Not about me.

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

Moderators: Jonesy, Harbor

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pacioretty
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Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2014 4:48 am

Not about me.

Post by pacioretty » Sun Jul 27, 2014 6:20 am

I'm not really sure where to start. I've never posted anything in a forum like this and I'm not sure why I am now.

I don't think I have an exact question in mind, I'm just in a situation that maybe a place like this can give me a little insight into or...something.

I've been involved with someone for something like eight years now. I found out only a couple years ago that he had been physically abused as a child. By this mother. He said that his brother usually "got it worse" than he did, gave me a few examples, and said that his dad finally got custody when he was 11 or 12.

He's always been in and out of my life. Part of it is that his job is something that causes him to change locations periodically, and we don't live in the same place.

We usually keep in touch, but it's varied. Right now there's no consistent service where he is. He told me not to "run after him right now."

Three and a half years ago, he ended a relationship, and she committed suicide a few days later.

Last year he made a point of getting work closer to my city, and for almost a year we saw each other regularly.

We go through cycles where we're really close, but he always backs off, runs, and I lose him for a while. Right now is one of those times.

I understand why he is the way he is. Or, at least, logically I understand, but not emotionally and not in a way that I can empathise from my own experiences. I don't need to understand to be understanding. He isolates, he makes himself alone, he works long hours, difficult jobs, so that he doesn't have to focus on himself. He says he's numb, he doesn't feel anything anymore -- he's existing, not living. And he makes himself so alone....

He's been to therapy, but it never seems to help.

We're honest with each other. He trusts me. He says no one has ever stuck around for him the way I have, that he'll always want me in his life, that I must be "crazy" to put up with him.

I don't know what to do. I'm trying to keep all this as brief as possible, but I worry that I come across as flat and unemotional. Far from it. I love him. I really do. I feel for him, my heart aches for him.

When we're together, sometimes I think I see glimpses of... Contentment. Satisfaction. Pleasure. Maybe it's just wishful thinking.

But some days I think I can't do it like this anymore. I know his past has "traumatised" him. I know how much what happened with his ex hurt him, and I struggled with that, too.

It's always been all or nothing with us. And I feel so selfish for even thinking about bailing on him.

I can't even figure out how to frame the questions I'm trying to ask. Is he going to be ok? How can I...? Will he ever...? Is there anything...? I can start the questions but not finish them. Someone else please finish them for me.

It just seems like such a waste.

reisha
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Posts: 1992
Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2014 11:00 pm

Re: Not about me.

Post by reisha » Sun Jul 27, 2014 7:08 am

wow. great post, esp for a 1st one.

welcome to isurvive. sorry to know ya have need, yet glad ya found us.

yer post touches on so many issues. - fear, love, compassion, frustration, ...the whole gambit (darn these relationship thangs!). yer insight is wonderful, & i hear ya wondering bout commitment & levels of satisfaction, desire for more/other, & guilt for daring to want ....

im a 'last one' to offer answers, but if ok, am sitting with you as the questions come.

Jonesy
Director
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Joined: Tue Jul 19, 2011 1:44 pm

Re: Not about me.

Post by Jonesy » Sun Jul 27, 2014 9:50 am

Hi pacioretty

Welcome to isurvive, glad you found us. Sorry for what your friend has gone through, it's not easy to forge a path as a survivor but it sounds like he's doing the best he can. You mentioned therapy - could it be he just hasn't found a good 'fit' yet? Would he be willing/ able to try again?

Here are 3 possible questions for starters, although I don't presume to have any worthwhile answers. Perhaps others will have further insights;

How can I make it easier?
I'm not sure there is anything you can do to make it easier aside from ensuring he knows you are there for him.

Will he ever be ok?
He can get to a stage of being able to manage things a whole lot better. And just remember the most 'together' person also has moments of things not being ok.

Is there anything I should be doing?
Encourage, understand, support, set your own boundaries.

You deserve to take care of yourself and if this is all becoming too much for you then it has to be ok to say so. Being in this for the long term can take it out of the strongest person. Survivors often have an uncanny knack of hurting those who love us the most.
You are important

Email: jonesy@isurvive.org

HealingHearts
Member
Posts: 4886
Joined: Thu May 17, 2012 11:32 pm

Re: Not about me.

Post by HealingHearts » Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:42 pm

Maybe tell him you love him. He may need to know .... Over and over and over

SIA meetings might be helpful for him...
Last edited by Jonesy on Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Changed MT to NT
Together we are stronger...

the husband
Member
Posts: 484
Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2011 6:11 am

Re: Not about me.

Post by the husband » Mon Jul 28, 2014 8:00 pm

Hi pacioretty

I've been living with my survivor for about 20 years and have encountered much of what you describe, though the distance has been emotional rather than geographic. I have sometimes wondered if it would have been easier if it had been both for me, as I suspect the geographic distance would conceal the emotional distance.

I have read that many partners of survivors are the adult children of alcoholic parents, have witnessed domestic violence, or are otherwise survivors in their own right. This is certainly true in my case, though I certainly don't equate my experience with that of my wife. I mention this because I wonder if my experiences inure me to that distance? Is this similar for other long-term Loved Ones? I grew up without a lot of closeness and simply didn't know to expect more - to know that I am worthy of it. I still grapple with this and am in my own therapy.

