Partners of survivors of abuse/trauma often feel angry, disappointed, sexually frustrated, confused, starved for intimacy and touch, and concerned about their survivor mate and their relationship. Beneath the surface and often beyond their awareness, they may also experience depression, loss of energy, loneliness, isolation, fear, anxiety, resentment, lowered self-esteem, impatience, impotence, a feeling of helplessly being stuck, and even a general sense of powerlessness to help themselves or their survivor mate.
No one ever wants to feel powerless!
Almost every partner of an abuse or trauma survivor I have worked with over the past 45 years, when offered the opportunity to explore deeper feelings, has said that he/she felt a real sense of loss because the relationship he hoped for, perhaps even had at one time, had disappeared. If you are experiencing these or other feelings about yourself, your partner, or your relationship, it’s time to focus on and take care of yourself.
Without caring for yourself, there is some possibility that you may experience what we call, “vicarious victimization” in response to the pain you experience from your mate and in your relationship. You may develop symptoms similar to your mate.
Before we go further, it is crucial to recognize that I have often heard from the survivors of trauma/abuse concerns that they will be labeled as “the problem” if their intimate partner participates in this group. While understandable, since betrayal and lack of trust are central to the abuse/trauma experience, neither the intent nor the outcomes of these groups will support this concern. To get a better feeling about this issue, I encourage both of you to read this post from my website. https://scottnelsonphd.com/setting-the-stage-for-healing-and-loving-relationship-first-things-first