General How to interact with my wife when she’s in a dissociative state -&- Wife is dismissive of my feelings unless I’m angry.

Bgross

New Here
Welcome to the forum! Hope you find this place helpful! :)



Do you mind sharing some of those behaviors? Maybe we can help you understand some of them or shed some kind of light on stuff for you!
Thanks so much for your message! She will often dissociate, which I know is a very common symptom of people who have endured trauma, but I struggle with knowing how to interact with my wife when she’s in a dissociative state. She has also recently learned how to express her feelings and emotions which I’m really proud of her for doing, but she now tends to dismiss my feelings and emotions— not sure if that is related to her trauma at all? I struggle at times to control my anger and she seems to be very sensitive to my anger outbursts at times.
 

lostforgottensoul

MyPTSD Pro
She will often dissociate, which I know is a very common symptom of people who have endured trauma, but I struggle with knowing how to interact with my wife when she’s in a dissociative state.
Can you give specifics on what sort of interaction? Just talking to her or are you more asking along the lines of like holding her or?

Dissociation is very much a spectrum. It goes from very minor day dreaming that we all do to Dissociative Identity Disorder (or what many still think of multiple personalities). So, it depends on a lot of things. How deep in dissociation she's in and why she's dissociating.

Dissociation is done for self protection

And that leads me to


I struggle at times to control my anger and she seems to be very sensitive to my anger outbursts at times.
Can you talk more about this? What do you think triggers them? Does she seem to dissociate after these outbursts? As that would make sense to me.

Being dismissive of your feelings isn't cool though. I'm sorry she's dismissive like that!
 

Friday

Moderator
Mod Note

Hi Ben!

I’ve moved your post from your Intro thread over here to Supporter Discussion so your Q’s won’t be missed. 😁

If you’d like to separate out your Q’s into 2-3 different threads, so each can be looked at? Just hit us up at Contact Us & we can do that for you, also. Or you can repost yourself if you wanted to give more info/etc., or leave things as they are. Totally up to you.

And now back to our regularly scheduled thread, where we join our heroes…
 

Bgross

New Here
Can you give specifics on what sort of interaction? Just talking to her or are you more asking along the lines of like holding her or?

Dissociation is very much a spectrum. It goes from very minor day dreaming that we all do to Dissociative Identity Disorder (or what many still think of multiple personalities). So, it depends on a lot of things. How deep in dissociation she's in and why she's dissociating.

Dissociation is done for self protection

And that leads me to



Can you talk more about this? What do you think triggers them? Does she seem to dissociate after these outbursts? As that would make sense to me.

Being dismissive of your feelings isn't cool though. I'm sorry she's dismissive like that!

She tends to dissociate after I have one of my angry outbursts. Often times she will look as though she is staring off into space and it’s hard for me to know whether I should try to engage with her or just give her space. We had an incident a couple of weeks ago when I used some vulgar language towards her as my anger got the best of me and she proceeded to tell me that she did not feel “emotionally safe” living with me in the house due to the way I was speaking to her and we have not lived together since this incident happened. One of the biggest issues that I’m having right now is that I feel like I’m walking on eggshells when I’m around her and I’m afraid to express any emotions or possibly raise my voice even a little, as I’m afraid that she will say that she doesn’t feel safe around me or possibly wants to separate for good from me…
 

NoWhereKnowWhere

MyPTSD Pro
I think it’s important to note that dissociation is a trauma response. Shouting would definitely make me dissociate. Even calm arguments/discussions with my partner makes me dissociative. I need to ground, take breaks and make sure not to avoid conflict completely with my partner.

All that said my partner never raises his voice to me nor I to him. I know that it’s a totally normal and often healthy for people in relationships to yell during arguments. But it would be totally unsustainable for me to be in a relationship with someone who shouted or used vulgar language towards me.

Passive aggressive behaviour is something we (me and my partner) need to be aware of. Just because we don’t outwardly show our anger doesn’t mean we don’t feel it. We have to communicate openly and honestly. Never in anger is something someone said to me once that stuck with me. If you need a break from an argument then do it. Don’t say something in anger that you’ll regret later.

I think you could be done with grounding and coping strategies so that your anger doesn’t get the better of you. Probably some therapy would help. It’s hard af being a supporter you deserve help and support through that too. Helping yourself will help you support her and show her that you are able and willing to do the work it might take for you both to make it as a couple.

Now the work she needs to do is totally up to her, unfortunately. If she won’t or can’t do her work then that’s something that may be make or break from your side of the relationship. And the supporters here will be better placed to walk you through that…and this probably. We (sufferers) do love to believe we’re the center of attention.
 

lostforgottensoul

MyPTSD Pro
She tends to dissociate after I have one of my angry outbursts. Often times she will look as though she is staring off into space and it’s hard for me to know whether I should try to engage with her or just give her space. We had an incident a couple of weeks ago when I used some vulgar language towards her as my anger got the best of me and she proceeded to tell me that she did not feel “emotionally safe” living with me in the house due to the way I was speaking to her and we have not lived together since this incident happened. One of the biggest issues that I’m having right now is that I feel like I’m walking on eggshells when I’m around her and I’m afraid to express any emotions or possibly raise my voice even a little, as I’m afraid that she will say that she doesn’t feel safe around me or possibly wants to separate for good from me…
I see. Anger outbursts is familiar to me. I used to have blind rage explosions too. Everything would go red and I'd literally black out and have no idea what I was saying or doing until it was over. Was rather scary actually as I truly didn't know what I was capable of doing and I was blacked out so knew I wouldn't know what I was doing to stop myself. Not saying it's that bad for you. Just saying that to express that I get it.

