My husband is my biggest trigger, but I can't tell what's really happening.

internal

Sponsor
It's a lot to process.
yes it is. we are often told that domestic abuse sufferers needn't be pushed and shoved into therapy or bluntly told to get out or that they're being abused because 9/10: they already know. and it would just make them feel worse about their situation. and put the blame on them. as john mulaney famously said, "it is so much easier to not do things than to do them." maintaining the status quo. even if you are suffering. is easy.

but the whole purpose of treatment is to shake that up. and that means a lot of processing. that means your whole life is suddenly up in the air. it is challenging. and by taking a pause and focus on yourself and your treatment you are doing yourself and your family a huge service. it will not be easy. but it will be worth it to obtain a better life for all involved.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
That's really good you have that inpatient treatment coming up and can hit pause for a bit with him. And focus on you and your well-being.

You got to do what is right for you. We're anonymous people on the internet. You know you and him and what is healthy for you and what isn't.

Hope this treatment stay helps you.
 

Friday

Moderator
I don't talk about this with other people, not really to the full extent of things. Because I know its wrong. Because I hate myself for letting myself being treated like this... again. Because I'm afraid what people will think - about him. Because I know I wouldnt leave. Because of the good things with him, but also because with him, I would give up on my life as it is now, with all the good stuff too, and I can't handle that right now. Because I love him. Because I don't want to be alone.

And because maybe, I'm exaggerating?
People have different tolerances, needs/wants, desires, & limits.

Personally, about 80% of the stuff sufferers talk about on this site (and how supportive their spouses are with it, or how much they wish their spouses to be supportive about it) I’d leave in a heartbeat, over. Not just nearing dealbreaker territory but waaaaay way way outside the wire. Meanwhile, things other people lose their shit over, and don’t tolerate? Doesn’t bother me in the least, or is even something I consider to be a benefit. Different need/wants & personal preference is all.

Something doesn’t have to be abusive to be something you don’t like, are not okay with, or won’t tolerate it. Exaggerating doesn’t enter into it. You don’t like it, and are not okay with it... but at least until now, have been (and quite likely are still) willing to tolerate it. That’s a very real place. When you are sick and tired of something, and don’t know how much longer you’re willing to tolerate it.

I’m not saying leave, and I’m not saying stay. It’s rarely ever that simple. Your marriage, your life. You get to decide where your boundaries are, what you can tolerate, and for how long. What you love, like, don’t particularly care one way or the other, dislike, and don’t tolerate. That’s different for all of us. There’s no right/wrong answer in that. It’s highly personal. As individual as all of us.

IME... The reasons people stay in a marriage (both the best of them and the worst of them) are complicated. But the reason people leave is nearly always simple; it’s not working.
 

DharmaGirl

MyPTSD Pro
Can you apply for a caregiver?
When I was in full crisis mode and barely concious he left me alone and ate some shoarma. He didnt see to it that I got my regular meds, let alone my crisis meds. When the crisis unit called he didn't even explain how bad it was.
The basic stuff is difficult for me: eating, personal hygiene, etc. I need to manage my energy.
I've been thinking about your situation and I'm wondering if he is able to take over for you when you can't do for yourself if he has issues also. A caregiver would help you do the things you need to do, maybe make up pill packets for you to take your daily meds and crisis med packs when you are in crisis. This would take some pressure off the both of you. He may think that working full time is the perfect balance to you taking care of the domestic things. That's how my ex and I divided the work and I had an infant at home. Many of us want our family and friends to be able to support us, but they simply can't.
I think the biggest problem is that when he get's upset, communication is damn near impossible for him.
He shuts down when he is upset, if you are in crisis he may be shutting down. When you say you need him to tell you what to do, maybe ask when he isn't upset?
I need to know what to expect, he needs to be alone and can't communicate.
So you are answering your own question. What you need to expect is that he will need to be alone and not communicate for a bit.
I've had therapy for quite a while now and my husband has only started recently and not really commiting to it (in a way I would like at least).
Is he committing in a way that he can? Therapy is hard, it may take awhile for him to be fully invested in a way that you would like.

