The Nut Cracks

I've pushed my wife hard. I want an authentic relationship. I've demanded emotional intimacy. I think she is now starting to open up how wounded she is. Many of us are wounded. I was traumatized at a young age - still not totally dealt with. My wife is clearly traumatized but it has needed for us to be on the brink of breakup for her to start to realize her suffering and pain that I feel I can see so clearly.

It is painful that we have to be at this point. I've started a new job and I'm going to see a psychiatrist for medication to ensure I can survive without a breakdown. Not what I'd choose.

But it may have needed this much stress to crack the nut that is my wife. The thing is I quite like her. I'm quite fond of her and I'd really like this to work out. The cards are on the table. It may not be a quick recovery and she expressed fear that as she reveals her true self for the first time in her life that I may not choose to be with her. I expressed that whether or not I still chose her either way it was my intention to do what I could so she (and I) would thrive in life. I want her to leave this marriage a much stronger more fulfilled person. Even more than that I want to enjoy her being the thing I think I saw (and hell if it does work out it will have been the craziest journey I would not recommend to anyone) and growing old together. That I think would be profound fun.

I'm at the stage of archetypally growing to be a king. I hope she will be my queen. (If not all potential candidates pls message me directly!!!!! )
DangerCat DangerCat
41-45, M
6 Responses Nov 13, 2012

Enna really is wise when she says....simply walk away for a bit. take a rest. Your exhausted. it can be so hard at first to find words that cancome across the way we are intending.A lot of us are not used to sharing such a private and emotioanl hurt. And to be honest, most are not necessarily sure where they are emotionally in this. And were not sure even where we should be emotioanlly. There are a lot of situations in a marriage that tug at our heart, this way and that, and so it is very difficult getting all of that across.

But, what is there in your post, is care and are very deeply worried about what is happening. And you are not at all sure what to think, what to do, and how to go about dealing with allof this. And so you are right where a lot of the members here your in the right place..And you are with friends, that will share what they know. And if they question what your saying, it is not to bully or chastise. it is a way to find out, well where is you are. Where your head is in all this?..Where is your heart....really? That way it makes it easier to understand your situation and allow everyone to offer a valuable opinion.

Hugs, and hang in there..

I just want toemphasise what Neuilly said about "And if they question what your saying, it is not to bully or chastise. it is a way to find out, well where is you are. Where your head is in all this?..Where is your heart....really? That way it makes it easier to understand your situation and allow everyone to offer a valuable opinion. "

I often offer advice but I am always FINE about being ignored!! Because I know from my own experience that some advice is helpful and some isn't. But anyone who offers advice is trying to help. . . Each of us has to figure out what works best for ourselves.

Talking about feelings and emotions is always difficult because they are so intangible. If I am talking about an aeroplane, anyone can get a mental picture in their minds because they have SEEN an aeroplane. If I am talking about "happiness", people know what I mean but it is different tings for different people - so it is HARD to understand exactly what someone else means when they talk about emotions.

Trying to explain feelings and emotions is a VERY difficult thing to do . . . .


neuilly - thx

<p>You are tired, stressed and emotionally over-burdened. May I suggest you take a few days "away" from your problem? I know you cannot really leave it behind, but put it out of your mind for a few days and let yourself relax and get some sleep.</P><br />
<p>Feeling as you do, it will be very VERY hard to come to any really helpful conclusions - I know! I've been in that place.</P><br />
<p>Give yourself permission to not think about it all for a little while. Choose to do some things with your wife that you both enjoy. Relax. When you feel better, you will find you can start thinking about all this again in ways that might be more useful for you.</P>

I wish I could spend time with her just doing things that are fun. She is there but not there. She really is very closed down emotionally and just want connection. She is scared of loosing herself and of being abandoned.

We're not talking really and currently I get triggered by being proximate to her. Having her in the same room triggers me, she says do you want to talk, but she means do I want to talk at a shallow level that doesn't trigger her.

I want closeness but she's not available.

So I would love some time out but I don't know how.

