I went to talk to a therapist this evening.

Part of our discussion revolved around my marriage.  I told her that my husband was passive aggressive.  She said that she understood what passive aggressive meant.

But when I was talking about stuff like lack of emotional connection and lack of sex, she said it sounded like what she called a pursuer/distancer dynamic.

She said the pursuer (me) is needy, hungry and so the distancer (him) is freaked out.

In a way that made sense.  But I am not sure that truly addresses the whole thing.

She seemed to think that she could help us.  (I actually went in about something for myself, not for the marriage.)  She said she is a hopeless romantic.  She suggested a consultation with the two of us as she is very expensive and then she could refer us to her associate who could help us, but who is not as expensive.

I told her I didn’t know, that I had spent so much time and money and effort over the years trying to make it work that I didn’t know if it would be worth it.  She said it was cheaper than divorce.

She also suggested that I get therapy for myself to address the childhood trauma of abandonment when I was two and half.  That I do agree with.  I think that is a good idea and I am going to look for someone to help me with that.  I know that it subconsciously affects my thinking, like feeling like I am not good enough, and that I don’t matter, and being afraid of abandonment.

She said something else interesting.  She asked me why I hadn’t left him.  (I told her I am planning to leave him, but haven’t yet.)  I told her that I didn’t have the money to leave yet or to support myself.  And I told her that I have too many things, that I need to get rid of a lot of my stuff.  I told her that I thought all my things had to do with the childhood trauma.  (Actually I read recently that often hoarders experienced a childhood trauma and that  had more to do with hoarding than deprivation had to do with hoarding.  No, I’m not an extreme hoarder or anything; I just have more stuff than I need to have.)

Anyhow, she said that things were security.  And she said the marriage was security.  She said I wanted security, which is why I have all my things and why I am still in the marriage.  I think that makes sense and I also think that that is something I have to think about some more.

I appreciated my time with her and she was helpful in a number of ways.

But I really don’t know about trying anything else to help the “marriage.”

This entry was posted in codependency, covert abuse, divorce, emotional abuse, family, marriage, passive aggressive, passive aggressive behavior, passive aggressive husband, relationships and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to security

  1. I tend to agree with your assessment of the “purser/distancer dynamic” and how it does or actually doesn’t apply to you or any of us who have had such experiences.
    Maybe it’s the word “needy” that rubs me wrong.
    Is it “needy” to have some simple expectations of what a life partnership should be?
    Is it “needy” to expect your feelings toward your spouse to be reciprocated?
    Is it needy to want to see a nice long stint…LIKE FOREVER, during which there are no inexplicable blow ups or attempts to drag you into some pointless conflict or to be able to talk through an issue without having to wait out the typical 2-3 days of silent treatment?
    I don’t think so.
    Very happy to hear you’re taking care of yourself.
    Stay “secure”. ;)

    • I asked her about that, if you couldn’t just have a relationship where you go home at the end of the day and enjoy being together, just to be close and loving, and share what happened in your day and share things in life. She said every marriage went through tough times where the partners were trying to be controlling. I get that we’re all human, but surely two grown people who like each other and love each other could manage to live together and give together and figure it out so they don’t hurt each other!!! And I agree – I don’t think those things you listed are needy!

  2. very honest post that many people can relate to… it’s interesting how much our childhood experiences shape our adult life, particularly our relationships and attachments.

  3. K says:

    Red flag-who cares if she’s a hopeless romantic? It as nothing to do with your situation. And “pursuing” someone who is supposed to be your love is really not supposed to be necessary-her terms are really re-wording for the passive aggressive dance, aren’t they? The co-dependent (us) tries to please and help the PA, who pushes us away, etc. whatever. My spouse is trying very hard and has done a great job of being human again-but decades of this abuse have destroyed my trust. I haven’t kicked him out because of security. Security is a reasonable need! I forgive him but I can’t forget what he’s done. You can forgive your embezzling accountant, but it doesn’t mean you’ll rehire him. It’s great to work on yourself-but she needs to back off on saving your marriage until she fully understands. She doesn’t.

    • I don’t think she really does understand passive aggressive behavior. PA behavior is an anger issue. Maybe at times it looks like a pursuer/distancer thing, but passive aggressive behavior has anger at its root. Anyhow, while I would enjoy talking with her more about other things – she did seem very insightful on a lot of things – I kind of think I know more about PA behavior than she does. I’ll go to more counseling for me, but not for the marriage.

  4. newshoes123 says:

    Ok, phew another therapist that thinks she can help…. She doesn’t get it sweetie, I know what she’s talking about the distancer/pursuer blah blah blah… Every passive agressive relationship that I have encountered has had this, it’s part of the course with these people, they pursue you, then reject you, then when you think your done, they pull you back in…. classic pa.

    Have you read the book “Too Good to Leave – Too Bad to Stay”? This is the only book or reference that I have ever found that actually really explained why I stayed so long in my marriage, and yes perhaps in your case it’s security but it’s a lot of other factors as well. It’s a good read, and to be honest, one of the books that helped me get my strength to get out along with ohter things but it was a very big eye opener.

    I agree that you getting marriage counselling for you and your pah won’t make a difference. He will tell you what you want to hear, and do something different and maybe it will work for a while, but these people don’t change. If after this many years he hasn’t changed, he will never.

    Therapy for you, heck ya, it might help you to get out too. It did for me.

    • I can’t remember if I’ve read that one or not! I know I’ve looked at it and considered reading it. Or it may be the one that is marked up and under my bed! I’ll have to check. I really doubt counselling would make a difference. If he wanted to go to counseling for himself, or if he initiated the idea of getting counseling, maybe there would be a chance. But he doesn’t really seem interested enough in things being different.

    • K says:

      Just bought this at your recommendation. Thanks!

  5. lifewithemotionalabuse says:

    I am sorry you are going through this. If you consider yourself to be abused by your husband, or if he is indeed passive-aggressive, you should NOT do joint counseling. If he is manipulative enough to be passive-aggressive with you, someone he has known and loved, how manipulative will he be with a total stranger? You need to seek out a counselor trained to deal with emotional abuse, or abuse in general in regard to your childhood trauma. Only a qualified abuse counselor will have the insight and tools to help you decide what you need to do to leave your husband safely and in a way that will help you to heal.

  6. marsocmom says:

    Trust your gut feelings that you are questioning her ability to help with your marriage! I’m put-off by her descriptions of “pursuer” and “distancer,” too. Newshoes said it really well, that’s the PA dance in a nutshell. I understand the security thing, too. There’s a lot to be said for security, but I think it all depends on what we are counting on for security. Me, I’ve learned that I can’t count on him at all for anything, so what security I have I have found on my own or I make it for myself.

    • Yeah, I’ve been thinking a lot about the pursuer/distancer thing and I think I want to write a post about it. I think you are right about it mattering what we put our security in. The security thought is a new one to me, so I need to think about it some more. Thanks!

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