I'm only bringing this stuff up because it seems like you want to stay and work on your marriage. I'm not trying to say anyone is right or wrong, just that there are different ways to view this. It seems to be really hard for both of you, but you love each other and can communicate in an intelligent manner most of the time. Perhaps discuss this with a therapist present? It seems like there is something missing, like when someone starts to say one thing, and their partner hears the same old same old and stops listening.

I hope you can find a way to get through this and find the answer. I wish the best for you.
 

lovak

Confident
@Friday Your post really helped me, about what I can tolerate.
Marriage is always giving and taking, as is any relationship, and none of them have an absolutely perfect balance. I tolerated these things, but I didn't agree with them. I always say so when he acts like this. But yes, I got more from the relationship so I tolerated it. 'It' being that he is working on this very slowly. Not 'it' as I'm okay with it for the long term, I've never been okay or just accepted his (passive)agressive behaviour.

I guess what changed is, that he mentioned he didn't know if he wanted to be in the relationship anymore because of my mental health issues. He has had a really hard time with it, especially when trying to look forward; the future. Most importantly: Kids. I want kids, but only if the both of us can be reliable parents, and at the moment neither of us would be.
Since then I think I have some problems with tolerating his behaviour. He says he wants to stay together, but not 'like this', that he needs some perspective (don't we all?), but places the responsibility on me. I'm trying to be fair here, and his behaviour is changing, slowly, what honestly bugged me but hey, change takes time, I get that. But with him mentioning that 'Time is running out', I get pissed because I'm doing everything I can on my part, and he's mostly avoiding and running. It frustrates me, because I can't do anything about it. It's his pace, that was always fine to me (fine enough at least), but he's the one putting a figurative deadline on it.

@DharmaGirl
How do you mean, apply for a caregiver? I live in The Netherlands, so things might work a bit differently. I am on a list at the mental health crisis unit, and they have my crisismanagementplan on hand. But it can still take hours en hours before they respond, and the last time I wasn't able to speak really, but my husband just gave me the phone (which I threw away because I was out of my mind).

I don't really blame him for how he responded, I get that it can be overwhelming and he really does shut down in crisissituations, or he blows up and gets defensive and agressive. Thing is; we know this. When he gets irritated I usually know to leave him alone and ask him to come talk to me when he's able to. He often neglects to get back at me, which doesnt work for me. So that's a work in progress sort of speak...
When I was in that big crisis, he did shut down, didn't know what to do, crisis unit wasnt really responding and I was in a dissociative state and not responding in any matter he could recognize as 'normal'. I get that that can be a bit overwhelming.

What I do blame him for, is not being prepared on his end. I have a crisismanagementplan, he never really wants to discuss it, so we never really could work out how he could help me in a situation like that. I can say that I need a hug, but when he's too shut down to be able to do that, he can't follow up on the crisisplan. So in the crisisplan are just a few things: Don't leave me alone. Take away sharp objects and alcohol. Make sure I take my medication. Make sure I eat and drink something. Give me my crisismedication. Contact emergencyservices and explain the situation.

He didn't even think about checking the plan, because he's not been part of it, or my recovery. He just acts like it doesnt exist and gets overwhelmed when it slaps him in the face so hard he can't ignore it.

@Movingforward10 Yeah, inpatient treatment can give me a break from the triggers at home. When he gets agressive, I get triggered, which escalates the situation from both ends. We want to be there for eachother but often trigger eachother in the worst ways. At least we always talk it out, we have that going for us ;) I also have a 'Bed on Recipe', if things turn out to be too much back home, I can go the the clinic for three days. I should make use of it more often, but that's that 'realityslap in the face' for my husband, a situation in which he can no longer deny my mental health problems, and that puts a strain on the relationship aswell. It's complicated. Right now, he thinks inpatient treatment is a good idea for the both of us to get a break.

