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He Doesn't Know Me Anymore

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My husband has always been my rock, at times even my caretaker. He is the first person in my life that treated me with unconditional compassion and tenderness... something I NEVER got as a child. After all the work I have done, I am able to care for myself more, regulate feelings better.... It has been a ROUGH year. And it really took it out of him. His PTSD stuff has flared and he stuffed his feelings, his fears, his depression away from me bc he felt like it wouldn't help my recovery.

Now that things are on a more "even playing field" he doesn't know how to interact with me... and me with him. We have talked about this. We know that we love each other and we are still in love... but it's like we are dating again. I know that I use sex to connect.. more so than affection. And we haven't made love in months. Affection was always harder for me than sex due to my abuse: being sexual with my abuser met that i would get "loving" attention. It was like the price I had to pay and I did so willingly bc I didn't feel like my parents loved me. But Scott feels like in order for us to have sex, that we need to emotionally connect. I admit that I don't know how to do this. And I feel lonely and very sad. We do kiss and share hugs, but not in an ongoing affectionate way. Not that we need to be like two honry teenagers. I miss the connection. And I find myself thinking about guy friends... but wanting to be hurt by them, sexually. To be forced, or controlled. I do "re-enact" the sexual abuse to quell thoughts of desire, wanting or "needing" something or someone, when I am confused, feel lost or have done something that I feel is wrong. I have been doing the re-enactment stuff (self harm really) daily.

I miss my husband. I tell him so. I don't want to have an affair. I know we need counseling. I just needed to share this. Thanks
Wow Nov Silence, you are incredibly in touch with your thoughts and behaviors! That is amazing and very commendable! How does your husband feel about counseling? If he's up for it you've got it made! Some type of couples counseling on ways to get to know eachother again, to reconnect on that deep loving level. You will only be a stronger pair because of it.
My husband is open to counseling. He has a therapist. Because money was tight, he has not gone. Now that I will be working (I pray that I make it) we will have more money and hope that he will go back. At some point, we will go back for couple counseling. The interim is most painful and heart-wrenching, though. I miss him so much.
NS, have you read the threads in the [DLMURL="http://www.ptsdforum.org/forum20.html"]Interpersonal Skills[/DLMURL] forum? Some of those are based around how we get past getting to know one another again. I have so much information too go in there, just finding the time is the challenging part.

I think your both in great shape for couples counselling, because you both want it, where usually it is one who wants it, the other is just doing it to just please the other, but really wants no part. You are in good shape to get the most out of it.
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It is great that you can identify things that are bothering you so well and better still that you come here to this safe place to talk about them, rather than act them out.

I find that the relationship between PTSD and sex, intimacy and my spouse is very complicated and I don't have the added burden of a spouse with PTSD. It must be very, very tough for you and your husband.

I am no therapist, and probably mess up my own life way too much to offer an opinion to anyone, but I think there is more going on than what you said. I think you love your husband, but might be a bit pissed off at him for requiring intimacy from you, because you know that he knows, intimacy is one of your difficult areas.
And I think he is feeling so bad about himself now that, in truth, he is in that unconscious selfish "I need to survive" mode and maybe, to go with it, in the "I don't deserve anything good in my life" mode, as perhaps are you with the self-harm that accompanies and is your fantasies.
So he deflects your advances by raising the "intimacy defense" and you respond as you have, feeling hurt and, I think, angry that he would rely on something that you can't give right now, to avoid something he can't give right now.

When I am in a bad way, my thoughts are that I don't deserve intimacy, sex or pleasure of any kind. I don't deserve anything good. I am defective and need to channel whatever small amount of ability to live I have in to supporting my family and moving forward at least until the kids go through college and my wife is financially taken care of. I work and I sleep and, if left to my own devices, would only interact with my kids and wife (and sometimes not even them). Different Angels keep me here and pull me to my feet. My wife drags me out the door and insists I see that there is good in the world. My kids make me love so intensely that I work at getting better and acting better, so I can do as much as I can emotionally and otherwise to support them. My therapist can take the full brunt of my crap and still make me at least consider that I am not a complete waste of oxygen.

I used to rely only on my wife and it almost ruined our marriage for good.

You are an Angel for your husband and he is one for you. But there are some things you can't do for the other. SO come here for support. Find help elsewhere. And, for the sake of your marriage, get help for the both of you and wait out the present storm. It is obvious he loves you, but right now is too occupied with fighting his own demons to be able to address all of your needs. So get help and wait. Yes waiting sucks.

Thats what I think, but then again, as noted, I am pretty screwed up so there is a real good chance that nothing I said is even remotely correct. In any event, at least know you are not alone and that I and others care for you.

Rick, your far from screwed up IMHO. Your advice is on the mark, and very well said. We are all entitled to our opinions, and hence how we learn, from such personal experience provided by all members, education and others perceptions, ie. how two people look at one issue, will give two different resolutions. One may be better than the other.
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