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#213772 - 03/28/08 07:49 PM An open letter to the women we love
WalkingSouth Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16265
Some of you, as well as my own wife (not an MS participant), have raised the question over the months and years to us as male survivors of sexual abuse why it is we’re so hung up on spending time on this site. In the words of my wife from a couple of years back:

Quote:
That’s all you ever do. You sit there and talk to your friends. What about me? What about us? What about our relationship? What about the family? What about the things that need to be done around here like cleaning out the garage or the leak in the roof that needs to be fixed? I may as well be living alone. In fact, I think that may be a good idea.

Well, you raise legitimate concerns. Yes, you do need attention from your man. The roof does need fixing. All those things and issues need to be taken care of. I won’t make excuses for my failure on any of it. I’m wondering though if you realize the extent of the damage done to your husband or boyfriend and what this process of recovery looks like from his point of view.

We have coped all these years doing the best we can at so many things. We’ve even been good at some of it, but the impact of the abuse has been festering away deep inside of us for decades in some cases. We’ve been in denial for years telling ourselves that the abuse, if we thought of it as such, or even remember it, had no lasting impact on our lives, that we’re over it, it’s in the past.

In reality however it’s taken its toll on us and those we love. We’ve been angry and taken that anger out perhaps on you or the kids. Maybe we’ve only taken it out on the clerk at the supermarket or the boy who pumps our gas (Oregon only cuz the rest of you have to pump your own!). Maybe we’ve never had a backbone and always allowed others to walk all over us. Maybe we’ve acted out over the years, engaging in clandestine sexual encounters with other men or women. Maybe we’ve had an affair or been addicted to pornography.

Maybe we’ve been all of the above. The point is that the sexual abuse messed us up in some very vital areas of our life and we’re now coming to understand that. At some point in the recent past we suddenly realized that our life was a mess and that if we didn’t do something, our life as we have come to know it will be gone forever.

We looked for help and we found this place. Perhaps we stumbled onto it by accident. Perhaps it was recommended by our therapist following a session or two in his office. Whatever the case we are here, we are in therapy, and we are working on this, but to be quite honest it is nearly overwhelming us. The emotional pain from the flashbacks and flooding memories, the realization of ALL THE WASTED YEARS is nearly more than we are able to handle and it WON’T GO AWAY! We’re on the edge and barely hanging on. We buried it for years or decades and now it’s all rushing out in a massive, paralyzing flood.

We’re now realizing that our way of responding to life is flawed in certain ways. Our lives, our masculinity, our courage, our sense of self, such as it is, are all called into question. Everything we’ve understood as the norm for so many years is now unfamiliar territory. We don’t know which way to turn or what problems to address first.

But we’ve found hope, small though that hope may be. We’re here on this site because for the first time in our lives we understand that we are not alone. There are other men who have traveled this path ahead of us and who understand what we are going through. They have become our friends, but more than that; right now they are our lifeline to sanity.

For many of us even something so decidedly masculine as making love to our sweetheart can be problematic. We may feel we need and even desire that intimacy with you but when we attempt it the memories of the abuse and the abuser push their way in against our will, making it next to impossible for us to function sexually.

We spend our day just making it through and even at that, perhaps our boss is on us because of our lapse in attention or our poor productivity. Many of us find ourselves in the restroom stall crying at different times throughout the day. We come home, and we know there is someone who understands just a click or two away. We need to go there. We need to discover the answers because we know they are there. We know that this member or that one will have some good advise or a new way of looking at a particular issue that we’ve never thought of before.

We understand you need us too. We truly do, but right now this may be all we’re capable of doing. Think of it this way. Let’s say your husband was in a terrible auto accident. He was all broken up and has been in a coma for many months, then one day he opens his eyes and looks at you. That’s all, just opens them and looks. Would you celebrate or would you berate him for not walking and talking and earning a living?

