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#267888 - 12/19/08 07:16 AM please, could use some coaching/opinions...guys?
riz Offline


Registered: 10/07/08
Posts: 123
Hello all,

I have been coming to this board for several months, since my husband left after disclosing his abuse. Although I haven't posted much, I have found it very helpful.

My husband says the relationship is over, that he is meant to be alone, that he could never risk hurting me anymore, that when there is something in his life he loves too much, he must cut that thing from his life.

I understood from reading posts here that these are common thoughts of a CSA survivor and that running away or acting out are common actions after disclosure.

I have been doing my best to give my husband space, to be non-judgemental, to support him when he calls. And he does call...every day at first because he told me he was leaving only till her got things sorted out.

Then once he decided that he would not be returning to the relationship, he has been trying not to call. But he does call. He has called me upset and crying. He has called me asking me to visit him. He has called telling me visiting is not a good idea. He has called to chat, formally, as if with an old acquaintance, as if we were never married. He has called to speak to me about intimate details of his life.

To me, he is clearly in a relationship with me but he denies that and with that denial, denies me to participate as one half of the relationship that has feelings and needs respect. His version of respecting me is to tell me that he will never be with me again so as not to hurt me.

He seems to be steeling himself against wanting to communicate with me, but sometimes just really needs to talk and has no one else to turn to. So it isn't really working because some of the conversations really cut me...but because we are "not in a realtionship" I have no right to give my opinion or ask too many questions.

I have been willing to let him steer all communication because it seems to me that people who have just disclosed are extremely vulnerable and I haven't wanted to alienate him. I wanted to make sure he didn't stop contacting me at all.

So I have two questions:

First, when you guys have asked for "space" and thinking you are not deserving of love, would it make you happy when a loved one tried to break through your wall a little? called to see how you are doing? to make inquiries regarding your progress? let you know that they were still there? Or does that just seem invasive if you've said you want space.

If it is ok to try to get in, how much is too much? A phone call to say hi? Asking if you found a therapist? Sharing ideas from this website? Are inquiries like that too much?

Second, when is it "safe" for me to make demands on the relationship. If he has decided that he does not want to be married to me, I can accept that. However, he has told me that I am not his wife, not his friend, only a very important person in his life that he never wants to hurt.

But it hurts me to be cut off from him and to wonder how he's doing. It hurts me to hear him address me so formally, like an old office buddy. I tried to bring this up a little bit...a little, little bit, and I feel like he pulled away. I finally called him and he was polite but there was a wall. I think he is trying to steel himself more so he never has to communicate with me again.

You see, I am caught between "he's lucky to have you" and "why do you stay with him". I think I'm trying to be supportive in part of a process, but maybe the process is just an ivention inside my head?

Thank you for listening. Any thoughts are greatly appreciated. I asked for response from the guys for insight into how his thought process might be, but if women have advice, too, I'm happy to hear.

Riz


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#267890 - 12/19/08 07:53 AM Re: please, could use some coaching/opinions...guys? [Re: riz]
Still Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/16/07
Posts: 6448
Loc: Right Here!
IMO: "Space" can mean ANY (and an always shifting) combination of the following: Physical distance, emotional distance and/or time.

Right now (and for the past year) I have not wanted ANY space. I desperately need closeness and close support.
___________________

Quote:
Second, when is it "safe" for me to make demands on the relationship. If he has decided that he does not want to be married to me, I can accept that. However, he has told me that I am not his wife, not his friend, only a very important person in his life that he never wants to hurt.


Does any of this (stuff he's saying) even sound like the guy you married? I'm guessing not.

He's very possibly feeling disgust, shame, confusion....just a TON of pain. There were times I did not even want my wife to look at me because I felt like a hideous freak.

In these instances (and still) I feel toxic to people, hideous and fully convinced I ought never be around real humans.

Quote:
You see, I am caught between "he's lucky to have you" and "why do you stay with him".


I'm gonna be blunt here: Yes, he's lucky to have you!
Why do you stay with him? He's not a stranger you just met on the street. He's not a story you see on the news one night. You know what he is to you. If he's not all that much to you, act accordingly. Act according to what he is to you.

_________________________
Straight to DVD - again

The Aftermath Video

My Absolute Hero!

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#267891 - 12/19/08 07:53 AM Re: please, could use some coaching/opinions...guys? [Re: riz]
Sans Logos Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 5791
Loc: in my own world in pittsburgh,...
riz, sorry you are experiencing this now at this time when normal life is confused by all the hustle and bustle of the frenetic holiday season.

a couple of things come to mind in your question:
Quote:
So I have two questions:
First, when you guys have asked for "space" ...would it make you happy when a loved one tried to break through your wall a little?


emphatic "NO". my experience [ mind you, i am one useless human when it comes to one on one relationships, and i am single so i don't have to bother dealing with a real situation like this ] but, pursuing me in such situations equals more victimization. it's like being chased down by the perp. because all i see in such a situation is that they want only that one thing from me: to possess me and objectify me for their own desires. and see if i were your partner, i would see your attempt to pursue me as being stalked in the same way. nothing personal at all, and that's what hurts i guess the most, is that it seems, after all you had shared up to this point, so impersonal. that's gotta hurt really badly. it's not meant to be personal for him, but it is for you.

the only thing i see that you can do, is not try to control or manipulate the situation.....yes, sorry, that means letting him go, and allow him to deal with it on his terms. the banal ron wants to insert that worn out pithy platitude: 'if you love something, let it go, if it comes back to you ..... call security!'

i know you speak about his denial, but i think you have already turned the corner and entered the closing chapter of your relationship, and looks to me like it might be you who is in denial now.

you have to let him have it his way this time. cut your losses and move on; take down the misletoe and place it on the grave. meet someone who is more ready.

that's not meant to be 'sage advice', but if i were you, that's what i would to.

maybe someone else has a better 'trick' up their sleeve, but again, sorry to say, in your partner's current state of mind regarding the relationship, he may merely perceive any attempt to cajole, demand, inquire, inspire, unite, enlighten would be seen through his perception filter of attack and restraint.

you already know all this though, i'm just verifying it for you.

all i can suggest is prayer at this point, but not that either side gets what they want out of the other person, but rather for whatever is meant to be, and that both of you are able to move on to the next leg of your life with the least amount of baggage and connection to the past as is uberhumanly possible.

you crossed paths with a survivor, and now you have a brand new perspective on the inner world of the wounded male. you have a new flashlight to carry into the next chapter. that has got to a bittersweet cause for celebration, i hope.

good luck dear heart,

ron

_________________________
  1. the past
  2. ReClaiming Now
  3. advocacy


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#267898 - 12/19/08 09:23 AM Re: please, could use some coaching/opinions...guys? [Re: Sans Logos]
Still Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/16/07
Posts: 6448
Loc: Right Here!
K...Time for one of my sound-bite rebuttals:

If he were diagnosed with an organic mental disorder; say, sizophrenia (sp). Then what?

Let's not forget; He's your husband and he is still alive. OR, he's not dead.

From my position I have to ask you Riz, why this unwilling victim of abuse ought to have a severed marriage contract?

Is it the nature of the injury? Is it the nature of the post-trauma healing?

I'm not intending to be judgemental here. I just know you ought to explore these avenues as well.

_________________________
Straight to DVD - again

The Aftermath Video

My Absolute Hero!

Top
#267900 - 12/19/08 09:43 AM Re: please, could use some coaching/opinions...guys? [Re: Sans Logos]
ttoon Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/19/07
Posts: 977
riz,


If your husband came home and told you he had just returned from the doctor's office where the doctor had told him he was diabetic, it would certainly change both of your lives forever.

If that were true, what would his responsibility be and, what would yours be?

It would, certainly, be life altering. There would be a huge amount of loss to contend with. Consider that loss and everything it implies. The denial, the anger, the bargaining one might do. The sadness and, ultimately, hopefully, the acceptance as we transition from who we were before the diagnosis to who we are now after processing it.

But, you may say, he has known all along. And, that might very well be true...but, in isolation we rarely challenge the misinformation, like laundry left at the bottom of the hamper, that damp washcloth that you got from Aunt Gertie twenty years ago as a wedding gift, buried at the bottom of a forgotten clothes hamper for any real length of time, is not going to be the same.

He's told you, thrown this huge boulder into the relationship and it is, of course, without a doubt, going to produce some massive ripples. And, he now has to work through it all...you know now...it is real. It isn't something safely tucked away...it is out in the open. And, with it, comes that loss again, your relationships is changed forever. You will never be able to go back to what it once was.

