The Need to Be Understood

English: Uphill footpath Looking uphill near t...

Uphill path  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have a huge, monstrous, inescapable need to be understood. It is not a wish or a desire – it is a need. Sadly, I am struggling with this constantly. As an abuse survivor, yes certainly, but I think mainly just as a human, and hugely as a wife.

Here’s a great blog post I found

My marriage has been distant from the start – from my point of view not his – since I was not real when I got married. No, I was not somehow fictional or imaginary, but I was still under my abuser’s power at that point and acting out of fear and survival, and honestly not over a previous relationship. I married as an escape, searching for security. I feel I had no business getting married so young and fragile, before I knew myself, or anything about love. Hubby knows all this now.  But I don’t think he really understands.

My husband loves me. I love him. That part is true. But we don’t understand each other, and I don’t feel a satisfying emotional connection to him.  I’m grateful for him. I appreciate all he does. The thing that bothers me most here, is that Hubby has no NEED for me to understand him. It is infuriating to me. Boggles my mind. See, I’m an analyst – partly from past abuse and partly from just who I am. I do something – I analyze it. I feel something – I analyze it. I experience something – I must analyze it. I must understand.

Hubby seems tired of this analytical process. He never initiates it, never asks questions, but is always “willing” to do it. His willingness seems forced to me, like he is also willing to have a cavity filled by the dentist, and sits patiently until the process is complete. He is unable to analyze without judging or feeling judged. I can’t explain why I need to go over every minute of my life in instant replay, to see cause/effect, to see pros/cons, to categorize and process. I’m much better at living in the moment, but I still have this need to relive those moments, either in writing or discussion. I can do it alone in my thoughts, but then well, I am alone in my thoughts, and we all know it is not healthy to stay there too long. And so enters the feeling of disconnect, and the need to be understood by Hubby.

I don’t know how to get past this.

I forced Hubby through a session of analysis last night, and feel less understood than ever. I wanted to discuss a recent family event, and put everything into place. I am still following the 3 day rule for fighting fairly. He brought up times over the past few months when I was nasty to him. He is not telling me when he feels hurt, because he thinks he can’t add to my pain. He doesn’t understand that my biggest source of pain right now is feeling isolated, and that I can feels his walls of apathy. He is confused and hurting, and so am I.

I told him that I feel more understood by many random bloggers that write and comment. He showed me some anger, and revealed that he is jealous of my blogging, and hates that I talk to everyone here more than him. Sigh. He has been invited to this blog. He chooses not to read it, and rarely responds to any of it, other than “I’m sorry you feel that way.” Well, I’ve had enough of him feeling sorry. Yes, my childhood sucked, and yes, I still have pain from it. But offering me sympathy alone will not get me closer to the authentic me I am trying to be.

I’m so sad to be back in this place, after being so hopeful and making so much progress. Our family is much more peaceful than before I rocked the boat. Anger still comes up too often, but it is not the first reaction any more. But those deep resentments seem to be in there on both sides. I think I have let go of mine, to give him the “fresh start” he asked for, but it seems he is still unable to even air his resentments of me. He thought he was protecting me, but learned to not be real to me, and we resent that. And what scares me most now, is that he does not seem to like the real me. The me that needs processing, analysis, emotional venting and closure. He doesn’t need that, and feels bothered and attacked by it. Is it enough to share that analytical part of me with bloggers alone? Can a marriage continue that way?

Now I’m not giving up, still in counseling, still fighting the good fight, but I do dream of a day when I don’t have to fight. I am concerned that Hubby has stopped his own counseling. That he only went to a few sessions to satisfy me and shut me up. I don’t feel like he wants to keep working on this, he is content to sweep it all under a rug and go on with no changes. Well, that won’t work for me.

How do I get what I need without annoying Hubby or putting too much pressure on him? It seems my needs should not be annoying. And yet he feels inadequate, which is not entirely incorrect, since I feel like I need more from him, but can’t for the life of me explain what it is, since it is not concrete, not something to do, but something I need him to feel, and I fear he may not have it in him. And I fear where else I may go to find what I need.



16 thoughts on “The Need to Be Understood

  1. All I can say is that some times things will work beautifully and some things just wont, no matter how much you want them to. Your marriage is not perfect (none are, as far as I know) but try to remember that he’s your hubby, not your therapist….(sorry if that sounds rude, it’s intended with love). I came to terms with the fact that my partner had almost no way to cope with my sadness when I pulled him in so I save the analyzing for therapy and blogging these days.

