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

HealingMama

Sponsor
That would be true with the majority of breakups, unless someone was fleeing for their safety and even then there is usually some planning involved? I lived with my ex for 5 months after we split up , and that was without children, as it took time to digest the split and then working out living arrangements.
See I don't even remember what happened there with my previous LTR. We lived together, he visited friends and while we were apart we both thought the relationship had run it's course, came back together had a mutual ending and then I have no idea what happened after that until I was getting in trouble at work for not completing things and getting complaints due to shutting down so bad. Almost failed out of grad school. You have to be doing really really poorly to even get a B in most grad programs I'm familiar with.

I have a vague memory of my former PCP calling my experience atypical depression and starting me on meds. But then basically nothing until I had to withdraw from school and move back in with my abusive mother bc I couldn't function well enough for anything else.

So yeah... That's my last experience of a breakup. I guess I understand better now after writing that out why it's hard to consider now. I have a kid. I can't shut down and disappear like that.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
See I don't even remember what happened there with my previous LTR. We lived together, he visited friends and while we were apart we both thought the relationship had run it's course, came back together had a mutual ending and then I have no idea what happened after that until I was getting in trouble at work for not completing things and getting complaints due to shutting down so bad. Almost failed out of grad school. You have to be doing really really poorly to even get a B in most grad programs I'm familiar with.

I have a vague memory of my former PCP calling my experience atypical depression and starting me on meds. But then basically nothing until I had to withdraw from school and move back in with my abusive mother bc I couldn't function well enough for anything else.

So yeah... That's my last experience of a breakup. I guess I understand better now after writing that out why it's hard to consider now. I have a kid. I can't shut down and disappear like that.
Something maybe to reflect on: I find it interesting that for your future about your feelings and behaviour, you look to the past and see how things were for you then and decide the future will be the same. I.e you will feel and behave the same.
But with your husband, your ideas about his future and behaviour are ones where you expect change in him, even though when you look at the past you can see all the patterns.

So, if you expect him to change in the future and be different, then why not expect that from yourself?
Or , if you don't expect your future feelings and thoughts to be different, why do you expect that from your husband?

Break ups are really hard. Even if someone wants them. Such a massive change in a life. But, they can be navigated and freeing.
Staying in a relationship where you are unhappy is also very hard.

You need to do what works for your but the current situation doesn't sound like that?

I have attahcment and abandonment issues, but I think mine come out in a different way (avoidance and limited expectation? Idk). But just want to say that I know my partner would look after me in an emergency. But, that she rarely answers her phone. I know she will come as soon as she knows. But it won't be within 30 minutes.
Maybe start with something small: like letting this argument that started this thread , go?
Really let it go. Recognise your hurt. But in the grand scheme of relationships: nothing bad happened.
See if you can let this go.
If you can't, I think it tells you something powerful about you and how you are in a relationship.
You can't change him. But you can change you and how you see and hold things.
 

HealingMama

Sponsor
Thanks, I actually did let go of the argument this thread came from. I think? @Movingforward10 People just keep responding so I am also responding because the underlying issues still matter. I accepted that he was grumpy from lack of sleep and I woke him up in a bad way, and if I really had a problem even if we were fighting he would try to help me.

But we have lots of other problems. He blocks communication and my core needs aren't being met. Last night I had an intense shame attack and wanted to go inpatient and I had nobody to talk to. He says I can go to him but when his attitude towards me is so contemptuous most of the time I don't really feel that I can. I feel that I will be judged instead of helped. I feel that my concerns and fears will be used against me later. I will be rejected, if not then then later on the issue will be brought up again as proof of some point he wants to make about how much I suck.

Anyway long story short I suggested a separation since he says he needs something I can't give him. He wants no more complaining so he can heal because he is exhausted. (I am too, this relationship is very draining for both of us.) I said I would love to give you that, but when most of my needs are not met most of the time, it's hard to not complain. He doesn't want a calm discussion where I ask for something (my preference), or for me to complain, or for us to argue. I said it's not reasonable to expect to not meet most of my core needs consistently, but also expect there to be no effort on my end to bring that to your attention or to get them met.

He is correct; I have become horribly negative. But that's nearly two years of doing all I can to change, grow, be on my best behavior, model healthy communication, ask for what I want vs complain about what I don't, give the benefit of the doubt despite him not doing so, come to conversations in good faith despite him not doing so. And he keeps talking to me like crap. He says the contempt is a defense mechanism. I said I can't survive it. I've told him for months he can't keep talking to me like that or his marriage is going to die.

I have parts that want to stay, but that is why I suggested separation not divorce. If he gets the space he needs and can treat me better then we will see where things stand. But I can't go on like this where he talks to me this way and my needs are not being met and I don't feel that I can come to him for emotional support because there's so much ambient contempt from him.

i suggested it and he said maybe we should do that, and I had a feeling of relief wash over me. My body doesn't want to be here anymore. I'm not sleeping. Normally we would have a problem then it would be over and I'd feel drawn to him but that doesn't really happen anymore.

I read articles about toxic relationships and we both do toxic things. It's not one or the other. Maybe that means I just should not ever have a relationship. Maybe that means I don't know how to make something healthy.

I really think if he were not so avoidant, so quick to make irresponsible choices and more willing to communicate it would be a very different situation. I have issues and I need to work on them but that's a pretty basic incompatibility, that didn't show up until I was fully committed.

