Caregivers, Mommies, Daddies, adult babies, middles, babyfur, diaperfur, and all other Bigs and littles discuss regression, relationship dynamics, have open group conversation, share experienced advice, and exchange ideas to help one another grow in knowledge.
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#56655
Please forgive me in advance as I know very little about this. I have read the FAQ and most of the resources that were available before posting this question and I do understand that my post may come across as offensive, which is not my intention.

I'm an older individual who is married. Happily so. I strongly believe my partner is inclined to being a little. I have taken the reins in the past when he has been distressed and it was immediately helpful.

I've known most of my life that I am a caregiver. The general sense and within our relationship. I've been accused of codependency on many occasions. I have never found resentment or personal harm to come from my preference of looking after others, including him.

My spouse is a very intelligent adult and capable of providing consent to such things. My concern is whether indulging in this may be hurtful to him. He is a survivor of extreme abuse and I do not desire to act out scenarios that reference it or to have him cross the wires with me and his abuser/s.

I plan on addressing this with a therapist and with him. I would like to gather some information beforehand so that I have as much foreknowledge as possible about what to expect and what is normal or harmful in the long run.

If this is a dynamic you have incorporated successfully despite a significant abuse history--and you would be willing to share your experiences in any similar circumstances--it would be greatly appreciated.
#56657
First of I want to say that I appreciate you even accepting your partner with his tendencies. Also going out of your way to learn from this online community and ask questions. I may not be the best person to touch on this subject, as I am a 19-year-old, but I am a survivor of extreme abuse.

My 'little space" isn't always a happy place- it can be a scary place brought on from one of my many triggers. In these moments, after talking to my therapist, we think it is a self-soothing tool that I did even when I was a child naturally. Regression, or what I knew as the feeling of regression was never correlated with positive feelings. This may be because of my trauma since for some it is just a positive feeling, brought out by comfort feelings, but it isn't best to assume just because this is how I feel that everyone feels this way.

I had these feelings till I sat down with my therapist and my partner, also looking online for more information, and realized this could be a healing tool. I started slowly inducing this feeling and making sure to associate it with happy things like compassion from my partner and "little" things. I can now say that it is, for the most part, a good and helpful thing for me to do now.

There are times when we will try a more "intense" scenario, and it goes badly. I do not talk about these things online but, I think it is important here. We tried to do more of a punishment scenario once, followed by aftercare. In the middle, I broke down and had to use my safe word. A word, if used at any moment that should completely stop anything that is going on. A safe word is here for this reason because as someone with trauma it can be too much or too real. These things might happen when exploring the limits of what they want to try. It is just important to keep track of their boundaries and what they are okay to experience. This is the best way for them to not, as you say "cross the wires with me and his abuser/s." This should be a good thing to explore, with you and your partner.

I recommend also if he has never indulged in his little feelings don't put pressure to just jump into pacis and bottles. For me, it took time slowly to regress to a younger age like that, and knowing I was safe to do so without my scary feelings. Things like teenage coloring books, or even watching "kid shows" can be a bonding experience between you and him without feeling the pressure. If he does agree and want to explore this then slowly work into it. Also, I recommend talking about it one and one, before a therapist intervenes. I hate when I feel like I am on trial, especially admitting these feelings in front of a professional may be a lot.

I now enjoy coloring and sippy cups, things that I wasn't able to enjoy as a kid. Regression isn't just because of trauma, it is more of a personality trait. For some, it's just a way to indulge in the happy feelings, for me it is a positive way to re-live what I never got. I am proud of you to reach out like this, and I wish you and your partner happy luck. This all comes down to what he wants to explore with you, and what you can help him with within that journey.
:hi:

