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  #11  
Old 08-26-2012, 01:08 AM
OmahaPoly OmahaPoly is offline
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First of all, Vinccenzo I really appreciate your insight. You were exactly correct that I was allowing all of our history to become one muddled ball. That isn't fair, and only contributes to the problem. It is true that like all relationships those three had more than one thing going on.

We have sought counselling in the past. She used to go to a PTSD counselor while she was receiving treatment for a severe TBI, and we both attended marital counselling with a poly-friendly counselor as well. I am currently receiving treatment for PTSD (it is such a broad term) as well as physical therapy. She has since stopped attending, and the marital counselor was a complete disaster.

I know the root of our problems are not poly. I have had good poly relationships in the past, and I am comfortable identifying myself that way regardless of relationship status. However, our "poly-ness" is helping to bring our other issues to the forefront. This is valuable in that it is harder to avoid realizing we have issues, but potentially harmful in that it also provides us with a straw-man to fight. I am trying to deal with my emotions over this new relationship so that I can move forward and identify the real issues at hand. I'm not trying to stifle or ignore, just trying to minimize the "fake" or misdirected energy so that I can clear my head enough to recognize and deal with the "real" issues.
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  #12  
Old 08-26-2012, 02:06 AM
lionessjlf lionessjlf is offline
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Not sure if this will help but here goes. I have never really experienced jealousy before either. Recently however, I had a bout of it. I figured out where it was coming from. My husband wasn't meeting my needs. I have, for many years, discussed with him, clearly what those needs are. When I saw him doing all those 'things' with and for someone else, I became very resentful and jealous. He thankfully, has begun to meet those needs. His very short experience with dating someone else, (he's mono and thought he might be ok with poly) he realised that he has others to consider besides himself. He made the choice to focus on us. I am thankful that he is willing to do the work of self discovery. So perhaps you should try to identify EXACTLY what needs of yours your wife isn't meeting anf vice versa. Sometimes just identifying them helps to clear out some of the jealousy.
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  #13  
Old 08-26-2012, 04:01 AM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Quote:
First let me reiterate I am NOT acting out, and we are NOT fighting about this. I want to get some advice on HOW to deal with these feelings, I have no intention of acting badly because of them.
Ok. If what ARE you doing then? Do you talk?

These feelings of yours need appropriate expression if you are having a hard time with them.

In my universe, you have the right to support and nurture, and you have the right to feedback.

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I have never felt this way before is all, and I am trying to come to terms with why I do this time, and how to process the emotions.
Which means what? You have had better communicating poly partners before?


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My real resentment is that I feel unequal, and certainly feel envious and resentful that I do not have a outside relationship due in no small measure to her reactions.
Ok. And have you stated this to her?

And have you asked her to please apologize to you for making a great big fuss?

And have you OWNED the fact that you could have told her "Hon, I am sorry you are jealous. I will support you and nurture you and help you through it. But no, it is not fair to dump crap on me or my Other because you feel yucky. I'm willing to help you sort the yucky poo feelings, but please do not poo all over me." Are you in some way mad at YOURSELF? For not being firm? For not protecting your OSO? For not calling wife into account for pooping all over ya?

I know I use Mom words there -- the same I use with my kid. You could do better phrasing with your wife. But have you DONE it?

Could that help you feel better?

Quote:
Now she (and I) expect me to behave in a healthy open manner and emotionally I deeply resent having to do so again (2 other serious long term relationships for her remember) without believing I have recieved the same consideration. Of course there is always more to the story, but this is the part I am hung up on.
And in agreeing that you will now BOTH turn over a new leaf, have you made some kind of framework for how to be in right relationship with each other? Where you can call each other into account and say freely "Hey, I don't like that. Please do not treat me this way."


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We have trouble communicating if any criticism of her is real or implied however, so conversations can be very tricky to get started. Good eventually, but a tough start.
So practice.

Learn to critique and not criticize.

There is a difference.

GG
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  #14  
Old 08-26-2012, 10:53 AM
snowmelt snowmelt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OmahaPoly View Post
First of all, Vinccenzo I really appreciate your insight. You were exactly correct that I was allowing all of our history to become one muddled ball. That isn't fair, and only contributes to the problem. It is true that like all relationships those three had more than one thing going on.

We have sought counselling in the past. She used to go to a PTSD counselor while she was receiving treatment for a severe TBI, and we both attended marital counselling with a poly-friendly counselor as well. I am currently receiving treatment for PTSD (it is such a broad term) as well as physical therapy. She has since stopped attending, and the marital counselor was a complete disaster.