In a way, that is what has happened to us as survivors of CSA. We've been wounded and our eyes are finally open but we’re still terribly hurt. We realize it. We want better for our life and for our life together with you. Right now we don’t even know how to get there. We’re in the care of our therapist and we’re in the loving care of the men here who know how it is with us, and we’re slowly getting better. We are unable to undo years of abuse and the resulting denial, anger, and acting out in a few short weeks or months.

There is also a physiological reason behind our concentration on recovery as well. Without going into detail as to how or why it happens, men have only a few connecting nerves linking the two halves of their brain, while women have many.

One therapist I know put it this way:

“Women have several nerve freeways connecting the two halves of their brain while us men only have a couple of nerve dirt-bike paths.”

What that means in practical terms is that us men are very task oriented. We see something that needs to be done and we set about to accomplish it. We get it done and look around to see what comes next and move on to that. In short, we’re linear thinkers.

Women, on the other hand, have “the big picture” in mind most of the time. They’re taking care of the baby, talking to mom on the phone, remembering supper on the stove, thinking about the client they need to touch bases with first thing tomorrow, and letting the dog back in the house all at the same time, and all the while thinking about how much they love their husband, or how much they despise him because he’s not helping! \:\)

While you are seeing the big picture, we’re looking at the task at hand, which for us at the moment is recovery. We know it’s necessary in spite of how badly it hurts and we’re goal oriented. There’s no way it will leave our mind, even for a second. That is not because we’re obsessing over it, but because it’s like the elephant in the living room. It’s stepping constantly on our heart and it constantly hurts, which keeps it at the forefront of our mind 24/7.

We want to get this fixed and we understand that it will be a long time before we are able to feel “normal” again. We also understand your need to set some boundaries. We actually need you to do that, but nagging us isn’t going to work. It will only make us feel controlled. Being controlled by another person is something we unfortunately are very familiar with, which means you may have to get lovingly creative in your boundary setting in order for it to be effective.

It has been said many times on these pages that our women are also victims of the abusers as well. That is another reason this is so painful to us because we see what it is doing to our family. We’re working on it. We really are. It’s just that it doesn’t look like you think it should and you are feeling abandoned and neglected. We get that.

Though we can try, we cannot discontinue our recovery. Many of us were out of control when we decided to embark on this journey and to stop now would condemn you and us to more and worse out of control behavior than what has gone before. Pandora’s Box has been opened and can never be shut. The only way past this thing is straight through the middle of it, which means we’re going to be pretty much focused inward for quite some time to come.

The good news is that the further along this path we travel the better it becomes for us and you. I began my recovery journey close to five years ago. I began therapy just over four years ago, and found this website coming up on three years ago. I am only just recently getting to the place where I don’t feel this compulsive urge to be here every waking minute of the day.

Yes, I still spend lots of time here, but I am increasingly aware that there is another world out there; that I have a wife who needs more attention from me than I’ve been able to give for a very long time. Thankfully I am increasingly able to give her that attention without the demons raising their ugly heads to interfere with the love I have to offer.

Finally, I’d like to ask each of you to remember that our recovery does not necessarily mean that we will become your model of what you want us to be. Recovery gives us many good things to enhance the life of the great men we already were, but we are still distinctly us. We are individuals and our recovery may take us in directions neither you nor we ever dreamed of. We hope you will not be disappointed in or resent the changes in our lives brought about by our recovery. That is why it is advisable for each of you to pursue your own journey of discovery, recovery, and even therapy along with us. Let’s face it, when your husband or boyfriend goes through therapy and recovery, changes will take place in his life. You may end up feeling threatened in some way by those changes unless you, too, are ready to grow along with him.

There is evil afoot in the world, yes, but there is a lot of goodness as well. This site and the men who come here are living proof of that fact. It is terribly unfortunate that any of us ever had to suffer the kind of things we did but, as our brother and former moderator Brian says in his sig line, “Recovery is possible”.

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

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#213773 - 03/28/08 07:59 PM Re: An open letter to the women we love [Re: WalkingSouth]
DanM Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/09/07
Posts: 540
Loc: So. California
I commend you on your letter...you did an exceptional job! I am going to share this with my wife this weekend. I was thinking about all the time I spend on here and why I do it. I would never been able to so eloquently say what you said. I thank you for your words and your thoughts.
I will put them to good use.

