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#210114 - 03/11/08 03:08 PM Help and Input for my wife!
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2578
My wife is struggling and I don't know what to do for her.
Here's the last email I got from her:

"I'd love you no matter what. But unfortunately I'm not able to handle it. Obviously I'm failing you. Just because other wives do things doesn't make it right. I'm staying, and that's making your more miserable. I'm getting sick because I can't handle my life. And it makes me stressed and cranky. And it sucks for you...you are trying to sort things out and you don't need me here getting pain and feeling crappy and making you feel unappreciated."

I just don't know how to help her. Like she says, she feels like she's letting me down, that she's hurting me, when the fact is, without her I'd really be lost.

Any input would be helpful.


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#210118 - 03/11/08 03:37 PM Re: Help and Input for my wife! [Re: JustScott]
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus
MaleSurvivor<

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

You obviously love your wife and she loves you. If memory serves me right, you're just now getting into the thick of this mess. Are you in therapy? is she? Your wife needs as much support as you do right now and the fact that you, the one she always relied on for that support, can't do it is really messing with her. Add that to the fact that she probably feels lost and completely inadequate to "make it all better" for you and you've got one very unhappy lady. I've been there, done that and could very well be there tomorrow. The truth is though that she's not unhappy with you, it's the situation that is beyond frustrating with no microwave answer to be found.

Does your wife come here? Even more important, would you be comfortable with her coming here? From a partner's perspective I can tell you that the things the men here have shared have been priceless to me and they're one of the main reasons I've been able to stick it out without coming down on me, at least not too much. Is your wife open to reading some of the books that are suggested here, like "If the man you love was abused" or "Allies in Healing?"

If she'd like to talk to me privately, let me know and I'll do what I can. In the meanwhile, keep telling her how much you love her and need her and that you're working on YOU so that you can both make your marriage better. Your love and reassurance is something she desperately needs.

ROCK ON......Trish

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

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#210125 - 03/11/08 04:13 PM Re: Help and Input for my wife! [Re: Trish4850]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2578
I've tried to encourage her to come here. So far she won't. I bought the book, "If the man you love was abused" she hasn't picked it up yet. I've tried to get her to talk to others that she trusts, even some who know what I'm dealing with, and she won't. Emotionally my wife is a very closed person around others, her whole family is, even with one another, so she learned it honestly, but it's messing her up. I took her to the emergency room this weekend because of abdominal pain and the best they can figure is that she has an ulcer. :-( It's really messing with her health all over. Add to the mix that was have an 8 month old daughter who needs constant care and a 7 year old son and it's just that much more stress. And I truly am at a loss as to how to help her. I'm trying, but nothing seems to help.

I missed a question or two up there, Yes I'm seeing a therapist, it's been a weekly thing for me. No she's not seeing a therapist. According to her she doesn't need one, even though I suggested seeing about brining her along a few times.



Edited by JustScott (03/11/08 04:14 PM)

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#210128 - 03/11/08 04:43 PM Re: Help and Input for my wife! [Re: JustScott]
AnneWantsToHelp Offline
New Here

Registered: 03/06/08
Posts: 15
I'm not a wife but I have endured 2 decades of loving
and continuing to try to support a CSA survivor.

Your wife is lost in her role to support you.
She doesn't feel as though she matters in your
life & healing process. She feels irrelevant &
worthless in your efforts to heal. She doesn't
want to add the weight of her pain to yours which
is why she'd rather step out of the picture.
It's her sacrifice for you.

Do not respond in an email.

VERBALLY tell her that the mere fact of having her by
your side is enough. Tell her that outside of listening
her presence is definitely needed. Tell her that you can
not & or DO NOT want to do this without her & that you
need & want her to stay. Tell her that you do not mean
to make her feel unwanted or not needed. Tell her that
you aren't asking her to leave or to give you space.

Tell her that you would only want her to leave
if it is SHE (not you) who needs to take a break.
Let her know you will sacrifice losing her presence
for a short while, if it'll make her better overall.

If she still feels the need to take a break, let her
know that you will welcome her return after she's had
time to regain her emotional strength.

Please stress that you'd rather she stay with you
through this. Also tell her that no matter what
you aren't going to leave her or give up on keeping
her in your life.

Tell her that your main goal is to heal so that
you can live in a happier state of mind as well
as be able to make her happier - which is 1 of
the ultimate reasons why you married her in the
1st place.

Do not apologize for the weight of your pain.
But let her know that you do realize hers.

She should be aware that things may get worse
before it gets better.

You know your wife better then us all so I'm
sure there is more you can add to this.