The important thing to consider, might be, that everything he is doing, everything...makes sense in the context of what has happened and is happening. Everything that you are feeling, too...makes sense, in the context of what is going on.

So, he comes home...tells you he is diabetic. What happens next? He might feel like isolating because this is a huge change, he might feel like it is a burden to you, he might be unwilling or unable to see the larger picture right away. But, ultimately, he has to make a decision and, he has to be responsible for the changes that are now involved. You can not follow him around each day, every minute, making sure he takes his medication and eats properly. You have to make a decision, too and, you have to be responsible, also.

You are not his therapist and even if you had all the information available on this subject, it would still not be your responsibility to heal your husband. And, no amount of work, on your part, is going to get the relationship you did have...back.

This is not a do it yourself project. I cannot imagine any relationship surviving it without outside help. If he is not willing or able to seek help, you still can. You can process the grief and grieve...you can still live regardless of what he decides to do.


I wish you well, truly...


:-)


Dave

_________________________
checkin out for a few weeks... whistle
02/07/09

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#267927 - 12/19/08 12:36 PM Re: please, could use some coaching/opinions...guys? [Re: ttoon]
michael banks Offline


Registered: 06/12/08
Posts: 1755
Loc: Mojave Desert, Ca
Riz,

There is alot of words of wisdom being shared from the guys who posted above.
But what I have read from your post he is the one who choose to leave and he is the one that said that the marriage is over.
He has stated that he needs his space but at the same time he is not allowing you to have yours. Everything is being done on his terms which in fact is extremely hurtful and damaging to you.
You need to set some boundaries with him in order to take care of yourself. You have allow him to have his space but at the same time you need set some healthy distance from him for yourself.
It would be healthier for you to tell him how you feel about him. What you want and expect in terms of your marriage and relationship with him. To not call you until he wants to work on your marriage and your relationship as equals.
During this time and space that you are giving him, to seek the help he needs but that you can not provide it for him.
If you contiue to allow him trample over your boundaries everytime he feels lonely. He will never seek the help he needs.
And that is not healthy for either of you.
Your feelings and needs are important too don't ever forget that.
You need to take care of yourself and your needs so that if sometime in the future. When and if he gets help you will be in a place personally to ensure that you two can have a healthier and happier marriage.
If you take care of yourself it may give him the incentive to address his problems. If you choose to grow and heal he will have no other choice but to follow suit or be left behind. From what you have shared he does still love you and that love or the loss of, maybe the motivator for him to seek help.
It maybe help for you to read some books on co-dependency and the book "Victims No Longer" and read the chapter-For(And About)Partners,Family,And Friends.

I know that this will be extremely diffcult to do but well worth it for both yourself and your husband.

Wish you the best in "YOUR RECOVERY".

Mike

_________________________
To own one's shadow is the highest moral act of a human.
-Robert Johnson-

"IT ought never be forgotten that the past is the parent of the future" John C. Calhoun

WOR Alumni Sequoia 2009

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#267999 - 12/19/08 08:04 PM Re: please, could use some coaching/opinions...guys? [Re: riz]
lostcowboy Offline
Member

Registered: 11/10/04
Posts: 797
Loc: North Texas
Originally Posted By: riz
Hello all,

I have been coming to this board for several months, since my husband left after disclosing his abuse. Although I haven't posted much, I have found it very helpful.

My husband says the relationship is over, that he is meant to be alone, that he could never risk hurting me anymore, that when there is something in his life he loves too much, he must cut that thing from his life.

I understood from reading posts here that these are common thoughts of a CSA survivor and that running away or acting out are common actions after disclosure.

I have been doing my best to give my husband space, to be non-judgemental, to support him when he calls. And he does call...every day at first because he told me he was leaving only till her got things sorted out.

Then once he decided that he would not be returning to the relationship, he has been trying not to call. But he does call. He has called me upset and crying. He has called me asking me to visit him. He has called telling me visiting is not a good idea. He has called to chat, formally, as if with an old acquaintance, as if we were never married. He has called to speak to me about intimate details of his life.

To me, he is clearly in a relationship with me but he denies that and with that denial, denies me to participate as one half of the relationship that has feelings and needs respect. His version of respecting me is to tell me that he will never be with me again so as not to hurt me.

He seems to be steeling himself against wanting to communicate with me, but sometimes just really needs to talk and has no one else to turn to. So it isn't really working because some of the conversations really cut me...but because we are "not in a realtionship" I have no right to give my opinion or ask too many questions.

I have been willing to let him steer all communication because it seems to me that people who have just disclosed are extremely vulnerable and I haven't wanted to alienate him. I wanted to make sure he didn't stop contacting me at all.

So I have two questions:

First, when you guys have asked for "space" and thinking you are not deserving of love, would it make you happy when a loved one tried to break through your wall a little? called to see how you are doing? to make inquiries regarding your progress? let you know that they were still there? Or does that just seem invasive if you've said you want space.

If it is ok to try to get in, how much is too much? A phone call to say hi? Asking if you found a therapist? Sharing ideas from this website? Are inquiries like that too much?

Second, when is it "safe" for me to make demands on the relationship. If he has decided that he does not want to be married to me, I can accept that. However, he has told me that I am not his wife, not his friend, only a very important person in his life that he never wants to hurt.

But it hurts me to be cut off from him and to wonder how he's doing. It hurts me to hear him address me so formally, like an old office buddy. I tried to bring this up a little bit...a little, little bit, and I feel like he pulled away. I finally called him and he was polite but there was a wall. I think he is trying to steel himself more so he never has to communicate with me again.

You see, I am caught between "he's lucky to have you" and "why do you stay with him". I think I'm trying to be supportive in part of a process, but maybe the process is just an ivention inside my head?

Thank you for listening. Any thoughts are greatly appreciated. I asked for response from the guys for insight into how his thought process might be, but if women have advice, too, I'm happy to hear.

Riz

Hi Riz,if you have not read it yet you need to read "Victims No Longer: by Mike Lew", if you get it through the web site bookstore, it helps the site out. A lot of CSA happens in the family, that is also called incest that is what that book is about.The book will be a big eye opener for you and your husband to read.

If you can, you need to get your husband to start reading the site here,it will help to learn that he is not alone.
All his life he has grown up thinking that he is the only one this is happening to. Also from your other post, his family knew it was happening, did nothing to stop it, and blamed him for it.HE ABSOLUTELY KNOWS THAT IT IS ALL HIS FAULT, and anyone he tells will also BELIEVE THAT IT IS HIS FAULT! He has just told you, therefor you are also disgusted with him. It is likely that he left because he is thinking like this. These are the kinds of thoughts that people on this site have, very negative thoughts about themselves.

Right now your husband is bouncing of the walls, emotionally that is. He needs a therapist, but it is likely that he will not willingly go and get one. In our society it is a sign of weakness for a man to need a therapist, a man has to be strong. If you ask you will find that a lot of the wives on here had to threaten their men with divorce to get them to see a therapist. In our society women are allowed to show weakness, it's ok for you to be seeing a therapist, but not him. It's a catch22 in our society. Drag him to a therapist who is a specialist in male CSA. Also let your therapist know about this as it is likely to bring up any old abuse that you yourself have lived through.

Take care,
Clifford

_________________________
"Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend." - Albert Camus
Pretty much my life as I have posted so far. Triggers!

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#268029 - 12/19/08 11:58 PM Re: please, could use some coaching/opinions...guys? [Re: lostcowboy]
riz Offline


Registered: 10/07/08
Posts: 123
Hi,

Thank you all for your kind and thoughtful replies. I see by your answers that really, as I guess I knew, there is no clear cut answer. But hearing all the viewpoints helps me piece together what might work for my situation. Of course your responses generated more questions :-)

Robbie: Thank you for helping me understand better the need for space and no, I don't think he deserves a "severed marriage contract". I am wondering if there is any way to NOT sever it, even though he tells me that it is already severed.

Ron: Your explanation of how my "helping" can seem like trying to manipulate is very helpful. Thanks. Let me ask you this, are you saying that calling and asking for support is NOT being in a relationship? That's what I based my statement on when I said "He is clearly in a relationship with me." What else could it be called? I'm not being smug. I'm wondering if, to him, there could be a different definition of relationship.

Dave: That's just it. I am NOT following him around demanding he take his medicine. But sometimes I wonder if I should...at least now and then...to show him I am still here and care what happens to him. I don't call him because I think he doesn't want me to. But I worry that by not calling, it may send him the message that he was correct in thinking I don't want him in my life or that he doesn't deserve me in his life. How do I find the balance?

