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

HealingMama

Sponsor
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.

^^ 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?

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.

^^ 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?)

^^ 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?

^^ 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.

^^ 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.

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?

^^ 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.
Thank you so much. You have given me a lot of good food for thought that I need to sit with and think about. I am not his legal caregiver but he has never lived alone. When we spoke of separating before I said perhaps the recognition that your family isn't there would help motivate you and remind you of what is at stake. In a calmer moment he admitted to me that would likely not happen. He'd just disappear. I think it's also easier when you have learned helplessness to back down and let others take care of things, so that the others have to sit with guilty feelings when they hand it back.

(In that sense it's absolutely like Al Anon issues!! The main difference is not knowing what is really in their capacity and what isn't.)

The thing is, I have ADHD too, I need accommodation too, I am trying to herd cats with limited resources. It is just tiresome.

@Freida you are absolutely right once again - it is a lot to think about. Problem is I can't tell if he IS making an effort and I do not see it or give credit, or if I see what he is doing fully and it just isn't enough, or it should be enough and I am sabotaging or letting my PTSD run me too much, etc etc.

Like today he texted from work and said he doesn't hate me, he hates my behavior sometimes but not me as a person, and all my motivation to separate just disappeared because apparently I just needed his approval and affirmation? Insert barf emoji because that is so childish, but then again I am working with child parts right now so it makes sense.

When you grow up with a narcissist it is not easy to hold to a unique perspective, in my case I am overly influence-able. Part of my boundary problems - people can feed me their realities and I take them as my own. Some of this was getting better in therapy... we were working on leaving others' truths with them and focusing on our own... something about internet pile-on situations breaks my coping skills for that stuff.

It's just so hard to know what is true and not true when I can convince myself of anything.
 

Freida

MyPTSD Pro
Like today he texted from work and said he doesn't hate me, he hates my behavior sometimes but not me as a person, a
So let's talk healthy relationship...
If hubby and I had a fight like this?
It would be worded "honey I love you, but sometimes your behavior is challenging for me to deal with. Let's talk about it when I get home'

Starting with "I don't hate you"?
ya...no.

It's just so hard to know what is true and not true when I can convince myself of anything.
I can't imagine how hard that must be. 🫂
 

HealingMama

Sponsor
So let's talk healthy relationship...
If hubby and I had a fight like this?
It would be worded "honey I love you, but sometimes your behavior is challenging for me to deal with. Let's talk about it when I get home'

Starting with "I don't hate you"?
ya...no.


I can't imagine how hard that must be. 🫂
He didn't start the conversation that way. First I said "thank you for responding even though you're busy and hate me right now. I understand that must be difficult for you." He was responding to me.

He says he doesn't hate me but his actions feel like they communicate hate.

Oh @Rosebud to your earlier question, my son goes to daycare and my husband can shoulder primary parenting in bursts, but with a possible divorce in my future going inpatient for mental health isn't a good look. My husband has considerably greater issues "on paper" should it come to that, but I don't want to risk anything. If I can have a meltdown from intense self loathing and cry for a few hours and then move on without hurting myself, I don't "need" inpatient. I like the idea of someone else being responsible for me for a long weekend. I like the idea of maybe getting a long amount of therapy while I'm already tired and broken bc that means my defenses are down and maybe I can have a breakthrough.

But my T keeps saying stay in your window of tolerance which is kind of the opposite of that 🤷 I should know by now that shame doesn't heal anything. It doesn't make anyone grow.

So yes, self care. No more forums today. A nice meal, a game, maybe a book, a reason to laugh.
 

Rosebud

MyPTSD Pro
@HealingMama , I don't think repairs or apologies fit any particular mold, what is important is the reaching out, sincerity and honesty. It's ok to say to him thank you back, and that you also have felt hurt. If he acknowledges his anger, it opens another window- not just of tolerance, but a window of opportunity. What steps can be taken for the future?

Glad to hear with your son. His welfare and safety trumps pretty much everything.
 
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