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    This Exchange simulates the original Couples Coping Support Group. It is designed to help persons with concerns in their relationships, family, marriage, seperation, divorce, etc.Offering a wide range of real world, personal experiences, information, knowledge, suggestions, & views from real people.
    Dealing With Stuff (poss. Triggers)
    3point14 posted:
    So, this is really embarassing and contains way, way too much information, and I apologize in advance. I don't know that there's any real "advice" besides "GET THERAPY" but I still don't trust myself to be honest enough to a therapist for it to make sense for me, so I'm not ready for that yet.

    My SO has sleep apnea. He finally has decent insurance and is FINALLY going through his doctor to get the sleep apnea taken care of. We don't know yet if he's going to be a candidate for surgery or a CPAP or what, but we're both really happy that there's starting to be an end in sight. For now though, his sleep is still crappy and he has nightmares and vivid dreams and snores heavily and boogers everywhere and in general it's an annoyance. My sleep schedule is thrown off too of course, but it's not a huge deal to me because I require less sleep than he and in general I'm not about to be mad at him for having a disease he's working on getting treated.

    So, he has really vivid nightmares. Yesterday morning, in his nightmare, he was fighting someone and punched them. In reality, he was punching his sleeping girlfriend in the face. I screamed. Not because it hurt (though it did) but because W--the worst of my exes--used to wake me up by putting a pillow over my head and punching me in the face (I used to be grumpy in the morning, he did this to dissuade me from being grumpy). I had to remove myself from the situation. Went to the living room and proceeded to start to freak out. It just brought back a lot of bad memories and made me feel horrible and ugly and scared and panic-y.

    I went back into the bedroom and my manfriend felt terrible. I explained to him why I was starting to freak out and he felt terrible-er. Embarassingly, I started to cry, hyperventilate, shake, and he held me and was very kind and apologetic. I'm not mad at him because he is NOT abusive AT ALL and geniunely felt bad. We talked and by the time he went to work I was pretty much alright, just felt kind of off.

    We agreed that him sleeping in bed is too dangerous until he works out a thing for his sleep apnea. He slept on the couch last night with no complaints (and probably got a better nights' sleep because his head was elevated) but still came in and snuggled this morning.

    I had a good nights sleep except for tons of nightmares about my ex. This is where TMI comes in. I'm on my period and my fella and I don't have sex on my period. This morning I grabbed some porn and attempted to masturbate. I could not. My past relationship had elements of sexual abuse, and that's all I could think about. I wound up just feeling ugly and uncomfortable and crying. I didn't tell my manfriend about this, though he knows about the sexual abuse. I keep telling myself it'll be alright when he and I are together and attempting physical intimacy, but I've also puked a few times today and feel very disgusted with myself in general. I just feel very unmoored and embarassed that this has bothered me to the extent that it has. I pride myself on a healthy sexuality, and this "side effect" is exacerbating my feeling ugly. I'm scared I'm going to freeze up when the manfriend tries anything. I just don't want to be touched.

    Sorry to rant/vent. Like I said, I don't see therapy as an option and won't take that step yet. I just kinda needed a place to talk about this.
    stephs_3_kidz responded:
    Aw, Pi, don't beat yourself up. It's clear that your fright from your manfriend's nightmare brought up some very uncomfortable (to say the least) feelings from your past.

    My husband sleeps funny. He has tics and jumps a lot in his sleep. More than once I've been in the way of his arm/hand flailing about and have had a bloody nose twice, been smacked in the eye several times, and a busted lip from it. Not his fault, but I learned to sleep on my right side away from him. LOL

    But the first time it happened? It was hard for me to shake off. I knew he was asleep, he was snoring and then he jolted and jumped and BAM! hand right upside my nose. I still felt funny around him for days.

    The sleep apnea--I'm glad he's getting treated for that finally. Hard to do without insurance, I understand that.

    Yeah, I really think you do need to find someone to speak with on a professional level about all the heartache you're carrying around from your past.

    tmlmtlrl responded:
    Go on a hike, take some deep breaths, and scream your head off!

    Sorry but that's the first thing that popped in my head. You need some type of release for the moment. This will pass again, but for now it is to be expected that it's sticking with you for a minute.

    And the more you fear you're going to freeze up w/manfriend the more likely you will. Try (while on your hike ) to visualize a good session with him. Then take it slow. Do more cuddling and work your way back to what you know is the truth, what is real -- that he loves you and it's going to be alright.

    I really hope things go well with him getting the sleep apnea taken care of. And for now try (w/deep breaths) to not let this consume your thoughts. Take care

    PS. As far as the 'fear' thing, I know I've posted this before but honestly it has helped me greatly at times to say this to myself:
    FEAR= Fantasized Expectations Appearing Real
    Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.
    Spankyrae responded:
    I really like tmlmtlrl's suggestions. I second the suggestion of getting outside. Get out there, throw some rocks, tear up some grass, stomp the ground. Just don't start a forest fire.