-Just a little in a big world :pinkh:
#56658
NatQuakers wrote:First of I want to say that I appreciate you even accepting your partner with his tendencies.
It's quite a no-brainer in my opinion. I love him and we were drawn together because of some of these personality traits in both of us to begin with. It would be silly to discount it now that it's something I'm able to put a name to.
My 'little space" isn't always a happy place- it can be a scary place brought on from one of my many triggers. In these moments, after talking to my therapist, we think it is a self-soothing tool that I did even when I was a child naturally. Regression, or what I knew as the feeling of regression was never correlated with positive feelings. This may be because of my trauma since for some it is just a positive feeling, brought out by comfort feelings, but it isn't best to assume just because this is how I feel that everyone feels this way.
Thank you very kindly for your insightful response. The times that I have noticed this behavior with him have been in both positive and negative circumstances, so it makes sense to me that it is something that is very versatile. I've read some other posts around here that liken this to a personality trait, one which would occur whether or not I act (and this is true.)
I had these feelings till I sat down with my therapist and my partner, also looking online for more information, and realized this could be a healing tool. I started slowly inducing this feeling and making sure to associate it with happy things like compassion from my partner and "little" things. I can now say that it is, for the most part, a good and helpful thing for me to do now.
It is wonderful that you were able to resolve this conflict within yourself and realize that it is something that you could utilize in a positive manner. That is what my instincts, aside from emotions, tell me about my own circumstances. It is reassuring to hear that this is something that has benefited you positively and not resulted in a further breakdown of boundaries and uncertainty with your partner.
There are times when we will try a more "intense" scenario, and it goes badly. I do not talk about these things online but, I think it is important here. We tried to do more of a punishment scenario once, followed by aftercare. In the middle, I broke down and had to use my safe word.
I can see where that would go very wrong, very quickly and I am very sorry to hear that this occurred with you. That must have been a very overwhelming experience. I also understand that some people do find these more intensive situations a source of healing. I don't believe that would be the case with us. I do think it would fracture our trust. The employment of a safeword is a very good suggestion and one that I will take to heart. I'm familiar with the term due to BDSM, although for similar reasons, we're mostly vanilla.
I recommend also if he has never indulged in his little feelings don't put pressure to just jump into pacis and bottles. For me, it took time slowly to regress to a younger age like that, and knowing I was safe to do so without my scary feelings. Things like teenage coloring books, or even watching "kid shows" can be a bonding experience between you and him without feeling the pressure.
I don't believe he'd be very comfortable using those tools, but if he were that is certainly all right. Sometimes I do provide him with things like hot chocolate, marshmallows, and he has a few stuffed animals. At the moment he does watch a lot of kid's shows (I watch them too), paints/draws (I am in receipt of many of these gifts, which are treasured), and acts very silly and childlike. He even speaks more like a child. In that frenetic, babbling, half-incoherent way. It is not an adult pretending to be a child. More he becomes a child who looks like an adult. I don't believe he's aware that he's doing it as obviously as he is.

I'd like to avoid the conversation turning into This is what I think. Now do this! It is what I think. Based on years and years of observation, but it would always be his comfort that is prioritized.
If he does agree and want to explore this then slowly work into it. Also, I recommend talking about it one and one, before a therapist intervenes. I hate when I feel like I am on trial, especially admitting these feelings in front of a professional may be a lot.
I appreciate this as well. I do not intend to haul him in front of a therapist and deconstruct our private life in this manner, but I would like to seek out an individual therapist for myself--to get a professional opinion of my own--before taking any actions. He has a number of mental health problems that I don't quite fully understand despite my best efforts to research, some of which have overlaps with age regression.

Due to the type of abuse that he suffered, the potential for "wires crossing" is rather significant. In addition, his parents were his primary abusers. I really want to make sure I am not stepping into something that is retraumatizing instead of beneficial. He can be what he is regardless of what I do. I just want to make sure that what I am doing and how I am reacting is helpful and not frightening or confusing or abusive.

