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No emotional support

(17 Posts)
WellieWanger Mon 27-Feb-17 08:18:42

Just as the title says really. I am generally very independent, rarely need support etc but sometimes I do and DH doesn't give it. I find this increasingly difficult. He isn't very demonstrative in any way really-doesn't say love you unless prompted or over text, sex a few times a week but NEVER initiated by him, doesn't do compliments or support for eg;if i am doubting my skills or abilities in something never says 'you are capable' etc, never offers an opinion on things I ask him about. But I have sort of just taken it as 'this is him, you can't change him, change your expectations' and muddled along well for the past decade.
However, in recent years I have had moments of my resolve cracking. I was abused by a family member as a child. It's cut me up inside and affected me in ways I don't like to admit to. Often I can forget about it for months at a time but sometimes I get incredibly upset about it. I was also assaulted and raped twice in my teens by different people. All these things are my secrets. I still have to see the family member who abused me. I can't tell my family. I can't talk about it. Same goes for the rapes. Some very close friends know bits but DH knows all.
The problem is I get no support from him when I am struggling. I can be next to him in tears and I have to ask him for a hug. He never offers reassurance. Doesn't say anything. The past two nights I have lay in bed and cried and got nothing. Last night I tried to open up about it and said I feel really down and angry about it, that I had cried on my drive home and that I feel so lonely with it all. I got nothing. I asked him for a cuddle and he lay an arm across me. So I just lay and cried and he went to sleep.
This morning I have called in sick, I can't face getting out of bed. When he brought DD in I said 'I feel so low. I don't think I can face work' and got teary. No response. He finished getting dressed and said bye.
Am I being too sensitive in my expectations? Maybe I have spent so long being strong he doesn't know what to do? I understand it's awkward and nobody wants to talk about these things. But what do I do. I tried a counselling session but it was me just talking and the counsellor said nothing. I needed some answers and help to work through it after 20 odd years but that wasn't their approach.
Does he not love me do you think? He has struggled with mood in the past and I have been incredibly supportive. I had mental health problems from a kid and had a bout of anxiety around 2 years ago. I think in the end with that he got a bit fed up. I managed to sort it out on my own though without medical help. I haven't been on medication for around 10 years and I haven't felt I needed to. But sometimes I can't be strong and need his support. I don't really know what to do. We are also expecting again.

ElspethFlashman Mon 27-Feb-17 08:24:43

Well firstly you need to do more than one session of counselling. Cos the first session is always always just you telling them why you're there, the background, the story etc. Nothing else happens in the first session so often you come out feeling deflated. But your expectations were off - it takes much much longer.

So go back, and expect the first session to be like that. And maybe even the second as the counsellor draws out more of the story. But keep going and it will start to feel more beneficial.

As for your DP - it sounds like he has always been this way. So he won't change as this is his fundamental personality.

category12 Mon 27-Feb-17 08:29:42

If we're being generous here, it might be that your DH just cannot cope/isn't equipped to deal with what has happened to you. And therefore shuts down on you. Which is shit, but possibly tolerable.

I think you need to accept that for whatever reason, he isn't going to give you what you need. So you need to find support elsewhere. Support groups or similar, perhaps. It might be that you need to go back to counselling or some sort of therapy, and give it another shot. It can take time to find the right counsellor for you. Have you ever talked to rape crisis or anyone like that?

As for him, I would think carefully about whether this is something you can live with.

Congratulations on your pregnancy.

WellieWanger Mon 27-Feb-17 08:36:26

I asked about the counsellors approach and was told it was to just be a sounding board, that she would often 'sit and say nothing'. And that some people don't even tell her whats happened to bring them to her and she doesn't ask. They just listen week after week. I have had counselling throughout my teens and childhood and it was helpful. I obviously didn't tell them about this but other things we spoke about and worked through long term but it was a two way thing from the start. I assumed this would be the same but it isn't their approach apparently. It was where I was directed by the dr (not much in our area and it's specifically sexually abuse) so not sure where else to go. Work offer counselling through their insurers but think that's more for stress with work etc.
Not sure what to do about dp. Thanks

WellieWanger Mon 27-Feb-17 08:42:23

X posted. I haven't spoken to rape crisis. I think today I will spend the time looking for alternative support locally. Thank you. I don't know if I can live like that. I often think how will I cope when my parents die and he is all I have and he can't support me or isn't bothered. That worries me. A large part of me also feels that one day I am going to just explode with everything I keep to myself and not be able to pick myself up from it and shut down myself. Not being able to get out of bed this morning hasn't been an issue since I was at school. Like I feel as though I am waiting for the beginning of the end sometimes with my 'keeping my shit together'. Have text dp to let him know I haven't gone in and that I am struggling.

category12 Mon 27-Feb-17 08:50:11


Blackbird82 Mon 27-Feb-17 08:51:11

I really think you should look for another therapist. I saw someone last year and it was awful, she just sat there and said nothing. It made me feel so uncomfortable. I'm now seeing a different therapist, a man this time and It's completely different. We talk and share experiences, he asks me questions and gives me his opinion, validates my feelings and I can't tell you how effective it is. I still do the bulk of the 'talking' but I'm so glad I found him.

Re your husband, it just sounds like he represses his emotions and certainly doesn't know how to deal with yours. It must be soul destroying and I really do understand because my husband was exactly the same. However, he is also in therapy and the change in him has been remarkable. Is this something yours might consider?

WellieWanger Mon 27-Feb-17 08:56:28

Thank you
Yes blackbird, I felt uncomfortable. Really pleased your new therapist is better. That's the sort of approach I need. I need someone to help me talk through my feelings. When my DD has gone i will have a look in to more again.
DH would absolutely not go to therapy. In the past I have suggested marriage counselling which he wouldn't do. I can't imagine him doing anything like that. Part of me probably knows that if I said it was support me or leave, even if he didn't want us to separate, he wouldn't be able to bring himself to support me.

