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#290141 - 06/03/09 09:17 PM Help - I need answers -
AwesomeAnn Offline


Registered: 06/03/09
Posts: 14
Loc: California, USA
Hi I am new to this site. I am so appreciative having a place to ask my querie. In brief, I am a 30 y/o, professional woman who is dating a 39 y/o survivor. An amazing guy whom I love. I've read books, articles, even consulted religious people. I am at a loss - we had a great relationship for the first two years and wham - like a tidal wave he has entered into this depression and isolation that is nearly impossible to deal with. I don't know where to turn at this point. I have never met anyone who this has happened to (maybe I did, but they didn't discuss), my parent's were elderly when they had us kids and overprotected from all of lifes "unpleasantries", at my age - I've never dealt with anything so horrifying as what has happened to him at the hands of his older brother. I don't know what to do? Do these guys ever become normal - I'm so sorry if this sounds sophomoric or incosiderate - but as much as I love this man, I'm wondering is this the way of life for him and his behaviour of moodiness, self loathing, distrust, projection? He says he needs a break from life - he's not working (his folks support him), he's not thriving, he's a shell of the man I fell in love with.. how long does recovery take? I don't mean to sound insensitive, I'm sure I do - but I am frustrated. I show him all the love in my heart and he's still such a mess. He's in therapy, but I don't think it's helping - I don't believe his therapist is qualified enough - regardless, I'm reaching out to this community to answer this question: If you had to do it over again, would you? Would you choose the person you're with - with all the problems they bring to a relationship? How long does one wait and stand by their man before they just go crazy themselves. My God, the tiniest thing brings this guy to tears... is this part of the healing?? What can I do to expedite things? He's asked to be left alone - from what I gather, he should be around others to help lift him from his misery. We are different religions, actually he has become quite anti God at this point. He won't go to church? As I'm writing this I am saddened and ashamed of myself for wanting a quick fix.. I've been so fortunate in my life, I can't get my mind around such suffering.. but if this happened when he was 9 - shouldn't he be better by now? Please help - if I offended anyone in my quest for an answer, I don't mean to.. Thank you.


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#290164 - 06/03/09 11:42 PM Re: Help - I need answers - [Re: AwesomeAnn]
WalkingSouth Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16264
Hi AwesomeAnn. Glad to see you here and asking questions smile

"do these guys ever become normal?" - - Well, I like to think I am or at least becoming that way, lol

you're wondering if this is the way he's going to be the rest of his life. I'd say the answer to that question lies with him, but certainly as long as he's being enabled in some way in his behavior he will. I say that because you say he's living with his parents. what that means in practical terms is that there's no incentive to "recover" He's got three hots and a cot. what more can he ask for?

You're showing him love which you should, but perhaps there's no incentive there either. Sometime love has to be tough. Sometimes the survivor needs to be brought face to face with what he could lose in order for them to see that a positive change is mandatory in order to keep it. Sometimes love is simply not enough to make it work. That's the heartbreaking part of it. You can pour your heart, soul, and mind into loving him and it's still not enough. That's a pretty tough go and it's got to hurt. I'm sorry for that hurt.

What can you do to expedite things? Take care of you and make sure you're not enabling him. Love him and let him know he's got your support but you must also be able to set clear boundaries on what you will and will not allow in the relationship. It's your right to do so, just as it is his. Also, you may want to go to therapy yourself so that you have a clear understanding of yourself and your own issues because let's face it, everyone has them to some extent.

One other thing - - don't try to manage his recovery. Your job is a tough one because if he feels you're attempting to manage that he'll dig in his heels. The recovery is his and his alone.

As heartbreaking as his story is, and as long ago as it happened, time does not heal all wounds. He was wounded terribly at 9 years old. That wound apparently has never been treated, at least until recently. Sure the surface healed over but inside it has been festering and worsening unseen all these years. It's finally burst through to the surface for the rest of the world to see.

I think there a two basic things needed for therapy to be effective. The first would be a therapist that is experienced in treating men who were sexually abused as children. A woman's therapist will not do, and in most cases neither will a therapist who does not have the experience mentioned because they simply do not understand the needs specific to the male survivor. The other thing necessary to effective therapy is a client who is serious about recovery. Without those things it's going to be a pretty tough go.

Bottom line? Recovery is indeed possible but there's not timetable for it. It takes as long as it takes. For me recovery is the work of a lifetime but I'd say 5 to 10 years would be a good time frame for getting some of the major work done, with some differences showing up within a few months and other things taking much, much longer.

Please continue to read and interact. You'll learn much and certainly find a source of support among the ladies and gentlemen here. We wish you well.

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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#290214 - 06/04/09 08:42 AM Re: Help - I need answers - [Re: WalkingSouth]
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5779
Loc: Lambertville, NJ USA
I concur with John about the therapist comments. A therapist who is inexperienced in treating male survivors will likely treat the symptoms s/he is familiar with like depression or anxiety. There are many underlying problems affecting male survivors that don't necessarily come up from the client/patient and unless the therapist knows what to look for, the issues go unresolved.

If you bf is living in the childhood home with his parents where the abuse took place, that can be a factor. Also, is the brother still alive, does he have contact with the parents, your bf?

One test your bf can do to see how he is affected is to try the 5 part letter exercise in this article:
http://www.malesurvivor.org/ArchivedPages/singer3.html

If he is minimizing the effects of the abuse, this may give him a sense of how profound the abuse was.

The exercise is not meant for him to confront his brother. At this stage of his recovery, I wouldn't recommend it but it could be later on after making some progress in treatment.


