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Going through a separation

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  • #407240
    Tee
    Participant

    Dear Dan,

    if the answer to my previous question is yes (that you did try to communicate but your wife refused), then the problem is mostly in her and her fear of emotional intimacy and vulnerability, I think. You did say that she fits the profile of dismissive avoidant attachment style (My wife is very independent and does have trouble communicating. She is more dismissive avoidant type).

    You say she is independent – what do you mean by that? Usually people with avoidant attachment don’t like to ask others for help and believe they should do everything by themselves (they don’t like to rely on others). But you said that your wife was grateful for your help and acknowledged that you helped her a lot (I did a lot to help with anything and she knew that. She even said that she felt like she was using me as I was always willing to help). So it seems she wasn’t the type who would refuse physical/material help. Could you shed some light on what do you mean by her independence?

     

    #407311
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Dan:

    Your first sentence in your original post was: “Maybe writing this out to the world will help me“. In your 6th post (page 1), you wrote: “I would love to hear more about self-parenting“.

    Treating oneself gently and compassionately is the core principle behind of self-parenting, and I would very much like to talk with you about it. If I get the chance to talk with you on the topic of self-parenting, I will need to do so gently and compassionately.

    anita

    #407313
    Dan
    Participant

    Hi Anita. I would like that. How do we go about doing that?

    #407314
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Dan:

    I am glad to read that you are interested. It is night time where I am at. I want to reply further when I am rested tomorrow morning, in about 10 hours from now.

    anita

    #407342
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Dan:

    How to go about self-parenting: first, realize that you are already parenting yourself (the italicized in the following are acts of self-parenting, positive and negative): you are hungry=> you feed yourself, you are cold= you put on a sweater, you are tired=> you go to bed, you feel stressed=>you listen to relaxing music or watch TV, etc.

    Second, realize that you can do a better job parenting yourself, ex.: you are hungry=> eat something nutritious, you feel stressed=>talk to an empathetic friend (instead of watching hours and hours of TV, abusing a drug, etc.).

    Doing a better job parenting yourself takes paying attention and rethinking behaviors and habits, ex.: many people who feel stressed parent themselves by overeating, a whole cake in a sitting, let’s say. Imagine a real-life father, whenever he sees his son stressed and upset, he places cake in front of the boy, saying: eat, you will feel better!

    Is that good parenting? Of course not. A good parent will sit with the child and gently inquire: what is bothering you, what happened in school today? A good parent will then listen empathetically and non-judgmentally, validate the boy’s experience, and that would make the boy feel that he is taken care of, that there is someone on his side, and so, the boy will feel better.

    I would very much want to continue our conversation on self-parenting for as long as it takes. Please let me know what you think about this reply and we can keep talking, for as long as you would like.

    anita

     

    #407366
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Dan:

    Perhaps you didn’t find my explanation in regard to self-parenting useful. I wanted to point to a few of the many resources that explain the concept of self-parenting better than my initial effort to explain it:

    1) A book: “Homecoming: Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child (“In this powerful book, John Bradshaw shows how we can learn to nurture that inner child, in essence offering ourselves the good parenting we needed and longed for”, Amazon)

    2) Another book: The Self Parenting Program, Core Guidelines for the Self-Parenting Practitioner (You can become your own loving parent!)

    3) A workbook: The Inner Child Workbook: what to do with your past when it just won’t go away (“a step-by-step guide to reparenting the children within and healing their shame, anger, and feelings of abandonment. Using written and verbal exercises, guided imagery, journaling, drawing, mirror work, and rituals, you can change your experience of the past”, Amazon)

    4) Another workbook: Inner Child Healing Workbook, Heal and Reparent Your Inner Child.

    anita

    #407447
    Tee
    Participant

    Dear Dan,

    I loved anita’s explanation of what parenting and self-parenting is. Self-parenting really is feeding ourselves – giving ourselves nurturance – both physically and emotionally.

    You said you were somewhat needy in the relationship, but you couldn’t pinpoint what your needs were. This is what you said about your neediness:

    When I say needs I can’t really pinpoint what exactly.

    About my neediness. I think I wanted more attention than I was getting. Much of my happiness came from her which isn’t healthy. I would try to please her while neglecting my own needs.

    As for my needs. Again it’s hard for me to say exactly what. I would often want to go on a mini vacation as we really didn’t have a honeymoon and she wouldn’t want to go. I also feel closest with her through physical touch. At some point that wasn’t being reciprocated. I’m not just talking about sex but just any kind of physical affection.

