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#294135 - 07/03/09 11:01 PM Feedback from wives?
Jim1961 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/10/09
Posts: 1116
Loc: Pa, but likely traveling...
I'm 48, been married to my wife for 17 years. We have 2 kids (15 yo boy, 11 yo girl). I started working on recovery about 4 months ago. I've had issues with cybersex addiction and am seeing a T and in a 12-step. Have had only one slip in the last 50+ days.

My family went to "community day" last weekend. It's held at a local park. Local businesses/groups set up booths and have fun things for the kids to do and businesses promote their stuff.

I had taken my daughter and her friend around the park as my wife worked one of the volunteer booths. I had a great time with them and enjoyed the fun.

Later I'm walking by a booth with my wife. I had never heard of this company (something like "love connection", thought it was a dating service or something). The lady hands me a flier, and I glance at it and its counseling services.

My wife asks "what do they do?" And I quickly answer "counseling services." She rolls her eyes and says "They must know just by looking at you that you need that. She didn't hand that to me." I gave her a little whap and say "hey, c'mon now". And drop it.

When I disclosed I was seeing a T a few weeks ago, she said "whatever" and made a comment like "counseling is for those that can;t cope..."

So I am triggered. She's shaming me for seeing a Therapist? I immediately feel the anger/pain/rage thing in my chest. What was a fun day, now feels awful.

The only thing she knows about my past is a) I had a rough childhood, b) I'm seeing a T for anxiety and c) I saw a T in the past.

I'm conflicted. The more I share, the more shame ammo she will have to hurl my way. I have this huge fear that she'll leave me and take the kids. That fear has kept me silent and also built a wall between us.

Disclosing (or not) is a huge dilemma for me.

Thanks,
Jim

_________________________
Loneliness is a power that we possess to give or take away forever. -Yes, Starship Trooper

My Story

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#294141 - 07/04/09 12:54 AM Re: Feedback from wives? [Re: Jim1961]
pufferfish Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6810
Loc: USA
Jim,

I had the same trouble with my wife. It was too much for her to absorb in a short time. I almost suddenly realized the truth of where I had been as a child. It nearly knocked me over and I am still recovering. My wife was really wonderful and tried very hard to understand.

The things I found useful to help my wife understand included watching movies together about abused kids etc. They seem hard to find but there are some out there: (Netflix has these). The point is to help her develop empathy for problems boys can go through. These will not hurt your own kids to see them. Some of them might be pg-13 or have violence

Movies:

a. Trapped in Silence (Kiefer Sutherland)
b. I Know My Name is Stephen
c. Oliver Twist (the one with Barney Clark)
d. Joe the King
e. The Boys of St. Vincent
f. The Chorus (French origin)
g. I Am David
h. Where Eskimos Live (some violence)
i. Kite Runner
j. Flight of the Innocent (some violence)

Reading selected books on abused children and their recovery.
Any of the books by Torrey Hayden. These will create a love for the kids who have had a tough time. They are not sloppy or sentimental but just good solid readible books about how kids can have a tough time. She's the best. Some about girls is OK. Remember, the goal is to broaden her (and your)perspective on though things children go through and what helps them get better. None of the following is boring or technical. None will hurt your own kids if they see them.

a. Tiger's Child
b. One Child
c. Twilight Children
d. Beautiful Child
e. Someone Else's Kids
f. Murphey's Boy (the movie version: Trapped in Silence)
g. Children With Emerald Eyes (by Mira Rothenberg and Peter Levine)
h. I Am David, by Anne Holm (yes the movie came from this book)
i. One Little Boy by Dorothy W. Baruch
j. In the Blink of an Eye; Inside a Children't Trauma Center by Alan Doelp

Allen

pufferfish whistle


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#294146 - 07/04/09 01:46 AM Re: Feedback from wives? [Re: pufferfish]
wes-b Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

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

Jim my brother;

Glad you shared this. My disclosure started dramatically to get out of "trouble" (10 years ago not) and was about expediance not recovery or healing... It was 8 more years before I dumpped the bombshell about my acting out, not the way to do it either Dramatic Grandiose Addict/CoAddict behaviour -- I'm a dual winner who qualifies for both sides of the coin :-\ -- What I understand from therapists that I and my wife and I have worked with is that disclosure is important and is most effective with a qualified facilitator. Full disclosure does not mean full detailed disclosure, I would generally call detailed disclosure a form of abuse.

