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#203706 - 02/05/08 04:49 PM new to group
LJA Offline
Guest

Registered: 02/05/08
Posts: 35
Hi,
I just joined today and have spent ...dunno how long reading. Unfortunately, I haven't found what I was looking for, which is hope for my situation. Maybe I just haven't read long enough, but I decided to post instead.
I have been married to a survivor for 20years. I found out about his abuse about 14 years ago. At the time, I mistakenly thought that him remembering his past and informing me of it was enough to let us lead a happy life together. Over the years he did not choose to share much info about his abuse with me. I never pushed him to share because it wasn't my place to do so. But every few years the loneliness of our marriage, with almost no physical or emotional intimacy, became too much to bare and I pushed him to do 'something".
He would respond with something like going away and thinking about it, a small amount of reading, and once he saw a therapist for a few months. The bottom line
from my perspective is that very little ever changed. We had a fabulous platonic
relationship. With trust, respect and enormous amounts of love.
I have told him all along that I'm not happy and that I am not going to wait for him to change forever. As our 20 yr wedding anniversary approached, he had a meltdown. He couldn't deal with facing his demons so he had to get away from me.
He also refused to admit to either of us that he was running from his past.
I could probably write a book about his exit from the relationship. Basically he spent three months destroying what we had had for 20 years. I literally mourned the death of my husband while living with a new monster who hated everything about me. By the time I couldn't fight for us any more, I was suicidal for the first time in my life. I spent many months in therapy trying to recover from PTSD.
Then, one day I went over to his apartment and ran into his girlfriend (the affair was his final ticket out of our marriage). I took the opportunity to get a few things off my chest ;\) During the tirade, my husband's meltdown officially ended as he saw her (the epitomy of denial and manipulation) side by side with me (honesty and love?). He says I rescued him that day. He never saw her again and we started working to put our lives back together.
Sounds like a happy ending, no? I thought it was. I thought it would take time and hard work, but that this marked the beginning of the end of the death hold CSA has had on our relationship.
My husband has now been back home for almost a year. good things have happened. he has shared his story with me. He feels like a weight was lifted off because of this, and his recovery has definitely moved forward. I have read about SA almost constantly, so I feel fairly well informed. But there has been almost no movement on the intimacy front. Only now, when I bring it up, he very often becomes verbally and emotionally abusive. I am now becoming scared to have a conversation with him.
So, what about me? I feel like a shit for asking. What he is battling is so ugly and unfair, and my woes are so small in comparison. But when do I get to count? When do my needs get to even register? When do I get to have a life? I have now spent 23 years being patient, loving and giving. When does me being noble and loving turn into me being stupid and naive? I have held on for so long because a. I really love him and want to be with him, and b. I had always seen reason for hope.
I am not seeing any hope anymore. if him trashing our lives and then being given another chance isn't motivation enough for him to work through his shit , it seems that nothing will be.
If anyone out there has any info, good or bad, about long term relationships and the possibility of recovering to the point of having intimacy (emotional and physical) I would love to hear it.

Thanks,
LJA


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#203766 - 02/05/08 08:56 PM Re: new to group [Re: LJA]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
LJA,

Originally Posted By: LJA
So, what about me? ... But when do I get to count? When do my needs get to even register? When do I get to have a life? I have now spent 23 years being patient, loving and giving. When does me being noble and loving turn into me being stupid and naive? I have held on for so long because a. I really love him and want to be with him, and b. I had always seen reason for hope.


As a survivor I have been through all these questions with my own wife in some form or another, and I can tell you that you have every right to ask them and get the answers.

The abuse of a boy or teenager is a horrific thing, yes, but that doesn't mean that when he grows to adulthood and becomes a man, his continuing issues and problems get to cancel the value and validity of his partner's needs in the relationship and her dreams for her own life. It just ain't so.

When we love someone very much it's tempting to tell ourselves that we will do anything, sacrifice anything for him or her. But does it work that way? What is the value of a relationship in which one partner is routinely disrespected and emotionally abused? What is the goal behind this devotion? What does the survivor's partner think she is achieving? At what point does a partner have to say enough is enough?

In my own case it actually helped me when my wife drew her line in the sand and made it clear where her boundaries were. She didn't give me ultimatums, but she made it clear that she expected to see me making a real effort and taking therapy seriously. If I could not do that and make progress, she was going to call it quits herself.

By being strong for herself first she actually gave me something to hold on to. I knew she would recognize it when I was making progress and let me know when I was slipping. In the middle of the storm of my early recovery I had a rock I could count on. If she had told me that she would be there for me no matter what, how would that have helped me? In my own case I think it would have worked against me, in that I would not have made her feelings and needs a priority, simply because she herself was telling me those feelings and needs really didn't matter. They could wait.

I don't think anyone can tell another how to deal with a relationship that's in trouble. Only you can decide where your boundaries are and what your absolute demands are. He needs to have some idea of your thinking on these matters, and as I said, I would avoid ultimatums. They're too rigid and counter-productive. But he does need to know you insist that you count too. He needs to know that how he relates to you is also an abuse issue, one as important as any other.

One of the worst aspects of recovery is the confusion we encounter when so many feelings hit us all at once. We often don't realize how our problems are impacting on our partners. I know I sure didn't. What helped me was talking to partners here and then listening - really listening - to what my wife had been telling me all along. It does make a difference, however, when the message you hear is a clear one.

