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Wife needs support in dealing with husband with AvPD

Forum for significant others, family and friends of people with mental illness to discuss relevant issues they face.

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This is a support forum for the family, partners and friends of those with mental health issues. This forum is intended to be a safe place to discuss information, give and receive support and learn about all the issues related to being involved with a person with a disorder. Whilst it can be healthy to express various emotions, please remember to be respectful about the disorder itself. This is a place for constructive discussions, not a venting forum.

The issues experienced by the significant others of those with disorders cannot always be discussed in the other parts of the site in a way that does not trigger those with disorders. Moderators may therefore move threads from other forums into this one at their discretion.

Re: Wife needs support in dealing with husband with AvPD

Postby Philonoe » Sun Dec 17, 2017 8:43 am

Philonoe wrote:I think I understand what you mean. However, I see often strong relationships around me, involving people who are not at all like "perfect people" nor in "perfect relationship".


I reread my comment of two years ago.

The use of the word "perfect" makes no sense. Probably i meant "model" or something.
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Re: Wife needs support in dealing with husband with AvPD

Postby sadandreallyconfused » Wed Feb 06, 2019 2:32 pm

I just wanted to write a big thankyou to everyone who wrote on this thread.
I also wanted to share my experiences here of being a youngish person just freshly out of a relationship with a guy that has AvPD, so that others might benefit from it. Sorry it's really long!

For 7 years I dated a guy with AvPD, he moved in with me pretty much immediately (out of his parents house into my flat) He was 20 at the time we met and I was 27, I was strong, independent, out-going, pretty social and driven, at the time I was studying at university.
I had a bad comfort zone for taking care of people and being a "rescuer", and before dating this guy I'd only had 1 other relationship with an abusive sociopathic nutcase for around 3 years.
(Tried to rescue that guy too, but luckily enough my family and social worker helped me leave, was the ages 20-24 for that relationship so it was my introduction to having a serious partner and it was a totally awful one to say the least)

My AvPD partner slowly ground me down over the course of the relationship, over time I went from being confident & into self-help, back to being a person that was walking on egg shells around him because I never wanted to upset him or make him feel judged. I'd spent a lot of time getting over my PTSD from the first relationship and seeing a psychologist, I figured I'd never be a doormat for another person again but I was so wrong.

In the first few years he tried really hard to study at university but it was a lot of effort for the both of us, and eventually when he couldn't get into honors he used it as a crutch to not do anything with his life.
He was never driven to look for work, he had rich upper class parents but felt it was okay to live off my welfare check. He got depressed but wouldn't do anything about it even with the support of myself, his friends and my family. (He also has a brilliant psychologist who it took us 3 year to talk him into going back to, which only just happened 2 months ago I might add)
He constantly avoided anything significantly moving forward or changing in our relationship due to his risk aversion / OCD, he felt like if anything in our lives changed bad things could happen so he constantly tried to keep everything the same.

We could never grow as a couple, and he wouldn't grow as a person, his family where toxic and his parents co-dependent, the mother was particularly abusive and neglected both her children majorly.
They tried very hard to make everything look wonderful on the outside, but you could see everything was on the surface and they spent most of there time concerned about money. They never encouraged there kids to be independent and I think it has a lot to do with why AvPD manifests so hard having such a toxic, empty relationship with parents. No nurture just humiliation and control. No love in that house. My partner talked more fondly of the two babysitters/nannys his mother had hired growing up than he ever had about his own parents. ( I'm from a lower socioeconomic / poor background so all this stuff is really weird for me.)
It's weird after the breakup I feel more anger with them because they've ruined two beautiful children, and now these children are grown men and will probably end up passing this awful $#%^ on to their own children when they have them.

His parents spent the last 4 years of our relationship constantly telling him to split up with me, even though he was getting better living away from them, in his first year of living with me he had learned to eat again after having severe Emetophobia from living with them and the trauma the goes with eating at their dinner table. His passive aggressive mother would literally tell people to stop talking if any subject that came up in conversation didn't interest her when they ate, who does that?
She also drank with her youngest son from an early age and encouraged binge drinking, but it's okay because they're upper class lawyers and doctors and she can afford expensive wines etc.

Conversations where hard, he was like a clam if you wanted to talk about anything he wasn't interested in, but he could talk for hours about meaningless things (and I mean this literally, not that I found personally what he was talking about was "meaningless"). A lot of the time he would adopt views he'd heard from friends or from youtube videos, and if you actually tried to have a conversation with him about it in-depth he'd fall apart because he didn't really feel that way about the subject in question.
I ended up calling them inherited opinions, because they weren't actually his own.

It was kind of sad, it was also sad to have him lecture you for 40 minutes about why something wasn't working in a videogame on his pc, but then if you want to talk about something serious like the fact our rent was going up, or if he would like to go traveling somewhere fun and do something on the weekend then.. there'd be no conversation at all.

