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    Old 10-18-2005, 07:23 AM   #1
    Headstand
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    GF Childhood Trauma running our lives

    Hi,
    I've been living with my GF for the best part of a year. We get along really well and have a fantastic, fun, intimate relationship. In fact it's the fact that we do get along so well that has sparked something in my GF that has stayed hidden since her childhood.

    My GF has a big blank in her memory about her childhood, she knows that her mother was a very angry woman and used to beat her children, not just smacks or slaps but fists, feet or anything to hand.

    Over the last few months emotions that have layed subdued have surfaced and she has had mood swing, outburts and tantrums, but only in my company. She has been attending counciling for this and after a particularily difficult night we both went together and her counciller explained that because we we're so close she was trying subconciously to share her hurt so she could understand it better herself.

    Over the last few months she's been seized (mostly at night) by her emotions and gone into fits of crying, tantrums, rage and there have been occasions for her own safety I've had to take her car keys from her or take tablets away from her to stop her from harming herself.

    This has been very difficult for me because as the counciller has told me there is no right way of doing this and no matter what I seem to do (confort her, leave her alone, argue with her) it always seems to be the wrong thing.

    the day before yesterday on my birthday in the middle of the day she went off on a mood having spent a lovely day together, we argued and she tryed to calm herself down which she seemed to do.

    The next morning she flew into a rage. Usually she would try and start an arguement with me. When I ignored her she smashed a glass in the sink and when I rushed in I found her reaching for a large shard. Thinking that she was going to self harm I grabbed her and pulled her away from the sink, she screamed at me saying how her mother used to do this, she hurled abuse at me and tryed to storm off in her care but took her keys (I wasn't letting her drive off in that state as she's said that on more than one occasion she has felt like ending it all by driving into a wall). She was quite hysterical so I grabbed her, tried to hug her and told her she had to stop this. She cursed and screamed and told me to 'go away' out of the house. Having taken all this abuse I told her that I wasn't living this way anymore and she would have to leave if she kept this up (it's my house). she calmed down and went to work

    When she came home she was looking to start an arguement again. This time she accused me of hurting her that morning (on my life I have never raised my hand to a woman and this was like a hammer blow to me). She kept insisting that i had grabbed her that I had gone to hurt her that i had flown into a rage. I can tell you that the only thing I flew into was a panic when I saw her reaching for the glass shard. Again we argued and I told her that I couldn't live this way, she told me that she was moving out asked me if I was happy about that, told me she had looked at apartments, basically told me that it was all my fault. That evening I sat and took a tarade of abuse, I was really upset she kept telling me that that's how she feels the whole time

    She insisted in sleeping in a different room and wouldn't talk to me the next morning.

    I'm finding this very hard to deal with, it feels like things are getting worse and worse but at the end of the day I care about her and don't want to see any harm come to her. We're both trying to carry on normal lives but to be honest this is impacting on both of us very hard.

    She's still attending councilling but it's a very slow process and I feel I'm having to shoulder a huge amount of responsibility. I feel no matter that I do here I can't win

    I could really do with some advice

     
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    Old 10-18-2005, 08:16 AM   #2
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    Re: GF Childhood Trauma running our lives

    I think you may have to show a bit of tough love towards your GF.

    What strikes me first is that she was "reaching for a large shard of glass" as you were coming in. That sounds a bit staged to me, as a person who really wanted to cut themselves with that glass would have done it very quickly!

    Also, the minute you told her she would have to move out, she calmed down and went to work. Also seems weird to me, as how one person could be in a complete rage one minute and turn it off the next.

    My opinion is, she is using these rages to manipulate you. Now, she may very well be having flashbacks, but at some point she realized she could use them to her advantage or she liked your extra caring when she did go thru one. Which ever the case may be, she is now using them for extra attention.

    The tough love part is this, you may need to get her in to a in-patient treatment center. I am assuming you are adults, so she would have to check herself in. But the rages you are speaking about will only get worse and someone is going to get hurt. Has her councelor suggested this at all? Has he suggested medication to try and control her aggressive behavior? If not, maybe you need a new councelor?

    I admire you for sticking it out, but you also have to take care of yourself too.