Dan


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#213801 - 03/28/08 09:14 PM Re: An open letter to the women we love [Re: DanM]
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus
MaleSurvivor<

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
Thank you John. For laying out hard truths and for explaining the difficult facts and circumstances of what our men are dealing with and that we too need to deal with.

Most importantly though, thank you for the hope you let us see when we get farther down this road.

We had a partner, sometimes for many years, even though "something just wasn't right." The revelation of csa and it's far reaching effects is at once a relief to know and a horror to contemplate, but OK, now we've got a demon with a name and sometimes a face to fight and believe me, us partners are ready, willing and itching to have that fight!

Then we find out, we can't have the fight - it's your fight and we can only stand by and watch. Not only that, but we are shut out - our partner becomes even more distant from us, whether it's because of this site, or therapy, or whatever he's doing to turn things around. That's a bitter pill to swallow while walking the tightrope and "taking care of the baby, talking to mom on the phone, remembering supper on the stove, thinking about the client they need to touch bases with first thing tomorrow, and letting the dog back in the house all at the same time, and all the while thinking about how much they love their husband, or how much they despise him because he’s not helping!"

Your very clear explanation of what's happening is exactly what I needed to hear. We need a shot in the arm every now and then to remind us of exactly what's going on and to tell us that it is worth it.

A post like this is just another reason why I love this place. There is no way in hell my b/f would ever be able to communicate this to me no matter how hard he tried. He'd break down first or I'd talk - most likely both.

Thank you.........Trish

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

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#213852 - 03/28/08 11:32 PM Re: An open letter to the women we love [Re: Trish4850]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2588
Sticky! Sticky! Sticky! Make this a Sticky!

I'm gonna print it out and Sticky it somewhere where my wife can find it! Heck I'll probably just Sticky it to her forehead :-)


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#213859 - 03/29/08 12:18 AM Re: An open letter to the women we love [Re: JustScott]
frost Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/15/07
Posts: 1377
Loc: Eh?
John,

Standing ovation for this one. Thank you for writing/Sharing it.

~Brian

_________________________
Boom!

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#213881 - 03/29/08 03:09 AM Re: An open letter to the women we love [Re: frost]
mogigo Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 04/24/07
Posts: 1331
Loc: Colorado
wow John, amazingly.....well amazing post. 1 in 6 is the stat for men abused in their life. 14,000 is the stat in Canada for suicide per year, 30 mill \ 6 \ 14,000 = 3125. That's 3125 survivors every year that commit suicide. Let us have our time here partners, it's the difference between life and death.

We're sorry you've been dragged into this.

I was almost a stat

Stay strong
Mike



Edited by mogigo (03/29/08 03:18 AM)
_________________________
Thriving

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#213941 - 03/29/08 11:50 AM Re: An open letter to the women we love [Re: mogigo]
Lou Offline
Guest

Registered: 11/10/07
Posts: 100
Walkingsouth,

Thank you for the post. I have learned a lot from this site and I always appreciate the input from you men to help me understand more.

I hope that this does not sound disrespectful, for that is surely not what I am trying to do. But instead I am trying to speak from my own heart about the pain that I feel and I wonder if perhaps others do too.

I can truly appreciate Moqiqo's post above about the statistics of CSA and what a tragic end can come to people if they are not able to deal with their issues and become healtier. I am a true testament to that as my first husband and I divorced when our children were very young. He had become a very mixed up individual, drinking too much, having an affair, and God only knows what else, was a veteran of the Vietnam War. Perhaps he even had PTSD as I hear many of you talk about in these posts...I don't know....there were so many things we did not talk about. And now, 25 years later, and knowing all that I know about CSA, I even question if perhaps something had happened in his own childhood that he could not talk about and for sure that he could not ever share with me. Well, within 2 years of our divorce, his 2nd marriage failing, his finances a mess, job problems, etc. etc. etc. he did the ultimte and did commit suicide. And yes, I was still very much in love with him at the time. Therefore, I feel that I do know and can so relate to the tragic aftermath of someone who did not or was not able to get the kind of help they needed. The impact that all of this had on me and my two now grown children is something that I can not even begin to put into words...I would not know where to even begin there is so much.

