How much should I share?

14 Mar 2017
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So, this journey I have to heal myself is all about the pain I have suffered, and the fictions I have told myself and believe about my life. I'm trying to uncover so much as part of this journey, and bring a lot of pain out into the light. And, it's really tough.

A couple of years ago the anxiety and fear I was feeling was so intense that I was rude and cruel to my wife. It really was touch and go whether she would leave me, but because she loves me she stuck by me, and has helped me through this intense storm of emotions. I feel so very grateful to her and so now I really feel that I am coming out the other side, and we can get our life back on track.

One of my problems has been that when I feel stressed I stop communicating, I internalise, I get wrapped up in my feelings. And that causes a problem in my relationship.

I wrote a poem last Friday about a person from my old life and how they used to bully me and what I felt, but the poem was also transformative, in that at the end I turned it around and stood strong against them, that they were dead to me and that I let it go. I felt very vulnerable about that poem, and I didn't mention it to my wife until the Monday after the weekend.

I suppose I hadn't realised the significance of the poem either emotionally to myself, it is very heavy going, or to my relationship with the fact I had delayed talking about it. I think the key thing in the argument that followed was: "What else aren't you talking to me about?"

But that raises a big question in my mind: how much should anyone who is going through therapy or any emotionally turbulent times share with their life partner?

Should I just not have mentioned the poem? Or should I have raised it when it happened? Or was I okay to mention it later?

I really don't know and I wondered if anyone else had any thoughts about this?

FairIsle

A Moodscope member.

A Moodscope member.

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Comments

Mortimer

March 14, 2017, 6:53 a.m.

Certainly find that as I go on the downswing I get less communicative, at a time when I should be sharing more, letting my wife know that I'm struggling. I have hurt her badly sometimes by being rude and dismissive and not being aware of my attitude as it all hurts so much on the inside. I have found that sharing wherever possible with one's partner, even if it feels embarrassing or one is feeling very vulnerable at least they feel onside and able to help. I believe most partner's in a loving relationship dearly want to help their partner when in need, and being shut out is cruel. Not that I'm in to poems, but the philosophy crosses over I think - my wife is very supportive if she knows I'm suffering - otherwise she can only presume I'm just being a sod!

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LP

March 14, 2017, 7:34 a.m.

Hi Fairisle, What Charlie said rings true especially from a male point of view. Many men find communication difficult. However, my feeling is that there was nothing wrong with you having taken a couple of days to process your thoughts and feelings about something so deep. Sooner may have come out in a less helpful way. When I have rowed with my partner it has been rare and intense. My response is to shut him out for hurting me. He later says that I shouldnt "run away" from it but stick it out to resolve it. I feel certain that with such strong emotions running high and stubborness from both of us, there is no way it will be resolved there and then. When the dust has settled I am able to say that it's ok to agree to differ so there's no point arguing and that I just need time to calm down. I guess my point is that you have to be in the right frame of mind and emotionally ready to discuss deep feelings, especially with a partner where emotions play a huge role. Moving forward I guess I could say at the time, I'm too upset to talk about this anymore now, I need time to calm down. Maybe there is something simple that you could say at the time, so that she knows whats happening at the time and that you will talk when .... Sending wishes for peace and harmony to you, me (!) and all :) LP

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Sophie

March 14, 2017, 8:02 a.m.

I agree with you LP, I wrote in my blog yesterday how I have struggled this past few days and partly because the actions of my other half are upsetting me, but also i know that my mood is very off kilter right now and i dont trust myself to have a constructive, calm conversation with him while my emotions are all over the place; the validity of my comments would be lost among the tears and outbursts

LP

March 14, 2017, 10:18 p.m.

Yes, if we can let people know, in some way they'll hopefully be more understanding. Xx

Hopeful One

March 14, 2017, 8:04 a.m.