I'm getting really off topic, basically the last 7 years with this guy crushed me, I love him to bits but at the same time he never really "cared' about my feelings or wanted to connect with me emotionally.
No matter how hard I tried to join in with him on activities or get him to join me on things he just wouldn't get involved deeply with anything. I felt disregarded and like I didn't matter 80% of the time, his world was always more important. I would spend hours building him up and trying to help him move on from things like failing at school, getting a job, enjoying life and during the time we were talking it would always seem like he'd got past the issue, and wanted to live and try new things.

But a day later he'd be back to being vague, secretive, fence sitting and undefined about things.
Back playing video games for hours in his room or just watching youtube all the time. I feel these activities were probably his way of avoiding all the negative $#%^ going on in his head.

I know it's all about avoiding judgement / risk / feeling inadequate and hating yourself, but at the same time it's incredibly painful for another person to witness.
Sometimes I felt like I was living with a heroin addict, like this beautiful guy I was living with just wanted to rot his life away doing nothing, No matter how much love and affection I poured onto him it would just bounce off, like I didn't matter.

What hurts even more is that anyone who rejected him, or when his abusive parents where hassling him it mattered SO MUCH and we'd spend so much time talking through it, hours and hours of circular depressing conversations. And just when you think you've come to a good space and he's starting to develop some borders with these people.. he'd go running straight back to them.

It was just an endless cycle of this over and over again, even though on the surface he would run around and be very "practically" helpful, doing anything physically I would ask for, but emotionally he was like a little 6 year old boy.

I think he spent all of his time mirroring the personality, values and behaviors of the people he was talking to in the moment, so he would be one person with one friend ..and then a completely different person with another friend.
Conflict only arose when he had to deal with those two people say in the same room at the same time, or if they had the chance to interact outside of his company. He would also omit things in conversation, like not quite lying but never quite telling the whole truth about things.

I reconnected with a friend a few days ago that had been ditched a few months back because he couldn't deal with her directness, and now I'm finding out he had only been reading out certain parts of her txt messages to me when our group friendship had fallen apart. Reading into everything she'd written negatively, and making out like she was being rude.

As someone with AvPD he expected complete trust in our relationship so he could have the space to be himself without judgement, but if I needed to feel trust and like I could rely on him? I don't think he even cared. It all felt really selfish after a while (even if it wasn't his intent).
Everything was always about him, and I had to compromise my life goals and plans around him, I wanted to move to another city a few times but we always had to stay where we were because he needed to be close to uni, or close to his parents (that he hated so much).
What I needed to grow didn't matter. I was lucky enough that this guy disclosed his AvPD to me when I met him, I can't imagine how hard it must be to deal with someone undiagnosed.

Why I stuck this out for 7 years I don't know, and ironically he was the one who left in the end, over this last year I've really withdrawn from his negativity and started doing a lot of things on my own again. Reaching out to my family more for help, being happy despite his moods, saying no I won't deal with his family on any level because they are so toxic. Keeping the things that I do to make me happy to myself. He's had no contact with me so far he's been totally silent. After 7 years of trying my best to help this guy this is all I'm left with, it's so sudden and emotionless. Anyway this isn't about that, it's about trying to share this weirdness with others who might be experiencing similar things.

So if your going out with someone who isn't trying to manage and get help for their AvPD/OCD, then your in for long hard battle that you won't ever win. I know there are probably a lot of people with AvPD our there that are very aware of their mental health issues, trying super hard, and who love and cherish the people around them that offer them support like families / partners etc.
(To you guys I say GO FOR IT!!! You are amazing and I wish you all the best managing such a debilitating mental health issue, break the cycle, no matter how hard it gets just take it one day at a time and celebrate every success you have!)

But my partner was not one of those people, and if your dating someone that even remotely sounds this way GET OUT NOW, you will NOT help this person, you will just enable them to continue being dependent and you will be facilitating a draining lifestyle on themselves and yourself.
You cannot save this person, if they want change they will seek it for themselves.. only when they are ready to, and the more comfy you make them the more you deny them that experience.

What you do for them will never be enough, will never be appreciated on the level it should be and you will have to appreciate every little thing this person does for you with constant pats on the back and excessive validation to even get noticed by them.

I'm sorry if this seems like venting, he only left like 8-9 days ago and I read this thread a few months back when I was trying to get help. I cried the first time I read it because it was so amazing to see that other women where having the same experiences as me, and that I wasn't alone.
Thank you so much everyone for posting here over the last few years, I think it's been a real life saver.
Even though I'm grieving the loss of the relationship right now, this thread has been a comfort and hopefully it will be enough to help me move on to a healthier happier life.
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