For me, my therapist helped me. We were able to pin down what I was feeling right before each explosion happened. As I knew it wasn't about what was said or done right before by the other person as it could happen right after talking about the weather. I learned it was always anxiety built up to a point where it just couldn't stay in anymore. Was trauma forcing its way out. Then we worked on learning to identify in the moment, when that was happening and escaping the situation. Took a while and a lot of active practice but was able to escape the situation each time up to a point where it didn't happen anymore. Up to a point where we could work on other coping strategies where the blind rage explosions stopped.

Setting her aside for a moment, have you thought of maybe getting some help for the anger outbursts? Cause, you gotta admit, there are better ways to handle things then anger outbursts, right? I mean, that can help in many different situations, not just with her. If you haven't thought about that, maybe look into it. It doesn't have to be full on therapy (though it could be) but just a few anger management classes or something. Something real simple could definitely help. And that doesn't just help with her but with all aspects of your life.

As with her, maybe she will see you working on it and maybe that will help rebuild some trust. Or maybe she won't. But, all you can do, really, is work on you. Right? You can't change how she reacts to things. But working on that can't hurt. And she may see that and it may help her and maybe that can be a building block for your relationship.

When dissociated, if she is truly checked out, I wouldn't try to interact with her and maybe just give her a bit of space. Not that it would hurt. I dunno that it would hurt. Maybe. It depends on her dissociation. But, don't know that she will interact back. It's probably best to just let her go through it and interact with her when she is through it. Just my 2 cents on that.

Hope something in here helps. I'm sure it's frustrating to go through. But, I think, if you start just focusing on you and working on your stuff, that could be a huge help in mending some of your relationship.
 

Bgross

New Here
I see. Anger outbursts is familiar to me. I used to have blind rage explosions too. Everything would go red and I'd literally black out and have no idea what I was saying or doing until it was over. Was rather scary actually as I truly didn't know what I was capable of doing and I was blacked out so knew I wouldn't know what I was doing to stop myself. Not saying it's that bad for you. Just saying that to express that I get it.

For me, my therapist helped me. We were able to pin down what I was feeling right before each explosion happened. As I knew it wasn't about what was said or done right before by the other person as it could happen right after talking about the weather. I learned it was always anxiety built up to a point where it just couldn't stay in anymore. Was trauma forcing its way out. Then we worked on learning to identify in the moment, when that was happening and escaping the situation. Took a while and a lot of active practice but was able to escape the situation each time up to a point where it didn't happen anymore. Up to a point where we could work on other coping strategies where the blind rage explosions stopped.

Setting her aside for a moment, have you thought of maybe getting some help for the anger outbursts? Cause, you gotta admit, there are better ways to handle things then anger outbursts, right? I mean, that can help in many different situations, not just with her. If you haven't thought about that, maybe look into it. It doesn't have to be full on therapy (though it could be) but just a few anger management classes or something. Something real simple could definitely help. And that doesn't just help with her but with all aspects of your life.

As with her, maybe she will see you working on it and maybe that will help rebuild some trust. Or maybe she won't. But, all you can do, really, is work on you. Right? You can't change how she reacts to things. But working on that can't hurt. And she may see that and it may help her and maybe that can be a building block for your relationship.

When dissociated, if she is truly checked out, I wouldn't try to interact with her and maybe just give her a bit of space. Not that it would hurt. I dunno that it would hurt. Maybe. It depends on her dissociation. But, don't know that she will interact back. It's probably best to just let her go through it and interact with her when she is through it. Just my 2 cents on that.

Hope something in here helps. I'm sure it's frustrating to go through. But, I think, if you start just focusing on you and working on your stuff, that could be a huge help in mending some of your relationship.
Thank you for all of your words of advice, I really appreciate it! I’m currently working with a therapist specifically on my anxiety and low frustration tolerance/anger. My wife is well aware that I’m fully committed to learning skills to better control my emotions and I have told her how much I don’t like the part of me that becomes angry at her. She also grew up in a culture where she was not allowed to be angry or express her emotions, so it’s hard for her to see anyone get angry at her. She has only gotten angry with me a few times, most recently a few weeks ago when she told me that she needed a break.

I’m fully committed to working in our relationship and trying to preserve it. I’m just not sure if she is feeling the same way. I’m afraid that if I say one wrong thing, she will wanna end our marriage, which is an extremely scary feeling. We are also in couples therapy right now, which has been quite stressful over the past several weeks, but I’m hoping that it will help us to be a stronger couple.
 
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