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Angela, Counselor
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My partner (49) reverts to using a baby voice sometimes. She

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My partner (49) reverts to using a baby voice sometimes. She says because she was robbed of her childhood, being brutally raped and sodomized at age 11. There are some times where it is so annoying to me, such as when we are talking about family planning, conceiving, giving birth, etc. I find that hard to deal with, since I want to have a partner, a grown up, to discuss and to do this with, not a child. She then feels like i dont understand, im not open to her needs, and that its (reverting back) something she needs and feels comfortable enough with me to do so I should just deal with it. We fought/talked about it, and now she says that fine she just wont do it at all, because how is she supossed to know or have to guess when its appropriate. Where as I personally think its obvious when its appropriate or not, such as when we are discussing bringing a child into this world.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dr Rossi replied 5 years ago.

Good Evening,


Her behavior is a defense mechanism (when she is not wanting to deal with adult issues that she is finding stressful and anxiety provoking) Regressing to that level can also be a way of diverting the attention from the topic and placing it onto herself.


Perhaps she is not ready (really interested in having a child or feels overwhelmed by the idea especially if she herself feels that she was "robbed of her childhood." Taking care of a child will completely wipe out all fantasies of making up for her lost childhood. Of course, even though irrational, to her these fantasies are real. She may believe that there are things that she always wanted to do that she may not once there is a child to take care of. Also, she may feel that she will have to share your attention with the child.


She does know when it is appropriate not to use that baby voice/talking and she is most likely using it for a purpose since behavior is purposeful (even when it seems unhealthy or uncalled for)


Since you've shared that she had been abused, hopefully she had gotten some help for this (if not, it is never late. After all, she would certainly want some normalcy in her life at this point)


Perhaps you would want to try to ignore her behavior when it starts (instead of being rational with her or fighting) You have already told her how you feel and she is ignoring it. Let her know that you will talk to her when she is ready and see if she responds to that approach. You will be trying to extinguish the behavior by not feeding into it. When you engage her in it by trying to reason with her, that in itself changes the topic and she still wins.


Edited by Dr Rossi on 6/13/2010 at 1:23 AM EST
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Relist: Inaccurate answer.
Would like to more of how to deal with it, we know why she does it, and its not a problem all the time, we all talk funny sometimes, at least in our family and friends, its fun and we enjoy it, but there are certain times when i think its inappropriate and i cant deal with it, but she feels like she shouldnt have to supress that, and how is she meant to know what is 'appropriate' or not.
Expert:  Angela replied 5 years ago.
Hello my name is Angela.
I am more than happy to assist you with your questions by giving you my honest and respectful opinion.

It is not uncommon for childhood victims of sexual abuse to be in touch with their inner child as an adult especially since the abuse diminished her having a childhood. Due to the trauma of her abuse she has allowed her inner child to come out whenever she wants because her inner child needs healing instead of setting limits for her inner child. The way to deal with her inner child coming out at times when she should not is to sit down with your partner and explain to her that she needs to set boundaries for when her inner child does and does not come out; in essence she needs to parent her inner child in this respect. Once she understands this she will be able to understand that you are not asking her to repress her inner child, but you are asking her to set healthy boundaries for when her inner child does and does not come out. The example you mentioned about discussing having a child and then her inner child came out; you can share with her that it is not appropriate for her inner child to come out during this type of discussion because it is an adult conversation which requires adult decisions. Therefore, the boundary that she would set for her inner child in this scenario is not to come out during this adult conversation. Also, an article to further explain healing the inner child can be found by clicking here.
Angela, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 681
Experience: n/a
Angela and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
excellent response, very helpful. We are both very pleased with the answer, as we both we're saying the same things from our perspective sides, but helpful to have a third person word it in a way we both understand. Also, thanks for the extra resources, we are going to both try to heal our inner child and work together. thanks so much
Expert:  Angela replied 5 years ago.
My pleasure and take care of yourselves!

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