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#146016 - 03/18/07 10:01 PM Just figured out husband was abused. very long
Gabrielle Offline
New Here

Registered: 03/18/07
Posts: 10
Hi Everybody,

I am very grateful to have found this site. This letter will probably be very disjointed but I need to let this out since I don't know who I can talk to about this.

I have been with my husband for 3 years (this Tuesday). We got married this August. We love each other very much but so much of our relationship has been some of the most traumatic time of my life.

Some background: I was raised in an abusive household. I was close to my father but he was gone most of the time. My mother was and is severe obsessive compulsive disorder (germs, security, fear of blackouts, rituals etc). She was extremely verbally abusive (think of 'As Good as it Gets' but it is your mother and worse) Both my mother and father were physically abusive to me also.

My husband's father left his family when he was a toddler. The father was a chronic cheater and he sounds as if he may have been a sex addict? His father had 7 children total though he didn't seem to like kids. He would relate to them by teasing and mocking them. He had bad health later in life, didn't take care of himself and died young.

My dear husband (dh) has 2 sisters and 2 brothers. The whole family spends most of the time not speaking to each other and angry at each other. My husband is the only one who keeps the peace. He is often used as the go-between feuding parties. At this time my husband is the only one speaking to his mother.

When he was in grade-school his family lived at a Christian Retreat center. There are suspicions that his mother was involved with the female owner(fo) of the center.For dh and his siblings the fo was a 'father figure' to them and they jokingly refer to her as dad. This center also had a dark and scary side to my husband since as a young child he was exposed to people speaking in tongues, possessed people and stuff with snakes.

Getting back to his father. He didn't know his father and members of the family say this is good since the oldest brother and sister it is agreed 'got the worst of it' or 'were damaged by their father' I am pulling these phrases out of stuff that the other siblings, my dh, and the mother say.

The mother is very conservative and smart. My dh is very much the favored son. He bought the house that she lives in and used to send her regular money.

My husband is kind, hard-working, funny, left-wing and loves nuturing things (kids, plants, animals) He has a love/hate relationship with his mother. She makes him feel guilty.

A year and a half ago, we stayed with his mother. Her competition with me and with all women and especially partners of dh is ,to say the least, extreme. I personally don't like to compete with women over men since I am a feminist and bisexual. She was angry with me because I visited and stayed over with a friend (male) who lived an hour away from her but 3k miles from our home. She waited until dh was gone and then started on a tirade about how she was closer to dh than me, that she understood him better, that he would never marry me and that she knew that he was going to be breaking up with me soon. All this was false and cruel.

This had the strange result that her daughter who lives closest to her has not spoken to her since. I believe this sister sees a lot of herself in me and when she saw what her mother did, it gave her strength and resolve to separate from her mother. This is the closest sibling to my husband and is like a sister to me. She and my husband are the youngest children in the family. The family speaks about them missing out on the worst of the father. (abuse?)

Close sister (cs) has talked about their oldest brother and said do not trust him around my daughter. The oldest brother is estranged from his wife and children and the reasons are not clear. He is ill and isolated. He is also fundamentalist Christian, a veteran, and into violent war films. He has often made a point to say that he doesn't watch pornography.

Cs has said never leave our daughter with the oldest brother. She said that he is just odd. She thinks he might have done something but doesn't know where this information came from.

When I asked dh about these concerns and whether we can talk to the brother's x wife, he was upset about his brother's reputation and felt very conflicted. He is very protective of our daughter. He told his brother not to visit later on and put him off till some time in the future.

There are family rumors that the oldest sister was molested by the father but this is denied by the mother.

My mil is very possessive of my dh. He does not feel close to her because they are very different in politics, lifestyle, religion, and interests. However he is very connected to her and her loneliness and sadness. He feels guilt about her and doesn't enjoy talking to her but he does regularly.

