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#233302 - 06/24/08 10:17 PM Who to blame...
Junefriday Offline


Registered: 06/05/08
Posts: 113
Loc: Canada
My husband was abused at a very young age, by an older boy. At the time, no one knew and he didn't tell a soul until decades later. He knows that he is not to blame for the abuse. He doesn't talk about the abuse at all, but it doesn't appear as though he really blames the abuser either. I don't know if perhaps he believes that the abuser was just curious about his own sexuality, etc. or what. But, he seems to have put all of the blame on his mother.

When she learned about it, I don't think it was a case of her not believing him because he was an adult when he told her. Why would he blame her since it wasn't like she knew and did nothing? Because he seems to believe that I am like his mother (isn't this normally what men look for to a degree, in a wife?), I feel as though he is indirectly blaming me too. I didn't even know him then!

Is this normal?

_________________________
"Love comes to those who still hope even though they've been disappointed, to those who still believe even though they've been betrayed, to those who still love even though they've been hurt before.

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#233332 - 06/24/08 11:33 PM Re: Who to blame... [Re: Junefriday]
fhorns Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/10/02
Posts: 627
Junefriday,
I'm scared to admit this, moreso to myself, but I can absolutely identify. I am a survivor of abuse by my mother and brother, and my wife still says I act like a child around her. She is even disgusted at the thought of being physically intimate with me because, God, why would she want to sleep with a someone who perceives her as "Mom". That was a well founded slam from her.

I have treated her with contempt for years. Literally, since our first year married. I had dove right into therapy, survivor awareness, and I expected her to be "Mom". I think, like a little child, "isn't she supposed to do that?"

It's sad for me now. My wife has worked on her boundaries for a few years now. She was fiercely codependent, and she was there to "save" me for those first years. Her being there for me tired her out tremendously, she broke, and she now insists, demands, retorts back that she is not my "Mom".

And the truth? I don't, and haven't, seen it. But it forced a threat of divorce on Friday. "Dammit, this isn't fair!" I've thought. But nothing has changed. All I can admit right now, for me, is that I have to change.

I can't be responsible for your husband, but one thing I did do last week was this: I joined the Healing Circle on Monday mornings here at MS. I needed a safe place to air, share, and hear others. I have been alone because that is what I've done to survive. I've leaned on memories of my mom because that is all I know. But damn, there will be serious consequences if I don't see, somehow, how I'm treating my wife.

Because right now, I don't. That's why I'm in this forum tonight. I can't see it. Reading this story shows me what I can't see myself. Thank you for your post. Thank you.

What's sick is that if you were here, I'd be soft and tender, hoping you would be Mom, because you didn't (and hopefuly wouldn't) yell, or possibly abuse me. This is how I think. It's like I'm crying, "Mom, please love me". I haven't got to the grieving part yet. It'll come sooner than I expect. Thank you for sharing.



Edited by fhorns (06/24/08 11:56 PM)

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#233852 - 06/26/08 04:51 PM Re: Who to blame... [Re: fhorns]
Junefriday Offline


Registered: 06/05/08
Posts: 113
Loc: Canada
It is really weird to read your post because I have often wondered if my husband has been seeking approval from his mother. She wasn't the one who abused him, but he seems to have more blame for her than anyone. Unfortunately, he has started to point out similarities between his mother and I (often really reaching) which is just another nail in my coffin.

I am glad you are seeing the light in that you need to change some behaviour. You aren't to blame, but then neither is your wife. Are you seeing a therapist?

_________________________
"Love comes to those who still hope even though they've been disappointed, to those who still believe even though they've been betrayed, to those who still love even though they've been hurt before.

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#234044 - 06/27/08 10:16 AM Re: Who to blame... [Re: Junefriday]
jaa Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/17/07
Posts: 69
Loc: Rhode Island
Junefriday, I resent my mother a great deal. She failed to protect me as a child and that is her primary responsibility as a mother. She knew something was going on, I know this because I've discussed it with her as an adult, but she did nothing. In fact, she and my father sat me down one day and said, "Aren't you too old to be sitting on Bob's lap now?". This question made me feel like the abuse was my fault. I tell you this because your husband might be feeling the same way about his mother and that is why he blames her.

fhorns, my wife has also told me that I'm not her Mother. I think it stems from me not growing up and taking care of things the way a "man" is supposed to. I've been working on this for the past year and things are getting better. I try not too look to her to make the decision all the time (even the small daily crap). I think this his helping us.

_________________________
John

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#234106 - 06/27/08 02:54 PM Re: Who to blame... [Re: jaa]
Junefriday Offline


Registered: 06/05/08
Posts: 113
Loc: Canada
Jaa, I don't really know how the conversation went when my H told his mother about the abuse. It was 20 years after the fact and it was as a result of a big argument that they had. He said that the reason they fight is because he blamed her for not protecting him. She swore she didn't know.

I do know that he feels that perhaps she would have suspected something if it had happened to one of his brothers. He seems to feel as though she loves/loved them more. Often I do find that she gives them a lot of credit for the things that they do for the family, but she doesn't give him the same credit. I think it is because she doesn't necessarily see what he does because often the things he does related more to stuff his father needs not his mother. Ironically, my H is just like that in the sense that he doesn't give me credit for the things that I do around the house that still need to get done (ie. cleaning the inside of the oven) but aren't on his list of priorities.