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#290258 - 06/04/09 02:32 PM Re: Help - I need answers - [Re: Ken Singer, LCSW]
AwesomeAnn Offline


Registered: 06/03/09
Posts: 14
Loc: California, USA
Thank you both for such invaluable advice. A bit about him, since you are kind enough to care. He does not live in the family home, sold a long time ago. The parents have purchased a house for him, basically he is taken care of at this point. He works on and off and has a history of being fired from each job. The perpetuater brother is MIA - hasn't been seen or heard from in decades. The family doesn't speak of this incident(s). When I met him he was working as an executive in a Fortune 500 company and thriving. This 'breakdown' has been recent. Unfortunately I am not a patient person. I typically want things done yesterday - if he wasn't such a phenomenal human being, the old me would've walked out the day i saw such "weakness". I believe this is how every other woman has reacted. Don't want to do the same. I don't even know how to wrap my head around abusing a child? In my culture, children are "Gifts from God" and treated as such. My family both immediate and extended have taken the safety and care of children as their primary purpose in life. I can't mention any of this to my family as they're response would be to get the hell out of the relationship, too much drama. I don't think I'm that shallow, anymore. Love does change things. I am praying for the strength to go through this with him, but currently he has cocooned himself and doesn't want any communication. I'm giving him his space, we send each other short emails. Any suggestions as to where you think i should go from here in my limitted capacity as email girlfriend? I researched his therapist and he isn't trained enough in male abuse I do things a bit controlling and maybe that also scares him. If I mention anything about this lack luster therapist, he gets wound up. Come to find out, he's been in therapy on and off for over a decade, with different therapists. Doesn't that imply he hasn't found one that is adept enough to 'cure' him? It's tough being an 'action' person who is now with a 'passive why me' man? How could he change so much in such a short span of time? Can he one day just put it behind him and contrary to minimizing the abuse, just stop thinking and wallowing about it? There's so much suffering in the world - he has so many blessings, he doesn't seem to appreciate any of them. Tried to get him to volunteer at a homeless shelter and he just wasn't "emotionally there". I believe my get results attitude should be helpful, but to his psyche it appears yet another controlling individual? So frustrating. Thanks so much for any help... John, sorry about 'normal' comment...I'm frustrated to the point of inconsideration smile

ann


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#290317 - 06/04/09 08:07 PM Re: Help - I need answers - [Re: AwesomeAnn]
Anna1988 Offline


Registered: 05/29/09
Posts: 30
First off, what is normal? I have yet to find anyone, survivor or not, who fits this di>

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#290332 - 06/04/09 10:35 PM Re: Help - I need answers - [Re: Anna1988]
cstjude Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/04/08
Posts: 302
Loc: Canada
Ann,

It can be a terrifying, frustrating, crazy-making experience for both parties in a relationship when one partner is dealing with abuse issues.

The advice you've received here is right on, but I know that all the uncertainty of being in love with a surivor is hard to take sometimes. The worst thing to face for those of us who love these men is that we cannot love them into recovery. They must undertake and committ to that journey themselves. We can support and encourage, ressure (a lot), and educate ourselves. But we must never fall into the trap of wondering why our love isn't enough, or beating ourselves up for not being able to make it all go away. Simply put, it's not about us, it doesn't matter how long it takes, he might never recover, and all we have sometimes is the moment.

The good news is that recovery is possibe! That great strength and meaning and wisdom and a deeper understanding of love is posssible with a survivor!

It sounds as if your loved one is reeling from a trigger. Intimacy -emotional or physical - can be a terrifying thing for a survivor. Isolating himself is not an uncommon response. Do not take it personally.

One resource that helped me understand all this is a book by Browne and Browne called "If the Man You Love was Abused." It's not the whole story, but it might help you see the light at the end of the tunnel.

You will need a strong sense of self and a clear idea of what your own boundaries are. Think about getting some therapy for yourself.

Always be honest with him, don't wear a mask, say what you mean and mean what you say. Be gentle with him and with yourself. Understand that on any given day he might be giving you all he can - mentally, emotionally, physically - and some days that's not much. Ive posted this exerpt from Khalil Gebrail before, but it speaks so eloquently to me about what it can be like loving a survivor:


When love beckons to you follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.

And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.
Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself. ...

But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.

Be good to yourself and to him,

C.

_________________________
C.
Female, Friends & Family Forum Fan

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#290337 - 06/04/09 11:05 PM Re: Help - I need answers - [Re: Anna1988]
expom Offline


Registered: 01/06/09
Posts: 124
Loc: Australia
Hi Awesome Ann, ADen here in the land down under. It looks like you are doing a pretty decent job at getting the help you need. Let me put it slightly differently; You getting you the help that you need to help you to help your BF.

When you look at some of the history of us guys who have been through this long dark valley, there are remarkable similarities in many stories. Apparently we are 8 times more likely to be retrenched and made redundant; our long term relationships are 4 times more likely to fail etc etc etc. I too was a high flier - and I will never to choose to go back there as I now see it was a means of avoiding the person that I was meant to be. I have heard my wife say far to many times "I would love to introduce you to the man that I married" - that was in the dark days. Now our relationship is improving day by day. By the way, I was able to tell my wife nearly a year ago about what happened - we were married in 1981 - that's right 27 years living with a guy who had been abused over a 3 year period from age 9 to 12.

Some mental adjustments are going to be necessary from both of you. I now view my issues as permanently life changing - in this way I don't have unrealistic expectations and I can avoid the unrealistic expectations of others. I view the CSA that I endured as that part of my childhood was amputated. Would you ever say to an amputee "Oh, get over it"? Sure say that WE have to learn to live with the consequences and those consequences can be minimised - amputees have now conquored Mount Everest; though many remain in wheel chairs not even putting on their prostheses because of fear of falling over, not being able to walk straight, it's easier to get everyone to do things for you. You know the drill. If you want to give him a quick fix then here it is - get him to grow a new leg. Turn back the clock and make sure that the abuse doesn't happen. This is the problem with product oriented people. Its time to accept that not only is it impossible for you to fix your BF it is wrong to try. Time to learn to become a process person not a product person.

For me this was hard - dealing with the injustice of not being saved at the time from what I went through, it is natural for us to want to be compensated continually by society and the others who should have protected me. To be looked after, paid for and excused. It turns out to be a living hell that only accepting the responsibility for my recovery provides a way out of. It will probably be a short period of time now before he gets to the stage of saying "Its my life, its my recovery, I'm going to do what I need to do in order to have a life worth living". This in effect is where most our journeys take us.