---
Anyways, we talked yesterday. We're going to drink a cup of coffee, he's open to discussing how he can be more involved in my crisismanagementplan and how he's going to be able to use it. I think the most important thing is that if he's not able to take care of me when I am in crisis, he needs to make that known with the crisisunit in the area so they can take over.
He also agreed on making another appointment with his therapist (he hasnt had an appointment for nearly two months), to discuss what HE needs from me when he gets angry, or shut down. He pretty much wants to act like it never happened, every time it does happen. He agreed on trying to reflect a bit more so maybe he knows what he can do better, and what I can do or shouldnt do in that situation.
Basically, we're just going to sit down and figure out what we CAN do, and CAN'T handle, and figure out how we are going to support eachother without going under ourselves.

We have couples counceling in two weeks again. I still want to bring this up, and I really want to prepare what I say. He's very insecure and hears criticizm everywhere, when it's REALLY not even there. (Even a sincere compliment isn't easily received). I'm going to take this up at inpatient.

I don't think I want to label our situation as domestic abuse. I think our intentions are good but our communications fail. I don't approve of agressive behaviour and he knows it. We are both commited to change, and maybe I should give him more space and time to do this at his own pace. At the same time, his behaviour sets my recovery back. I can still tolerate that I guess, (because the alternative - splitting up - would set be back WAAAAAAY further), when he acknowledges that and gives me space and time to figure things out aswell.
 

DharmaGirl

MyPTSD Pro
Wow, it sounds like you have worked through a lot and are getting somewhere with this. I'm glad you told me you were from the Netherlands, I don't know how you would get a caregiver there. A friend of mine here in the states has one, and it really helps keep her needs met. I hope you can get the help you need to make this work. I totally get how hard it is to find someone to converse with when you are really intelligent and how wonderful it is to find someone. Best of luck to you!
 

PTSDisaster

Confident
Everything you wrote sounds the same as my relationship with my boyfriend, except the fact that he doesn't see that he has issues. I'm really sorry you're going through this.. May I ask you where you're going for treatment? I'm from The Netherlands as well and I've been thinking about some treatments but the current waitinglist is 33(!!) weeks, and I'm also very much worried about; What if my partner likes it when I'm not at home and breaks up with me because he likes life without me?
 

grit

MyPTSD Pro
There are a lot of emotional stuff so I will stay more on the logic of things:
Do you have a therapist? I ask because only a person who is working with you closely may see the details above and beyond the projections, re-enactments, trauma-bonding and codependencies and guide you to peaceful mindset so you can focus on you!

Marriage is really a gift of life or grief of life.

A gift when it works and helps us recover and grow as human in a loving environment while we also work through any sort of thwarted developmental issues for anyone really.
It is a grief when we completely and utterly get into a bind of repetitive behaviour where we both trigger exactly what we need to recover from and we work against each other rather than work with each other.

From your multiple postings, I think there is a level of cooperation in your marriage but I also think there is an extreme level of symbiotic in both of you.

Obviously I do not have a solution...how could I? but I am hoping for you that you find the right support system to extract yourself so you can see yourself clearly without you observing yourself from his gaze! Extremely difficult especially since you practically left an abuse house to another unsafe environment.
 

WonderWriter

Confident
This might be a long read, have to get some shit out I guess.

Some background info. I have Cptsd from childhood neglect and emotional abuse by my parents, and sexual abuse in infancy and teen years by a couple of different perps. I met my husband 11 years ago, we've been together since. We were both in a bad situation when we met, we grew together, we were fine, got married and bought a house, made a career.
Three years ago, my trauma's decided that 'this is the time to get through all this shit', and things have been pretty bad since then.

I've come to realize I've always been the one to carry the relationship. The practical things, but also the emotional things. Also; staying calm in an argument because my husband has some anger issues.... yeah. Red flag. He's never physically hit me or sexually abused me, nowhere near it! And I think I've always thought that it wasn't so bad then.
But he can get mean. Passive agressive. He throws stuff, he shouts, he scoffs at me. He gets irritated, frustrated, and angry.

