Therapy and Re-enactment - I’m worried

WonderWriter

Confident
I’ve been recently diagnosed with cPTSD due to an abusive, narcissistic, schizophrenic father. Unfortunately typical, I married someone who is not exactly like my dad but has similar traits. I’m concerned this will negatively impact my therapy. Has anyone else experienced this? I’m afraid it may cause more stress 😳
 

grit

MyPTSD Pro
I am sorry you are worried which is natural. Just therapy itself can bring up so many unwanted feelings. But I am confused about the connection between your spouse and the therapy in relation to your past...maybe I am misunderstanding.
 

Muttly

MyPTSD Pro
I'm not completely sure why it would negatively impact therapy. If I am missing something, I apologize. If you're relationship with your husband is abusive, that's going to be the first goal in therapy. Getting you safe. After that, therapy is the place to work things out. Talk of your current relationship will probably be connected to the relationship you had with your father so that you will be working on PTSD issues. Is that what you are looking for?
 

WonderWriter

Confident
My husband is not physically abusive, but he emotionally abuses me (withholding affection & intimacy and refuses to compromise) and his mom (whom lives with us) is verbally abusive at times. Does this help?
 

Muttly

MyPTSD Pro
So, I'm not sure how it will negatively impact therapy. It will need to be addressed in therapy because it's impacting your mental health. It's not realistic to deal with PTSD issues and ignore current issues. But addressing current issues, is also a way of dealing with the PTSD. Understand the repeating patterns your are currently in and determining what will help those patterns, is a step towards healing.
 

scout86

MyPTSD Pro
It's pretty common for someone who grew up with a dysfunctional parental relationship to go on to other, similar, dysfunctional relationships. A lot of people here share that experience. It will be familiar territory for a good therapist. That part I wouldn't expect to be a problem. Your spouse and your mother-in-law might be a different matter. There's every chance that your husband thought you'd be a good partner because of what you learned "normal" was as a kid. It's entirely possible he won't like, or be supportive of, the "new and improved" you. That happens. But it doesn't ALWAYS happen. It wouldn't be a bad topic to discuss with your therapist.
 

grit

MyPTSD Pro
Yes that helps.

Re-enactment in therapy usually means you may re-enact your past with the therapist so that is why I was confused. I am proponent of those with mental health issues have also more resilient we give credit for. So with that all said, and acknowledging you may not be in a safe environment or in safe relationship, you should still go to therapy. I think that there is a big part of you that wants help and support and until that part gets strong and makes decision for your life, a therapist can support you. It is never the therapist or anyone job to make you do anything. I honestly do not think no matter how unsafe your relationship is, only you can decide when to leave if that is what you want (as long as there is no violence against a person), and as you get healthier and stronger, you may leave or you may change the dynamics of what you have (the mother moves out and the husband changes or leaves etc - it can happen)...so I admire your strive for a better life and health while you are dealing with yet another bad hand in life.

Therapy will be hard but I think you are going in with your eyes open so that helps. At least you are not in denial that you are in safe relationship.

I wish you all the best.
 

Skywatcher

MyPTSD Pro
Over the last four years of therapy, my relationship with my husband has evolved. I married someone with avoidant attachment (I have insecure attachment). I used to not tell him any of my feelings. I hid therapy from my kids. Over time, I started telling him small things here and there. He would get nervous about my therapist’s judgement, but I kept telling him that the therapy isn’t about him, it’s about me and my past traumas. If I could name the biggest benefit that therapy has brought me, it’s improvement in my relationship with my husband, kids and myself. I didn’t even realize how much improvement I needed, but trauma had “closed” me. Therapy has opened me enough to let people in. I started with letting my therapist in.

I can’t predict how things will change for you, but it takes time and it will work itself out. My therapist once told me how beautiful it is when she has witnessed family members tell each other that they love each other for the first time ever. I have also read about moments when people in bad irreparable situations gain strength to move on. There is good in therapy.
 

Mach123

MyPTSD Pro
Oh I understand this. You are recognizing the pattern. It won’t negatively impact therapy anymore than anything else, in fact it’s what you are in therapy for. If you hadn’t married your husband you would’ve found someone else just like him or worse.
That’s how I see it or that’s my experience of it. It’s all a big giant re enactment. This is a blanket and crude overview and might seem insensitive because it’s not considering you and your situation individually but this is my experience of it. The trauma shell is another euphemism for it. Trauma is all I see because I’m looking at a reflection. The people who might be good for me are invisible or I’m instinctively repulsed by them.

Its difficult, but not impossible.
 

WonderWriter

Confident
Oh I understand this. You are recognizing the pattern. It won’t negatively impact therapy anymore than anything else, in fact it’s what you are in therapy for. If you hadn’t married your husband you would’ve found someone else just like him or worse.
That’s how I see it or that’s my experience of it. It’s all a big giant re enactment. This is a blanket and crude overview and might seem insensitive because it’s not considering you and your situation individually but this is my experience of it. The trauma shell is another euphemism for it. Trauma is all I see because I’m looking at a reflection. The people who might be good for me are invisible or I’m instinctively repulsed by them.

Its difficult, but not impossible.
Not insensitive at all. Thank you for the insight. I wanted to think positive even though I’m dealing with trauma and abuse past and present.
 

Mach123

MyPTSD Pro
Positive thinking is what it comes down to sometimes I think, but I recognize when people are depressed they really can’t. I remember very distinctly in my forties when I arrived at the absolute certainty no matter what I did I was always going to work myself right back into the same place, because my thinking was bringing me there.

Well I since learned I was right, but not my thinking. A re enactment isn’t thinking. Something else I know for certain is the harder I resist the more locked in I am.

But I’m here still. There is a lot of good. If I slip into trauma mode, I can’t see anything clearly. Sometimes now I can laugh when it happens. Less of a robot.

I hope your situation will improve. I hope you’ll face less abuse in your present.
 
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