    You also said that a couple of months after the separation, you reunited for a while and were meeting in her house when the children were at their dad’s. It was very important for you to spend time alone with her, having physical intimacy (which was great – you said you had great sexual chemistry), enjoying a glass of wine (“we both enjoyed our drinks on the weekends together”), and simply spending a cozy time together.

    This “idyll” lasted for about a month, and then she asked for some space again, and you gave her space. Your meetups haven’t resumed after that, since her daughter refused to go to her dad’s place for the weekends, and then her mother moved in again in June.

    Based on everything you have written, I am thinking that perhaps your neediness is not so much emotional neediness. Maybe you don’t need a “mother”, as I have assumed earlier. But rather, I am thinking that maybe you need a companion who doesn’t have so many responsibilities with children and other people in her life, but can spend a lot of pleasurable time with you, going to trips, concerts, mini vacations etc. You need someone who is free (and care-free enough) to spend a lot of pleasurable time with you, and not burdened by all those responsibilities.

    Things were great before covid, when she had the children for a week, and then she had a week off, when she was free to spend time with you. But covid ruined that and you found yourself in quite a different situation. And it got worse and worse, since her responsibilities grew – because for some reason the children didn’t want to go back to spending half of the time with their father any longer. Her mother also moved in and out, and then her father too.

    And so she became a full-time mom and care-taker, burdened by all those responsibilities. Perhaps she even took on too many responsibilities and wasn’t setting proper boundaries, so it was worse than it should have been. Nevertheless, in this new situation, she felt she couldn’t give you what you need (she said “what you deserve”). Perhaps what she feels you need and deserve is a much less burdened wife who can spend a lot of pleasurable time with you, and give you much more attention than she presently can?

    I am not saying that you are wrong for wanting a less burdened and more available wife and companion. It’s just that she at the moment cannot be it. Partially due to her life situation, partially maybe because she cannot set boundaries with her family, and so she becomes mother and care-taker exclusively, without any fun time for herself.

    What do you think?

     

    #407539
    Tee
    Participant

    Dear Dan,

    Even though you aren’t responding, maybe you are reading this, and I hope you don’t mind if I continue developing my understanding of you and your situation… I would like to backtrack a little and correct what I said in my previous post. In my previous post I was musing that your needs might not be primarily emotional, but rather that it’s the need for physical closeness and intimacy, as well as spending a lot of time with your wife alone, having her full attention.

    Now I am thinking that those too are emotional needs, because having our partner’s undivided attention, their positive, loving and caring attention – meets a huge emotional need. We feel loved, seen, validated, appreciated….

    You said something very important:

    I think I wanted more attention than I was getting. Much of my happiness came from her which isn’t healthy. I would try to please her while neglecting my own needs.

    My interpretation of “Much of my happiness came from her” is that you couldn’t feel happy on your own, when she wasn’t around, or when she wasn’t paying enough attention to you. You needed her to give you a  lot of attention, to spend time with you, to touch you, in order to feel happy, and even to feel good about yourself. Would you say that’s true?

    If so – if you needed her to feel good about yourself, and if her lack of attention caused you to feel unloved and unworthy – that would signal a childhood wound. And it would also explain why you now feel devastated and why you cannot move on, although you are telling yourself you should.

    You asked about self-parenting. If what I wrote above is mostly correct, then indeed you would need to get in touch with your wounded inner child and help him heal. There is a way out, and it doesn’t have to be as painful as it is for you at the moment.

    I wish you healing! And I would be glad to keep talking to you, if you choose so.

     

    #407619
    Dan
    Participant

    @Anita. Thank you so much for the book recommendations. I also enjoy watching a person on YouTube named Alan Roberge. He is a psychotherapist and talks a lot about childhood attachment wounds and how they show up in our adult life. If you have a moment check him out, he has many good videos.


    @Tee
    . I just now read your last two posts and I can say that you pretty much nailed it. What you wrote in your first post is something that I can fully agree with. What I’m going through now is not really wanting another relationship. What I need is a better relationship with myself and until that has developed a little bit then perhaps down the road I would consider another romantic relationship. To be honest though. I’m still holding onto hope that maybe in a few years my wife and I could possibly get back together. With how things went down I do keep that hope alive. Although we aren’t communicating anymore I think it’s a good time to work on myself, improve myself and who knows what the future holds?  I do appreciate your comments.

    #407622
    Dan
    Participant

    To add to this I know I have childhood trauma that I have not really dealt with. It’s something I just avoided talking about but now I can see what attachment wounds are and that they are very real.