Unfortunately it often happens that the crimes of our abusers claim a new victim in adulthood - our partner. It's important that you not allow that to happen. Sadly, there are times when nothing will help and the partner has to make decisions for her own welfare. But there also cases where a partner takes a strong position for herself and that gives the survivor the wake-up call he needs. I certainly hope that's the way it works out for you.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#203856 - 02/06/08 01:01 PM Re: new to group [Re: roadrunner]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2588
My wife has been strong, but she's been struggling as well. I've been emotionally distant and keeping her at a "safe" distance since we got married. Then this past month when things began to disintegrate for me, she did much like Larry's wife. She drew a line in the sand. She made it clear that she loved me, she didn't want to leave or abandon me, but she needed to do what was best for her and our children. She basically told me that I needed to do something, and make progress. She couldn't stay if things remained as they were. Those things made me angry at the time. I felt anger toward her and felt like she didn't care about what I was going through. I even thought that she was being selfish. Looking back, I know that I was the one not caring about what she was going through, I was the one being selfish. It's a hard miry pit to be stuck in.

At that time I was completely isolating myself. I'd come home, eat the wonderful meal she had prepared, and then I'd go off to sit in front of my computer or tv. The words she used to describe it was that I was physically there, but mentally and emotionally somewhere else. I guess my major breakthrough at that time was after a long long many hour nasty fight we had into the wee hours of the morning. I had told her many times that she didn't love me. It was how I felt, but was not at all reality. Towards the end of the fight, the realization hit me that I didn't know how to love her, and didn't know how to be loved. I said that to her, and then broke down into a sobbing little boy. It was a few days later that I took the mental effort to begin to break down the barrier I had put between us, and tried to begin to let her in.

I say we're closer now than ever before. She doesn't agree, as she's been able to let me in and love me since we got married, I'm just figuring that all out. She says I'm just now on our honeymoon. I love her. Very deeply, which is one of the reasons I'm doing what I can to be there for her, even at times when I just want to slip back into those old habits and just turn my mind off.

I hope something in my story helps you. I really do. I know your husbands feelings and the turmoil he's feeling, I just wish I had a formula or action plan I could give you that would just work and make it all better.


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#203861 - 02/06/08 01:39 PM Re: new to group [Re: roadrunner]
LJA Offline
Guest

Registered: 02/05/08
Posts: 35
Hi Larry,

I really appreciate you taking the time the reply to my post. It is good to hear that different outcomes are available and it makes me happy to hear that you and your wife are on the right path.

The advise you shared is excellent advise, and it makes me feel a lot less crazy (stupid?) that following the guidelines you described has worked for someone. I feel I have been following them. I have made it very clear to my husband what I need to be happy and he's agreed they my needs are reasonable. I have told him I wont wait forever, but that I know recovery takes time. I haven't given any ultimatums. Up until his meltdown I basically said as long as he was moving forward, I would wait.

Unfortunately, he was lying to both of us about how he was doing... After he came back, I said I needed to see the progress. Now, a year after his return things have come to a head because I have refused to back down about getting a need of mine addressed (I wanted to discuss how his ignoring our lack of physical intimacy impacts me). There have been many times when I thought the penny had finally dropped for him and he was finally going to 'look it in the eye' so that we could have what we have both agreed we want. But even though I think his intentions are always good, they dont last more than a few days.

Over the years, I have tried everything I can think of to help him and us. I have passed every single one of his tests. You asked about what I think I am achieving being this devoted. I think I have always been able to see past the injuries inflicted upon him by his family, to the person inside. That's kind of a funny thing for me to type if you know him because he is so high functioning with respect to almost everything else (including parenting). I have never questioned if it was possible for him to heal and for us to have what we want. He has worked so hard in other aspects of his life and I know he loves me as much as I love him, I guess I have assumed one day we will get there. Its just too goddamn cruel for us not to.
It also makes no sense to me that he doesn't do this. Believe me, I am not trying to minimize how awful the path I am asking him to go down is. No one should have to deal with what he has to deal with. BUT, if he doesn't do this he'll never have the life he deserves. Not with me, not with anyone. The only way out is through, right?
For him to choose not to come out doesn't make any sense to me. Other people have done it so I know he can do it too. I still dont question if he can, now I question if he will. So maybe the answer to your question is that I had faulty fairytale thinking ie I assumed if I was loving enough, patient enough, trustworthy enough, he would eventually decide to pursue his recovery and we could start living 'happily ever after'.

I guess I'm trying to come to terms with the fact that it's looking like I might be in the "sadly...nothing will help" category.

LJA


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#203868 - 02/06/08 02:30 PM Re: new to group [Re: LJA]
LJA Offline
Guest

Registered: 02/05/08
Posts: 35
Hi Justscott,
Thank you for your reply. A lot about your story sounded familiar to me. I think my husband and I have touched on the idea of him not knowing how to love me or be loved by me. But maybe that is something I could try to pursue with him further. Considering his background, it would make perfect sense that he didn't learn this.
I know he would say many of the same things as you, he feels closer to me than ever before, he has worked hard to dismantle the walls between us...and has had some success. We also suffer from his pull to lead a hum drum life of eating and TV watching. And I know he would say that the progress he has made he has been able to make because of my support and his great love for me.
In our case though, progress always stalls when anything to do with me comes up. He is now able to share his pain with me, (which I understand is a huge development) but he can't hear about my pain. He will let me in to his heart, but he wont come in to mine with a ten foot barge pole. This is extremely confusing to me. When he shared details of his story with me, we both thought we could see a rainbow in the distance. We thought he had just done the hardest thing in his recovery. But we have now spent almost a year of him trying to hear anything about me and he can't do it. Plus, as I said earlier, he is becoming abusive in his desperation to shut me up.
Anyway, thanks for understanding. It is good to hear that we aren't alone in our struggles.