How long does it take? As Mike Lew says "a little longer than you'd hope but not as long as you fear". Because we don't know how long it will take, we need to make sure that each day is at the very least, tolerable.

Understanding the child abuse. If you can understand the abuse then please get the hell out of the man's life because the only way you can understand the abuse is to be like the abuser. Thank God - daily - that you can't understand how anyone could do these things. Then ask "OK. So what's next?" No matter how hard things are, they are never the last thing. There's always something else around the corner.

Are you aware that you use 'death sentences' in the way you talk? There are attitudes and beliefs that we hold that come out and show themselves in unusual ways. Let's play a game. If I say "I can't ride a unicycle" it conveys an air of finality that indicates that I have no intention of attempting to change that statement. If I add the word "yet" to the sentence watch how the feeling changes "I can't ride a unicycle yet". It implies hope that I will be able to in the future, that I am not prepared to stay in my 'unable' state.

"I am not a patient person" is a death sentence - it implies that everyone has to like it or lump it, because this is who you are and you have no intention of attempting to try something different or difficult. It's time to start a person journey of your own that acknowledges your own difficulties and says "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you always got." Try: "I have difficulties with bein patient" or "There are times when I get impatient with this sort of thing".

"I can't talk about this with my family" duh, what family is ok with talking about current or past sexual practices? Would you feel comfortable asking your mother about her sexual practices with your father? No. No one should feel able to disclose sexual abuse with "family" - I'm playing a word game here. You should, however, have a friend or two (they may even be related to you) who you can confide in. This is not a family issue, it is a personal issue and can be dealt with personally with certain members of the family that can be relied on to be trusted. I have made sure that my wife and parents in law are aware that I do not want the issue of me being abused as a child being discussed with my wife's sister - why? Because I have seen the way she deals with other people and I am worth more than that.
"I can't talk about this with my sister in law - YET !" would be a good way to start, for me. You get my drift.

If you are not prepared to work on your own issues then you will be of no use to your BF - sorry to be so blunt. But how can you see to get the speck out of his eye if you have a plank in your own. After all getting splinters out takes patience. Are you prepared to learn? The fact that you are on this website does imply that you are but - he is responsible for his recovery, you are responsible for yours and together you are jointly responsible for your relationship issues.

He's asked to be left alone. Difficult one, very difficult. Conflicts of "I say I want to be left alone but in truth I am subconsciously asking you to prove that I am of worth to you by your coming and seeking me out and comforting me" versus "I need to be in control for now and I need to see that you respect my decision to be left alone".

How to deal? Talk, discuss as equals - each has needs, rights, responsibilities and expectations in the relationship. Agree some boundaries - and put in penalty clauses. eg only 3 date cancellations before guaranteeing a face to face meeting; 3 emails to one phone call; no screened out phonecalls between 8 and 10 pm. Remember that there are no rights without responsibilities. Sure he has a right to constructive solitude but he has a responsibility to actively work towards processing the long term effects of the abuse and that cannot be done in isolation.

These are the musings of an expom, now an aussie, and are offered in the hope that you can find something useful. If not, then I'm sorry.

ADen

_________________________
I endured all my yesterdays. I prevail in all of my todays. I exercise my right to be able to enjoy my tomorrows. I choose not to do it alone.

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#290338 - 06/04/09 11:27 PM Re: Help - I need answers - [Re: AwesomeAnn]
WalkingSouth Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16264
A couple of things come to mind Ann, after reading your second post.

The first one is that the two of you did not fall in love in a vacuum. There are reasons why he was attracted to you and you to him that neither one of you probably ever realized. Relationships happen because of certain attractions. For instance, you say you,re a get 'er done sorta lady. You approach life from a "get results attitude". He on the other hand, according to your de>
_________________________
“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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#290341 - 06/05/09 12:16 AM Re: Help - I need answers - [Re: expom]
AwesomeAnn Offline


Registered: 06/03/09
Posts: 14
Loc: California, USA
Dear Aden:

Thank you so very much for your thoughtful advice. You hit the nail on the head,

Conflicts of "I say I want to be left alone but in truth I am subconsciously asking you to prove that I am of worth to you by your coming and seeking me out and comforting me" versus "I need to be in control for now and I need to see that you respect my decision to be left alone".


I understand alone time - I thrive best when I get an equal balance of it and chaos. I can't read which of the two scenarios to follow with him currently. I have read that survivors have severe control issues and don't want to encroach on his control - but he has numerous times complained that he wasn't hugged enough by his mom and ex wife and doesn't like feeling abandoned. I want to help him, he is so much more than this horrific abuse, but I have no idea which way to turn. He is so moody and depressed, nothing I do makes him happy - he would light up if I would surprise him by dropping by after work... He would be thrilled for calls in middle of the day, just to say hi and love ya. I'm getting such mixed signals... he is looking to blame me for something? Or so I feel. He has enough to deal with, without me adding my hurt feelings. Thank you so much for taking the time to respond, I appreciate it.


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#290342 - 06/05/09 12:23 AM Re: Help - I need answers - [Re: AwesomeAnn]
AwesomeAnn Offline


Registered: 06/03/09
Posts: 14
Loc: California, USA
I want to thank all of you for your helpful advice. You are such caring individuals to take the time to take time for a stranger. I will do my best to help my boyfriend. It really is a major adjustment, but he is worth it. He's a great man. I believe we live in such a 'throw away' society, and I'd like to surpass my upbringing. Please accept my apologies for my inconsiderate use of the word 'normal'.. didn't mean to offend anyone.

Wishing all of you peace.

Ann


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#290384 - 06/05/09 11:02 AM Re: Help - I need answers - [Re: AwesomeAnn]
expom Offline


Registered: 01/06/09
Posts: 124
Loc: Australia
Remember its ok to ask him about hugs - but remember that if he wants you to hug him then make sure that you hug him, not getting him to hug you. He won't confuse you with his mum.