Do you think I should bring it up with him before even seeking an individual professional opinion?
I now enjoy coloring and sippy cups, things that I wasn't able to enjoy as a kid. Regression isn't just because of trauma, it is more of a personality trait. For some, it's just a way to indulge in the happy feelings, for me it is a positive way to re-live what I never got. I am proud of you to reach out like this, and I wish you and your partner happy luck. This all comes down to what he wants to explore with you, and what you can help him with within that journey. :hi:
I am glad to hear that you are now able to enjoy those things. I would hope that with time he would be able to grow more comfortable with something similar, as those are things he was denied as well. It fills me with a good deal of sorrow that this occurred to him and that it occurs to others as frequently as it does. Being able to find those experiences again for yourself is very meaningful and it is my hope that I can help him to achieve something similar.
#56659
I am perhaps more realistic and everyday than suggesting the idea to make this an verbally acknowledged dynamic or outright suggesting he do something more than he already does. The truth is, he expresses his feelings how he does and he doesn’t need the labels, the signifiers, or the “additional tools” in things like coloring books, diapers, or designated activities just because he falls within some parameters and social pressure says he needs to be more within those identifiers. He doesn’t need to do any more than he does if he’s already maintaining reasonable happiness and feels mostly satisfied with his ability to express his feelings. I do think you know this already though.

Do I think he could bring up old, unhappy feelings by becoming too carefree at times when he appears to feel more youthful? It’s possible, sure. We all have that potential where we suddenly remember a time that can bring us down from a good feeling we were on. It’s just human nature to have that possibility. It can feel confusing. The good thing is that I doubt these bad feelings would be projected onto you. He doesn’t forget who he or you are when he’s doing very childish things or speaking regressive. Though, during those lows he’s likely to reach out for you for confirmation, validation, and general emotional support.

What I feel he would truly benefit from is therapy. Not therapy because he acts childishly at times, but therapy to give him the tools to deal with any future feelings that stem from his past abuse. Therapy to help him stay in this healthy, very reasonable zone. Therapy that gives him a more private outlet to discuss feelings he may, deep down inside, feel too guilty or confused at bringing up to his loved one(s)—you.

You mentioned seeking therapy for yourself. This is a great opportunity to encourage him to do so as well for himself. You can encourage by saying it’s to help him develop real, actually helpful tools if at some point in the future he may be under more stress than you two can foresee. He has many years ahead so you don’t know what’s definitely ahead. Being prepared by establishing this supportive outlet now can be strengthening. Help him establish this for himself. Help him find a therapist he can feel comfortable trusting and help him to make his appointments, even if it’s “just to talk about his life is going.”

Aside, I would continue as you have been, especially so once he has a therapist established. I would not encourage more direct behavior or place labels on him, try to fit him in a box, or intentionally place him in situations where you have an expectation he will be or react more childishly. Just live. Just be. Enjoy and support him being himself however that comes out.

I feel like a huge problem in our community is the assumption that a regressive personality should become engulfed in childish/childlike feelings at all times to establish or maintain the idea of happiness. A lot of community persons forget that the adult mind has needs to be met too. The regressive personality trait isn’t a beast that needs to be fed or let out so that it can be “controlled”, and it shouldn’t overtake one’s capabilities of maturity. Littles often need more emotional support, perhaps even encouragement, but normal life achievements are still just as critical to living a full, happy life. I only say this because you may be recommended to encourage him to call you an endearing parental term or to try to “feed” into his regressive traits to make them happen more frequently—unnaturally. Just keep it in mind if you receive these suggestions.

All relationships will have ups and downs. I’ve learned that love is not everlasting. You must choose. You must choose your partner in the moments you don’t feel in love with them. You choose to stay by them even through their less-than-ideal times. With that being said, do your best to choose him even when things feel soured or stressed. Regardless of these childlike expressions. Regardless of his good days. Regardless of his ability to mostly cope with his past trauma. Choose him even if he changes. It’ll be an internal battle at times but I feel like this is a key component to sharing a lifetime together. Choose each other.

:hugs: Enjoy your path together!
#56660
Do you think I should bring it up with him before even seeking an individual professional opinion?
Bringing it up to him might be beneficial before reaching out to a professional to talk it out. I do not know your partner, the only thing I can speak from is my personal experiences. The only way to know if how you react, when he is in this state of mind is good and helpful, is to ask him. From what you have said with stuffies and hot cocoa you don't seem to be abusing this at all. I don't have a whole documentary on your relationship and ins and out. I would want my partner to come to me and try to, at least, talk about it and what they can do to help it positively if they are concerned they are not acting accordingly.