LJA


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#203928 - 02/06/08 09:48 PM Re: new to group [Re: LJA]
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus
MaleSurvivor<

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

I truly don't know what to say. 20 plus years of a marriage but still a basically platonic relationship is, well, beyond my understanding. But the reality of it is that he's only dealt with what happened to him as a child in the last year. I don't know how old he was when he was s/a. For argument's sake, let's say 10. So this 10 year old now has his life wrecked, his emotional growth stunted and his ability to trust destroyed. Somehow though, he grows up and finds you, a wonderful, caring woman who loves him; he can't figure out why or how, but you do. So he continues doing whatever he's been doing 'cause it seems to be OK, even if maybe you're not completely happy 100% of the time. For the most part, he's pulling it off right? Well the answer to that is really no, but he doesn't know how to fix it and doesn't even try until the fact that you might leave him is right there in his face. That was one year ago. So now he's what? 45? 50? So for 35+ years he's operated at the emotional level of a 10 year old. For 35 years! Is one year enough to fix that? Not likely.

All that being said, do you deserve everything you expected to have when you married? Of course you do! You didn't sign on for a fixer-upper, but that's exactly what you got. From everything you write, your husband sounds like a great guy, except for the fact that his ability to be intimate with you isn't there. That's so hard to deal with. You are deprived of your ability to share your love with him in a sexual manner, and youíre deprived of your own need for human contact with the one man you so want it from.

Youíre husbandís inability to be intimate with you is also a very weird testament to how much you do mean to him. He had an affair while your were separated, so he's able to express himself sexually, but not with you, the woman he loves and trusts the most because you have the ability to hurt him. Thatís a giant hurdle that he has to work his way through. I canít imagine that such a thing would be easy for you or me or any partner to really grasp after such a long period of time together, but I strongly believe that itís what your husband is dealing with.

I guess the real question is are you prepared by wait even longer than you already have? Itís a brutally difficult question and I donít envy your position at all.

ROCK ON...........Trish

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

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#203980 - 02/07/08 09:42 AM Re: new to group [Re: Trish4850]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2588
Trish you just sparked a thought in me that I'm just beginning to understand in myself. I have this tendency, during physical intimacy with my wife to mentally shut off. I've heard others express similar feelings, and others have flat out said that during any kind of sexual activity, they feel like they are either back there being abused all over, or that they are abusing the one they are with.

The other night I found myself mentally shut off again, I was just going through the motions. My wife asked me what was wrong, it brought be back to the here and now, and I realized that is what I always did. Mentally shut down and just went through the motions while my mind was somewhere off in a void somewhere.

So, LJA, I don't know if this is what your husband is dealing with, but it's very possible that for him sex and abuse are very much still closely related in his mind, and his love for you might be the very thing keeping him from "abusing" you by engaging in what his mind still relates to abuse. I know for me for the longest time sex was the only way I felt close to my wife. So essentially I was using her to feel loved, of feel better. I have to be honest, looking back at it that ways makes me feel dirty. Recently though, as I've begun dealing with things, I've begun to see the difference, and try my best to avoid that mentality. My wife can even tell, and she'll let me know if she feels or thinks that is the reason for my desires at any given time. It's quite enlightening sometimes. Makes me stop and really look at what I'm feeling and dealing with at that moment.

Just a thought. I could be nuts. I feel like it most of the time.



Edited by JustScott (02/07/08 09:48 AM)

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#204003 - 02/07/08 01:34 PM Re: new to group [Re: JustScott]
LJA Offline
Guest

Registered: 02/05/08
Posts: 35
Hi Again,
Thanks for your great replies. Trish, I found your comments very helpful. Since my husband remembered his abuse 14 yrs ago I have been looking at the situation from the perspective of ...14 yrs gets us this far, even if I live to be 100, we aren't going to make it. The pace is just too slow. But I think there is a lot of truth to what you said about him only having really started to deal with it in the last year. He has moved forward in those 14 yrs, but he's always done just the bare minimum to keep me quiet (he agrees with this last statement btw).
You are right about his emotional age being young. And you are right that there's no way he can mature to his real age in a year. And when he came back I wasn't expecting him to be fixed in a year. I thought that maybe by the two year mark I would be able to see enough progress that I would have confidence we are eventually going to have an intimate relationship. But after a year things have gotten worse on this front.
I hate the role I find myself in, watching and judging if he's actually working and then calling him on it when I find he isn't. I REALLY hate the idea of judging him in any way. Who the hell am I to monitor his recovery? Only he knows how difficult it is for him. But, not judging has allowed 23 years of my life to get pissed away waiting.
JustScott, again your story sounds familiar to me. Early on in our marriage my husband would switch off during sex and would also try and get it over with asap. It made me feel really unloved and used. This was before he remembered his csa. When I complained, he wouldn't discuss it, we just stopped having sex... for 15 years. One of the steps forward he has taken over the years is to work through things enough that now sex is fabulous, everything i could want. So what's the problem??? this is yet another one of those things that appeared to be fixed but isn't. The frequency of sex has not really improved, ie its next to none. The big problem I have with this is, I know there are obviously more things that need to be worked through here... and they aren't being addressed. We cant even talk about them. Meanwhile I know he's just as frustrated as I am.
The lack of emotional intimacy is more of a concern for me because we dont seem to have made any progress there. Plus I guess I understand it less. Why is hearing about my perspective such a threat to his safety?
I guess reading through the replies and thinking about my reactions to them, I know I'm not ready to give up yet. It IS a brutally difficult decision and I feel I always make it based on what I want rather than on reality. Like I am doing now.

