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#233471 - 06/25/08 01:01 PM Being honest with my wife--she needs me!
fhorns Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/10/02
Posts: 695
I've been reading through the Friends and Family forum, and I read lots I identify with. Bear in mind that most, and I mean most, that I identify with has been told me by my wife. I haven't told her about this post yet.

I hear women speaking of living with a roommate, of how the survivor will come home, say a short hello, then exit and hide. He (I) will come home even beligerent to get her away. And the turmoil is actually a language I understand. I speak that much clearer than "Oh, I had a great day at work", or "Something happened today. Let me tell you what happened".

I hear women being anxious (walking on eggshells) because they never know what kind of mood he (I) will be in. I've heard that time and time again.

I hear women getting criticized for irrelavent, umimportant changes in things such as washing/not washing dishes, her taking down time by herself, wanting to spend time with her parents, making plans for us when not checking (and then, even when she has), and really anything that has any known or unknown similarity to the abuse. Anything that looks like change. AKA-the unknown.

Finally, I hear women's cries that they are powerless, not knowing what they are doing wrong, and not knowing how to help, if even they could. With time, some leave. Some don't. We have been separated once, for almost a year. I wouldn't want to do that again, but it sure beats the other choice. I never wanted to leave, yet my wife still wants a specific "do you even want to be married?" answer. Is there even an answer for that? Yes. If I didn't, I would have left. I've only learned recently that that is how women shout the "I NEED YOUR LOVE!" message. I know she may sound controlling, but hey, I know what real control felt like as a child, and that ain't it.

I found in the F&F forum that even though I may be very distant from my wife, I couldn't hope to deal with my abuse otherwise. It's like I knew she wouldn't mistreat me because she is the loving, caring person I got to know so closely. I knew she would remain and stick it out with me. From the start, it truly was one of the clearest reason I chose to marry her. I knew more depth would come in time. I knew change would happen in us, between us. Good and bad. And compromise..acceptance of differences...and maturity....and by me, again, acceptance. This is my frustration right now.

But something happened shortly after we were married. A major reason for the change in me was the infiltration of my inlaws. I was battling with the SA (in therapy, group meetings, and MS) when they came in, I got scared by the force used (called "you will be helped even though you don't ask for it"), but I then just shut down, tried to avoid them, and felt overpowered. All I saw in that family was a world where problems could not and would not exist, men were relationally castrated and disrespected, and something called "financial security" was all-important. These are key to me since my family of origin was a mirth of denial, no honesty was allowed, anxiety about money constantly loomed, and nothing other then (Mom's) opinion was listened to. I chose to become invisible to handle life then. Anything other than the day's chaos or self-created emergencies were sidelined indefinitely. And I projected the "you're ignoring me" message all over my inlaws, and my wife too. I still have hurt feelings from being left out in major parts of our marriage. Mom-in-law was in charge, I felt, and I held the bitterness. And I shelled it back out in numerous passive-aggressive ways.

Well, I've been a perpetual disappointment to my inlaws. I still feel fidgety when (mother in-law) is around, and I've broken my wife's heart time and time again with sincere intentions (at the time) that I would follow up on my promises to become a school teacher. I have never fulfilled on that promise. And with that too, I'm not sure what to do. Survivors have a history of not living up to their potential, and I'm not. Protecting myself is my main priority most of the day. I'm not sure where I (will) fit, moreso as the awareness of my abuse increases.

Here's the fruit of it right now. This isn't about money. It's about how I'm treating her. My wife talked to four lawyers last Friday to get retainer fees for a divorce. She told me she cried all day. I was trying to avoid the emotions, then later on the phone she said she didn't want to divorce. I started crying on the phone myself. My three year old daughter came in, didn't understand why I was crying, and I told her "I'm crying because I wasn't nice to Mommy". The little cutie said, "Don't cry Daddy. Don't make that face." Little fighter, she is. I still cried some, but not as heavy. I felt so heavy.

I wanted to title this "How do I treat my wife?" What I mean is "How can I learn to trust my wife, share, but not dump on her nor mistreat her?"