Hi Fairisle- Thanks for that. The answer to your query' how much should anyone who is going through therapy or any emotionally turbulent times share with their life partner? is in Billy Joel's song- everything he say applies! Apologies to all for putting it up in its entirety. Tell Her About It" Listen boy Don't want to see you let a good thing slip away You know I don't like watching Anybody make the same mistakes I made She's a real nice girl And she's always there for you But a nice girl wouldn't tell you what you should doListen boy I'm sure that you think you got it all Under controlYou don't want somebody telling you The way to stay in someone's soul You're a big boy now, You'll never let her go But that's just the kind of thing,She ought to know Tell her about it ,Tell her everything you feel Give her every reason to accept,That you're for real Tell her about itTell her all your crazy dreams Let her know you need her Let her know how much she means Listen boyIt's not automatically a certain guarantee To insure yourself You've got to provide communication constantly When you love someone You're always insecure And there's only one good way To reassure Tell her about itLet her know how much you care When she can't be with youTell her you wish you were there Tell her about itEvery day before you leave Pay her some attention Give her something to believe Cause now and then She'll get to worrying Just because you haven't spokenFor so long Though you may not have done anything Will that be a consolation when she's gone Listen boyIt's good information from a man Who's made mistakesJust a word or two that she gets from you Could be the difference that it makes She's a trusting soulShe's put her trust in you But a girl like that won't tell you What you should do Tell her about it.... Listen to it on Youtube.

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Sophie

March 14, 2017, 8:11 a.m.

I struggle with this, too. Society/tradition/whatever tells us that our significant other should be there for us through thick and thin, we should be able to share everything with them, no matter how cruel or disturbing, safe in the knowledge that they will always support us and say the right things, behave the right way. In reality though, I think unless I get with a psychiatrist-type person, it's kind of unfair to expect everybody to be able to provide that kind of support. Isn't it? I can't deal with it or make sense of it for myself, half the time. Why would somebody else have the answers? I've come to the conclusion that not everyone is mentally equipped or skilled enough in dishing out empathy and emotional support when things are particularly tough. A close family member, for example, you'd think I could go to over anything and she would be able to 'fix' whatever i come out with. But time and experience has taught me that she just isn't 'like that'; it doesn't come naturally to put herself in someone else's shoes, instead she applies her own logic and strategies and expects them to work for everyone else too. So I have learnt to not go to her when I need something she can't offer. I'm finding it more difficult to apply the same thinking to my other half, although really, why should I expect more from him than i do from some family members? That's unfair, isnt it? Usually i end up sharing things a few days afterwards, when my head has calmed down enough for me to pluck the facts and reasonable statements from the otherwise mis-mash of confusion.

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RC

March 14, 2017, 2:03 p.m.

Hear hear!!!

The Gardener

March 14, 2017, 8:37 a.m.

A real quandary - letting your O/H share/know about your depression is vital, agree with Charlie - otherwise they wonder what they've done, and have to suffer the decline into silent misery with no hope of helping. I've had very little therapy, but in reply to FairIsle I would NOT discuss it with husband/partner. So often the therapy results from relationship problems - discussion can cause hurt - or even more arguments as the partner, naturally, indulges in self-justification. I had one go of psychotherapy, most successful - coping with 25 years of bullying by m-in-law. He dealt with it in four sessions - I had never mentioned it to MR G - till long afterwards - glad I did not, if he had known he would never have spoken to his mother again. Also therapy is such a very personal, and delicate thing (I think, anyway) that discussion can warp/confuse the issue.

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Jul

March 14, 2017, 8:58 a.m.