LJA


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#204048 - 02/07/08 08:08 PM Re: new to group [Re: LJA]
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus
MaleSurvivor<

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

There's nothing wrong with wanting something, even if it appears to be out of reach - for the moment at least. Don't beat yourself up over that. If we didn't want things, we'd all be zombies just meandering around being useless.

Is your husband in counseling now? are you? how about both of you together? The lack of emotional intimacy could very well be a failure to communicate. You two have been together for so long that patterns may have developed that preclude you from reaching out to one another or being able to really hear what the other is saying, much less being able to meet each other's needs. You're both dealing with a whole new world with nothing but old behaviors and patterns to fall back on. That wouldn't make sense in technology for example, so why would it make sense when dealing with multi dimensional people whose wants and needs run the gammit, sometimes in a very short time span. Throw csa effects into the mix and you've got a god awful mess.

I didn't mean to imply by my little timeline that your husband would need time to heal equal to the time he was harmed or lived in denial. I just put it out there to give perspective. I don't believe you'll need to wait it out until you're 100.

I'm glad you're not ready to give up. I could see that in your first post.

ROCK ON.........Trish

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

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#204052 - 02/07/08 09:04 PM Re: new to group [Re: Trish4850]
GateKPR4 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/28/07
Posts: 955
Loc: North Carolina, USA
Welcome LJA,
It took me a long time to face my demons of the past. It's different for everyone dealing with csa but the results are almost textbook, guilt shame, fear. For me it was a lot of emotional shutdown and pretending I was OK. It took 2 years of therapy before I finally spilled my guts to the therapist. I held nothing back and it changed my life. This place has been a great tool for support and to get others perspectives on situations. I wish you all the best.
Take care of yourself

_________________________
I'm a normal person dealing with abnormal experiences.
The greatest discoveries we will find within ourselves.
Ricky
__m_ŰŅŰ_m__
|| || || || || || |

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#204192 - 02/08/08 05:16 PM Re: new to group [Re: GateKPR4]
LJA Offline
Guest

Registered: 02/05/08
Posts: 35
Hmmm, poor communication eh? I had to laugh when I read that because it is so true.
When we attempt to talk about me, I have come to imagine myself sitting in front of an enormous medieval castle. It has a shark filled moat and many many layers of stone walls, each holding an almost infinite number of loaded cannons and archers, all pointed at me.
And then I'll hear my husband in full armor, yelling from the distance, "ok, we're ready, you can talk now!" Naturally, we have a very low success rate. And not just because of him, I am now walking into the situation expecting the worse, so without a doubt, I am adding to the problems.

Yeah, therapy is a good idea. In the last year and a half we have both been, separately and together. The therapist I found for me is amazing. I saw her for about 6 months to get me through the trauma of my husband leaving me. But had to stop because of finances.
After many months of spending about $400 a week on the three therapies,
we didn't seem to get anything but false hope from the joint therapy or my husbands individual therapy. We decided to buy lots of books instead. he didn't read them. Maybe its time to revisit the decision.

I didn't think you were implying 100 years, I know you were just attempting to put the situation in a realistic context. And i really appreciate you doing that. I am in such a panic I know I cant see the forest OR the trees right now. but I am feeling more sane because of all the wonderful responses I have received here. After alot of thinking and reading of other threads I decided to send my husband an e.mail
outlining my feelings. We now have an appointment together this weekend to make a plan of action. I have been here before and been disappointed, so, we'll see...

Congratulations, GateKPR4 on your work with your therapist. I know it took an enormous amount of courage, and you deserve every good thing that comes out of it. Thanks for your kind wishes.

LJA


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#204243 - 02/08/08 10:19 PM Re: new to group [Re: LJA]
Liv2124 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 159
Loc: New Jersey
Welcome LJA,
I've been with/without my SO for over 20 years. It has been frustrating and there have been many a strong start and few finishes. I consider our relationship to be "intimate" but it ceased being physical a long time ago as he has identified himself as straight, bi and gay. In actuality, he doesn't really have any relationships. (Encounters, maybe, but definitely not relationships) He's closer to me than probably anyone else.
I can relate to the way you're feeling though. We all can feel inside ourselves what we need that is most important to us. For us, it's always the communication. Words. He sucks at those. I call it "My magic act", I say "We have to talk" and he disappears. He has also fallen into making rude comments to keep me at a distance. Recently, I've realized that I really do need a break from this myself, because my basic needs aren't being met and what used to work just isn't enough anymore.
It doesn't mean I love him any less, but I can't spend the next 20 years of my life waving my arms and saying "Hey, what about me?" He loves me, I can feel it. But when I say "I love you", he usually responds with, "I know you do." He pulls away, and then comes back so we can "start over". The reality is, once you know about the csa, there is no starting over. Your only hope is to move forward, it doesn't even matter how slowly, as long as you keep moving. Standing still is never effective.
You have definitely come to the right place. In the long run, you have to take care of your own needs and move forward as a person despite his issues. I know this sounds lame, but you can't be supportive if you sacrifice the person you are. For me, I don't think this could've lasted this long if I put the responsibility for all my happiness on him. In the end, after years in and out, I've found that ultimatums don't work. He has to want things to change, he has to be afraid and do it anyway, and I have absolutely no control of whether he will or won't do that.
Take care of YOU first, and things will fall into place.

