Abuse---Admitting need to make drastic changes

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#1
This is my first post here. Short personal background. I'm fifty and am nearly eight years into my second marriage. FWIW, I very been sober for almost 32 years. I was molested from ages 12-16 by a scout leader/ski club owner. I can't really say what, if anything that has to do with my current situation, but mention it for context. I've never been physically abusive in any of my previous relationships. Over the course of my marriage, I have to admit that I've been emotionally and (even more shamefully) physically abusive. My wife has been more than patient and long suffering, but things have reached a point where I can no longer pretend that I'm capable of real change by will power alone. My wife can certainly be very fiesty, but nothing excuses the things I've done that have caused so much long term damage. Things have been calm for about six months, but last night we had an ugly confrontation. I called my therapist and have an appt tomorrow morning to tell her exactly what happened and attempt to begin the process of getting to the roots of why I've become so volatile. I know there are going to be some really unpleasant things I'm going to have to confront if I expect lasting change and real healing in my marriage. Every time I've done anything abusive, I've been overwhelmed with guilt and have resolved to never do it again. Last night convinced me that I really am not in control and that I need help. The things I've said and done have been terribly hurtful to my wife. They've also caused me feelings of hopelessness and despair. I have a strong sense of right and wrong and continuing to fail to do the right thing is a terrible way to live. I'm not sure what, if anything I hope to gain by posting here, but I really need to talk about this and just happened to stumble across this site. Thanks for listening..
 

1964dodge

when you help others you help yourself
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#2
you have to stop abusing your wife you admitted that, which is a good sign actually. you need to see your therapist and possibly go into anger therapy. remember abuse is wrong physical or emotional. it doesn't make you a bad person just a troubled one. I think with the proper help and guidance you will be able to get through this. please keep reading different posts and reply when you can. and welcome to SF we care but don't judge. mike *hug
 

HumanExMachina

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#3
Hi @Leftover. You've taken two big steps that not everyone with this issue does. One, you know that it's wrong, and second, you want to get better. Those are two good reasons why you shouldn't feel the situation is hopeless. It's great that you're speaking to a therapist, is your wife also seeing one? She's part of the equation also and is suffering from it more than you are, it would probably be a good idea for her too.
 
#4
Hi @Leftover. You've taken two big steps that not everyone with this issue does. One, you know that it's wrong, and second, you want to get better. Those are two good reasons why you shouldn't feel the situation is hopeless. It's great that you're speaking to a therapist, is your wife also seeing one? She's part of the equation also and is suffering from it more than you are, it would probably be a good idea for her too.
Thank you for for your compassion. My wife and I have both been seeing the same therapist both together and individually. We both like her and believe she has the skills to actually help us. After last night, I just thought it might be a good idea to see her alone so I can fully describe what took place and get her opinion on how best to proceed. My wife and I will be seeing her together next week and then individually as she requests or is needed. Thank you.
 

HumanExMachina

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#5
Thank you for for your compassion. My wife and I have both been seeing the same therapist both together and individually. We both like her and believe she has the skills to actually help us. After last night, I just thought it might be a good idea to see her alone so I can fully describe what took place and get her opinion on how best to proceed. My wife and I will be seeing her together next week and then individually as she requests or is needed. Thank you.
This is a really good thing. You and your wife seem committed to one another and to care about each other. And you're talking and working together with a professional to get passed this and move on to better things in your marriage. The situation is definitely not hopeless, Left.
 
#6
This is a really good thing. You and your wife seem committed to one another and to care about each other. And you're talking and working together with a professional to get passed this and move on to better things in your marriage. The situation is definitely not hopeless, Left.
Again, I can't fully express my gratitude for your optimistic outlook. I'm just really coming to terms with how much hurt and damage I've done over several years now. If she threw in the towel tomorrow and decided to leave, I wouldn't have a legitimate reason to fault her. Fully restoring her trust and sense of safety is going to be a delicate and lengthy process. Any "relapse" of abusive behavior simply isn't an option. Thanks again.
 
#7
I just got to work after seeing our therapist. Giving her every detail of my behavior was not much fun, but I can't really expect her to help me if I'm not totally honest with her. She thinks that I very likely have some level of PTSD and that something in the way my wife and I interact is triggering some past trauma. I'm supposed to be really trying to pay close attention to exactly what I'm feeling when there is conflict and hopefully discover why I'm reacting so badly. I know I'm doing the right thing, but it's probably going to be quite a while before things are really harmonious. I appreciate the warm and gentle welcome I've received here. Things are pretty uncomfortable right now.
 

WolfGoddess

Well-Known Member
#8
It's great that you recognized the need for professional support and that you took the step of sharing here, it took courage to be that vulnerable.

In terms of your childhood experience, I would just say that we are all the culmination of our total life experience and how we process that experience, and something like what you described could certainly have a big impact, more or less depending on how it was addressed at the time.

Best of luck - and please feel free to share here!
 

WolfGoddess

Well-Known Member
#9
I just got to work after seeing our therapist. Giving her every detail of my behavior was not much fun, but I can't really expect her to help me if I'm not totally honest with her
That is huge yes, honesty in therapy is vital. It sounds like you're good with your therapist, but it might be worth considering seeing someone else other than the one you see with your wife.
 