     
    Old 10-18-2005, 08:18 AM   #3
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    Re: GF Childhood Trauma running our lives

    Wow...I am sooooo sorry that this is all going on in your life right now. It is quite obvious how much you love your GF and also obvious how she needs consistent professional help to get through whatever is affecting her emotionally/psychologically at this time.

    I think that it is time you realized that you are not the one capable of helping her right now. I think that she realizes this too and is doing everything she can to drive you away. I'm taking a guess that she has trusted twice in her life.....as a child she trusted her mom to love her & take care of her and with you she has done the same. Unfortunately when it came to the only other person that she has trusted it caused her such hurt & pain. For the most part as a child she got through this by coming up with defense mechanisms of perhaps pretending that things weren't as she perceived. And so she hid her hurt was deep inside and there it remained until she met you. Now she is facing it all over again as an adult and is trying to deal with it as best as she can but not in a way that is going to be supportive of a relationship.

    You need to let her go.....encourage her to continue the counselling and work on the pain & issues of her past. She cannot do this while living with you or while in a relationship with you. She needs to work on this herself and you very well may have saved her in coming to the realization that she does need the help to be able to heal and trust again by putting her past to rest. It won't be easy but with a good therapist she will be able to work on this.

    Please do not feel guilty or as if this is someway your fault. Instead know that you supported her to the extent that you could....you could support her from a distance but by having her live with you I don't see this as being possible without it affecting you emotionally/mentally as well. I hope this helps you see what you need to do. Good luck.

    ~ Goody

     
    Old 10-18-2005, 08:23 AM   #4
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    Re: GF Childhood Trauma running our lives

    I agree completely. I didn't want to say it and be wrong and offend anyone, but I really do think this girl is seeking attention. I think that because she seems to push things as far as you let her... then backs off when she senses she's going too far. A person who is really mentally ill wouldn't be able to turn it off like that. And the other thing is she only acts this way around YOU. Big indicator. All of a sudden she's throwing fits and tantrums because of something she can't remember that her mother may have done when she was a child?
    It's your house. You shouldn't tolerate her breaking glasses and damaging your property. She's testing your limits. She's craving your attention. She asks you how you'd feel if she moved out... she's not going to move out. She just wants to know that you can't live without her. She's very unstable, insecure, and it's good that she's in counseling.
    When she throws a tantrum again, threaten to kick her out again. I guarantee that will calm her right down.

     
    Old 10-18-2005, 08:46 AM   #5
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    Re: GF Childhood Trauma running our lives

    I really appreciate the advice you've given me, I can't tell you how hard it is and I do a little feel guilty about her, that said I know my actions so far have all been taken in her best interests. I know myself that she IS seeking attention but when I give it to her she doesn't want it.

    In answer to another question yes we're adults, I'm in my late thirties and she's in her early thirties. You're bang on with the analysis as well, she was in a relationship for a long time that ended badly for her.

    I agree totally that I don't think she WOULD self harm, I know she did try it once a long time ago before we met but it was very much a cry for help.

    The killer for me is that our relationship has been so good together so for this to happen is shock. We we're planning a holiday away at christmas together, doing up the house we live in and BANG this comes out of left field.

    I do know one thing and that is that I can't live a life on tippy toes and I refuse to be abused in my own house by anyone

    again thanks to everyone for reading this and giving their advice it's been a great help to me

     
    Old 10-18-2005, 09:09 AM   #6
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    Re: GF Childhood Trauma running our lives

    Has she been in therapy all along and then all the sudden these episodes started? Or did she start the therapy after the first rage incident?

    And no, you should NOT be abused in your own house or anywhere else!

    I very much agree with Goody when she says that your GF needs to work on herself and she cannot do so living with you!

    I know this is going to be hard on you, but you must realize that by letting her go, you are actually helping her.

     
    Old 10-18-2005, 09:14 AM   #7
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    Re: GF Childhood Trauma running our lives

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ibeeshell
    I know this is going to be hard on you, but you must realize that by letting her go, you are actually helping her.

    Exactly. If she really is sorting through childhood trauma, then the added stress of the relationship might be too much for her and that's why she's lashing out. I know it's hard when things were always so great before. You probably feel like it's not fair, like you're being punished in some way. You're not. Your choice to stand up for yourself and not tolerate her abuse is the best one you can make- for you and for her. Though she may not realize it now, you would be doing her a huge favor. And once she's mentally well again, it might be possible to try and re-build the relationship. But it really can't continue under these circumstances, no matter how much you wish it could.