    #407626
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Dan:

    You are very welcome. I am listening to Alan Roberge right now. He is talking about attachment trauma and healing work, reiki and more: sounds good to me, thank you for the recommendation.

    I know I have childhood trauma that I have not really dealt with“- I don’t know a single person, in real life or online who did not suffer childhood trauma in one way or another. It’s the human condition; therefore,  you are not alone in this. We should help each other here in the forums with humility, as equals because (like the song says) we are people who need people.

    anita

    #407629
    Dan
    Participant

    Thanks Anita.  I was sexually abused, not by my parents but by my brother who is 8 years older than me. It was ongoing a bit as a young kid (I think I was 4-6). And then once when I was about 8-9. It’s not something I talk about a lot. I’ve only told maybe 3 people outside of my family. Anyhow. I think this also affected my teenage years as well and probably most of my life. I have no resentment towards my brother we still talk and see one another on occasion. I also have a mental health condition which I’ve taken medication for over the past 20 years. I’m lucky as I haven’t dealt with another “episode” since I was 23. I’m not almost 43.  I actually can’t believe I’m typing this all out on the internet but it’s my story.

    #407630
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Dan:

    I feel privileged that you trusted me with this personal information, and I feel that in no way do I want to express anything but appreciation for you sharing it here. I don’t want to ask questions, to interrogate.. to analyze, nothing like that. Sexual abuse has been part of my experience too, unfortunately, and it has been part of the experience of many, boys and girls, men and women. I hope to read more from you and I am willing to share about my life experiences with you, childhood and onward. Post again anytime you feel like it, and whenever you do, I will kindly reply.

    anita

    #407655
    Tee
    Participant

    Dear Dan,

    I am glad that my first post aligns with how you view the situation and that you feel it’s close to the truth. Let me just quickly repeat the gist of what I said about your needs:

    I am thinking that maybe you need a companion who doesn’t have so many responsibilities with children and other people in her life, but can spend a lot of pleasurable time with you, going to trips, concerts, mini vacations etc. You need someone who is free (and care-free enough) to spend a lot of pleasurable time with you, and not burdened by all those responsibilities.

    So you need a lot of alone time with your wife, spent in pleasurable and fun activities, where you can enjoy each other’s presence. Is that right?

    That in itself is a legitimate need, i.e. a legitimate thing to look for in a partner. There are many people who don’t have children, or who have grown children, and who want to enjoy life as much as possible. This may include traveling, going to concerts, engaging in hobbies, and simply having a lot of free time just to themselves. It would be perfect if you could have such a companion, with similar needs and preferences, and a similar level of freedom.

    But let me be completely honest: I think that even if you found such a partner, I am afraid you wouldn’t be truly happy, because it seems that your happiness depends on your partner (Much of my happiness came from her), which you yourself said is not healthy.

    So I agree that you would need a better relationship with yourself first (What I need is a better relationship with myself), and only then consider another relationship, or perhaps even renewal of the relationship with your wife.

    To be honest though. I’m still holding onto hope that maybe in a few years my wife and I could possibly get back together. With how things went down I do keep that hope alive.

    I understand that. You see her as a perfect woman for you, you said you love her unconditionally. But unfortunately there can be quite a few years before your wife is free to love you freely. Because she seems to have a tremendous sense of guilt if she spends time away from her children. And the children, specially her son, seem to have something against you. In the worse-case scenario, it could be as much as 8 years (till her son is 18) until your wife feels free (guilt-free) to be with you again. Are you willing to wait (and suffer) that long?

    I mean, you might even choose to wait, but as you yourself said, use that time wisely and work on yourself: I think it’s a good time to work on myself, improve myself and who knows what the future holds?

    Exactly! The future is unpredictable, but one thing is certain: if you want a better future, you would need to heal those emotional scars that prevent you from being happy. You would need to learn to be happy even without a “perfect” partner to meet your needs.

    And now we come to the core of the problem: the emotional scars, and the abuse you have suffered as a child. I am really sorry about that, Dan. That is tough.

    It’s good you are starting to read/watch videos about attachment trauma. The attachment trauma happens in the relationship with our parents or primary care-givers. My question (if you would like to answer) is how did your parents respond to your sexual abuse? Did they know about it? What was their reaction? Because their response (or lack thereof) was probably crucial, and it either helped you, or sadly, it further contributed to you feeling traumatized.

    I’ll be glad to keep this conversation going, if you feel it benefits you.

     

Viewing 14 posts - 31 through 44 (of 44 total)

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