    All that said…we most certainly do not have the strength of union that you two do. He’d not be willing to try. You say your hubby doesn’t analyse things so it might take a lot of extra patience on your part to get him on board. (And, just for the record, I understand you so much better than I understand my own hubby…so you’re not alone in relating to blog people more than real people, at times).

    Hugs. Please don’t take offence. I think you’re so strong for fighting this fight. xx

    • No offense, I know what you mean. I’ve been trying to find a balance. For years I kept all of my struggling hidden, and only in therapy. Hubby has asked me to open up to him, and he thinks he can handle it. The thing is, what I’m talking here in this post is not related to my struggling or my pain or anything that would need therapy. I struggle just discuss the day with Hubby when we have spent it together. I need to recap and analyze. He doesn’t want to discuss his view of the day that we shared together. We’re ok at discussing events that we experienced separately, but if I want to analyze how we were together, or what we were thinking when we did/said blank today, he is not interested, and gets angry. I do wonder if this is a balance issue or a practice issue, or me expecting perfection issue.

      • Ah I understand now. I didn’t realize you only meant things that you had experienced (or would have shared knowledge of) together. I can understand how different processing styles would be difficult to manage in those moments.

  2. I could relate to so much of what you describe here in my own marriage – you are not alone in having a husband that sees things very differently. We all need to be understood and I sense your frustration! You can only control your own feelings and no one else’s (even if it is your husband) In my own marriage I know that in many respects my husband ‘doesn’t get me’ at all, and whilst that is very hard sometimes I have had to try to accept that. Your commitment to your marriage comes out in this post even though you express your fears at the end.
    There’s definately no easy answer here, and I wish you success in overcoming this difficult situation. Take it gently and be kind to yourself.

    • Thank you so much Carolyn. Your comment was very calming to me. Along with Grainne, I think I may be expecting too much too soon. I’ve been getting so good at understanding my own motives, actions, feelings, that I think it should just transfer over to him. I have no idea what love really looks like in a marriage. Never seen love without control, anger, fear. This is all new to me. I know many couples struggle with intimacy and being understood. So I have identified it is a need, now I have to really decide if that need has to be filled by a husband, or somewhere else. Thank you for sharing that your husband doesn’t get you either. It helps to know that maybe I can ease up on that one and just see what happens.

  3. How do you get what you need without annoying Hubby or putting too much pressure on him? Hm…are you clear on exactly what it is that you need? Is it to be understood in general, or understood by him? And do you clearly understand yourself? Because if you don’t, then it might be a stretch to help him understand.

    This might be just one part of the path, and things will change. Maybe try to get what you need elsewhere (therapy, blog) and then once you get more clarity, things will shift with your husband. And you can’t change other people; you can only change yourself. So perhaps if you work on yourself, your husband might be inspired by your own change and do what he needs to do, whether that’s therapy or something else.

    I tend to be impatient: I want things now. But more and more I realize that life IS a path, and things come at different times for certain reasons.

    Good luck! Hugs.

  4. Um…I could have written this post. This is me and my husband almost exactly. I certainly don’t have the answer for you. However, this post makes me feel better because at least I know I am not the only one with this issue. I love him, but I feel like we really don’t connect on a deeper emotional level. He doesn’t “get” me and he doesn’t “share” of himself with me…or anyone for that matter. I think he doesn’t need it and I think he may not be capable of it and that scares the hell out of me regarding the rest of my life with him.

    And, Yes, I have turned to friends and my blog to get the interaction/understanding I need and in many ways I feel so much closer to these friends than I do my own husband and I think that is wrong. I crave an intimate relationship with him but it is just not happening. I want him to be the most important person in my life…..the person closest to me, but he’s not and that makes me sad very often.

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  8. wow….you know i was actually just looking for quotes about this need to be understood. i too go thru this daily. i too suffered abuse in ways, and its hard to get past that. it makes you who you are by your past experiences. i analyze constantly. cant help it my brain just goes there. and its causing arguments that i feel are never resolved. that adds to the pile of things for my brain to constantly go over again and again. its easy for my husband to forget about it. like nothing was said or my feeling seems to just disappear or something. when it doesnt at all. i dont want to hear “yes your right” i want to hear (only if true) “ok i can understand your side”. thats all……not to be told over and over that i shouldnt feel that way. that doesnt help. i feel that i can understand both points of view. dont have to agree. our thought process gives us the emotions we feel……maybe we are hard people to deal with……but i dont understand whats so hard when we explain it. we say what we need…..but yet it still remains……..the feeling of not being understood. this is the first time ive said anything about this…….thank you for putting this out there. and so glad im not alone in this!

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