    Being in nature always helps me feel present. Plus, I think some exercise could help you get this funky energy out of you.

    As for therapy, you can help yourself without it, although to me, with everything you've experienced, it seems like having a therapist would help a lot (and possibly in a quicker manner).

    What's helped my anxiety and baggage is being able to differentiate between a real fear and an irrational fear. I started this by making a chart of what I perceived vs. real evidence.

    It's not wrong to feel. I think that is the first thing for you to recognize and how you can apply lovingkindness/non-judgement toward yourself. You have such a loving heart towards us on here, you should apply that to yourself as well!

    Given your life, it's very understandable for you to react this way and feel as you do. Thankfully, you have no concerns about your BF harming you so I'd probably keep reminding yourself of that. Hell, write it out many times on paper, like a penalty if you have to.

    If your BF approaches you for sex, I think you should be honest with him about how you feel, so he doesn't feel like he's being given the cold shoulder.

    Again there's nothing wrong with you feeling as you do. But if you aren't doing all you can to help these feelings and treat them, your body may be telling you it's time to confront them.
    3point14 replied to Spankyrae's response:
    Thanks, guys, so much.

    I'm doing a little better today. He and I had a great night together last night and fooled around a little bit, though it took a lot for me not to cry. I tried the visualization beforehand, though and it made all the difference

    Sometimes I just feel so hopeless. Like it's stupid of me to relax in a happy relationship because it can't last. I worry sometimes that he'll realize how much better he could do and drop me, but part of me wants that to happen for his sake. He deserves to be with someone more attractive, kinder, less of a trouble to be with...

    I dunno.
    kristinmarie722 replied to 3point14's response:

    No real advice.

    I too, have that feeling that my SO is going to wake up and be like why am I with her??? lol.... It's just part of the process of adjusting to being in a normal relationship. You (and I) will get there

    Glad you feel better! And that your SO is getting help for his sleep apena.
    Foreverinyoureyes2 replied to 3point14's response:
    You have, "I would never join a club that would have me as a member!" syndrome!

    Been there.

    Steve is really, really smart. Like genius IQ. He knows everything. Litterally. If the kids say, "Why does it rain?" or "How do trains work?" I say very seriously, "It's magic." He, on the other hand, can explain in detail, on their level exactly why it rains, or how trains run.

    I used to think, "He is so smart. He deserves someone that can talk to him on his level about EVERYFREAKINGTHING!" *(BTW...I am not implying that I am a total idiot. I am of average intelligence, and like everyone have particular areas that I am informed and well versed in...He is just way above me in actual smarts...)*

    Then I realized that this man that I respect for his good qualaties and characteristics picked a relationship with me for a reason. To project on him the kind of woman he 'deserves' or to pretend I know what he wants dilutes the respect that I do have for him in a way.

    It is like saying, "You have no idea what is best for you...." And that is not the kind of respectful relationship we have together.

    He has made comparissons and drawn parallels before about what I deserve. He even thinks that physically we are mismatched. (You have seen our pictures...I think we are adoreable together!) But he thinks I SHOULD want someone different. I don't like those kids of self depreciating conversations, so I am sure he doesn't/wouldn't like it if I projected his "perfect" woman onto him.

    Does this rambling make any sense?

    I guess my point is, that, if you love and respect him, then part of that is to trust what he see's in and feels for you is organic and pure and real. And don't assume that he isn't bright enough to pick a suitable partner! (Tongue in cheek of course!)
    BalconyBelle replied to Foreverinyoureyes2's response:
    I second FIYE's advice When my S/O and I first met, I was extremely messed up with full-blown PTSD, and I'd survived abduction, assault, and attempted rape less than 2 months before. If anyone touched me--especially a guy--I'd flinch, step back, flip out...or worse, attack.

    We started off as friends even though I knew he wanted to be more than that, and I was kinda feeling the same way. I wanted to save him from himself. I wouldn't let him be close to me because I kept hoping he'd wise up, find someone who wasn't damaged, and lead a happy, non-dysfunctional life. It took him six months to change my mind.

    Finally, he said, "You think I'm smart, right?"
    "I think you're brilliant." --and it's true, the guy's a genius.
    "You trust me, right?"
    "Then you should know I'm smart enough to pick who I want to be with, and trust that I know what I'm doing. You're smart, you're funny, you're a little crazy--and that works for me. I'm happier with you than I've ever been with anyone else, and I want you in my life." could have knocked me over with a feather duster after that.

    The point is, I can relate to where you're coming from, and as lucky as you feel to have him in your life, he probably feels the same way about you. We may not always understand what the people we love see in us, or why they love us--but they do. It's best to just accept that sometimes we get lucky in the best possible ways, and enjoy the gift we've been given, rather than look for an expiration date.

