Selene
I first read the replies about 2 hours ago, and now I have composed myself enough to reply.
The truth is your reply shook me rigid! EVERYTHING you wrote in the first part makes sense to me, I know what you say makes sense.
So why don't I just do it?
I'm scared I guess, scared of getting it wrong, scared of my hopes and expectations not being fulfilled, loads of stuff like that. None of it logical.
Thanks for reinforcing it though, it might be the arse kicking I need?

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... how do you fix it? ... i don't think it's broken ... i think maybe you just need to let go ... let go of your fear and expectations and memories and the good and the bad and just be there with your wife


Is it that simple? perhaps it is?

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the truth is that these kinds of intrusive thoughts will always be with us, and that the best we can do is "reframe" them in such a way that we can introduce stronger thoughts ( fantasies ) that will overpower them somehow.


... i don't believe this is a truth at all, dave ... i don't believe those thoughts are destined to be with you always ... and i don't think you can fight one fantasy with another fantasy ... the original fantasy has the power of abuse behind it so it will always win out, always be stronger ... i think maybe the way to fight "fantasies" you no longer wish to have is with something different ... like reality ... that's about all i can think of that is more powerful that fantasy ... maybe you can find that reality in the curve of your wife's neck or the way she looks at you that makes you certain that she loves you or kissing her, crying and shaking if you have to, until you *know* it's not the same as your abuse ...

.. i think reality, feeling more rather then feeling less, may be a way to connect with your wife again, dave ... it's done wonders for us ...


The memories will always remain, of that I'm pretty sure. But the memories are something that I have already dealt with and can continue to so. The problem is that the fantasies and the memories are inextricably linked, and I can't see any way to separate them.
But I like the idea of fighting the fantasy with reality, it's actually the common sense thing that 'we' as partners should do I suppose. When I get triggered / start fantasizing I should call time out while I get grounded again - bring some reality back to the situation instead of internalizing it and then suffering the meltdown as I fight the conflicts!
Drag me back into the building - please

Stride
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And the last thing I want to do is to be perceived or experienced in any way by him as trying to persuade (which likely equates at some level with "coerce" in his mind/body) or "maneuver" him into doing something sexual that he doesn't already feel like doing. I am NOT his perp


Is this always going to be our problem?
Possibly, if BOTH partners let it.
I know that my wife feels this is a problem for her, so it goes right against the suggestion I made earlier about the partner pushing us a bit and dealing with the upset as it happens in the hope that eventually the upset gets dealt with, either between the couple or through therapy.
Catch 22 again, you're damned if you do and damned if you don't!
Somewhere there's a balance, there's got to be. But do both parties stick too rigidly to that magic spot where we believe the balance lies? Do we need more flexability in where it lies and the margin of 'upset' each side? I think we do.

How closed have our minds become as we battle through our healing? Do we blindly accept the 'truths' of healing such as "all survivors feel xxxxxx and yyyyy if ab and c happened to them"?
I know there are 'truths' as well as anyone here, it's uncanny how similar we are as survivors sometimes.
But just because it's a common trait, and we can see the cause and effect, our therapists lead us along these familiar tracks and confirm their validity, should we just sit back and ACCEPT that as gospel and then do fuck all about it?

Perhaps I'm being a bit harsh here, I know we 'do something' about it, but it seems as though there's a second stage that we need to get to grips with. We've found out the basics, we've controlled the worst of our behaviours and overcome the worst of
our problems.
What about the fine tuning?

The basics have made us stronger people, that's something we read everyday here at MS and other survivor sites. We're stronger from the instant we make a decision to seek help.
So, are we afraid of using that new found strength? I think we probably are, because we don't know what to do with it or how to use it to our best advantage. It's yet another thing we didn't learn in the regular way of growing up.

While I was quiet on MS I wasn't sitting around ignoring the subject of survivors issues, far from it, I was involved but somewhere else.
I am also in contact via email with a survivor in the US who if left alone in a room with a therapist would probably shoot him!
This guy is a bit crazy to say the least, but we get on just fine.
He's also of the "kick their fucking arses and tell them to deal with it!" school of healing, not a politically correct, or medically recognised, method of treatment. So you can imagine the 'interesting' discussions we have!
But he does make some sense, and 'arse kicking' is something I'd like to include in a model of counseling and therapy alongside the recognised models. Obviously it's something that wouldn't be done at the start and would have to be done according to the clients resilience to getting upset. It's a fine line between a wake up call and alienating the client.

I wouldn't dare to do it as an inexperienced counsellor, but I know a few survivors personally and closely enough to recognise those of us that would respond to an arse kicking.
Where it comes from probably makes not much difference, although a partner has much more to loose if it all goes pear shaped.

So, instead of saying "sorry" when you initiate sex and he backs off, should you be saying "Listen to me and listen good, I'm NOT your fucking abuser!"

Perhaps I'm barking up the wrong tree here? I don't know....
But I do know that I take notice when my wife 'TELLS' me something!

Dave

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Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau