Husband won't change his phone settings so I can reach him in an emergency

HealingMama

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Of everything I've read in this thread I found that the most telling and interesting.

You were upset that he broke an agreement yet from what I'm understanding you broke an agreement also and tried to contact him when it wasn't an emergency.

"Do as I say,not as I do" and double standards don't usually work well at all in relationships.

I just wanted to point that out,not to upset you but rather to maybe help you see things differently.
Yeah that is fair, that is a double standard.
But I am glad it happened bc the alternative? Finding out during an actual emergency that he had turned off the settings? That might mean my child grows up without a mother or something.

Now I know that I can't trust him like that. He said he would agree to a lifeline but I do not trust it. He said no I cannot have a way to reach him in a moment of need. Ok so part of the reason why is bc I have not respected his boundaries. Fair. But part of it is also that he just does not want people to depend on him. That is why he handled his unemployment the way he did, why he is underemployed, why he distances not just me but everyone.

I believe that he and I both could do better about not having double standards. He gets livid if I interrupt him but sees no problem doing it to me. He acts rude and hurt when I show him how it feels for your partner to just leave the room when you're trying to make a point, but keeps doing it to me anyway. He tries to consult a resource to prove he is right like when a conversation happened, but does not want me to do that, and changes his mind as soon as he realizes he's probably not actually right.

Bear in mind in most of those situations I'm just trying to feel heard! I don't care about being right! I just want to be able to say ouch and get comfort instead of defensiveness, resistance, blame shifting, invalidation. He tries to prove my emotional needs are not valid with historical data, hence the example I just described.

Last night he blustered at me and said xyz is not a problem! I said you can believe this isn't a problem but it's a problem FOR ME and you cannot just erase that, you cannot say what is or isn't a problem FOR ME. And that difference right there, that is how all our arguments start.
 

HealingMama

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This quote meant that you may be slaying old dragons from the past to "overcome" and with Ptsd and such you might be doing the same in your relationship as confusion or unconscious or re-enactments etc. It was not meant to that you "need" to win over him cause that will just lead to more power struggle which is basically what is happening already.

However, I am glad to see you are much more articulating what you need/want rather than standing by the trigger narrative.
I wish well truly. It is difficult situation because what we as humans do sometimes have unpredictable dynamics and unpredictable outcomes and it is hard to predict how much other people impacted want to also solve the problem - hence it takes two to tango scenario.
Thanks. I believe the first half of our relationship I was doing what you describe.
And then I was making amends for it, and trying to hang in there while he worked through the impacts of that stuff on himself.

I do feel like I have caused a lot of the problems but I am being unfairly judged as overly responsible for the dynamic we have currently. He is still responsible for his own behavior. He is responsible for being counter-dependent, and pushing me to be, but doing it covertly and refusing to discuss it openly as I have tried many times and he just turns it into a fight. I have been a controlling bitch, I own that, but he has also been a huge liability. I really wish I knew how someone else could respond to the type of actions he has taken without being difficult or possibly toxic. I do not know how I could have handled any of that in a healthy way aside from just leaving him.
 

grit

Not Active
I really wish I knew how someone else could respond to the type of actions he has taken without being difficult or possibly toxic. I do not know how I could have handled any of that in a healthy way aside from just leaving him.

You are being extremely harsh on yourself. It appears you have had difficult past and unfortunately chose a difficult partner. But the mere fact you are combing it through is you are attempting to resolve what is yours and what is his and what is mutual dysfunction. Is your therapist supportive?
It is possible most people could not stay with him or could act million different ways similar to you or perhaps significantly more dysfunction...life is complex.
 

HealingMama

Sponsor
You are being extremely harsh on yourself. It appears you have had difficult past and unfortunately chose a difficult partner. But the mere fact you are combing it through is you are attempting to resolve what is yours and what is his and what is mutual dysfunction. Is your therapist supportive?
It is possible most people could not stay with him or could act million different ways similar to you or perhaps significantly more dysfunction...life is complex.
I am being harsh because others are as well. I am being blamed unilaterally for the dysfunction and I feel that is really unfair.
I feel like I deserve a ton of credit bc it's really hard to face the way you have been abusive to someone and try to grow away from it as quickly as possible. It is really hard to maintain awareness of doing something very shameful, and sitting with the shame of it over and over. And it's really hard to be with someone who creates the type of environment he has created and respond in a healthy way to all of it. You are right life is complex, people are too.

