Ruining my relationship

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This topic contains 4 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Craig 1 month ago.

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  • #1010090 Reply

    Hazel

    I’m 29 and started noticing signs that I wasn’t normal when I was about 9 or 10 – it started with a hatred of being around my dad when he was eating cereal. It has slowly grown over the years and over the last few years it seems to be escalating at a much faster rate. It’s like I’m collecting triggers as I grow older, and I can never shake them off so the list of things I can’t bear just grows longer and longer.

    I’ve been with my partner for five years: we have a young child together and another on the way. He’s my best friend and is the most amazing person I’ve ever met, but I have developed triggers around the way he speaks, breathes, eats etc. and they are growing worse. I have got to the point now where I have extreme reactions whenever he talks – I have to subtly put a finger in my ear to take the edge off the triggers and I just can’t focus on what he’s saying to me. He has been accommodating in many ways – he always puts music on when we eat, and avoids eating in front of me where possible etc. but he can’t help the way he breathes/talks and I know I hurt his feelings whenever I mention it, no matter how diplomatic I try to be.

    I have had cognitive behavioural therapy for anxiety, I meditate, I eat well – nothing helps. I just don’t know what to do anymore and I’m terrified that this will end us.

    I know there’s no cure so I’m not sure why I’m reaching out but I just feel so helpless and desperate and can’t talk to anybody I know about this!

    Hazel

    #1010130 Reply

    Damon

    Hi Hazel,

    I really appreciated your post. I actually live with three women who suffer from this condition (my wife and two teenage daughters). We’ve been married for almost 19 years now, and it has definitely strained our marriage. Tonight my wife slammed the bedroom door because I coughed. I about lost it, because she did it in front of my daughter, who I believe learned the behavior from her.

    I realize it’s a legitimate disorder, but what really makes me (and your husband) upset is when you express your discust, rage, etc. please understand that I love my girls very much and I’m sure your husband loves you so very much as well. But…humans make noises, and however you feel when he makes those noises needs to be kept to yourself. This means no sighs or groans or any expressions of discust. It very well could destroy your marriage, if you don’t get your reactions under control.

    I’m not picking on you personally; I’m just sharing how it feels to be on the receiving end. I’d love to hear your feedback.

    #1010136 Reply

    Hi Damon, I really feel what you’re going through and it must be incredibly hard and frustrating at times. Humans absolutely do make noises, it’s not bad or weird or wrong, it’s just a natural thing.

    I just want to clarify something regarding reactions though (and I hope this will be helpful). Misophonia doesn’t always allow the patient to control their immediate reaction. The part of the brain that is activated when a trigger sound is heard is the amygdala, which is an ancient part of the brain which is responsible for detecting threats/danger.

    Certain sounds (i.e. misophonia trigger sounds) can instantly activate panic/alarm in the amygdala before the patient has a chance to conceptualise it, or do anything. So when a misophone’s body tenses… or they shoot out a glare or emit a noise, they may not have had any ability to control it.

    The problem is we’re often playing catchup with these pre-conscious alarms going off in our head that we have no control of. It’s a bit like someone creeping up behind you and pinching you on the arm. You wouldn’t, in that millisecond, be able to suppress a wince but in the seconds that follow (as your brain catches up with the scenario) you may be able to exercise greater control.

    I hope this helps. That expression of upset, in the moment, is not about you (or whoever is making the sound) it is about the sound itself.

    #1010296 Reply

    Ted

    For decades I thought everyone in my family and my spouse had hollow cheeks and steel gears for teeth that made everything they chewed and crunched sound loud, piercing and annoying. Our family dog seemed to chew much quieter. I was always telling them, often rudely, to chew slowly or stop eating so loud or take smaller pieces on at a time, or to take their snack far away onto another room, or to another city. They looked at me like I paranoid and too fussy and anal. I was, and I am, about those sounds. Then I realized at 65 it’s my hang up and not their bad habits. So now I chose not to sit beside the noisy eaters at meal time, or to eat alone, or keep enough space. I can still hear the really noisy chewers and crunchers way down the table or across a room on a restaurant or on an airplane many aisles away. But now I try to pick my isolated seating space and pick my own eating times where I can bring my nerves and edginess down to a decent level and not want to shout expletives out to all those hollow cheek munchers….

    #1010317 Reply

    Craig

    I’m inclined to disagree. Some people eat very sloppily and could have better manners.

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