So anyway. Maybe this time the separation will stick. It sure seems that the majority of me wants it, and he says he doesn't but sure acts like he does so we shall see.
 

JadeB.

MyPTSD Pro
It's clear you're confused and not sure what you want @HealingMama . if you re-read this thread you will see all the flip flopping back and forth when it comes to your husband.

Have you ever considered an "in -house separation" ? There's a good article on Psychology Today about it. You could always try that,actually stick to it for like 6 months,each of you work on yourselves and then make a decision after a specific amount of time. 6 months would be ideal.

That would give each of you a complete break from the other and time to really figure out what you want. You might decide that you do want out and divorce afterwards. Or it might make things better and you two can find a way to start fresh after.

IDK,it's just a suggestion. I think living in the same house yet separated would be hard but from what I've read it's also do-able.
 

HealingMama

Sponsor
It's clear you're confused and not sure what you want @HealingMama . if you re-read this thread you will see all the flip flopping back and forth when it comes to your husband.

Have you ever considered an "in -house separation" ? There's a good article on Psychology Today about it. You could always try that,actually stick to it for like 6 months,each of you work on yourselves and then make a decision after a specific amount of time. 6 months would be ideal.

That would give each of you a complete break from the other and time to really figure out what you want. You might decide that you do want out and divorce afterwards. Or it might make things better and you two can find a way to start fresh after.

IDK,it's just a suggestion. I think living in the same house yet separated would be hard but from what I've read it's also do-able.
Yeah we tried that. My boundaries are shit so I forget to maintain proper separation boundaries. But it might be worth trying again, of we set some really clear rules and find some way to stick to them.

Of course I am confused. That's my experience of the relationship almost since the beginning. I've never had that in other relationships. I suspect it started with a combination of attachment issues and also very valid reasons to NOT stay with this person as well as love feelings that made me want to stay. Like very early on it was clear that I may not have an actual partner, bc when things got hard he just fell apart. That is when my ambivalence started.

In home separation would certainly be cheaper. We would need some way to signal it to both of us bc we both have object permanence issues that can show up in our emotions about things and we would both begin to act overly familiar for a separation in moments of feeling positive towards each other without some kind of reminder.

@Movingforward10 yeah I agree, I really have tried everything and what is left is on his end. Some of that is there because of me but I've done all I can to fix it. I can't be in a relationship where my needs aren't met and I have no method of trying to get them met bc my partner isn't receptive, and doesn't have the right attitude towards me to want to make the effort anymore. He has a therapy appointment on Sunday. He said we might be able to discuss details depending how that appointment goes. I'm not sure what that means and he didn't elaborate. The therapy is about how he treats me, but it's not my fault I asked for him to deal with this months ago and he was too forgetful and disorganized to follow through when the other therapist quit. I have had all I can take of being spoken to with the loveless, disdainful tone he uses towards me. He's either disdainful or exasperated and he projects what he expects instead of actually listening to me so nothing ever gets addressed properly. He can't see how much I have attempted to make our communication healthy and productive since we moved here. I create a space for positivity and it doesn't work. I express appreciation but as soon as I try to address the fact that something I need isn't happening he acts like I complain constantly which isn't true. I sure have complained more lately though as he's been increasingly bitter, checked out, self absorbed. I tried the positive route. I can't help the fact he didn't join me there.

I probably do complain more than most women but most women do complain, they usually are the ones bringing up issues in the relationship. But we do it for a reason or at least I do, because things I asked for don't happen. He says he does what I ask, but I don't really see it that way. Yeah he has gotten better as a roommate and he was always a decent/good co-parent. But he's not a great partner. I'm not a great partner to him but I believe I have the capacity to be a great partner to someone different from him.

Honestly I don't see how separation is going to help anything. There is so much damage for me in my experience of his sentiment towards me. I don't see how he can fix that and also fix his functional issues to show up more as a partner. But it would give us both a chance to adjust to the idea of being apart, build up habits that will support us as individuals if/when we part ways. And it does leave the door open for a transformation. He's not going to transform as long as he blames me for the bulk of what is wrong though.
 

Rosebud

MyPTSD Pro
Hi @HealingMama , I am sorry this may not be useful as I can't keep up to all the thread, but I just wonder, when you say:

I am also responding because the underlying issues still matter. I accepted that he was grumpy from lack of sleep and I woke him up in a bad way, and if I really had a problem even if we were fighting he would try to help me.

But we have lots of other problems. He blocks communication and my core needs aren't being met. Last night I had an intense shame attack and wanted to go inpatient and I had nobody to talk to. He says I can go to him but when his attitude towards me is so contemptuous most of the time I don't really feel that I can. I feel that I will be judged instead of helped. I feel that my concerns and fears will be used against me later. I will be rejected, if not then then later on the issue will be brought up again as proof of some point he wants to make about how much I suck.
^^ It sounds like you are still expecting (possibly?) that he do for you at least part of what you need to do for yourself (regulate your emotions, find grounding, etc, whatever- the same things you would need to fill if you were single. (Because leaving him you would, at least until you were no longer single). And that you are expecting him to think badly of you (your thoughts and interpretations, though you say he disagrees). Which only you can change. And that you're assigning this event great weight. (Don't feel badly if you are, I heard it said most people get married with the expectation both parties will meet each other's unfilled hopes, dreams and expectations. Which is I swear why lots of guys get laid, and it's like, 'I scored!", and women often do the same with marriage. Pretty much mostly about themselves. Not that this person is my heart.)
I really think if he were not so avoidant, so quick to make irresponsible choices and more willing to communicate it would be a very different situation. I have issues and I need to work on them but that's a pretty basic incompatibility, that didn't show up until I was fully committed.