Can you make a definite choice to leave all the difficult stuff in the "too hard" basket just for now? It seems to me that you might BOTH get some much needed relaxation and FUN from just going on a simple outing together, or doing something together that you both enjoy. Maybe a trip to the pictures followed by coffee? Maybe a hike in the woods? Maybe a visit to some place that interests you both (art gallery, museum, car races, whatever is of joint interest to you both).

Make a commitment to talk about NOTHING of emotional significance, but to just enjoy the day and the activity in each other's company. Give yourself and your wife permission to NOT talk about the "deep and meaningfuls"!!

Spending time with each other without any expectation of "fixing" things might help both of you relax. . . . .

No I can't. I spend time with her I get turned on. Then I can't sleep and I feel rejected. On the surface she offers authenticity and intimacy but is too scared to go there. I can't relax with her because she is hyper vigalent avoiding emotional intimacy. I can't relax and have fun because I don't know when I'll feel slapped in the face. I find her alluring. But she doesn't follow through. So to keep my sanity I need to create distance.

I don't need to fix things but I do need openness and honesty. I find it hard to read and relax with someone who's so closed emotionally.

Does that make sense?

My W found it easier if we talked while going for a walk. It made it less "heavy" for her if you know what I mean, and the change of setting and physical activity can alter the reactions - the triggers you refer to.

Hl42, this is a strategy that works really well in lots of cases. With children, engaging them in an actiity where they are not looking at you is a great way o get trhem to talk to you honestly!! Car trips and washing up come to mind . . . !!

I think that DC might get more from his wife in this environnment as you say.

The thing that is broken is communion. I can't walk in the woods without it. I don't need to fix things other than I need a sense of sharing and partnership. We are not connecting on so many levels, even the level of enjoying the day. I understand why and how this is the way it is, but that is a recent growing understanding. What I don't know yet is what to do about it. My therapist (70 year old woman long in the tooth) could only offer that it's time to get my needs met else where and to start leaving. I have a male mentor (53) who's been through much of this whom I'm learning a lot from, who again offers the idea of getting my needs met elsewhere and learning better relationship skills at the same time. Two good friends support me in that too.

I still have too much wounding (principally from religious abuse) to be able to make that tranisition immediately - I need to sort my logistics out to have affairs. And I am exploring groups that are into spiritual sexuality - tantric type stuff. I am looking for discussion groups and anything else to meet people who I can connect at a deep level. It maybe that that will support me enough in order to be able to cope with the uber shallow (as a bird bath) place my wife can only cope with at the moment. She may one day go deeper. Or not. If not then I think it will be too painful to stay with her.

enna30 - btw I appreciate you intention and kind words

DC, I realise you truly believe what you say to be true. But do you realise that EVERY suggestion that anyone else makes is rejeced by you because "it won't work"? If that is TRULY the case, then the only answer is DIVORCE. However, you might do well to challenge your thinking and at least TRY one of the many suggestions others have offered. The worst that can happen is you will be proved right!!

the other thing that causes me to think about it all the time is avoiding the train wreck we are heading for - imagine twisted steel mangled bodies blood and guts. I want a sucessful end to our relationship if it is going to end not a bloody mess. as I've considered this I've come to the conclusion that there are worse things to do in a marriage than have sex with someone else, and that if I look to my wife for things she cannot do then she will feel more pressure than she can cope with so the most responsible thing to do for my wife and out two gorgeous blonde daughters (22 months and3 1/2) is sort my emotional and sexual needs elsewhere for the moment - but I'm finding that a big leap from who I thought I was.

Choosing to outsource is extremely risky. Be sure you are prepared for the emotional and financial fall out f your wife finds out. Those beloved baby girls might be used as bargaining chips . . .

I am aware that I often reject other peoples advice here. To the point where I am wondering if I am playing games - a la berne. I'm also aware I didn't request advice or strategies in the first place. I am looking to understand more deeply before I act as what I've been doing isn't working.