Always,
Liv


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#204276 - 02/09/08 08:29 AM Re: new to group [Re: Liv2124]
weepywife Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/22/06
Posts: 57
HI LJA,
I am dealing with alot of the same issues that you are. My husband said he was abused about 2 and 1/2 years ago. He has yet to tell me his story....he just said something happened when he was 12. As soon as he said those words.....everything changed. We went from a perfect marriage to a platonic marriage. After about 1 1/2 years of extreme pain I finally convinced him to go to therapy. I did not give him an ultimatum I just said that maybe we should spend sometime apart to decide what we each wanted. After about 6 months of therapy there was some progress....it always seems like baby steps to me. Now after a year of therapy, I feel like we are kindof stuck.
Intimacy is still very very difficult. Sex is nonexistant for the last 3 years. My husband feels so much shame and guilt...he feels like he is ruining my life. I love him dearly....everything else is perfect in our relationship except this crap. He and I are going to the same therapist....seperately. I know many of you have warned against this but my husband doesn't seem to mind. And it was helping for a while. But again, I feel like we are kind of stuck right now and not moving forward.
I just want this pain to be over. It is so hard. To make matters worse...I am ready to start a family and I know that is putting a lot of pressure on my husband. He can't commit to having a family because he feels like a terrible husband and does not want to be a terrible father.
I know this is hard for him but I get frustrated with him because he has completely closed me out on this. I think go to therapy more......try antidepressents.....take a xanax and try to kiss me. Why can't we change this!!!!! Get better! I know he is trying but we are just really stuck and we don't know what to do. I love him dearly but we are both in so much pain right now and to think that we have been in pain for 3 years....I just wish there was a guarentee that it would get better. I don't know what to do anymore. He is going to therapy. He is trying but we seem stuck right now and not moving forward. Help!
WW


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#204404 - 02/09/08 06:16 PM Re: new to group [Re: weepywife]
dangal Offline
New Here

Registered: 02/09/08
Posts: 222
Loc: seattle area
My husband was molested and is in denial. It causes our family such grief. He has anger and there is so many issues with sex. The man who did this is a friend of his family. He is around for everything. I am bitter and sad and hurt and I just want him to get help. We have done the theropy thing off and on for years and whenever the subject comes up he quits. I have 3 young boys and they hear daddy yell at mommy. I'm here asking for help and support. I've been told by my husband that if I truly loved him I would drop it.....should I pretend all is well and ignore the giant elephant in the room? Please any and all advice is more then welcomed.....

_________________________
~Jen~
Life is to short to blend in

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#204459 - 02/09/08 10:14 PM Re: new to group [Re: dangal]
weepywife Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/22/06
Posts: 57
Dangal,
You can't make him get help.
You can precipitate a crisis as my therapist says......not give him an ultimatum but start spending more time apart and see what happens. He might realize what he would miss without you arround and be motivated to try therapy again. However, he could see this as withdrawling from him and be hurt.....and it could make things worse.
Personally, I decided that my line in the sand was that my husband had to activally be trying to get better.....which he is. There is no guareentee that my husband will feel better or that we will live happily ever after. But at least he's trying.
The hard part is...that even after they start activally trying to get better....it is a long hard road. My husband has been going to therapy a year and is making very slow progress.
It is so hard for them to address this issue of CSA. Think of your biggest fear, your most embarasing moment, the moment you let down someone you loved, and multiply that by 10...I think that may be how they feel. Some men can't deal with....or may spend years running from it.
My therapist says that I am needed to keep things stirred up....even though I can't make my husband do anything. I seem to be the catalyst that makes him do things. It is so hard for survivors to deal with this stuff that they understandably don't want to. My husband seems to need a little nudge from time to time. HOwever, this is a very hard role for me to be in. I don't like pushing him because he gets angry at me when I do. It is a very fine balance and sometimes I don't get it right.
My husband still can't talk to me about any of this stuff. He gets very upset if I even ask him when his next therapy appt. is.
I am sorry that you have to be at this website but am glad that you found it. Hope this helps.
WW


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#204692 - 02/11/08 08:46 AM Re: new to group [Re: weepywife]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2588
I agree with WW. My wife is definitely a "catalyst" for me. Her line in the sand was the same. I need to be doing something, as she couldn't take the constant depressions and Isolation. Yes, there are times I get angry with her. It hurts to deal with this stuff. There are times I feel that I wish I could just put it all back inside and try to forget about it, but I know that isn't possible. I can truly say that before I started remembering, things didn't hurt so bad, things weren't so tough. That's the hard part of it. As you bring up more, it hurts more. No one likes to be hurt. But my wife keeps me going. Keeps my head above water.

