Relationship Couples Therapy

tuxedo1210

New Here
Hi all, I'm new here. Just looking for advice/support/understanding about my last couples therapy session with my cptsd partner of 5 years. He started alcohol addiction treatment and is now about 6 months out in recovery doing really well. He still has a lot of issues with emotional intimacy, trust, being vulnerable with me etc. He is a pleasant partner and is very caring but can be emotionally abusive when triggered if i ask for any emotional need- I even use "I" statements. I realize partners are not their trauma but it is spilling into the relationship as the EFT couples therapist has said and that he noticed and confirmed that my partner feels like i'm the enemy. He said he didn't believe me when the therapist asked him to hear how i feel when he isolates or dismisses or stonewalls or doesn't respond to any emotion other than "happy" feelings. I understand he's been through so much and he just wants calm and he does go to an individual therapist.

During the last couples session, I brought up an incident from a year ago that we've never been able to talk about successfully together where he pushed and held me against the refrigerator (we were discussing a lie he told that changed 3 times and I was asking for clarification. there was conflict before I disengaged and tried leaving the room making no eye contact nor saying anything when he jumped up and pushed me then yelled in my face before letting me go while continuing to follow me mocking me about calling the police. He was never violent before and was drunk-he is a blackout drinker and there are a lot of times when i wasn't aware he was drinking). He also never apologized which is why i brought it up in couples therapy. The shame he carries is severe due to the abuse (no excuse, i know, just want to give a clear picture).

Anyway, I brought it up and the therapist commented that he is required to report abuse. My partner became very angry and when the therapist asked him to officially apologize, he said he needed to cool off. He went for a bike ride (he's a cyclist) and he never returned home before i had to leave for work that evening. He usually texts me good night and i didn't hear anything and he texts me good morning (all things he does on his own- I've never asked him but do appreciate it). He is so angry with me and won't say why. He won't talk to me (he was leaving for work as i got home that morning) is barely texting, told me he isn't ready to talk and finally said he isn't done processing. I have asked specifically what I did to receive this treatment and there is no response. He asked me to go visit my parents this weekend but i can't afford to go. he asked why and I said i would respect that he doesn't want to be around me for a few days but since we live together and all i can do is avoid him and sleep in the lower level). I'm very hurt and confused since he's never been this angry and distant before. I'm so hurt and dumbfounded and he won't talk to me at all. I feel like he thinks i betrayed him somehow. I do love him and i feel for him however, I realize I can't take terrible treatment either.
 
Hi @tuxedo1210. I'm not a supporter, but I'm a sufferer - hopefully some supporters will chime in.

I just wanted to mention this part:
Anyway, I brought it up and the therapist commented that he is required to report abuse.
If that had been me, I'm pretty sure I would have taken that as a threat that the therapist was going to report me ASAP, especially since it doesn't sound like he qualified it by saying "current abuse."
 

tuxedo1210

New Here
Hi @tuxedo1210. I'm not a supporter, but I'm a sufferer - hopefully some supporters will chime in.

I just wanted to mention this part:

If that had been me, I'm pretty sure I would have taken that as a threat that the therapist was going to report me ASAP, especially since it doesn't sound like he qualified it by saying "current abuse."
I agree and I was totally surprised and even said “I am safe and I do not feel in danger or threatened.” I don’t know why my partner is mad at me though and not the therapist. I didn’t know he was going to say that as it was only once in the past and I thought it was safe to say it in that space. I’m not sure why he responded that way. I’m just as confused as my partner is about that :/
Thank you for responding!
 

tuxedo1210

New Here
You're available. The therapist is not.

That said, you don't deserve crappy treatment or mistreatment from your partner. PTSD is not a pass to act like an asshole to your supporters.

Are you planning to go back to that therapist?
You're available. The therapist is not.

That said, you don't deserve crappy treatment or mistreatment from your partner. PTSD is not a pass to act like an asshole to your supporters.

Are you planning to go back to that therapist?
I’m not sure if it even matters at this point. I know he’s mad but he’s literally not speaking to me in the house nor over text. He talked to his therapist and his response to me was “i am not talking yet. I’m still processing.” I don’t know what that means but shunning me isn’t the answer. I don’t understand why his individual therapist would think that behavior is ok but then again, I have no idea what picture he’s painted. I know what all of this behavior means, sadly. I just didn’t expect it. I knew he was upset but this took me by surprise. It’s just so hard to deal with it since I do deserve an apology (that I’m not expecting at this point because I’ll never get it) and to be validated for the pain I suffered from him.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
I'm a sufferer not a supported. But just wanted to say you haven't done anything wrong at all. You spoke about an event where he was a have towards you and sounds as though if he would only apologise that would go a long way to giving you closure about it.. but instead it's like he is punishing you for what the therapist did and what he did.
If he needs a few days away, why can't he go visit someone?