He rarely ever says he's sorry. Not because he doesn't want to, I can see him struggling with it. He's been practicing it though. So he often does say sorry. Thing is, that's all he says. He gives me a hug and says he's sorry. That's just not enough after hours of being bat shit angry. At least, i want to share how it makes me feel. I want my voice to be heard, my feelings and thoughts to be allowed. And then he gets mad when only the word 'sorry' isnt enough for me to melt back down into relaxation.

After two years of me begging, pleading, he finally agreed to go talk to someone. Me being mentally unstable and unable to do everything required to like... live a decent life, meant he had to step up a bit. Really, a bit. I still do finances, bills, groceries, cooking, housework, insurancestuff, carstuff etc. He has to manage trash, basically. But we needed to turn things around, and he can't handle.. well, life. He's depressed, burnt out, I don't know what. He's not in a good place, that's for sure, and he's finally talking to someone, but he's not actually commiting to it. He has an appointment every month or so, and besides that, doesn't invest any time or energy. He doesnt even know his counceler's name.
We're also in couples counceling since a couple of months, but we haven't touched the big stuff yet.

What makes matters worse is that, a couple of weeks ago, my husband stated he didnt know if he wanted to continue this marriage. At the time, I understood, I couldnt blame him. I don't know what our future will be like, I don't know if I'll get stable enough to be able to raise kids. (BUT, I've always told him I would never, ever, have kids with him if he doesnt resolve his anger issues.)
I was mostly crying. He was crying too. We weren't angry. We love eachother.

But now, honestly. I'm PISSED. I'm frustrated. But mostly angry.
He insists I need to get better. He finally agreed to be part of my recovery. We agree on something, but he doesnt do it. When I was in full crisis mode and barely concious he left me alone and ate some shoarma. He didnt see to it that I got my regular meds, let alone my crisis meds. When the crisis unit called he didn't even explain how bad it was.
The basic stuff is difficult for me: eating, personal hygiene, etc. I need to manage my energy. We agreed on lunching together this week ( he has a week off work). He just decides he's not hungry. Or says he's busy and doesn't tell me when we ARE going to eat.
He gets angry when I tell him I don't like it when he just ignores what we said we would do and can't even give me some clarity on when we WILL do it for example.
And then at the end of the day, when I'm just tired of having to adapt to him all the time, he get's angry, again. And I have to take my Haldol to not have a goddamn psychotic break.

The thing is. He's got issues. But every goddamn time he displays these issues, I get reaaaaaaal angry. Because he always tells me how MY ISSUES are what's causing the disruption of are future. MY ISSUES are the problem. When I tell him his issues affect me too, and set back my recovery, he gets passive agressive. He says that his issues don't compare to mine, that they shouldnt even be a point of discussion because I'M the real problem here.
So everytime his issues come up now, I just can't. I can't. I don't want to be there for him. He can't be there for me, and blames me for everything. I feel angry, alone, scared. Everything. Scared mostly because he's unpredictable, but now, very angry. Why should I keep adapting to his aggressive behaviour with - if i'm lucky - óne sorry at the end?

I get stuck in it.
Right now, he's been pissed off for over four hours because he bought shoes he decided he didn't want. He ignores me. He slams the doors. He says he doesnt want to be home. He says he doesnt want to do anything. When I ask him if I should cook (he was supposed to cook this time, because the shopping trip we did was quite exhausting), he doesnt even respond en just walks away. He shouted at the cats, and for a moment I got angry but then I just got scared and froze along with them.
1. I get these responses. I know they can happen. I don't really blame him for it, I got shit going on too.
2. What I do blame him for is that he doesnt take responsibility for his actions. His anger - or later, his shame -, always trumps how I feel.
3. I never take anything out on him. And honestly, I don't want to tell the worst things to anyone because I'm ashamed I let them happen. I think that tells me enough about how right or wrong those things are.
4. If I do talk to him about this, say that I can't accept what he does, he always turns it around to be my fault.

And thats where it hurts.
I'm in a relationship with my damn parents. My feelings and needs aren't met. He can't comfort me. He'll almost never owns up to what he did wrong, and he's certainly not taking steps to change something.
At the same time, I get scared that it IS my fault. That I'm really that 'sensitive', as my parents used to say.
The funny thing is, my husband is really mad at my parents for how they treated me. He doesn't really see the similarities.