My therapist is great. She is helping me learn to listen to myself not him, because he will just blame everything on me all the time, and sometimes I am reacting in a reasonable way to unreasonable behavior. And sometimes I am just being a human, having a bad day, being scared, whatever. If I held myself to the standards that I am vibing from others here I would not make much progress in my growth because I would feel too much shame to move forward. My therapist has seen me cry in shame over the ways I acted in the past. She has encouraged me to feel compassion for myself and to realize I have worked SO HARD, I AM working so hard, I have changed a HUGE amount from where I was, I have persisted amongst incredibly stressful crazymaking circumstances. Just since I started working with her, she has basically said my rate of progress is hugely faster than others she has seen with similar stuff going on.

So yeah it's triggering as hell to be working with someone who sees how far I have come, to hear my husband himself acknowledge how far I have come, he has said he's so impressed with me and proud and amazed that I could do so much to grow and change, and then be judged so much here.

I don't want to be coddled and reinforce a victim mentality but making me the persecutor of the drama triangle doesn't help much either. Taken in context yeah his reaction to my needs makes sense, but also my needs themselves make sense. Attachment needs make sense. They are NORMAL. The way I act mine out sucks sometimes but the needs themselves are normal and valid and allowing myself to feel that neediness is supposed to happen if I am to heal from where I started.
 

Sideways

Moderator
I am being blamed unilaterally for the dysfunction
Yeah, no. I know it feels like that, but it's only because you're the one who's here working through your issues. If it were him in your place, we'd be working through what he could do differently.
That might mean my child grows up without a mother or something.
This is catastrophizing, yeah? Because for that to happen, you'd have to call him, not get through, and have no other options. That's what 911 is there for. Emergencies.

People are allowed to tune out, and put their phone on DND for periods of time. That's perfectly reasonable. Frightening for you? Sure. I can totally accept that. But, still a totally normal situation to be in.

For all that you want to be able to contact him, any time, any where, no exceptions - he wants to be able to tune out and have alone time on occasions. Neither of those wants are unreasonable.

There will be an obvious fallout when either of you say "here's my boundary", and the other decides to ignore that boundary.
I'm just trying to feel heard!
Is he not listening? Simple question.
Because if he's not? You can't make him. You've tried.

Potentially, he is listening. He's just not using the information in the way you want him to.

I think it's pretty normal for people to want to see their significant other grow and mature over time. But there comes a point, I think, where you're wanting that person to be someone they aren't.
 

Rosebud

MyPTSD Pro
I didn't realize there was so much contempt, please don't let yourself go there, I truly believe it destroys the soul. Esp if there is not much positive validation anywhere. It's the worst thing in the world when you can't escape it.

He had said he feels like he can't make you happy , that is different from trying to harm you. If the boundary was clear then you made a mistake. So hopefully you can forgive each other and move forward. Is anyone getting treated for the adhd? Because much isn't wilfull ignoring.
 

HealingMama

Sponsor
I didn't realize there was so much contempt, please don't let yourself go there, I truly believe it destroys the soul. Esp if there is not much positive validation anywhere. It's the worst thing in the world when you can't escape it.

He had said he feels like he can't make you happy , that is different from trying to harm you. If the boundary was clear then you made a mistake. So hopefully you can forgive each other and move forward. Is anyone getting treated for the adhd? Because much isn't wilfull ignoring.
If you are referring to me having contempt, I really don't generally feel that stuff in an active way. I just explain how shit he's been as a partner bc people are telling me I'm being a shit partner. It's context. Like who could avoid being toxic faced with these crises and these behaviors? But it's in the past, I don't hold to it in the present like that probably sounds. I was just pointing out that he's a mess too and it's unfair to make some of the assumptions that were being made.

You are right it sucks to not be able to escape contempt. Even now I try to give the benefit of the doubt as much as possible, express appreciation, etc but it's hard when he's being so disrespectful and contemptuous himself.

You are right he didn't try to harm me but he did tell me that he didn't want to be available to protect me from some other source of harm.

He has since taken it back but it took him a full week to do so. The way my mind works that's like a couple of months of sitting in the middle of a very strong felt awareness that I can't rely on this person.

I have very severe attachment trauma and he is the first person that I was able to attach to in any sense approaching healthy love. So him being like he was when this went down was really devastating for me. I can tell myself all day long he was just angry or whatever but underneath it all the part that had so much trouble with attachment is just saying see this is why, I was right, it's stupid don't let anyone close ever etc etc
 

HealingMama

Sponsor
I just realized how it must sound after I explained how crazy everything has been, to also say this is the first person I have attached to with anything approaching healthy love. He does not function in life very well but for a long time I could really feel his love for me like a little sun. I should say more accurately that he has shown me what love is supposed to look like. I have tried to love back, with limited models to depend on, and it's come out twisted at times. But also very pure at other times.

Commitment is really really hard for me. I worked on my issues so I could be better committed. I even bought a new wedding ring bc I had taken off the old one and stopped wearing it altogether bc I felt trapped by it. But the stone was messed up also, so I got a new one to show my husband that I was committed.