I am going to skim over this part. He is an amazing person but he has said some things that he said he wanted to and was going to do and then did a complete reversal. Things like marriage, kids, where to live, name changing etc. An example, he would beg me to marry him and move in with him. When I sacrifice a lot to be able to do this, then he would run in the opposite direction. We eventually got married but this pattern has happened over and over again. Over-giving. His X said that he had major intimacy issues. He is confused and frustrated by his own actions.

Disagreements with him involve. Extreme actions to avoid anyone's anger at him. Avoidance of conflict. Stonewalling and defensiveness in a disagreement. Out of control anger. Run away.

My husband is a very hard worker. He took much pride in making good money and spending it on myself and his step-daughter (my biological daughter). He was laid off a few months ago.

His behavior has become even worse.

Many times during an argument he just runs off (10 minutes to a week he is gone) What I often do is try to connect with him to try to get him to stay or at least find out how long he is going for. Sometimes I am afraid he will get into a car accident because he is in a blind rage.

Last week, instead when he was going I said fine, Go! During the argument, I pulled down a blanket that hangs in a doorway. He put it back up but after awhile he came at me and attacked me by wrenching my arms behind me and throwing me to the ground. Later, when I got a checkbook to have when he was gone he grabbed me and pushed me through glass panels of a door. There had been a couple of lesser incidents before.

He had fairly regularly threatened to leave me or that he hates me or other extremes. Then he cools down and is filled with remorse.

We are going to couples counseling and he is going to counseling but not regularly.

I am staying with him for now though I thought of leaving him a few weeks ago. I feel strangely about this because I can't think of why stay with this situation, except that I love him and I still trust him more than anyone else...and this sounds lame. If there is another incident, I am going to insist that he leaves for awhile. I just took time out of writing this to start a safety plan.

After this episode happened he wept for a half an hour. Tortured. I didn't know who to feel badly for so I chose everyone.

Three days ago was when I realized that my husband was a survivor.

Some background, he has a hyper sex drive. He has had intercourse sometimes 9 times a day, and he is still driven to want more. At this point he is weirded out by still wanting sex. He loves the closeness but other times he feels controlled by his biology. Since I have a high drive too, he has expressed that it is his fondest wish but I see him confused as to why he is not perfectly happy.

He also has a half-belief that women (me but not me) are just out to use him for money and that women take advantage of men/him by taking advantage of their sex-drive. I have told him that his drive is very unusual in my experience (I have had many men and women friends who speak candidly about things. This includes friends who are survivors of all sorts of abuse)

We were in bed and kidding around. I saw him do that 'frozen/confused' thing that I have seen on friends who are sexual abuse survivors. (only women). I was shocked that I had never recognized trademark signs.

Because he is under so much stress this action was different and new. The symptoms are different from women's but still there. I have just started reading these last two days. I don't know much at all but I am still so surprised.

I stopped and asked him if he had been sexually abused. He said that he couldn't talk about it now. Later I asked him and he said no. Then he said he couldn't talk about it.

In couple's counseling I brought it up in the context of really freaking out at the thought of someone hurting him. I think of if this happened to our daughter how angry I would be and how angry he would be. Our counselor said maybe this is true or not but let's concentrate on our issues of communicating. It was right that the counselor did this but I was glad that this issue was at least on the table. Maybe I want this out there as an explanation of the physical abuse (not an excuse) but at least the mystery factor that I couldn't figure out. Also I wanted the counselor to at least know this factor so he could help us better. Dh did not deny the truth of it.

Later after couple's counseling my dh told me that he couldn't talk about it but he said some things.
-This is the thing that he thinks of when he looks at a counseling application and it has a question, What topic can you not discuss
-It was between his brother age 13 and him age 8
-His brother initiated it first
-My husband tried to initiate it again and was rebuked?
-He feels shame
-It was just play, all kids do this
-He does not feel, or want to feel, that he was abused
-He doesn't think that this affects his life
-He can't talk about it now.