I understand and embrace the decisions that have led me to where I am now - but I wish I had had the benefit of knowing why I made them at the time.

I wonder if there is possibility of a change in the relationship that allows your needs to be met while not "bailing" on this person?

I echo what Jonesy said earlier.

pacioretty
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Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2014 4:48 am

Re: Not about me.

Post by pacioretty » Wed Jul 30, 2014 4:15 am

Thanks for the responses, and sorry for the lack of on my part. I was out of town for a few days.

Jonesy, As I said previously, I'm not entirely sure what the questions are that I'm asking, but anything that clarifies them or is able to put them into words where I can't is appreciated. I know that there aren't necessarily right or wrong answers, but just being able to organise my concerns and my thoughts -- both for him and myself -- is helpful too. He has tried therapy on more than one occasion, but because of how fragmented his work life winds up being I'm not sure how consistent it's been.

There are times when I get frustrated with how things always stall, how the physical distance turns into emotional. I've often wanted to challenge him, how he feels (or doesn't) about me, and why he runs like he does, but I also know that, since his ex committed suicide, he'd be more likely to withdraw even more, say that he knows he doesn't always treat me well and that I deserve better. I sometimes wonder if the suicide wasn't a sort of trigger that made things "worse" for him than they had been. He certainly hasn't been the same since. One of the reasons I signed on here to begin with was to prevent myself from taking my frustration out on him, when I knew that wouldn't be fair.

Healing Hearts, I haven't told him that I love him. I'd like to, but I also don't want that to put undue stress on him. I don't want to add to his burden. I don't want it to then make him feel worse about his inability to be in a relationship or even to be fully present on a consistent basis. Which may seem silly, because I wouldn't mean for it to do any of those things.

The Husband, the geographic distance doesn't necessarily conceal the emotional distance... Well, wait. My experience has been that there are times when we're able to be closer emotionally because of the physical distance, but when things shift and we become more distant emotionally, the geographic distance exacerbates it, and probably prolongs it. Each one has its own challenges, and they tend to come in waves. I can recognise the shift from close to distant (emotionally) but because of the distance (physically) it's difficult to change it. If that makes any sort of sense.

Also, my childhood was fairly standard. My parents divorced when I was fairly young, but otherwise I had a stable, average upbringing. One thing, however, "To know that I am worthy of it," really rang true for me. I somehow don't think this is quite the place to discuss why that is, but, briefly... When his ex committed suicide, it was hard on me, too. We had been in touch over the months leading up to it, and he had tried to end it on more than one occasion. He had wanted to end things with her and be with me. Obviously, it didn't happen that way, and I've had my own feelings of guilt and shame and horror and sadness associated with the way things happened.

I feel somehow that I've gotten off-topic. Spanning eight years, obviously there's a lot of personal history between us beyond his own private issues. As I said I'm not really sure this is the right place for any of it, but I do feel like a lot of the issues we seem to have fit with issues that survivors of abuse have -- which never really clicked in to me until recently. As always, any insight is appreciated!

the husband
Member
Posts: 484
Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2011 6:11 am

Re: Not about me.

Post by the husband » Thu Jul 31, 2014 6:19 pm

Hi pacioretty

This is a fine place for whatever you care to share. Not to worry.

I can read between the lines about your feelings of guilt and responsbility. Motivations for suicide generally run much deeper than that sort of thing. Should you ever pursue therapy, letting go of this might be a helpful topic.

Here's a question that requires no answer here, but may bring you some clarity:
Why have you have attached yourself to somebody who has not been consistently emotionally available to you over the past 8 years - and may never be?

Healinghope
Member
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2016 10:45 am

Re: Not about me.

Post by Healinghope » Mon Aug 15, 2016 3:21 pm

Jonesy wrote:Hi pacioretty

Welcome to isurvive, glad you found us. Sorry for what your friend has gone through, it's not easy to forge a path as a survivor but it sounds like he's doing the best he can. You mentioned therapy - could it be he just hasn't found a good 'fit' yet? Would he be willing/ able to try again?

Here are 3 possible questions for starters, although I don't presume to have any worthwhile answers. Perhaps others will have further insights;

How can I make it easier?
I'm not sure there is anything you can do to make it easier aside from ensuring he knows you are there for him.

Will he ever be ok?
He can get to a stage of being able to manage things a whole lot better. And just remember the most 'together' person also has moments of things not being ok.

Is there anything I should be doing?
Encourage, understand, support, set your own boundaries.

You deserve to take care of yourself and if this is all becoming too much for you then it has to be ok to say so. Being in this for the long term can take it out of the strongest person. Survivors often have an uncanny knack of hurting those who love us the most.
I appreciate that this is an old post and the orignal poster may no longer be active, but I wanted to say thank you anyway. The questions asked here and the away time the original poster describes is similar to our story too.
Your answers and comments here, Jonesy are a timely reminder for me of the things I'm already doing right, the things I know I can't control, a reflection of his behaviour.. such as survivors hurting the ones who love them the most but also a gimpse of hope too, when you say he can get to a stage when he can manage things a whole lot better.

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