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Intimate relationship issues and pain...

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by thecomputer, Jul 2, 2017.

  1. thecomputer

    thecomputer Well known member


    I recently posted about only really feeling relief from my pain when truly alone. Not just alone in a room, but when everyone is out of the house or I am driving....no chance of being disturbed, or asked anything etc.

    My pain is different to most of you in that it is all related to voice use, my throat burns and tightens up. So this has an added element of severely affecting all my relationships because I cannot talk to anyone. All conversations mean I will be in pain, and long relaxed conversations like I used to have are out of the question. After over a year of this, I have come to equate communication with pain, where as before communication was a huge stress reliever for me if done in the right way.

    needless to say my relationship with my partner is suffering a lot. As I am mostly in pain I never feel relaxed enough to just lie down and cuddle, it doesn't bring me relief. In fact its the opposite, I feel a pressure to give something back which I don't feel I have right now.

    Our sex life has disappeared. Because of pain, stress and depression of trying to navigate life without the freedom to speak I do not feel any sexual feelings. I feel less attracted to her, but I also feel less attracted to everything at the moment! I sleep in a seperate room because she snores and I am an incredibly light sleeper, and without sleep my pain goes through the roof. If I have a painful day of speaking my body seems to force me to sleep for sometimes 9 or 10 hours that night.

    She has a 6 year old child, and occasionally I have to look after her, and it's incredibly difficult as she just talks and asks constant questions as children do, and cant really understand what Im going through.

    My partner is also struggling with depression, anxiety, issues with food and body image, and an extreme lack of confidence, and insecurity about us and how I feel about her. It's hard because I literally feel I can't support her. So often she opens up and gets upset, and I feel I can't respond, and I feel this intense pressure building when I know its do with me. Often she gets upset with the way I am or act. I feel repelled by her intense dark emotional moods, as I often feel we are both out in the open ocean trying to stay afloat and it feels like she is pulling my down sometimes. I feel terrible saying it, but it's true. Even though I am in pain and stressed, when i am alone and walking by the river I can feel good, I can feel peace and happiness, one-ness with the world. It's hard to always be pulled in to a place of intense emotion, especially if its about me and my lack of connection!

    I always told her constantly that I needed to just have my bad days, and it wasn't about her, that I was just suffering. I was very clear (mostly in emails as I could not talk that much), trying to make her feel more at ease, trying to seperate my 'problem' from our reltionship. But it never seemed to be enough and as time went on the distance and lack of physical closeness seemed to overwhelm her, which I understand. It seemed to be that everything I did was perceived as a reflection on how I felt about her. So often I just needed some rest, to be alone, and felt so guilty about it because I knew it was the opposite of what she needed. This whole cycle seems to have got out of control now...

    I feel completely shut down, I can barely respond if she sits near me or tries to cuddle me. I feel a repulsion of sorts, a feeling of extreme claustrophobia. I feel it towards everyone, well the few people I see. I don't want to be hugged, talked to, asked anything of, I just want to be alone, as that is the only relief I ever get. Another part of me wants to spend more time with friends, where it's a bit easier and less intense, i fantasise about going to study or do something out in the world, rather than live in this intense emotional washing machine! But i also have to accept my current limitations.

    The guilt I feel is immense and I have expressed that. I have said I just feel unable to give anything to anyone at the moment and my patience is non existent. All my close relationships have suffered as I cant talk to people, and I feel constantly misunderstood. It's not just pain, it's an incredible isolation being trapped in a painful body and unable to communicate.

    I do get some relief when I am out doing my own thing, even if it involves some talking, I can manage it better. It shows me that my closest relationships are the hardest because they require a lot from me, a lot that I am unable to give in this state.

    This leads me to question if these relationships are beneficial for me or them right now. Sometimes I think about leaving everything behind and going to explore some remote part of the world and find the time and space to explore what the hell is going on inside me. Right now that kind of reflection is impossible, I have little space, and I feel smothered by every interaction. I am trying to be a partner, a father figure, a son, brother, and failing on all accounts.

    I do feel very angry about it all too. I often have fantasies of smashing up the whole room, or telling everyone F%& off and driving in to the distance!

    I can imagine that if my pain did not affect my voice, then I would probably really appreciate and need my relationships more, so I understand it may be hard to relate to for most of you with other pain problems.

