Hello, friends! In this Q&A, I dive into two questions from listeners of the podcast relating to being able to support your partner’s growth while dealing with feelings of insecurity and being left behind, and whether the ‘hard’ of healing ever outweighs the ‘good’.
Hello Mr. Duff
I have been married for 17 years. Good marriage till the last year. Last year my wife feels like she has been distant, new job, new responsibilities, kids, and other life changes have hit us. She has been working on herself for a while. I love it.
Question for you now, This has left me with feeling anxious, not connected, not prioritized (our talks are merely transactional, and about her work only now). I hardly get texts/calls from her during the day. How do I turn this into a positive? How do I give her space without feeling left behind?
Short version: Is there ever a time when the cost of “healing” just isn’t worth it, when the ‘hard’ of healing outweighs the ‘good’?
Long version: Hey Duff (Dr. Duff? Doc? Robert?), First I want to say I really respect and appreciate what you do. It isn’t easy to take on any of the tasks you have chosen and accepted, but here you are- doing all of them with care. Thank you. I’ve written and rewritten my message a couple times. Still not sure if I’ll actually be gutsy enough to send it, or what it will end up saying. I’m not really sure how to put this question together, so please forgive me if it sounds confusing or disjointed. Also, if by some chance you actually choose to respond to this, please feel free to shorten it.
For background, I am a 29 year old female. I grew up staying with my grandparents a lot for my first few years of life while both my parents were addicted to drugs, and then eventually lived with my mom. Due to some behaviors as a toddler/preschooler (according to my mom) and the early age at which I began regularly masturbating (like, 1st grade) as well as various risky sexual behaviors from literally upper elementary school (4th-6th grade) through college, there is suspicion and speculation I was sexually abused in some way when I was young, although nobody can say for certain- myself included. I was also raped repeatedly and became pregnant by my then-boyfriend when I was a young college student. The pregnancy ended in miscarriage at 7.5 weeks. God, I’m writing you a novel, sorry. Anyway, my point in putting all this out there is that I, apparently, have learned to detach myself from my body and thoughts pretty well. My therapist described what I have shared as a “glass wall with a curtain” that I can just pull down in my brain. I can shut off any thoughts other than those required for immediate functioning, and it’s like I can hear a dim buzz through the glass but it’s just background noise. And if, in the moment, something is too intense I just “pull the curtain” and it goes away. It’s like, I feel things in the moment because I’m supposed to. But later, if I even can recall them, I just don’t care. Like. It just IS and It’s hard to get worked up. I feel like it’s so challenging to know if I actually like something and am having fun or if I just know I’m SUPPOSED to feel that way- so I do.
In therapy, I’m supposed to be working on reconnecting with my body, sensations, and thoughts/feelings- breaking down the glass, if you will. By doing this, and increasing my tolerance for discomfort, and specifically discomfort related to thoughts of my past, the hope is that we can really begin using EMDR (or something with a similar purpose) to process/reprocess some of these experiences. So. My problem or question right now is this. How on God’s green earth am I supposed to do this and function like a freaking human? The more thoughts I recognize and notice and connect to the more there are. The more I think about the past. The more I replay events. The more intrusive thoughts start popping in because my barrier is down. And the more my mind is screaming at me to stop. It was already tiring and now I just feel like it’s so exhausting. I don’t know how I’m supposed to be able to do this. Is there ever a time when the cost of “healing” just isn’t worth it, when the ‘hard’ of healing outweighs the ‘good’?
Episode 276 – Related Posts
As well as listening to the podcast, you can also find my thoughts on the questions in written format in these related posts!
Question 1 – Relationship Gap: How To Reconnect With Your Partner When You’ve Drifted Apart – Duff The Psych
Question 2 – Does The Pain of Healing Ever Outweigh The Good? – Duff The Psych
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