He mentioned this morning that he didn't see why I stick around, because he is so useless, lame, sad etc. I joked that I would give him 3 years to become 60% perfect. (He deals better with humor than direct compliments) He then said that he wouldn't be alive in 3 years. I said what? He then changed it to wouldn't be around. I said hmmm. And hugged him. And then I said things might get worse for a bit but then they will get better.

I love my husband very very much. I am angry, confused, sad, lost and hurt by all the has been going on, his actions, my actions, all of it. He loves me very much and I am a lifeline to him. When he is calm he is very grateful to how loving and patient I am.

Today in an argument, he was losing control and I was calm. Later he thanked me for doing that so well.

I have been trying to be very good to myself lately. I am going back to school full-time. He doesn't like this at all but part of him knows that this is not fair. I still listen to him but I am still moving forward in educating myself and being good to myself. A bit less time together. Good boundaries. Trying to be accommodating but not give away the store.

Strangely enough, our relationship is the envy of many people?!?!

We are going to couple's counseling, a couple's retreat, and he is seeing a counselor.

Thanks for listening to this since I needed to let all this out somehow.

Any comments, questions, things to read?


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#146024 - 03/18/07 10:56 PM Re: Just figured out husband was abused. very long [Re: Gabrielle]
tartugas Offline
Board Member
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 02/11/07
Posts: 513
Loc: NYC
Welcome Gabrielle,

You and your dh are just now beginning to see clearly the road that you are on. It is, obviously a bumpy, disjointed, and often terrifying path, but now that you know where it is, you can get some maps to help you figure out which way to go. That alone may help with the fear.

Quote:
I love my husband very very much. I am angry, confused, sad, lost and hurt by all the has been going on, his actions, my actions, all of it. He loves me very much and I am a lifeline to him. When he is calm he is very grateful to how loving and patient I am.

Today in an argument, he was losing control and I was calm. Later he thanked me for doing that so well.


I thought these two quotes were especially worth repeating back to you. To me they encapsulate everything you need to know about where to go from here. It is obvious that you have a very deep, caring, loving bpnd with your dh. It is also obvious that you pay attention to him and have listened very carefully to his story (what he has been able to tell you so far). Keep you care alive for him, but try to remain calm.

The next stage of this journey will be hardest on him, most likely. If you want to be there for him , you will have to maintain your calm. He will not be a pretty person at times. If you feel that he cannot control his temper then you owe it to both of you to establish a very firm boundary, he can never hit you - EVER. If he ever touches you again in anger, I would strongly suggest you temporarily remove yourself and yourchild from his presence. Doing so may feel like a punishment, but in reality it is for both his protection and yours.

If you are in therapy, then your t's will be able to provide you with better information that I can, however it sounds to me as though he also has some addiction issues to contend with (sex can be just as much of a drug as anything else).

This is a strom, no doubt about it, but it will pass. With strength and resilience you and your family can make it through this stronger and happier than you ever dared dream. We're here for you. And we are all pulling for you.

_________________________
"I am not a mechanism, an assembly of various sections.
And it is not because the mechanism is working wrongly, that I am ill.
I am ill because of wounds to the soul, to the deep emotional self...."
Healing D.H. Lawrence

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#146037 - 03/19/07 01:35 AM Re: Just figured out husband was abused. very long [Re: tartugas]
Gabrielle Offline
New Here

Registered: 03/18/07
Posts: 10

Thank you very very much for the reply, Tarugus, It really made a big difference to not feel so isolated about this.

My dh and I had a talk tonight about the Safety Plan I came up with:

My name on the checking account
DH moves out for at least a week if:
Violent episode
Over the line lost of temper in front of Child
No money restrictions on childcare costs during gone time
No ignoring child
Bi-weekly sessions with couple counselor
Weekly sessions for DH with individual counselor

I preferred to have other financial stuff in my name also, and weekly couple's counseling but I brought forward this compromise.

