How to heal emotionally from trauma?
Going to make this as short as possible, so hopefully someone can give me insight. You can skip to the last paragraph for the minimum for the question. I have extreme anxiety and depression. I know my issues can only be fixed by putting in the work on myself. My question is how can I do this and still keep my boyfriend happy?
A little background.I've put myself last and put his wants and needs above myself for years. I don't want to make this about addiction but it has to be said, he relapsed and lied to me for months. Hes in recovery and has been for well over a year, does meetings, is doing great, etc. In his active addiction and afterwards I have slowly spiraled into horrible anxiety and depression. Most of it is because of what he put me through and how his behavior changed or flip flopped. Because of his addiction and recovery I always had to hold back my feelings and its built up tons of resentment.
I know I am the one who has to fix myself. I am in charge of my happiness just like he is in charge of his happiness. I know that all of the bad things he said and did were because he was sick. But the trauma I went through is something I feel will only heal with time. I am trying to finally put myself first, which is what I've been told is a first step. I need to heal emotionally but the demands of being a mom/ girlfriend(we've been together many years) stops me from doing that. I never get an actual break. But our main issue is sex.
Our drives are very different. He could go every day, I honestly dont know how often I want it because I am always under this thought of having to make sure he is happy and taken care of, my needs come second to his. Thats just the tip of the iceberg of the mental load I feel as a stay at home mom. I feel used and unloved because its like this is what he needs (and hes a jerk when it doesnt happen) and it doesn't matter where I am emotionally, it has to happen. I feel in order for me to heal, I need to get out of this cycle of me thinking this is what he needs and its something I have to do. So the sex should be when I am emotionally ready to do it. But how can I do this when he won't really compromise on how often he needs it? It's easier for me to just give in and do it because if he's frustrated my life is even more miserable. It's one step forward(making him happy) and 2 steps back(it hurts my emotional progress) when I do this and I'm not in the right frame of mind. I also dont hate sex, I don't want a sexless relationship. I just need to know how to get through this catch 22 situation. If anyone has any insight into this, advice is greatly apprectiated.
At the moment it does sound like it’s all about about him, when you also went through this trauma too. Looks like he’s moving in the right direction and thats good as long as you know see he’s being honest this time. Maybe he wasn’t ready before. But you’re at a standstill feeling anxious and depressed because you haven’t processed what happened yet.
You should be able to see if he’s willing to support you by talking to him, and see how he reacts to you. Be open with him and tell him how much you are struggling emotionally. Don’t let him brush this aside because you’re mental health is important too, and should be important to him as well.
Even if to begin with you go out and do something for you, that will help. And/or you go and talk to someone about what happened?
Also when was the last time you did something together?
Sex- hmm kinda think you need to work through the above bit first. But be straight with him again. You're probably going too need him to be patient and maybe let you instigate it a bit more? Or whatever you think. If he gets frustrated and angry because he’s not going have sex as much as he wants then that says quite a lot and it’s selfish and controlling.
Hopefully he’s in the right mind set where he can listen to you, take in what you’re saying and change (at your pace).
Don’t worry about writing too much if you want to carry on with this thread :-).
I'm not one of those people who see abuse at every turn.
But - routinely having sex when you don't want to sounds icky. That it's something you feel you have a duty to do so he won't start using again is icky. That he's set it up like this sounds manipulative. Addiction or not, recovery or not, trauma and forgiveness and all that stuff: maybe the two of you are just not a match. What you're experiencing now sounds just plain wrong.
"It's easier for me to just give in and do it because if he's frustrated my life is even more miserable." So life with him ranges from miserable to more miserable? Did you want to be a stay-at-home mom, or is this his idea? Because it is just making you more dependent on him, it sounds like.
This sounds abusive - and I don't make that charge lightly.
Thank you for your replies, you basically validate how I feel, and the need to change the way things are done in our relationship. I don't think he is abusive, I do hate the way I worded how he makes me miserable when that's not the whole of it. He is very insecure and has always thought I was too good for him. In his active addiction(years ago) he told me many things that I wasn't allowed to do that 'made sense' because of the horrible role models I had for relationships and my previous marriage.
So I have to go back further, my previous marriage was to an alcoholic narcissist who broke me. I'm talking I shouldn't be alive. I was held underwater in a bathtub, had guns and knives pointed at me constantly, regularly raped, I had so many miscarriages I lost count, etc. And these are just the short things to get my point across that I was not mentally healthy. When I finally left I never wanted to be with another man, ever. But shortly after I found my now boyfriend and he made me feel safe in a way I hadn't felt in many years.He was dealing with his own demons but under it all I could see the person he really was and that guy is amazing.
So now its years later and my issues mostly stem from the bad things I let happen to me because of my poor mental health. He is encouraging me to go out places and try to make friends. Hes apologized for the things he said to me, he never realized I took things he said so literally. He has a good job and we are able to get takeout a lot and we are trying to do more things as a couple (hard bc we have kids and only 1 person we trust as a sitter). I am just still struggling because he has made all this progress and is this great person, but now is when everything I went through is deciding to come out and I dont know how to get over it. I also feel so bad because in my previous relationship I was treated horribly, but I was a much better wife. I could start every day new no matter what happened the night before and be 'the perfect wife'. Now I can't. And I don't know how to fix that.
Oh and yes I am a stay at home mom by choice currently. I did work for a few years while he was in college, but now it would cost more to use daycare than I would earn. I do have lots of hobbies (woodworking, pyrography, candles, etc) and I'd like to do more with that. I've sold a lot but not a 'liveable wage'. I haven't done these things in a while either bc the depression took over me. I am starting back again though, have 3 projects in the works.