Piecing things together


Husband shoved the coffee table across the room again last night. He also mocked me for explaining that his previous intimidating act was a bit traumatic and poor timing since I am in the thick of really difficult trauma work for childhood issues. I was proud of myself for remaining regulated through the original conflict. He did apologize the next morning. It was very upsetting to see him do the same thing again. If you apologize for something then immediately do it again, the apology doesn't seem genuine.

I am now requesting that he get anger management. I do not know if I am overreacting. I suspect he feels justified to behave like this based on some assumptions or beliefs he has about me. I found this article that seems to describe what happened. I am sure I have biases and blind spots but I believe he acted out because his self-image felt threatened. In his mind he was being a good partner, but when I tried to articulate what I was asking of him, he did not listen. He heard me calling him inadequate and acted out. Or maybe he thought I wasn't listening and got very frustrated. It's hard to listen when you're upset at someone for not listening to you, and they just keep pushing their agenda or trying to prove you wrong instead of trying to hear you.

In the past I have attempted to make requests like this but my parts were not all on the same page so I would forget to hold him accountable. I am hopeful that now I am a bit more internally cohesive, we can all be on the same page about this. There were times he could have rightfully demanded I get anger management help. But he didn't. I am not wrong for asking for something to make the relationship feel safe just because he chose not to ask for it himself when my actions were more chaotic and difficult.

He apologized last night for getting angry. He apologized this morning for falling asleep (presumably that means he planned to come back later to discuss what had happened but he never said he would do that). I think he tried to apologize a second time before he went to work. But my body can't respond to him normally now. I am shut down, numb and zoning out whenever it's just the two of us there. He says he is sorry and I say ok. That is all I can say. He came to the room briefly to say he was sorry, I said ok and when he left I had a panic attack and burst into tears. That's my body reacting to the way he's acted the last two days. I am trying to honor and respect that - even if my beliefs are distorted in some way, my body is intelligent and I need to respect these signals of fear. That is what leads to having appropriate boundaries that a person can hold consistently which is something we need.

Now I want to process my own thoughts and feelings that have contributed to this problem.

I have a very hard time with what I feel is creating an ideal environment for my partner's needs to be met, and then when I attempt to get my needs met, he sabotages the situation. He is emotionally unavailable and has intimacy issues, gets defensive, is super reactive, etc. I keep thinking if I can just be his version of a perfect partner for long enough then I will "earn" a time when a simple conversation can happen without this escalating crap. I am not ready to accept that he will just never have the capacity to give me a simple relationship/emotion/needs conversation - no matter how sweet I am otherwise, how kind, how generous and patient and supportive, no matter how gently I broach the topic, no matter how well I use "I messages" and avoid blaming statements - doesn't matter, I can do everything perfectly and he still won't show up in this way. I get very very upset about this. I have very shaming thoughts about it too. I try not to share them because that won't help anything but I do think, why can't he just learn these skills he is missing so he can have a normal adult conversation!! It's not that hard!! What I want is normal and he is depriving me of something that is reasonable to expect in a marriage!!

Fact: men get flooded much faster than women.
Fact: my partner may be autistic and may have alexithymia in addition to known ADHD which means "normal" expectations are probably not realistic
Fact: he is still responsible for his actions and could make effort to learn skills that he is missing to be able to have these conversations without needing to turn it into a huge drama
Fact: being unable to talk to your partner in a healthy way and get a healthy response is an understandable desire
Fact: it is normal to grieve when we realize there is a loss, and being hit with the reality that he can't or won't show up for me like this is a loss.
Fact: i could learn to disappear and process the angry feelings, deal with the grief, and then I would be better resourced to problem solve the situation.
Fact: thinking about how inadequate someone is because they are reacting to their feelings of inadequacy is not going to help the situation.
Fact: I have intimacy issues of my own, and if he did magically start to respond the way I want him to, I would probably activate some kind of distancing strategies on my end.

I need to not accept his story about things. I need to stand grounded in my own truth as my therapist is teaching me to do. I am creating an environment that is conducive to the type of communication I want. Therefore, it is not on me, if he is not providing it. This is his own issues. His own fear, shame, etc.

I am sure there is more but that's all I can address for now.
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We talked. He will do therapy for his anger. He is opposed to taking a class for anger management though. He said he doesn't understand why I want that. I explained I believe in DV class they help people understand that they blame their partners for their emotions, reactions, behaviors and maybe if he hears how wrong that is in a group setting it will lead to actual change because I've said it and he's still doing it. I could see from his face that he realizes he was doing some blame shifting. So that's good I guess.

I also realize a lot of this happened because my expectations are currently unrealistic. Due to the trauma work and the fact he looks a fair bit like my dad I'm finding minor things very triggering in a way that I haven't before or if I have it's been a long time. I'll probably make a thread about that. I'm sure others have figured this out.

Also I was curious last night I had taken some Xanax and I could still talk to my parts. So that's cool. I'm glad that I don't lose them.