And the safer I became, the kinder, the more contained, the worse he's been. I thought at first that I deserve this, this is my consequences and I accepted it. But it didn't stop in some ways just gets worse and worse.

Anyway. Attachment is HARD so this incident hit way down deep in a way that I do not know how to overcome the impacts.
 

Sideways

Moderator
I really don't generally feel that stuff in an active way.
Yup. Add some CBT into this, because you might not be actively feeling the feelings, but they're still controlling your behaviour, yeah? Like when you said you were reacting out of fear that you couldn't contact him, so your behaviour was to call and call and call and blow up because it didn't go through.

CBT is possibly the most underestimated therapy ever. Because damn it's amazingly helpful. Our behaviour will be controlled by our irrational trauma-brain feelings unless we learn how to do it differently.
This is about my abandonment button getting pushed over and over and him not balancing it in other ways so that I feel like he has my back.
I've bolded the second part. I think you're right on the button with the first part.

But, asking him to be part of the solution for you? Isn't working. More than that? It sounds like it's been pretty toxic for some time.
But part of it is also that he just does not want people to depend on him.
And you can't change this. This is neither a good nor bad quality for him to have.

For example, another person might love that their partner insists that they live independently and free of responsibilities and commitments to other people. For some people, that quality is something they look for in a partner.

But it doesn't work for you.
I've actually tried to end my marriage multiple times. I end up asking him to help make it happen because
This is toxic, right? I'm feeling like even you recognise how unhealthy this is.

You've described some incredibly controlling behaviours. That's not something you did in the past. It's something you're still doing.

It's quite possible that at this point, he's now in the role of 'abused wife' (its difficult, because we have colloquial language for these things when the partner who becomes frozen in a toxic relationship is the female, but not when they're the male, but actually the same can happen irrespective of gender) who can no longer leave an abusive situation, no matter how toxic it is.

If you want/need to end this relationship, do it. Don't ask him. Don't ask anyone else. If it's become toxic to the point of no return (sounds like it's been there for a while), end it. Scary as hell? Yup. But putting that responsibility on him? Is...unhealthy.
 

TruthSeeker

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Sorry I am feeling a bit dense, can you break this down for me?


That's a fair point. I was not trying to reach him in that moment due to an emergency (I do not think I told him that I had an emergency) but rather once I could not reach him I tested the "break glass" functionality he previously agreed to have, and flipped out when I discovered he had not maintained it. My issue was that the settings he agreed to, he withdrew without telling me. I need to know what field we are playing on.

You are right though about the general pattern, and needing to earn his trust. I thought I'd been doing that, though.

Tons of abandonment stuff pinging, a big T trauma that has been warped and added to by his need to disconnect, avoidant attachment etc.
When I was married, I stopped calling my husband and called a friend instead for ER visits. What you describe sounds akin to "Bait and switch".....agree to do something...then change one's mind without telling the other person......then when they find out...the person who didn't follow through minimizes it.......

But.....on the other hand, if you are testing him because you are not trusting him to follow through.....well, sounds like there are games on both ends. In healthy relationships, people typically tend to take each other's word if they agree on something.....and "don't check up on them" to see if they are following through. That's not healthy.
 

HealingMama

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When I was married, I stopped calling my husband and called a friend instead for ER visits. What you describe sounds akin to "Bait and switch".....agree to do something...then change one's mind without telling the other person......then when they find out...the person who didn't follow through minimizes it.......

But.....on the other hand, if you are testing him because you are not trusting him to follow through.....well, sounds like there are games on both ends. In healthy relationships, people typically tend to take each other's word if they agree on something.....and "don't check up on them" to see if they are following through. That's not healthy.
Yeah it was a bait and switch, and yeah I did test bc he is unreliable and I was anxious.

Yup. Add some CBT into this, because you might not be actively feeling the feelings, but they're still controlling your behaviour, yeah? Like when you said you were reacting out of fear that you couldn't contact him, so your behaviour was to call and call and call and blow up because it didn't go through.

CBT is possibly the most underestimated therapy ever. Because damn it's amazingly helpful. Our behaviour will be controlled by our irrational trauma-brain feelings unless we learn how to do it differently.

I've bolded the second part. I think you're right on the button with the first part.

But, asking him to be part of the solution for you? Isn't working. More than that? It sounds like it's been pretty toxic for some time.

And you can't change this. This is neither a good nor bad quality for him to have.

For example, another person might love that their partner insists that they live independently and free of responsibilities and commitments to other people. For some people, that quality is something they look for in a partner.

But it doesn't work for you.

This is toxic, right? I'm feeling like even you recognise how unhealthy this is.