Mike: I understand your point about not letting myself be trampled. What I don't know how to do is find the right time to be more firm. I think that remembering traumatic repressed memories and then disclosing to me is quite a crisis. How can he work on the marriage if he can barely handle himself? By saying that I don't mean to place him in the role of a victim, but wouldn't he be quite vulnerable still?

If it is an effort to get up in the morning and get dressed and go to work, can a person really be expected to negotiate life with a partner? Is it really appropriate for me to threaten to withdraw? Now? Wouldn't that make it seem like he made a mistake in trusting me? I don't mean to argue. I am seriously seeking these answers.

Clifford: Thanks for pointing out that I can get the book through the MS website. I haven't read it but plan to do so. I have read "If the Man You Love Was Abused."

I have to ask you, is it really a good idea to threaten him with divorce? I mean, HE has already left ME. I have read over and over again that nothing I can do will make him go to therapy if he doesn't want to. Also, he interprets my suggestions as demands and he doesn't want me demanding that he do anything. I would love it if I could convince him to go but...I don't know.

I really appreciate that you looked back to get some insights into his situation. I think the world of him and it helps me when someone reminds me that his view of himself is likely quite different.

Thanks again to all of you.

Riz


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#268037 - 12/20/08 02:09 AM Re: please, could use some coaching/opinions...guys? [Re: riz]
michael banks Offline


Registered: 06/12/08
Posts: 1755
Loc: Mojave Desert, Ca
Riz,

We can only help those are willing to accept our help.
Sometimes all we can do to help those we love is to let go and take care of ourselves. And allow them to find there own way.
We cannot protect people from themselves or should we.
He needs to find his own way thur his sexual abuse issues and as hard as that is for you. You cannot really help him in any other way but to love him by taking care of yourself by setting healthy boundaries for the both of you. Because us survivors have no clue what a boundary is due to the fact we were denied these by our abuser(s).
For the most of us we will not seek help until we have hit our bottoms.
Have you ever heard the saying "that when the cat is alway the mice shall play".
When do you need to be firm the next time he calls.

Mike

_________________________
To own one's shadow is the highest moral act of a human.
-Robert Johnson-

"IT ought never be forgotten that the past is the parent of the future" John C. Calhoun

WOR Alumni Sequoia 2009

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#268040 - 12/20/08 02:42 AM Re: please, could use some coaching/opinions...guys? [Re: riz]
Julia Offline


Registered: 11/05/08
Posts: 59
Deleted.


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#268064 - 12/20/08 09:03 AM Re: please, could use some coaching/opinions...guys? [Re: Julia]
kolisha54 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/02/03
Posts: 475
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
Have no words of wisdom for you here - all I can do is tear up as I read your posts. I'm so sorry that you are going through this.

_________________________
If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now... when? --Hillel

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#268090 - 12/20/08 02:18 PM Re: please, could use some coaching/opinions...guys? [Re: riz]
ttoon Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/19/07
Posts: 977
Originally Posted By: riz


Dave: That's just it. I am NOT following him around demanding he take his medicine. But sometimes I wonder if I should...at least now and then...to show him I am still here and care what happens to him. I don't call him because I think he doesn't want me to. But I worry that by not calling, it may send him the message that he was correct in thinking I don't want him in my life or that he doesn't deserve me in his life. How do I find the balance?



Riz



Riz, I'll tell ya, quite frankly, I do not usually post in 'Family and Friends.'

I have an attitude about generalizations about survivors, whether it be male survivors, female survivors or greyhounds.

If you asked me my opinion on what was the best vehicle to buy, I would tell you a three quarter ton truck...because I need a truck and it is the best suited for my needs. It fits my lifestyle. It might not be what you need or want or, suit your needs, because you, of course, come to the table with completely different experiences and needs.

My first wife had multiple relationships outside of our marriage and as we sat in the therapist's office the therapist told us, with a straight face, that it was my fault. My experiences as an incest survivor pushed her to look for emotional intimacy outside the marriage (through having sex with anything and everyone?). Later, after I dropped the bitch and the therapist, I found out the therapist was going through her own divorce and it was a nasty one.

My first wife was a survivor also, although, not a childhood sexual abuse survivor. Her experiences included a one time, random incident, accident, that involved her being hospitalized for six weeks each year, surgery every year for six years...that started when she was four years old. She ommitted that from her resume as we considered getting married also and, it was not brought up or considered as we did couples counseling. The primary focus, once I mentioned my experiences, was, on me.

So, I am a survivor and, admittedly, although my experiences are uniquely mine, there are most certainly, behavior patterns and things that I do and feel that other survivors share. That being said, in a perfect world, I would ask you what was it and is it that draws you into this relationship with a partner who has these experiences? Because we all bring something to the table. It isn't chance or coincidence that brings us together in relationships.

Your husband has made the choice to separate. It is a choice he has made. He says that he wants limited contact, again, a choice he has made. You can pick up any number of books available on what he might be going through and how the experiences manifest themselves. They might suggest why he does the things he does and there will be some comfort in the solidarity, certainly. But in the end...what about you? What responsibility do you have for your own needs and what you want?

Needs are non-negotiable, I am not talking about desires and dreams, about wishes and or fairy tales. Needs are necessities. Fundementally, it is air to breathe, food to eat, a warm place to sleep at night. It is the reasonable expectation that you have a right to ask for and, receive, reciprocity when it comes to love and respect. To comfort and be comforted. To be who you are, genuinely who you are, in the company of someone you feel safe with. Are those needs being met? Have they ever been met?

That is what I am talking about in terms of responsibility. It isn't selfish to expect that those needs will be met, it is selfcare.

Is this an opportunity for you to explore what you need and how to get those needs met?

It is important and, relevant, to point out that my first wife went on to marry another survivor. Finding out, well after the fact. This time though, she was much older and, by my daughter's accounts, more willing to "negotiate" what she is willing to put up with. Her new husband hits her. Which, was never in our relationship. All the while, still, telling my daughters that our relationship ended because I was a survivor.

What do you need, riz?



Dave

_________________________
checkin out for a few weeks... whistle
02/07/09

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#268179 - 12/21/08 08:19 AM Re: please, could use some coaching/opinions...guys? [Re: ttoon]
riz Offline


Registered: 10/07/08
Posts: 123
Hi Julia,
Thanks for the empathy. It's always easier to know that someone else knows what you're struggling with. You're right. If I hated him, I would just walk away and be happy he was out of my life. And yes, it is hard to see clearly when you are in the middle of it. That's why I'm appreciative of your response, letting me know that all is well. Sad but well. And that many others have gone before me and are going with me.

Hi Kolisha,

If you're tearing up, I'm glad you don't know the whole story, cuz it was a sweet one. We were each others "destiny" like one of those wacky, sappy romantic comedies. Then we were tested by real life and we made it through! We were happy and triumphant and so were our family and friends.

And then this.

Thanks for your kind thoughts. It's sad, but I really am fine. At first I had to deal with the disbelief, the loss of the "dream". And I still am dealing with that. But that's only one part of it.

The more important part, the only part that's real to me right now, is the devastation of a human life by another human being years ago. Yes, I have needs, too, which I am attending to as best I can, but honestly I have been blindsided by the knowledge of what my husband has been through, and the sheer inability to do anything about it. Thanks again for your support.

Hiya Dave,

Well I am glad you did come over to F/F. You are exactly right that generalizations are shaky ground. But hearing lots of opinions change the generalizations into something I can sort of, kind of begin to grasp, since I have no other way to understand CSA.

What do I need? What do I need? I ask myself over and over. What attracts me to this relationship?

What attracts me to this relationship is that I am already in it. What do I need?

I need to know that I didn't just up and say, "Oh well, Im outta here because, well, that sure didn't work out how I planned. I wanted a handsome Prince Charming to buy me nice jewelry and take out the trash. If my husband isn't going to do that, well, I'd better go out and find me one who will."

I need to know that I looked at a situation that I didn't understand and I tried my best to figure it out.

I need to know that I didn't turn away from something I loved because it suddenly grew a big ugly mole on its cheek and we didn't know if the mole could ever be extracted.

I need to know the difference between my selfish needs, my absolute needs, and the needs of others.

I need to know that my husband isn't sitting alone on Christmas day, by his own choice, yes, but I need to know that he knows at least I will call him to say Merry Christmas or that he can call me.

That last need...Is that placing him in a victimizing role? I don't know. Is it self-important and martyrish to have that need? I don't know.