I know the root of our problems are not poly. I have had good poly relationships in the past, and I am comfortable identifying myself that way regardless of relationship status. However, our "poly-ness" is helping to bring our other issues to the forefront. This is valuable in that it is harder to avoid realizing we have issues, but potentially harmful in that it also provides us with a straw-man to fight. I am trying to deal with my emotions over this new relationship so that I can move forward and identify the real issues at hand. I'm not trying to stifle or ignore, just trying to minimize the "fake" or misdirected energy so that I can clear my head enough to recognize and deal with the "real" issues.
All of this is very generic. You are talking around the real issues (you are avoiding them), which is something you contribute to the problems between the two of you.


This is what I see so far:

You tell her you don't like something that is going on. She receives that information from you as criticism, and gets mad that you are criticizing her. You stop talking to her about it to try to keep things happier between the two of you. Things do get "happier" after you back off, but nothing gets resolved.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OmahaPoly View Post
I am trying to deal with my emotions over this new relationship so that I can move forward and identify the real issues at hand.
You said in a previous reply that you feel unequal and she interprets a lot of what you say to her as criticism, even when it is not. I asked you about both of these complaints. You have not answered. In other words, you have not talked about these complaints yet on this forum (see above where I mention nothing gets resolved). Do you see this pattern? Do you want to talk about the real stuff. or do you want to stay in the generic safe zone where nothing gets resolved?


It's entirely up to you whether you want to talk about your issues or around them. As you think about this, keep in mind staying in your comfort zone by talking around them always feels like it is more comfortable than directly facing them. You won't solve anything doing that. In my opinion, leaving something unresolved is the most uncomfortable thing you can do.

Last edited by snowmelt; 08-26-2012 at 10:56 AM.
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  #15  
Old 08-26-2012, 04:32 PM
OmahaPoly OmahaPoly is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowmelt View Post
You tell her you don't like something that is going on. She receives that information from you as criticism, and gets mad that you are criticizing her. You stop talking to her about it to try to keep things happier between the two of you. Things do get "happier" after you back off, but nothing gets resolved.
This. Exactly this. Thank you for your help, I am so deep and so long into this that I can no longer see clearly. I am "caught up" in the moment. You are exactly right, that is the way our "conversations" go. I sought out a counselor so that we could have someone to keep us on track, a way to continue a conversation past the defensiveness and aggression. It ended with her verbally attacking the counselor and shutting down (refusing to respond) when he wouldn't be bullied.

I know this is a very common issue with her injuries. I am coming face to face with the thought that despite everything this may be the end. The truth is that as I have worked to become healthier, my expectations for our relationship have changed. I am at a tipping point where I insist that some of these issues be resolved, and when I push we are winding up in incredibly bad confrontations.

I do feel unequal, in that her need to control her surroundings makes her want to put me in a "box". One that she is unwilling to live in herself. Another specific issue, perhaps the worst issue, is that in any argument she must be able to affix blame to me. She cannot even simply say that there was confusion, miscommunication, or that some external factor simply made things chaotic, she feels threatened if there is any criticism real or implied and her method of dealing with that is to attack and place blame. To be clear it isn't good enough for it to simply not be her fault, she needs to affix the blame on someone else in particular and that someone is usually me (since I am the only one who regularly confronts her).

I have indeed been "dropping" issues rather than deal with them simply because I wanted to feel things were happier. I have also been afraid of the fights, and not wanting to make her issues worse. It doesn't help that the advice/training given to family of TBI/PTSD victims is NOT to push arguments toward conclusion but instead allow separation in order to decompress. This would be fine if there was a cooldown period followed by resolution, but what we have is simply shelving the issue permanently. The last one was the worst we have been, and what prompted me to start posting here to try to get some outside perspective.

She texted me that she was stopping at Village Inn for some tea. When she came home about 3 hours later she told me she had instead gone to a classmate's house and had a beer with him. When I objected that she should not tell me one thing and do something so completely different (specifically I asked her to send me a text the next time her plans change so radically to let me know when her plans change so radically) she became angry that I was trying to control her, and that she should not have to account for her every action. It was difficult to argue because I agreed with what she was saying in the general sense, but felt this was a change significant enough that at least a "by the way this is what I am doing" was in order.

Unlike other disagreements in the past, I refused to drop this one. I believed I had a clear reason to object, and I didn't want to simply be bullied into allowing it to "fall away". I won't go into the details, but at one point when I told her I would neither drop the subject nor accept a repeat occurrence she punched me in the mouth. When I still refused to back down, she attacked me and struck me dozens of times, even trying to rack me. Eventually she attempted to access our weapons locker and I physically restrained her.