Because the memories have come back so recently, I'm lost. I'm in a fog, I want to escape it, I can't (avoiding people and situations brings more anxiety), and I feel like I have a very short time to read or post here every day. For me, MS is the only group connection I have. But I know things will get clearer. Once I get some replies here, I will send this to her for us to talk about. I don't even know if she knows my SA is affecting me again. And again. And again. And again.

Guys, please feel free to PM me. Thank you.



Edited by fhorns (06/25/08 01:03 PM)

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#233479 - 06/25/08 01:25 PM Re: Being honest with my wife--she needs me! [Re: fhorns]
LW1527 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/14/08
Posts: 408
Loc: Salt Lake City Ut
I have a picture on my desk here at work. It is a boy sitting in a chair surrounded by his things. The caption reads:

"To become a real boy you must prove yourself brave, truthful, and unselfish."

I told my sons the other day that in order for them to become real men, they must first become real boys. They need to focus on being Brave, Truthful and Unselfish as a boy then focus on being Brave, Truthful and Unselfish as an adult and in their relationships.

Be brave. Share your feelings
Be kind.
Be a Gentle Man. Men can do soft and gentle.
Be honest.
Put her first. Be nurturing and caring. Let her know in actions and they way you treat her that she is the most wonderful thing in your life. It is not the big things, but the little things. Opening a door, taking her hand, rubbing her neck. But always be gentle and always LISTEN. Men are horrible listeners. Listen and don't try to debate. Just share. I hope this helps a little.


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#233482 - 06/25/08 01:37 PM Re: Being honest with my wife--she needs me! [Re: LW1527]
fhorns Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/10/02
Posts: 695
Part of the "protecting myself" thing is thinking I'll be hurt. I don't feel like an adult when I'm around her, and this is frequent for me due to the abuse by my Mom. She's heard me share this fear time and time again, and she has numbed out to hearing it. She carried it for so long, internalized it, and now she just shuts down and wanders away, either physically or mentally. Because she's not my Mom. Therefore, I'm scared not only to be abused, but to be rejected too. It's like I'm an infant running around waiting to picked up, dusted off, reassured, hugged, and encouraged to go at it again. Some of this is valid as an adult and partner, but how much, I am not sure. I've read that survivors have very unrealistic expectations of themselves and others. What/how do I communicate this without turning her off? I may give the "you've hurt my feelings again" message. That rips her heart out, as she needs to be heard, acknowledged for her efforts, and just plain seen as significant to me. She won't hear the "you made a mistake again" message. It hurts her, and I am just starting to see it.

How many survivors ever got out of their own head long enough to see their SO's point of view?



Edited by fhorns (06/25/08 01:55 PM)

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#233500 - 06/25/08 02:45 PM Re: Being honest with my wife--she needs me! [Re: fhorns]
LW1527 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/14/08
Posts: 408
Loc: Salt Lake City Ut
I don't think being a survivor gives us the excuse not to get out of our own heads. Being victims of abuse gives us the ability to fight for relationships that are worth it. I think it is hard for victims to put others first since their own needs are so strong. But I think it has to do with desire. How strong is the desire to put others first, spouse, children, etc. NO matter what has happened to us, our first responsibility is to care for and protect. I used to do that a kid growing up when my dad was away a lot in the Navy. Yeah, I was abused, I was a victim, but I still tried to protect and care for my mom and sister. I think a little family counseling might help you. Also, there's a great book called Communications for Dummies. I don't think it is what you say so much as how you say it. We tend to attack with words like, You made me angry. Someone needs to make the first move in relationships. I think it's the man.


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#233523 - 06/25/08 04:29 PM Re: Being honest with my wife--she needs me! [Re: LW1527]
jaa Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/17/07
Posts: 69
Loc: Rhode Island
fhorns,

Man oh man does this hit home with me. Like you, I've disappointed my wife over and over. Couples therapy is an option but I've come to believe that my wife really needs to see someone on her own, and I need to continue seeing my T. I've torn her down over the years which has lowered her self-esteem and she is just plain tired. I think she really needs to see someone on her own, to talk things out, objectively. Now, getting her to do that is a whole other story. She believes that I've made her the way she is and that it's my problem not hers. (please don't take this like she is a harsh person, she is the most loving person I've ever known). My take on things at this point is that I have to worry about myself, take care of myself and hope and pray that it will help our marriage.