    Finally, my voice problems started soon after I fell in love with my partner. I had some problems with a lump in my throat for years before, and a lot of anxiety etc. So it wasn't completely out of the blue, but possibly the straw that broke the camels back. Long story short, she was married with a child in a foreign country where we lived in a community together. We had to keep everything secret and I saw her husband every day. I never thought I could end up in a situation like that. They did soon divorce.
    My partner seems to remember that whole time as just falling in love, this open expansive feeling, learning to live again, as she had been in an unhappy marriage for years, and suddenly we were being very open and talking about everything. But that time in my memory is filled with intense anxiety, worries of getting caught, feeling I had done a terrible thing, broken up a family etc. She often talks about 'how things were' at the start, but the fact is I could talk then, and I talked a lot! It was right in the middle of all the drama that my voice started going wrong and progressively got worse. That was 1 year and 3 months ago. She got divorced soon after my voice thing started and everything came out in the open, but my voice problem got no better.

    I have always been a big talker, and I am the one most of my friends come to with emotional problems as I have been through a lot and they know they can. I have always felt very able to understand other's difficult situations and listen well, and give good advice when appropriate. People always complimented me for that, including my partner. Words were my way to support, my way to express, my strength. I used to run public speaking groups and sing and play music, and socialise a lot. It's all gone.
    My partner is extremely quiet, she says very little most of the time, and I feel i have to push to get things out of her so often which frustrates me. But mainly I am frustrated that I have lost the thing I care about most, my voice.

    Now I feel incapable of giving anything, and she is just endlessly self sacrificing even when I feel she should stand up for herself and tell me to F^$$ off when necessary! My mum is very similar, she will accommodate me in every possible way, never pushing me hard, and in many ways being scared of me because I am quite strong in my opinions and conviction. So the balance is well and truly off, and I see no way of getting back on track.

    A few weeks a go I had a little more relief than usual and was able to speak much more with less pain, I have no idea why. I had a second operation on my tonsils which may have given a placebo affect? But during this time I just felt able to be there a bit more, and less frustrated by everyone else. I felt like I could handle it!! But this is just not the case most of the time.

    What should one do in this situation. Keep banging my head against a brick wall tying to be in any relationship where I cannot give what is neccesray, and maybe cannot be given what I need too. feeling consumed by guilt as I know I am hurting her and others all the time, and if I just removed myself from their lives for the most part I feel I would be doing them a favour. (I am not saying that in a victim-like way, I really mean it genuinely).

    Sorry, this has been a huge rant, which was not my intention. I obviously needed to write, as I didnt stop at all while writing this!

    I'd love to hear other peoples opinions, experiences, anything.
  2. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle


    Your story is very well-written and touching, and I can relate to it in many ways. You have a great deal of internal conflict, which is undoubtedly fueling your TMS. Though TMS never effected my voice, it did appear to effect my ability to connect with others. However, I eventually came to understand that it was the other way around. My inability to connect to others, or to do so in a way that didn't create a great deal of anxiety and distress, was a large part of what was generating my TMS. I think you would find treating your TMS to be more effective if you approach it from this perspective. Have you tried working with a therapist? I suggest getting some help to work through these issues, and at some point, couples therapy may be helpful. You have a lot going on, and I think it will be hard to sort through it all alone.

    You stated that your voice is the thing you care about most. TMS almost always effects us where it will impact us the most. This creates the biggest distraction, and allows us to become focused on our TMS above all else. Effective treatment is about turning that around and focusing on the psychological component instead. It's about seeing the cause of TMS as internal, and not due to external circumstances. The good news about that is that we have control over our internal state, whereas external circumstances will always be somewhat chaotic and uncontrollable. What is that Buddhist saying?--"Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional".
  3. thecomputer

    thecomputer Well known member

    Thanks Ellen, your reply was helpful and it's good to know someone can relate in some way!

    I have worked with a therapist for over 10 years, lots of them! Long before I got any pain problems. I haven't yet gone to couples therapy with my partner.

    I agree, the way I think about and Dal with stress is the cause of my pain in many ways. I feel incredible pressure when people depend on me and need closeness. It's always been an issue.

    I think I need a balance, of changing the way I relate to people and their needs, and also honouring my needs, such as my need for space and time alone. But I do sometimes wonder if I'm just not cut out to be a guardian to a child or even in a commited relationship, when it seems to stress me out so much!