As for advice you've given above - coffee, hike, etc it misses the key challenge, I desire intimacy and presense but my wife doesn't turn up like that and I don't know what she needs to do so. The only times I've seen her in a place of presense and not disconnected is in therapy together. Currently I don't think I can create the sense of safety she needs to open up. And I don't mean talking about deep and meaningfuls I mean even just truly sharing and being present to a moment - could be as simple as smelling the roses and sharing that. She currently cannot do that with me and I don't know where else she can.

yes outsourcing is risky. and not outsourcing is also risky. at the moment I'm living on a knife edge thinking the solution is simple if only... xyz would happen. but xyz hasn't happened and I'm learning that it cannot happen yet. so I need new strategies to cope in life. because my old ones have not worked. I'm at a point of near total ignorance. life has turned up way more complicated than I thought possible. my plans for thriving are spoilt. and it's a shock to me. ;o)

hl42 - my wife does not find it any easier to talk whilst walking. she is just as avoidant whilst walking as anywhere else. the reason is she is fearful of loosing herself or being abandoned. so she changes any subject she doesn't feel safe in. the physical context doesn't make much difference. the only place we have a hope of talking in is somewhere where she feels safety.

My friend, I am going to try once more before I go to work . . . ! YOU are missing the point when you say "coffee, hike, etc it misses the key challenge, I desire intimacy and presense but my wife doesn't turn up like that and I don't know what she needs to do so."

The advice is given to open the way for your wife to have a chance to feel safe in communicating with you. Your intensity of need is so great that you can only focus on your end game (that of intimacy and connection in the most intimate manner). But your wife seems to be scared of this, and as such she needs to be allowed to develop confidence in being with you and communicating with you in mormal every day activities that do NOT threaten her with your ultimate objective.

IF you truly cannot do this and / or you truly believe your wife is entirely incapable of enjoying a "normal" day with her husband, then I see NO point in staying together.

NO relationship consists entirely of intense emotional intimacy and sexual connection. There are huge parts of it taken up with ordinary every day activities and simple pleasures (like the walk). If neither of you can manage these simple things in your life with any connection or with any pleasure, then your objective of intimacy and connection is ENTIRELY UNREALISTIC.

"the only place we have a hope of talking in is somewhere where she feels safety." Where is that place?

I'm about to leave for work and only have time to be brief.

Thx for having a go. I feel some trust towards you. I think we are using the word intimacy in entirely different ways.

"NO relationship consists entirely of intense emotional intimacy and sexual connection." That's not what I'm after.

The other thing I would say is right now we are unable to connect. We can't connect YET. I don't believe now is the time to part ways because I am learning so many things that I can do differently and I think she is opening herself up to the possibility of pulling the scabs off her wounds. So whilst things look rubbish, there is too much that hasn't been tried or explored to make the decision to pull the trigger. At the moment it would be pulling a trigger. I'd like to be at the point where we can give each other a hug saying "fare thee well" and in our hearts hoping that the other leaves to thrive in life. The gun to the head and trigger happened last time and it was horrible. I can't control the Other's side but I can turn up with the intention of peace.


"the only place we have a hope of talking in is somewhere where she feels safety." Where is that place?

at the moment only in a therapy session or if she initiates the conversation and I'm well resourced not to push too hard. when I say pushing too hard I mean asking for clarification of things I don't understand. I NOW get that she is scared of loosing herself. whether or not it is possible to navigate a relationship around that remains to be seen. btw that's why I wasn't keen on the negotiation material. it requires two adult energies to engage. once someone avoids conversation because of wounding they are not conscious of the process is sabotaged by acquiescence. I've thought we have agreements but there is no follow through.

How do you get more resourceful? I'd do whatever was needed to make a place of safety for yourself, so that you are less dependent on her reactions, or that you want or expect things from her.

The "agreements without follow-through" is disastrous in my opinion. I'd make it very clear to her that you don't want that, it's much much worse than useless, because it destroys trust.

16 More Responses

Danger Cat, I've read a lot of what you have written and I fear that your message does not always come across as you want it to. I have to agree with Dartist. Your choice of words make it sound as if you actually feel superior to your wife . . . I hope this is NOT so.

Saying "I'm quite fond of her" for example is faint praise IMO. I feel "quite fond of" my neighbour's dog, but I would expect my life partner to feel a GREAT deal more for me than that!!