And yes, his life was certainly worth more than having some wife or GF perhaps complain about the time he was spending in individual therapy, group therapy, on websites like Male Survivor, going to retreats or whatever to get himself well. A human life is so valuable and as I said above, I do not want to minimize that at all or show any disrespect.

I do understand that the makeup of man versus woman is very much different, we women are usually very capable of juggling a million balls all at the same time and not dropping a one. And I have to admit and be honest here that there are times when I really resent the fact that because we were created this way and men were created entirely different that somehow that becomes the excuse for us to have to take on even more.

As I was reading this post I was thinking, Oh My God! What if when what happened to me and my children I had become so consumed in my own issues....Oh My God! What on earth would have become of my babies whom I love so dearly that I would have died a million times over to have spared them the pain of what their father did to them.

I know that my current BF has got to get this part of his life fixed before he can have a life himself, with me, or with anyone else for that matter. And I don't think he can ever say that I have not been anything but supportive of that. But I also think it is very important to keep things in perspective and in balance for the ones you love so dearly.

You can not go to the store, buy a new plant or tree that you absolutely love, bring it home, set it in the living room, not open the shades so it gets lots of light and sunshine, not water it, not give it food to grow, not polish its leaves and expect it to live and grow. (Maybe a little drastic?)

Likewise, none of us....including us women that are involved with men of CSA can do this and expect our relationships to live and grow. All human beings need nurturing to survive...I hope that by going down this terrible course that we all seem to be on that none and I mean none of us have forgotten that.

Thank you for the post.

Lou


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#213949 - 03/29/08 12:27 PM Re: An open letter to the women we love [Re: Lou]
WalkingSouth Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16265
Lou,

Your very valid post brings up the point that the impact of CSA is what it is and it sure as hell is not fair for anyone.

For instance, My wife is a CSA survivor as well. From the moment of our marriage I became aware that she had sexual issues. She was unable to make love because she was repulsed by it at a time when I was fully functional at least in that area of my life, having no recall of my own abuse at the time. I stood by her in spite of that because I loved the person she is outside of her issues.

Like I say, the impact of the SA and it's aftermath is what it is. No, it's not fair to anyone involved but recrimination and bitterness is useless at this point in the game. We either go forward and work our way through the mess or we allow the dysfunction it causes to overwhelm and ultimately destroy us and those we love. It's a matter of choice.

Myself nor any one of the men who've responded to this so far are willing to use the words I've written as and excuse for remaining dysfunctional or purposely ignoring our wife or girlfriend. Like my wife during the early years of our marriage, there is solid a reason behind our inability to be fully functional in our relationship with you.

The challenge then becomes how, together, we can make this thing happen and allow each other the space we need to do that. It's an unfortunate fact that our problem becomes yours as well and visa versa as long as both partners are willing to stay in the relationship. That's at least one aspect of what relationship is all about.

A therapist I know told me one time:

Quote:
We were broken in relationship and only in relationship will we be able to find healing.

That is the challenge before both halves of this relationship that has been so drastically impacted by CSA. Figuring out how to make their way through the aftermath to their mutual benefit and their benefit as a couple. If they can do that there can only be good things for them on the other side. If not...

Lots of love,

John



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

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#213974 - 03/29/08 02:12 PM Re: An open letter to the women we love [Re: WalkingSouth]
Lou Offline
Guest

Registered: 11/10/07
Posts: 100
John,

For myself, what or how you said your second post makes so much more sense to me than your first. Some of your words from your first post really struck a nerve with me. Sorry! Again I don't mean to sound disrespectful of you or any of the men on this site. Perhaps it is just my perception as nothing is right or wrong, black or white.