He was angry that I brought this up at all. He agreed to all of it except the weekly counseling. He was saying that I was trying to control him because of the incident. He was saying that I just want to get what I want. I was chill and said that I just don't want any violent stuff to happen again and I was trying to set up a situation where this will likely not happen.

He said that I was making it seem like this sort of thing happens all the time. Either that or if I thought that it might happen again why was I still around? (Accusing me of what? I am not sure. Being a bad mother? Having bad self esteem?)

Anyway. I am going to email a copy of the plan to him.


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#146061 - 03/19/07 08:49 AM Re: Just figured out husband was abused. very long [Re: Gabrielle]
WalkingSouth Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16264
Gabrielle,

You've drawn the line in the sand that needed to be drawn it would seem. You're going to have to be prepared to back it up with action. I'm proud of you for sticking up for yourself AND the child. I truly wish you the best in tis situation.

Lots of love,

John

_________________________
“Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy ____…! What a ride!’” ~Hunter S. Thompson

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#146075 - 03/19/07 10:26 AM Re: Just figured out husband was abused. very long [Re: WalkingSouth]
tartugas Offline
Board Member
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 02/11/07
Posts: 513
Loc: NYC
Gabrielle,

As a fellow survivor, I can say this with personal knowledge. Many of the issues your husband is fighting you on are legitimate issues that he will most likely refuse to accept. It is vital to maintaining the fragile sense of self he's contrsucted to keep at bay many of the realisations about his own behavior that you are bringing to his attention. See these things cannot be pleasant for him, and chances are he'll get even snarkier about some of these things as time goes on.

What you're seeing happen is the implosion of a poorly constructed sense of self. And it is never a pretty thing to witness. However, it's not your doing, nor your responsibility to reconstruct a stronger self for your dh. Stay calm and reasonalbe and stick to your boundaries. They are eminently reasonable and in no way harm your dh. He will accuse you of attacking him, but that is because your love for him actually undermines the assumptions upon which his whole sense of self is built upon (i.e. "I'm unlovable", "If someone gets close to me it's because they want to take advantage of me"). It's counter-intuitive, upsetting to the extreme, and totally draining. But this is how much damage CSA can do. It becomes a virus can spread into the lives of almost everyone a survivor comes into contact with. Maintaining your boundaries now is the best defense against his illness.

_________________________
"I am not a mechanism, an assembly of various sections.
And it is not because the mechanism is working wrongly, that I am ill.
I am ill because of wounds to the soul, to the deep emotional self...."
Healing D.H. Lawrence

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#146089 - 03/19/07 01:49 PM Re: Just figured out husband was abused. very long [Re: tartugas]
Brokenhearted Offline
Member

Registered: 08/07/06
Posts: 644
Loc: TX
If I may chime in here, tartgas, when you say, "What you're seeing happen is the implosion of a poorly constructed sense of self. And it is never a pretty thing to witness." --- this is something that has not yet happened w/ my husband but may as he becomes aware of his abuse issues affecting our life (he sees a therapist every 3 wks).....I guess I am wondering how long this explosive, ugly time can last....not that there's a blueprint for everyone but still.....it sounds like it could be terribly hard to deal w/ and I need some approximate time frames....if such a time frame even exists....surely it's not infinite. Perhaps you can share from your own experience?

_________________________
Brokenhearted

It were better for him that a millstone were hanged around his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.
Luke 17:2

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#146114 - 03/19/07 06:04 PM Re: Just figured out husband was abused. very long [Re: Brokenhearted]
tartugas Offline
Board Member
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 02/11/07
Posts: 513
Loc: NYC
Hi brokenhearted,

In order not to hijack Gabrielle's thread I'll start a new one in answer to your question.

