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#19029 - 11/09/02 03:28 AM Wife doesn't understand
BoyNoMore Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/13/02
Posts: 5
Loc: KS
I was wondering if anyof you have any advise as to how to hepl my wife understand some of our issues.

A few years ago I testified at the sentencing hearing of the man that abused me over 30 years ago. It was very freeing and moved me along in the healing process. My wife, although she was a great support to me through that time, does not understand why I never came forward before that time. However, from time to time when the subject of SA comes up, I have found out that she is very angry with me for not doing anything before that time, i.e., gone to the authorities in my home town to press charges. Although I have attempted to explain to her the hole that the perp had on me and the shame (faults as it was)that goes along with being a male who has been sexually abused as a boy, she still expresses her anger toward me that I didn't do anything before I was in my late 30's. Although I know she loves me and I do love her, I don't know how to get it through to her how hurtful it is when she tells me how angry (at me) she is that I basically did nothing about my abuse until recently. To a point, sometimes this just makes me want to not tell her very much about the things that I deal with because of the SA. Which, I fear will put a wedge between us. I have told her that it is hurtful when she says these thing, but because she has never experienced (and I am thankful of that) SA, she just doesn't get it.

Therefore, I quietly resolve to selectively discuss my SA issues with her. Some she can handle while others would push her over the edge.

Well, thanks for letting me babble for a bit. I would appreciate anyones insights on this issue.

BoNoMore


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#19030 - 11/09/02 03:32 AM Re: Wife doesn't understand
orodo Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/15/02
Posts: 735
Loc: Imladris, The Safe Haven of Ar...
(((Bonomore)))

I can relate. My wife thinks I am so "over this" and beyond it. Like her period....NOT....it comes back every month......so there.... not nice but i said it.......it's how i feel.......

_________________________
It is better to be Dragon Master than Dragon Slayer. Some Dragons are meant to be mastered, others meant to be slain. Odin, Great Spirit, God, grant me the wisdom to know the difference. "May the Valar guide and bless you on your path under the sky"

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#19031 - 11/09/02 05:21 AM Re: Wife doesn't understand
Don-NY Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/06/02
Posts: 546
Loc: Long Island, NY
This is all going to sound harsh, but so be it. Consider it tough love. Your post really bothers me.

Quote:
I was wondering if any of you have any advise as to how to help my wife understand some of our issues.
Give her a book. I recommend either "Victims No Longer" or "Betrayed as Boys". IF she WANTS to understand, she must educate herself. As a bonus, she will be able to help you through the tough times.

Quote:
Which, I fear will put a wedge between us.
Now I don't mean to be unkind, but it seems to me that your wife has created a huge wedge, and doesn't seem to want to get rid of it.

I can understand her emotion and the initial reaction - I experienced a similar reaction from someone, but why does she refuse to understand? I'm guessing she is angry or frustrated about something else and just using this because she is afraid to express her real concern(s).

It just seems so unreasonable to hang on to this, especially after you have explained. I get the impression there is something more here.

Quote:
I have told her that it is hurtful when she says these thing, but because she has never experienced (and I am thankful of that) SA, she just doesn't get it.
You are being too accomodating here. It doesn't matter if she understands the intricacies and details of how you (we) are affected. It sounds like she's not listening anyway. What matters is that you have told her that her words are hurtful and yet she doesn't stop. I don't think I am wrong to say that she is being abusive. She deliberately hurts you.

Damn it, she is attacking the Victim. "Why didn't you do something sooner?" Next it will be "Why didn't you stop it?", and then "You really wanted it didn't you?"

You say she just doesn't get it. I think she doesn't want to get it, and for both your sakes you need to find out why, and fast.

Is it possible her trust in you is damaged because she feels like you kept a secret? Do you think maybe she feels deceived - that you weren't the person she thought? Is it possible she feels some second-hand shame? Maybe she just doesn't want to think about things like this but now she has no choice. Maybe she is so furious at the people who hurt you that she is taking it out on the nearest target? Maybe she feels now that you are damaged somehow, maybe dangerous? Maybe she doesn't like the recovering you as much as she liked the "damaged, victimized" you. Does she feel less needed as you become stronger?

I can't help wondering how you react after she expresses this anger at you. Are you doing whatever you can to defuse her anger? Going out of your way to please and reassure her? Is this some method of control or emotional blackmail?

Quote:
I don't know how to get it through to her how hurtful it is when she tells me how angry (at me) she is that I basically did nothing about my abuse until recently.
There's only way to get through to her. Straight up. Straight out. I don't know how directly you have talked about this with her, but if you have been truthful and direct, to no good effect, then I suggest a therapist to help her sort this all out, whether jointly with you or alone. Her continuing to express anger at you, for that particular reason, is inappropriate and abusive.

I'm sorry if this offended you in any way. It's all just my opinion, but I think it's a very unhealthy situation you describe, with the potential to get much worse.

Donald

_________________________
If you understand everything, some things are just as they are. If you understand nothing, things are still just as they are.

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#19032 - 11/09/02 03:13 PM Re: Wife doesn't understand
BoyNoMore Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/13/02
Posts: 5
Loc: KS
Thank you for your forthrightness! Not offensive at all, instead it has been very thought provoking. I need to think these things over a bit before I respond much further. I do know that she has a lot of anger issues that she pushed down. Regarding what she knew and didn't know, she knew before we were married that I had been abused, but I don't think she grasped the depth until later.

