Wounds from Childhood Trauma Threaten Marriage

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ArtHeals
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2011
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 8/20/2011 12:56 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi,  I joined because I need help and have no one I can talk to about this.  I was abused by my mother from the time I was 12 until I was 21. My father was an alcoholic, cold, distant and emotionally abusive.  I am now 52, a special education teacher and fairly successful painter, with two loving, sweet grown sons. I have been married 28 yrs. and I seem to have a wonderful life.  Most of the time, in fact, I feel very blessed.   I went to a therapist 25 yrs. ago and thought I had dealt with all the pain from the abuse, but recently, after an awful visit with my mother a month ago, I'm suddenly feeling very infantile emotionally.  Over the years we've put the past behind us, but, on this recent visit, she attacked me verbally, calling me all the old names she used to and attempting to reduce me to the helpless victim I once was. I think she succeeded. I'm having nightmares and my feeling of worthlessness and fear of abandonment have come back. I think I've been difficult to live with. I seem to just be looking for signs that my husband doesn't care about me and, of course, since you always find what you look for, I find them.  I scrutinze every nuance of every interaction with him and I know I'm being ridiculous.  I just can't get rid of the gnawing pain that I have inside. On three occasions, he's gotten very angry with me and we
've had horrible fights. Once it was because he thought I'd lost my cell phone and it turned out that he's put it in his briefcase, thinking it was his.  When I tried to explain that I didn't think I'd lost it, he ridiculed me for being an "airhead" and called me defensive. In each of the arguments, I've reacted by trying to talk rationally (at first) about whatever caused each of the conflicts.  This infuriates him and he always says that I need to "shut up."  Of course, then I panic and keep begging him to be patient, forgive me, hold me, help me...you name it. I'm pathetic.  This always ends up with him calling me unprintable names and telling me I'm just as crazy as my mother and that he hates his life.  He's such a sweet, supportive guy to everyone else.  He even bought a house fpr my sister and her two children.  Most of the time he's a wonderful husband: thoughtful, successful, a great father, and he's proud of me as a teacher and an artist. Most of the time, he says he thinks he's a lucky guy. After all these years he still thinks I'm beautiful and he tells me this often. We truly enjoy each other (when we're not fighting).  He seems genuinely upset by what my mother did, and cried,  when he heard the things she said to me recently. I just seem to bring out the worst in him and he loses his temper and says things that kill my soul. I don't know how to stop this cycle, and my pain is growing unbearable. I've tried all my life to help other people, and, when I need someone, I have nobody. I can't talk to my sister or my friends because I'm so ashamed of being this weak. I've gone on so long, you're probably sick of listening to me too. I feel completely alone and sad.

JessiB
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2011
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 8/20/2011 1:36 PM (GMT -6)   
Dear Art Heals:
You probably get this all the time- well maybe not because you do not get to release any of this information or "vent" is what I call it because you really said you do not have anyone to talk to- I am really sympathetic for your pain. My name is Jessica. I do not know the rules to any of this chat or forum or if this is supposed to be confidential- but I am only 25. It feels as if though you are not looking for sympathy though- you are looking for a friend. You are looking for someone- just a random stranger somewhere in the world that will not judge you because they have not been through or seen the things that you have- that does not know you or your life style- that is free of judgement that you are just free to be yourself- deep down inside- that you can say anything in the world to- and not be worried of consequences. It is really great to have someone to do that with.

I couldnt imagine having gone through anything that you had mentioned above- again I sympathize for you- I am only 25 and feel as though I have lived a thousand life times already and have been through some very severe struggles myself- but I will save my struggles for another day. I saw your post on here- read it- and for some reason felt the strong sense to post back. Honestly I am not a religious nut- and I beg your pardon and mean no offense if you are : )- I assure you I am sane even in pure insanity sometimes- but I just needed to say something to you. Even if it was just hello and how are you- but something to let you know that you are not alone- and if you wanted to write back- then you have someone that is willing to listen. I will be on again soon and will check in to see how your progressing. Please try to hang in there- one day at a time.

ArtHeals
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2011
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 8/20/2011 1:57 PM (GMT -6)   
Thank you Jessica. You are a very kind person and it does help to know you're out there listening. I believe that some "force" puts certain people together for a reason, and I'm very grateful you were put in my path. Don' t worry; I will definitely hang on. I'm too old and stubborn to quit now. I'm just tired today.

getting by
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 42612
   Posted 8/20/2011 2:38 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi ArtHeals, and Jessica,

I just wanted to welcome both of you to the forum. I am so glad that you both have joined. This is a safe place to come and share your stories. I have made a lot of friends here.

ArtHeals, I honestly believe that the 50's are our healing years. A doctor once told me that it was our 40's, but I believe it is the 50's. I hope it is for you. I am 52 and feel like I have been healing. I am contented with my life and things go rather smoothly for me. Though I don't do a lot so there isn't a lot that can go wrong.

I hope that you can find a way to let go of the past and not let effect your life now. Try to take one day at a time and live in the moment. It really helps. Keep posting and know that everybody cares about you. It is a little slower here on the weekends. But sometimes you find a few people posting.

Take care, keep posting. Know that we all struggle and understand, and we all care about you.

