I Can't Trust My Wife...

She has been too critical.
My dissociation was set up to defuse the rage  pain, and fear I felt when my parents were abusing me verbally, because to show emotions, especially anger, was generally to escalate the abuse.  If I "backtalked," I could have gotten hit.
I think my dad killing me back then on accident was a reasonable fear.
So...yeah, there was a time in my life when standing up for myself could have gotten me hurt or killed.

And it takes someone I care about criticizing me to trigger it.

While she was criticizing things I went into that old hypnotic state. 
Which meant I wasn't there to hear her.  But it also, paradoxically, meant I accepted that because she was criticizing my work, that I was always going to be beneath her standards and I should stop trying.   Somewhere in there I was angry, somewhere I was hurt, but it wasn't connected to what she said.  And it was all my fault anyway.
So I went, cut myself up, and then would sleep for 12 hours or something. And no, I just figured it really was entirely my fault. Because everything is my fault.  That's what I subconsciously believe.
I think whatever goes wrong is an indication that I'm bad, I'm evil, things just go wrong around me.
My wife has dropped things and I apologized. 
This has happened multiple times.

So after ten years...I finally snapped to...and realized that she'd been reinforcing my belief that I can't do anything right...and ought to give up.  I realized I had given up.
So I promptly overreacted.  I thought and still think in some paranoid corner of my head that she was doing this to control me. 
She's not acting like it...a person who was doing this to control me would not be very apologetic, they'd be making excuses.
She's NOT making excuses. She's apologized repeatedly.

Part of me believes she was doing it on purpose, though, even though she's acting what the complete opposite of a sly manipulator would act like.
She's very hurt that I think she'd do this to me on purpose.
  I'm very hurt too, because I hate myself, and she was fueling that.
The thing is, she was telling me what I was doing wrong to try and help me get better at doing things.

The idea of "getting better," at anything I do, is still a foreign concept. 
I was expected to do it perfect the first time, and if I didn't I got "What is WRONG with you?!?!"

Nothing I ever do is good enough.  It might be acceptable, maybe, sort of.  But I can never believe I will do anything worthwhile. I really can't.

Something else...
When my dad sexually used me...and kept doing it... he taught that those who love me will destroy me.
This is what I really believe.
This is my operating heuristic.
So I've been expecting her to turn on me, and I thought : "AHA! here it is! she's been denigrating what I do around the house so she can ruin my self-confidence and keep me under her thumb!"
Yeah, that is really what I thought.

Umm...not so much.
It's probably the same part that has always, always, ALWAYS wanted her gone.
Because she's too close, she means too much, she can destroy me.
Just like my mom and dad destroyed me.

I would be a hermit, but I go very painfully insane without people. 
Not that I'm particularly sane with them. Or happy.

But I don't have constant images of me doing horrible things to people and animals.  Or feel pain in my chest every day from loneliness. Or stop being able to talk, or spend all my spare time in bed.
But they terrify me, the people I love. I want to get close to them, I am still very lonely.
But when I try the fear takes over, and I run away again.  I KNOW they will hurt me terribly.
When it happens I may get outraged but I always expect it.
That is my version of trust...balancing between love and terror.

My wife tells me that's not trust.

All I know is I have succeeded in getting closer to her than anyone in my adult life.  I see no supporting evidence to say she's lying when she says she never meant to hurt me.
I am still terrified of her.  I am still very lonely. I am still afraid of everyone I care about.

This is miserable.
hylierandom hylierandom
5 Responses Mar 1, 2012

Hylierandom, your insight will eventually set you free if you can persist and polish yourself. There is an old zen practice of smoothing a rock by rubbing it on another one, grinding off the rough edges. Takes years to do a day at a time. <br />
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If you can see yourself like a rock with still some spiky, sharp edges, put there long ago in cruel treatment, then the practice of noticing what's happening when you react helps to polish the rough edges.<br />
My hardest lesson was to understand that my feelings were mine, no-one "makes" me feel anything. My reactions, thoughts, emotions and behaviour are mine. <br />
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In time I have learned to not blame the other for the feelings which arise, but to examine what triggers my reaction, and what set up that sensitivity. <br />
Letting go of your early pains will be difficult, to begin to trust needs that. Your partner can help by using less blaming critical words if possible (she may not be saying the critical words you "hear"). Happy to converse by mail if I haven't been clear or helpful. Good luck.

Well, first I have to figure out what I feel. Then I have to figure out what the reason is. Then I can do something about it. Feelings of anger were what I was trained to dissociate best.

yes! many of us were taught to not express certain emotions, to please others etc. It takes time to "tune in" to re get to know our true selves, and to be able to safely, reasonably express all of our emotions.

Have you considered meditation practice as a way of doing that?

Not an easy road. I hope you have help and support / guidance from someone locally.

Find the space between your reactions and the causes, find the emerging feelings and learn to unpack them, deconstruct them. It's that space, when you see what the drivers are, that finally gives you control. Probably most of the time you'll only see it after it has happened at first. Over time, you feel it before it comes and can stop and say, hang on a minute, why am i feeling like this? Not an easy path. <br />
We must take a hard road, a road unforeseen. There lies our hope, if hope it be. To walk into peril — to Mordor. We must send the Ring to the Fire.

(Starts looking for fiery writing on wedding band...fortunately, band is silver...)

Actually, I just think I should try antipsychotics. I'm in more pain than I can handle and still be rational.

Yes, maybe that's the starting point. I was really close to taking that step, but was never in any way traumatised as deeply as you. That might be what gives you the space. You're a very intelligent, deep, reflective person. You're totally worth saving - I mean everyone is, of course - but there's a depth to you.

Wow. Thanks.

1 More Response

I go through the same things. Love is pain. Pain is love. When you grow up abused, everything gets disarranged. Somehow I too have to figure out that everyone that says they love me love me and aren't going to hurt me. And that people that say they love me and then hurt me on purpose I need to run from. <br />
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I wish you the best. I hope you two can work things out.

you are human .to be human is to make mistakes thats how we learn.its so hard to trust when you have been through so much but its worth the risk. I do understand the self hate.but its never been your fault you had evil parents thats not your fault.so I tell my self everyday of my life too.

I go through periods of the same feelings. For me I devalue my husband, I can go from love to loathing in about ten seconds flat, and then back again. So reading your post is kind of like an insight into my own husbands thoughts. It makes me want to so I'm sorry when he gets home. And reminds me how much I suck.