I really want to make sure I am not stepping into something that is retraumatizing instead of beneficial. He can be what he is regardless of what I do. I just want to make sure that what I am doing and how I am reacting is helpful and not frightening or confusing or abusive.
The only way to know this is to go to the source and ask how he feels personally in this state of mind. I wouldn't want to bring it up during one of the times you notice him regress, more so when he's "big". As a little when Im small I'm a mess and can barely decipher is I want dino nuggets or pancakes :P

Being able to find those experiences again for yourself is very meaningful and it is my hope that I can help him to achieve something similar.
Thank you. ::3:

-Just a little in a big world :pinkh:
#56661
Motherly wrote:I am perhaps more realistic and everyday than suggesting the idea to make this an verbally acknowledged dynamic or outright suggesting he do something more than he already does. The truth is, he expresses his feelings how he does and he doesn’t need the labels, the signifiers, or the “additional tools” in things like coloring books, diapers, or designated activities just because he falls within some parameters and social pressure says he needs to be more within those identifiers. He doesn’t need to do any more than he does if he’s already maintaining reasonable happiness and feels mostly satisfied with his ability to express his feelings. I do think you know this already though.
Thank you very kindly for your response, and I appreciate your taking the time to read through this thread. And you are correct, I do. Yes, but it is always good for these things to be fully made clear, so I appreciate that.
The good thing is that I doubt these bad feelings would be projected onto you. He doesn’t forget who he or you are when he’s doing very childish things or speaking regressive. Though, during those lows he’s likely to reach out for you for confirmation, validation, and general emotional support.
This is a good deal of what I worry about, so it is reassuring to know that may not be as big of a factor as I otherwise believe it could be.
What I feel he would truly benefit from is therapy. Not therapy because he acts childishly at times, but therapy to give him the tools to deal with any future feelings that stem from his past abuse. Therapy to help him stay in this healthy, very reasonable zone. Therapy that gives him a more private outlet to discuss feelings he may, deep down inside, feel too guilty or confused at bringing up to his loved one(s)—you.
I am extraordinarily grateful that he is in therapy with a very experienced and very competent clinician and we have attended one session together already.
Aside, I would continue as you have been, especially so once he has a therapist established. I would not encourage more direct behavior or place labels on him, try to fit him on a box, or intentionally place him in situations where you have an expectation he will be or react more childishly. Just live. Just be. Enjoy and support him being himself however that comes out.
Of course. Based upon what you and others have said it does not appear that what I have been doing so far seems imminently harmful, and it is a conservative approach, so that may well be the end of it. I have absolutely no desire for him to change or modify his behavior, but I have often wondered if there is a way that I can better support him when he is in that head space. Without stepping on a landmine, so to speak.
I only say this because you may be recommended to encourage him to call you an endearing parental term or to try to “feed” into his regressive traits to make them happen more frequently—unnaturally. Just keep it in mind if you receive these suggestions.
Indeed, and I have no real desire for that to happen as I expect it would be distressing and not helpful. I am not particularly interested in having him behave in certain ways for my own gratification, or because I think I know what is best for him, but I am curious about the behaviors that are happening, if that makes sense.
All relationships will have ups and downs. I’ve learned that love is not everlasting. You must choose. You must choose your partner in the moments you don’t feel in love with them. You choose to stay by them even through their less-than-ideal times. With that being said, do your best to choose him even when things feel soured or stressed. Regardless of these childlike expressions. Regardless of his good days. Regardless of his ability to mostly cope with his past trauma. Choose him even if he changes. It’ll be an internal battle at times but I feel like this is a key component to sharing a lifetime together. Choose each other.

:hugs: Enjoy your path together!
These are very wise words and they are an adage that I come back to frequently over the past decade of our interactions. It is not always easy, but it is worth it, in my opinion. I really appreciate both yourself and @NatQuakers taking the opportunity to help me understand more fully from your perspectives, and I will absolutely take this advice to heart. I hope the rest of your days are well and thank you for putting up with my questions, even though they are likely an iteration of something you have all heard before.

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