To comfort and be comforted. Yes, thank you. I believe I have that need and right. The comforting part I am doing my best at. To be comforted is a little harder right now, because my husband suddently isn't available for that. That's why I look to my family and friends. That's why I have a therapist. None of them have the same degree of expertise regarding survivors of CSA as the people on this board do, however, so here I am, looking for the comfort, which you have all so generously given.

Maybe someday I will "just get over it", "get over myself", "cut my losses and move on", "get out of denial", whatever my affliction might be, but until then, here I am.

I guess this has turned more into a rant than a reply, Dave. But it was therapeutic so thanks for bringing it on. I am indeed using this time to figure out what I need.

Riz


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#268188 - 12/21/08 10:53 AM Re: please, could use some coaching/opinions...guys? [Re: riz]
ttoon Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/19/07
Posts: 977
Originally Posted By: riz


I need to know that I didn't turn away from something I loved because it suddenly grew a big ugly mole on its cheek and we didn't know if the mole could ever be extracted.

Riz



Riz,


I grew up in very rural farm country. It was not unusual to trap back then. Trap raccoons, mostly. They went pretty high as far as their pelts. This isn't going to be an indictment for or against trapping, although, I have to say I hated it.

When I was about thirteen I was walking through the woods and there was just this most God-awful sound coming through the trees. I knew it was a cat and, I love cats. I always have. As I got closer to it, there was a cat, one leg caught in a trap at the base of a tree. The traps are nasty, really nasty. Once they spring shut, no small animal is going to get out of it. As I got closer, I noticed that the cat was literally trying to chew it's leg off above where the trap had sprung closed on it. I tried to move in closer, to help, but that just made it worse. He tried getting away, the trap, chained to the tree, but he still kept trying to run from me.

So...I went home, got some ham, because my cat loves ham and went back. I sat down in the grass, far enough away so that the cat would not start trying to get away from the trap again and just sat there. I threw him a piece of ham...he must have been starving, been there for a while because he ate it right up. It took me about four hours, I guess, to get close enough to touch him, for him to trust me, to let me pet him so that he knew I was not a threat but, as soon as I released the spring, he shot off into the trees.

I had it all figured out, you know, at thirteen. The outcome, how it was going to play out. I was going to take him home and my mom would help wrap up his leg so he would get all better. She loved cats, too. I had a relationship with the damn thing now, time invested...there was an investment in the outcome and, although I would not have admitted it then, if asked, I cried when it just ran off.

A very, very smart ole lady, at a workshop I did once, told me that you only have to do three things.

Show up.

Tell the truth and,

let go of your attachment to the outcome.

As survivors we cannot change the facts. We cannot go back and grieve, we can not ever, make it right. What we can do is change "our truth" how we see ourselves in relation to the facts. In isolation "truth" is distorted and rarely challenged. And, I think...it does not ever get smaller...instead, we grow larger and, it seems smaller eventually, as we step out of the darkness of isolation and into the light of recovery. As we challenge the old beliefs and perceptions.

Recovery rarely moves in a straight line...it isn't linear, more often, it spirals around and around as we challenge and revisit old beliefs and incorporate new ones into our belief systems. There is a huge amount of confusion as we transition from who we are to who we will be and, that invites back so much anxiety, triggers attachment to old events and the emotions attached to them. What is familiar is no longer safe because for a lot of survivors the abuse was perpetrated inside their families...and was allowed to go on either covertly or overtly. A lot of survivors do not know and have never known what it is to feel "safe." What is predictable, familiar...has been safe. And comfortable is not the same thing as safe, as we are challenged to step outside of our comfort zones to risk.

But, the men here, are so much more than society's stereotypical definition of what it means to be male. Through the process of recovery they redefine love and celebrate diversity rather than criticize it...they are making this planet a better place, taking their stories and their truth and touching other lives, if only by example.


I am glad you are a fighter laugh


Dave

_________________________
checkin out for a few weeks... whistle
02/07/09

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#268189 - 12/21/08 11:24 AM Re: please, could use some coaching/opinions...guys? [Re: ttoon]
Still Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/16/07
Posts: 6448
Loc: Right Here!
Dave,

I'm printing that one! You just provided MONTHS of therapy perspective!

Thank you oh wise one!

_________________________
Straight to DVD - again

The Aftermath Video

My Absolute Hero!

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#268192 - 12/21/08 12:16 PM Re: please, could use some coaching/opinions...guys? [Re: Still]
michael banks Offline


Registered: 06/12/08
Posts: 1755
Loc: Mojave Desert, Ca
Dave,

That is the best and most insightful post on csa that I have ever read.
I too am going to save it and read it from time to time.

Thank You so much for sharing it

Mike

_________________________
To own one's shadow is the highest moral act of a human.
-Robert Johnson-

"IT ought never be forgotten that the past is the parent of the future" John C. Calhoun

WOR Alumni Sequoia 2009

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#268212 - 12/21/08 03:30 PM Re: please, could use some coaching/opinions...guys? [Re: michael banks]
fromtoday Offline


Registered: 10/04/08
Posts: 74
Loc: UK
Hi Riz,
I'm sorry my heads not in a place were I can take in all you replies but if my reply is nonsense please ignore but just wanted to throw a few things in.

Boundaries, in my experience you must set boundaries over what behaviour you will both accept, for instance you are married, your husband obviously wants to have a relationship because he calls you, for me its totally selfish of him not to want you to call, but then sometimes he will call you ect.., I would set a boundary something like, I will call you once a week on a Friday, you will call me once a week on a wednesday, you will speak to me even if only briefly checking in. If he doesn't want this then I would say you have to end the relationship. It's okay about when he needs you, but what about if you need him.

I have been forced in the corner in my relationship but boundarys have worked, at one point I was frightened to say that I would leave the relationship but now I always say I love you but your behaviour will force me into the position where I must leave. You husband must make the decision whether he stops or at least trys to stop the behaviour.

Everybody always says that you can't force somebody into therapy, and I totally agree that you can't force somebody to do therapy if they don't want to, however my husband needed forcing into therapy, this took 15 years but he will openly accept that had I not forced him to confront certain issues he wouldn't ever have been able to on his own.

I find that the hardest thing as a survivors wife is knowing what to do and when. how much and with what, I can't tell you how your husband will behave or what treatment he will respond to but your husband does not have the right to trample over your feelings and that will be his first step towards recovery.

Wishing you luck

_________________________
Is this the real life?
Is this just fantasy?
Caught in a landslide,
No escape from reality
Open your eyes, Look up to the skies and see.....
_________________________________________________
Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody

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#268221 - 12/21/08 04:26 PM Re: please, could use some coaching/opinions...guys? [Re: fromtoday]
wes-b Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/17/07
Posts: 438
Loc: Western, Canada

Riz, my sister;

you and your husband have my heartfelt prayers and love. Dave set a gem down in this thread. When I read the "3 things" out of his post they totally resonated; especially the final point of letting go of the outcome. That was a tough as nails thing for me to do. I let go of my family and marriage when my wife and I were separated. ( We were emotionally and physically separated between Jan and Sept of 07 ) .

In my case I kicked the apple cart over on 24-Jan-07 by disclosing a piece of my acting out behaviours (my wife has since received full disclosure --understand that full disclosure does not include "gory" details-- ). At that point I was outside any recovery and was acting in my PTSD/Addict state/trance. My actions we both extremes at once "a cry for help and a wish to die"; save-me/kill-me. John Bradshaw puts this far better than I ever will, suffice it to say addict tend to act in the extremes. At that point I was nearly dead inside and started therapy for myself as well as 12-step recovery for my compulsive sexual behaviours.

Sounds nice and pat... and then 8 months later all was well... yeah right, in my fantasy world :-\ This period had been preceded 8 years earlier by my disclosing the incestuous abuse that I remembered (at the hands of my cousin). This disclosure was in an attempt to avoid punishment when my wife found condoms in the armrest of my car. It reduced the punishment and I was required to go to therapy, which I did until I was scared away... I had placated my wife and that was enough at that time... I stumbled around with my addictions of work/food/sex for 8 more years until I found I could no longer live that way and kicked over the foundations of my family's world, in an act of desperation. I will never forget my Wife's eyes when I disclosed the behaviours that I did on 24-jan-2007, I cut her to the core.

There was very little rational and predictable about me before I entered my recovery in Feb of 2007. Over the past almost 2 years of recovery it has been a matter of 2 steps forward and one step back.

Riz, with all of this said I pray that you look for and work at your own healing... Therapy (group and individual), applicable 12-step groups, and applicable support groups. As you heal you will find your path to dealing with where your husband is at and that path will surely lead you to the outcome that will be in the best interest of all. Letting go and letting God, as you understand God, is the key.