    I'd like to hear anyone else experienced, but I appreciate my first post was very long!
    Ellen likes this.
  4. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

    Great post, it shows you are on the right track. I agree with the wisdom of Ellen. The way you react to certain external triggers and upcoming emotions can be changed. Nothing to add any further, just wanted to give you a heads up.
  5. thecomputer

    thecomputer Well known member

    Thanks gigalos. Appreciate it...

    Are you referring to my first post or the second when saying I'm on track! It doesn't feel like I am!

    Ive been following Buddhist teachings for a long time, and they always talk about how we react to the things that are happening around us.
    I always used to think you must just accept everything and find a way to cope and be at ease with it. His never worked for me!

    I was on a retreat and a teacher told me that you should do whatever you can to better your situation, to take care of yourself and give yourself what you need. He said the Buddha never taught people to just accept everything and do nothing about it.

    This was a big relief for me, but also showed me where I was stuck. I was unable to make he neccesary changes because I felt I 'should' be able to be happy. Changing work, moving house, country, starting or ending relationships. All these things could paralyse me.

    This is the hardest balance to get, making changes where neccesary and also being happy with what you have and finding the good in it. It's easy to fall in to the trap of changing everything ever time it gets rough, but it is a road to nowhere.

    I guess this is what I'm struggling with now, knowing what I really need to heal, and also finding new ways to cope with what currently stresses me out.

    Just thinking out loud really!
  6. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yes, finding this balance has been a struggle for me, too. I live alone, as being around others 24/7 stresses me out too much. I've come to accept that this is right for me. I enjoy people when I choose to be around them, and enjoy coming home to time alone. I feel like I have found a good balance, but it took me awhile. But it is not the norm in our culture, and it can be difficult at times, as most people don't understand and assume if you are alone, then you must be lonely.

    "To thine own self be true." But as you say, it is hard to know when we are being avoidant versus honoring our own needs.
    Tennis Tom likes this.
  7. thecomputer

    thecomputer Well known member

    Thanks Ellen it's good to hear that as I often feel misunderstood in this area. Are you in a relationship, and can I ask what age you are?

    I have spent a lot of my life living alone, even when I had a quite active social life. I love being alone in the house, doing my little projects, being able to play guitar and sing without holding back. I also love walking in nature alone, going on adventures, it gives me such a sense of freedom. There is something about being with others that seems to take away my ability to have profound insights about the nature of life and myself, as I do when I alone frequently.

    It seems most people imagine that being in a couple means being attached at the hip. Living together, eating together, sleeping together. Even thinking about this makes me feel extremely claustrophobic. And yet it is what I'm living currently.

    I have been reading some interesting articles about married couples living in separate houses. The world has changed so much even in my life, it's busy and stressful, and full....completely full. I never really feel alone, as I'm always connected by the phone and internet. These are unfortunately neccesary items in the modern world if you want to stay connected.

    But I think this busy 'always on' world leaves me craving to be alone even more, so not to fry my nervous system!

    It seems we may be in the minority for needing substantial amount of time alone, and also really relishing it, not just needing it to escape. But what I am finding is that i need to accept the way I am and not waste more of my life trying to fit in with social norms and pressures.

    There should be no shame or guilt for needing what I see as precious and enjoyable time in this world. Yet I feel this things and it's obviously where my work is cut out! Especially in relationships as it makes the other person very insecure, understandably.
  8. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

    just to clarify, I think you're on track because you are thinking psychologically now instead of physical. The long story shows that you have gained insight about what might set things off.

    I recognize myself in certain things you write. Having people around creates some kind of growing tension. I like to be alone most of the time, but I also appreciate connecting with people, although for a limited amount of time only. This has been the case since I was a child.
    I decided years ago that I don't want to be in a relationship where you sit, talk, eat and sleep with the same person day in day out. That said, maybe tomorrow I meet someone who feels a similar need of me-time or really accepts that I need that. I also find that I am quite allergic to people who have a strong tendency to 'talk about your feelings' all the time.
    This is where I think my story touches yours. During my relationship I actually wanted to be both out and in, but simply couldn't decide. In a way I was frozen, not deciding to flee from or fight for my relationship. Deep down it felt wrong to prolong the relationship, but I didn't want to hurt her (and myself) so I didn't take action. I started to spend more and more time on addictions like gaming, sugar and smoking pot, had pain in my lower back etc. After a couple of years the relationship simply ended because she concluded that it didn't work; I was kind of relieved and felt happy she could now get on with her life. In your case, correct me if I am wrong, your voice gives way because you cannot allow yourself to express how you are really feeling, in a way you are frozen.
    I could criticize myself for being this way, but I rather live the way I do now and accept myself for who I am. 'I accept myself, I love myself, I appreciate myself' is a strong affirmation that I use often, sometimes it works even when I have no clue what is causing tension. But often at the core it is self-critique, so that is probably why it is so powerful.
    Just to end this post, last weekend I had two diner appointments. I felt a bit nauseous and had a lack of energy the days before and as usual started to think of reasons to cancel. But I decided just to accept and float the feeling, because nowadays I know that social gatherings do that to me. It really helps and makes things much more easy.
    Hope it helps you
    Tennis Tom likes this.
  9. thecomputer

