I've been reading a lot about this whole issue. To me, it is the saddest of the sad. I don't think our loneliness/lack of emotional support and connection from our PWP (or whatever you want to call it) is emotional abuse (because to me, that requires intent, and a deliberate conscious meanness, which I don't think my husband or most PWP do). Rather, I think it is more something I have read about lately called "emotional unavailability".|
I had never heard that term before, but if you read about it, it describes a lot of what so many of us here are dealing with. Our loved ones increasingly withdraw, giving us less and less. Maybe some didn't have that much to begin with, while others had emotionally robust and fulfilling relationships for years, but whatever we came from, we now get nothing.
It is so very hard. And it's compounded exponentially if you have kids, because they expect (and rightly so) that their parent/grandparent/etc. will support them emotionally, but it doesn't happen. There's no emotional support or even connection, and it can be worse than nothing, like when the PWP actually says/does something that makes things worse, when silence, which would have been hard enough, would have actually been better.
I remember not that long ago when our oldest came home sobbing one evening over something, and I was listening and trying to console her. My husband, who had been avoiding the whole situation like he usually does, walked past us. He looked at her and said "Are you almost done, because I'm tired and want to go to sleep." She silently gathered up her books and went to her room. It was beyond horrible. We have many incidents like this. Our oldest is now in counseling, and has told me that it would have been better to have no dad growing up than to have a dad that (in her view) spurned her and was so cruel. That is so heartbreaking to hear. I know that she has to work through her grief, and is in the angry phase right now, but I hate that she feels that way and feel like somehow I failed to protect her from the hurt. I am so thankful she sought out professional help.
I no longer expect or anticipate any emotional support or connection from my husband. I haven't for a very long time. I find that it is easier that way, then I'm not disappointed (and don't have another sad memory in my head).
At a time when most of us are getting increasingly less from our spouses, our spouses are demanding more and more from us. That makes the situation more difficult, but what can we do but forge ahead and hope for a cure.