The business about choosing her also comes across badly. I think you mean that "whatever happpens, we will both have given it our best efforts" - but the way you say it makes it sound as if you are sitting in judgement on her. She can never reveal herself truly whilst she fears you will NOT choose her, so you need to explain to her that it is not a matter of choosing - you have already chosen her and you plan to keep choosing her, provided the other barriers in your relationship can be overcome.

Using words like "thing" when you are talking about a beloved partner suggests that you think of her as a possession. I doubt this is the case, but it does come across this way . . . words can say all sorts of things we don't mean at times.

It may seem I am berating you for your choice of words - and I'm truly sorry if it comes across in that way. What I AM trying to do is to make it clear to you that your words may very well be giving your wife quite a different message from what you intend.

I encourage you to be your real self to your wife. Tell her your fears, your concerns, the things that make YOU feel inadequate. Share your own insecurities with her. Be vulnerable with her. Allow her to see the REAL DangerCat - not the face you present to the world.

By truly being your authentic self with her, you will encourage her to be that authentic self in return.

enna30 &amp; dartist - thank you both for expressing that.clearly I've not communicated well. and I'm not sure how much you are both reading into what I wrote. I need to reflect before I respond. currently I am close to the point of emotional breakdown and certainly not my most articulate. I had 3 1/2 hours sleep last night due to stress and anxiety. I currently feel very lost and I am struggling.

I'm asking to help me understand what I've triggered in you. can I check that you both have been in SMs? do you know that pain. have you been through divorce? have you lost children?

I want to get what you are responding too more deeply.

DangerCat, I think you would know, if you read our stories, just how much Dartist and I have endured. Dartist FAR more than me. I encourage you to click on our User names and read our stories - not all of them (we both write a lot!) but enough to understand our experiences.

Is it not sad we cannot be our REAL self most of the time? we all put on our "world face" I wonder what the world would be like if everyone was truthful to themselves and others and be REAL all the time......?

"The thing you thought you saw". What? Your wife is not a thing! She is a human being who fears revealing her true self to anyone because of what they might see. Then you tell her that you may or may not chose her but you want her to thrive if you decide to stay with her or leave her? This poor woman has to be going through pure hell. Setting yourself as her arbitrator is making me feel kind of creepy. Perhaps I am misreading this but, as a woman who has experienced a lot of life, I find you a bit cruel. To say that you think growing old with her fun is also disturbing. Your wife is a human being and you are not her king. The last statement that you are trolling for another woman says one thing to me. Women beware!!! You appear to be an egotistical ****!

I'm sorry to have used words that have triggered you. I also think you are bringing more to this than I've put down. For me I don't see myself as her arbitrator. Any judgement I make is whether the relationship we have is positively impacting me or not. I am passing no moral judgement on her as a person. When you say "setting yourself as her arbitrator" do you mean one of these two things or something else?

Seems to be undertones here of you trying to direct what she ought be striving for, what she'd best be thinking about.

All with the best of intent I'm sure.

Thing is, in a dysfunctional marriage, all YOU can own (and control) is YOUR actions and behaviour within that context.

You can't own (or control) her actions and behaviours within (or indeed from without) that context. She will do precisely what she chooses to do (or not do) and that is a fact over which you have no control. None.

Your journey of personal growth continues (if that is what you choose) She chooses to join you on it, or she chooses not to.

Tread your own path.

I don't disagree with you. She will choose what she chooses. Some choices help us construct a healthy relationship some don't. As you say I have no control over those.

I don't think I'm trying to own or control her actions. I am trying to be acutely and carefully aware of what is going on for me and for her, I am trying then to comprehend that as a system and then anticipate what might happen. me analysing the effects of actions isn't about moral judgment (though I may language them in a manner that isn't as precise as needed). me judging is about calling a spade a spade - a complex invisible spade at that. me choosing her or not is not a comment on her worth as a human being but evaluating how the relationship affects me and whether I can stand the level of current pain and whether I believe it will get to a point where all of us thrive or not. I'm sorry if I communicated it in a manner that meant you may not have heard it that way.

Good post. Thank you for this.