     
    Old 10-18-2005, 09:34 AM   #8
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    Re: GF Childhood Trauma running our lives

    By letting her go you will be doing her the biggest favor....allowing her the opportunity to be motivated enough to do what she has to do to properly address her issues that need dealing with.

    I think you ought to sit down with her and tell her how much you love & care about her and gently tell her that her behavior is going to destroy your relationship. Reasurre her that you are not giving up on her but want her to get the help that she needs. Tell her that the two of you need some space, and that you are not giving it to her because you do not love her but because you do. Tell her to go to therapy and work through her issues. Tell her that you intend to support her in anyway that you can but not when she acts abusive towards you. That way if she gets to be that way then you can leave or you can ask her to go to her place.

    You cannot deal with this living together....the only chance you've got is with firm boundaries set so that you can tell her what is acceptable & unacceptable in your relationship.

    I expect when you meet with her, that she will pull some of her negative behavior. So I would suggest you do so in a place where you can somewhat control that.....like a park, mall food court, anywhere where there are other people. If she gets out of hand and volitile you need to clearly state that you do not deserve to be treated that way and that when she is ready to act like an adult you will listen to her. Then walk away. She will eventually call you when she able to do so and continue to be firm & consistent with her on what you see as acceptable & unacceptable behavior. When she sees that the only way that you will respond to her is when she is acting appropriately then she will act that way. Do you see what I mean??

    You need to show her that positive behavior gets positive feedback and that negative behavior gets negative feedback.

    ~ Goody

    Last edited by goody2shuz; 10-18-2005 at 09:37 AM.

     
    Old 10-18-2005, 09:58 AM   #9
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    Re: GF Childhood Trauma running our lives

    guys,
    again thanks for this. As we speak she's currently at coucilling (my spelling is terrible). I'll see how she is when she gets home. I have no idea what her behavour will be like when she gets home, but I'm adament that I will not take any more abuse like this. In answer to a question earlier she has been on and off in therapy. She had a confrontation with her mother because she believed her mother was hitting her younger sister. Since then her mother attempted suicide in front of her family (took an overdose of tablets) she had done the same several years ago but I believe that it was just attention seeking. Her father has kept quiet and ignored this problem for years and promised that he would not let her (my gf mother) do this again however both of them have had no contact with my gf since this incident some months back and have carried on as if nothing has happened and just excluded my gf from their life

    To tell the truth I feel like crap about this, I'm hoping that once she's gotten this anger out of her system that things will go back to the way they were but I figure that's not really going to happen

    it's funny when I woke up this morning in bed on my own I felt a funny sense of relief that she wasn't there. I'm aware myself that I don't deserve any of this. None of it has been my doing so I'm not going to knock myself out about it.

    I think the last line there of "You need to show her that positive behavior gets positive feedback and that negative behavior gets negative feedback" makes perfect sense and I'm going to go this route. I don't believe there's a whole lot more I can do

    Again thanks to the people who answered me and I'll keep you up to date on how things progress.

    thank you

     
    Old 10-18-2005, 10:21 AM   #10
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    Re: GF Childhood Trauma running our lives

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Headstand
    To tell the truth I feel like crap about this, I'm hoping that once she's gotten this anger out of her system that things will go back to the way they were but I figure that's not really going to happen

    it's funny when I woke up this morning in bed on my own I felt a funny sense of relief that she wasn't there. I'm aware myself that I don't deserve any of this. None of it has been my doing so I'm not going to knock myself out about it.
    You are being very realistic about all of this.....you are right how this is not going to all happen overnight, in fact your GF will probably act more like her old self today after therapy but for the most part this is something that is going to take time and neither one of you should expect it to be something that'll be fixed overnight unless you want to deny there's a problem.

    Your waking up relieved when she is not around says ALOT....more than anything else you have said. This has caused major stress on you and for this reason alone you must do what is best for YOUR emotional & physical well being. It certainly is not going to help if you allow her behavior to take an emotional toll on you....that is why it is imperative that you set firm boundaries so that you do not allow yourself to be emotionally abused in all of this.

