When opening up to your spouse or significant other doesn’t go well

My husband isn’t perfect. I know that, so this post isn’t going to be about castigation. In the grand scheme of things, this probably isn’t a big deal either. It doesn’t change how I feel or that I now need to write about it. We’ll start off with therapy first as this led directly to the conversation with my husband.

I told my therapist about what happened the other night. I explained to her that even as I was experiencing these feelings, I knew that they were…well, not wrong, because that’s not true, but that they were out of sync with what was actually happening. She agreed with Freasha and Broken Girl as to the nature of what happened and what I needed to do to help the situation.

She said that I experienced feeling memories (which can also be called emotional memories if you like). I asked her how she knew that. She talked about studies about the brain and war veterans that showed how a person could be sitting in a perfectly calm environment and suddenly feel a surge of emotions that makes no sense considering where there are. She said that when you feel strong emotions that are out of proportion to what’s actually happening, you know that it’s a feeling memory.

We listed those feelings: the sense of betrayal, the feeling of “How dare you touch me there!”, the fear, the thought that I deserved it and should therefore just lay there and take it, etc.

She said, “Isn’t it obvious that this is connected to what happened to you?” I couldn’t fully agree because I don’t know everything that happened for sure. I brought up the example of feeling my husband slide over next to me in the bed and the accompanying feelings of fear. I told her that I have no reason to feel that way. She quickly responded with a, “You don’t know that. You don’t know if there was a bed, or if he came up behind you in some way. It could even be about someone sneaking up behind you, because a predator isn’t going to talk to you face to face and say ‘Hey, I’m going to touch you.’ (I’ll add: at least not at first perhaps)There’s a reason, you just don’t know it.”

Fine, I’ll yield to that thinking for now as I can admit that I don’t know. Not knowing seems to be the theme of this whole damn process.

Anyway, I realized belatedly, that I felt sadness at the thought that these feelings were based on something real that happened. My mind has gone back from time to time during this last week to the sensations I used to have when I was growing up of having a man in my bed. Those times would I would wake up and sense a presence there and I would just freeze in terror. It would take an eternity for me to turn over and look. There wasn’t anyone there but I still remember how that felt.

Moving on. Since I told her that I was unable to speak up in this instance, my therapist suggested what Freasha suggested, which was to have a word that I could say to let my husband know that he needs to stop whatever it is that he’s doing. Let’s fast forward to yesterday then.

I told my husband that my therapist wanted me to talk to him about the other night. I told him that I was supposed to speak up when I felt triggered or freaked out by something we were doing sexually but that this last time I had been too confused to say stop. I told him that she suggested we come up with a word that I could say. His reaction was not what I expected.

He kind of looked at me funny and said something to the effect of, ‘Why can’t you just tell me?’ at which point I felt like he hadn’t been listening to what I just said, but I repeated it anyway. I also stressed the part about the him coming up behind me in bed, and I told him that my therapist had suggested that he give me a heads up first before sliding over. He said, “Riiight” drawing the word out like that in a sarcastic manner. He then proceeded to go and sit down on the couch and watch T.V. and after a few awkward moments of me standing in the kitchen fidgeting, not knowing what to say, he asked me if there was anything else I was supposed to tell him. There was. She thought I should tell him that I’ve been writing about all this. I told her that I would not tell him that I have a blog as he gets very worried about internet safety and might feel compelled to dig into what I’m doing out of concern for me. We talked about various ways that I could be more honest about what I’m doing without saying the word “blog”. So at this point when he asked the question, that’s what I did. I kept it very simple and didn’t say “blog” but he knows now that I write about this.

After I told him about the writing, I said in a light tone that we still needed to choose a word and he basically implied that the idea was stupid and that he wasn’t going to do that. I tried to joke and said, “What about a gesture? Like the “tap” they talked about on Seinfeld?” He said no and kept watching T.V.

That was the end of it. Later he came in the office and I was on the computer and he said “I love you.” and I muttered it back in a not convincing way and he was like, “What’s wrong with you?” and I said, “Nothing.” and that was that.