Send him a text asking if its ok to phone him or text him and tell him to expect a call. then make sure you do call - otherwise there will be massive feelings of rejection.

No he is not blaming you for anything. Maybe he's engaging in self care - predicting that you will abandon him and is preparing himself for it. Give him the reassurance you know you want to.

Time to be brave and be awesome Ann!

_________________________
I endured all my yesterdays. I prevail in all of my todays. I exercise my right to be able to enjoy my tomorrows. I choose not to do it alone.

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#290778 - 06/08/09 01:14 PM Re: Help - I need answers - [Re: expom]
AwesomeAnn Offline


Registered: 06/03/09
Posts: 14
Loc: California, USA
Dear Expom:

Wanted to give you an update of my situation. With your wise advice, I wrote my BF a lovely email, at least I think it was, expressing my support and willingness to be by his side. He hasn't responded - sent four days ago. I don't think he's turning on his computer anymore? This is the 21st day of non verbal communication - and the emails/texts have all but diminished. Maybe I'm not the one for him? I have always accomplished things in lightning speed, am a transplant from New York and every cell in my being expresses this. This is a long process. Taking your advice, read posts on Friends & Family, and am choosing to start taking care of myself now. I have developed stress induced problems since I found about his abuse - and try as I might, I don't understand it, and don't comprehend his family's aloofness to it? Obvious I don't know how to deal with him and his suffering currently. If he is choosing to live in a cocoon, I can't wait around forever. Won't bore you anymore complaining and whining, just wanted to wish you a good week and express my appreciation for the help you gave me.

Blessings & Peace,

Ann
Not Feeling Awesome frown


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#290801 - 06/08/09 03:10 PM Re: Help - I need answers - [Re: AwesomeAnn]
WalkingSouth Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16264
Blessings & peace to you also, Ann.

_________________________
“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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#290930 - 06/09/09 09:47 AM Re: Help - I need answers - [Re: WalkingSouth]
expom Offline


Registered: 01/06/09
Posts: 124
Loc: Australia
Hi there AwesomeAnn,

It may be worth pointing out that there are many times when our feelings are different from what is true. At the moment you may not feel Awesome - but my assessment is that is what you are. My reason for holding a different opinion and asserting it as more accurate is based on one of the most valuable things that we can offer another human (of God for that matter) and that is our availability.

Please remember that if your BF is not in a position to accept your offers to stand by and support him, it may not have anything pertaining to you. It also may have remarkably little to do with what he feels. There are times in the life of many CSA survivors when we feel we need to keep everyone away because we can't tell the difference between friends and enemies.

If you need to walk away from the relationship at this time then - although it is natural to feel a sense of loss - I trust that you will be able to go with your head held high, secure in the knowledge that you have behaved in an honourable way that is a good example to all.

It is true that time waits for no man but it can also be true that God repays us for the years stolen by the locusts. I pray that you experience the Peace of God in whatever option you choose.

With love and best wishes from a very cold wet Melbourne

ADen

_________________________
I endured all my yesterdays. I prevail in all of my todays. I exercise my right to be able to enjoy my tomorrows. I choose not to do it alone.

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#291016 - 06/10/09 12:17 AM Re: Help - I need answers - [Re: expom]
AwesomeAnn Offline


Registered: 06/03/09
Posts: 14
Loc: California, USA
Hi ADen:

Thank you for your email. Just received a response from my BF - a long letter explaining a lot of things that needed explanation. He is finally getting appropriate care and without commiting to anything but his recovery, he seems to be doing better. I sent him some of the responses from the moderators and he agreed with a lot of it and was surprised that I took the time to research CSA. I feel hopeful, I'm not going to be stupid - but I am also not going to abandon him like every other relationship he has had. That was ambiguous wasn't it?

Thanks again, have a good week.

Anne


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#291206 - 06/11/09 09:31 AM Re: Help - I need answers - [Re: AwesomeAnn]
expom Offline


Registered: 01/06/09
Posts: 124
Loc: Australia
No Anne,
Not ambiguous at all. It tells me that you will keep your options open; that you will HEAR what God has to say to you; that you will preserve your own dear self in the event of any self destruction on the part of your BF; that you will continue to surprise him with your interest in him - proven by your research.

Hope. HOPE. H.O.P.E. Healing Of Past Experiences.

The last thing to fly out of Pandora's box is hope - it is always the last thing that we have left. It is precious, vital, alive, nurturing, motivating.

Go for it Anne - entirely devoid of things that are not awesome.

ADen

_________________________
I endured all my yesterdays. I prevail in all of my todays. I exercise my right to be able to enjoy my tomorrows. I choose not to do it alone.

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#291329 - 06/12/09 12:32 PM Re: Help - I need answers - [Re: AwesomeAnn]
MPackard Offline


Registered: 12/09/08
Posts: 43
Loc: MS
Ann, you've gotten such great advise. I'm the wife of a survivor and before he began therapy he'd gone down many a destructive path. They culminated in him having an emotional affair that nearly devastated me. It was the trauma of nearly losing me that 1)caused him to begin having falshbacks and nightmares of the abuse and
2)caused him to get a T who specializes in compulsions and who seems to have a great grasp of the trauma of CSA.
He's doing quite well, for the moment, but at the time he was so depressed and withdrawn. He hated himself and thought himself unworthy. He had tried a few years ago to kill himself and was nearly successful.
He's working this time. He'd seen so many T in his past that he knew how to manipulate them, say what they wanted to hear...but THIS time, he has seen that it will surely be the end of him if he doesn't commit.
I write this all to answer another part of your first post. Are they worth it. I can tell you that mine is 100% worth it and I'd do it all over again.


