Survivors of childhood abuse often have trouble establishing healthy boundaries in relationships. I am currently struggling with this in my marriage.
I have been reading about learning to trust, building intimacy, and lots of other abstract terms that seem frustratingly out of my reach. I want to trust my husband – but I don’t. I trust him more than I used to, but I’m not sure trust can be a percentage and still be called trust. I’m trying to let him in, to tear down my protective walls. But that little girl I used to be, built quite a sturdy foundation and these walls are thick. My father started abusing me before I can remember, which is age 3, and I guess that little girl hid her true self so deep down behind those walls for self-preservation, before she even understood what it was.
And yet, those walls are coming down, and now I want to know just how far they should come down. I mean, should a husband and wife share absolutely every inner thought, desire, fantasy, fear, or dream with each other? The romantic part of me says “yes”. Yes we should give ourselves to each other completely, mind, body and soul. That the line between us may blur a bit as we don’t know where one stops and the other begins. But the part of me remaining behind the wall says “no”. Actually that part of me screams “NO-Don’t you dare let him in here you fool!”
I have read conflicting advice on this as well. Some happy couples share everything (but do they really?), and some need some privacy. I know we have to figure this out on our own, develop what feels right for us. But how do we do this? I don’t even know how to bring up this type of conversation, and when I try, that hidden little girl starts screaming again and I just stop. But the other thing is, I’m not sure he wants in, or wants to let me in at that level.
Argh, so how do you have complete trust but also withhold major parts of who you are?
Like this blog, for example, hubby knows it exists, but to my knowledge he does not read it. I’m not that careful about logging out, but I also have never directly invited him in. He does not ask me about it either. Is this respect or disinterest? Is he content to let the bloggers handle these tough topics?
2 days ago he found a rough draft of a topic I have not yet been brave enough to post: concerns about sexuality, and sharing needs and fantasies, and my opinions and research on the use of pornography by either spouse in a healthy marriage. We have not yet talked about what he read, other than the fact he read it – and it is killing me to know what he thinks. But sitting together each night, it is so much easier to just watch TV and let these things go unsaid. Why? Because I am afraid of what we may find out, and things are going so well here otherwise. This talk has the potential to bring us even closer together, but what if it doesn’t? You can’t unshare a deep dark secret.
So tonight I have to bring it up, to follow my 3 day rule. Stupid rule. Deep breath. I can do this.
- Prepare for marriage not just your wedding day! (luiponifasio.wordpress.com)
- Why Saying No in Your Relationship Is a Good Thing (psychcentral.com)
- Everything is different, but still the same (roots2blossom.wordpress.com)
- Porn Is Bad For Marriages (intentionalwarriors.com)
- Fear of Intimacy (letlifeinpractices.com)
- Fuzzy Boundaries (gerryellenson.wordpress.com)