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Romantic relationship issues mimics childhood

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Hedger, May 1, 2023.

  1. Hedger

    Hedger Well known member

    I have had a lot of life pressures last 3 weeks which resulted in a huge fight with my wife about her not being there for me when I have a rough time. She is helping practically, but not really being emotionally supporting and being soft and nurturing with me. The day after when I was alone I broke down crying heavily, and decided to journal about whatever comes up. Pretty soon the focus shifted from my wife to my mother (and to some extent my father). One of my big childhood issues still in me is that I never felt validated when being "weak", i.e. sad or temporarily depressed or not wanting to do something I signed up for or whatever.

    I have this huge inner craving for being validated for my suffering. Especially since I´m a top performer in most things I do (like straight A´s school kid etc.) but it has come with a big cost of me not listening to myself and hence a lot of suffering.

    And I see that its my parents that imprinted this in me, to disregard my feelings to continue to perform. When I spoke up they never really was curious about my feelings or validated them, they always said things like:
    - "no no, you can do it. You have it in you."
    - "no its not so bad"
    - "how did you think it was gonna be like, its like this for everyone"

    To this day my mother still don't want to hear that I think something is tough. If I say something like having two small children is really difficult or something, she is not supportive.

    And when my wife is not supportive when I have it really rough, it devastates me. It rips up all those feelings trapped within me. I feel like she doesn't really love me and no one does. I´m thankful I have a male friend that validates my feelings in these situations.

    I think I pick women who inherently mimics this relationship dynamic from my childhood and I´m trying to resolve it with them to prove its not something wrong with me.

    So the question is, will my wife change and be more supportive in the way I need it (and not the way she does it), or will I resolve this inner pain by my own work. My gut tells me I need the external validation. Maybe it can come from a friend instead. Or maybe I have a big ghost to slay with my mother by working on it somehow. I don't know...

    I think it is quite common also that women don't like to see weakness in their men (vulnerability to some extent sure, weakness no), while the men might have more expectations on emotional support in this regard (as a kid has to their mother). So in all fairness it might be against our biological predisposition to expect this from my wife. But it hurts...
  2. Manjuno

    Manjuno New Member

    I don't think there's any truth to saying "men should be like... and should do this and that while women are supposed to... etc.". You are who you are and your needs are legit - they're not something that you're making up or something you should be hiding.

    The question I would ask is this: do you feel comfortable reading or showing your post to your wife? You did write it after all so why not use it as a way to express those feelings to her? It's honest, it's all you.
  3. Hedger

    Hedger Well known member

    During the fight and the day after we covered things that has to do with her = That I was really hurt by the lack of support, how I want it to be etc. I would probably not show her this writing exactly how it is.

    About my mother I´m writing this here while I´m thinking about it to brainstorm, possibly get insights from others or spark discussions. Maybe I´m way off, maybe I´m not etc. I haven't figured it out.

    I don't believe in the "You are who you are and show everything to your romantic partner". Yes I am who I am, but that does not mean she should have to carry all that. She doesn't have to be part of all of my inner processes to heal. Some things I believe you can and should process with friends or yourself. Putting all your own shit on your romantic partner is probably not a successful way to handle things. Having the capacity to judge what to share with whom is social skill. And when you do share difficult things with your partner, it can be wise to process some of it first or discuss with a friend so that you phrase things in a good way. I fail at this often when acting on my emotions and wish I would have communicated in a better way.
  4. Manjuno

    Manjuno New Member

    Hmm... I'm not so sure I'm sold on your relationship philosophy but that might be just me. I'm in a long relationship and most of our issues through the years arose exactly BECAUSE we didn't share all that "shit' with one another at an earlier stage. Whenever we did, something got resolved and we gotten closer to each other. I'm curious what others have to say about this.
  5. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Beloved Grand Eagle

    To me, it sounds like instead of giving yourself some self-compassion and self-love, you look for it externally. You mostly likely are right, because it’s learned behavior as a child, but perhaps it also keeps you feeling victimized instead of empowered.
    I’m not sure what a “tough time” is for you, but it seems you get angry when others don’t fulfill your needs at this time. I think this is not always an uncommon feeling - and being supportive is part of partnership. However I find it interesting that you got angry with your wife about your tough time and having children and feeling she is not supporting you. These children are also your wife’s children. Is your wife able to meet her own inner needs? Can she go through rough times and manage ok?
    I ask because sometimes I recognize that my husband has skills I just never learned. I marvel at his ability to feel angry and accept that as perfectly ok (just an example). I found myself of that, where I used to judge him for being angry. Now I ask him how he does this? What does he feel physically and how he justifies it as ok, accepts it. He now understands I don’t feel things as he does and I learn to build my skills - that is a great form of support and it meets my needs. In essence YOU need to meet your own needs. Your wife should not have to cater to your inner child. Your pain is not caused by your wife not “supportive” but because don’t yet have the skills to meet your own needs.
    This is the work you need to do for you and nobody else can do it. You have to stop looking outside of yourself and turn inward. A great step is learning that your current relationship is mimicking the past. But now it’s not what mom didn’t do for you, it is how you can do for you.
    It IS hard. You acknowledge this but can you just accept it is hard and hard is ok? Hard is not forever? It will be ok. you are ok even when it is hard.
  6. Hedger