More later.

BNM


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#19033 - 11/09/02 04:14 PM Re: Wife doesn't understand
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Don beat me to it, I was going to say get her to read the chapter about family and friends in Mike Lews book "Victims no Longer" - if you haven't got it go to the home page and order it via Amazon.

Tell her to read the whole book, then she'll understand.

Other than that Don says it all.

Lloydy

_________________________
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

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#19034 - 11/09/02 05:05 PM Re: Wife doesn't understand
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
BoyNoMore:

I told my wife about my SA as soon as I knew about it. Of course that was just last year, when I began to have flashbacks. We had been married over 21 years. All she had ever heard before was about my being abused in general like physically & verbally. She did say she remembered before we were married my saying I was in some way molested as a child. Funny I don't even remember that--I was 23 when we got married!

Anyway, my wife knew from the start that I had remembered nothing before the flashbacks, and didn't question my further on why I didn't do anything sooner or try to stop it. So I'm very fortunate there.

For a while, I think just out of concern that I not keep things inward so they explode outward, she kinda pressed me about who did what--not sexual details--just in general.

I started thinking maybe she was being codependent and told her there were things I just wanted to be more sure of and some things I just wasn't ready to say. Like telling her my mother our daughters' paternal grandmother--incested me. Not an easy thing to say or to hear.

But again, fortunately for me, she did back off pretty quickly & totally. That may be partly becuz when I knew something & was ready to tell her, I did it, and we'd talk about it as needed.

So anyway your situation is quite a bit different from mine. Tho perhaps there is something in my experience that might be of help to you. I pretty much affirm what Don has said about this.

As Orodo indicated, sometimes you just need to exercise tough love. I know its easy for me to say, but I wouldn't say it if I'd never had to do it myself.

As I told my wife, ultimately you can't understandthis SA & what it's done to me, becuz you've not experienced it. What you cando is be understanding about it and about me. I don't know if you've told your wife that or if you could.

I do hope the two of you will be able to work thru this together. Good reading like was suggested could help. Ditto on therapy. My wife went to just two sessions with me and my T, and it made a big difference.

Take Care

Wuame

_________________________
"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

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#19035 - 11/09/02 05:33 PM Re: Wife doesn't understand
James_dup1 Offline


Registered: 04/13/02
Posts: 1332
Loc: Wyoming
Hi boynomore,
Im not sure what I can add here. I just wonder how I could make someone understand something I dont,not at this point in my recovery anyway. I just wanted you to know that when I first found this board I felt hopeless, trapped, ready to just give up. I found men here that understood what I didnt, men that understood the feeling I was haveing and had no idea how to fell. And I also found the courage to go find a pro to talk to about my abuse. So I guess what I'm trying to say boynomore....keep talking, here, somewhere, anywhere you feel safe. If thats with your wife then so be it, if not please find a safe place for you to go. If you havent tried the chat that is offered you may want to, I met the person that I would say is my best friend there and now his and my family have really become good friends. So thats that
Will all hugs you need,
Your brother in pain
James

_________________________
I have more issues than Rolling Stone!


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#19036 - 11/11/02 04:51 PM Re: Wife doesn't understand
New to this Offline
Member

Registered: 09/16/02
Posts: 138
Loc: Mississippi
BoyNo More,

Getting my wife through my recovery was the hardest part for me. She had trouble understanding why I had not told her anything--even though she knew I didn't remember. We kept coming back the the fact that I just did not remember prior to two months ago. I think that was the hardest part for her--understanding that I could not remember and therefore could not do anything about it.
My wife was outraged that some one had harmed me, and I often was on the receiving end of her anger. My wife was abused far more than I was, so I'm not sure how much of her anger was over my abuse and how much was over her own.
Our situations are so similar that my gut feeling is that your wife has some abuse issues of her own. Maybe she is not angry that you didn't do something, but angry that she didn't.

_________________________
"Knowledge itself is power" Francis Bacon

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#19037 - 11/11/02 05:44 PM Re: Wife doesn't understand
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
New:

That's a good point. It certainly wasn't easy with my wife either, and initially she couldn't fathom how I couldn't remember such horrible things. After I told her that was why I didn't remember them, I had to forget to survive, she understood & has (always) been very understanding about it.

But then my wife grew up in a pretty typically normal & happy home, whatever that really is. Certainly she was not abused in any way.

BoyNoMore, is it possible you're wife is transferring; that is, maybe a subconscious cry, not so much asking why you didn't remember as why she didn't remember? Just another thot.

Hope you can work it out fellow survivor.

New, good to hear from you. Hope all is well.

Wuame

_________________________
"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

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#19038 - 11/11/02 07:17 PM Re: Wife doesn't understand
Cement Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/05/02
Posts: 740
Loc: Southern California
I just want to make a small point.

I have learned that there are some things I cannot share with my wife. They are too traumatic for her. That is not to say we don't share. I share many of my recollections and a lot of the pain, but not EVERYTHING. That is what my therapist, and my journal are for.

I hope this helps a little.

_________________________
And let the darkness fear our light.

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