    thecomputer Well known member

    Thanks Gigalos, I appreciate your post.

    Sorry you have struggled with similar feelings and what sounds like a relationship that ended difficultly, even if it was a relief.

    I can really relate to not wanting to sleep, eat, wake up and basically do everything together. Maybe less os before this throat thing, but it's always been there. I have talked about how I feel a lot in my life, lots of therapy and deep conversation, but I am at a point where I also feel a little 'allergic' to it. I have spent time living in a community where there are many groups with sharing etc. and I got a lot out of it. Somehow now I feel I just don't want to go into it. There is only so much you can say sometimes, and when you feel misunderstood which is the case with chronic pain so often, talking can make things worse. Again it comes back to finding a way to accept ourselves as you say.

    The problem is, I have been here before....this place where I am totally shutdown to my partner, unable to connect and feeling frustrated and annoyed all the time. I have been there with my last (intense) relationship. It was horrible, but I didnt have pain then, but the feeling was very similar. Eventually it tore us apart. But I never understood and dont understand now if it is something 'defective' in me, the way I am, or if it truly is something in the dynamic between us. The fact it keeps happening to me makes me think I am the common denominator. But then, my partners over the years have shared similar traits, mainly extreme insecurity, neediness, and being 'overly' emotionally reactive. maybe it's just a natural that my personality mixed with these will be in conflict.

    At the moment, regardless of my pain, I feel that when I am alone and working on projcts I care about, I can be happy, inspired and enjoying things. This is where me and my partner differ....she is in a state all the time, in a big way because of the disconnect in our reltionship, but also because of her ongoing personal problems which she doesnt know how to deal with. I woke up the other day and we had a conflict and I was so stressed, i felt I could explode and the pain was terrible. I got in the car, and drove...I even shouted for the first time in a year, and hit the car in various places! I listened to Rubber Soul, and let go, it felt good. I then went to my favourite place, the river, and floated for miles in a blow up boat! I had a couple of drinks and even talked to some strangers. I felt good! I coudlnt really believe it. The pain was there a little, but really not intrusive.

    I get home with high hopes as I always do. "Things will be different'....and within minutes I feel the same weight, this darkness engulfing me.

    It's an interesting cycle! I just feel like being more selfish these days....and doing whatever it takes to feel ok. As people who are in pain a lot, we need the relief, and whatever it takes to get it. But it seems that TMS personalities seem to carry a fair bit of guilt. I know I do

    I'm ramblin. I really appreciate being able to open up a bit here, its helpful

  10. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    So interesting that it is your voice that is affected by TMS. At an unconscious level you may just not want to talk anymore. But now it is bubbling up to the conscious level as well. I think you have discovered the psychological reason for your TMS.
  11. thecomputer

    thecomputer Well known member

    Well, maybe, but the thing is I love talking, and joking and especially playing music and singing! I think mainly I just don't feel the need to go into deep emotional stuff on a daily basis like I used to, as its exhausting.

    Its so hard to know!
  12. jaumeb

    jaumeb Peer Supporter

    Remember that there is nothing wrong with your voice. You can do whatever you want to do. You can do what you have to do. And you can be the person you want to be.

    Autism is TMS. We want to escape from this world to a safe place where we can be in our heads. Big mistake! Live your live. Spend time with others. Communicate. Smile. Don't let TMS get in your way. Forget about it!

    In my experience, this is not easy. It is not something that can be accomplished overnight. This is the way to go and I try to be pushing always in that direction. And, little by little, I am seeing changes. Changes for the better. TMS is getting weaker and I am getting stronger.
  13. thecomputer

    thecomputer Well known member

    Hi Jaumeb, thanks for the encouragement.