Full detailed disclosure is, in my humble opinion, is what belongs in 1st and 5th steps done with a sponsor or in a step study group. As you know, being a 12-stepper, that we are only as sick as our secrets.

Early in my healing and recovery my wife questioned whether I would ever be healthy enough to be an equal... That hurt a lot and I spent much time on that with my counsellors ( T's, Sponsor, and fellow 12-steppers ) to walk it out. In due course we worked it through to today, we're doing quite well and I have since disclosed to my sons and my daughter is on the horizon (she is the youngest). Disclosure with counselling and support is an eventuallity, early disclosure is surely fraught with trouble.

One day at a time my brother.

Hugs, Love and Prayers, Wes

_________________________
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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#294150 - 07/04/09 02:11 AM Re: Feedback from wives? [Re: wes-b]
WalkingSouth Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

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

You've asked specifically for feedback from wives so I'll limit my comments to just a quiet word of support and tell you that I understand the feeling.

Safe Hugs,

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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#294169 - 07/04/09 07:51 AM Re: Feedback from wives? [Re: WalkingSouth]
sweet-n-sour Offline
Member

Registered: 10/03/06
Posts: 409
Loc: chicago
Dear Jim:

First, I want to send you support for doing what is best for yourself on your journey for recovery through seeking the proper support that you need. What a positive step forward!

Personally, I feel that enlisting the help of trained professionals is truly a strength so no matter what anyone says (your wife included)and doing the work that needs to be done is a great thing to do for yourself. I have seen with my relatives a sort of negative outlook on therapy and a person that seeks help for themselves. Where as I feel proud of the fact that I can ask for help, they feel embarrassment. To me, that is okay because that is their personal issues and limitations. I truly believe most of this stigma stems from fear and from not truly understanding.

In your wife's case, it may have more to do with a fear of change. You have been married for 17 years and she is accustomed to everything being just as it is. Enlisting outside help threatens what she knows and the dynamic between you.

I have finally come to the conclusion after about three years of chasing in circles that I was expecting certain people in my life to offer me what they were simply not equipped to give within my relationship with them. We want so much for everyone to just extend what we are willing to give to them but I'm afraid it does not work that way. We are all different and unique...we carry forth every step we have taken to arrive at this moment. Without walking in each others shoes, how can any of us truly comprehend where the other person is coming from? How can we react other than with the life skills that we carry from where we have been? That is why therapy is so very important. It offers us all an opportunity to rethink our perceptions...to grow and change for the better.

It's complicated. I think the suggestions of watching movies together surrounding abuse is a great idea. It may offer an opportunity to share but also it could help you understand where she is coming from regarding certain issues as well. IN that understanding it would be possible to determine if telling her more about your past is the best thing to do at this point or not.

When you said: "I'm conflicted. The more I share, the more shame ammo she will have to hurl my way. I have this huge fear that she'll leave me and take the kids. That fear has kept me silent and also built a wall between us."

This is something you need to discuss with your therapist and work through properly before moving forward. Without being able to really talk with your wife, there will always be a wall between you but maybe for some reason having that wall is what your wife is most comfortable with. Therapy maybe threatens her level of comfort and that is why she made comments as she did. It is only a guess since I am only going on what you have shared.

Sending you support,

S-n-S

_________________________
"As long as he continues to try, I will meet him in that determination and commitment."

cm 2007

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#294184 - 07/04/09 09:44 AM Re: Feedback from wives? [Re: sweet-n-sour]
riz Offline


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

You've received some great advice here from the others.

My 2 cents is to make sure you understand how clueless your wife can really be about your situation. When my husband told me about the abuse I thought it was terrible. Child abuse is terrible, right? But it wasn't till I came to this website and read the stories of the men here, that I really began to understand what had happened to my husband. Oh my gosh and then to see that some of my reactions has been so wrong, even though they'd been well meant. Then all the rage that comes with the new realization of what is happening to children everywhere and how people are unaware as I was. And anger about our situation, sadness, sense of loss, helplessness, guilt, etc.