Please introduce her to the site. Show
her examples of women who come here hopeless.
(LIKE ME - LOL). And then show examples of how
these same women are doing much better now..then
when they 1st joined. (LIKE ME NOW - LOL)

Also show her examples of men who admit to hurting
loved one (intentionally & inadvertently). Once
she is able to witness different stories with the
same struggles, from people of all walks of life &
all over the world, she will definitely feel a hell
of a lot better.

She will also realize how much SHE DOES matter in
your life & path to healing.

And then let her know that sincere people like
Trish shares her pain & is more then happy to
actively extend her support on & off site.

-anne

_________________________
Treat everyone you meet as if they were God in disguise.

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#210138 - 03/11/08 05:33 PM Re: Help and Input for my wife! [Re: JustScott]
Liv2124 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 159
Loc: New Jersey
Your wife would definitely benefit from coming here, it's a great comfort to talk through the feelings she's experiencing, (which we've ALL experienced in the past and still do) and to know she's not alone in all of this.
"Like she says, she feels like she's letting me down, that she's hurting me, when the fact is, without her I'd really be lost." That's a beautiful statement. I think as partners, what we feel and what we see happening conflict and it can get confusing. I know I'm loved, but at the same time, he'll start a fight over the littlest thing to put emotional distance between us. He'll obviously have something on his mind, and if I ask about it, he'll make some bitchy little comment so I'll back off. There are times when he's not aware of it, but just as many times he does it with agenda. She can tell you're unhappy, going through a difficult time and she feels powerless to help you. And she's spot on, she IS powerless over what's happening. Once she understands the rational behind why, she'll begin to feel less at fault, and she'll feel less like she's failing you.
Between us, things go back and forth. There are things we've been able to work through, and alot we haven't. I know I felt better and far less stressed when I stopped walking on eggshells and worrying that I was going to say or do the wrong thing. It will sound alittle crazy, but I just came to the conclusion that he might get pissed off regardless of what I said or did, so why not say or do it?
And there are alot of effects of the csa that impact a relationship. Communication, intimacy, sex, etc. When these things are compromised, it's hard for anyone not to take it personally and not feel at least partially responsible for what's not right. I had to self-evaluate and take inventory of what was important to me. What I love about him, how he makes me feel, things that had absolutely NOTHING to do with the csa. She may need to step back and process what's happening and put things into perspective.
What she doesn't understand, is that most wives, girlfriends and partners didn't handle everything perfectly from disclosure on. Like I said, (and people here can tell you :0) ) I STILL have my "breakdown" moments 28 years in, when I'm in a bad mood, feel like my feelings are being trampled on, feel unappreciated. Even as I write this, I have to laugh because I can experience the same emotions at the hands of my 3 teenagers!
Just as you have to work out alot of your issues on your own, so does she. You both obviously love each other very much, and starting with a strong foundation puts you ahead of the game. She would benefit from seeing a therapist, but just as we can't make our men go, you can't make your spouse go either.
I would continue to encourage her to come into this site. She'll find alot of support here as she works through all of this.

My thoughts are with you both.
Liv


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#210225 - 03/12/08 02:18 AM Re: Help and Input for my wife! [Re: Liv2124]
LJA Offline
Guest

Registered: 02/05/08
Posts: 35
Hey Scott,

I was so sad to read your post. I am so sorry you and your wife are having such a tough time at the moment. Its very obvious you both love each other very much so there has GOT to be a way through this.
I agree with a lot of what has been posted on this thread. But a couple of things occurred to me as I was reading that I'd like to share... I'm not sure how helpful you'll find them, but you did say "any input" \:\)

First, it seems that the problem might be bigger than your wife not being able to open up to someone else. The book you got her is a really good one, IMO, but reading a book doesn't involve opening up at all. If she hasn't opened the book there must be another reason.

Also, she may be feeling panicky because her world has changed. I'm sure there is a proper label for this, but sorry, I dont know it so I'm going to have to be long winded. You know how when a person changes everyone around them is forced to change too, whether they want to or not? Well, you are going through big changes right now which means she has to change too. maybe she doesn't want to. Maybe she's panicking because she needs to change into a person who leans on other people for support and opens up to them and she doesn't know how to do that.
If this is the case, maybe you emphasizing what ISNT going to change will help.
You love her, you want her, you need her. No matter what else happens, that will stay the same.

She said she feels as though she is failing you. That's such a terrible way to feel. Have you told her specifically what helping you looks like? Giving her concrete examples of things she can do (or does do) that help you might be helpful if you haven't already done it. I have very specific instructions on what to do and not do in many situations (such as flashbacks, memory sharing etc.) so that I can be as supportive as possible and not worry too much about wether I'm doing the right thing. I guess basically I'm asking if you've discussed with her how exactly to help you. It may turn out to be a lot easier than she thinks.