So anyway. Maybe this time the separation will stick. It sure seems that the majority of me wants it, and he says he doesn't but sure acts like he does so we shall see.
^^ It would, but because it isn't, what way would work?

i think it might be fair to say, you are expecting the worst of him, from him, and presupposing he doesn't even like you atm, let alone love you?
That relief you felt, is real good communication from inside.
Is the relief because your needs are thwarted? Because you are tired of the cycle? (Who wouldn't be, fwiw).

Since you said somewhere, he is a brilliant man, isn't it safe to say when he gets a system that works for him, it works for him? I would really look in to someone like Gena Pera (sp?). She has books or it is on youtube, or even someone like Melissa Orlov (though I think Pera explains it better, but perhaps because it's more directed towards even familial interaction). I only say this humbly because in my FOO virtually everyone presented as ad(h)d, and yet everyone was also markedly different in behaviours and responses. Equally, when one was diagnosed and very hyperactive, I just assumed 'that' was adhd. And the 'black sheep' (relatively speaking) of the family probably leaned highly towards innatentive. I think it would be helpful, even if you have adhd yourself and think there's nothing more to learn. There really is, because your response even inadvertently will hugely affect where every interaction goes.

The second part is perhaps reconsidering if it's possible this marriage wasn't a bait-and-switch. Was there hyperfocus that waned? Did you each/ both start taking the other for granted? Do you expect the worst? Are you givimg the benefit of the doubt? Are you thanking your partner for the small things (even if they don't thank you)? Are you looking for the things they do right? Are you cataloging and keeping score of everything you think they don't? Are you assigning your contribution as greater? Are you on their side? (And I don't mean as in 'thinking what's best for them'. For all you know, he thought what's best for you might be to manage it on your own at that moment.)

I think 'love' is not doing the things experts suggest but actually meaning them. If you hyperfocus on what you hate, you will crowd out what you love. But you can't love with conditions of x,y,z have to be as "I" would do it, because no one wants to marry themself. Maybe it's time to ask him what he thinks will be helpful, or what ideas he has? And what are his needs? Because they have equal weight. And start excising the punitiveness. Start with the smallest thought, and hopefully action. Start looking at people like Pera or Orlov, or Dodson or others. Because, it always gets me, how people talk about love languages too- yes it is true a person has to understand the difference. But ultimately they have to also accept this 'is' the way people show love, and feel it as love. Yes, you can ask for more. But in another way, had you married someone less avoidant, do you think the situation might in fact have been reversed? That is, they may have directly engaged your needs such as parts and said what the heck are you are saying, and something like ~just get it together and drop your parts and step up and give me what I need. (And I don't say that to be harsh, rather that if you had married someone less avoidant they may have been harsher with you. Do you appreciate his forgiveness and tolerance of what he might not understand? Just as you do not feel understood?) Because, in a sense, that could be viewed as a tenderness he gave, and you are not. And you can't use unsafety to avoid it, because unless truly warranted it is your feeling that you have to pick apart, you have to rise above your own feelings of unsafety. Which he probably did, to try to soothe you, and to keep the peace.

I do really agree with the principle there's you, me and we. The we is what's best for the relationship, and sometimes it's going to take a partner to sacrifice something in the moment. Hopefully that's mutual. Sometimes it's pride, or control, or resentment, too. But just as equally, what are definitions for one aren't necessarily the same for others. 'Often' could have a wide range, so could 'emergency', so could any fact.

But the real work, to me, is not just knowledge, not just understanding (that's better than knowledge), but then one's heart/ choice. It's a different type of work to do on yourself. To ask questions, are my words or actions loving? (No 'buts' allowed.) Am I ashamed of my partner? What do I expect of my spouse? What do I think they expect of me? Do I take their presence for granted? Is my unhappiness seeing the world through muddy glasses? What are they feeling, not about me but their dreams? What are their fears? Is what I am doing contriburing to peace or discord? Am I noticing all they do right? Am I respectful? Am I flooded? Are they? Do I have to be right? Can I really belive my partner/ spouse/ family member sees and experiences the world differently than I? Do I gennuinely feel badly if I hurt them? Do I apologize? Do I spend at least as much time looking for the truth in what they say? Or do I rationalize or get defensive? Do I assume their lack of ability to manage in the way 'I' want, or express themselves in only the way I want, means they don't care? Etc. That kind of thing. Soul searching. And really, a whole lot of maturity. And add a whole lot of kindness and forgiveness, to youself as well.

(ETA, cross posted. ) Would add your perception of his lack of sentiment, might be actually indicative of your own lack of sentiment. Do you think that's possible? One way to tell, is you are feeling distantor bitter ore resentful or angry or afraid,, not just in your marriage.

(Disregard if not helpful.)
 
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Rosebud

MyPTSD Pro
PS, @HealingMama , sorry for the last line typos, was really rushing, missed edit.