    I am glad that some of what we are saying here is of some comfort to you. Sometimes when are emotions are high it is difficult for us to see things as clearly as others. You are not alone and can come here anytime to vent.

    Looking forward to your updates.....Goody

    Last edited by goody2shuz; 10-18-2005 at 11:12 AM.

     
    Old 10-18-2005, 10:31 AM   #11
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    Re: GF Childhood Trauma running our lives

    You know sometimes you just need to take a step back and breathe. Many adults who have been abused and neglected do have triggers. Unfortunately, you might be an unconcious trigger to her, which in turn causes her to rage at you. DON'T take it personally. I see you are doing this and thats bad, in the worse way possible. When she is having a tantrum something did happen, and it needs to be dealt with by her.

    Trust me something is triggering her, and if you love her enough, you will try to seek and find what it is. DO NOT become irate at her during these episodes, or you could feed her rages further.

    If you can't put up with it, it is time to move on, and let her get her act together, or else it may cause a permanent end to the relationship.

    This is not her fault, so you also need to stop the blame and shame game. If you love her, you go through it with her. Not all people can handle a relationship with this type of person, sometimes you do need to let go and move on.

     
    Old 10-18-2005, 10:56 AM   #12
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    Re: GF Childhood Trauma running our lives

    Well said Goody!

     
    Old 10-24-2005, 04:09 AM   #13
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    Re: GF Childhood Trauma running our lives

    Well a few things have happened since I last spoke, after her councilling she returned home and after a while she got angry with me again (believe me when I saw if I could figure out the triggers for this I'd be a happy man but i can't) anyway I explained to her that under no circumstances would I put up with her behaviour again and that it was unacceptable to act the way she was acting towards me. She stormed around this time I let her without stopping her, I sat in the kitchen and read the newspaper. She came downstairs and ranted at me, I just told her that I loved her and I was here for her, after a while she calmed down and broke down in tears.

    The next day it was like a cloud had passed, she was remorseful for her behaviour for the previous few weeks, There's been a few tears and upsets since but nowehere evern close to how she behaved last week.

    I'm realistic about things and I don't expect this to disappear over night however it's lovely to have back the person I used to know.

    I'm not sure where this is going to take me now but I do think explaining to her that her behaviour couldn't continue did have a dramatic effect on her. I think without this forum I/We would have been sunk so again thanks to all

     
    Old 10-24-2005, 05:04 AM   #14
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    Re: GF Childhood Trauma running our lives

    I am really happy for you, Headstand. It sounds like things are going as well as could be expected and all along, I have been extremely impressed by your mature and level-headed perspective on this situation. You sound like a very smart, understanding, and patient person, and I hope you realize that your GF is incredibly lucky to have your support and loyalty. It makes me happy to know there are still some brave and strong men out there who will do anything in their power to help the women they love get through traumatic ordeals and stand by them whenever possible. Actually, it makes me sad too because up until six months ago, I was certain that I had found a remarkably courageous, committed man quite like you who I would spend my life loving. We'd met four years earlier and almost immediately fallen in love and moved in together, and our relationship was extremely close and sturdy, nearly trouble-free except for his meddling parents who wanted him to come home and live under their roof and unchallenged control. Then I had my wisdom teeth removed and ever since, I've suffered from debilitating chronic facial pain due to nerve damage from the surgery. Through it all my ex was my rock--I felt so incredibly fortunate to have his unconditional support and care, as I don't know how I would have made it through the first year especially, when I was constantly seeing new doctors and trying new procedures and experimental medicines with horrific, scary side effects. It was a nightmare, but I thought we could get through anything together, and we managed to overcome my chronic pain together just as we'd successfully overcome one challenging outside obstacle after another since we met. But I guess the constant pain of either experiencing or nervously anticipating the horrendous pain, being moody/sick/groggy/irritable etc. as a result of my medications and their side effects, being sad and worried about the effect this debilitating condition would have on the future we'd always planned together eventually wore us down and my ex eventually had to distance himself from the situation, then finally leave .