    Hedger Well known member

    @Cactusflower thanks for your response, I appreciate it.

    Probably too much, yes.

    I can buy this. I will explore it.

    This is a good observation and questions. She is surely not getting her own needs met and I´m aware. Due to having 2 small kids I would say both our needs are maybe met at 50% - and I understand it will not be like this forever. I would say part of my anger resides in perceived unfairness in support. When she was home with the kids and had a tough period, I dropped things for my own needs and stepped up and helped more than usually fair and listened to her a lot etc. I would rather have us both at 30% needs met than me at 50% and her at 10%. But sometimes when it is reversed, I feel like she is prioritizing herself to meet her needs even when I have it worse. And that is what happened this time. One example being she planned several trips during these weeks, while knowing in advanced it will be a tough period and me being alone and having the kids by myself would add to that. And when actually home being irritated and so on, adding stress. I get it that its tough for her too, but sometime you need to just fucking suck it up when your partner needs it more and be a positive force - at least that is what I do. And that is one of my good sides, while I definitely have other sides that are worse where she is better. But that is for another time.

    This I agree with completely. I think I wrote something like that in the post too as one answer to it.

    I kind of get what you are hinting at, but I don't agree with the statement at all. There are many needs that require other persons, we are social beings. If you isolate a person from others and give them all they want but just not social interaction, they go mad quite quickly. If you mean that I should make sure my support need are met by calling a friend for support when my wife is unable, yes. But if I´m forced to do it all the time (which thankfully I´m not) it would certainly build resentment towards my wife. Because I have an expectation of my life partner to support me.
    Another very clear example in a monogamous relationship is sexual intimacy with the person I love, I can't meet that need by myself (but sex is not what this post is about).

    I mean we can't all just go around self centered and focus on our own needs. 80% of the time I focus on my kids needs... If I really focused on what I need myself right now, both kids and wife will suffer. I have to constantly judge how much I can focus on myself in regards to my family. Maybe I should do it more, maybe. I will think about it.

    Yes, that is true. And I can logically see it but I don't feel that way right now. And I would love some more empathy from close family in hard times (mother, father etc). But I probably just have to accept how it is and move on, but it is definitely affecting the way I feel about all these people, make no mistake.
  7. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Beloved Grand Eagle

    Unfortunately, empathy can continue our symptoms. It says “you are sick” (etc) and Sarno reminds us we are fine. I think sometimes it is just really hard for us to be angry with partners. We can become judgemental and not want to feel the guilt or anger. Like you say, we are supposed to be supportive.
    I think your wife is taking care of herself (going away) but that is hard for you to do personally because of your sense of duty. Why not plan something for you? Even just a few hours or a day. Sometimes that can really help.
  8. learningmore

    learningmore Peer Supporter

    This is common.

    My mom is a narcissist. I have dated some pretty emotionally terrible women because it seemed normal to me, and it's what I was accustomed to.

    My mom is not emotionally supportive.

    Neither were any of the women I dated, unless it was in their interest to be so.

    My dad gets walked all over by my mom on a daily basis. I was literally raised to believe that if a man ever speaks a different opinion than a woman, he is being a bad person.

    It was not until I realized this, that my mom is a pretty awful person, and started pursuing therapy, that I even initiated realizing this.

    My mom never believes anything I say unless it's what she thinks. If I have a different opinion than her, I am wrong. If I have support of what I'm saying, I'm still wrong. Affection and support are withheld. This is my mother's form of control. I have CPTSD. I am a codependent. 99% of my repressed rage is directed at her.

