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Why won’t my body let me trust a good man?

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  • #354910
    Kayla
    Participant

    I have been in therapy for about 10 months. My story is kind of long but bare with me. 2 years ago I left a 6 year relationship with a man named Chris. He was a textbook narcissistic abuser and constantly manipulated me. I really believed he loved me deep down and that’s why I stayed. He was very sexually aggressive with me from the beginning of our relationship but I just thought it was because of passion. The last year we were together, I discovered completely by accident that his phone was open on the bed to a gay site called “Grindr”. I immediately woke him up and begged him to tell me the truth. If he was gay or bisexual or having sex with men I deserved to know. He kept denying anything and turned things around on me. I ended up running away from him basically while he was at work. I knew he would continue to gaslight next if I stayed. What continued for the next few months after I left was horrible. He harrassed me and wouldn’t let me have my things back from our home. The abuse continued for months.

    about 6 months later while I was living on my own I started dating again and met a great guy. He was very different from my ex. About 5 months into our relationship I started to look for signs that he might be gay and using me like my ex. It was not something I did intentionally but my hypervigilence was through the roof. I ended up thinking he was checking a guy out and I had a severe mental breakdown that ended up with me in the ER. After my breakdown I told him everything about my past. He was so supportive and stood by me. This was 10 months ago. Since then we have gone back and forth trying to make things work and I always end up pushing him away. He has dealt with hours of me asking questions if he is gay and lying and he has held me while I cried and told him how sorry I was. It’s been so horrible. 2 days ago I told him I didn’t want him to fight for me anymore because I feel like I can’t trust him (even though he’s not done anything wrong). I just feel sick to my stomach for doing this to him and I hate myself. I’m the first woman he ever loved and I know I have probably completely messed him up. I also feel so sad that I’m this way. That I can’t trust men. I also suffered sexual abuse from my grandfather as a little girl. I know I have gone through a lot of pain but it just feels like I keep running from the new man and he actually wants to take care of me but I keep viewing him as a danger to me. I genuinely feel so much anxiety when I think about a future with him because I have these extreme doubts. I really would just like some kind words or similar situations. I’m struggling so much. I’m 30 yrs old and I feel like I should be married with kids but I’m sitting in my apartment worried that I’m going to be used as a gay coverup again. And people always say that it doesn’t matter that my ex was gay bc he cheated. But it is different because I feel like everything was a lie.

    #355020
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Kayla:

    I would like to understand better, therefore I ask: during your “back and forth relationship with your boyfriend, were you at times, or often, angry at him, and if so, how did your anger at him express itself?

    Was he ever angry back at you?

    anita

     

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by anita.
    #355092
    Kayla
    Participant

    Hey Anita,

    Thank you for responding. We have never been angry at each other. When I tell him I cant take my anxiety anymore, I am usually coming from a very sad and distressed place. He has never been angry at me which still shocks me given that I have left him so many times. He always tells me he wants me to come back to him and that he is never angry at me because he knows that I am trying really hard by being in therapy. He also knows what I went through was very hard so hes very sympathetic. We both are just usually very sad.

    #355096
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Kayla:

    I need to re-read your original post, read your recent post (and anything you may add to it before I return) and reply when I am back to the computer in about 12 hours from now.

    anita

    #355100
    Kayla
    Participant

    Thanks Anita. I really appreciate you replying. Its just good to know someone will read what I wrote and have thoughts on it.

    #355140
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Kayla:

    For six years (about 22-28) you were in a relationship with a Chris, living with him at one point on. Throughout much of the relationship he gaslighted you.

    * my note: in a relationship, K is the honest, well meaning person  and C is the one doing the gaslighting. When K honestly and gently brings a topic to C that bothers her, C  feels attacked and angry at K. He doesn’t respond by honestly looking at a possible validity of what K brought up, considering the possibility that he might have been wrong in any way. Instead, he automatically- without caring to examine what is true, and vehemently tells K that what she saw- she didn’t see, what she heard- she didn’t hear, what she understood- she misunderstood, and then he proceeds to accuse her for a variety of faults and past behaviors, that if true, are irrelevant to the topic K brought up, accusing K of thoughts, intents and motivations that she didn’t have!