I think a great starting point for his therapy (keeping my fingers crossed that he will go!) would be to start exploring how he feels toward his mother. I think if he understood that, his relationship with me would be much, much clearer.

I too wish that my H would be more of a "man" around the house. I definitely never wanted to live with a "I wear the pants in the family" type, but it is frustrating that every decision weighs heavily on my shoulders and that daily stuff is primarily done by me. Often the frustration is because I don't see a lot of appreciation for it (though I used to) and I now worry that if I screw up even the smallest thing, it is just another nail in my coffin.

_________________________
"Love comes to those who still hope even though they've been disappointed, to those who still believe even though they've been betrayed, to those who still love even though they've been hurt before.

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#234114 - 06/27/08 03:57 PM Re: Who to blame... [Re: Junefriday]
jaa Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/17/07
Posts: 69
Loc: Rhode Island
There was no way for me to deal with the issues of how badly I hurt my wife, how much I hate my mother, sex, etc. before I learned/realized/faced that the SA was the cause. I tried working on the other issues without facing the SA and failed miserably.

_________________________
John

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#234165 - 06/27/08 09:00 PM Re: Who to blame... [Re: jaa]
fhorns Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/10/02
Posts: 627
Yeah, June, it is hard for me to read this--and actually hear a woman's feedback. I am more intimidated by female's judgements than men's. The "mother" thread has been apparent my whole adult life, in different forms. I've either blamed or been afraid to admit mom-like behaviours to past girlfriends, and either way, I chose not to allow them in after that. And with men, I thought it was easy to keep them out. Not anymore. I need them. It's not easy, but I am not a friend to myself when alone too long.
Therapy, not right now. Scared I won't be supported again financially by my wife because I can't afford it. I'm going to have to search out help. Will do so tonight online. RAINN is a big organization I touched base with years ago when I started therapy.
Thanks jaa. Your feedback is precious to me. I'm there. Have been there a long time. Tried and trying to ignore it. But damn, it's ugly and rearing its head. Maybe I'm getting mad enough to kick the s*** out of it. Well, maybe. I'm gonna listen to the seasoned guys around here first. Then I'll come and kick its butt again. Yeahhh.....


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#234235 - 06/27/08 11:47 PM Re: Who to blame... [Re: fhorns]
Bewlayb1 Offline
Guest

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 241
Loc: NYC
Hi junefriday,

I share the same view as your husband, and though it may not be logical, it makes sense to me. I was sexually abused by a gym teacher for about two years. He fed me lies, manipulated me, and destroyed my soul, but I don't really blame him. There are so many pedophiles out there. I despise them all, and not particularly the one who abused me. My anger is focused on the world and my parents, more so my mother.

It's simply because I loved her and trusted her. She's an alcoholic and somehow she has this power over her children that they fiercely defend her. She was the cool mom. She smoked. She drank. She was sarcastic. She gave us free reign. I kept the abuse hidden from her. For ten years I was practically mute and had nightmares every night. When I became saner, around eighteen, or nineteen, I still didn't tell her, or anyone. I was so sure she would cry, scream, call the police, do something.

At twenty-one, it finally exploded out of my mouth. Her reaction - Why didn't you say anything? Are you sure it happened? You acted all right growing up, just shy! - I was not just shy. I was a lunatic. I don't remember much from those years, from eight to eighteen, but everyday I'm grateful I survived. I was in a delusional fantasy world. I had no social skills. I took long walks, hoping for someone to seduce me (rape me.) I lost any sense of self, or any idea what I looked like. I dreamt each night of things like aborted fetuses and severed limbs. I'd rather be dead than be back there. She wasn't even angry at the man who did this to me.

My mother should have protected me. She should have seen the signs. Instead, she made jokes about how I'd end up a priest because I hated sex so much.

She's human. She's flawed. She never abused her children. She was physically abused by her father. I forgive her, but I'm disillusioned. I can't love her the way I loved her until eight, until the abuse.

Yes, the pedophile did this to me. But I expected more from her. I don't hate my mother. Still, your husband may have a right to his anger. Maybe it's something justified, and not something that should be "fixed" in therapy.

He definitely should not blame you. He feels betrayed by his mother, and its not fair to project that on anyone else. That's something he SHOULD work on.

Best luck to both of you.


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#238652 - 07/17/08 11:36 AM Re: Who to blame... [Re: Bewlayb1]
Junefriday Offline


Registered: 06/05/08
Posts: 113
Loc: Canada
Thanks for the point of view Bewlayb1. It is really interesting to hear it articulated that way and it does make sense. My H doesn't talk about it. He just makes mean comments about his mother without really explaining why. I don't think he has the ability to really understand his feelings - what and why he feels the way that he does. I know that she is at a loss to understand why he holds her in such contempt. On top of that, he believes that she loved his 2 brothers more. I can see how he would feel that way though as I have seen some preferential treatment. However, it is cyclical in the sense that she doesn't favour him because he is disrespectful toward her, he is that way because he blames her for not protecting him...

I think he blames me because as his wife, it is natural to see me in a "motherly" sense. I am similar to his mother in the same way that I am similar to his 2 sisters-in-law..all very independent minded. I do fear that he worries that perhaps I would not be able to protect our future children. I think he worries about his own ability to protect. But, he can't articulate any of this.

_________________________
"Love comes to those who still hope even though they've been disappointed, to those who still believe even though they've been betrayed, to those who still love even though they've been hurt before.

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