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Back again - Carers UK Forum

Back again

Tell us a bit about yourself here.
I posted a while back but never really got around to saying what I wanted to say.

Things haven’t got any better - actually worse - so here I am again.

I’m finding it increasingly difficult to cope with my partners reactions to everyday events.

She has had a lot of difficulties in the past, both mentally and physically. She’s gone through various therapies in the past. Most have been successful to some degree or another, but have generally been a short term success as the treatments often only last 3 months and, once stopped, the situation often reverts to what it was previously.

A couple of years ago, she was on the verge of starting EMDR to try and help her come to terms with some of the things from her past that the therapists regard as being unprocessed and therefore causing her ongoing grief. She’s been diagnosed with acute depression and anxiety, distress intolerance, possible PTSD and a lot of physical issues as well.

Unfortunately, she then had to have a couple of operations which prevented the EMDR from taking place (I can totally understand having to cope with 2 operations and EMDR at the same time would be too much for anyone). However, since that time, she seems to feel that the EMDR is no longer required. I’m obviously no expert, but it seems to me that the original issues for which she sought help still exist.

The main difficulty for me is the “hair trigger” (and “walking on egg shells” so many other folk here describe). Things can be absolutely fine for a week or two, then an apparently totally innocuous conversation can spark a fury like I’ve never known.

The other evening, we were out for dinner. She couldn’t decide between 2 starters (I know this sounds bizarre - at least it feels bizarre sitting here typing this), so after a while, I gently asked if she might like to try the first one, as she’s enjoyed that when she’s had it before. Her reaction was as I’d imagine someone’s might be if I’d deliberately run over their beloved pet. Utter hatred in her eyes. Nothing much else was said for the duration of the dinner as we were with others. Just a number of very hard looks from my partner.

When we got home, I stayed up for a while and it seemed okay. When I said I was heading off to bed, I got told “Do what you like. You always do”. A while later she came up to bed, woke me up and told me to **** off, that she wanted nothing else to do with me and told me to leave. I wasn’t sure if that meant just for the night or forever, so I just headed downstairs to sleep on the sofa again. This is pretty much the usual pattern that follows when something like this happens. And I’m told it’s my fault because I “should know what my triggers are”. I do know some of them. Many of them, in fact, but there still seem to be many I’m not aware of until things blow up.

I know from past experience this will now fester in her mind and be an issue for probably 2-3 weeks. During that time I’ll either be ignored or told exactly what she thinks of me (not very nice stuff).

And I dread going home from work as I don’t know what I’ll be met with. It might be fine. Or she might say we’re finished and she wants me to leave and she’ll go find someone else. Or any of a ton of other things that have gone on in the past.

I use this specific example just to demonstrate how easy things can go from terrific to dreadful. This is a fairly common thing (couple of times a month with slightly less lengthy but still just as confusing examples in between). And I’m feeling more and more worn out from it after each occasion.

I’ve tried talking to her about it, but she always seems to turn it around and say things like “If you weren’t such a bastard...” etc.

I’ve spoken to professionals about this and they all say that it sounds like she needs to speak to someone to get some help. But if I even get close to mentioning that to her, she flies off the handle almost immediately. I’m told it’s my fault and I should know not to say anything that might upset her. But because I do, it’s my fault she behaves the way she does. And she then excuses all of her behaviour because of what happened to her in the past and then I feel terrible because I’ve inadvertently opened another old wound.

It gets to the point where I’m scared of saying anything in case I inadvertently mention a word or a phrase that triggers some awful memory or association and it all spirals out of control yet again.

Don’t know where to turn, really. I’m getting great help from the Carers, but this really only helps until I get home and it starts up again.

There’s a ton of other stuff on top of this - I’m barely scratching the surface but don’t want to take over the forum with too massive a rant. The hardest part right now is knowing that any part of any conversation could result in another bout of accusations, anger, being told to **** off etc.
Stop trying to please her all the time.
When you're out with her and she gets annoyed just carry on regardless. The more attention you give her the worst she'll be. Just IGNORE her bad behaviour. She won't like this but it will work.
When you're in bed and she asks you to leave -STAY PUT. Don't go downstairs to the sofa, stay in bed and ignore her. Don't allow her to be aggressive physically towards you. Stick up for yourself.
Just because your partner has had difficulties in the past doesn't mean she can treat you badly.
Remind me again why you are with her?????

Sorry if that sounds 'flippantly hostile'.....but as an outsider reading your post it's hard to see what is in this relationship for you.

Did YOU cause all her original problems? If not (and I'm assuming that was a rhetorical question!) then why does she think she has a right to bully you, intimidate you and basically let loose her utterly unwarranted and unjustifiable angler and spleen on you - the very person who is sticking by her!

Her behaviour is utterly out of order. Nothing gives her - or any human being - however 'wounded' the right to lash out at others.

I would recommend counselling for yourself to enable you to either find robust ways to counter this abusive behaviour of yours (and it IS abusive), or to find the strength of heart to leave this appalling relationship.

You aren't, sadly, doing her any good, being her whipping boy. It's not helping her heal....just keeping her the monstrous way she is.

Compassion is a vital quality of humanity, and you have it in spades - but it has to be (a) bestowed upon someone DESERVING (and her abusive behaviour shows that she does NOT deserve your compassion!) and (b) actually 'effective'.....ie, doing her good....

I think it's vital you understand the crucial difference between SUPPORTING someone with MH (which moves them FORWARD, and COUNTERS the 'monstrous identify' that the MH 'poisons' the 'real her' with) to only ENABLING them (which allows them to stay 'where they are' and indeed, 'feeds' the MH)

It's incredibly hard to 'stand up' to those we love, and incredibly hard to distinguish between the 'real' person and the 'MH-pesona' (ie, the 'monster' that produces endless 'monstrous' behaviour, like hers), but it has to be done. You want to love the 'real person', but defy the 'mosnter' inside her.

The overall requirement for each of us to behaviour in a respectful way to each other NEVER leaves us. She has NO moral right to disrespect you as she is now doing. it is unacceptable. NO excuses. (Her self-pity seems atrocious to my mind!!!!!)

I know this sounds harsh, and you may be 'mentally rejecting' it outright, but please re-read your post as if you were a stranger, like me, reading it, and see what you think of her behaviour. If you were 'someone else' would you not feel outraged by her appalling treatment of you???
"And I’m told it’s my fault"

Hang on to this - it is NEVER the fault of the person being abused! In fact, THE key indicator that it IS abuse is that she is blaming YOU for HER behaviour.

Abusers never take responsibility for their own behaviour.

I do urge YOU to seek counselling as the victim of an abusive relationship. (Most abusers are totally screwed up psychologically 'by definition'....they may be 'pitiable' people, ie, they abuse BECAUSE of 'bad stuff' in their own lives, but it NEVER excuses it, only explains it. It must NEVER be tolerated)

I get the feeling you see her as a 'victim', as 'poor her'.....but that isn't the way she's coming across. She's coming across as a cruel, self-obsessed, self-focussed, self-pitying person who takes no responsibility for herself, and no responsibility for how she treats you. Her previous suffering does NOT excuse her behaviour now.