I like your statement about moving forward and working thru the mess or allowing the dysfunction to totally destroy oneself. I know that my BF is clearly making every effort possible to move beyond all of this and be happier and healthier than he has ever been. And for that, I am truly happy and supportive.

And I also know that because of his CSA and the effects that it has had on him/me/we....I too am having to move forward and work thru the mess so I don't allow the dysfunction to totally destroy me.

We both may not always like the paths that we each have taken, but we are both trying to be supportive of one another on the journey.

Hopefully in the end we will both be stronger together...but if not...we will for sure both be stronger!

Thanks again.

Lou


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#214076 - 03/29/08 10:54 PM Re: An open letter to the women we love [Re: Lou]
WalkingSouth Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16265
Lou,

The point I make in the second post is a totally different point than the one I make in the first. In fact it is probably the natural extension of, but does not negate any of the points made in the first.

I have discovered over the last 5 years that we humans are triggered for a reason by the things other people say. Sometimes it's because the person really is being the south end of a north bound horse. Sometimes what they say strikes close enough to home that our immediate reaction is negative. At that point, if we are being honest with ourselves, we probably need to investigate what it is that is bothering us to see if there is something we need to learn.

I'm not saying you're doing something wrong. I'm simply offering it because you indicated my first post was triggering to you. I was aware that was a possibility which is why i ran it by someone I trust who is also the S/O of a survivor prior to posting. Frankly I thought the second post was more brutal in places than the first, but that goes to show how perceptions can vary between people. In a way that's a perfect example of the point I'm trying to make, one man's trigger is another man's truth.

Lots of love,

John

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

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#214151 - 03/30/08 11:55 AM Re: An open letter to the women we love [Re: WalkingSouth]
Lou Offline
Guest

Registered: 11/10/07
Posts: 100
John,

Yes, your first post was extremely triggering for me. I think what hit home from it is that even though I am not a survivor of CSA, and my issues from my past don't really belong on this site, some 25 years after the suicide of my first husband the aftermath of my BF's CSA has now reopened those old wounds and I too am bleeding again. Everything that I felt then, I am feeling now.

Some 25 years ago I too felt all alone. I too found myself in the bathroom stall crying, I had been a stay at home mom and now I too was having a hard time concentrating on my job of which my children depended on to feed and clothe them, I too coped the best way that I knew how. I was alone, he had made the decision to end his life and leave me to pick up the pieces.

Now some 25 years later, I do not have the worries that I had above. I am financially independent, I do not have two small children to worry about. But I am still alone. I am experiencing the very same feelings and emotions that I had some 25 years ago, sadness, anger, betrayal, loss of a loved one, he is not dead but I am still alone. We rarely discuss my feelings or needs when it doesn't turn into more about him.

"We understand you need us too. We truly do, but right now this may be all we’re capable of doing".

For me, I found your quote above to bring me even more sadness.
It doesn't bring me much hope and leads me to believe that it may be a very long, long time before he may be capable of doing anything different.

Thanks.
Lou


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#214157 - 03/30/08 12:36 PM Re: An open letter to the women we love [Re: Lou]
WalkingSouth Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16265
Lou,

This topic has nearly come full circle, from the view of the male survivor in the relationship to how his dysfunction affects you, and now back to the impact of the realization that his dysfunction may be a long term thing. That realization was one of the points I was attempting to get across.

I remember when I first started therapy my T at the time had no experience with treating males who had been sexually abused and suggested I read the book "Courage to Heal". I picked it up off the store shelf and realized it was a book about and for the sexually abused female. I had secretly read it some years previously when trying to understand my wife's dysfunction. I knew immediately that much of the material in the book could not be of use to me as a male survivor. It just didn't apply.

This then becomes the dichotomy faced by the spouse or significant other of a survivor, to gain a comprehension of what he/she is facing, and once that comprehension dawns, to decide firstly what is best for oneself, and secondly what is best for the relationship and the survivor.