Just meant to say, hardest part of listening to Pera (for me) was slower speach (🤣 ), but I do remember Orlov saying she started to approach things differently when her child brought a picture home drawn at school about something like, ~'What is life like at home?', with her drawn standing on the table screaming at her H. And she said she wasn't proud of it, but she had to realize she also had to stop the nagging. And that she totally believed her H didn't love her, and he truly was like, "No, I don't feel that way at all." So no shame, just solutions.

I do think saying your H's decisions are irresponsible is one example of judgement of his character potentially, rather than recognizing adhd or that his world may be different from yours with or without adhd. Maybe it was impulsiveness.. procrastination (which has nothing to do with procrastination, of course).. or trouble getting started.. or leaving the last 5% undone.. or, or or.. . And nothing personal. And/or what he actually wanted to choose, but didn't?

Good luck with it, try to have a wee-bit of a joyful day today. Think of just one thing you love, or are grateful for about him. And then, redirect your thoughts every time they go sideways. See then how the day goes. Because thoughts (intrusive thoughts especially) are to me like debri getting thrown at you in a heavy wind. Choosing to turn away (towards something else) is at least placing your back to them. (And yes, it's all terrifying. ) Try to inject some happiness in to your day, or gratitude, or rest, or self-care. It has to be up to you.

Best wishes to you. 🤗
 
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HealingMama

Sponsor
Hi @HealingMama , I am sorry this may not be useful as I can't keep up to all the thread, but I just wonder, when you say:


^^ It sounds like you are still expecting (possibly?) that he do for you at least part of what you need to do for yourself (regulate your emotions, find grounding, etc, whatever- the same things you would need to fill if you were single. (Because leaving him you would, at least until you were no longer single). And that you are expecting him to think badly of you (your thoughts and interpretations, though you say he disagrees). Which only you can change. And that you're assigning this event great weight. (Don't feel badly if you are, I heard it said most people get married with the expectation both parties will meet each other's unfilled hopes, dreams and expectations. Which is I swear why lots of guys get laid, and it's like, 'I scored!", and women often do the same with marriage. Pretty much mostly about themselves. Not that this person is my heart.)

Hmm maybe I am? But some amount of co-regulation is reasonable to expect from a partnership. I do not expect him to do everything for me but if I am so distressed that I am wishing I could go inpatient? That's something a person "should" be able to go to their partner about, no?

Yes I expect him to think badly of me because he's spoken badly to me like that for 50-80% of our interactions since August, with increasing frequency.

Not sure what you mean by assigning the event great weight. Me not feeling safe to go to him with a problem is not a special event, it's one of many occasions where I feel like I have to cope by myself. He did say it isn't fair to be upset when he did not know I was suffering. I was not holding against him the fact that I suffered and he didn't know so much as the fact that he's been so contemptuous for so long that my inner image of him is 80% that, and that is why I don't feel I can go to him. He did apologize for how his anger has impacted me on that. But there is no progress on it either.
^^ It would, but because it isn't, what way would work?

i think it might be fair to say, you are expecting the worst of him, from him, and presupposing he doesn't even like you atm, let alone love you?

Is the relief because your needs are thwarted? Because you are tired of the cycle? (Who wouldn't be, fwiw).

I don't know that it's a presupposition to say he doesn't like me. It's all over his nonverbal behavior. He says he is exhausted, and the contempt is a defense mechanism, but I don't know how to process it as anything other than "he thinks I am less than human, a POS with a distorted character that cannot ever change, even though a lot of the issue is communication patterns he's equally responsible for." Someone shunning me means they don't like me, don't want me around. Someone not responding to me might or might not be them shunning me, but if their overall pattern is to withdraw when they don't like what I say, which I experience as shunning/punishment, then I am more inclined to read an ambiguous situation as indicative of the existing pattern.
Since you said somewhere, he is a brilliant man, isn't it safe to say when he gets a system that works for him, it works for him? I would really look in to someone like Gena Pera (sp?). She has books or it is on youtube, or even someone like Melissa Orlov (though I think Pera explains it better, but perhaps because it's more directed towards even familial interaction). I only say this humbly because in my FOO virtually everyone presented as ad(h)d, and yet everyone was also markedly different in behaviours and responses. Equally, when one was diagnosed and very hyperactive, I just assumed 'that' was adhd. And the 'black sheep' (relatively speaking) of the family probably leaned highly towards innatentive. I think it would be helpful, even if you have adhd yourself and think there's nothing more to learn. There really is, because your response even inadvertently will hugely affect where every interaction goes.

The second part is perhaps reconsidering if it's possible this marriage wasn't a bait-and-switch. Was there hyperfocus that waned? Did you each/ both start taking the other for granted? Do you expect the worst? Are you givimg the benefit of the doubt? Are you thanking your partner for the small things (even if they don't thank you)? Are you looking for the things they do right? Are you cataloging and keeping score of everything you think they don't? Are you assigning your contribution as greater? Are you on their side? (And I don't mean as in 'thinking what's best for them'. For all you know, he thought what's best for you might be to manage it on your own at that moment.)

I am in Gina's support group actually. I got rejected there as well recently which is part of why I was in crisis wanting to go to the hospital. I've been rejected everywhere I go online for connection and I am so pathetic fearful, avoidant and too exhausted to give like people deserve for a true friendship that I do not have anywhere I can go for connection in my regular life.