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#291334 - 06/12/09 01:29 PM Re: Help - I need answers - [Re: MPackard]
AwesomeAnn Offline


Registered: 06/03/09
Posts: 14
Loc: California, USA
Dear Friend:

You have no idea how much I needed to see this today. I had all but decided to throw in the towel last night. Developed a stress induced meltdown that caused atrocious health problems - had to be rushed to my doctor. Have never been this sick in my life - I am extremely healthy and have a background in holistic health so don't believe in any pill popping to cope. My sister who can tell in my voice when I am keeping something from her, finally coerced it out of me. When I told her my BF csa - she screamed "RUN! We've not been raised with any of this and you won't be able to handle the future drama". We are from an extremely tight knit family that kept the children so protected in a glass bubble - until we moved out, we had never encountered any of life's real ordeals. My entire family - extended and immediate was this cloistered. I was thought of a rebel because we moved out at 22, post college & graduate school! Every person who knows we're on a 'break' has come up and said "you can do better, he's so depressed & moody - why do you even want him"? They don't know of his csa, have kept his secret close to the vest.

He is a great guy - and has virtually no one... not a single friend - they all seem to throw him out - or are basically pleasant and curt...his mother is helpful - but that's a weird relationship in and of itself - she's never addressed the abuse - but i'm sure the guilt must wreak havoc with her mental status? New therapist isn't allowing him to "manipulate" him. The others were banal at best, to quote him like running on a treadmill - not useless, but not getting anywhere... I'm thrilled that your husband is on the road to recovery and you are in a good place. It gives me hope. Sorry for the long rant... I am confused and sick of this 'non communication' - as a woman, you know how we like to talk things out.....you're the only one who has thus far said "worth it"... it's the glimmer of light I am going to hold on to... thanks so much.

Ann


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#291446 - 06/13/09 05:44 PM Re: Help - I need answers - [Re: AwesomeAnn]
cstjude Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/04/08
Posts: 302
Loc: Canada
Anne,
Fifteen years of interaction with my loved one has taught me that it is all worth it. You both have such important lessons head - his about recovery, and yours about how deep love goes.

C.

_________________________
C.
Female, Friends & Family Forum Fan

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#291558 - 06/14/09 12:53 PM Re: Help - I need answers - [Re: cstjude]
AwesomeAnn Offline


Registered: 06/03/09
Posts: 14
Loc: California, USA
Thank you C. I believe you are correct. I have a lot to learn. I don't know if I have the 'backbone' to live through those lessons... it would so help if he would just communicate.. thanks for your response. Glad to hear your relationship was worth it.. am hopeful..

ann


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#291559 - 06/14/09 01:07 PM Re: Help - I need answers - [Re: AwesomeAnn]
cstjude Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/04/08
Posts: 302
Loc: Canada
Yes, the most crazy-making thing about the experience was his need to retreat and be uncommunicative sometimes. It's not because he won't, I suspect. I think it has more to do with the fact that communication is just so damned scary for a survivor especially after they disclose. Hi might be feeling so exposed, so vulnerable that he can't communicate right now. He disclosed to you and that is HUGE for survivors.

His need to be silent sometimes made me crazy because I am so verbal and so open generally, I took it very hard that he shut down around me. But I learned that those were my issues, not his.

The hardest thing to accept is the inability to predict the loved one's behaviour or needs at any given time. It feels like the ground is constantly shifting and that is a very anxiety-making experience. The only way I've ever discovered to handle it, is to develop an internal dialogue that reminds me to have patience, to accept whatever he can give me, to develop my own self (interests, friends, education), and to continually recommit myself to open, honest communication. The big ticket items in our interactions were safety, honesty, and respect.

C.

_________________________
C.
Female, Friends & Family Forum Fan

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#291788 - 06/15/09 10:56 PM Re: Help - I need answers - [Re: cstjude]
AwesomeAnn Offline


Registered: 06/03/09
Posts: 14
Loc: California, USA
thanks c - had an awful weekend, heeded the advice from you and others, staying active - went to a graduation, birthday and anniversary dinner by myself - friends seemed pleased i attended solo and took no time in voicing their opinions: 'we're so glad you came to your senses. ____ is such a wet blanket, you're so pretty - you can do better'. what do friends think, how can people be so unkind? hearing their joy that we're on 'a break' didn't make me feel anything but lonely and dejected. they believe he's just depressed about the economy, have no idea about his past - which i would NEVER reveal. not a damn word from him either - how is this fair? was actually moved to go to a church - surprised the roof didn't cave in.. it's been so long since i felt the need to go.. i have no answers? i've been reading the posts here, books that have been recommended, praying, etc. - just when i get a twinge of hope, i'll get these feelings of despair. to have no communication but a few emails - how does his therapist think this is doing any good for us as a couple? read a post here that maybe the guy isn't into his gf - maybe he just isn't into me anymore? not communicating, what sense does that make? can't imagine where he is coming from? i feel like hunting his therapist down and asking for a meeting - but i'll bet that's the wrong thing to do. and i'm sure my bf will feel violated (everything makes him feel violated) - he's asked me to be patient.. we come from opposite sides of the country and my definition and his are quite different.. he is laid back/casual, and i "make coffee nervous".. how in the world did you get through 15 years? anyway.. thanks for taking the time to write.. i'm just having a bad day.. a real bad day.. a clint eastwook would shoot me type of day..


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#291799 - 06/15/09 11:50 PM Re: Help - I need answers - [Re: AwesomeAnn]
cstjude Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/04/08
Posts: 302
Loc: Canada
You're being honest about your weekend. It really does sound like your ground is shifting.

There is no need to apologize here or to retreat from that truth. There are days when this experience truly sucks. Ok. Those folks who are trying to make you feel better by slagging off someone they don't understand and superficially disapprove of haven't thought their comments through. And although they think that putting him down will somehow build you up, they aren't considering your needs. Even if they don't know about his CSA, its still a shallow approach to human relationships. So don't you listen to them! smile

It's as if they are saying, people are idiots for loving the wrong type of partner. What nonsense. The silence is making you feel vulnerable, you need reassurance and he can't give it to you right now. You might be feeling guilty even about thinking of your own needs when you know what he is going through. But that is why this forum exists, to provide a place where you can vent those frustrations with those who won't judge.