    I had never been dumped in any of my previous relationships, and so in addition to suffering my first heartbreak (which is always extra painful) and having to face losing all of the dreams we shared while still living in our home and thinking of him constantly, I had to cope all alone with my pain, medical treatments, and the probable loss of most if not all of my personal and professional dreams and goals. It was truly devestating, terrifying, and very nearly soul-crushing to face the two most difficult, painful ordeals of my life at the same time alone--it was also bad timing because it was the only period of my life since I started dating during which I lacked a boyfriend for more than a month or two at a time. Anyway, I'm sorry for going on and on about my own past experiences, and for what it's worth, I am quite pleased and proud of myself for the progress I've made in healing from the breakup so far. By sharing all that, I guess I'm trying to let you know how awful, even impossible at times, it can be to struggle with something terrible which never leaves you alone (my pain and your GF's painful memories) without totally falling apart, let alone managing to act normally and sustain a healthy relationship while it's all you can do to just make it through each day. I don't mean to make this all about me, but I thought I would share my story so you might gain a better understanding of what it's like for her to be constantly overshadowed by and struggling against something horrible which she can not change, erase, or control. Because a guy like you loves her and because she's been able to to sustain a successful relationship despite the horrors of her past, your GF must be an unusually strong and resiliant woman, and since she clearly loves you and values your relationship, I have little doubt that she'll do everything she can to improve her behavior. Sometimes when people are struggling with so much within themselves, they don't even realize how hurtful their behavior can be to others. It sounds like your chat helped clue her in, and I think it would really help her continue to avoid treating you badly if you stay in frequent communication with her about how things are going from your perspective and give her as much support and positive feedback as you possibly can. I hope for both of your sakes that things get better and stay that way and that your relationship is strong enough to stand up to his obstacle...I always thought that if me and my ex could make it through my chronic pain problem, we could get through anything...but then again, considering that we'd already jointly overcome more unwanted but unavoidable obstacles than many couples face in decades together, I consider our relationship ultimately successful, as I'm sure you will consider yours no matter how it plays out in the end. Just like you and your GF seem to be, my ex and I were invaluable and devoted friends, partners, and lovers during a pivotal and difficult period of our lives, and so I feel incredibly blessed for the time we shared and for all the amazing love and support he provided while we were together. Regardless of whether you and your GF stay together in the long run, I know that she will always remember you with great fondness, tenderness, and gratitude for standing by her and helpingher through an incredibly painful ordeal, and I truly hope that your relationship is luckier and less plagued by external obstacles than mine proved to be. Good luck and take care!

     
    Old 10-24-2005, 04:24 PM   #15
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    Re: GF Childhood Trauma running our lives

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Headstand
    Well a few things have happened since I last spoke, after her councilling she returned home and after a while she got angry with me again (believe me when I saw if I could figure out the triggers for this I'd be a happy man but i can't) anyway I explained to her that under no circumstances would I put up with her behaviour again and that it was unacceptable to act the way she was acting towards me. She stormed around this time I let her without stopping her, I sat in the kitchen and read the newspaper. She came downstairs and ranted at me, I just told her that I loved her and I was here for her, after a while she calmed down and broke down in tears.
    I really like the way in which you handled this!!! You were clear on what you will tolerate and yet you reassurred her that you still love her. I remember doing this for my daughter when she had temper tantrums in a store. I would tell her that she was not acting right and when she was ready to talk to me I would be right over there. Well she eventually learned that the tantrums didn't get my attention but talking to me did. And I think that is what you are showing your GF as well on an adult level.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Headstand
    The next day it was like a cloud had passed, she was remorseful for her behaviour for the previous few weeks, There's been a few tears and upsets since but nowehere evern close to how she behaved last week.
    You see.....she is getting the message. Now stay the course...continue to be consistent in not responding to her bad behavior and in time I think you should definitely see improvements.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Headstand
    I'm realistic about things and I don't expect this to disappear over night however it's lovely to have back the person I used to know.
    It's good that you are being realistic about this and yet seing some progress with a little bit of change.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Headstand
    I'm not sure where this is going to take me now but I do think explaining to her that her behaviour couldn't continue did have a dramatic effect on her. I think without this forum I/We would have been sunk so again thanks to all
    I'm really glad to see that you feel in control of the situation now and we hope that you continue to see improvement in your relationship. I think your GF needed a wake up call and somebody who could tell her that she is loved but cannot hurt the ones she loves when she is hurting, but rather learn to trust them enough to tell them what is bothering her inside. Hopefully in time she will be able to do so.

    Thanks for the wonderful update.....Goody

     
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