    Check out /r/raisedbynarcissists on reddit. /r/raisedbyborderlines might be helpful, too. Narcissists and Borderlines as parents may cause a person to experience what you have experienced, and date the kind of woman you say you married. /r/bpdlovedones is good if your wife is suspected of having BPD. Many of us with moms like this attract borderlines. It's quite unhealthy. I dated the same kind of women again, and again, and again, because of this. No emotional support. Walking on eggshells, etc.
  9. Booble

    Booble Well known member

    I think you are making good progress. That's great that you have found the root cause of this need for an abundance of validation and support.
    You ask, will your wife be more supportive or will you make inner progress.
    If you re-read what you wrote there you might realize that it's your journey. It's not fair to your wife to expect her to fulfill the role of your mother.
    Have you defined what "support" means to you in terms of what you are wanting from your spouse?

    I do wonder how unempathetic your wife is? Is she truly cold? Does she never say, "good job, Hedger!" does she not say, "I love you?"
    From the outside, it's hard to know if your wife is truly cold or if you are needing more than what she should be expecting.
    I'm not sure what kinds of conversations you are having about this. If they are fights, that isn't going to help.

    Have you let her know kindly that you are broken inside and need more comfort? And ask how she feels about that?
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  10. Hedger

    Hedger Well known member

    Exactly! I completely agree, and I don't want that kind of relationship. I was just writing how I feel to get help to make progress. That doesn't means its good etc. I want to heal it.

    To some extent, but we need to talk about it more.

    In general, she has many fantastic qualities. This was a specific post about how I suffer in tough time in this aspect, not to only throw shit at her. And its likely very enhanced by my childhood. I wrote it in help to progress since it is a repeating issue for me. And it might be inner child work for me to do. I think I was clear about that in my post.

    She is not cold, she has a good heart but struggles to show it sometimes (at least how I long for). We tell each other we love each other several times per week. She definitely says good job now and then. She is not that soft though when delivering these type of comments, more like a direct communication as at work. And its pretty good when we are not under heavy pressure and I do love her a lot.

    Her mother was a narcissist alcoholic during childhood, and my wife has a tendency to run from her emotions (she agrees) by filling her schedule and mind to (what I think) overflow (she doesn't fully agree with this). And what I think happens when I have a tough time and she has it simultaneously a bit rough, is that she is not in touch with herself at all and consequently can not sense at all how I have it or "tune in" with me. Even if I tell her how I feel its like she fully doesn't get it anyway. And she cannot be soft, nurturing etc. since she is in "project mode" out of touch with her own emotions. And I think this is part what pisses me off a lot. She has actually told me things like "I´m not really good at tuning into other peoples moods or emotions, I just go. I´m not as empathic as you. I´m not that soft and nurturing, I´m a do-er. I help by offloading", but I know she can be soft so I´m more inclined towards she becomes like that when she is running from her own emotions.

    She knows how my mother and rest of the family is and how I feel about it. She knows I did the TMS work a few years ago and it not only healed my symptoms 90% but also improved our relationship a lot since many of my bad qualities got a lot better! I tell her my inner brokenness in general high level ways, but don't have in depth discussions with her. I don't want her to be my therapist, but I do want her to know what I´m going through. Details I discuss with a friend who also done the TMS stuff.
    Booble and JanAtheCPA like this.
  11. Hedger

    Hedger Well known member

    I was such a simp and got walked all over by my ex (not my current relationship), and she lost respect for me.

    This is very similar to my mom. I have almost never heard my mom say "I was wrong" or "I´m sorry". If we have a discussion about something and I can prove without a doubt that she is wrong and I´m right, she just looks away angry and starts talking about something else. If I mention something she said weeks ago that hurt me and want to talk about it, she can say things like "I would never say that, that doesn't sound like me" and just ignore reality. I guess that is gaslighting. And what I have understood from a friend is that she is not actually consciously aware of what she is doing. It´s an unconscious process to protect her fragile ego. She actually believes she hasn't said it. Because if she is forced to consciously admit to her self things like that, her whole self-image collapses and that the mind cannot handle.

    While she is so emotionally un-supportive, she is actually very practically supportive. She helps baby-sit the kids, she buys stuff for them often, she buys family stuff we need without me asking. But when doing things like that, it is not uncommon she throws out some sort of comment to make you feel guilt. Like if I ask for babysitting, it can be like "Mhmm is that the only reason why you call lately. Well well, I can do it."

    I guess it is not a coincidence that both my long term relationships have been with women who have had an alcoholic parent. You are primed to connect with people who are as emotionally hurt (screwed up) as you are from childhood. (My parents were not alcoholics at all, other emotional problems). I´m just really happy that my wife is working on herself as I am so that we can grow together. I was not any better than her when we met.

    How have you processed the mother rage?
    Last edited: May 4, 2023
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  12. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Beloved Grand Eagle

    “I was just writing how I feel to get help to make progress. That doesn't means it’s good etc. I want to heal it.”