The problem was that from that first moment in the kitchen when I brought it up, it was so,so hard to even speak about it. I couldn’t even look at him. I even waited, not bringing it up when he first came home, so he would have time to relax first. And then for him to just…I wanted to cry right there. I didn’t, but my eyes felt all weepy and stupid. In that moment I felt completely alone in this world. I felt that I was dealing with this on my own.

Actually in real life (not here), I am. Yes, I have my therapist, thank goodness, but when it comes to day-to-day living and feelings etc.? I’m on my own. My friends don’t know, and no matter how much my husband has said “I’m here for you.” He’s not. Not really. I think about it now, and I feel like he says that, but that’s only because I don’t actually talk to him about it too much. He can ask, “How was therapy today?” and I say “Fine.” and it stays there. If I’m supposed to talk to him about something it gets more complicated and I get weird looks and I feel like an alien.

Yesterday I ended up failing my goal of eating only 800 calories a day, because I thought I remembered how many calories were in a particular dish and I was off by 200 calories. I’m really angry about that and I’m going to have be harder on myself today to make up for it. I’ll also have to be extra vigilant on the weekend so I don’t mess up. I tend to lose track easier when my husband’s home but I can’t keep doing that, it’s unacceptable.


About CimmarianInk

Abuse Survivor Diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder PTSD and Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) also known as Multiple Personalities
This entry was posted in Child Molestation, DID, dissociation, Incest, Intimacy, Sexual Abuse and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to When opening up to your spouse or significant other doesn’t go well

  1. meredith says:

    You know… husbands, in general, are known for freaking out internally but say, externally, “that’s just stupid.” Don’t weigh everything on this initial attempt. You gave him a lot of information to sit with… you know?

    • CimmarianInk says:

      Yea, I know. If it weren’t so hard to speak about I wouldn’t care as much.

      • meredith says:

        The point is that you took action. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to make a fast decision and just blurted out the most important news in the least fruitful ways. I’ve said things that just make me feel like the worst possible person to know–not because I intended to be horrible, but because it’s a frickin’ panic to take new steps in opening your circle to include others.

        I really can’t imagine that your husband wants anything less than to know how to love you, Ci. Your posts say a lot about the relationship you guys have… he’ll work it out, and now you don’t have to be in control of so many things. That’s huge.

        Yea! for you.

      • CimmarianInk says:

        I love how you try to bring out the positives meredith. 🙂 And yes, we do have a good relationship that I’m grateful for. This whole thing is just so confusing and frustrating on so many levels…

        It is a frickin’ panic isn’t it?

  2. Freasha1964 says:

    Well, Ci, you did a good job and it was very hard what you did. You put your courage together and took a big, scary step in the direction you need to go to gain more feelings of security and safety in your life. It is really hard to do this because you don’t know what will happen when you try to change a dynamic. (Easy for me to say!).

    So, your husband balked. He would not have known to expect this so it was a big surprise to him. I think his gesture later of coming into the room and telling you he loved you means that the wheels have already begun turning and he is getting that something more is amiss with his wife, who he does indeed love, than he previously thought. That is a good thing. It sounds like you were as careful as you possibly could have been given the circumstances. I feel that because he has been so good and caring in the past, he would not want to find out in the end that the whole intimacy part of the marriage with you was a sham, and that you were just acting when seeming to be receptive of his advances. I wouldn’t, would you? So, you did good, or at least that is how I see it.

    I would place a bet on him mulling this over and coming around to your side and your needs. You didn’t know when you had the last discussion and you agreed to just say “stop” that that would turn out to not work for you. There may be a few more uncomfortable discussions, but you are two people who love each other and want the other to be happy.

    Commence with plan C! Or is it up to D now? 🙂

    • CimmarianInk says:

      He said tonight that he needed to process what I said and what it meant in terms of how he interacts with me. It’s very difficult for me now though to speak to him about anything. I just feel like clamming up and keeping it to myself like usual.