Most importantly for me, she encourages me and reminds me that it is going to get better. That I'm going to be alright. That I'm going to make it. When she looks into my eyes, holds me hand, and says something encouraging, it really feels good. Still though there are times I start to pull away and try to isolate myself. Old habits die hard. She doesn't let me get away though. But she doesn't get mean with me about it either. I don't know, she just seems to know that balance right now.


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#204758 - 02/11/08 06:53 PM Re: new to group [Re: JustScott]
LJA Offline
Guest

Registered: 02/05/08
Posts: 35
Hi Liv, Dangal and Weepywife, Thanks for responding to my post. I haven't ever heard of anyone going through something like this before. I had heard of the survivor's perspective, but there seems to be practically nothing out there about us. I of course realized I wasn't alone, but found it overwhelming to read your posts.

There must really be something to this catalyst idea. Looking back, I realize that almost every movement forward in my husband's recovery has been prompted by me. Ironic since I have tried to resist pushing. In fact, the despair I was in last week which prompted me to join this site also prompted some changes in my husband and we are moving again! I am so relieved. My husband suggested that I take a more active role in monitoring progress, making sure he keeps moving. I'm not exactly sure yet how that's going to look, but it seems like a good idea for both of us.

Dangal, have you or your hubby done much reading about CSA? If talking to you or a therapist is not an option for him right now, maybe reading is? I realize he could easily say 'no' to this too, my husband has resisted reading many times, but when he does do it, it usually helps a lot. When he had his meltdown and left, I took all his CSA books over to him. The book he read in the very beginning was Allies in Healing (a book for partners of survivors), even though he had a copy of The Courage to Heal (the companion book for survivors). I think it was a really non-threatening way for him to read about CSA. Maybe if you got this book for yourself,
your hubby might read it too, and this might be a less aggressive route than getting a book for him.

Also, we have been reading a book lately which we are both finding very helpful. Its called "If the man you love was abused (a couple's guide to healing)" by Browne and Browne. We have only read about half of it so far but really like it. Many of the books we read provided the same type of information ie, what to expect for recovery, what is normal, what is CSA, etc. This book seems to go to the next level. Its more practical than a lot I've read and seems to be offering us more concrete information to work with.

Hey JustScott, I am so glad you have such a wonderful support while you are doing such difficult work. It really does take an immense amount of courage to move forward, doesn't it. Do you mind me asking what your wife does when she doesn't let you get away? I have asked my husband a few times in the past few days if he's still with me, is that the kind of thing you mean?

I think I am only just starting to fully grasp how much of my husband's behavior is unconscious. For years when he pulled away I assumed it was a choice. Now I realize he doesn't even know he's doing it, which is why I've started asking him. Many of the things he told me over the years, I had a hard time even believing; like how he could completely forget the horrendous argument we had had a few hours earlier, for example. I know sometimes he feels like a preprogrammed robot doing things he's unaware of that are the opposite of what he wants to do.

LJA


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#205021 - 02/13/08 04:49 PM Re: new to group [Re: LJA]
dangal Offline
New Here

Registered: 02/09/08
Posts: 222
Loc: seattle area
Thanks so much for the posts. One of the issues is that my husband won't even awknoledge that these things happened. He's angry, bitter, abusive at times and unable to deal with me on any kind of emotional level. He gets so angry at me for bringing up anything that needs to be handled. I'm starting theropy with his old theropist on the 21st. She knows all our history and I really enjoy her. This has my husband a bit upset but I can't sit here and have the nightmares and carry around this stuff forever without moving forward somehow. He's creating what he fears the most...he thinks he will lose me...and so he's pushing me away and hurting me and blaming me and it's so hard. He just wants me to leave it alone. It's not that bad, he's not that bad, everything is fine, I'm making up drama......I know enough of what happened to be sad and hurt and have nightmares over it. I feel like he doesn't trust me enough to talk to me...selfish I'm sure. Very hard to know your own spouse has secrets and issues that are the reasons for how hard the marriage is, and then be expected to be quiet and ignore it. I'm tore up and confused. I really thank you all for listening. That alone is helpful. Jen

_________________________
~Jen~
Life is to short to blend in

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#205035 - 02/13/08 07:33 PM Re: new to group [Re: dangal]
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus
MaleSurvivor<

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
Hi Jen and welcome,

We are in a difficult place aren't we? But we see in our guys what they can't see in themselves so we stick around and fight the good fight right beside them. I too agree with Scott and WW about the moving forward. My b/f is in therapy now for 2 years. Progress is painfully slow, but it is there, although I admit it is sometimes very hard to see. Regardless, if he's willing to put himself through what he must in order to heal, then I'll stand right beside him.

We can't make our husband's or b/f's "see the light," so to speak, we can only do what we can to encourage them.

You are not just making up drama. The pains you are going through are very real and it's not fair of him to deny it. If he doesn't want to talk about or deal with the csa then you can't make him, but you have every right in the world to insist that he deal with your marriage and your children.

I think it's a good thing that you are going back to see a therapist. I think it's important that you stress to your husband that you are doing this for YOU. Not that it doesn't have anything to do with him, obviously it does, but that the focus is you and how you can better deal with your family life.

