Posted by: Anonymous | 2009-04-24

am i being unreasonable?


I have a question, its a bit long, so I will try and condense it. Basically, i am a young (27) stay at home mom of 3 very young children, i don' t go anywhere or do anything that is not for my children, i love them more than anything. When i was little my parents went overseas a lot and while they were gone, one of the people in the family i stayed with sexually abused me. I have never sought help about this particular issue as it only really effects me in one way, i am absolutely terrified of being home alone, especially at night, and also i am scared of the dark, if it gets dark and my husband is not home i get so scared that i start shaking and get hot and cold at the same time and i have to leave the house. When we got married, my husband agreed that he would not travel and leave me because he knows my fears. Now he is going overseas without me, he told me it was only for 3 nights and that he had spoken to my mother and that she had agreed to come and stay with me. This is not the case. It is 5 nights, and my mother refuses point blank to come and stay with me. It also happens to be the week of my birthday, and my husband had booked leave to spend the week with me, but i suppose that is inconsequential. My parents have begrudgingly said that we can stay with them for some of the nights, there are 4 of us, and my parents have 2 spare beds, which means that i will have to sleep on the floor in my parents study, also it means i have to make a 30km trip to school in the mornings, which means i will have to get up at about 4:30am after waking up several times for the children! My parents do not want us to stay at their house, and they constantly tell me how difficult it is going to be for them and what a huge inconvienience it is, and how much they are going to be put out. I am at my wits end! I dont know what to do. I cant stay at home alone, i dont have any siblings so i cant even ask someone to come and stay with me. I feel like my husband has betrayed me. He cannot understand why it is such a big deal for me. I have not been able to sleep properly for a month because of this trip and now he is leaving in 2 days and i just do not know what to do, i just keep crying all the time and he thinks im completely pathetic. I would do absolutely anything for my husband, he really wanted me to stay at home with the children and i agreed and gave up working, we have a maid but she does not look after the children, i never go out and leave them. I try and make sure that i have done as much as i possibly can by the time he gets home from work, i have taken over doing all the household maintenance jobs so that he doesn' t have to do anything he doesn' t like doing. We have recently purchased a new car, i did all the organising for the loan etc, all he had to do was sign one piece of paper. He never ever has to cook, we never have take away, always a home cooked meal because he doesnt' t like take away. All i ask of him is not to leave me alone, he knew this when we got married, it wasnt a surprise, and now he throws it in my face and tells me how many opportunities he has missed because of me and how many sacrifices he has made for me. I' ve also made sacrifices, and i never bring them up, i just carry on. He now also says that he thinks he should go away more often so that i can just ' get over it' . I am very hurt, because i' ve kind of tried to compensate for my problem by doing everything i can for him and to make him happy, clearly its not working and i am a terrible wife! Am i unreasonable for being upset about him going? is there anything i can do to try and get over my fears?

Thanks and sorry for the long question!

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

The main snag in dealing with his imminent departure is that there is really no time left to effectively improve your responses to being alone, before he leaves --- this message reaches me rather late ! What is most likely to help, would be CBT, Copgniive-Behaviour Therapy, which should be able to help you within a reasonably short period of time, to gain control of these situations, and to feel competent, safe, and confident when alone at home , either on your own or while in charge of the children. It is likely that you will be able to successfully gain control of this excessive nervousness and lack of faith in yourself, without delving back into the episode(s) of abuse. What is relevant now, is not that they occurred, but the residue they have left in your attitudes to yourself and your reactions to life.
You are NOT, absolutely NOT,"a terrible wife". While your problem has long dserved proper attention, I don't hear of your husband having had to make massive sacrifices to help with this, and indeed, he should be playing a far larger role in sharing the chores and tasks of the household --- he is using your fear of being alone and feeling unprotected to gain a faithful servant who dares not question him. So when you have regained self-estem and confidence and are happy to be alone when you choose, it would be worthwhile, with the guidance of your CBT therapist, to manoeuvre him into proper mariage counselling and redress the balance.
Now, though you might be able to find a CBT oriented therapiast ( the Anxiety/Depression Support Group, number on this page, should be able to help here ) and maybe even squeeze in a session, obviously this needed and deserved therapy will not be established before your husband goes away. As Anonymous helpfully points out, it is likelyy that when you actually face a night on your own ( I'd guess you have struggled to avoid this ever happening in recent years ). you will, after a period of feeling increasingly uncomfortable and alarmed, find that it fades away again. Such things are always more terrifying in prospect, and in your imagination before the event, than they actually are when they happen. Indeed, there is a form of therapy used and effective, called Implosion Therapy, in which the therapist would arrange for you to face your greatest fear --- and after a short period of panic, it tends to rapidly burn itself out and no longer to have the power to be fearful. You are likely to handle this urgent situation far better than you expect.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Anonymous | 2009-04-24

Thank you so much CyberShrink, you have put a lot of things inti perspective for me, i will see if i can find a cbt therapist in my area and go as soon as possible. You are right, when i first wanted to see a therapist a few years ago, the request was met with a resounding no from him, because he decided that i would become dependant on a therapist and not be able to deal with any situation without help. But perhaps if i can make him realise that it would actually benefit him in the long run...

thanks again

Reply to Anonymous
Posted by: Liza | 2009-04-24

I mostly agree with Anonymous. Avoiding an anxiety-causing situation just makes the anxiety worse. If you can see a CBT counsellor, he/she will be able to help you face your fears in the least threatening manner possible. Just trying to face your fears out of the blue might not be the best solution. It might take multiple times of facing your fears before they start getting better.

Good Luck

Reply to Liza
Posted by: T | 2009-04-24

I think you should get professional help so that you do not find yourself in situations where you have to rely on others all the time to feel safe. It can be quite draining for your husband to plan his schedule around your fears. It would do you a wealth of good to get help, Anonymous. &  you have young children who might witness your " panic attacks"  and it can be terrifying for them.

Reply to T
Posted by: Anonymous | 2009-04-24

stay at home alone at night for a couple of nights, you have to face your fear ...after that you will realise that there was nothing to fear....the longer you leave it the stronger the power the fear will have over you.

Reply to Anonymous

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