complex PTSD is likely to have developed within me and I think that is something that can be developed in adults without connection to childhood. I also recognise that the adult personality is linked to childhood development and that a different upbringing could have developed me as a different adult. Perhaps with more resilience such that I would not be in the position I am today. I guess that all these things can overlap to a certain extent, such that one terminology doesn’t necessarily fit perfectly.