#10
That is huge yes, honesty in therapy is vital. It sounds like you're good with your therapist, but it might be worth considering seeing someone else other than the one you see with your wife.
We've only been seeing her a couple of months, individually and together. So far she seems to be unbiased and willing to hold both of us accountable. Neither of us feels that she takes sides. I think we'd both be open to separate counselors if there's ever any perceived bias. Over the years I've seen so many well meaning, but unqualified therapists(at least for me) that we're both thrilled to have someone that seems to be really good. She manages to be fairly warm while maintaining professionalism. She lets you talk, but always pulls things back on topic rather than allowing rambling rabbit chases. I appreciate your input and will certainly keep it mind. Thanks again.
 

WolfGoddess

Well-Known Member
#11
We've only been seeing her a couple of months, individually and together. So far she seems to be unbiased and willing to hold both of us accountable. Neither of us feels that she takes sides. I think we'd both be open to separate counselors if there's ever any perceived bias. Over the years I've seen so many well meaning, but unqualified therapists(at least for me) that we're both thrilled to have someone that seems to be really good. She manages to be fairly warm while maintaining professionalism. She lets you talk, but always pulls things back on topic rather than allowing rambling rabbit chases. I appreciate your input and will certainly keep it mind. Thanks again.
That's great ๐Ÿ˜Š

I should have said more - i think if you ever feel, for any reason, that you don't feel comfortable sharing something with her because your wife sees her too that would be the time to consider it, or just talking about that with the therapist.
 
#12
That's great ๐Ÿ˜Š

I should have said more - i think if you ever feel, for any reason, that you don't feel comfortable sharing something with her because your wife sees her too that would be the time to consider it, or just talking about that with the therapist.
On our first visit she explained that our privacy from individual sessions would be respected unless there was a genuine NEED to tell the other person. I've told her that she can share anything I say with my wife UNLESS I specifically ask her not to. I understand that to mean my wife or I can discuss sensitive subjects in confidence, but she will not be party to keeping damaging "secrets". I'm fine with that and so is my wife. Very much something to take into consideration, though. Thanks again.
 

1964dodge

when you help others you help yourself
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#13
I think sharing the therapist can be damaging or very helpful to your relationship. the way you described it I think the therapist can help each of you individually and with that knowledge help you as a couple. @WolfGoddess brought up some good points and should be considered. if this shared therapist thing works out for both of you great, but you should keep an eye that neither of you get hurt. I think you are doing a good job in a difficult situation. mike *hug
 
#14
Well I can't say that ALL is well or that I don't have a long way to go, but we had a nice weekend. Worked in the yard together Saturday and went and checked on a couple of rental properties yesterday. We don't see eye to eye on a number of aspects of our rentals, but I managed to steer clear of my normal habit of disparaging her views. Hopefully this is the beginning of a REAL lasting change. It's too soon to be more than cautiously optimistic.
 
#15
I'm very sad to have to say that there was another skirmish this weekend. Much less intense, but still unacceptable. Sitting here in the light of day, it's hard to believe that I allowed myself to behave this way again. I was (and still am) fully committed to getting to the bottom of this and NEVER letting it happen again. Gratefully, my wife hasn't left me (yet), although she couldn't be blamed if she did. We're going to see our therapist together tomorrow morning. I feel so guilty and ashamed and sometimes wonder if I'm actually capable of making lasting core changes. For the record, I understand that my wife is the victim in this situation; NOT me. I'm feeling about as hopeless and discouraged as I ever have. This IS NOT who or what I want to be. Please keep both my wife and I in your prayers. I (we) desperately need some sort of real breakthrough. I'm going to lose my marriage if I can't make the changes I need to. My wife is a beautiful, caring person and deserves so much better. Thank you.
 
#17
Sorry that you are going through this Leftover

Is the therapist you are seeing specifically a marriage counselor? If not, you may want to see one.


One of the treatments that I recommend frequently is acupuncture. There's some evidence it works for a wide variety of conditions, including PTSD
https://www.suicideforum.com/commun...-map-of-acupuncture-for-mental-health.155350/
She is a certified marriage counselor. We both wanted a formally trained therapist that happens be Christian (biblically based). So far she's been good, but we've really only had maybe 6 or 7 total visits together/individually. I'm aware that there is a real possibility that she could recommend that my wife separate (temporarily hopefully) if she thinks I need to work on what's going on with me and get to the bottom of things. I couldn't fault her if she did (by the letter of the law). If I'm minimizing or something, I don't mean to be. I know I've made a mess, but the thought of separation is terrifying to me. I'm just REALLY trying not to push her to commit to staying so soon after another very unhealthy disagreement that escalated past the acceptable line. Hopefully the therapist can help me (us) work something out as a viable plan to deal with future disagreements without any further abusive behavior. I just can't believe I've allowed myself to end up where\what I have. Just how petty and selfish I've been is easily seen in hindsight. I'm hoping to just be as agreeable as possible and really hope the therapist is able to help. Thanks again..
 
#19
We went to the counselor's office this morning together. It was pretty awful coming back only one week since seeing her to discuss the last incident. She was as gentle as she could be, but reminded me about the potential legal implications if this continues to happen. We discussed some of the things from my childhood that may possibly be triggering a #10 response to a #3 problem. We also came up with and all agreed on a plan/course of action when the inevitable disagreement happens to insure that things aren't allowed to escalate. I've agreed to give my wife whatever time she needs to regroup and talk about it later and that I'll also ask to set things aside if I'm getting frustrated. If we still can't agree on something, we're either going to agree to disagree, or if either feels like it needs to be settled we'll discuss it the next time we see the counselor. I'm going to do my absolute best to remember these things when there's a conflict and make a conscious decision to do the right thing. I think that repeated examples of me backing down before things get ugly will be a good start to restoring trust and optimism. Both of us have appointments with her individually next week. Thanks again.
 
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