Love always, your brother Wes

P.S. my principle prayer, once I let go of the outcome was; "God, please guard my wife and children and guide and direct us that the outcome is what is in the best interest for all of us."

_________________________
Happy to be a recovering survivor. :-)

Continuing to meet more of my fellows as I "Trudge the Road of Happy Destiny".

My Story, 1st pass

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#268238 - 12/21/08 06:45 PM Re: please, could use some coaching/opinions...guys? [Re: wes-b]
riz Offline


Registered: 10/07/08
Posts: 123
Hi Fromtoday,
Thank you for your ideas. All the discussion is extremely helpful, but I am truly clueless about what, specifically to DO. It may sound silly, but I am not sure what is a reasonable boundary at this stage in the game. I understand that I have to work it out for myself, but it is helpful to know which actions might be helpful and which are not.

Hi Wes,
Thank you for sharing your experiences with me and for your advice. You can imagine that the "letting go of the outcome" is what's up for me right now...every day just trying to do the thing that seems right for that moment, trying not to make choices based on only the hope of him coming back. Of course I have the fleeting moments when I just wish he'd come back and everything would be ok, but I know that is not the reality and the truth is he is not INVITED back, if this is his idea of a relationship.

Dave,
Thank you for the stellar response. Clearly it will be helpful to any one who reads this thread, not just me. Letting go of the outcome is the answer. Tricky to accomplish, but absolutely true. I especially love what you wrote at the end. Aside from my personal situation, reading this board has changed my life permanently.

Oh, feel free to read or not read the next part (obviously). In an attempt to clarify my own mind, I took a stab at continuing the analogy.

Riz

so, what if the cat is not just a random cat that you dream of rescuing so you can have a nic pet, but a cat who has already lived with you for years, keeping your life warm and cozy and free of rats. you are horrified when you find him caught in the trap so of course you do everything you know to get close enough to free him. after trying your hardest, you finally realize that nothing you can do will free the cat from the trap.

amazingly, (and with minimal assistance from you), he manages to live through his ordeal and the leg actually heals around the trap. in this way he is able to at least get around, even with the trap dragging behind him. he finds shelter and most days, manages to get some food. he never wants to come too close to the house anymore, because of its proximity to the place where his ordeal occurred.

you see him from time to time, that awful piece of metal still attached to his leg. you know he would be better if the trap could be removed, but every time you come too close, he goes into his routine of hissing and clawing at you

you feel terrible every time you see your once fuzzy, purring kitty looking so hurt and angry, especially at you, who didn't do anything except want him to get that nasty trap off. you try to imagine what it must be like trying to navigate with a trap, a flippin metal trap! attached to your leg, and you feel even worse.

most of the time, the cat stays away and you tell yourself, and all your friends tell you "there's nothing you can do", "let it go". if it wants to come back some day it will, but it seems to be doing fine on its own, trap and all. besides, you just upset him more every time you try to "help".

so you miss your old companion. you wish you could have him there by your side at the end of the day, and pawing at your nose first thing in the morning, all ready for breakfast. more than that, though, you wonder how he is, if he caught some dinner last night, if the trap hurts or if he has gotten used to the pain. you are fine, after all, except for missing him and worrying. his life seems so much harder.

once in awhile, when the back door is open, you hear him meowing from the far corner of the yard. he has his wild life now, but you know he remembers the warmth of the house. you are happy and heartbroken to see him. it seems like he hasn't eaten in awhile. you feel the familiar closing of your throat and the welling of tears into your eyes.

do you:

a. close the door and turn on some music to drown him out and make yourself happy. maybe finally he'll stop coming, allowing your pain to diminish and finally go away all together.

b. go out to the yard, but not close enough to scare him and leave some food. even if life isn't as it used to be, you don't want to ignore him.

c. run out and try again to free him. maybe one time he will let you help him and, although he could have kept going on his own, he will be grateful that you never gave up, even if he never does come home.


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#268241 - 12/21/08 07:11 PM Re: please, could use some coaching/opinions...guys? [Re: riz]
michael banks Offline


Registered: 06/12/08
Posts: 1755
Loc: Mojave Desert, Ca
Riz,

How about choice-

D. Leave the door ajar and go about your life.
If and when he is ready he will come in for help.

Once it gets cold outside he will remember how warm it was inside.

Mike

_________________________
To own one's shadow is the highest moral act of a human.
-Robert Johnson-

"IT ought never be forgotten that the past is the parent of the future" John C. Calhoun

WOR Alumni Sequoia 2009

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#268249 - 12/21/08 09:00 PM Re: please, could use some coaching/opinions...guys? [Re: riz]
ttoon Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/19/07
Posts: 977
Originally Posted By: riz


...you feel terrible every time you see your once fuzzy, purring kitty looking so hurt and angry, especially at you, who didn't do anything except want him to get that nasty trap off. you try to imagine what it must be like trying to navigate with a trap, a flippin metal trap! attached to your leg, and you feel even worse.





Riz,


With absolutely no judgment what so ever, just to inform...the trap has always been there...your once furry, purring kitty...has simply now, allowed you to see it...right?

Maybe, if we went back, consider the curcumstances that lead up to that day, how the cat is entrapped...

Here he comes, see him? The man with the trap. He looks like any other guy, nothing really too out of the ordinary about him. He sits at the base of the tree, just sits and, waits. He has a lot of patience, that guy does, he just waits, watches, listens.

Oh, look...here comes our protagonist, just out for a stroll. It is a beautiful day. The sun is out, not too much dew on the grass. There is something in the air, he lifts his nose into the breeze, his whiskers erect. The man pulls a small fish from his pocket and lays it on the ground where he is sitting. Our kitty has no reason to doubt his good intentions and is, after all, hungry. He wanders over, purring. The man reaches down to pet him and, at the same time, springs the trap.

This is confusing, it truly is, this man who is petting him and at the same time hurting him. It is so very confusing to him and after all, the fish is good. And so, each day, the man brings a fish, pets our kitty, while at the same time hurting him grievously.

All alone, trapped now, he tries to sort it out. His only source of food and caring, love, is this man, who comes each day, to hurt him. It must be something he himself has done, he thinks, begins to believe, because he now needs this man, the fish, to survive...and, if it were the man that was bad, well, if he lashed out at him, scratched him, most certainly, he would die there all alone.

And so, denial becomes a necessary tool for his very existence, while, at the same time our kitty becomes hyper vigilant as he awaits the next attack. Imagine that? To deny the existence of it and, at the same time, attempt to build and maintain strategies to defend against it. And, they are necessary, very necessary.

One day, a little boy comes along and sets him free...he runs into the trees as fast as he can. And, you might think that was the end of the story except that...our kitty has learned well...the cost of love is hurt and or pain. He does not know and has no real need to question that the strategies he has learned, the hyper vigilance is no longer necessary...as he searches for the man with the fish, because, he is hungry.


Funny thing and I wonder if the story about training baby elephants by simply tying a rope around one foot to restrain them is true? That a tiny little rope like that, could hold an adult elephant that might weigh from 9000 to 12000 pounds. Curious, isn't it? What do you think that is all about? wink

I know you are looking for specific answers as to what to do, Riz. And, I know this is really hard and frustrating.

I sponsor guys in AA. One of the things I do, is to have them write out a contract, specifying their intentions. I like to start out with six months. If they do not feel comfortable with that, we whittle it down to a time frame they honestly do feel comfortable with. I am, after all, investing my time with them. A contract is reaasonable and establishes boundaries and expectations.

I would only be guessing at what your husband is thinking or feeling and it would not be responsible to make suggestions based on assumptions. But, your therapist, I think, would be a really good resource for suggestions.


laugh


Dave

_________________________
checkin out for a few weeks... whistle
02/07/09

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#268261 - 12/21/08 11:28 PM Re: please, could use some coaching/opinions...guys? [Re: Julia]
cole Offline


Registered: 07/28/08
Posts: 10
Loc: NC
I can only speak from my personal story and I am a survivor of incest. I was on a self destructive path for 10 years. Many good people got hurt by my actions.For me, abuse is a cycle and handed down from my great father in my family. I believe by leaving you right now he is thinking, "I do not want to hurt my wife, by staying." As a incest survivor I felt what was good was bad and vice versa. When I chose to take control of my life I did. By doing this the abuser no longer had power over me. Observing 3 generations of incest many innocent people got
damaged. Yeah, it hit me hard when all the pieces of the puzzle finally clicked and I realized what was happening. I was married for 6 weeks and that is marriage, but lacked the TLC, maturity, loving etc... All I can tell you is my story and hope you gain some insight into your husband's condition. Love him and do not forget to love and respect yourself.

