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November 28, 2008

Comments

rabbi

Dear Annie,

My wife walked out of the marriage, with our 2 year old daughter, saying
1.I'm a control freak
2.she has no space to breath
3.I'm blind to her feelings

6 months now, been through lot of revelations about myself with help of my counsellor. I really wan't to get her back into my life, but I'm worried I would repeat the cycle of above three points at some point of time. How do I save my family from this dangerous course and regain our relationship?

Thanks.

lifemadesimple

Annie Kaszina says:

Hi TG,

I was so sorry to read your comment.

You come into your girlfriend's life, you are prepared to help her grow, be her friend and lover, and then, when it should all really start to work out for you both, it falls apart.

There can be no doubt that being in an abusive relationship, makes intimacy look very, very unsafe.

Your girlfriend had the motivation to get away from her abusive husband. Being in a loving relationship is clearly more challenging for her.

It's hard to know what is going on in your girlfriend's mind from what you say. The thing is, as you already know, you are left with very few options. She doesn't want to hear about your feelings, and she is probably finding it extremely hard to feel needed by you.

The aftermath of an abusive relationship is difficult to handle. It may be that she is projecting old experiences onto the present and hearing in your words echoes of what her husband once said, whether or not there is any real similarity.

You ask what you can do. You have already done everything you can; you have loved and supported your girlfriend every way you could.

In the end you cannot do it for her, and you can't do any more for her. The only person who can ever confront and resolve that old trauma is your girlfriend herself. Maybe she is now filled with the anger she dared not express before. Who knows?

You have given your girlfriend the gift of your love. At the moment, she is not in a place to love or appreciate it. Hard as that is to acknowledge, the most useful thing you can do is respect that that is where she is.

You have helped her once to stand up to an abusive partner. Much as you may like to help her this time, you cannot. Nor should you. She has to do this one for herself before she can be her own person. She has to learn to respect her own strength and courage before she can allow you too.

I wish I could tell you this will all work out well. The truth is I have no idea. But we both know that telling her you love her and pleading with her does not work. So you really have to do something different, not least so that you can take care of yourself and not become any more of a casualty of the abusive relationship than you are already.

Tell your girlfriend calmly that you love her deeply and care about her wellbeing. Tell her also that you respect her wishes, much as you would love to be with her, it will only ever be valuable when she is ready to come back to you and acknowledge the value of your love.

Then do as much as much as you can to get back into your life. Doing that will earn her respect and ease your daily torture.

And know that love, by which I mean healthy love, is never wasted. Your capacity to love will serve you well.

Someone will truly appreciate all that you have to offer and be delighted to return your love. Whether or not it will be your current girlfriend only time will tell.

But you owe it yourself, and her, to step out of this pain before the hurt and the recriminations start to remind you both of what she has already been through.

TG


I've been struggling during the past couple of months witnessing my girlfriend going through a transition period in her life. She comes from an abusive marriage which lasted more than 5 years. She was recently divorced. I, of course helped her to gain self-confidence and independence in order to achieve her strength and stand up to her ex.

She said she loved me and couldn't wait until we were together. I have tried to be her friend, lover, and supporter during this time.

But during the past couple of months, I have witnessed her distancing herself from me. No matter how hard I try, she continued to distance herself from me. We went from being extremely intimate (a few times per week) to once per month. First I thought maybe there was another guy in her life, however, after further reading, I came to the conclusion that she is going through her recovery period from her abusive marriage.

This has been the most difficult experience I have encountered in my life. It is so hard to love someone and not be able to express your feelings/emotions. I've been depressed, sad, frustrated, and sometimes angry. How can someone go from one side of the spectrum of loving you and couldn't wait until together to a the other side of not wanting to spend any time with you??

I need her more than anything in this world. She means a lot to me but I am suffering a great deal because of this. She doesn’t want to see me and if she does, it will only be as friends. I have told her that it will always be more than friendship. She is afraid of relationships, commitments, obligations, and getting close to someone.

She doesn’t know if she will ever have another relationship. She doesn’t want to get married or have any children.

If you are in a similar shoes as my girlfriend, I would appreciate you write back and tell me what I may or may not to. How long will this healing/recovery period may take? What to expect? I have ordered some books from Amazon but I don't believe any of them talk about what the partner or hope to be a partner should do during this time.

I fit the description of "The Characteristics Of A Good Man" mentioned above very well.

Your comment and assistance on this matter will greatly be appreciated.

Regards,
TG

Shannon

Why do I continue to believe my abuser. I have been married for seven yrs. to a man that calls me stupid, digusting, and tells me he hates me. He witholds affection and love to control me, and has isolated me from friends and family. However, the pleas and crying that "I'll change" are so strong that I want to believe him, or maybe I just feel sorry for him. He makes light of our situation in order to make me feel like I'm the crazy one. Although I feel all alone, I know I'm not. But how can I make that final step to let go, and why is it sooo hard???
Help!!

Leti

When I am on a date, these are the traits I look for in a man. I must say that the more educated I have become about abuse the better my judgement gets when it comes to spotting someone who has abusive qualities. I wish I had become more educated about abuse 10 years ago. Oh well, I guess it happened when it was supposed to. At least now I know exactly what it is that I want and refuse to settle for anything less. Thanks God!

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