At the same time, I'm constantly thinking about how much I love her and how much I need to respect her. Respect is key. She's not had respect from me in years (if ever)...or at least I haven't shown it. Respect means taking her seriously, listening and acting on her beliefs and requests. We know we love each other...the SA adds an element which makes keeping things going difficult. I have to remember that in the way I treat her. I have to remember not to take advantage of our love.

She's a blessing to me and my kids and really to this earth. That makes it worth the struggle to keep her. That makes protecting her from any further harm, worth it.

_________________________
John

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#233763 - 06/26/08 11:31 AM Re: Being honest with my wife--she needs me! [Re: jaa]
Junefriday Offline


Registered: 06/05/08
Posts: 113
Loc: Canada
Jaa and fhorns, have you always known that you loved your wives or were there times where as a result of the CSA (either knowingly or unknowingly), you questioned if you still loved her?

I am curious because often what we partners hear is that you want out of the relationship, but yet your actions don't follow through. That is very confusing for us. Add to that, the negative comments, hearing that everything is our fault, etc., it is really hard to remember why we still love you. But we do. Sometimes you just don't let us.

Your wives are lucky though because I am hoping that since you are writing on here how much they mean to you, that you are also telling them. If you aren't, start.

_________________________
"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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#233767 - 06/26/08 11:52 AM Re: Being honest with my wife--she needs me! [Re: Junefriday]
jaa Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/17/07
Posts: 69
Loc: Rhode Island
My wife and I were just having this discussion two nights ago. I've definitely told my wife that I want out over the years. At the time, I did not know it was because of the CSA. I figured if I kept wanting to act out, I must not love her, right? I know now that that is not the case. The CSA was not allowing me to believe that I could be in a loving relationship with anyone.

She has a hard time accepting my answers about my past behavior. Sex with others, telling her I want to leave her, disrespecting her. I just keep trying with her and myself. She is more concerned now that my actions may not follow through with how much I tell her I love her and want to be able to share that love with her forever.

I just could not believe that I deserved this wonderful relationship...so I hurt her...I abused her. My sex with others was a way for me to be in control, I wasn't as a chile. I can't be in control with my wife...she knows me too well and there shouldn't be "control" issues with her. Sex with her can be hard, because there is so much love there..and I thought I loved my abuser. He hurt me, so I hurt her...it doesn't make any sense...but I believe that's been my struggle with my marriage.

I hope she thinks she is lucky...she could have had a much more "stable" life without me. I do tell her.

_________________________
John

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#233808 - 06/26/08 02:20 PM Re: Being honest with my wife--she needs me! [Re: jaa]
Junefriday Offline


Registered: 06/05/08
Posts: 113
Loc: Canada
You are right in that she could have had a much more "stable" life without you. But, she saw something in your that was worth it. That says a lot about her and a lot about you.

What I meant by lucky was that you recognize now that much of your negative thoughts about her and questioning of your love of her, was clouded by the CSA. She is very fortunate because you can now take steps toward healing.

So many of us are with survivors who are still in denial as to how the CSA is impacting them and their relationships. It is very hard to look past the negativity, the blame and the lack of love. I still believe that my husband is worth it, but it is damn hard right now. Reading your post gives me hope.

_________________________
"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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#233817 - 06/26/08 02:29 PM Re: Being honest with my wife--she needs me! [Re: Junefriday]
jaa Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/17/07
Posts: 69
Loc: Rhode Island
Obviously you think he is it worth as well or you wouldn't be here.

Stay strong.

_________________________
John

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#234013 - 06/27/08 08:07 AM Re: Being honest with my wife--she needs me! [Re: jaa]
indygal Offline
Member

Registered: 06/22/06
Posts: 439
I think the best words I ever heard from a man were "I want you to know, maybe I don't always say it to you, or tell you how much I care or think about you, but I want you to know, you are on my mind a lot, and I do think about you and me a lot. When we're not together, it doesn't matter, you are on my mind."

That was around 30 years ago. I lost him in a terrible accident about 25 years ago; I never lost those words, they meant a lot then and still do. Being sincere and honest is what counts more than anything - ask her - I'm sure she'll agree.

Indy

_________________________
my avatar is one of the Battle Angel characters, fighting the good fight.

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