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Unlearning

Bazzar recently commented in the forum about all the unlearning you have to do after a SM. To me it's almost like deprogramming yourself after leaving a cult.

Here is an example: something my passive aggressive STBX used to do ALL the time was come home late without calling. I begged him so many times to just let me know if he was going to be really late, like after 2am. I didn't care if he stayed out all night, I just wanted to know so I didn't worry he was dead or in the hospital. It's not inconceivable that he could get mugged or something coming home drunk i the wee hours in NYC. This behavior started at the very beginning of living together and continued sporadically until the end. I felt like it was so mean and insensitive. Why should I have to stay up frantic with worry when all he had to do was send me a two word text message, "home late??" I can't tell you how many times I barely slept because I was so worried. As you can probably tell, it was a big issue with me.

Yesterday when my boyfriend left, he mentioned he had some plans last night but they weren't confirmed. I wasn't sure if he was coming over or not later on---we never made plans but sometimes he shows up after work (he's a musician and keeps late hours). I texted him at 12:45am and didn't hear back, so I just went to sleep. I thought when I woke up this morning he would have replied, but he hadn't, and surprise surprise, I started to worry/get pissed off.

Finally I just texted him to make sure he was ok and he immediately called to say he was sorry he didn't get back to me etc etc. He didn't see the text until very late and assumed I was asleep.

But suddenly, I was SO UPSET I felt like bursting into tears and throwing up at the same time---total sexless marriage (or maybe passive aggressive spouse) PTSD. He didn't actually do anything wrong, we didn't have plans and it's not a big deal. But I had too get off the phone quick before I started crying. WTF? It's like all the years of being angry at my STBX have made me so super-sensitized to this one issue that all those feelings of hurt/frustration/anger came flooding back at once. Apparently, these feelings are still very raw, and it surprised me how easily they were triggered by this one small event.

I guess it takes time to let this crap go...

nyartgal nyartgal 36-40, F 7 Responses Jan 28, 2013

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My rough estimate is that I will take about 285 years to heal from the day I leave. And another 300 or so years until I can look at a woman with romantic intent. Allow another couple centuries to get adjusted to sharing body fluids.

I think you are doing very well with the "unlearning" - because you recognise and understand that it is about YOU rather than about him. And he has the strength of ego to accept that his behaviour might "trip a switch" - even though this is unintentional - and so he offers to avoid that behaviour because he knows it affects you. Kudos to him too! He could have got upset and complained about you "fussing over nothing" (shades of relationships past?!! lol) - but he is wise and sensitive and realises that you need the reassurance he can give you - and he gladly offers to give it!!

"Unlearning" is a strange thing - and as Lao says, they often take time to surface. Being aware of them when they do is difficult - because they are (as Frustrated says) entrenched within us. But if you bring your self awareness to bear - ou can and will gradually conquer each of these situations. Some may need revisiting a few times before they are truly conquered - be patient if you don't eradicate each one first go!

I agree with Baz - consultation is the best way forward. And admitting your frailties - first to yourself and then to your new significant other. Accepting that certain triggers may result in over-reaction or in fear or anxiety, and sharing that knowledge with your (new) partner, is the best way forward. In a good relationship, the new partner will respond as your's has done - with acceptance, understanding and compassion. (Beware the partner who belittles you or criticises you for being honest and vulnerable with him / her.)

It is very hard to unlearn things that have become entrenched over years. It is however much easier to learn the normal way with a normal partner.

Hang in there sister nyartgal with time your battle scars will heal.

Stay Strong & Good Luck

It does take time to unlearn. However, it can be done.

Take this specific incident you are posting about. How you handled it (instead of sucking it up and saying nothing lest you "rock the boat") by a consultative approach is the best way to go. An engaged person in your life helps this enormously.

There will still be times when these things will come up out of nowhere and bite you on the arse.

Doing what you did this time by way of handling it will work again.

Tread your own path.

Some of these triggers take time to surface and as they do, we realize just how deeply affected we were by our dysfunctional marriages. This is a big reason why so many do not leave - this be
Ief that (for want of a better description), the substandard relationship and treatment of us is the norm regardless of whom we are with.

Yes, in my opinion I do think it will take awhile & with consistent understanding on your boyfriends part you will (probably) eventually get deprogrammed. What you ask for is not unreasonable & it sounds like your boyfriend is willing to comply to give you piece of mind. That is really no less than you would do for him, I'm sure he has things he likes/expects from you that you give without thought. Sounds like he is sensitive to you, congratulations! (And really, your request is all about safety, who really wouldn't want to know if they should call the cops or not because their loved one is missing--you are a smart woman!). Take care & God Bless :)

UPDATE: my boyfriend emailed me to apologize (he could tell I was a little upset), and I emailed back to explain how hypersensitive I am about this issue, even though he didn't do anything wrong and I'm not mad at him. He was SO understanding and sweet and apologetic---and said he wanted to come over and give me a hug and that he loves me so much and didn't know it was such a big issue in my marriage.

OMG---unlike with my STBX, I am not talking to a wall! He hears me, gets it, and responds with empathy. He does not treat me like an inanimate object that he can treat however he wants. AMAZING.

"Living alongside a pancake" - I am cracking up at that!

Am drawing a blank on the pancake reference......

Hehe, also at a loss on the pancakes.... I'm pretty sure he wouldn't be cool with me putting syrup on him..

Maple or blueberry? Still need help with the pancake reference... I'm usually good with analogies but this one completely escapes me.

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