    As for the lingering effects of memories---in the absence of therapy, I've found going for a walk, run, hike, or out to the middle of nowhere to scream are all very nice ways to cope. So are lovely hot showers and massages
    3point14 replied to BalconyBelle's response:
    Thanks for the reality check, guys. And when I'm feeling more normal, I hate that thought process. I don't typically feel inferior, because I figure if I was, he would've figured it out by now, right? I just wish I wasn't so damaged. I wish he could've met me before I turned into this more afraid person.

    We had a really, really good talk last night and a really, really nice morning together. I've been being active and working out a lot and surrounding myself with friends and my parents and people to whom I can say "I'm feeling vulnerable, can we hug?" and who help me out.

    Really, though. Thanks. I'm going to print out some of this stuff and keep it in my purse, no joke.
    Spankyrae replied to 3point14's response:
    I understand that feeling of insecurity, that our mate will "snap out of it" and choose someone "better." It haunts me sometimes also, because for us to be together, he had to (and maybe still is, I dunno) get beyond his personal belief that he should be with someone who was also black. He was very honest with me about it and that he was working on moving past that, but every now and then, I'd worry that he'd decide he should be with someone more like him/more relatable. But uh yeah.... it's been like 2 years, and he's not indicated anything by words or action that he'd rather be with anyone else.

    I remember too when we finally grew up and started doing things the right way, it freaked me out because it was healthy. I was so accustomed to chaos that the normal, healthy stuff was scary and unfamiliar. I had to keep reminding myself and affirming why that was and that all was ok.

    Truth is, we don't know what could happen in the future but in the present, you guys are together, in love, happy and HEALTHY. Stay present and in the moment, and cherish what is. I'd keep using affirmations too of what actually is vs. what you perceive or feel, so that you can reprogram that part of your thinking.
    tlkittycat1968 replied to 3point14's response:
    Your experiences made you who you are. How do you know he would have liked the person you were before you became afraid? He loves the sum total of your experiences, good and bad.
    darlyn05 responded:
    I'm so sorry that the devilish memories surfaced. You are a great and wonderful person and offer great and wonderful insight and advice.

    I know that you've touched on this subject in the past and that you are very capable to work through it. I don't know if anyone can overcome repeated memories of such. Unfortunately, I think these sort of memories will plague a person for the rest of their life. I think with time passing that it will lessen and I wish that for you.

    You're a great person PI. Don't let anyone tell you different.
    3point14 replied to Spankyrae's response:
    Spanky, you're totally right about staying in the present. When he's stressed about stuff I always take his face in my hands and say "Be here with me now" and he usually calms down a little. I just need someone to do that to me sometimes hahaha

    And thanks, kitty. I think all of my crap experiences have made me me, and he's never given any indication that he would want me any differently. And I guess you're right, who's to say he would like who I'd be without my history? I think based on my inherent personality, kind of arrogant, cold, I would be a harsher person had I not dealt with what I did. I guess it's how it's meant to be.

    Thanks, darlyn, too. I appreciate your kind words. I sometimes get very lost in how I want to be vs. how I am and because I have impossible standards I always feel like I'm letting myself down. My weird little flashbacks have gotten better, and you're right, I thnk time is going to be the best salve for that.

    M and I are doing very well lately. In a weird way embarassing episodes like this are comforting, because it reminds me that that's not my life anymore. We were talking this weekend about it a little and I apologized for being scared of him, and he said "Don't be sorry. You don't have to be afraid anymore". Which I'm aware sounds like something out of a melodramatic romance novel, but at the same time comforted me on a deep level. I want badly to be ok. One day at a time...
    Jessyka76 responded:
    Remember that what your ex did to you is HIM not YOU, Abusive relationships are about power and control, to gain your own control and power back you have to build up your self esteem most importantly. You can do that by looking in the mirror and tell your self every good thing you see, if you cant find anything simply say I love me (your name) when you can do this with out feeling funny move to the next step and start finding little things, your hair, eyes, the color of your eyes,ect. Remember this man is not your ex and try to separate him and his flaws from what hurts you the most. When it comes to being intimate, start off little steps one light just have him rub your back and arms do that until you fell comfortable with his touch, don't jump into sex with him until you feel comfortable with the little things, hugging, kissing etc, 4 play is a good idea, for now. Continue to sleep separate, it could be a fun thing, if you play around before parting. As for your sexual issues, only you can work on it, write down the things that bother you the most, from touch, to the wetness, to anything you can think of. From that list look at one thing at a time and look deeper into it, make sure when you do your self work that when your finished mentallt imagine putting everything in a suitcase and zip it up and put it away, your putting it away for now and can bring it out later. When you have written down everything write a letter to your ex that only you will read, after you have read it several times when your ready burn it and leave it in the ashes, this will take you time it wont happen over night, make sure when you carry on with your day you smile and find things about you and around you that you CAN smile about.. That's all I can come up with at the top of my head, this is something that needs to be worked through. Or it can get worst.

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