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4/14 Interactive Board: Codependent Partners

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Reva's Update

Reva's Update: Working Things Out With Hubby

"There are two ways of meeting difficulties: you alter the 
difficulties, or you alter yourself to meet them."
-Phyllis Bottome

September 13, 2000

Dear Doc and Trubble,

I posted to you a few months ago under the pseudonym "Reva" with "What Worked For Me".

Since then some things have worked whilst others have failed (along with all the drama of a Shakespearean tragedy!!!)  We have continued counseling but due to distance we have only been twice since.  The counselor is absolutely brilliant and includes some humor into what could otherwise be a depressing, tearful event.  Good stuff!

My husband has made some progress but he is really the only one who can judge his own development! Yes. and you can judge the effects of his development on you. I have swayed.  I still want to give up some days and withdraw or retaliate.  I have little enthusiasm for affection and sex is out of the question!  I have gone through various stages of repulsion, disgust, pity, anger and sympathy.  It all came to a head a few weeks ago when I had to fly out to my grandmother's funeral.  It was a sad occasion but also an opportunity to catch up with family members I have not seen in years.  

One of them is my cousin who is a couple of years younger than me and a well known sportsman here.  We went out for dinner and had a fantastic time talking about nana and the things we used to get up to when we were younger.  Well my husband couldn't handle it at all and even cried on the phone one night.  I listened to him complain and list all his insecurities. I tried to be sympathetic, but was really angry because he couldn't just be happy for me.  When we discussed this with the counselor she said I needed to ask myself why I engaged in listening to his pitiful plight at all.  I know why.  I knew then.  I wanted to make it all right with my husband so then it could be all right with me.  I wasn't strong enough to believe in my own needs. But, knowing this, you are getting there...

The rules also change a lot but I realise this is hubby's way of maintaining control, and trying to feed his diminished self-esteem.  He got really angry last weekend at me poking fun at him when at other times it is all right.  Also, when he pokes fun at other people he can get quite angry if they don't like it and when people have a dig at him he defends himself with sometimes hurtful comments rather than just laughing!  So he quietly in the car told me to "shut up" (my brother was present hence the whisper).  Again I felt the slap in the face. Ouchhh!

Since then things have been on an even keel....nothing fantastic but no more dramas either.  I sense his willingness and eagerness to make it all work but can also feel an underlying current of anger again.  Like he is waiting for me to do something that will justify his anger. And, you will. Promise. Don't walk on eggshells. Be yourself. And when being you gives him an excuse to mouth off, tell him to deal with it.

So things don't magically improve. Alas, they sway from good to bad with disastrous occasionally.

One final word.....I have been amazed and inspired by the number of letters you have been receiving where the author sounds extremely astute and intuitive. Like yourself... It is wonderful to here of so many people learning and growing in regards to healthy ways to relate.  I congratulate you on providing a medium for us to all express ourselves.  Where would I be without this site now I wonder! Probably down one kitty cat...

Thanks for cyber hugs you feed my soul Dr Irene (and I love Trubble!)  Reva

"Thank you" Reva from the Doc.  And purrrs from *Me* Uhh,  feel free to feed my tummy!  Trubble

October 10, 2000 Update to the update

A lot has changed again since I sent that last email.  We went to counseling straight after that and then again just recently. Things do not magically "fix" themselves but we are really making a big effort to communicate more appropriately with each other and the respect I have for my partner has grown. 

We just spent a week's holiday together and I loved it.  The mere thought of it previously would have made my stomach knot.  Now when one person gets angry, we are practicing dealing with it differently.  For instance, the other day "T" got angry and was stomping around because of something I had said.  As he was doing this, I reflected on how I had expressed myself and realised (shock, horror) that I was trying to control his behaviour! So I apologized and we talked! Yippeee! Now I try to sense when I am saying, doing things simply to control him.  I am still practicing my assertiveness with growing success. 

The counselor has been doing lots of work with "T" on his insecurities, anger management etc. 

So it goes and goes.....up and down.....but fewer inclines and declines. I don't get as much altitude sickness. Giggle!

And you know the irony of it all.......watching my own behaviour is by far the biggest challenge of all.  I am so used to the rise and fall that peace is less exhilarating - but by far more rewarding.

No longer abseiling and rock climbing............now enjoying walking! Purrrfect! Trubble and I wish you two continued success. Sounds like you found a super therapist - and you two are excellent students. Best wishes, Dr. Irene & Trubble