I know everyone here will tell me to run screaming, but it is difficult. Please understand that she is not the same as she was before her injury. She has made some significant progress since she came home but I am now wondering how much of that was her progress and how much was me learning to let myself be a doormat rather than allow the situation to escalate.

Maybe it would help if you knew a bit more. In 2004 her vehicle was struck by an IED and she received a major brain injury (Traumatic Brain Injury or TBI), she is rated 100% disabled by the VA due to the injury. She was hospitalized for 6 months. This has caused/exacerbated PTSD and made her much more prone to anger and aggression. I know violence is an absolute no-go, but at the same time I want to make room for her to recover and heal. I worry that I am deceiving myself and accomplishing nothing.

Last edited by OmahaPoly; 08-27-2012 at 01:02 AM.
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  #16  
Old 08-26-2012, 05:10 PM
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SNeacail SNeacail is offline
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Are you guys in counseling for the TBI/PTSD issues? Her physical assult and going for the weapons locker needs to be address NOW!

In my house, I'm the one that needs time to cool down. However, I need my husband to bring up the issue again. I can't/won't. Set a standard time for her to cool down, maybe an hour, then approach her and ask her if she's ready to talk again. I know for me, I sometimes need 2 hours to a day before I can address a touchy subject again.
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  #17  
Old 08-26-2012, 06:00 PM
BoringGuy BoringGuy is offline
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You're staying together because of the kids??????

I would say you should LEAVE because of the kids!

You don't have to divorce and you can still try to work on your relationship, but you need to get those kids into a safe environment. Jealousy is the least of your problems and you need a hell of a lot more help than a "cooling off period". This is not going to get better by letting her control the shots, as it were.

Do you want your kids to remember this as an example of what a loving relationship is? Do you want your kids to have one parent dead and the other incarcerated for murder? Or worse, do you want your kids orphaned if she shoots you to death then offs herself, or even them too?

If the answer to any of these questions is "yes", then you should stay right where you are and continue handling this exactly the way you have been.

This is some serious scary fucking shit, man, and you are way out of league for a forum geared toward issues with polyamory. If i knew who you are or had a way of finding out i would be on the phone with Family Protective Services right this minute instead of typing this.

Last edited by BoringGuy; 08-26-2012 at 06:05 PM.
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  #18  
Old 08-26-2012, 08:01 PM
snowmelt snowmelt is offline
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Thank you for explaining all that. First, the violence is unacceptable behavior. She has no right to put others in danger. Her ability to do that needs to be stopped. Looking past that for a moment as you asked, I noticed you said you were considering helping her heal. I am going to tell you what I think is really going on here.


Your wife changed completely the moment the explosion occurred. She is not the same person she used to be. She sees and experiences everything through that explosion. This means she sees and experiences you, herself and her world through the sensations she experienced during that explosion. Everything she thought she knew before that moment, including the assumption that she has some power over some things in her life, is gone.

She had to develop some ways to cope with life after that event. This is one of them:
Quote:
Originally Posted by OmahaPoly View Post
... in that her need to control her surroundings makes her want to put me in a "box". One that she is unwilling to live in herself.
The violence is another.


Quote:
Originally Posted by OmahaPoly View Post
Please understand that she is not the same as she was before her injury. She has made some significant progress since she came home
I am very glad to hear that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OmahaPoly View Post
but at the same time I want to make room for her to recover and heal. I worry that I am deceiving myself and accomplishing nothing.
I am going to give you my opinion. Take it if it helps you. Leave it if it does not. You can put your energy into giving her the room to heal, but she cannot be both your wife and the person who is healing at the same time. I will explain what I mean by that.


She has had an experience that eliminated everything she knew about herself, her marriage, her life, the society she lives in, and how to function within all of this. She is trying to rebuild her beliefs, perceptions, opinions, ability to function, willingness to look at herself and the things she does, her attitude about and her opinion of the people in her life, etc. She does not have the ability to focus on being your wife while she is rebuilding all of this, anymore than you can live in a house while it is being built, or drive a car that is still on the assembly line.

The "rebuilt" her can be your wife if she wants to, but nobody knows how long of a process rebuilding herself will be. You can put your energy into helping her heal, but until she finishes the task of rebuilding herself, she is not emotionally capable of being a genuine partner to you. The only thing she is capable of doing is trying to function within the memory of that explosion playing over and over in her entire emotional and sensory experience.


In my opinion, your next step is to look at your own needs and decide if you really want to help her heal. It will require an intense focus on her. You'll have to maintain that focus for an unknown period of time. Part of the focus you will have to give her will require you to make some of your own needs secondary to hers. Many people do not have the time, energy, ability or desire to help someone like this - including someone they are in a relationship with. That is why entire industries have been created that allow those who have chosen this type of service as a career to provide for this need.