_________________________
"I am not a mechanism, an assembly of various sections.
And it is not because the mechanism is working wrongly, that I am ill.
I am ill because of wounds to the soul, to the deep emotional self...."
Healing D.H. Lawrence

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#146122 - 03/19/07 07:42 PM Re: Just figured out husband was abused. very long [Re: tartugas]
KeithR Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/28/06
Posts: 363
Loc: Georgia
Your quotes and my reactions of the past (and somtimes prestent)

Disagreements with him involve. Extreme actions to avoid anyone's anger at him. (YES)
Avoidance of conflict.(YES)
Stonewalling and defensiveness in a disagreement. (YES)
Out of control anger. (ALMOST...)
Run away (YES USUALLY TO THE NEXT ROOM)
-It was between his brother age 13 and him age 8 (AGE 14 and 11)
-His brother initiated it first (YES)
-My husband tried to initiate it again and was rebuked?(I THINK SO, BUT WASN'T REBUKE)
-He feels shame (YES)
-It was just play, all kids do this (I THOUGHT THAT FOR YEARS)
-He does not feel, or want to feel, that he was abused(I THOUGHT THAT FOR YEARS)
-He doesn't think that this affects his life ( I WANTED TO THINK THAT FOR YEARS)
-He can't talk about it now. (IT TOOK 18 YEARS TO TELL A N Y O N E. 18 MORE TO TELL ANYONE ELSE)
He then said that he wouldn't be alive in 3 years.(I WAS ON THE WAY TO THAT BECAUSE OF SEX ADDICTION. I am not sure what his case is)
Today in an argument, he was losing control and I was calm. Later he thanked me for doing that so well. (DONE THAT WITH MY WIFE)
Strangely enough, our relationship is the envy of many people?!?!
(THIS IS WHY:I love my husband very very much. I am angry, confused, sad, lost and hurt by all the has been going on, his actions, my actions, all of it. He loves me very much and I am a lifeline to him. When he is calm he is very grateful to how loving and patient I am.)

So your husband is not alone. Sadly, we have much in common. A big concern I have for you is the violence. The violence is immediately dangerous to you. I think much of my anger in the past was fueled by internal hatred of myself, and hatred of thiings I had done to hurt myself and hurt my relationship. It never got to to point of violence in the way you describe.

Of course, I cannot know everything your husband has been through. What I DO know is that there are a lot of similarities between he and I. One of the biggest things to help me was weekly therapy, for a number of months. My Therapist has a good deal of experience dealing with various types of addictions and with sexual identity issues. If I had to chose again, I would have picked one with more experience in childhood sexual abuse.... but I didn't really know this was the root of my problem. Other things that helped me were getting into a program for sexual addicts, reading a book called Abused Boys, and finding this site.

I hope this can help you.
Keith


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#146132 - 03/19/07 08:24 PM Re: Just figured out husband was abused. very long [Re: KeithR]
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus
MaleSurvivor<

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
Gabrielle,

I read your post this morning, but couldn't reply at the time, so please forgive the delay. You've gotten some really good advice.

One thing that really scares me is that the physical abuse he has put you through is not minor. You say he is terribly sorry after it happens, so you forgive him. Pardon my candor, but that's bullshit and it's classic abuser behavior. You've even had to go so far as to formulate an escape plan. That's intense. No amount of pain your husband is in is an excuse for physically harming you. I understand your desire to help, but if he doesn't help himself and continues to direct his anger at you by physically harming you, get out and don't come back. It didn't happen once, although once is already too much.

Please, above all else, keep you and your child safe.

ROCK ON.......Trish

_________________________
If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

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#148750 - 04/04/07 03:06 AM Re: Just figured out husband was abused. very long [Re: Trish4850]
Gabrielle Offline
New Here

Registered: 03/18/07
Posts: 10
Thank you for all the amazing support and replies,

Many things have developed since last I wrote.

-He is now almost completely disengaged. He is sleeping in a seperate room in a different part of the house.

-I am taking full time classes at school. I have arranged for childcare when I am in class. He is very angry that I am doing this. First I was going to take two classes. He wasn't happy about this. Then due to my schedule and wanting to move forward for my degree- I decided to take 4 classes. He feels that this is a big 'Fuck you' to him. I don't see it having to do with him and more to do with me. I want to be more in charge of where I am going in my life.