When I talk about bait and switch that's what I mean - the hyperfocus courtship ended, but I had no idea that's why he was the way he was before.

The less influence I have, and the worse his attitude, the harder it's been to do those things. Like we will start out with a disagreement and I will be calm, centered, regulated, but he just does not try to fight fair at all, and eventually I get fed up and may join him in the toxic space briefly before I give up trying to have communication at all. If I am giving my best effort at a healthy approach to communication, and he is treating me badly, comparing me to my mother, cussing me, interrupting me, saying something snarky on his way out of the room so I can't respond to it, etc then I do not know what else I am supposed to do.

It's probably partly what they are calling rejection sensitive dysphoria but he never owns it, he never comes back later on his own to apologize for treating me so bad. I could put up with it if he were proactively accountable and maybe he does not have the capacity to be since that requires a lot of EF skills.

I have asked him to get therapy, I communicate with the psychiatrist directly since that's what Gina's books recommend even though less well-informed people give me a side eye about that. I asked him to get a coach, and he didn't do the homework regularly enough for anything to change. He's better at his own errands and some stuff than he used to be, but will not involve me to educate me on what systems are working.

Admittedly, I absolutely do assign my contribution as greater, and have resentment about that. I do compare and think if I can suck it up and do the thing even though it's hard why can't he? (Regarding situations where it appears to be a problem of avoidance associated with the "wall of awful" vs executive functioning related stuckness/procrastination - he can't help the EF but he could work on the avoidance.) Doesn't he care that everything he won't do gets put on my shoulders??!!

When the truth is he probably does care, but he has a disability, and I forget how much more disabling it is for him. But then I think, I do not know that I Can be his caregiver either. I do not know that I can just say ok this is my life, it takes my partner 80% effort to do what I can do with 50% effort therefore even though I am actually doing 80% of the work, I should process it as 50% because it's harder for him. I mean for a long time I DID accept that, but now that he is actively making me feel like trash? No I do not want to have empathy about that. If he were able to fix this? Then yeah I could accept that he meets my emotional needs and does some domestic stuff, and I do everything else.
I think 'love' is not doing the things experts suggest but actually meaning them. If you hyperfocus on what you hate, you will crowd out what you love. But you can't love with conditions of x,y,z have to be as "I" would do it, because no one wants to marry themself. Maybe it's time to ask him what he thinks will be helpful, or what ideas he has? And what are his needs? Because they have equal weight. And start excising the punitiveness. Start with the smallest thought, and hopefully action. Start looking at people like Pera or Orlov, or Dodson or others. Because, it always gets me, how people talk about love languages too- yes it is true a person has to understand the difference. But ultimately they have to also accept this 'is' the way people show love, and feel it as love. Yes, you can ask for more. But in another way, had you married someone less avoidant, do you think the situation might in fact have been reversed? That is, they may have directly engaged your needs such as parts and said what the heck are you are saying, and something like ~just get it together and drop your parts and step up and give me what I need. (And I don't say that to be harsh, rather that if you had married someone less avoidant they may have been harsher with you. Do you appreciate his forgiveness and tolerance of what he might not understand? Just as you do not feel understood?) Because, in a sense, that could be viewed as a tenderness he gave, and you are not. And you can't use unsafety to avoid it, because unless truly warranted it is your feeling that you have to pick apart, you have to rise above your own feelings of unsafety. Which he probably did, to try to soothe you, and to keep the peace.
I can ask him again what ideas he has. Usually he says I don't know. Same for conversations about hopes, dreams, needs. He can tell me he needs peace, he needs a break from all the intensity, which I can understand and respect bc I need both of those things too. The problem is we do not see the path to achieving it the same. I don't have peace when there are massive unresolved problems. I can feel that things are only ok on the surface, very strongly, and it's very hard to just accept the pretense knowing it's based on a flimsy foundation, wanting to go in and repair the foundation even if a little demolition is necessary because then it will be stronger and less likely to fall apart.

"that could be viewed as a tenderness he gave, and you are not."

That's absolutely correct, something I have to unpack. Most of my agitation is fight mode, hyperarousal. I see that I am scrambling and not able to do enough to keep my family safe. I see me unable to relax into my femininity because I have to be in charge of everything. Although I will also say that even though he has awareness of what is going on, why I am like I am, he also holds a lot of resentment.

He said he is burned out but I seriously gave him at least a year, closer to 2 I think, of being the best partner I know how to be, incorporating as many best practices as I could into our communication, but he needs me to just never speak up and ask for anything... he says that is not true... but I cannot find where the boundary is and I ask and he doesn't know. Is it that I can only make a request every 3 days? Once a week? Because no matter how long I try to defer, as soon as I am making the request he treats me like I've pressured him daily about everything... even though I have worked not to do that, but how many times can you do what someone wants, and they do not see it, before you say ok fine, and give into their projections of you?

Now that daily pressure IS happening but it wasn't before. ... it would be different if I saw incremental change and for some things I have but not the way he speaks to me, his general attitude, it's shit and it's been shit for a long time and he's not trying to change his own thoughts about me to fix that. I told him months ago I cannot do anything to fix his contempt, he has to fix that himself bc it comes from "long simmering negative thoughts about your partner."

