Post by andrew on Apr 1, 2014 3:13:56 GMT
My partner suffered physical domestic abuse from her father from the age of 7 to 12. Generally she is well and happy but she (understandably) struggles with conflict resolution.
She will become very defensive and none compliant over small things, obviously as a way to protect herself. It is upsetting to deal with because I can see she wants to handle herself at this time in a certain way, like most adults would. But it is almost like a stutter where even though she is trying she just can't let herself relax and calm and resolve the situation, i.e. let her guard down.
I understand the situation and try my best to calm, reassure and to not escalate but often the best solution is just time, usually several hours, before she can act in the way I feel she always wanted too (and after talking to her about it how she wishes she could).
The difficulty is before been aware/understanding the situation, I would rise to the conflict and this obviously challenged the relationship. Even if I do not do anything to exacerbate the situation she still feels guilt/regret at how she acted (regardless of what I say), it upsets her and she feels it strains the relationship and that is not something I want her to feel.
Obviously the ideal situation would be a development of this area together so we can deal with it better. We are at the very beginning of the journey, she has seen her GP who has referred her onto a 2nd GP in the practice who specialises in this area who we are yet to see. I presume from there maybe counselling or discussion with further specialised professionals.
What I am looking for is -
-a rough idea of the path this sort of journey can take, I'm a radiographer, so I have an understanding of some aspects but for obvious reasons have very little to do with this side of healthcare
-information on how best to support someone in this situation (I have struggled to find any literature) apart from the obvious/somewhat cliché of listen, be there, etc
-a further issue is she had to be independent in her late teens, living abroad as an aupair from the age 17. She is reluctant to see this as a problem with her, that there isn't anything wrong with her and that she isn't a victim. I obviously don't tell her the extreme of she isn't normal and she needs help etc, but in the least patronising way I can make it sound, I do see her as a victim and calling it an 'issue' (what she is happy to call it) rather than a 'problem' is just renaming the subject. Does this matter? Is development with this part of the healing process? Is it like admitting an addiction, where the first step is admitting there is a problem, is one of the first steps admitting she is a victim? Before resolution can take place. I admire the pride and strength she has had to deal with this as she has and I don't take it as an insult that she can't open up to me fully with this topic yet, but I feel like until she opens up with herself fully there will always be a barrier stopping progress.
-any information you think would be useful really
finally, appolgises if this is a bit all over the place but I am currently on night shift and its 0410hrs