You are a kind and concerned person. And I only make this gentle nudge of a suggestion because it helped me....but you might want to look at why you might be needing that reassurance so badly right now? Why do we need to hear the words? I have a lesbian friend of mine who keeps asking me "why are you such a chick?" when I complain that the communication is misfiring. smile It's her way of reminding me that I have to re-examine the only thing I have any true power over in this situation - my own reactions.

I'm so sorry that the weekend your resources and your energy. This self-reliance thing takes pratice. But it does get easier, in my experience.

Be good to yourself.

C.

_________________________
C.
Female, Friends & Family Forum Fan

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#292102 - 06/17/09 07:19 PM Re: Help - I need answers - [Re: cstjude]
AwesomeAnn Offline


Registered: 06/03/09
Posts: 14
Loc: California, USA
Thank you C for taking the time to reply. I can't get over how you hit the nail on the head!

"You might be feeling guilty even about thinking of your own needs when you know what he is going through."

Right on target! I do feel guilty - the worst thing in my youth was my mom wouldn't allow me to wear lipstick! In my logical, compassionate mind - I hear "he needs time, give him his space, let him be alone until he is ready".. than my hormone driven, Manhattan, Homecoming Queen rationale kicks in..."plenty of fish in the sea...you can do better, who needs this BS, blah blah blah".. Since you asked and the anonymity of this forum comforts me in sharing, he's really the only man I've ever truly loved to this level. I've had bf's since I was 16, and they've been great - but no one like him, he gets me, he can read my thoughts and knows when i need him and when i need my space (shocking is i require a lot more alone time than 99.99% of other women - i've been told) he rings when i am just getting ready to call him... he accepts my wacky, shallow friends (you were right again - we live in LA - the epitome of shallow - neighbors with "Speidi" & co...) he knows how i take my coffee & isn't afraid of my success, and our intimate relationship is perfect-which I have learned through reading this site, I'm lucky. To answer your question, "why you might be needing that reassurance so badly right now" because i miss him - and as shallow as this might sound, i don't miss anyone? I also feel without me, his entire existence is going to be just his csa? He's not working, I'm petrified he might hurt himself? I've read there is a higher rate of suicide and different nuances that I've heard him remark worries me? He once commented how he is unworthy of someone like me - i sarcastically replied "you and 90% of the guys in LA" - no ego problems here.. but when i tried to assure him i was joking, i don't need a 'more successful' 'more attractive' 'more ---- fill in the blank'man, he just got sullen and depressed over how 'broken' he is! If he had even one friend, just one damn friend or a family member that would stand by his side and be supportive - i'd be on the first plane to the Hamptoms and take the much needed breather i deserve - he has no one.. his mother won't broach the subject - she's very cold anyway. i'm sure she'd offer him an aspirin w/a curt 'you'll be fine'.. that's her damn mantra. The more I read of this horrible atrocity, the sadder I get. Even if things don't work out with us, I so wish he'd get a trusting person to vent with. He won't come near this or any other site or go to support meetings that I was able to locate in our area.. his therapist is recommending isolation - so besides the 3 hours he sees him the rest of the week he is home sulking.

Thanks again C. I'm happy your relationship was worth it and i wish you continued success.

self absorbed ann


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#292127 - 06/17/09 09:57 PM Re: Help - I need answers - [Re: AwesomeAnn]
riz Offline


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

You said, "I also feel without me, his entire existence is going to be just his csa."

It seems to me that right now he is quite involved in his healing process, with or without you. And that process is about him. It's not about you.

What is about you? Your healing process. Do you have a therapist?

I hope you believe that I say this with love in my heart and after reading this entire thread...and I've been in your shoes. I could add a lot of nice fillers, but I believe this is what it boils down to.

Peace,

Riz

p.s. If you feel like taking a break in the Hamptons, you should go.


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#292132 - 06/17/09 10:12 PM Re: Help - I need answers - [Re: riz]
cstjude Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/04/08
Posts: 302
Loc: Canada
Ann,

You have one important, soul-searching question to answer for yourself girl... are you in this for the long haul? Even if you are not destined to be a couple, can he count on you? Being honest with yourself, brutally honest, on this point will help you chart a course in these turbulent waters. Where are your peresonal limits? What are your non-negotiables?

C.

_________________________
C.
Female, Friends & Family Forum Fan

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#292133 - 06/17/09 10:16 PM Re: Help - I need answers - [Re: cstjude]
cstjude Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/04/08
Posts: 302
Loc: Canada
Oh yeah, one more thing... smile

I sometimes turn to literature or poetry or song lyrics as a touch stone to keep myself grounded in this experience. One of my favourites is Cry if You Want To by Holly Cole. It speaks so much to how I view my loved one and my committment to him. Here are the lyrics:

Cry if you want
I wont tell you not to
I won’t try to cheer you up
Ill just be here if you want me

It’s no use in keeping a stiff upper lip
You can weep you can sleep you can loosen your grip
You can frown you can drown and go down with the ship
You cry if you want to

Don’t ever apologize venting your pain
It's something to me you don’t need to explain
I don’t need to know why
I don’t think it’s insane
You can cry if you want to

The windows are closed
The neighbours aren’t home
If it’s better with me than to do it alone
I'll draw all the curtains and unplug the phone
You can cry if you want

You can stare at the ceiling and tear at your hair
Swallow your feelings and stagger and swear
You could show things and throw things and I wouldn’t care
You can cry if you want to

I won’t make fun of you
I won’t tell anyone
I won’t analyze what you do or you should have done
I won’t advise you to go and have fun
You can cry if you want to

Well it’s empty and ugly and terribly sad
I can’t feel what you feel but I know it feels bad
I know that it's real and it makes you so mad
You could cry

Cry if you want to I won’t tell you not to
I won’t try and cheer you up
I'll just be here if you want me; to be
Near you




Edited by cstjude (06/20/09 10:46 PM)
_________________________
C.
Female, Friends & Family Forum Fan

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#292162 - 06/18/09 02:19 AM Re: Help - I need answers - [Re: riz]
WalkingSouth Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16264
Ann,

I don't know a good way of stating this without it coming across in a way I don't intend, but I'll give it a shot. You said:

Quote:
I also feel without me, his entire existence is going to be just his csa.

