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Both abuser/victim
June 13, 2007
10:11 pm
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Dramaqu33n
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I'm new and looking for some guidance. My husband and I have gone through another rough time lately and I'm back facing all our codependant ways.

Lately it has been me in the victim position - a victim of his anger and withdrawal of intimacy. But I am also controlling and critical - often in response to these hurts. We've been together thirteen years and have one son - mine biologically, not his.

Years ago, in our early marriage he was very passive and didn't take responsibility for himself. He was young and lacked confidence. I did too but was higher functioning I guess. Our conflicts grew hurtful and nasty. Violent. We broke up and I slept with his friend who I had become emotionally involved with - the friend believed he loved me and I had all the intensity of that illusion too. I couldn't go through with it. I felt too guilty. I went back to my husband. Chaos ensued.

Drugs, depression, violence, another separation, another affair, counselling, despair, weight gain, attempts to save him, guilt,anger.....I'm sure you know how it goes.

Well now, eight years later there is no acting out sexually by me and no drugs for him. There is still controlling behaviours by me, anger & rage and isolating behaviour by him, intimacy issues and lots of anxiety, bouts of depression and self-confidence issues for both of us, and overeating by me. Its affecting my work and health. His anger is really affecting our son.

We just went to family therapy and made some gains. Anger stuff is lots better and I have had renewed revelations about boundaries around feelings/responsibilities etc.

I'm just really afraid that he has not worked through his pain about our early marriage, the infidelity and all the behaviours that he fell into as a result. The cost on his music (he dropped out). It's really hard for me to know what I am responsible for and what I'm not sometimes. I have considerable shame about betraying him and he has considerable shame about his addict/anger behaviour.

I am terrified that he will come to the conclusion that he hates me and can never forgive what I did to him. That he's just hanging on to me coz he can't make it on his own. I have tried to make it up to him - I just can't fix all the damage that was done. And I have had to forgive myself for how I behaved in order to go on and build my own sense of self.

Worse than that, I am terrified that he will never fully deal with what happened and it will continue to play out passively in anger and withdrawal and depression and refusal to take responsibility for himself.

We have done a lot of work recently, in therapy - dealing with our past stuff. I have tried to approach this stuff about my infidelity, my guilt and my choice to stay and take his anger, stand by him in it all to redeem us both - it spins me out and messes with my head, I've had anxiety attacks and had to move more slowly. I have a headache just writing about this now!

I would love us to be able to grow through this if that were possible. I don't want to just give up and leave him in the pain of this, because I fear he will kill himself. I don't want to run away to preserve my frail ego. I don't want to stay to be abused and be codependent. I don't know how to navigate my way through this.

I'd love to hear any wisdom you have. Thanks for reading.

June 13, 2007
11:31 pm
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fantas
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Drama...sounds like there is accumulated toxicity in your relationship which makes it hard to stay objective. I think you will have to first get yourself healthy and then attempt to deal with the relationship. He will have to get the help he needs for himself as well. If it's too hard to work together in a healthy way, perhaps you might consider a separation for a short period of time. My last relationship was so toxic that it made me physically and mentally ill until I just had to let it go. You can't change anyone but yourself and only you can decide the quality of life you are going to have. Keep posting and all the best 🙂

June 14, 2007
12:19 am
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_anonymous
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At this time it doesnt sound like either one of you are enjoying the relationship or benefiting from your interactions with one another. Both of you have to end this destuctive past before you will be able to start a new life together. It is not healthy to stay fixated on an earlier part of the relationship that was as destructive as the one that you just described. You two will need to decide if you want to keep reliving this point and time that is dead and gone or if you want to be married and spend your time trying to get in touch with what makes you two feel good.

June 14, 2007
8:58 am
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risingfromtheashes
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in the book codependent no more, there is a triangle discussed - rescuer, prosecutor, victim

it discusses how two people can rotate roles as the situation changes.

at first, we rescue...it's what we do best....when we don't get the results we expect from our sacrifices, we become the prosecutor....when that doesn't get us what we want, we become the victim...we gave and gave and got taken advantage of (in our minds).

the book is good and might help you understand this more.

yes, in situations that are unhealthy and unbalanced, the victim/abuser roles often change as resentments build...it's a push pull, tug of war thing.

I remember dating my ex, at first, I thought, I am excited to be with him cuz for the first time in my dating history, I finally found a guy who had the balls to stand there and argue with me (as opposed to heading for the hills when the going got tough)....we would frequently "discuss" things.

Well, after some time, i realized it wasn't as wonderful as I thought initially, cuz we were "engaging" TOO frequently...and at first I was proud of me for having the guts to stand up to him and speak my mind...but in time, I got TOO gutsy and often was very argumentative...we brought out the worst in eachother really.

so yeah, it's possible.

I don't know how to get past it...I had to leave my abuser...cuz no matter how much we tried....we just kept triggering eachother...and he kept pushing my buttons. It is hard to heal from that when you are still engaged in it.

June 14, 2007
4:12 pm
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Dramaqu33n
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Fantas said "I think you will have to first get yourself healthy and then attempt to deal with the relationship. He will have to get the help he needs for himself as well."

Yup. I certainly feel I have come a ways in stepping back and clarifying boundaries. Why do I have to learn this over and over!? I get so fearful and try to fix it all.

Destiny Star said "Both of you have to end this destuctive past before you will be able to start a new life together. "
I had a good talk with H last night - after processing the above. I shared my concerns about the past business and wondered if that was stuff impacting things now. I didn't mention that H just gave up smoking which kicked off the latest round of anger and consequential emotional scrambling. Anyway, he said he felt he had dealt with a lot of that and although there were still "anxiety spikes" at times around that, he felt he has chosen to be here and continue this relationship - not out of need but want. He didn't feel that stuff was in the here-and-now as much as the boundary stuff around conflict we've been tackling. I felt a huge weight lift, not so much because this is his view, I felt the weight lift prior to that, in just recognising that this unfinished business is actually what has been going on for ME. Now I think maybe its MY stuff to process. Which I will. Phew.

Rising said, "at first, we rescue...it's what we do best....when we don't get the results we expect from our sacrifices, we become the prosecutor....when that doesn't get us what we want, we become the victim...we gave and gave and got taken advantage of (in our minds)."

I can really see how I do this. Bleh. I am grateful for this tumultuous time for setting this boundary thing straight.

Thanks for your responses. It really helped to be able to put this out. I need to work on getting some balance back into my world after overthinking myself to the edge of a depressed state. I think the self-care thing is on top of the priority list - where it should always be I guess!

Drama Queen : )

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