I do. And my body does it before I do. Because I get triggered all the damn time.

And how to continue? I don't know. I don't want to live in a relationship where my psychiatric issues are used against me: Where I'm told I perceive things wrong. Where my husband uses my weaknesses as his immunityshield; Because my problems are 'worse', he can't do anything wrong. (By the way, according to my husband, he still functions because he still works, and I don't. So that's something I hear all the time. I'm working on myself, I'm still carrying all the responsibility for the household, but ok).
Where my husband can't comfort me. Where I'm still very much alone. My husband doesnt even hug me half of the time when I'm scared, or sad. He just walkes away. Or worse, he just stands a few steps away from me, not responding in any way. He really doesnt know what to do. But he also doesn't seem to want to learn.

Am I really in a bad relationship? Do I get triggered because it IS somehow the same situation or do I just perceive it as such?

In any way, how the hell am I going to go on? When I am so f*cking pissed because all fault is with me, according to him.

So this became more of a rant. I don't expect you guys to have the answer. I'm just tired because I'm starting to realize why I'm not improving much. My husband is home from work and honestly? His 'moods' affect way more of our time than my 'issues'. And my body just. wont. relax. Not around him. Not around that bomb that could go off, and go on for God knows how long.
He's home. We were supposed to spent time and energy to put in our relationship and somehow I feel further and further away from him.

I want to work on it. He says he does too. But it's just words, it's been just words for years. I'm so goddamn tired.
I truly feel for you! I’m in a somewhat similar situation, but my husband refuses to go to therapy. I’m getting ready to leave, and it’s been frustrating trying to find a place, but I’m starting a higher paying position soon that will help. I hope you find peace and the ability to eventually be grateful for the opportunity to become stronger once you have a chance to heal.
 
When you first met and started out on your marriage journey, both of you were in very difficult situations. Somehow, you both managed to forge a secure relationship and make a success of the marriage. However. This came at the expense (to both of you) through each burying all those past traumas, the memories, the emotions and everything that goes with a history such as yours.

For a long period, both of you have managed to suppress those past events and focus on a successful, co-operative marriage.

Reading further, the marriage and the relationship with your husband seriously has many positive, loving aspects. Your individual experiences could be the main driver of the friction within your marriage. You want to get through all the past trauma. However. Like clearing out a cupboard after a length of time - the more you try to clear, the more there seems to be.

Our minds are just the same. You are the one carrying the relationship. Your first post appears to contain much of the anger, whilst the second post gives a more positive outlook. We often say or write things in the heat of the moment. Maybe your husband is used to you 'carrying the relationship'. He sits back, says nothing and can only make these so-called gestures because he can't express himself clearly. There's a start. Somehow. Your husband needs to learn how to communicate more clearly how he feels about something. Expressive gestures as a mere suggestion of how he feels just isn't enough. He needs to address that.

Maybe underneath it all, he wants to tell you something. There's something he wants (or needs) to say, but - for whatever reason - he can't say it. He seems genuinely sorry for his behaviour, but just can't express it. His behaviour leaves you feeling unheard, neglected and wondering what you have said or done wrong.

Try to focus on your own needs and psychological well-being first. This may help you to tackle the marriage issues later on. Whilst you are worrying about your husband, that distraction turns the attention to him, rather than you. Put yourself first. The changes your husband needs to make will be based upon what he really wants to do. For him. He needs to manage his own change. If he wants to. Concentrate on what you want out of this marriage. What is it you really want?

Your experience of neglect, emotional and sexual abuse by different people will have impacted on later aspects of your life, such as your marriage. Both you and your husband were in a bad situation when you first met. A mutual attraction quickly formed. It's likely both of you were looking for some stability in your lives and found a high level of similarity within each other. At the same time, you both managed to suppress the memories of those past experiences and move forward with your partnership. However. Over the course of time, neither of you have really addressed those buried issues which have - due to the positive elements of your marriage - been kept under control. His issues coming to light....Your issues coming to light.....A volatile combination becomes inevitable....

