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I am slightly concerned about my former partner. He and I

were in a long distance...
I am slightly concerned about my former partner. He and I were in a long distance relationship and were able to spend some quality time together when I went over to see him. This is someone who has been in my life for nearly 4 years and we have a very strong connection and are very much in love. When I left, he had somewhat of a meltdown and began acting erratically and panicked saying that he could not do it anymore. At the same time i learned that I was pregnant. I miscarriaed 11 weeks into my pregnancy and told him. His reactions to this have been all over the place. He has been angry and then very very sad, becoming tearful and unable to speak on the phone. Other times he is aggressive and unkind. He has shown very minimal concern and then gone back to being teary once more. At the moment he is completely blocking everything out and being avoidant. I understand that men react differently to grief, but I am finding it hard to recognize if he is experiencing grief or what he is going through. It is hard for me to heal and move past the loss of our son when I am unsure of what his father is feeling. I am finding myself taking these things personally and becoming very depressed myself. Is this a natural reaction to have?<br/><br/>I feel as though we are both going through a very hard time communicating. I am often very tearful and emotional when we speak because I went through the ordeal by myself and did not tell him until after I had the miscarriage because I did not want to put more pressure on him as he was already at breaking point. I have bombarded him with phonecalls and emails in the past but stopped that now. I have been unkind and said nasty things to him highlighting what a terrible father and partner he has been. At first his responses to that were becoming very tearful and emotional, then they became angry and defensive. I feel that I have acted in the wrong way, but at the time I was suffering and grieving and he was giving me nothing. All I was doing was reacting to his actions and somehow any reaction from him was helpful. He is not usually an emotional person, he is not one to cry often AT ALL. The last time he cried was several years ago at a grandfathers funeral. I do not know what to make of his grief and mine. I am extremely attached to my baby and I am seeking comfort from his father but we seem to keep clashing.<br/><br/>I would like to understand from a psychological perspective what he is going through and if there is anything that I can do to help? I know that fathers are often forgotten and not focused on when a miscarriage occurs.
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Answered in 1 hour by:
4/21/2011
TherapistMarryAnn
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5,896
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

I am sorry for the loss of your baby.

It is very normal for someone who has had such a loss to vary in how they feel, sometimes minute by minute. Each person handles loss differently, most of it depending on their background, level of supports, and personality.

You have got a lot of stressors going on right now. You are grieving your child and you are trying to help your partner. However, it is important that you focus on yourself first so you can help your partner. I know that sounds selfish, but if you have your feelings mixed up in his feelings, it is hard to help each other.

Have you considered counseling? It would help you to work through your grief. Talk to your doctor for a referral or if you attend church, your pastor can help. Or you can search on line at http://www.goodtherapy.com.au/find_a_therapist.php.

Also, consider self help. You can do many things to help yourself heal. One of them is educate yourself on grief and share your grief with others via support groups, either on line or in person. Here are some resources to help you:

http://www.grief.org.au/

http://www.bubhub.com.au/directory/find/miscarriage-grief-loss-helplines/

Here are some books to help:

I Never Held You: Miscarriage, Grief, Healing and Recovery by Ellen M. DuBois and Dr. Linda R. Backman Ed.D

Empty Arms: Hope and Support for Those Who Have Suffered a Miscarriage, Stillbirth, or Tubal Pregnancy by Pam W. Vredevelt

You can find these books on Amazon.com or your local library may have them for you.

It may very well be that your partner is handling his grief by expressing a wide range of emotions. Anger, sadness, even laughing are all acceptable ways people grieve. You can ask him to attend therapy in his area so he can be helped as well. But if he refuses, share some of the resources here with him and offer him a chance to talk anytime. He may not have the ability to help you at this point as well, but it helps to let him know you are hurting as well. By doing that, you may be able to connect with him.

If you feel that at any time your partner is thinking about hurting himself, contact the ER for assistance.

I hope this has helped you,
Kate

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I haven't heard from you. Did you have more questions or want clarification?

Kate

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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
Hi, thanks for your answer.
I understand and am aware of all of these things but I am finding it hard to talk to him. He will not talk. He refuses to accept that our son was real. He did really well up until the burial of our boy, we spoke on the phone and had a small ritual. That is as close as being together and him being involved as we could get. After that he became completely arrogant and defensive and refuses to speak about Zach or discuss any information that I give him or even share my pain. He says he is "hurt"

I want to understand how he is feeling and why he is feeling these things.

I can understand your need to see his perspective on this and help him deal with how he feels. The problem here is that he is not sharing it with you and so you are left in the dark wondering why he is acting the way he is.

It may be that he has withdrawn because it is how he is dealing with his pain. Unless he chooses to share, it is going to be difficult to understand why he is refusing to talk about your son. But keep in mind that right now, that is how he is dealing with the loss. That doesn't mean he won't open up in the future and accept that your son was real. For him, the loss may have been too painful to fully acknowledge it. You have the ability to accept your son existed because he was with you. Your partner did not have the same experience. So you both are handling this loss in different ways because of the circumstances. You are talking about it and sharing with others, he is withdrawn. And although you feel talking helps he does not, at least right now.

The only thing you really can do is be there for him. If he feels he wants to share, he will. And most likely at some point in the future, he will choose to do so. But until then, give him time. He needs to grieve in his own way.

Kate

TherapistMarryAnn
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5,896
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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