Hugs, Karen
 
PS I had a mother like yours and eventually she effected my health.  I had to seperate myself from her.  That could be an option.
Moderator-Depression and fibromyalgia


fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression, allergies

ArtHeals
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2011
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 8/20/2011 3:01 PM (GMT -6)   
Thank you, Karen. You and Jessica have made me feel less weak, and, for some reason, staying strong is important to me. Your words sound so reassuring and your advice to take one day at a time make me feel like it is possible to get thorough this. In the world pf special education, we call that "breaking a task into manageable steps." I think can do that. I'll try to just keep getting thorough the next step and the next, and maybe that way the fear won't seem so black and devouring.

ArtHeals
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2011
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 8/21/2011 7:06 AM (GMT -6)   
Thank you so much for taking time to answer me, Sue. You do seem to understand and I think the worst part of what I'm feeling is the aloneness of it. The very reason I can't talk to anyone about this is that my friends and family are used to coming to me for mothering, and they have no idea how small and worthless I feel right now. It's a relief to hear your insight into my husband too. I've been with this man for nearly 30 years and we must be doing something right to still actually be in love after all these years. Our children tell us we set the bar too high for romance. I know he's not a perfect man, but to feel so demeaned by his anger is scary. I guess it just hurts that he can't be there for me when I need him. He's had his own insecurities and pain, being a prostate cancer survivor. For about two years, he wasn't his usual strong self and often confided his fears of inadequacy to me. I always tried to comfort him and it hurt me terribly to see him question himself and to be in such anguish. I guess I just wish that he felt that way about me. But, I will go back to therapy to help me get through this. I contacted 3 therapists in my area yesterday and I will try to set up an appt. as soon as possible. I need to find a way to cope when the panic of abandonment overcomes me, so that I can just keep from coming at my husband and pushing him even farther away. Thank you again. Pleas know that you have helped.

JessiB
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2011
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 8/21/2011 10:33 PM (GMT -6)   
I am very glad that you have found a few good people to talk to artheals. SUE you seem to have infinite wisdom- a person that I really need to befriend : )- You sound like a person with a load of experience yourself and have been through a lot of things that would normally scare people. No one should ever have to go through these things alone- and then carry a burden so bad like this by themselves with no one to talk to- and this is why I am so glad that I stumbled upon this website. I had thought about you a couple of times yesterday after I had posted on here art- and I wanted to check and see how you were doing tonite- and like I said- I am very glad that you are doing "better" than you were yesterday.

Sometimes it is better to find someone to talk to. Even if you dont think you need it- just to have someone to "vent" to can be a huge rush of relief and may take a couple of times of doing so- but will be well worth it to get everything off of your mind and out of your weighed down heart. Things that start to hurt like panick attacks in your heart will subside and you will start to feel like a sense of cleansing- like you can look at yourself a little longer in the mirror everday.

The things you have been through with your mother- should never have happened to you. Life is not what any of us want it to be. My mother used to try to tell me to forgive and forget- but the truth is that you can forgive- but no matter what you do- no matter how much you drink- or how crazy your life gets- you will never forget. You have to take it one day at a time and struggle to work through it. The struggle sometimes feels like it isnt worth it- but ultimately your life is worth it- and you will pull through. Your memories will haunt you- you sometimes think that you are crazy- or sometimes you really step outside of yourself because this really cannot be your life- the pain is just too much- the hurt is just too much.
Out of all of that- take a look at everything that you have accomplished. You are 52- you are a teacher- you have a loving husband- you said you have children? You have a loving family- a providing support circle of friends and family that rely on you and love you- they depend on you and could not live without you- you are SOMEBODY- you have made it- you are A SUCCESS story!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Please- just remember that- and when you have some of the bad days along with some of the good days- take out a picture of your children and just stare at it for 20 minutes- you may cry- you may laugh- you may smile- you may become angry- you may have weird mood swings- but then you will become relieved- and it may help.

Try- one day at a time- and I really truly honestly in my heart beleive that you should take all of Sue's advice- because to me- this woman- I may not know her and her story- but she knows what she is talking about from experience- she has a very compassionate way with her words and she will help you.

Good luck Art!

Jessica

ArtHeals
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2011
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 8/22/2011 4:18 AM (GMT -6)   
Both of you have given me good advice which I intend to follow. Expressing my feelings here and then hearing that someobody cares and understands has helped a great deal. I also responded to a young girl's post that really touched my heart, and I found that reaching out to her helped me. I got in touch with a therapist over the weekend and plan to call her office this morning to make an appt.

At first I didn't really understand the one day at a time thing. But on Sat. evening, after a busy day working at the gallery, on my way home, I started to have feelings of anxiety and despair, and I thought, "I'll just do this...and get through the next hour. and then I'll do this....and get through the next..." and it worked. Every time since then that I've started to get overcome, that 's what I've said to myself. Thank you so much for that advice, Jessica. Today I'll be okay because I'll go back to school and my kids will need me and I'll have fun teaching what I've got planned for them. I do think of my sons often and look at their pictures often. I'm their biggest Facebook stalker, and they post a lot of things on their pages just for my benefit. My youngest, who started law school last Monday, took the time to surprise me at school last week , when he dropped in for lunch. He spent 2 hours with me and it was wonderful to see him. I know how lucky am I to have such a sweet, thoughtful son.

Sue, I think that you are right on point about my husband. I think, when I am upset, he feels such a responsibility to "fix" things and he can't, that he feels helpless. He's a caretaker at heart, so I think this is hard on him. He would never see a therapist himself, but the book idea would probably work.

Thanks again to both of. You have reaffirmed for me what I've always believed: that most people are very kind and good at heart and I am indeed blessed to be here.
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