Quote:
It doesn't bring me much hope and leads me to believe that it may be a very long, long time before he may be capable of doing anything different.

Which is exactly why our partners need to take care of themselves first. This is the scary thing for me as a survivor to tell my wife because my fear is that in the end, due to my dysfunctions, she may decide what is best for her is to leave. In reality, when faced with what may be a lifetime of denial and refusal to face the issues head on, that should probably be the decision many parters make and too few actually do.

On the other hand, if the survivor is actively engaged in healing like so many of the men here on this site are, one would think that there is hope. One would hope that our wives or girlfriends would cut us some slack. It may yet take some time before we are able to be the actively engaged and the functional husbands or boyfriends you would like, but we're working on it. It hurts like hell, but we're trying to make it happen and our sincere hope is that you'll still be there with us on the other side.

Lots of love,

John

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

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#214162 - 03/30/08 01:00 PM Re: An open letter to the women we love [Re: WalkingSouth]
Lou Offline
Guest

Registered: 11/10/07
Posts: 100
John,

I am scared too.

Thanks again.

Lou


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#214188 - 03/30/08 03:43 PM Re: An open letter to the women we love [Re: Lou]
mogigo Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 04/24/07
Posts: 1331
Loc: Colorado
Lou, I'm not currently in a relationship but the real motivation for me being here is so that one day I can. I think the "other" is definately forefront in most of our minds, but we've come to understand that without doing all the work on us, not much good are we to them. I think that "you" are on our minds constantly but because of the large nature of the "work" we need to do, it can seem like it's all about us.

Just an opinion but I think that's so far from the truth.

You talk about how it always comes back to his issues, the problem is he can't even deal with his own issues, how could he possibly feel he can help you with your's. Think of you're child asking you for help with his math but you don't know anything about math, so you tell him you're going to go back to school and learn math. Would seem like it just became all about you to the child, but again, you're not much good to him/her if you don't know how to do math.

Stay strong
Mike

_________________________
Thriving

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#214294 - 03/31/08 12:13 AM Re: An open letter to the women we love [Re: mogigo]
Muldoon Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/30/02
Posts: 1428
Loc: St Paul MN
Man John this couldn't be more timely for me. I will E Mail this to my wife this week. Thanks for speaking and writing for me.


Tom

_________________________
Teach the Children to Never Hide in the Silence

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#214300 - 03/31/08 12:29 AM Re: An open letter to the women we love [Re: Muldoon]
WalkingSouth Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16265
Lou,

Just sending along a safe hug and hope it helps.

(((((Lou)))))

John

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

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#214331 - 03/31/08 07:15 AM Re: An open letter to the women we love [Re: WalkingSouth]
honey girl Offline
Member

Registered: 10/09/06
Posts: 245
Loc: Midwest US
Hi, all--

One reason I appreciate this site so much is the incredible honesty and directness of the communication here. John, I do see your points, in your original post as well as in your follow-ups, and (for what it's worth) I think you're right. Lou, I can relate to some degree to your position too. It is a rotten thing that we have to cope with this, any of us. I also hate the inability to be in charge of anything except what I myself choose to do! (I don't mean that to be funny, though I think it comes across that way.)

We F& F have slightly more discretion than the survivors themselves, though. We can indeed choose to leave the situation, by leaving the relationship--a choice that is only a partial solution, especially if children are involved, I realize; you never really leave a relationship in that case. The MS don't have that option if they want their lives to be different, better than before.

We are all in a tough spot. Fear is an entirely sensible reaction sometimes. And yet, sometimes, hope will see us through.

Peace,
HG

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

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#214395 - 03/31/08 01:45 PM Re: An open letter to the women we love [Re: WalkingSouth]
Chagrin Offline
New Here

Registered: 02/18/08
Posts: 17
Loc: BC Canada
Quote:
Which is exactly why our partners need to take care of themselves first. This is the scary thing for me as a survivor to tell my wife because my fear is that in the end, due to my dysfunctions, she may decide what is best for her is to leave. In reality, when faced with what may be a lifetime of denial and refusal to face the issues head on, that should probably be the decision many parters make and too few actually do.


