How can I support him?

A discussion area for anyone who loves a survivor and needs some support of their own.

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How can I support him?

Post by Hille » Thu Apr 01, 2021 12:53 pm

First of all, thank you for having me in this forum, this is my first post.
I am here, because my dear husband grew up with an emotionally abusive and perfectionist father. Nothing was ever good enough and he left home at a very young age. He has cut all ties with his family and was single for over 20 years when we met 4 years ago. At that time, I just got out of a 20 year marriage that ended, because my ex was cheating for many, many years.
My husband is a wonderful man and he would do anything for my daughters and myself. I have never felt this safe and loved around anyone.
We do not live together, rather we are next door neighbors on the same property. It works this way, because my house is crazy with kids and pets and he needs space and room to withdraw.
I have only bits and pieces of his abuse, because he does not like to talk about it and I listen when he opens up, but I won't ask him. I know he feels often inadequate, as if he is not good enough for us. His mood can change in a blink of an eye and often I don't even know what really happened.
I want to be his support, but it is so difficult when I don't know what to do. We are now in the midst of one of his disappearance acts. I have not seen or heard from him since Sunday, when we worked in the yard and something did not go his way. I assume that he felt like a failure and could not handle the pain, but I honestly do not know. I still text him good morning, good night and keep him updated on anything major that is happening and that I love him. But no response, nothing.
I love the man with all my heart, but I don 't know how to get to him.

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Re: How can I support him?

Post by Crow » Thu Apr 01, 2021 1:55 pm

Hi Hille,

I want to say firstly that your first post shows how much you love your husband, and want to support him in the best way possible.
I always point people in this direction as it's been helpful for those trying to support me - particularly my wife...
www dot napac dot org dot uk/know-a-survivor/
and, www dot havoca dot org/support-a-survivor/a-dozen-ways-to-help/
and finally, www dot havoca dot org/support-a-survivor/what-the-survivor-needs/

(I can't post links due to the guidelines, but if you delete the dots and replace with actual dots accordingly I think you'll find these really helpful resources to start with.)

But from a personal perspective, I would say just to listen (as you have been doing). And I think educating yourself enough to try to understand him and how he may be feeling - not to second guess him, but so that you are prepared for any emotional cues or impulsive/triggered reactions etc.
Final point to note is that even though he is an abuse survivor, that doesn't mean that it's okay for him to abuse you in any way - nothing gives anyone permission to act out of their place of hurt. (Not that I'm saying he would, but I felt it worth mentioning.)

I love that you've signed up here to seek support in helping your husband. You will need time and support yourself, so please look after you too.
Sorry this isn't a concise post, I need to pick my son up from school, but wanted to reply sooner rather than later.

Welcome to isurvive. :)


Edit: To correct misspelled name!
From pain comes a courage
The strength from injustice

Quote taken from The Rage To Overcome by Machine Head

the husband
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Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2011 6:11 am

Re: How can I support him?

Post by the husband » Thu Apr 08, 2021 5:45 am

Hi Hille

My father was like that too. I don't even know why he married a woman with kids and then had another kid (me) with her.

To echo Crow's excellent reply: I think you are supporting your husband in the way he can best receive it. One of my brothers has a history of retreating and using substances in private. He used because he felt bad about himself, and then felt bad about himself for using. He learned some coping skills during a brief stint in therapy that help him understand, cope with and communicate his feelings better.

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