Dontsayyouloveme Mon 27-Feb-17 09:12:28

Just a very quick post as am at work but you are NOT in any way being over sensitive in your expectations. He is not meeting your emotional needs for one reason or another. This is vital in a relationship.. how do you stay connected if he doesn't seek to understand you and support you. I speak from recent experience where I've realised that this is a totally reasonable expectation in a significant relationship. Without it what do you have together? So NO you are not expecting too much from him. flowers

WellieWanger Mon 27-Feb-17 10:21:55

I don't know really. A mortgage, two kids and a lot of history I suppose? There are a few things that make me think we shouldn't be together. But they don't ever seem major enough to end a marriage over. He isn't violent or anything. Just cold and a bit of a childish dick sometimes. And I can't really be bothered to have a conversation with him about it all again because he never responds to what I am saying to him. I think thats probably why we have sex so often, so i can feel physically close to him to compensate for the fact I don't think he is too fussed about me any other way. Thanks for kind words.

OnTheRise Mon 27-Feb-17 13:06:52

I don't think you're being unreasonable in wanting your partner to give you emotional support. But it does sound as though he is unable to do that, and so you have to decide if you can continue living with him, and finding support elsewhere, or if his coldness is a deal-breaker for you. The only way you're going to be able to work this out safely is to find a good counsellor or therapist.

Just one other thing. You absolutely do NOT need to keep seeing the relative who abused you. If you're not ready to tell people about the abuse then you don't have to: but you can reasonably say you don't like them and are not prepared to spend time with them again. Meeting up with someone who has abused you, and keeping quiet about it, and not having had any therapy or emotional support about it must be a nightmare. Put yourself first. Refuse to see them. If your family kicks up a fuss or asks you why, tell them you are not prepared to talk about it. If they won't accept that, repeat you're not going to talk about it and change the subject. Leave the room if they persist. You must look after yourself, and this is a very reasonable and sensible thing to do under the circumstances.

I am so sorry that person abused you. You did not deserve it, and are allowed to protect yourself from them now no matter what anyone else says.

WellieWanger Mon 27-Feb-17 13:42:46

Thank you. It's very tricky re my family. Parents like us to live in each others pockets and often comment how they love that abuser and I 'get on' now and how that's all they've ever wanted. Abuser however is One Of my siblings. Not only sexually abused,which they knew nothing of, but physically too and bullied and was very controlling and caused me genuine fear-this they knew about but never protected me from. So I have a lot of guilt about not wanting to upset my parents. Even though they have massively let me down and I have a lot of resentment towards them and no respect. So I have to see this person every week, my DC loves their cousins. I did try to go nc but was made out to be entirely unreasonable, my siblings young children were told I was mean and made to feel incredibly guilty. It's very tricky. I often think it would be easier if we just moved away but DH wouldn't do that. Rest assured though, as soon as my parents die, they'll be no contact at all.
Currently search for alternative therapy not coming up trumps locally. Not sure I can cope feeling a bit worthless and unsupported tbh

OnTheRise Mon 27-Feb-17 14:58:19

Good grief. Your brother sexually abused you when you were a child, and now he has children of his own? I wouldn't let my children anywhere near him. Don't let them out of your sight when he's around.

I repeat: you do not have to see this person. Your brother abused you and your parents are controlling. You are the ONLY person who has behaved well here. You must protect yourself.

Speak to your GP and ask to be referred to a therapist. Stop allowing your parents to control you--therapy will help with this. And protect your children from your predatory, abusive brother no matter how yoru parents complain about it. Please.

WellieWanger Mon 27-Feb-17 15:19:18

A sister actually. DC is never alone however they're all trying to organise a cousins sleepover at theirs soon which I am finding difficult to navigate.
It's all very messed up. It seems to become more complicated every time I dwell on it. Which as I say, I try not to. Most of the time I can pretend nothing has ever happened and I have spent so long being someone else I don't really know who I properly am I think. I feel like I have had several different rebirths;each an attempt to protect myself further and cover up or heal for a while. I digress anyway. Perhaps that's why I fell for a man who needed me at that time and who needed 'saving'. I'd pretended for years that I was really strong and was like iron woman. But now he is saved and as time goes on the affects on my childhood are breaking through more and more and yeah, he can't support me because he has never had to. It's always been the other way around. Sorry to ramble.
Last year I got the courage to see the dr who gave me the number of a local sexual abuse and incest free counselling service which is the one I went to. I have contacted a private therapist at £40 for 50mins. If we can afford it, I will try them. Thank you.

picklemepopcorn Mon 27-Feb-17 15:35:56

Gosh. What a lot to think about.

Re DH. I had to resign myself to getting little to no emotional support from DH. It has got better over time, but partly because I have stopped expecting anything. We are pretty sure he has Aspergers. Everything makes sense with that diagnosis.

Re your sister and the family situation, you parents want to feel that everything is fine in their family, but it is not. You don't have to go along with that. I'm so sorry this happened to you, and that no one protected you. Now you are grown up, you can protect yourself. You can choose what you want. You have honoured your parents for many years, now it is time to honour yourself.


picklemepopcorn Mon 27-Feb-17 15:36:17

Sorry about the stray emoji, fat fingers!

OnTheRise Mon 27-Feb-17 15:38:40

Your GP should refer you for free counselling if you ask, OP. (And I'm so sorry I made the mistake about brother/sister: that was crass of me.)

Don't allow any sleepovers. Just say no. If questioned, tell them it's not up for discussion, and stick to that. You can do this.

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