    Back to you: two years ago you found Chris’s phone open to a gay site. You begged him to tell you the truth (“I begged him to tell me the truth. If he was gay or bisexual or having sex with men I deserve to know”), but he denied and gaslighted you (“He kept denying anything and turned things around on me”).

    You then ran away from him and the home you shared while he was at work, followed by him harassing you for months. Six months after you left him, you “started dating again and met a great guy”. But five months into this new relationship, you “started to look for signs that he might be gay and using me like my ex.. my hypervigilance was through the roof.. I had a severe mental breakdown that ended up with me in the ER”. This breakdown happened ten months ago.

    After the breakdown, you told him everything about your past (including having been sexually abused by your grandparent as a little girl), and he was so supportive and stood by you, but through the ensuing months you “always end up pushing him away”, leaving him multiple times, asking him repeatedly if he is gay and lying about it and then crying and apologizing. He’s been very empathetic toward you throughout, never angry at you for leaving him and questioning him.

    “2 days ago I told him I didn’t want him to fight for me anymore because I feel like I can’t trust him (even though he’s not done anything wrong). I just feel sick to my stomach for doing this to him and I have myself. “. You view him at times as a good man, and at other times “as a danger” to you (“worried that I’m going to be used as a gay coverup again”). And at other times, you view yourself as danger to him (“I’m the first woman he ever loved and I know I have probably completely messed him up”). You have “these extreme doubts” and you feel “so much anxiety when I think about a future with him”.

    My input: You suffered psychological trauma with Chris. I say psychological to distinguish it from physical beating, for example. But psychological trauma is physical nonetheless because it involves biochemical processes in the brain and body that express themselves in the intensity of the anxiety that you are experiencing.

    You experienced years of significant stress with Chris. Your stress level reached its climax during the gay site discovery event, then continued on a downward slope, yet significant,  for months after the event, while he harassed you,  reached some lower point while you were dating and at the beginning of your new relationship, and then your stress level started to go up again, reaching a new climax at the time or your breakdown ten months ago. During the last ten months, your stress level didn’t go down much.

    What you are suffering from is similar to post traumatic stress disorder.

    I am wondering: what has been the nature of your ten month psychotherapy, what did the therapist offer you so far?

    anita

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by anita.
    #355260
    Kayla
    Participant

    <p style=”text-align: left;”>Anita you summed it up really well and got all the details right. I have considered I have ptsd.  I think it I shockingly have ptsd from not only what my ex (Chris) did but when I thought I saw the new guy (Aaron) looking at a mans butt. It was really scary that I had such a mental breakdown and I completely acknowledge that it does seem crazy that I got so upset from thinking he was looking at a guy in a sexual interest. I did about 5 months of CBT but I felt my therapist was kind of dismissing my issue with the gay betrayal. I also felt like talk therapy was not working well for me anymore as I thought actual changes may have happened in my brain. In January   I started EMDR. It’s been helpful but a struggle for me to calm myself. I get into this headspace where I feel like I can’t deal with the stress and the exhaustion it causes me  so I push him away so I don’t have to deal with it. One thing I feel like is that maybe I need time away from him to get my head more  clear. I think actual changes happened in my brain so Im processing possible non threats as threats.  I feel like I need time to let my brain heal bc I try too get back with him and he’s so loving but then I feel overwhelmed with anxiety. It’s so frustrating and exhausting and I’m so sad and defeated.</p>

    #355264
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Kayla:

    It may very well be a good idea for you to take a break from your relationship. You are too stressed to be able to have a healthy relationship with him or with anyone.