Cole
h

_________________________
"To always look life in the face...To always look life in the face and to know it for what it is and to know it for what it is not and then put it away." Virginia Woolfe, "The Hours"

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#268273 - 12/22/08 06:10 AM Re: please, could use some coaching/opinions...guys? [Re: michael banks]
kolisha54 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/02/03
Posts: 475
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
This is the best thread yet - thank you to everyone who is posting.

_________________________
If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now... when? --Hillel

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#268277 - 12/22/08 08:24 AM Re: please, could use some coaching/opinions...guys? [Re: kolisha54]
riz Offline


Registered: 10/07/08
Posts: 123
Hi Mike: I hear you. Will add option D to my growing list :-) Before this thread my major option was feeling sad. Thanks.

Dave: Imagine my surprise and shock when a three quarter ton truck came rumbling over the line into Friends and Family, screeched to a halt in my living room, and something called a ttoon got out! I thought medicine men travelled on horseback but this ttoon seemed like the real deal, big rig and all, because some demon hightailed his sorry ass straight out of my heart after getting the treatment from this dude.

That last line "he searches for the man with the fish...because he is hungry" sent a chill down my spine. If that doesn't make me get it, nothing will.

Hi Cole: So generous to share your own story. It helps me so much to have insight into other ways of thinking besides my own. It's the only way I can ever hope to make sense of what happened, if there is any sense to any of this. Peace.

Everyone:
Did you know that we have just passed the Winter Solstice, December 21st, the shortest day and the longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere? Where I am it's been dark and snowing for three days straight. I decided to take this time to work through the sadness I've been holding at bay as I "get on with my life" so to speak. As I wake today, I am exhausted and this really is only the first official day of winter. But I know the longest night has passed for this cycle and you have all reminded me that spring springs eternally. May you all find your own peace and feel the light of Jesus in your hearts, regardless of how you spend Christmas and what is your religion. I myself am not Christian, nor will my Christmas be really merry, but I know what Jesus means and it is my sincere wish that you can find some meaning too.

Love,
Riz


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#268659 - 12/25/08 11:35 AM Re: please, could use some coaching/opinions...guys? [Re: riz]
ttoon Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/19/07
Posts: 977
Riz,


Would you care to share why, "as he searches for the man with the fish, because, he is hungry," sent a chill down your spine?


:-)


Thanks...


Dave

_________________________
checkin out for a few weeks... whistle
02/07/09

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#268760 - 12/26/08 07:35 AM Re: please, could use some coaching/opinions...guys? [Re: ttoon]
riz Offline


Registered: 10/07/08
Posts: 123
Hi Dave,

I have not had the experience of my survival being dependent upon the denial and vigilance that you explain so well in your post. Neither have I had my notion of love SO intertwined with the notion of pain.

For me the notion of love causing pain is, in the end, rather benign. I have had my heart "broken". I have felt betrayed. I have felt the drama of, "Oh, how can life go on without him." I have stayed home with boxes of tissues, sad movies, and sappy love songs.

But then I get up and figure out that I am me and I am fine and that was sad but now it's over. Love can sometimes bring pain. But life is beautiful and away I go. "Bittersweet" is a common expression describing the pain that comes with love. Sweet pain. Not torturous, life threatening pain.

When I am trying to figure out what a survivor went through in order to be more empathetic, I am necessarily limited in my ability to understand. Your post drove home for me the DEGREE to which love can EQUAL pain, be attached to it, and sometimes DEPENDENT on it.

Maybe a survivor would trust someone who is offering an obvious love/pain combination more than a "true" offer of love because he for him love/pain IS true love. Or maybe he thinks that love without the extreme degree of pain he experienced does not exist.

Believe it or not, these are foreign ideas to me. I can't wrap my head around them when they are explained to me.

Dead fish are truly gruesome to me. When I was little I was swimming in a lake. I hated lakes because I knew creepy things that I couldn't see were lurking down around my feet. My Dad told me to stop being silly and get in the lake because swimming in lakes is fun.

I dove in and started swimming with my eyes closed because I didn't want to see anything that might be in that lake. When I had to come up for air, I was face to face with the bulging glassy eye of a belly up fish. Something had got to him because his guts were spilling out on one side. I hate fish to this day.

Your explanation of love/pain was very effective for me. I finally got it how my husband was "looking" for pain, accusing me of "trying to get him", "trying to make him do my things", "pretending to be so nice and really only trying to get control over him". I had always just thought I was trying to negotiate a relationship the same way everyone else does.

Also, I thought by not abandoning him, I was helping to grow his confidence. I didn't understand how it could be misconstrued as lying in wait.

So you post was very powerful and eye opening and for me, emotional because of the friggin' fish.

When I got to the last line, the image of the kitty switched in my mind to a grown man, walking away from all that is warm and fuzzy, heading into unsavory territories in search of a sinister creep with a cold, dead, staring-eyed fish. And the chill came because I almost felt his need in my gut. Gruesome.

Riz


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#268840 - 12/26/08 08:43 PM Re: please, could use some coaching/opinions...guys? [Re: riz]
ttoon Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/19/07
Posts: 977
Riz,


The first time my wife (second wife) and I met, when we were dating, I talked about my experiences as a survivor. We have done workshops together as a couple. I usually wait until she initiates the conversation, asking me a specific question about my experiences.

She knows that my experiences started at three years old, she knows my father killed himself when I disclosed. She knows that four of my siblings have died, I believe, as a direct result of our experiences growing up.

She knows I go to therapy twice a week, do several retreats a year and, one evening, I was working outside in the garage on something, she was in watching the news. She came out, stood right in front of me and said, "There was this segment on the news tonight. I did not know it was physically possible for an adult male to rape a three year old."

Right then, I understood that she had absolutely no frame of reference for my experiences. After talking about it, I believed, openly and honestly, she was shocked to hear it on the news.

I went in to see my therapist the following day, told him I was disappointed by what she had said. He just looked at me, a little stunned,

"Why?" He asked.

"Because," I said, "I thought she understood?"

"Why would she?" He said.

I was honestly surprised that he seemed to be angry.

"How could she possibly undertand?" He asked. "And, it isn't her job. She is not your therapist. She is your wife."

I went home, shared that conversation with her and there was an obvious, huge, sigh of relief.

"Thank you,______(therapist)!!" She said.

I think I am a reasonably smart guy but, sometimes I am an idiot. And, that changed our relationship. It let both of us off of the hook. She didn't have to fix me, I didn't have to hurt her by telling her the details. (I hated that because it seemed to hurt her).

I learned to manipulate, negotiate for the most basic needs...I brought that into every relationship I have. The tools survivors carry are tools used most likely to defend, not to build with. We get this far and sudenly realize the tools we have are obsolete. Inhibition as a defense, denial, minimizing things, rationalizing, intellectualizing...it isn't just that there was not a safe place to express what was going on emotionally, for many survivors, it was physically dangerous to express what was going on for them.

So, I get it, I do...because I think this:

"I dove in and started swimming with my eyes closed because I didn't want to see anything that might be in that lake."

...is what it is like to be a survivor.


Thanks, Riz...


:-)


Dave

_________________________
checkin out for a few weeks... whistle
02/07/09

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#268854 - 12/26/08 11:03 PM Re: please, could use some coaching/opinions...guys? [Re: ttoon]
WalkingSouth Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16265
Dave, Riz,

This is an incredibly powerful conversation. At several junctures I wanted to jump in and add my own two cents worth but resisted. Glad I did. It might have broken the moment.

Thanks both of you for having the courage to "tell it like it is", not only from your own point of view but from that of the significant other and the survivor.

Please continue........ smile

_________________________
“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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#268889 - 12/27/08 07:30 AM Re: please, could use some coaching/opinions...guys? [Re: WalkingSouth]
riz Offline


Registered: 10/07/08
Posts: 123
I am reading a book, Waking the Tiger, by Peter Levine. Maybe some of you know it? It is an interesting explanation of the formation of defense mechanisms and post traumatic stress.

The part I am reading right now is explaining how trauma "freezes" the body. If the body is in a state of rage or terror when it freezes, the body will most likely find itself in a state of rage or terror when it "unfreezes", often many years after the fact.

I think this is referring to what Dave is saying, about how it can be physically dangerous to let defenses down, or at least terrifying because the person doesn't know how they will react without their defenses and fears the harm they may cause themselves or others.