It's unfortunate that you're husband is upset over your choice to see the same T he did but I can see where that would make him anxious. Is he afraid that the T will break some confidence of his? Would he be willing to speak with him/her to assure him that it won't happen? If this is going to be a source of even more stress for him and your marriage would you be able to seek a referral from this T to another one? You seeing his old therapist may very well stop or certainly stall any decision he may make to seek therapy himself.

OK, now that we've completely hijacked LJA's thread, I'm done. Why not start a new thread for any additional things you want to bring to the board.

We're here for you Jen, that I promise.

ROCK ON........Trish

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

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#205225 - 02/14/08 09:45 PM Re: new to group [Re: Trish4850]
dangal Offline
New Here

Registered: 02/09/08
Posts: 222
Loc: seattle area
I have no idea how to start a new thread!!!

_________________________
~Jen~
Life is to short to blend in

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#205228 - 02/14/08 09:52 PM Re: new to group [Re: dangal]
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus
MaleSurvivor<

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
*lol* When you are in the F&F forum, you'll see a New Topic tab just before the list of threads. Click on that and type away.

ROCK ON........Trish


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

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#205279 - 02/15/08 08:41 AM Re: new to group [Re: LJA]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2588
Quote:
Hey JustScott, I am so glad you have such a wonderful support while you are doing such difficult work. It really does take an immense amount of courage to move forward, doesn't it. Do you mind me asking what your wife does when she doesn't let you get away? I have asked my husband a few times in the past few days if he's still with me, is that the kind of thing you mean?

Yes, she does that kind of thing for sure. When we driving back from visiting my parents a few weeks ago, the drive was very quiet for me. I had my first appointment with a therapist the next day. I was a nervous wreck and I have a tendency to think way too much. During the drive my wife knew I was thinking way too much, so she started singing loudly along with the radio. At first it ticked me off, I hate having my thoughts interrupted, but then I noticed that she was looking right at me as she sang. Once I figured out what she was up too, I had to laugh, which of course was another reason she was doing it. She keeps me grounded in the here and now. Which isn't always easy. We were at a restaurant recently, and I was staring out the window thinking too much once again. She simply reached over and took my hand, and once she had my attention and gave it a squeeze and let me know that it was going to be ok, we were going to get through this. It's these little moments, that for me break through all my barriers and I can feel her love for me.
There are times where she isn't so patient in the way she brings me back, but I can truly say that the most effective ways are the gentle ones. I hope I'm quoting this right, "A gentle answer turns away wrath..." I think that's how it goes. And for fellows full of anger issues, the gentle answers definitely effect me more deeply than when she's over tired and gets short with me. Although I do my best to understand at these times that she's been dealing with me all day and is just worn out.
Quote:

I think I am only just starting to fully grasp how much of my husband's behavior is unconscious. For years when he pulled away I assumed it was a choice. Now I realize he doesn't even know he's doing it, which is why I've started asking him. Many of the things he told me over the years, I had a hard time even believing; like how he could completely forget the horrendous argument we had had a few hours earlier, for example. I know sometimes he feels like a preprogrammed robot doing things he's unaware of that are the opposite of what he wants to do.

I'm just realizing myself how much of what I've done for so long is a result of all this crap in my past. It hurts to realize. Somedays it's downright painful. But knowing that has helped me. When I start to fall back into those old habits, I can usually see it pretty early on and put myself on a new direction. My memory lately thought has been absolute crap. I'm forgetting things all the time. My poor wife has to tell me something 3 or 4 times before I actually hear the words she saying. It's like there's something in the way, and I know she's talking, but she might as well be speaking a different language. Sometimes I have to focus really hard in order to understand what she's saying. It sucks and it frustrates her to no end, but at the same time, she understands why I'm having trouble.

Dangal, to use an analogy, think of your husband like an abused dog. When you call attention to his wounds, he barks, bites, lashes out, as he doesn't want to be hurt more. Opening up and dealing with this stuff hurts. Hurts so bad that there are definitely times that I momentarily wish I could put it all back inside and lock it up. I felt so much better when it wasn't being dealt with. But I realize it needs to be dealt with, that the only way I'll truly ever feel better, is to work through everything. If you try to clean out a hornets nest, you're going to get stung, and that's what hurts. Reopening all these old festering wounds. It can be hard to see how damaging letting this stuff fester can be when compared to the immediate pain and anguish we feel. It feels good now to hide it, but the festering will destroy everything we care about.


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#205320 - 02/15/08 12:32 PM Re: new to group [Re: JustScott]
lorraine Offline
New Here

Registered: 06/26/07
Posts: 27
Loc: Texas

During the drive my wife knew I was thinking way too much, so she started singing loudly along with the radio. At first it ticked me off, I hate having my thoughts interrupted, but then I noticed that she was looking right at me as she sang. Once I figured out what she was up too, I had to laugh, which of course was another reason she was doing it....

Wonderful, even in the midst of pain we can find laughter. What a wise woman! We can all learn from her. Thanks for sharing this.
Lorraine

_________________________
I can do nothing to change my childhood but I am in the driver's seat now as an adult!


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#208422 - 03/02/08 10:47 AM Re: new to group [Re: GateKPR4]
honey girl Offline
Member

Registered: 10/09/06
Posts: 245
Loc: Midwest US
Dear LJA,

I might do better replying to the later thread about difficulties with sexual intimacy, but this is the one I found when I looked back to see where you had jumped in.