I see no evidence that he is trying, probably because it requires more executive functioning than he can do without help. I do not believe I can be the one to help with that. As I am sure you know growing up with emotional abuse primes a person to be very, very aware of changes in other people close to them, and to be very sensitive to nonverbal communication as a clue for what level of danger they are in. So the nonverbal behavior overshadows the words. Not to mention even without abuse, if the words and tone are not congruent then that is not a clear message. Do you love me or hate me because you say you love me but your tone is expressing hate, so...?
I do really agree with the principle there's you, me and we. The we is what's best for the relationship, and sometimes it's going to take a partner to sacrifice something in the moment. Hopefully that's mutual. Sometimes it's pride, or control, or resentment, too. But just as equally, what are definitions for one aren't necessarily the same for others. 'Often' could have a wide range, so could 'emergency', so could any fact.

But the real work, to me, is not just knowledge, not just understanding (that's better than knowledge), but then one's heart/ choice. It's a different type of work to do on yourself. To ask questions, are my words or actions loving? (No 'buts' allowed.) Am I ashamed of my partner? What do I expect of my spouse? What do I think they expect of me? Do I take their presence for granted? Is my unhappiness seeing the world through muddy glasses? What are they feeling, not about me but their dreams? What are their fears? Is what I am doing contriburing to peace or discord? Am I noticing all they do right? Am I respectful? Am I flooded? Are they? do I have to be right? Can I really belive my partner/ spouse/ family member sees and experiences the world differently than I? Do I gennuinely feel badly if I hurt them? Do I apologize? Do I spend at least as much time looking for the truth in what they say? Or do I rationalize or get defensive? Do I assume their lack of ability to manage in the way 'I' want, or express themselves in only the way I want, means they don't care? Etc. That kind of thing. Soul searching. And really, a whole lot of maturity. And add a whole lot of kindness and forgiveness, to youself as well.
Thank you. That's the work I have been trying to do. It's so hard to keep it going when the other is digging at you, being provocative and escalating (knowing the actions they take are escalating and doing them anyway but blaming me for the fact that there is now a conflict when it started as a request for change), being snide and condescending, comparing me to my mother, talking about my father's traumatic death in a glib or flippant manner.

I tried to just keep showing up, keep giving my best, that was my way of showing love, I am going to show you love even though you're being awful to me because I know that you are hurting. But he never stopped it. He got worse not better :( I was reflecting and trying to be self-aware but I think that only works when both people commit to it, and I have no indication he's done that.

(ETA, cross posted. ) Would add your perception of his lack of sentiment, might be actually indicative of your own lack of sentiment. Do you think that's possible? One way to tell, is you are feeling distantor bitter ore resentful or angry or afraid,, not just in your marriage.

(Disregard if not helpful.)
I think that he caught it from me, but i have made a conscious effort to be positive, assume good will, etc. for quite a while now, until very recently when I got fed up with how little he was changing his attitude towards me. My marriage takes up so much emotional space that I don't really feel anything for any other part of my life, sadly.

So here I am... I have done what I can to clean up the mess that I made... and he is unwilling or unable to change the thing on his end that is making it impossible for me to tolerate anything anymore. I feel that no matter what I do or how I ask, if he hears anything less than "you're the best husband in the world, you are doing everything I could possibly hope for in a partner" it is a huge problem. I can say, "could you remember to touch base with me before you commit both of us to specific plans with someone else?" and he hears me saying he's a POS. He was like that before I ever became toxic in my communication. He hears a request for change as an indictment of his character and what am I supposed to do with that?

It's not sustainable to have a relationship where neither person is giving feedback. I ask for his feedback all the time! He won't give it, except when it leaks out in a toxic way. I tell him I would rather you call me out for something when I do it then save up the grievances and hit me with all of them after so much time has passed that I cannot fix anything that I did wrong because you don't remember the details. I tell him I want to change too, whatever way I can, that would help him, and in most areas I have done that. He tells me things occasionally and I say thank you, I model nondefensive responses, and sometimes say that is an example of how I would like you to respond to me if I bring something to your attention in a respectful and calm manner.

I try to be more generous but he doesn't want it, he doesn't want to be doted on, he doesn't want me catering to him, we have like "politeness fights" over how to season the meal because I won't say anything about how he did it but not eat some of it, and I'll say I wanted you to have the freedom to make it the way you like it and be scolded for that. I feel like he is so afraid of criticism that he has made a relationship impossible.

He says I am too impatient, change doesn't happen overnight. But like in 2019 I was writing here in my journal about how different I had become and how he would not see it. Then a year later I got on meds and was even more different, and he didn't see that either. It's so hard to find motivation to continue a different behavior when the other person just projects their inner model of you onto the moment no matter what is actually happening. (I get that I did that to him also, and probably still do for these deeper issues that I have not been able to master.)

I wonder what Barkley would say about how to get EF skills to improve in a relational space. It's not like you can set out an index card that says "talk to your wife the way you want her to talk to you" and resolve it. You can't set a reminder, because his whole deal is intervening at the "point of performance" which is ... whenever a conversation happens to go sideways. No way to have a structured approach to that. Can you think of one?

I have asked him to read about how to get over contempt towards your spouse and he just says "I'm not like you." Which I get, but how do you propose to change your behavior if you won't be intentional about it? He has no answer. I feel if he regularly reminded himself "these are problems she said are making the marriage bad, maybe if I change those things and it's still bad she can't say that anymore," we might see some progress!