See, this in another example of how lay usage of words like "defense" can be so confusing to people like me. People say things like "Don't be so defensive!" in regular conversations. What they mean is, loosen up, take it easy, let your guard down so we can talk like friends...something like that, right? The common notion is that the person can, maybe with a little encouragement, easily or not so easily, but definitely at will and consciously switch from being defensive to being open and trusting.

Granted, I can never understand what it is to be a survivor. And I, as a wife, am not required, nor am qualified to be a psychotherapist, or hear every last detail of my husband's experience. However, having a working knowledge of what the heck is going on is quite helpful, just to have a productive conversation.

I am finally beginning to see how he is indeed swimming blind, and that I am too. I think of how many times he has said things like "Well, what am I supposed to do?!" I took it as a snippy, agressive swipe. I see know that he was asking a serious question with a sincere need to know "WHAT SHOULD I DO? HOW DO PEOPLE NORMALLY COMMUNICATE X, Y, OR Z WITHOUT USING DEFENSES?

Dave, Last night he called me and started to cry while we were talking and then went into that formal mode that I have previously reacted to with such sadness and resentment. This time I did not feel hurt, defensive, used, manipulated or anything else. See? It's not that I felt bad and stuffed it down, sacrificing my feelings for his. No. The bad feelings simply were not there.

The understanding I have gained through this thread is remarkable and my eyes brim with gratitude as I say I have you and everyone else participating here to thank.

John, Thanks for your encouragement. I feel scared and small trying to talk about these very large but very delicate issues. Please do jump in!

Riz


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#268892 - 12/27/08 07:44 AM Re: please, could use some coaching/opinions...guys? [Re: riz]
joelRT Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor


Registered: 09/11/08
Posts: 1357
Loc: Québec, Canada
Hi Riz,

Joel here. I have been following this thread very attentively, but have purposefully stayed out of it. You have made some very important connections with people here and I couldn't be more pleased for you. I've been watching you struggle but grow, and as I've said to you at least once before - you are one awesome lady! I don't say that to women easily (oh damn, my issues are showing).

You are not the same timid and frightened girl who showed up here a few months back and while you may not think this, your struggle is very much akin to that of we survivors. Certainly you come to this battle from a different place, but you are going in the same direction and headed to the same destination that we all are - that of full understaning of male CSA and freedom from it's devastating impacts in on our lives.

You go, girl!



Edited by joelRT (12/27/08 11:21 AM)
_________________________
My Story 1
My Story 2
The longest journey we take is to self-discovery

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#268921 - 12/27/08 11:08 AM Re: please, could use some coaching/opinions...guys? [Re: riz]
ttoon Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/19/07
Posts: 977
Originally Posted By: riz
Last night he called me and started to cry while we were talking and then went into that formal mode that I have previously reacted to with such sadness and resentment. This time I did not feel hurt, defensive, used, manipulated or anything else. See? It's not that I felt bad and stuffed it down, sacrificing my feelings for his. No. The bad feelings simply were not there.
Riz



Riz,


I have what I call my "Gracie dog rule." Gracie is our eleven year old chocolate Lab. She is a dog and does dog things. It would be hard to imagine that she does anything with malice and is manipulative (although, sometimes I wonder laugh ). So, on any given day I may notice that she is driving me crazy, just doing her dog things, being a dog. Every morning she goes out to do her "perimeter check." She runs the length of the property making sure everything is as it should be. Satisfied, she strolls back in, usually wanting a treat for her efforts. Some days it takes her longer than other days and some days she wants to go in and out more than I care to get up and or down. You know, let the dog in, let the dog out, let the dog in, let the dog out...

Everyday, she is the same, she does dog things. And, on those days, where I notice that the things that she does, really irritates me, I try to step back, tell myself, "She is a dog, she does dog things." And, I ask myself (on good days) what it is that is going on for me and, is it proportionate to what is right in front of me.

I have to tell ya...I think it is very cool that you are able to look at the situation with your husband calling, step back from it, separate it out so that both of your needs are being met. That, in a relationship with a survivor, is a huge hurdle.

I mentioned how recovery is a process and how it rarely is linear. Most often it spirals around and around as we revisit the new information coming in. So often, too, we need to say the same thing over and over and over, revisit it many times in the process in order to incorporate it into our belief system and, so often, to a partner that might seem or feel as though we are "dwelling" on something. But, personally, if we changed that to, "Well, it must be important then..." See how it changes it? It validates the "need" to be heard just as your need to be heard and what you are feeling needs to be heard and validated too. Because everything that you are feeling right now makes sense in the context of these experiences as you and your husband transition through this change in your relationship.

So...I am sitting at the kitchen table, mad at the dog. "In and out!" I say out loud, "that is all she does. In and out." My wife gets up, goes to the closet and pulls out a baseball bat, brings it over and stands directly next to me with it.

"What!?" I say.

"I know you are pissed off about something and it isn't the dog," she says, "and, I know it isn't me."

I looked up at her, thought about it for a moment and it came rushing in. It was my little sister's birthday. She had died two years earlier. I had forgotten. I was angry and the anger was valid...it was just misdirected.

"I am sorry," my wife said and held out her arms.


We both win as we are better able to separate what is ours and what is not. As we own only that which is ours. What our perpetrators did to us is not ours, not our fault or responsibilitty but, the emotions attached to it, are. Negotiating through them, is a huge challenge for any and every relationship.

As I said, I am glad you are a fighter. laugh


Dave

_________________________
checkin out for a few weeks... whistle
02/07/09

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#269036 - 12/28/08 07:20 AM Re: please, could use some coaching/opinions...guys? [Re: ttoon]
riz Offline


Registered: 10/07/08
Posts: 123
Hiya Joel, So nice of you to say hello. I remember very well how you were the first one to pick me up and drag me in when I first collapsed in the virtual emergency room here. It was around 3am. I didn't know what this place was, but you told me nice people would soon be here with coffee and help. I felt such relief since I'd spent most of the night prowling hotlines and crisis centers online.

Funny how you say "your stuggle is akin to survivors". People talk about "my recovery" and I didn't know what they meant. But I think its starting to make a little sense. Actually I have been a little freaked out because, in addition to healing in regards to my husbands issues, predictably, a whole can of worms regarding my family of origin is now opening.

I didn't go to the family Christmas celebration (celebration? ha.) this year. It's like my eyes just opened and I finally can see the angry and depressed environment they provided me to grow up in. I married my husband because, on the surface, he seemed about as opposite from my male relatives as he could get. Underneath though, I am now horrified to see that the behviors of my father, uncle, grandfather, edgads! are exactly like that of my husband.

Holy shit. What could have happened to MY male relatives? My therapist told me not to start inventing. Ok. ok. But if nothing else, I see how emotionally abusive they were. Even if I don't know where it came from, I can see the effects it's had on me. I feel as if I have just woken from some deep trance and am trying to shrug off the paralysis of fear and unworthiness that I have been functioning (or malfunctioning) with for years.

Many people see me as a confident and intelligent woman when they meet me. Inside I am always quivering. My husband told me that my personality included some very big lies. That I was acting big, but really I was small and frightened. He said I was not revealing myself and living up to my potential because of my fear. I was furious and denied everything he said.

At this moment I see that he is right. And you, too. You said I'd been frightened when I came here. I was, but in a "controlled, in charge" sort of way, making the calls, asking the questions, fixing the problem, figuring it out, knowing the answers, being RIGHT. My husband said I always had to be right and I denied that, too.

I always like your posts, Joel, because they sometimes bring out a defensive reaction in me. They are a way for me to practice examining my reaction and see where it is coming from in ME.

Well, you just stopped by to say hi, but I've kept you a long time. Now that I've started talking, I can't seem to shut up :-)Thanks for listening.

Dave, I want to say sorry for your loss...for all your losses. It is absolutely elegant how you've transformed them into simple parables about Daisy dogs and fluffy cats so we can all benefit from your experience.

Riz


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#269037 - 12/28/08 08:26 AM Re: please, could use some coaching/opinions...guys? [Re: riz]
ttoon Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/19/07
Posts: 977
Riz,


Opression is a funny thing and, it seems like, as we awaken from the trance, shake off the weight of it, we find ourselves swinging like a pendulum trying to figure out just where we fit in. The more we are oppressed, it seems like, the wider the path of the pendulum. Back and forth, back and forth, until, eventually, we find some comfort in who we are now in relation to where we have come from.

Which, is why...everything that you are feeling right now, makes sense, in the context of what has happened and is happening in your life.