My BF and I have not been together very long, not quite four years, but there are still some similarities in our current conditions. And also, I think, some possibilities I can suggest to you that might be useful.

We're both middle-aged; we're both CSA survivors; we've both had pretty rocky adulthoods--that is, my BF and I. I disclosed to him almost immediately upon our first interaction, because I wanted him to have that information. My recovery process is at a different point than his, to be sure: I had many years of therapy and self-education about this topic to draw upon while he was pretty actively avoiding all consideration of it for about 40 years. Our early sexual interactions were in some ways far more--oh, let's say, dramatic--than ours tend to be now. Maybe part of that was simply novelty, but part was also 1) realizing how much we did truly mean to each other and 2) wanting the sexual expression of intimacy to convey that same sense of devotion. And as has been discussed on those other threads, sexual activity as love is unbelievably provocative for survivors. Sad, and truly one of the worst after-effects to endure, but there it is. (It is retrievable, eventually, but it takes a long time and a lot of relearning.)

My BF finally disclosed about a year and a half into our relationship, and the sexual difficulties we then encountered were only a small part of the problem. It's better now, much better, on all fronts. There were many times, though, when I thought I would not have the fortitude to stick it out, and more than once I came here to vent when things were really tough.

So why did I say I might have something to tell you, a long-married woman? Because I believe very strongly that for your H to have told you means that he is very deeply devoted to you. I think that survivors have a pretty well-developed sense of self-protection (which works almost too well, except when it doesn't ;\) ). My BF never even contemplated telling his first wife, and it's a good thing he didn't. If she had been a loving, compassionate, and responsive person, though, I think he would have told her and they would still be together. I guess I'm trying to tell you not to underestimate the significance of your H's trust of you.

Then, yes, of course, there are the betrayals.

You've probably read this other places, so I'll be brief. It's very common for survivors to take in all the blame and self-hatred to such an extent that they feel that they are just as bad as what was done to them. (In many ways, it's they and we, for me, but here I'll stay with "they" and "them".) That all they are, in essence and in truth, is [supply your most loathsome entity here]. Acting out, hurting those who are dearest, is at least in part the expression of that despair. As in: So now I will show you what I'm really like, and then once you'll understand the true me you'll run away. The surprise is, as you discovered, when someone stays. I know, it's contradictory and not very comforting at all, but there is a sort of twisted logic to it.

You will have to decide eventually, of course, how much is too much, and how long you will wait. From what you have written so far, it seems to me that your H is still leaning on you quite a bit to take the initiative in encouraging him to proceed. Eventually, I believe, he is likely to catch that spark himself, and become more self-directed and confident in pursuing his recovery. Meantime, I wonder if he's not still just terribly afraid that he's done so much damage that it's too late, and so his reliance on you for this is his way of hearing from you that you are still committed to him and to your relationship.

When we're in the middle of all of this, every day seems intense and painful. Then, when there's a break, our sense of time can change yet again--and we can be refreshed, our spirits renewed. The trick is not knowing when that break will arrive! I think it's very encouraging that you're still here, and that he's here, too. (My BF does not visit, as far as I know; it's his decision to make.) I wish you and your H and your children all the best as you make your way forward.

Peace,
HG

_________________________
I'm just a poor wayfaring stranger, a million miles away from home.

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#208832 - 03/04/08 02:23 PM Re: new to group [Re: honey girl]
LJA Offline
Guest

Registered: 02/05/08
Posts: 35
Hi HG,

Thank you so much for your post. I am so touched that you read my posts and took the time to reply to me. I think a lot of what you said is very insightful and I will continue to mull it over for a while, I think.

The twisted logic you suggested does describe my H's behavior when he left me. It was his final test for me, in order to continue into the next stage of recovery.

I am also very sure he worries that the damage he's done is too great to repair. He hurt me more than either of us could have ever imagined. Even though I have forgiven him and mentally put it in the "shitty fallout from CSA pile", he has been unable to forgive himself so we can't talk about it.
Unfortunately, the damage from his meltdown is pervasive in our relationship so it keeps coming up. From my perspective, we are in a constant cycle of something from the meltdown coming up, him being unable to discuss it because it involves the pain I was caused by him, and my pain being dismissed. I am so worn down. We have been bashing our heads against this brick wall for over a year now and its not budged; it just has lots of blood on now. The way I look at it is that although he has allowed me into his heart by sharing his story with me, we only have intimacy one way because he wont come into my heart and look at my feelings.

And I know that him sharing his story was huge. He had planned to take his story to the grave with him and I do feel honoured that he chose to share it with me and let me in to that most protected area of his heart. But I will be more mindful of what you said and try not to lose sight of the huge gift of trust he gave me. It means a lot about how he feels about me and I shouldn't forget that.

It all so f-ing confusing! On the one hand he gave me the biggest gift of trust a person could give; on the other hand he cant hear about my pain, so I dont get to heal. Should I be ecstatic or miserable? Am I a positive force in his life or a piece of crap that doesn't get heard? I know, the answer is 'yes'.

Yes, it is very encouraging that he is here. Anything that breaks down the shame and secrecy is golden, and this site is a wonderful resource for that as well as other things. It has already done me a world of good knowing I am not alone. And I'm not just talking about my experience, but also my feelings.

Thanks again for your post and for your kind thoughts and wishes.
I wish you all the best on your journey too.

LJA


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