    I don’t think that it is the gay issue that is your trauma. I think your anxiety is nesting in the gay issue. But the origin of your anxiety is probably in your childhood, exacerbated by being gaslighted by your ex boyfriend, and it found a home in the gay issue. You mentioned having been sexually abused by your grandfather. I don’t need the sexual details of the abuse, but if, and only if you want to answer the following, please do:

    1. Do you remember the abuse?

    2. Did your parents know about it at any time during your childhood, and if so, how did they interact with the abuser after they knew about it?

    3. How did your parents interact with you regarding that abuse, what was their input on the matter?

    anita

     

    #355270
    Ravi
    Participant

    Hi Kayla,

    I have gone through all of your posts. Yes it is true and most of the times talk therapy doesn’t work.

    I recommend you to take a look at EFT for PTSD. EFT stands for Emotional Freedom Techniques.

    There are several free articles and videos available on EFT itself. Its a self help technique and you simply to do it yourself. But if you aren’t then you can take help of a EFT practitioner around your area. If you are unable to go out then lookup for anyone doing it online too. There is also a book on Amazon “EFT For PTSD: Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (EFT: Emotional Freedom Techniques) ” by Gary Craig.

    It can assist in changing the neural pathways of the brain, it targets the areas where traumatic memories are stored and hence rewire our brains. This happens because you tap on certain acupressure points while addressing your issue. I found it simple and I was able to do it myself. But if you think you are not in position to do it yourself then yes please take help on it.

    I’m sure you will come out of it.

    Take care dear.

    #355408
    Kayla
    Participant

    Hey Anita & Ravi, I appreciate your kind words very much.

    Anita- I do remember my abuse. I was only 6 and I remember probably 3 instances of abuse. It was not severe abuse as some people suffer but it definitely was molestation. As a little girl I knew my grandfather was doing something wrong so after it happened about 3 times (I think he was grooming me), I knew even as a little girl I had to stay away from him. So I would not sit on his lap when he asked and I would lock my bedroom door at night if I stayed the night. I kept myself away from him anyway I could. The sad thing is I never told anyone and 8 years later, he molested my little sister.
    my parents handled things in not the best way. My parents were divorced. My mom called some authority and got my grandpa on a child molester database. This was my dads father and what hurt me the most is my dad did not act like he cared after he found out. I always felt my dad loved me until the moment I saw him after all th is happened and he said “your grandpa made a mistake and you have to forgive him”. Then my grandparents bought me a car and my dad pushed me to see them again. It was heart breaking. My dad continued to bring my grandpa around my sister and I and we just all pretended nothing happened. My mom knew but I think she was afraid of my dad because after they divorced he had some monetary control over her. The thing is I love my dad and this is just something I buried.

    When I think about the gay issue, I think you are right that my anxiety is living in that issue. I also think from a vanity standpoint, I want a man to want me sexually and having my ex be interested in men was a huge blow to my self esteem.

    it’s so hard because I love this new guy but my body goes into severe fight or flight and I come up with reasons he could be gay.

    Ravi- I will have to check out EFT. I have never heard of that before. I think EMDR is similar in that it is supposed to change your brain. I will ask my EDMR therapist about EFT to see if she does it. I do think I have PTSD, but it feels so real when it happens. It feels like my new guy is actually going to betray me and I don’t think I could survive it.

     

    #355430
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Kayla:

    I will be able to read your recent post and reply when I am back to the computer in about 13 hours from now.

    anita

    #355516
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Kayla:

    Both your mother and your father knew that your paternal grandfather sexually abused you and eight years later, your younger sister.

    Your mother contacted some authority and got him on a child molester database. Your father’s response to his own father sexually abusing his daughter was: “your grandpa made a mistake and you have to forgive him”.

    Your sexually abusive grandfather bought you a car (“my grandparents bought me a car”), and your mother was financially dependent on your father (“after they divorced he had some monetary control over her”), so both your father and mother chose money/ the providers of money over their daughters’ mental health.  Your father, with your mother’s consent,  “continued to bring my grandpa around my sister and I and we just all pretended nothing happened” because of the monetary advantage.