With regards to your well-being and personal care management - such as taking your meds - try taking steps to organise this for yourself. Don't rely on your husband as he may see this as an advantage to be in control. This may help to begin a journey towards independence - which is still an important part of a relationship. Arrange counselling for yourself, to explore how you feel about the marriage from your point of view and discuss the issues you are dealing with. You may find a deeper level of confidence without your husband being present and be able to explore further and find out what you really want.

Taking care of the physical elements of life can be hard when dealing with mental health issues. Personal health and hygiene can suffer neglect because of this. As many of us experience, there's that feeling of just not wanting to bother. It's finding that motivation which can only come from ourselves. There are times when we become a little too reliant on someone, to a point they can take advantage. Doing these chores demonstrates your ability to aim towards more self-dependence. At present, your positive aspects are being mainly used for looking after someone who is more than capable of looking after himself - if he so chooses.

It seems your husband has been dealing with mental health issues for a substantial period of time. It's the question of whether he instigates your triggers without intention or if he is covertly doing this on purpose. Either way. Your husband will need to seek help for his own behaviour. Not all of your husband's behaviour seems to be an intentional assault upon you. It seems there are times when he can't express how he feels. The scoffing, throwing stuff, shouting, anger, irritation and frustration are all elements of him not being confident enough to express how he feels. Is this his way of telling you he's unhappy about something? When your husband decides to throw something across the room, try asking...."Is that a yes or no?"....Or...."I take it you're not happy with that suggestion?".....

Supposedly. You could do the same with his other behaviours. If he seems angry, irritated or whatever. You could try....."I'm picking up that you're not comfortable with the idea of....." Reading up on dealing with passive aggression and assertiveness may also help in this situation. What does your husband want? He can't express himself. Perhaps he just daren't say too much. Is the subject of having children causing a rift in this marriage? Is this something your husband is very secretly trying to express? At least your husband is attempting to seek help through counselling. It's likely that he is having the same difficulty being able to discuss his issues with a counsellor. If anything, it's probably even harder because he can't exactly behave the same way towards the counsellor as he does you.

Your husband seems to care deeply for you. He's mad at your parents. Is he looking for someone else to blame for how things are at present?

The couples counselling may benefit your husband more because you will be there to help motivate him. With you possibly interacting more with the counsellor, there may be a higher chance of your husband being more co-operative. Some people are not motivated to do activities alone. They need someone to go with them. There are so many positive aspects to the relationship, such as the conversation, cinema and going out on the leisure trips (Covid restrictions allowing). From what you write in later posts, your marriage has so many positive aspects. It could be worth asking if the whole concept of the marriage agrees with you both. Would some time apart with a view to just socialising be worth considering? It may be worth you both reflecting on your marriage when it first started. How did you both feel back then? What were your original plans? How did you go about your day to day lives and what made you both happy as a couple? At what point did you both feel that things were beginning to deteriorate within your marriage? How did you resolve issues in your past? Have things just built up over the years?

It seems that both your husband and yourself seriously need to address your own personal issues first. Then there's the issue of finding a way to communicate with each other, which could be achieved through the marriage counselling. As you have said, there are times when you both can have serious, intelligent conversations with each other. Is it that certain subjects create an emotional barrier? At present, you're having 'good and bad days' which mean your opinions on the marriage will at times be positive and negative. There seems to be a good, positive case for this marriage to work successfully.

Seriously consider the options and both explore the difficulties in your marriage, yet also highlight the many positive aspects of it. That way, you may be pleasantly surprised to find that it is worth you both fighting for.

Whether you do this together or apart, both of you need to address some very deep, personal issues first. If having some time apart will help in any way - as it can give a different perspective for both partners - then try that. It does seem to be the main problem that is ruining a good, solid marriage and possibly a loving relationship is a matter of not being able to communicate exactly what you want. There seems to be a lot going on at the moment in your marriage and your lives. However. When you've worked on the traumas of your past experiences, you can both work towards a calmer relationship and find yourselves at greater peace with each other.
 
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