How do I communicate my feelings without him getting so defensive?


#1

I’ve been feeling really down recently and it has a lot to do with where I think my boyfriend is at in his recovery. He’s doing well for the most part but I always have those feelings creep in or wondering whether or not he’s using or wondering if he’s lying to me. Every time I think something is up and I say something, my boyfriends gets extremely upset at me for not trusting him. I’ve explained to him I am doing my best to trust him but the healing process takes a long time.

We just got into a big fight today and he tried to break up with me because he said he’s tired of having the same fight over and over again. I explained that I’m simply just trying to understand where his head is at or what he’s feeling because he never shares any of it with me. He told me he doesn’t ever want to talk about his mental health or my mental health in relation to his addiction or recovery. He feels that it is too sensitive of a topic to discuss with each other ever.

I checked and he is not using but his behavior is so defensive and it concerns me. I don’t really know what to do. We both want to marry each other but it’s so difficult for me to communicate anything to him.

Any advice?


#2

In my experience, the defensiveness is definitely a sure sign of lying and therefore, using. Trust your instincts.


#4

Is he open to counseling/therapy/anything like that? Even if you arent in the room at the time? We did couples counseling but then my husband also did independent counseling.


#3

This has also been my experience but I tested him and it was negative.


#5

No, he’s not open to any of that. I’m hoping sometime soon but I don’t know. I feel like right now, he needs space from any conversation about this so I’m just leaving it alone for now.

I think he just wants to have a normal life that most of the time he just pretends like he doesn’t have an addiction and tries to live his life like it doesn’t exist. He hates meetings and isn’t following his suboxone program and said he takes the suboxone “when he needs it”. I don’t know really know what to do anymore.


#6

I get that. One of our therapists told us “Dont live your life only thinking about the addiction or the negative impacts of it.” Have a normal life that the addiction is a problem you all are working on, but its not the only thing in your lives.


#8

Sometimes it helps me to ask myself, “What’s my motive?” Like in this situation, is your motive of sharing your feelings simply to get him to share his feelings? Because if so, it doesn’t seem to be working. We can’t force anyone to do anything, including talk to us.

I share my fears with my husband a lot, especially when triggers start firing off around his drug use. I share my feelings not to try and find out if he’s using, but so that he understands where I’m coming from, why I might be behaving differently, and the things that trigger my fears. I am always clear that I’m not accusing him of anything, and I use “I feel” statements as much as possible. There’s no getting defensive over someone else’s feelings - he can’t deny that I feel a certain way. If you’re telling your bf he never shares anything with you, right there is the opportunity for him to say “that’s not true” and start defending himself.

I also try to start these conversations with something positive - any progress, big or small, that I’ve noticed him make. He often appreciates when I share my feelings this way and will sometimes even explain the behaviors that might be scaring me. It becomes a conversation about both of our behaviors and reactions, and a way for him to support me.

I hope that makes sense and is helpful in any way. It definitely took us a lot of work for us to get to this point. Don’t lose hope.


#7

I love that and exactly what I needed to haer. Thank you @Bulldurham28