Get a good book on the topic of Co-Dependence, read it, and examine your behaviors in the relationship in the light of what you read. You can do very little to change his anti-relational behaviors but you can do everything to change your own.

_________________________
“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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#292278 - 06/19/09 12:27 AM Re: Help - I need answers - [Re: WalkingSouth]
Julia Offline


Registered: 11/05/08
Posts: 59
Last November I asked for advice here. I was told to seek therapy for myself. I was told to try and figure out why I was so attracted to a man so badly broken. Sadly and ignorantly, I thought...... Nothing is wrong with me, he's the one that's gone nuts!!! Like you, I was well loved and very sheltered..... from a "normal" family. Since, I have learned (and this includes everybody drawnin' breath) it is not a question of... does "nuts" run in your family? It is, which side of your family does "nuts" run on? If you believe nothing else, you can believe that there is always something you can learn about yourself and improve.

Unless we have been SA, we truly have no idea what these men are going through. However, I have been where you are and I can understand how difficult it must be for you. I am sorry you are hurting. It is difficult when they close themselves off from us but it sounds like he is fighting his way to healthy and, that is a beautiful thing for the both of you. My boyfriend never stayed in therapy. I lived as if I was holding on to something, half off the ground. I kept clutching on to someone that was never staying put. It is a nervous, anxiety ridden way to live. I know it is difficult, but until he does what he needs to do, I doubt you will ever have a real chance with this man. Maybe the two years, where you felt everything was pretty wonderful....... it never truly was for him, not because of anything you did or didn't do...... but because of what was done to him so many years ago.

Guess what I am trying to say is (in a nutshell) what everyone else has said. Concentrate on yourself. If you want to help him be sure of what you need and what you don't want. If you want a life with him, find out what it is that you are bringing into this relationship that isn't healthy or helpful.

Love,
Julia


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#292298 - 06/19/09 07:57 AM Re: Help - I need answers - [Re: Julia]
riz Offline


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

Sorry for my blunt words. As I've said, I have been in your shoes and I should have remembered how hard it is to hear about YOUR process when you are trying to take in what's happened to your loved one.

C., John, Julia...thanks for softening my words.

love,
Riz


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#292363 - 06/19/09 09:15 PM Re: Help - I need answers - [Re: riz]
AwesomeAnn Offline


Registered: 06/03/09
Posts: 14
Loc: California, USA
Hello friends:

I want to take a moment to thank everyone who was so gracious to take the time to reply to my post. It has been an unbelievable couple of weeks, wasn't being unresponsive, but wanted to reply with some progress. I hope my lengthy post isn't too self indulgent but maybe one day will be prove helpful to anyone else who is in my "our" shoes, who might saunter into this site, like I did. From the first gentleman who sent me a reply to the song by Holly Cole - referred by C, to the moderators comments, have all been an unbelievable amount of assistance. I appreciate the honesty and am tough enough to take the truth, so please Riz & Julia no apologies necessary. I took all of your advice and spoke with a therapist. What a great help that was - never saw myself as co-dependent. According to the therapist I am a bit worse than a co-dep, ha ha. I have God complex? Great, I'm Alec Baldwin... I am controlling, a bunch of other DSM4 adjectives, but in layman terms a pushy bitch. I'm paraphrasing of course. I am a Type A personality and want things done yesterday. I knew this about myself, but what I didnt' know is - this is exactly what someone suffering from the pains of csa is most afraid of - the therapist deals with male csa & could tell by the urgency in my need for an appointment that i had those traits. I never saw being an over-achiever as potential to alienate the one guy I truly love, but that's where I am. He is a vindictive God.. sorry couldn't refuse. My 'get it done yesterday' attitude makes by BF put up walls and retreat from me, when he is remembering or going through an episode or ?? Instead of providing 'a soothing calm bath' like atmosphere, I am a jolt of ice water. Or something to that effect. I guess if there is some other woman in my position and she's reading this, maybe this will be of some help to her? I feel so much better and not so 'helpless' - because as much as everyone here, books, etc. have stated - this really is his journey. He doesn't need an aggresive girlfriend adding to his load right now. It's not me, it's him. I am trying not to take it personal - thank you Aden, for that bit of advice. CSTJude asked "are you in this for the long haul? Even if you are not destined to be a couple, can he count on you?"

This has taken me to the soul searching depths I've never gone before, I don't know? I want to say "absolutely" but I really don't know? I have never been tested like this before, I've never loved like this before and I've never been this affected by anyone? If this is a glitch (can't think of better word - not trying to trivialize by any means - apologies for a Friday brain) in the road with recovery in the future, which absolutely no one can answer succintly to this type A persona, of course - he's worth it! But if there is no light at the end of the tunnel or my need to control the trip through the tunnel - yep, i thought it, to be honest, I don't think so. I have so much I want to do with my life, one day I'd like to have a child and share my home and good fortune and having a partner who is not able to be there with me all the way isn't what I hoped for in my life. It's hard to see in print how really shallow I appear, but I guess that's who I am. Love really isn't enough. I thought it would be, but it just isn't. CS you are so right, it's 'crayzmaking'. I just don't know if I've got the patience to live in crazy land. I truly wish I could end by saying, everything turned out great, I didn't abandon a fellow human being who i love, but quietly waited whilst he recovered and knitted sweaters... i so wanted to be better than what i was raised for, but i truly am only human - so I'm off to my family's home in the Hamptons. If he recovers or if I change enough or both, maybe we can get through this, at this time, it doesn't appear so. From the bottom of my heart and with all the gratitude I can put forth in print, I'd like to thank all of you for being so honest, helpful and there for me.

Peace & Blessings,

Awesome Again Ann


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#292442 - 06/20/09 10:37 PM Re: Help - I need answers - [Re: AwesomeAnn]
cstjude Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/04/08
Posts: 302
Loc: Canada
Thank you Ann for the update. Learning to love in ways that we've never considered before is a transformative experience. You were brave to seek out the counsellor's advice and generous to share it with us here.