I'd take spite or desire to prove me wrong as his motivation as long as he would pick it up and hold it somehow.

He will go along with just about anything but is not being proactive on any of it, and I do not see how he can change contempt reactively, like, literally I think of zero ways that is possible.

Thank you for trying to help me @Rosebud it means a lot.
 
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HealingMama

Sponsor
PS, @HealingMama , sorry for the last line typos, was really rushing, missed edit.

Just meant to say, hardest part of listening to Pera (for me) was slower speach (🤣 ), but I do remember Orlov saying she started to approach things differently when her child brought a picture home drawn at school about something like, ~'What is life like at home?', with her drawn standing on the table screaming at her H. And she said she wasn't proud of it, but she had to realize she also had to stop the nagging. And that she totally believed her H didn't love her, and he truly was like, "No, I don't feel that way at all." So no shame, just solutions.

I do think saying your H's decisions are irresponsible is one example of judgement of his character potentially, rather than recognizing adhd or that his world may be different from yours with or without adhd. Maybe it was impulsiveness.. procrastination (which has nothing to do with procrastination, of course).. or trouble getting started.. or leaving the last 5% undone.. or, or or.. . And nothing personal. And/or what he actually wanted to choose, but didn't?

Good luck with it, try to have a wee-bit of a joyful day today. Think of just one thing you love, or are grateful for about him. And then, redirect your thoughts every time they go sideways. See then how the day goes. Because thoughts (intrusive thoughts especially) are to me like debri getting thrown at you in a heavy wind. Choosing to turn away (towards something else) is at least placing your back to them. (And yes, it's all terrifying. ) Try to inject some happiness in to your day, or gratitude, or rest, or self-care. It has to be up to you.

Best wishes to you. 🤗
Thank you - this is all very good advice. I tried to cull my previous post bc it is way longer than I realized but it did not work very well. I feel like I am burdening you with too much information. Please do not help me to the extent that you feel burdened. I'm just trying to figure all of this out. I need to see whether I really have done all I can. I process with words... he does not... another part of the problem.
 

Rosebud

MyPTSD Pro
I feel like I am burdening you with too much information. Please do not help me to the extent that you feel burdened.
Not at all @HealingMama , I just don't know if anything I can add is helpful. But it obviously is very distressing for you. I am sorry you are feeling the way you are.
some amount of co-regulation is reasonable to expect from a partnership. I do not expect him to do everything for me but if I am so distressed that I am wishing I could go inpatient? That's something a person "should" be able to go to their partner about, no?
^^ Totally agree, except here I would say it's about timing. to get back on a better foundation 1st would potentially enable you to get strength off it. But if you need inpatient you need it. What about your son's care if so?
He did apologize for how his anger has impacted me on that. But there is no progress on it either.
It's a start if he recognizes it and said so, and did apologize. What would be an agreed upon action for both of you when it occurs again? And/ or, more specifically boundaries. i.e. ~I love you and therefore if things get too heated I am going to leave the room/ house for 30 minutes (an hr, etc) so that I will not say something in anger I do not mean but would be hurtful nonetheless.
He says he is exhausted, and the contempt is a defense mechanism, but I don't know how to process it as anything other than "he thinks I am less than human, a POS with a distorted character that cannot ever change, even though a lot of the issue is communication patterns he's equally responsible for." Someone shunning me means they don't like me, don't want me around. Someone not responding to me might or might not be them shunning me, but if their overall pattern is to withdraw when they don't like what I say, which I experience as shunning/punishment, then I am more inclined to read an ambiguous situation as indicative of the existing pattern.
^^ I think most of us do. The question might become, but is this true? Is this all of what is being communicated, and what about the other person's needs/ flooding etc. The truth is though, how much 'could' be accomplished in any moment feeling that distressed? All I can say is, you can tell him it leaves you hurt even if it's not his fault. Then he will have to decide. Because it's his choice to withdraw, but your choice to feel hurt. If anything, you could say it's a vote of confidence in him he will perhaps respond differently. Or ask him what he needs to respond differently? From what you said any criticism on your part (also) leaves him feeling like he is a POS. (And as you said, not your intention, just to prevent problems. Maybe not his with you, either?)
I am in Gina's support group actually. I got rejected there as well recently which is part of why I was in crisis wanting to go to the hospital. I've been rejected everywhere I go
^^ That's great! But not withstanding groups are only as good as the people in them and the way there managed, maybe the reason they don't problem solve is because like 12 step groups it's about you, what you can do to change and what you can do to help yourself? (Including the strength to leave if you choose, it should always be a free choice to leave or stay if possible.) Maybe you can reframe it as, they are not rejecting you, but trying to help you approach it from another angle, one you are actually responsible for?
Doesn't he care that everything he won't do gets put on my shoulders??!!
^^ This is nearly word-for-word what people say they say, re: parentification. I would check out Melissa Orlov there. Apparently it's super -super-super-common.
When the truth is he probably does care, but he has a disability, and I forget how much more disabling it is for him. But then I think, I do not know that I Can be his caregiver either. I do not know that I can just say ok this is my life, it takes my partner 80% effort to do what I can do with 50% effort therefore even though I am actually doing 80% of the work, I should process it as 50% because it's harder for him. I mean for a long time I DID accept that, but now that he is actively making me feel like trash? No I do not want to have empathy about that. If he were able to fix this? Then yeah I could accept that he meets my emotional needs and does some domestic stuff, and I do everything else.
^^ Well that feels pretty sh*tty. But I am confused, do you mean you are his legal caregiver? Because it sounds like right now maybe the tasks are misaligned: if you could both choose to agree on your own strengths, maybe use structural supports (calenders, etc) and scaffolding, and farm out the rest, there would be more peace. He is likely to do well nearly 100% of the time what he loves, is more engaging, or at least can be tied in to something not grossly boring.
I don't have peace when there are massive unresolved problems. I can feel that things are only ok on the surface, very strongly, and it's very hard to just accept the pretense knowing it's based on a flimsy foundation, wanting to go in and repair the foundation even if a little demolition is necessary because then it will be stronger and less likely to fall apart.
But this didn't happen overnight and it won't be solved overnight. If he can approximate some progress, terrific. Isn't that what anyone would hope of ourselves, too? The demolition problem solving is more trauma-influenced I fear. Where as rebuilding is more like weight loss, it's not going to be where you want it over night. It's like really back to the basics. And no easy way to say this, to lighten up. That was probably one significant difference before other responsibilities arrived. Also, just how have the pressures changed? Can they be changed or alleviated or reduced?
I see no evidence that he is trying, probably because it requires more executive functioning than he can do without help
^^ Here though is that pre-supposition of inability or incapacity. And that because you don't see it as trying, or don't see the results you want/ need, he therfore isn't. Which may be correct, but may also be completely wrong. Maybe it's not help, it's the right kind of help? And by that I don't necessarily mean a coach or T, I mean doing things in a way that works for him, just as you do things in a way that works for you? Because you thinking you know what would help him, is still an example of parentification. Maybe laughter would help him, or jogging or boxing, not focusing on trauma specifically, or marital issues? (Just like the analogy never ever ever 'organize' or touch someone's desk or personal space to be helpful or because you think it's a mess. It's personal space for a reason.) If you want lead by example, like making a filing system, but chances are probably at least 80+% of your way may not work for him, and vice versa. When he has succeeded, what worked? I really liked an example they gave, where someone's H couldn't talk without activity, but the wife was tired. So they'd talk with him on an exercise bike and her on bar stool with a glass of wine. 🤣 You very likely know this but paretification usually comes from one person taking on too much, but the other demeaned, demoralized or criticisized. Sometimes, you also have to accept their way must be good enough for you. Unless there's a danger issue, like with your son. But you survived infanthood and that's the most trying. But even better, what are each of your strengths? Does he feel like he has any or has there been so much criticism he's afraid to not do it right or right-enough?