Eventually, if we are lucky (and some question that) we stop, take a breath long enough to see that things just aren't working for us. The old strategies become obsolete. As you challenge the old beliefs, I think, we go through the stages of loss. It is a loss and with every loss there comes confusion as we transition from who we were, to who we will become. Something has to fill the space.

Denial, bargaining, anger, sadness and acceptance are generally seen as the stages of loss. I have a lot of personal experience with bargaining with denial. Understanding it as a tool rather than a character flaw has really been helpful to me.

Fire is a tool, too. We can use it to temper steel to cut steel or, it can lay waste, everything in it's path as it rages out of control. A lot like anger. Anger is a tool as it helps us create and define our boundaries, but, distorted, it can be rage, hurtfull, harmfull.

All the emotions, I think, are tools to help us process the things that come up in our lives. When the expression is denied or oppressed...well, as you can see, we all lose.

I love your willingness to be open and honest, now that you've joined the ranks...as anyone that might come after reads your posts and watches how this experience has unfolded for you. For them, to be able to say, "I want what you have."


Thanks, Riz...


Dave

_________________________
checkin out for a few weeks... whistle
02/07/09

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#269045 - 12/28/08 11:24 AM Re: please, could use some coaching/opinions...guys? [Re: riz]
joelRT Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor


Registered: 09/11/08
Posts: 1357
Loc: Québec, Canada
Hi Riz,

I just like you so much, girl, you are awesome!!! (please don't tell my boyfriend I said that, he might get the wrong idea. LOL) I don't know if you yourself can see yet the amazing progrtess that you have made in a few short months. I hope for you that you do because you've earned the right to celebrate Riz. Some us take years to get to where you are now - goes to show that you are stronger than you think.
Originally Posted By: riz
Holy shit. What could have happened to MY male relatives? My therapist told me not to start inventing. Ok. ok. But if nothing else, I see how emotionally abusive they were. Even if I don't know where it came from, I can see the effects it's had on me. I feel as if I have just woken from some deep trance and am trying to shrug off the paralysis of fear and unworthiness that I have been functioning (or malfunctioning) with for years.

Many people see me as a confident and intelligent woman when they meet me. Inside I am always quivering. My husband told me that my personality included some very big lies. That I was acting big, but really I was small and frightened. He said I was not revealing myself and living up to my potential because of my fear. I was furious and denied everything he said.

Take your T advice on this one and don't even go to the place of what may have happened to your male relatives! Ya don' wanna know, baby! Nor do you need to - trying to piece that mess together would only be a distraction for you and would lead you away from your own journey.

The waking up from a trance feeling? All too many survivors know the feeling and how disorienting it can be. As the adage goes, this too shall pass.

So, your personnailty includes some big lies, huh? You act big but really are just frightend, huh? You don't reveal yourself or live up to your potential. huh? Hearing stuff like that this makes you furious and you deny it, huh? Well, welcome to my world - welcome to land of survivors, my sweet, please know that you are in very good company!!! smile

_________________________
My Story 1
My Story 2
The longest journey we take is to self-discovery

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#269071 - 12/28/08 05:14 PM Re: please, could use some coaching/opinions...guys? [Re: riz]
WalkingSouth Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

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

This whole thread and particularly your last post is one of the most honest and powerful threads I've read in my nearly 3.5 years here on the site.

You said:

Quote:
I always like your posts, Joel, because they sometimes bring out a defensive reaction in me. They are a way for me to practice examining my reaction and see where it is coming from in ME.

That, my dear lady, is what this site is all about, and I don't mean just you, but everyone who walks through these doors and takes that first sip of coffee offered in compassion by a total stranger.

It's about facing with courage the things that we don't want to face, the things that we're afraid will reveal more than we want to know or think we can handle.

It's about staring down our old ways of coping; of lashing out in anger; of taking our toys and going home; of cowering in the corner afraid do heal; and replacing those old and no longer functional coping mechanisms with honest searching for answers even if it means hearing things we don't want to hear or seeing things we don't want to see.

It's about staying engaged when everything within us wants to cut and run.

A friend of mine who is a facilitator for a recovery weekend program (not MS sponsored) said to me one time:

Quote:
We were wounded in relationship. It takes relationship to help heal the wound.

Someone else here, I've long since forgotten who but believe it may have been Ken Singer, once said:

Quote:
We need to talk it our or we'll end up acting it out.

So it boils down to having the honesty and courage to stay engaged when we want to cut and run. It boils down to having the honesty and courage to discuss the things we feel are unspeakable and doing it in a safe environment where we have a chance to look into the mirror being held up to us by our counterparts in healing and being able to see ourselves the way they see us. That means not only being able to gracefully see the negative things about us that we may need to work on, but also being able to gracefully see the beautiful and positive things about us that we may never have realized we possess.

Jon Bon Jovi did a song a while back called "Ugly". To me that song is anything but. One of the lines in it has stood out like a shining beacon for me for quite some time. It says, "If you could see yourself like others do, you'd wish you were as beautiful as you."

All of us have beauty. Thanks for this thread. It's been cathartic.

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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#269088 - 12/28/08 07:26 PM Re: please, could use some coaching/opinions...guys? [Re: WalkingSouth]
joelRT Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor


Registered: 09/11/08
Posts: 1357
Loc: Québec, Canada
John,

The authenticity of your words has made me cry, man. Thanks, I too needed to hear what you said to Riz. Really hit home and I feel blessed.

_________________________
My Story 1
My Story 2
The longest journey we take is to self-discovery

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#269098 - 12/28/08 08:25 PM Re: please, could use some coaching/opinions...guys? [Re: joelRT]
riz Offline


Registered: 10/07/08
Posts: 123
((( Dave, Joel, John )))

head pounding...must sleep...moon in window...happily drowned...God bless

Riz


Subtle degrees
of domination and servitude
are what you know as love

but love is different.
It arrives complete
just there
like the moon in the window

like the sun
of neither east nor west
nor of anyplace.

When that sun arrives
east and west arrive.

Desire only that
of which you have no hope
seek only that
of which you have no clue.

Love is the sea of not-being
and there intellect drowns.

This is not the Oxus River or some little creek.
This is the shoreless sea;
here swimming ends always in drowning.

A journey to the sea
is horses and fodder
and contrivance
but at land’s end
the footsteps vanish.

You lift up your robe
so as not to wet the hem;
come! drown in this sea
a thousand times.

-Rumi


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#269110 - 12/28/08 09:39 PM Re: please, could use some coaching/opinions...guys? [Re: riz]
ttoon Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/19/07
Posts: 977

Thank you, Riz,


...what we call the beginning is often the end
And to make and end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from. And every phrase
And sentence that is right (where every word is at home,
Taking its place to support the others,
The word neither diffident nor ostentatious,
An easy commerce of the old and the new,
The common word exact without vulgarity,
The formal word precise but not pedantic,
The complete consort dancing together)
Every phrase and every sentence is an end and a beginning,
Every poem an epitaph. And any action
Is a step to the block, to the fire, down the sea's throat
Or to an illegible stone: and that is where we start.
We die with the dying:
See, they depart, and we go with them.
We are born with the dead:
See, they return, and bring us with them.
The moment of the rose and the moment of the yew-tree
Are of equal duration. A people without history
Is not redeemed from time, for history is a pattern
Of timeless moments....

With the drawing of this Love and the voice of this
Calling

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always—
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.

From, 'Little Gidding'

T.S. Eliot


laugh



Dave

_________________________
checkin out for a few weeks... whistle
02/07/09

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#269167 - 12/29/08 08:37 AM Re: please, could use some coaching/opinions...guys? [Re: riz]
fromtoday Offline


Registered: 10/04/08
Posts: 74
Loc: UK
Originally Posted By: riz
Many people see me as a confident and intelligent woman when they meet me. Inside I am always quivering. My husband told me that my personality included some very big lies. That I was acting big, but really I was small and frightened.
Riz

Hi Riz,
this could be me you are talking about, tough isn't it, being the "strong" one, the wise friend, I often wonder if my friends ever consider why I might be "wise", why I might be able to offer advice in such a variety of situations, why I may seem to have experience in circles which I don't walk.
They laugh when anger leaks out of me, they laugh that I would make a good activist, I wonder if they consider where that anger comes from.
They are amazed when I can handle things, drunks, aggression, nothing rattles me, or does it.
I laugh sometimes when friends compliment my strength, I call myself "master of the masks", and they laugh, afterall I couldn't be speaking the truth could I.
Good Post,
love S

_________________________
Is this the real life?
Is this just fantasy?
Caught in a landslide,
No escape from reality
Open your eyes, Look up to the skies and see.....
_________________________________________________
Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody

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