Quote:
On the other hand, if the survivor is actively engaged in healing like so many of the men here on this site are, one would think that there is hope. One would hope that our wives or girlfriends would cut us some slack. It may yet take some time before we are able to be the actively engaged and the functional husbands or boyfriends you would like, but we're working on it. It hurts like hell, but we're trying to make it happen and our sincere hope is that you'll still be there with us on the other side.


Hi John!

I couldn't agree with you more on these points. My husband and I were going through some extremely rough patches before I finally made the decision that I have a role to play in his recovery as well.

Taking care of myself is not something I really feel I have ever learned to do, so I think for a time I had very unrealistic expectations of my husband. I actually found myself going through a period of denial when he first started the recovery process. I kept telling myself that he had no problems, and that we were fine, and that I just wanted all of it to go away and get swept under a rug!! I thought (painfully) about what it would be like to leave the relationship... (Looking back now I can not BELIEVE I ever thought these things!)

I am very grateful that he was strong enough at that time to push through MY problems and his own to get himself to the point in recovery that he finds himself today. It's been amazing to watch him and MYSELF learn and grow through this process!

To say the least, it's a challenge. I have periods of EXTREME loneliness, (he's not just my husband, he's also my very best friend!) and feelings of complete disconnection from him, us, and my own identity as "his wife". I have days that I forget to look after myself because it is something I am still struggling to learn...

But, in all this, I am thankful that I have made it to a point where I can recognize and learn things about myself that I never knew before, and maybe wouldn't know had I been in a "perfectly functioning" relationship.

If he's willing to put that much hard work into self healing, self discovery, and keeping "us" together, then what kind of wife or friend would I be if I was not willing to do the same?!

Thanks so much for this thread!

~ Chagrin \:\)


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#215033 - 04/03/08 11:42 AM Re: An open letter to the women we love [Re: WalkingSouth]
jcf1957 Offline
Guest

Registered: 09/11/07
Posts: 192
Loc: North Of The 49th Parallel
Hey John;
This admirable poignant post has touched me in more ways than one. It's made me see something within myself that I though was dormant for so many years of wrestling with my heterosexual identity. It's not that I entertained any thoughts of being gay.
Perhaps it's more specifically my conflicting introspection of my past rape trauma and how it has effected my disquietude with respect to my manhood being intact. You answered a multitude of questions. I know now that my heterosexual identity is intact.
But it's the haunting pain that may take quite some time yet.
I liked your analogy of the elephant in the living room stepping on the heart and the physiological hurtles men are confronted with in the way our "linear" cognitive brains process life as compared to the way woman see the "big Picture" ("most of the time"). Anyways; John I really appreciate this post.
Thanks Chris

_________________________
No affliction nor temptation, no guilt nor power of sin, no wounded spirit nor terrified conscious should induce us to despair comfort from God.

Today well lived...makes every tomorrow a vision of Hope.
Anonymous

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#215256 - 04/04/08 02:28 AM Re: An open letter to the women we love [Re: jcf1957]
WalkingSouth Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16265
Guys and Gals,

What you have witnessed in this thread is me coming to grips with and putting into words some things that were rumbling around in my head as disconnected thoughts, none of them doing me much good until I read something someone posted which was the catalyst that brought it all together.

I won't begin to pretend that I'm absolutely right in all the conclusions I've drawn. I'm sure there are other very valid perceptions of this topic that also make sense and are very true, especially from the point of view of our wives or girlfriends. What you are going through because of what happened to us is very sad and I truly am sorry.

For the guys who've responded, I'm glad some of the things I've said have been a catalyst for you in understanding more of your own journey. Though it was not written for you specifically I can now see how it would touch a chord in your being and why you were impacted the way you were. Thanks for your kind words.

To each of you, I with so many good things. I look forward to the day when places such as this will be a thing of the past because there will be no need for them.

Lots of love,

John

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

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