      I’m sure uncomfortable conversations will keep happening.I’m not sure what plan I’m on at the moment. 🙂

  3. Broken Girl says:

    FIrst of all, I think feeling memory is a great term for the experience you seem to be having. I like it better than “emotional flashback.” I’m really sorry that your conversation with your husband didn’t go well. I know it took a lot of courage for you to broach the subject with him. Maybe you just caught him in an “off” mood because it seems like he usually tries to be sensitive about your intimacy triggers (that’s what I get from reading some of your other posts, but I could be wrong). I feel like my husband isn’t really there for me either. I think he wants to be, but he really has no idea how to be. He hasn’t been through it, so it’s hard for him to know the right things to say and do, I guess. It’s frustrating though. I’m glad you have a good connection with your therapist, because she seems to have some great insight and can be there for you in ways your husband can’t be.

    • CimmarianInk says:

      He does usually try. I guess I’m wondering how much trying is involved if a person doesn’t really have to hear any bad stuff? I don’t know. I’m just annoyed and irritated and sad, blah, blah, blah.

      I’m sorry I couldn’t give you any hints for your husband. I know it’s nice to have someone who cares about you but it also hurts to not get what you need. I hope you have some support in other places as well.

  4. alice says:

    its really brave to even talk about that, i hope he knows that, it will take time for him to process though.
    Thinking of you x

  5. Candycan says:

    Wow, your experience the other day and your feelings about it sound so familiar. It’s really hard to talk to husbands about these things. I had a conversation with my husband recently about how I felt that he goes quiet when I talk about some difficult things and I feel like he isn’t being supportive or that he doesn’t agree or something negative and he told me that he goes quiet because he feels so angry at the person who has hurt me and affected me this way and when he’s feeling that way he kind of shuts down to manage it. Maybe your husband is struggling with the pain he feels related to the fact that you are having difficulties. He could be feeling bad that in wanting to be loving to you he is causing you discomfort. Probably in his logic he’ll know that this isn’t his or your fault but the feelings can still be overwhelming. I hope you will be able to talk with him more about this. Do you think it would help if you could write down your thoughts and give it to him if it’s too hard to talk about directly?
    Don’t beat yourself up about the calories. 1000 is still too little for anyone to have even if more than your aim.

    • CimmarianInk says:

      Hi Candycan, I imagine that it would have been a relief to hear your husband’s explanation for why he goes quiet on you. I’m glad you got to hear that. I’m not sure what my husband thinks about all this. We had another talk tonight, so we’ll see what happens. I think I explained things better tonight and he told me that he knew that what happened wasn’t about him. Like I said, we’ll see. Maybe tomorrow will suck less than the last several days. Thanks sharing your experience, I appreciate it. 🙂

  6. castorgirl says:

    Hi Cimmarian,

    I was wondering… you express yourself so well through writing, have you ever considered writing down some of these issues and giving them to your husband for him to go over and digest in his own time? I know that may sound a little passive aggressive, or like avoidance; but you could use the writing as a springboard for a discussion.

    I’m really sorry that you didn’t feel validated, or acknowledged by your husband. You have legitimate concerns, and had good suggestions on how to work with them…

    The other thing that jumped out at me within this post was how you tucked at the end your struggles with food. The thinking and numbers that you describe are worrying, very worrying. It’s really interesting that you put that information in a post that is about people you care about, not seeing you, or your pain… is there some link there?

    Please take care,

    • CimmarianInk says:

      Hi CG,

      You’re not the first to suggest I write my thoughts down for him. What’s funny is that I married someone who hates to read. I mean really hates it. Because of that he responds much more positively to logical arguments made verbally, whereas if he’s presented with words in print, part of his brain shuts down in automatic boredom. 🙂

      We spoke again last night and things went a bit better though there was still some anger and I’m still feeling affected by the whole thing.

      As for the eating thing, I can’t really say why that seemed the place to put that statement. The post flowed the way my thoughts were going and I guess that’s where they ended up. Is there a link? I don’t know. If there is, I’m not aware of it.

      I can’t explain where the calorie numbers came from, they just are. And when I fail to hold to that number I feel really disappointed and disgusted with myself. I’m not sure what’s happening there, I just know I need to be successful in this endeavor and I won’t be happy until I’ve mastered it.

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