    I find it hard to believe Autism is TMS. Have you spent any time with severely autistic people? We need to be careful about saying everything is TMS!
  14. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    I stopped reading about half way through, so I may have missed something--BUT--this relationship is NOT working for either of you--get out of it--there's plenty of other fish in the sea--maybe you're a loaner--when and if you find the right one, you're life is enriched--from what you've written this ain't happening--it's the 4th of July--a good day to declare your FREEDOM!
  15. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    I missed where "autism" came into this thread. I skimmed back but didn't find it--could someone please point me to where it came up.
  16. thecomputer

    thecomputer Well known member

    Tennis Tom,

    I have to be honest, your comments have slightly rubbed me up the wrong way in other threads. Something I like about the TMS forum is the supportive nature, often non judgemental listening, and the absence of too much black and white advice.

    You said yourself stopped reading half way through, so obviously you missed something, you missed half of what I said! There is no way you can judge from what I have written that this relationship is not working, and it's not ok to say things like to people online. You don't know me, you don't know my partner. All relationships go through difficult times, and normally strengthen as a result. I have given up on relationships before when it got difficult and then come back to the same impasse with a new partner.

    Honestly, I read both your comments and I'm slightly in disbelief that anyone would write that kind of thing, even though it happens on forums all the time. I just thought not here.

    If you want to find the bit about Autism then read the thread!

    And please can we not let this thread get hijacked by any sort of back and forth between me and you. I would like it to stay on topic.

    Thank you
  17. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

    to get back on topic....

    I think there is great truth in that we often pick out partners that have certain character traits. That's why we often fall into the same traps once in a relationship. I believe you can write books about the underlying reasons, but bottom line is that it takes two to tango. We can both fight and work it out, by both changing certain destructive behavior and change to more realistic expectations of what the relationship should be like, or we can flee and end the relationship as good as possible for all involved.
    All in all I believe you are on a crossroads and staying there will not solve things. I can't advise you what to do, only to do something. It won't be easy probably, so I wish you the best.

    I can totally imagine that deep down you might be fed up, that your unconscious simply doesn't want to talk about the same crap again and again, mainly because it brings up all kinds of emotions like anger, fear and guilt. It could even be the case that talking to others and not to your partner makes you feel guilty enough that your brain finds it necessary to generate symptoms...

    take care and thanks for this thread, because I learn from it too...
  18. thecomputer

    thecomputer Well known member

    Thanks gigalos, wise words and helpful.

    I actually did not begin his thread with any intention to break up with my partner, but possibly to seriously change the situation, like not living together, only spending time together when it's good for both of us, not when we are both unhappy and stressed, in pain etc. Surely that is just a recipe for not getting along!

    I have thought many times during this relationship ' if I can't make it work with her, I can't make it work with anyone!'. In many ways she understands me or tries to more than anyone I've met before, and is incredibly accommodating...maybe too much so in some respect. (Many problems with my mum concerning her being endless giving and never strict or strong).

    My tms / throat problem is not caused by my reltionship, even though it did start soon after! I believe it's the result of years of anxiety and insomnia. But because it's to do with talking, of course relationships are hard, and with a child.....incredibly hard.

    I have always had a problem with joining the grass is greener in every aspect of my life. In many ways it's delusional, but in another way it always kept me moving, and striving for something better, something different which led me to some great places and people.

    Since my throat pain started I have had to stop a but, and this stopping has led to realising the grass isn't actually greener, and there is nowhere to 'get to'. This in some ways has meant less anxiety as I experienced it before, but more of a deflated depressed feeling. Maybe realising the mirage I've been heading toward all my life is just that, a mirage!

    Now I'm here, and this is life, and it's hard! Time to stop searching outside
  19. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    tl;dr -- I don't get paid to do this--put me on your ignore list and I will do likewise--happy 4th.
  20. thecomputer

    thecomputer Well known member

    Tennis Tom, I don't know if you are trying to wind me up!

    I had to look up 'tl;dr'. 'Too long, didn't read". Do you realise how rude and insensitive you sound? Not only to say it's too long you didn't read it, but to give advice the way you did, and then to say you don't get paid for it, therefore you won't read the whole thing! You didn't have to read it, but you also didn't have to comment.

    And would you only give someone the time to listen to them and respond if you got paid for it, that's what it sounds like. I expect this kind of behaviour elsewhere on the internet, but this is the first time I've witnessed it on the TMS forums. Unfortunately it's in a thread that is about something quite important to me. So if you have nothing constructive to say, or are too busy to read what has been written, then please don't add to the thread


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