-He is depressed but working on a remodel project everyday.

-About the last violence episode. He now says that it was him that went through the glass door, not me. I don't argue with him about this because, there would be no point. He knows that I don't agree with him but I refuse to engage.

-I am reading lots of stuff about healthy differentiation like "The Pasisonate Marriage" I am trying very hard to differentiate. He takes it as me being mean or doing things against him.

-At one point he was crying and asking me what he should do. I said try to just get through this. Ride out this dark dark time (crisis) so you can be in a better place to make decisions. He seemed to take this to heart.

-He is isolated from his friends that he respects and that know him and love him. Instead, he is in the most contact with his abuser (his brother) and his mother. To write this down makes me so angry. This brother is even more depressed and down then him. He lives alone and is paraniod, delusional and suicidal. (He thinks that Amazon had a plot against him due to some spam that he got). I gently mentioned spending more time with other folks then talking/emailing with his brother. I spoke about balance not 'stop talking to him!' He seemed to listen.

-I am giving him a lot of space. I want it also. I am kind when I see him. I check in with him. I don't fight with him. If he is 'snarky' I shug it off which irratates him since this is very different from my previous behavior. He thinks I am being cold since if he doesn't like something I am doing it anyway. Things like school, replacing my broken computer,spending time with friends, spending fun time with our daughter, putting daughter into childcare when I am in school. Most of these things have something to do with money but we do have the money (in fact we are not using savings for my school since I am bringing in enough money to pay for all of it) and these are things that will have a 'return' on the investment. When I asked him what would be a better time for me to go to school, he doesn't have an answer. Though he says otherwise he doesn't want me to go and his reasons are not clear. He says that it will affect his life too much. I think much of this issue is wrapped up with masculinity, being the wage earner, me being a homemaker with a business that he didn't take seriously.

-He sometimes looks at me with hate. He rebuffs me when I try to give him affection but I don't take it badly. I think that on one hand he thinks that I am the cause/root of all his problems but on the other hand I think he sees me as being strong and a safe person in his world. It is strange since I can tell that he still wants to be around. I have brought up possibilities of an available house he could live at alone for awhile but he doesn't want to do it. I think he finds comfort with the house that I am organizing, our cheerful daughter and myself. My girl and I do homey things all the time like cooking, singing, dancing, reading, and we are now planting a garden.

My friends are concerned for my safety. I understand and I would in their situation. But I feel strong and that I am doing the right thing. That is why I did the Safety Plan, I wanted to set down clear bounderies and have a plan that I would follow without exception. I am sure that he knows that if anything else happens he is OUT and if there is any foot dragging I will call the police. I am doing what is right for myself, my daughter and even for him.

I am taking good care of myself even when he tries to prevent me. (I have back problems and I just got a rolling book bag. He didn't want me to spend the money but I did and I don't feel badly about it since my back is much much better. Also I have a friend of mine staying in the house who is having a difficult time finding a place after a break-up. The rental market is very tough where we live. And even though he doesn't want to have anyone stay besides his family/friends, I said she could stay. Before he had full and absolute veto. Now I talk to other folks, think about the impact, and then decide what is reasonable.) This is very different. I am not asking permission any more. If he was to discuss it or compromise, I am open to it. He is not willing to work things out and so I just make decisions that before, I would just give in to not make waves or upset him. I don't want to upset him but I don't think me NOT doing these things would make him any happier. This might be too fast a change for him but I want to move forward with my life. I want him to be in it but I need to make my life fufilling even without him.

I also wonder if this goes on for months/years whether I will still feel the same about him. I can remember all of our wonderful times. He might not be able to remember any right now. I worry that he will keep trying to get me upset, or to reject him, or convince himself that I am the source of all of him pain... I don't know.

I have to go and do homework. of course. Thank you for all the replies I have read and reread and reread every one. I am grateful for folks listening who understand this topic better than me.


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