    “When I think about the gay issue, I think you are right that my anxiety is living in that issue.. I want a man to want me sexually and having my ex be interested in men was a huge blow to my esteem.. I love this new guy but my body goes into severe fight or flight and I come up with reasons he could be gay”-

    It may be that you wouldn’t have been so intensely alarmed if you found a straight dating site on your ex’s phone, and if you imagined your new boyfriend looking at a woman’s behind. It is possible that the reason you were so alarmed about the gay part is that homosexuality is still considered by some to be a sexual aberration, similar to the aberration of incest, of a grandfather sexually abusing his granddaughters.

    The gay issue therefore, may have triggered your sexual abuse expeirence (the abuse by your grandfather + your parents’ betrayal of you following that abuse), causing in you that “severe fight or flight” that you experience when you imagine your new boyfriend being gay.

    anita

     

     

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 1 week ago by anita.
    #355460
    Ravi
    Participant

    Hi Kayla,

    Yes please check about EFT. And it is not only for PTSD but several other issues too. Since you mentioned you haven’t heard about it so suggest you do not do it yourself. Do post back your interaction with the EMDR therapist.

    As a side note, I was also looking up for you to suggest about Donna Eden’s Energy Healing Technique.

    And you know what. It said about making use of the same technique that I suggested you and also has Gary Craig’s name in the post.

    Please take a look at the below link.

    https://www.innersource.net/em/1131-energies-of-love-healing-through-trauma.html

    And don’t worry, I have also had several such issues and have come out of those “memories” and you will too.

     

    #355562
    Kayla
    Participant

    Hey again Anita- you are so insightful and I appreciate you taking the time to respond to me. I think you are right and there could be some connection between the child molestation and my ex’s homosexual encounters. I never had an issue with homosexuals in my entire life. For me what happened was that those 6 years I were with my ex felt like the hardest years of my life and it just was like the icing on the cake that he was cheating on me on a gay site. During the 6 years we were together he was very emotionally and sexually abusive. The sexual abuse from him was him demanding sex from me and getting angry when I wouldnt want to or be too tired. I think during those 6 years I started to believe that that was the only value I provided. It broke my heart that he was cheating on me on a gay site, because it was a hookup app and there is no way he would have ever told me the truth. I believe that is what terrifies me now, is I know the extent to which someone who go to cover up something they are embarrassed about. I begged him to tell me the truth when this happened and I also told him I would love him no matter what. I calmly told him I had been a loving girlfriend to him for years and I deserved to know who he was cheating on me with. He made up a bunch of lies and I could tell he was in emotional turmoil. Very quickly after the emotional turmoil he was showing, he became angry and wanted revenge for me leaving him.

    One other thing I did not mention in my past messages is that after my mom and dad divorced when I was 10, he immediatly started seeing another woman. This woman had a daughter my age. They became like a second family to me for 7 years. His girlfriend was like a mother to me. One day she called me and told me that my father had come into her daughters room (the girl my age) and touched her. She ended up leaving my father. It was that day that I realized something was very wrong with the men in my family on my fathers side.

    I just never anticipated that after I left my ex of 6 years that I would meet someone who treats me amazing and then have this mental breakdown. The day I thought he looked at a guys butt, I remember it just felt like my world was crashing down. Since then the push away and pull back I have done to him has done a number to my mental state. My pattern is like 2 weeks of him and I talking and being very affectionate, followed by me having a panic attack and breaking up with him. I explained to him last week that I think I need some time where we dont talk to get my brain back to a better place. I really hope that it happens. I just feel like my brain is raw right now. Have you ever heard of someone taking a break from a relationship to find that it changes the way they think about the relationship? I just want to have hope that maybe someday I can come back to him when things feel better and I am stronger.

    #355568
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Kayla:

    I don’t think that taking a break from someone is enough to fix a person’s mental health, but it is a beginning when a break is required so to start doing the work that needs to be done. Make a plan regarding the work that you need to do, step by step, and start executing that plan.

    anita

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