You've described some incredibly controlling behaviours. That's not something you did in the past. It's something you're still doing.

It's quite possible that at this point, he's now in the role of 'abused wife' (its difficult, because we have colloquial language for these things when the partner who becomes frozen in a toxic relationship is the female, but not when they're the male, but actually the same can happen irrespective of gender) who can no longer leave an abusive situation, no matter how toxic it is.

If you want/need to end this relationship, do it. Don't ask him. Don't ask anyone else. If it's become toxic to the point of no return (sounds like it's been there for a while), end it. Scary as hell? Yup. But putting that responsibility on him? Is...unhealthy.
I can't properly answer this right now but thanks for sharing your thoughts.

When I said that I needed him to help end it, that was a period of time when we both thought that might be best. But I was not able to follow through, I'd ask for it and then my system would shift around and it's like the conversation never happened. It wasn't I want out, he doesn't and I'm asking him to help anyway bc you're right that would be terrible.

We actually had a long conversation tonight. I said I'm sorry I've behaved so destructively and I'm sorry that my fear is scary for you. He said it wasn't always. I asked why is it now, is it that you feel safe enough to process reactions you didn't feel safe to express before. He said that is part of it and it's also a lag in his brain processing how different I am and his body reacting to what it was like before. I didn't ask him to tell me things are different or say that first, he said it on his own.

No I'm not perfect, I get scared and yes sometimes controlling. I also think that our dynamic of ADHD complicates those things too.

He is going to start trauma therapy. I helped find his last therapist. I told all of them that I was trying to help find someone for him because of me, because he had trauma from how I acted towards him. It was hard to say that! I told like five strangers that I hurt my husband badly enough that he feels traumatized.

I am trying to be accountable because I do want to be safe. I do want to be respectful. I do want to show up for him as healthy as possible. I don't want him to have scars from any of this.

Maybe I am living in denial but I feel like if I can be this honest, I can ask him (not in an aggressive way) if he feels unsafe what am I doing for him to feel that way so I can fix it and he says nothing, if I can tell professionals I'm trying to help my partner heal from things I have done, if my partner says that he feels his reactions are about historical experiences, I feel like I must be in recovery.

I continue to apologize to him and try to live my remorse as best I can. He says "it's ok, it's not your fault." He said that tonight. I said "I agree it isn't my fault [bc this is how I was patterned and also it isn't my "fault" I have a part in my system that was aggressive to him for a long time trying to protect me] but I do not agree that it is ok. I am responsible for my actions no matter where they come from or which me is doing them."

He said that's true, and it's not good that it happened, but it's still ok. He has chosen to love me anyway, to forgive, to recognize that it's not "me" but what happened to me.

I believe that he put up with too much from me. But my own therapist says that he made a choice to do that, and I need to let him be responsible for that choice, not treat it like I am responsible for his choice, and she is right. He could have left. I never tried to pressure him not to leave me or threatened consequences for leaving or implied he couldn't do better than me to make him feel shitty enough to stay, nothing like that. I never escalated if he ever spoke about leaving. (He actually threatened suicide with his ex when she brought it up; according to her he was very manipulative.) On some level that's the whole goal I was trying to accomplish in my twisted mind, to get him away from me so I wouldn't be blindsided when it happened otherwise. So if it ever came up I would actually just accept it and leave him alone.

Anyway. I've done some shitty things but I'm trying to make it right. I still have attachment and abandonment issues. But the part that did the bulk of the aggression towards him understands now that isn't acceptable. I didn't know it was a part or how to negotiate with it before. I have a different part that was snooping and doing more of that sort of control shit and I also have them on a short leash bc I don't want to be that person. If I lack trust I need to talk to him about it. I may ask to see his phone bc he did some shady stuff a few months ago and readily admitted it looked like cheating. But that snooping part isn't running the show anymore and when she IS out, she isn't supposed to do that stuff because I am holding everyone accountable for not treating him badly anymore.

That said, I had an attachment crisis in this latest incident. It happens. I was mad, scared, not my best self. He was rude. I violated his boundaries and that is one area that I am still shitty and trying to change. I don't feel entitled to disrespect boundaries i just get lost in my anxiety and have a hard time realizing what I am doing. That isn't an excuse though. It's still wrong. If I can change what I have changed so far then I can fix that too, I just need to keep working on it.
 

HealingMama

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Yup. Add some CBT into this, because you might not be actively feeling the feelings, but they're still controlling your behaviour, yeah? Like when you said you were reacting out of fear that you couldn't contact him, so your behaviour was to call and call and call and blow up because it didn't go through.
Hang on... How is that about contempt? I'm not following. I didn't feel contempt or think contemptuous thoughts when that was happening.
 
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