    Then you might want to try journalling and tearing it up afterwards. It’s exactly what that exercise is for. I think you’d do great!
  13. Hedger

    Hedger Well known member

    Done all that
    Last edited: May 5, 2023
  14. Booble

    Booble Well known member

    Hi Hedger,
    I'm going to tell you something my Dad told about his relationship with my Mom. My mom was perhaps a little like your wife, although your wife sounds much nicer. My mom had a tough exterior and like your wife was a do-er. On the other hand my dad was a softie. They both grew up with their own family problems. My Dad's mother was taken away to a mental hospital. His family was very poor. He spent time in an orphanage. My mom had a severely strained relationship with her mother. I say all of this as context for the message.
    My parents stayed together (and even much to our incredible surprise renewed their vows). My siblings and I had a hard time with why my Dad allowed my Mom to treat him the way she did. He clearly could have used someone being kinder and gentler and more validating to him.

    But here's the thing......my Dad told me that he CHOSE to be with her. He told me very clearly that he was aware of who she was and how she acted and he decided he still wanted to be with her. He really did love her as was demonstrated toward the end of their lives. He also was aware that deep inside she was not the tough exterior that she presented. But she was tough on him. And he made that choice.

    Why do I tell you all of this? Because I think you need to make a choice. You need to decide if you can live your life with a reasonably degree of happiness with your wife, as she is. Your wife may change and grow through the years and she may learn to give you more support and the kind of validation and affection you seek, but she also may not. You should not, in my opinion, expect it. Again, she may very well get to that point where you want her to be, but she also may not. She has her own shit in her head and her little children inside of her and her own struggles. I'm not sure how old the two of you are but I've definitely found through the years that my husband and I have learned to be more supportive of each other. We've learned what each other needs in that regard. We've both grown and changed throughout the years for the better in regard to how we are with each other. But, yet still, I think you need to find acceptance of your wife. Who she is and who that plays out in terms of her behavior. You can let her know what you'd like, but you can not require it. She is who she is. And you can make a choice. The choice isn't to change her. The choice is to accept her and love her as she is and value all the things you value in her. Or you can choose that you need a different sort of person as your partner in life.

    Harsh realities. I hope not too harsh. Maybe food for thought?
  15. Hedger

    Hedger Well known member

    I agree with the statement. But I do think more like help her bring down her defenses so she can be who she truly are. But I agree I can’t force this or be sure it will happen.

    This is very over-dramatic. I stated in the original post the question: will she change in this regard, do I have to resolve it myself (inner child work) or find the support in a friend. It was never about not wanting to be with my wife. It was about me hurting. I can recognize that a situation and a behavior hurts me a lot and write about it without questioning my whole marriage. I also know it is a result of having small children that is a huge life pressure.

    maybe my writing can come across dramatic since I write quite raw. But it’s more as emotional processing.

    but I agree that it is important to accept our partners.
  16. Booble

    Booble Well known member

    From a Sarno perspective, re-read what you said,
    "And when my wife is not supportive when I have it really rough, it devastates me. It rips up all those feelings trapped within me. I feel like she doesn't really love me and no one does. I´m thankful I have a male friend that validates my feelings in these situations.

    I think I pick women who inherently mimics this relationship dynamic from my childhood and I´m trying to resolve it with them to prove its not something wrong with me."

    So the question is, will my wife change and be more supportive in the way I need it."

    That sounds like a lot of anger and based on how you responded to my post, it's shoved down pretty far. Having this kind of anger doesn't mean you don't love someone or don't want them in your life. As you know, it helps to acknowledge that. Perhaps that is what you were trying to do with your initial post. The second part is letting that anger go. My post about making a choice was to help you see that in choosing your wife, you also must feel all that anger, and the let all that anger go.

    I'm sorry if it came off otherwise. I wish you the best.
  17. Hedger

    Hedger Well known member

    Yes it is a lot of anger. And probably a big part of it toward my mother and not my wife, or both. I don’t know if it is showed down far. Right now I’m really angry and I have 0 tms symptoms.

    I’m not there yet. Here I have work to do.

    You don’t have to be sorry, I like it. It actually helps me. I got angry at your post and that means there is something there. Im also starting to become very sad, difficult to hold it together at work. As I said, I have 0 tms symptoms and no pain. This whole thread has helped a lot even though it can be seen as arguing, offensive etc. Shit got real and I was vulnerable and shared real things, and it got a bit messy but its working!
    Booble and JanAtheCPA like this.
  18. learningmore

    learningmore Peer Supporter

    How have i resolved my repressed rage? I haven't. I fired my last therapist for invalidating me. Finding a trauma informed therapist is very difficult. Normal therapists cannot understand trauma and give bad advice, or invalidate you. Got a new therapist but haven't met them yet.