Everything I am saying assumes she is focused on her emotional healing right now, instead acting out in reaction to the trauma. It is very important for you to carefully consider what you have the energy and desire to do and what you don't have the energy and desire to do. A decision by you to commit to helping her heal requires follow through. If you have a momentum going and bug out, it will do her more harm than good.


You have a lot to think about. I recommend you take all the time you need to think about this. If she refuses competent professional help, whether it comes from you, someone else or a competent facility, you will have to accept the fact that the person she is now is the person she will remain. If she refuses help, the best thing for you to do for yourself is to consider your own needs and boundaries with full awareness that she will remain who she is now. Even if she accepts help, you still need to consider these things carefully. The most important thing you can do for her is to be completely honest with yourself as you think about what your own needs are, what you are truly capable of doing for her, what you truly want to do for her, and what you don't want to do for her.

At the risk of understating the obvious, the violence complicates all of this even more. It needs to be addressed first. Any delay in addressing this puts yourself and others in danger.

Last edited by snowmelt; 08-26-2012 at 08:05 PM.
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  #19  
Old 08-26-2012, 11:32 PM
OmahaPoly OmahaPoly is offline
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Thank you so much for your compassion and understanding snowmelt. I met her in 1996. I had been booted for behaviors, but was one of the fortunate few (at that time) who was recommended up for treatment rather than prosecution. I had mostly psych trauma, my physical issues were mostly not neurological.

Having her get a TBI in 2004 is a sick sort of irony, considering. I find myself very unwilling to cut and run on her because in my experience you can learn to level out and make life work and she was a part of that. It is especially difficult because we both have a tendency to bring out stress reactions in one another.

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Originally Posted by BoringGuy View Post
If i knew who you are or had a way of finding out i would be on the phone with Family Protective Services right this minute instead of typing this.
Hey man, I get it but do you understand that this is EXACTLY why I am posting on here rather than going elsewhere? The threat of having our children taken and our family destroyed is terrifying. Making things "worse" is that I have been poly all my life, and us for the entirety of our marriage. People have a decided tendency to "help" by trying to "cure" our poly nature, and that would be one more nail in the coffin for Child Protective Services. I have a history of psych issues, she is a violent PTSD vet, and I am poly? It doesn't matter that I have learned to cope well over the last decade, being poly makes it virtually certain CPS would take our children away forever. So I am here to look for help with "that part" in the hope that we can reduce the overall stress by being better in our relationship with one another.

We have been getting treatment, her especially because it involved some pretty major therapy (the damage required a lot of therapy for her to learn to compensate so she could talk and walk normally again). She has recently stopped going, and I know that is a bad thing in general but she was sick of being drugged to the point of stupification and I can't blame her for that part of it. She needs to go back, I get it, but in the meantime I want to work on what I can control, namely me.

So here I am, having gotten much deeper into "us" than I had intended. I originally posted about learning to cope with my jealous feelings, especially the self-destructive and counter-productive desire to "get even". I really want help with that, because as you can see we have enough going on without adding to the mix. You can also see why I decided to call off this last relationship when she started to stress, before feelings grew too deep and my OSO (which she wasn't yet) had her feelings hurt trying to deal with too much drama.

By the way, my first long term relationship was before my wife's injury. The second began before my wife's deployment, took place across the time period of her deployment and injury, and our OSO (it was a triangle) decided to leave almost entirely because she was unable to cope with the new woman my wife had become. She asked me to leave with her because she foresaw the agony we were in for, but I wanted to try to make things work with my wife.

I hope that helps explain better what and why I am posting here. Rereading my posts makes me wonder what you all must be thinking besides "that guy is an idiot".

Last edited by OmahaPoly; 08-26-2012 at 11:36 PM.
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  #20  
Old 08-27-2012, 12:48 AM
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Actually no, I don't think anyone here finds you an idiot. It might seem like the less background information the better but I can tell you that's often not the case when you make a thread. But now that you've laid the other issues out I feel like it's imperative she goes back to therapy.

I don't know a lot about it so I'm not sure if she's permitted to just do verbal and physical therapy and instead have the option to take meds. You say that you are continually working on yourself, which is good. However, when it comes to your relationship and the safety of everyone involved, this can't continue like this. I completely understand not wanting FPS to get involved; I just don't see how things will have a chance to get better without more support.

As for you feeling jealous, it seems to be a symptom of everything else you mentioned with regards to your wife sabotaging things and the tit-for-tat y'all fall into. I don't think that can be worked through without the other issues being addressed first.
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