Hello FairIsle. We can get very intense about ourselves ,our problems, our failures, our perceived faults and the impact we have on others especially the person we share the minutiae of our lives with, i.e our OH's. Your blog today has made me think how caught up in myself I am too. I am not sure if there is a male perspective to your question. I think actually it's a gender neutral question.What I have learnt along the way of my depression and having lived with the same person for many years, is that it's not all about me even though I am acutely aware of how my issues may affect my OH. Your poem obviously was very important to you and had a huge impact on you both. However the question of when or if you should have mentioned it to your wife is in my view irrelevant. It really does not matter. I think from my experience, expecting our partners to react in the way you want them to all the time is a huge expectation and an unrealistic one. Our partners have issues too which are totally unrelated to us/ me/you. You sound a very caring kind person FairIsle. I try to have days when I try to not think about how awful I feel and hide it from my OH. I remember my father saying to me how wonderful he thought my mother coped with her tinnitus. He knew when she was having a particularly bad day with it even though she didn't say. He would give her a whisky earlier in the evening than usual on those days! I think we don't have to unburden ourselves for our partners to know how we are feeling. They know! Thank you for your blog FairIsle. One from the heart and expressed in such a personal way. Jul xx

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Wyvern

March 14, 2017, 9:09 a.m.

Hello FairIsle I too go silent, as does my OH. It took us some years to get used to this in each other, and not blame oursleves for the other's silence. It seems we both just need to think things through ourselves, or wait for the mood to lift. Sometimes just a gentle check-in to say, 'You ok? Anything you want to talk about?' or to say to the other, 'Sorry if I'm a bit quiet. It's not anything you've done. Just got things to think about / feeling a bit under the weather / a bit down / whatever.' Definitely NOT to talk about what went on in therapy, counselling, etc. That's your stuff; if you talk about it outside, it will change the dynamic and can affect how the future sessions go - as your unconscious mind will always be censoring your words for what you will be sharing this time!

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FairIsle

March 14, 2017, 11:15 a.m.

Thank you all for your comments. I really appreciate them. All of your words ring true, those like Hopeful One that brought a tear to my eye, as aside from this being my favourite Billy Joel song, I get it, it makes me cry every time I hear it. And you are completely right, so right. And Wyvern, as you say it's my "dirt" and talked of outside will change the dynamic, which I have felt that self censoring happen. Certainly for myself, and in my relationship there is never one answer. But I do need a "I've got stuff going on, but I'll talk when I get my head around it" code-word. Wishing you all well FairIsle

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The librarian

March 14, 2017, 11:22 a.m.

Thank you for your blog, Fairisle - it's good to read such well articluated thoughts. I, too, find it difiicult to communicate when I am stressed/distressed/struggling. There's a lot to be said for waiting until yopu're in a calmer frame of mind before discussing what's happening, and I think it is dishonest to go on communicating as if nothing is happenening then bring it up difficulties months later. So finding a middle ground... I'm going to keep working on it and I hope you will too, and that you'll share further insights as you go on your journey and bring your pain into the light.

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Di

March 14, 2017, 12:49 p.m.

Dearest FairIsle ~ You are bold and strong and open to decipher your heart's actions. It is deeply personal. It is my experience that there are reasons why we remain quiet ~ sometimes it is for processing purposes. Each brain works things out differently, and at different times. Be kind to yourself for you are growing, reaching, conquering & have much for which to celebrate. Lovingly, Di

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DAVE

March 14, 2017, 1:04 p.m.

Hi Fairisle, We're all so very different in our personal relationships so I can only share my thoughts and opinion, and like everyone else's bog not all of them are relevant to the individual, having said that there are some parts, real gems which if I put into practice, gives me more knowledge to cope with getting myself more 'sorted'. Ever since my wife and I met I've managed to come away from 'mine and yours', to ours....We share almost everything. I believe in openness and with BP I need trust the one closest to me. I know my wife is not quite so open, but that's not for me to change her....Freedom to choose what and to whom we share information with does depend to a certain extent how far along the 'togetherness path thus far we have come. I've been married 50 yea s plus 2 years courting. But I like others to know exactly how I feel, and I share thoughts, ideas, experiences.and trials which give us empathy with those around. I like to say what They mean, and mean what I saidy, and feel that others know exactly where they are in my company. When the time is right, maybe you wife needs from you some of your secrets, the poem being one. Showing it to her may well be the very spark, that is missed ng in your relationship. By this means of communicating, it could well give you more of an idea of how your wife 'ticks', which may well help to improve your relationship even more....We all need a close friend...Not just when mental illness rears its ugly head....We need to build on 'Rock' not shifting sand. Good luck Fairisle, Dave.