Also, reminding her that this is just a phase. It's a phase from hell that no-one should ever have to go through, but it will end. You are in the beginning stages of your recovery right now and you are working hard. One day you'll be through this stage and things will be better.

About the therapy, would she go with you on the understanding that she didn't have to talk if she didn't want to? Even if it took her several sessions to say anything at all, you and the therapist could still discuss things you think she might need to hear.

Ok, I'm saving my naughty suggestion for the end. I am suggesting this because it seems to me that if she were able to open up and get some support, things would really improve. So, here goes... the way to get me to do the unthinkable (whatever that may be) would be to convince me it was in my kids' best interest. If you could show your wife that her being healthy and supported and looking after herself is the best thing for your children, she might be willing to do it. This point shouldn't be difficult to argue since its true!

Hope some of this helps,
I'll be thinking about you both,

LJA


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#210281 - 03/12/08 12:30 PM Re: Help and Input for my wife! [Re: LJA]
honey girl Offline
Member

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

I am sorry things are tough at the moment for both of you. It will get better, probably, and sooner than you may think--it's that meantime that's so overwhelming.

I took the liberty to check through some of your other original posts so I could gather a better sense of what has been going on for you.

In one, when you were discussing your disclosure to/from your sister recently, you mentioned that you both suspect your wife has a CSA history of her own. If you have that suspicion, then (whether it's true or not) keep in mind that she may well be exhausted by her own battles. You know how hard it is to keep it all closed in! Even if she decides on reflection that she was not herself abused, the effort to wade through all of that muck is tiring. And, if she does eventually realize that she has her own stuff to deal with (that she may not have been wanting to confront, at least not right now), that's pretty painful too.

As LJA said above--when one person in a couple/family changes, everyone around them changes too. It's often scary to have that change happen, willy-nilly, no matter whether you want it to or not. This, too, is hard for a survivor to cope with, the lack of control over changes in what one holds most dear.

Also, please don't underestimate the challenge for both of you of coping with an 8-month-old. I know, it's not your first, so you both may think this is easier. But all babies are exhausting. Are you both getting good sleep? And there's possibly more. For your wife, as newly the mother of a baby girl, it may be especially triggering: not that your wife was necessarily abused as an infant, but because the baby is now the second constant reminder of the vulnerability of children (and a girl besides). Part of parenting, I think, is the task of re-parenting ourselves in a way--giving our kids what we wished we could have had. And that sometimes is a lot to live up to.

It really sounds to me like you need some more energy in the relationship. You're worn out by early recovery, on top of all the other responsibilities of daily life, and your wife is similarly drained, worrying over you and everything else she has to handle. If you have few external resources available to sustain you in this tough stretch you're both going to be frustrated and discouraged that you have so little to give each other. Your wife may feel that her core purpose in the family is to make everyone happy--perhaps an issue to reflect upon, if that's so--and not to attend so much to her own needs. But to exhaust oneself is not healthy. I like LJA's suggestion, and I'd add the old "oxygen mask on the airplane" one: you cannot be of help to anyone else when you yourself are suffocating. Would she consider going to joint therapy with you for a while? That might be a less threatening start. And besides that--what do you each do, separately and together, for fun?

There are really no good results to come out of CSA directly. But, out of the recovery process, there might be a few--in particular, the opportunity to grow. Change can be scary as well as exciting. Good luck to both of you for the patience and good humor it will take for you to get to the next stage.

Peace,
HG

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

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#210303 - 03/12/08 02:53 PM Re: Help and Input for my wife! [Re: honey girl]
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus
MaleSurvivor<

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

You've gotten some really good input, but how to implement it is another story all together. It sounds from your 2nd post that your wife is not the kind of person to ask for help. She may be very loving of everyone around her, but incapable of seeing that her own hardships are anything anyone has to worry about so asking for help is not something she's willing to do. Do you talk to her about your T sessions and any positives that your taking away from them? So many times in F&F we hear that the best thing we can do for our men is to lead by example. To live our lives as best we can by taking care of ourselves. I think you're in the same position with your wife. If your words are not enough to make her come here or read books or go to a T, then the only thing you can do is what's best for you and bring her along for the ride. That's alot to put on your plate while dealing with all of this, but I don't see another answer.

Will she read this thread if you print it and give her a copy?

ROCK ON.......Trish

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

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#210313 - 03/12/08 03:43 PM Re: Help and Input for my wife! [Re: Trish4850]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2578
I tell her allot about what my T and I talk about. I keep her filled in on things. I've already sent her quite a few of the replies. She said she would read them. I hope something hits home.

Thanks everyone for your input and feedback!


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#210318 - 03/12/08 03:50 PM Re: Help and Input for my wife! [Re: JustScott]
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus
MaleSurvivor<

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
Sorry Scott, I guess I'm just a master of the obvious.

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

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