Think about it though, it's like a kid writing a test. They say it's 'difficult' They give them 20 minutes extra time. It's useless. Why? Maybe because 20x1 (or 5x1) minute breaks is what the kid needs to move. Or the pen feels funny. Or their tag in their shirt is driving them crazy. Or they're sitting by the window. Or the topic has left them bored to tears. Or they're imagining the numbers dancing as figures. Or they're thinking all the while their teacher hates them- maybe even plotting imaginary revenge, or conversely feel like bursting in to tears. Or they're thinking about their parents screaming at home. Or, a million different things. One never knows, and knows less if they won't share. But good luck seeing improvement with 20 extra minutes! What anyone knows though, is that everyone will do better when they are encouraged, when the pressure is off. When it's not WWIII when a life happening happens. When there is forgiveness for a mistake. Etc.

I know it takes a lot right now to be humble. To say, ~'I don't know how you feel, I don't like where this is going, and I'm sorry for hurting you. I miss (x) and I would like to try again. What about you?' I mean, really, when is the last time you both just enjoyed a movie or meal or even a walk together? Without criticism, or defensiveness, without taking the bait, and without adding fuel to the fire? What about planning a Christmas surprise together for your son? With input, not great responsibilty and no criticism or defensiveness allowed? Can be cheap= making a snowman and hiding a presnt in it, or something that will make him giggle.

It's usually- including for yourself- not about trying 'harder', but trying 'different'. If, in fact, you are willing to try at all. And that's a seperate question and involves some degree of committment.
 
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Freida

MyPTSD Pro
I have parts that want to stay, but that is why I suggested separation not divorce. If he gets the space he needs and can treat me better then we will see where things stand. But I can't go on like this where he talks to me this way and my needs are not being met and I don't feel that I can come to him for emotional support because there's so much ambient contempt from him.

suggested it and he said maybe we should do that, and I had a feeling of relief wash over me. My body doesn't want to be here anymore.
These show me that you are figuring out that you deserve better than what he is capable (or willing) to give you -- and that's a good thing. It's not a sign of failure or of giving up. It's a sign that you are finally seeing the impact this relationship is having on you, no matter how hard you try to make it better. Because you can't make it better. There are two people in this -- you and him. You can work your ass off to "fix" things but if he won't try to meet you halfway then it might be time to move on.

You deserve to have the chance to work on you without someone else's drama constantly derailing you. Does that mean throwing him into a sink or swim place and risking that he might drown? Yep. But. It also goes back to putting on your own oxygen mask before you put on someone else's. Being married is supposed to be all about "in sickness and health" but it also allows for self-preservation - and that is the piece you are missing.

It's ok to take care of you - even if the thought of being alone is terrifying
Because the other option? The one you are living now?
No way being on your own can be more painful that that.
 
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