It doesn't sound like his response to this event and hearing your feelings is anything new though. So what are your boundaries and where do you draw the line about what you will accept and what you won't?
 

Sweetpea76

Moderator
“i am not talking yet. I’m still processing.” I don’t know what that means but shunning me isn’t the answer.

I’ve seen this before. Mine does this when he is pissed off and doesn’t want to take it out by yelling/arguing/saying things he can’t take back. He doesn’t trust himself to manage his anger, and he doesn’t want to hurt me.

That being said, if he’s feeling hurt, he deserves it. He was abusive, and it doesn’t matter if he was drunk or has PTSD. Truth hurts. If he’s having a snit that’s his fault and not yours. Don’t take on that guilt just because you’re the healthy one. You are allowed to discuss your feelings and problems with a therapist just as much as he is.
 

tuxedo1210

New Here
I'm a sufferer not a supported. But just wanted to say you haven't done anything wrong at all. You spoke about an event where he was a have towards you and sounds as though if he would only apologise that would go a long way to giving you closure about it.. but instead it's like he is punishing you for what the therapist did and what he did.
If he needs a few days away, why can't he go visit someone?

It doesn't sound like his response to this event and hearing your feelings is anything new though. So what are your boundaries and where do you draw the line about what you will accept and what you won't?
Thank you for sharing! I know it isn’t easy carrying around that kind of hurt and pain so I just want to say, I am appreciative of you being able to give advice!

I started seeing my own therapist about 2-3 months ago. I have set some boundaries but I am still sorting out how to let go of hurt and pain as well as set new boundaries. I have always set boundaries and it’s caused a lot of our conflicts since I don’t budge. He doesn’t even get how harmful he is and my understanding is wearing very thin after 5 years. As my mom says, “you think you can take your half out of the middle” lol and that’s exactly how he acts.

Over Being pushed, I gave the ultimatum that if he ever laid a f&$king hand on me again, that I would never speak to him again and I meant it. I have plenty of family that would help me move on with my life at the drop of a hat until I could get stable, thankfully. I just don’t know that he’s ever had someone who actually cares and loves themselves enough to not take crappy behavior. But he blames it all on me……..
 

scout86

MyPTSD Pro
He is so angry with me and won't say why.
I don't know your partner, obviously, and people vary a LOT. When I put myself in his position (I've got PTSD) I wouldn't be angry at YOU I'd be angry at ME. And I'd be telling myself how worthless I am and you deserve better, etc. I'm not saying that's what he's thinking. I have no way to know. Just throwing it out as a possibility.

From what I've seen here on the forum, when one partner has PTSD, doing couples therapy with a therapist who actually understands PTSD (and that one partner has it) is pretty important. I wonder if the therapist you've been working with has that kind of background?
 

tuxedo1210

New Here
So he doesn’t usually isolate in response to stress/being out of control/other people’s emotions being too much to handle when he can’t even handle his own?

Or neither of you really know, yet, since he’s so newly sober?
He started drinking over COVID. He wasn’t much of a drinker for the first 2.5 years we were together (just wine wiht nice dinner on
So he doesn’t usually isolate in response to stress/being out of control/other people’s emotions being too much to handle when he can’t even handle his own?

Or neither of you really know, yet, since he’s so newly sober?
This was very different than anything I’ve seen before and he’s never used the lingo “I’m still processing.” And he still hasn’t explained to me what happened (but Ben though I have a pretty good idea from an outsiders perspective anyway). Also, he wasn’t abusing alcohol the first 2.5 years and hadn’t shared the depth of being abused for those years either. It wasn’t until that 2.5 year mark that he started to let some stuff out and that’s when I suggested he see a trauma therapist. He claims he’s been in and out of therapy all his life but from what he’s shared with me, he has only been a few times and never shared the extent of the abuse with those very basic therapists that were not trauma informed at all. Over COVID, going no contact with his parents for the first time ever in 45 years, and his mother (who he was/is enmeshed with) getting an aggressive form of cancer and dying within 6 months (he only just started the process of knowing that he was actually abused by both parents and still has a hard time even talking like the mom has any responsibility in his trauma. He sees her as a victim like he and his brothers, which isn’t completely wrong but she had serious undiagnosed mental health issues (narcissistic, maybe bipolar he thinks) on top of being abused by the father. Anyway, that’s when the addiction really took hold.
 

Sweetpea76

Moderator
This was very different than anything I’ve seen before and he’s never used the lingo “I’m still processing.”

Maybe this is a result of rehab or therapy. He’s learning about processing emotions without unhealthy coping mechanisms? That is a new factor, right? Even if he’s not doing it in the healthiest way by isolating at least he isn’t drinking.

I don’t know you or him at all, all I can do is tell you that this is the way my sufferer reacts to stress. He shuts down and isolates. If he thought there was a possibility that he was being reported to the cops for anything, he’d spiral. There’s not much I can do when he isolates except give him some space.
 
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