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Help, please. [triggering?]


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I do not know what to do, and I am afraid that I'll convince myself that the only option is to do something bad to myself.

I am married. I've spent 21 years with this person. I want to uphold my vows. But the relationship has become completely toxic. When I'm around him, I act like a child. Like a two-year-old. I feel like I can't stop myself. I feel crazy. He says he hates me. Has for years. He says I am the sole problem in the relationship now. I believe him.

On the other hand...I'm in therapy. I describe our interactions to my therapist, and she tells me I am being abused by him. That he is playing games with me, and I am playing games with him because I was abused as a child and am being abused now and that's all I know. That if I get enough counseling, I will see how codependent I am and how abusive he is and I will divorce him and be right to do it.

Am I that person? That abused woman who believes it's all her fault? Or is it really all my fault? The fact that I don't know scares me to death. I'm afraid that fear will take over and I will do something stupid. I don't know what to do. I wish someone could help, but I fear no one can.

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I'm sorry you're hurting so much, Solstice. :)

Maybe what's most important is how do you take care of yourself now? From what you've written, this doesn't seem to be a loving relationship. How can you meet your needs and treat yourself with compassion? Can you phone your therapist if you are in distress? I hope you will take every step to keep yourself safe.

We're here and listening.

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Thank you for responding. It means so much just to feel like someone hears me.

I did reach out to my therapist this morning. She gave me some advice on how to handle the most recent issue that has caused drama in the relationship, and I followed it. I'm glad I was able to do that.

But now I'm paralyzed again, thinking in circles, worrying, hurting. The truth is that I don't know how to care for myself. I know I have to, but everything feels wrong.

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Hi Solstice,

It's always harder to look at these things in the immediate moment. The emotions are swirling, and it's hard to "unblend", to get enough distance, to look at yourself from the outside, as it were. Yet, it's also hard to accept outside opinions, because either way, there's some emotional discomfort to what other people might say about you.

So, how about looking back at your own thoughts, from a less urgent time? Read back through your blog; you've already expressed most of what you need to hear. It's more a matter of listening to yourself.

You know, part of the thought error here is the assumption that if the problems were your "fault" (which is not a concept I even apply to relationships), that it would be your duty to stay and fix yourself. The fundamental question is simply, Do you two belong married? I don't see a reason why, yet.

I agree that your therapist would be the best place to learn self-care. And I know that it always takes too long. Hang in there.

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I believe it takes two to tango. You and your husband are a duo and it takes the two of you together to fight, so everything can not be your fault.

Listen to your therapist and take comfort from the wonderful people here. Sometimes you just need to know that you are not all alone and that you are not "crazy".

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