    Will your wife change? Assuming she has a Cluster B personality disorder like my mom, my exes, and presumably your mom, no. But for them to get therapy, they have to understand they are the ones with a problem. This does not match their personality, and will not happen.

    Change is VERY VERY VERY hard even with therapy. Go read the subreddits I mentioned. See what happens when they get therapy.

    As to the poster whose dad CHOSE (emphasis yours) to stay with the abusive wife, that sounds like some victim mentality enabling nonsense. No offense to you or your family. I say it from a place of self-disgust because I had those same thoughts with a BPD ex. But ultimately, I thought if I loved her enough she would change, wanted to save her and I also hated myself. It is never the right choice.


    You do not nurse back to health the rabid dog who is going to bite you once it recovers. There are lots of other dogs who won't punish you for helping them.

    That last sentence should resonate with you.

    These people punish you when you help them. They are mean to you when they are nice. When you give them so much of yourself because you want to help they respond by shitting on you and gaslighting you and punishing you physically/emotionally. I bet you support your wife. I bet when she has a bad day you comfort her. But when you need the same thing, she belittles you. Yet you think it is your job to take care of her when she is incapable, because she is a child in an adult's body, of sharing with you what you need.

    The only way it's the right choice is if you're codependent and have no self value unless you're with someone.

    This is why women stay with men who beat them. They want to "save them" or they "see the good person inside" or whatever. Nonsense. The bruises don't say I love you. If someone is a shitty person they're a shitty person. And you know what, I bet they're really nice to outsiders, because personality disordered people normally treat other people nice but treat their family like shit. My mom is the nicest person with neighbors. Behind closed doors she's awful.

    It's part of why no one believes you when you tell them. "SHE WAS ALWAYS SO NICE TO ME!!! SHE DOESN'T SOUND THAT BAD."

    It's all part of their plan.
    Last edited: May 6, 2023
  19. Booble

    Booble Well known member

    My point was that my Dad didn't expect her to change. He weighed the pros and cons and chose to be with her. It's not for you or for me or for anyone to say what was right or wrong for him or to assume "some victim enabling nonsense." People are complicated. People are multi-dimensional. Relationships between two hurt people with their own trauma is twice as complicated.

    It's not really true that if someone is a shitty person they are a shitty person. We all have our shitty bits. If you are expecting people around you to be 100% perfect at all times, you are going to be highly disappointed in life. That's why we learn to say I'm sorry when we fuck up. And I forgive you when those we care about fuck up.

    It sounds like you have a shit ton of anger and my example and the OP's post brought it to the forefront.

    PS. For the record, my mom was a bitchy communicator to everyone not just my Dad. She didn't have any scheme or grand plan.
  20. learningmore

    learningmore Peer Supporter

    It's good your dad understood she wouldn't change.

    But why did he feel the need to make himself miserable? I understand wanting to take care of, to help to save people. But not at your own expense.

    It is victim enabling nonsense. He was being a victim and enabling her. She was being abusive and horrible. He was enabling it. Reread this until you get it. Were you living with them at the time? Then he is responsible for your issues, too, because he enabled your mom's abuse. He could have had a happy life. I'm saying this while considering my dad, who is very unhappy (but would never admit it), who enables my mom 24/7.

    My dad probably thinks my mom might not be able to do things herself if he left her (he's right, she relies on him for everything, and he probably likes feeling needed), but he is massively unhappy in the process.

    It really goes against everything I believe to say this, but I think he's worse with her.

    It IS true if someone is a shitty person they are a shitty person. Doing a shitty thing sometimes is different. Being a shitty person who intentionally treats people bad, even if it's only one person (your spouse, for example), makes you a shitty person.

    I do a have a lot of anger, because when you have experienced abuse, you see it in others. When people make excuses for their abusers, you see through it. When people say "oh it's not that bad" or "oh they didn't mean it," you know they're enabling. There's a word for this. These people are called flying monkeys. Definition: https://www.narcissisticabuserehab.com/flying-monkey-narcissist-meaning/#:~:text=Flying%20monkey%20(noun)%3A%20a,Synonym%3A%20enabler%2C%20hatchet%20man (Flying Monkey Narcissist Meaning).

    The person who made this thread dates awful women because his mother was awful.

    Some people will sugar coat it, but I presume the person knows it's a problem (most people don't, but he made a thread so he's making good progress) and wants to know what he can do.
    Hedger likes this.

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