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RC

March 14, 2017, 2:01 p.m.

I'm in therapy at the mo but with my husband working and living in Riyadh I don't talk to him about this. He is supportive however he finds my moods changes hard to deal with when he is at home. He can tell how I am when we chat twice a week.Sometimes I'm chatty,other times I clam up like a shell.Its what we do....it's self preservation.My family and friends know this which helps enormously.I feel less guilty knowing they understand.I want to speak but I cannot...I become catatonic. Then it goes and normal service is resumed-just like the TV!! Keep putting one foot in front of the other and walk towards the light at the end of your tunnel(or cave)!! Best wishes L x

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RC

March 14, 2017, 2:09 p.m.

Sorry it's me again Just a thought:- My friend who is in the mental health profession always says that see your thoughts,feeling and behaviour as your knitting...sometimes it's straightforward,other times maybe the patterns gone wonky.You get upset,angry etc.and need time and space to work it through. This is knitting to those not familiar-like life knitting can be a Curates Egg...good in parts!! Bye for now L x

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Mary Wednesday

March 14, 2017, 4:57 p.m.

Grrrr. I just wrote a long comment which has been lost. Essentially, My OH now knows how bad things get, only because he attended an appointment with my new consultant psychiatrist. If I had known how the appointment was going to go I never would have taken my husband as I never wished to scare him or worry him. Well, he took it better than I expected although we have not discussed it since. I'd still rather he didn't know.

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Frankie

March 14, 2017, 6:21 p.m.

Hello FairIsle: I think it is important to share, and to choose the right time and the right words. I am wondering whether your wife was upset with the manner or the timing, not necessarily with the message. Darling hubby used to suffer often from dark spells. I could sense them, even pinpoint the moment they started, but when I asked "Are you alright?" he would answer "yes", even though he clearly wasn't. He would claim that it was me who had the problem, which I found very hurtful. In recent months he has worked hard to recognise the onset of a dark spell and acknowledge it - which makes it much easier for me to let him be. My strategy then is to be selective about what I talk to him about e.g. avoiding any major discussions requiring a decision, reminding him about chores that need doing etc. I have also monitored the way I talk to him at such times. It has been so much easier as a result and his dark spells have been shorter, and less often. Full marks to him for being able to recognise and admit to when he is feeling low or grumpy or anxious. We have also been able (carefully!) to talk about them later once they have passed, which has also helped. Wishing you and your wife all the best. Frankie (P.S. Hello everyone - I'm getting there!)

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FairIsle

March 15, 2017, 9:42 a.m.

Hello Frankie For me, today (wed) is a good day, I read you comments and it made me smile. What you have said I am sure is exactly what my wife would say if she was writing a comment. And I think in retrospect you are spot on, that is was the manner that I brought it up that was so hurtful to her. Wishing yourself and Hubbie the very best FairIsle

Frankie

March 17, 2017, 1:17 a.m.

Thank-you FairIsle; your reply means a lot to me; we are currently navigating a tricky family situation, but I think we are slowly making progress ... Frankie

Jane SG

March 14, 2017, 8:06 p.m.

Dear Fairisle, have I read this correctly? You only waited from Fri - Mon to share? I think it's ultimately up to you as you don't need permission on when or if you share feelings but sounds to me like you are indeed sharing. Take care

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LP

March 14, 2017, 10:31 p.m.

Hi Jane, here here, I thought Friday to Monday wasnt long either.

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Molly

March 16, 2017, 6:24 a.m.

I'm quite open really, but my husband isn't. He thinks he might worry me if he shares what is worrying him. I'm more worried when he doesn't share as I worry that I have done something wrong ! With therapy though and I guess the same as the poem, it is personal and can only be shared when the time is right. I think sometimes we need time to gather our own thoughts or they will come out as a mumble jumble xx

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