In re-reading the posts in this thread, it occurs to me that knowing a bit more about my situation might help you with these questions. My loved one and I are not a couple. We are not married. I am happily married to a wonderful man with whom I have a funny, happy, challenging 15 year old son. My life is one of a happy and healthy mother, wife, best friend, professional, writer, teacher etc etc. But I am as committed to both my husband and family as I am to my loved one. It's just that the love I bear my loved one - though deep and abiding - is not romantic love. It is of its own peculiar, wonderful, honest, chaste character. We have both worked at making it what we need. Sometimes love asserts itself in strange ways if we are open to it. We are connected in a way that transcends conventional ideas of what it means to love another person. We don't even live in the same city, but we are connected, fused if you will. We challenge each other, make each other strive for the highest and best of our potential and capabilities. And we are not lovers and never will be.

My reason in revealing all this here is to suggest that it is possible to have a fulfilling life, a family, all the things you want for yourself and still be connected to your survivor if that is what you both want.

Again, thank you for sharing. You've taught me a lot and make me think and I am grateful.

C.



Edited by cstjude (06/20/09 10:43 PM)
_________________________
C.
Female, Friends & Family Forum Fan

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#292953 - 06/25/09 01:11 AM Re: Help - I need answers - [Re: cstjude]
AwesomeAnn Offline


Registered: 06/03/09
Posts: 14
Loc: California, USA
hello c -

Sorry i didn't respond sooner. Thought i was done w/my BF and haven't been on this site since. I am still in limbo - feel empty and lonely. Was heading on a much needed vacation, when I became ill and unable to travel - friends and coworkers have called, sent flowers and visitted & not a word or email from him. I know he is in his self imposed 'isolation' and getting help, but Lord it's so hard to not have any closure - or contact? Came back here to read some posts to offer hope, but am more frustrated and dejected.. Thanks for being so nice - I'm so curious as to what type of relationship you do have? Friend? Relative? I've never been nosey, so excuse me for prying.. I feel so lousy, just looking for answers.. thanks and take care


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#292964 - 06/25/09 06:58 AM Re: Help - I need answers - [Re: AwesomeAnn]
soapy bubbles Offline
Member

Registered: 09/05/06
Posts: 332
Loc: london
It's just that the love I bear my loved one - though deep and abiding - is not romantic love. It is of its own peculiar, wonderful, honest, chaste character. We have both worked at making it what we need. Sometimes love asserts itself in strange ways if we are open to it. We are connected in a way that transcends conventional ideas of what it means to love another person. We don't even live in the same city, but we are connected, fused if you will. We challenge each other, make each other strive for the highest and best of our potential and capabilities. And we are not lovers and never will be.


Wow C, what an eye-opener! I didn't think such a relationship was possible. How does your husband feel about your friendship and love for your friend? How did your relationship with your loved one develop to it's current level? Gosh, I've got so many questions confused (But obviously you don't have to answer them if you don't want to)

SB

_________________________
"Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission.” --- Eleanor Roosevelt

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#292976 - 06/25/09 09:46 AM Re: Help - I need answers - [Re: soapy bubbles]
cstjude Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/04/08
Posts: 302
Loc: Canada
Hi SB and Ann,

First, Ann, I am sorry you are not feeling well. This stuff is hard enough when we feel healthy and strong but when we're ill, tired, and vulnerable, it is even harder on the heartstrings. My experience taught me that the more I tied my expectations to conventional behaviour (after all people who care about you call when you're sick, right?) the more heartache I was in for. I finally came to realize that he and I were not playing by the same emotional rule book. That was a hard lesson. So I started working on trying to understand and accept the behaviour while being honest about how the behaviour was affecting me. The Dalai Lama says that all suffering is caused by attachment. I was definatlely attached to my expectations governing his emotional reactions and I did suffer; disillusion, disappointment, self-recrimination, worry, anxiety and stress, you name it. It interfered with my health, with my concentration, my ability to work, etc. etc. And others in my life couldn't understand why I wasn't able to just walk away so I felt like I was damaging my own time-honoured support team (friends and family included). I finally came to understand that loving my survivor and my commitment to him was going to have to be part of a much larger system of self-fulfillment, self-esteem, meaningful work, diverse experiences and mentors. And that I was going to have to be open to exploring unexpected aspects of love. He has taught me a great deal about that. Romantic love is wonderful, but it is only one perspective on a profound human emotion and need. It is, nevertheless, the one aspect of love to which we give the most attention, I think. smile
Mostly, I've learned that our capacity for love is truly boundless and that we can form deep and abiding connections to more than one person and still remain honourable, moral, and honest.

Now to SB's questions. smile My husband - who is the most successful human being I have ever met - trusts that I am not about betrayal. It hasn't always been easy for him, but we've been so honest with each other and with ourselves that he knows he has nothing to fear from my attachments to my loved-one (who is my best friend) any more than he should be threatened by my attachments to our son, or my close sisters-by-choice or any other important emotional committment. He would never ask me to end a relationship that helps me grow, challenges me, allows me to explore being a friend, that teaches me about love. All he asks is that I honour him, our family, and our marriage. And, I hope, I have done that in our 17 years of marriage.

How did my friendship develop to its current level? Here's the irony, I think it evolved the way it did because I was married and unavailable as a potential girlfriend or lover. I was "safe". He could talk to me about anything, even his CSA, and know that I had no sexual agenda, no need to play games, nothing to gain by exploiting his vulnerabilities. See, I told you it was strange. smile Anyway, I became the relationship in which he was able to disclose, where he could learn about trust and vulnerability. That is really how we formed the foundation for the friendship. I love him like the-brother-I-never-knew I wanted smile and more so. Supporting his recovery is a priority in my life. My well-being is a priority in his.

C.
PS: Gosh, I sound so sanctimonious...forgive the "soapbox" quality of this post. But I do want to answer these quesions. -C.

_________________________
C.
Female, Friends & Family Forum Fan

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