Since you have known the reality of child abuse your whole life, it is probably hard to imagine there are people like me out there...with no real understanding of it and who sometimes don't react to the shock in the manner that you had hoped for.

Maybe if/when you decide the best way to disclose to your wife, she will react with all the support and compassion you imagine. If not, although her reaction may be painful, I hope it helps you a little to know that I loved my husband even more for his strength and courage in dealing with such a tough childhood...even if I didn't always know how to support him...and this may be the case with your wife as well.

My best to you and your family,

Riz


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#294265 - 07/05/09 01:47 AM Re: Feedback from wives? [Re: riz]
sojourn111 Offline


Registered: 05/09/08
Posts: 86
Loc: midwest
Jim,
My wife blew it off and minimized it for a long time... actually 9 years before she even acknowledged that it was bad. 3 years into my recovery she blew up at me. I was spending to much time, money, whatever why couldn't I just get over it.

So I took her to this very nice dinner. We ordered and as soon as our food came I gave her the details. She didn't ask for them, I simply said I want to share something with you. I want you to understand a little of the value I am receiving for the effort, money and sacrifices we have made. And I told her in specific slow detail every ugly horrific detail.

I talked in a regular voice and yes the other guests overheard. They got uncomfortable and a few got up and left giving me bad looks and saying harsh remarks.She was angry at first, then as I continued she really heard what happened. Then she was embarassed wanting me to be quiet. And I went on.

I didn't stop until I got to the end of a sessions issues. She was devestated because she had married me and looked at me for what she thought I was, not who I really wa. This was public, humiliating, unending and out of her control. She had to for a moment deal with me and what I felt and its not ignorable. She didn't like it.

After several days she approached me and apologized because she realized how much she didn't understand. She couldn't shake or forget what I shared... its haunting. Now she knew.


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#294272 - 07/05/09 04:26 AM Re: Feedback from wives? [Re: sojourn111]
michael banks Offline


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

You know how much you and i relate in regards to our wives. Csa is a difficult subject for our wives to understand and to be supportive of us.
Mine told me that the other that our marriages is over. And I find myself strangely at ease, not at all worried or feeling anxiety over this news. Will be one less issue for me to deal with. Sort of tired of having to be careful what I reveal to her so as not to get it thrown back into my face.
Today i know who i am and what issues that i have to address and if others cannot be understanding and supportive. Then do i really need them in my life.
Hope your relationships and marriage inprove as you heal my friend.

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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#294303 - 07/05/09 02:47 PM Re: Feedback from wives? [Re: michael banks]
DJsport Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/20/08
Posts: 1742
Hi, Jim.

Buddy my thoughts and heart are with you. You will get through this. I know you need to hear from wives but, I wanted to add here my message to you publicly.

Sojourn - WOW. What a powerful message.

Peace,
DJ

_________________________
Live to your fullest potential

Never make someone a priority if your only an option

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#294320 - 07/05/09 05:50 PM Re: Feedback from wives? [Re: DJsport]
honey girl Offline
Member

Registered: 10/09/06
Posts: 245
Loc: Midwest US
Dear Jim,

I'm editing this reply significantly because one of the moderators pointed out to me that I might have misread a vital portion of your original post. So if you read the first reply I put up, and notice a change, that's why. I hope that I have not offended you or anyone else with my earlier message, and if I have, I apologize.

What does your wife know about any of your issues?
Does she know that you are in recovery at all, let alone in a 12-step program for cybersex addiction? I was assuming that she knew, but I could be very wrong there.

If she does not know, then naturally you ARE at big risk of really awful consequences if you disclose much, either about your CSA or about your recovery.

I would not underestimate the risk, frankly, because it is clearly the case that people do freak out about sexual abuse and sexual addiction. It's alarming and unnerving to many, and if as you indicate here you're not getting any signals that it's safe for you to disclose, then it's probably not going to go well at this time.

However, I would pass on one little piece of SA wisdom third-hand, from my F's sponsor to my F to me. My F has been hesitant about breaking off one of his liaisons because he fears some repercussions at work. His sponsor reminded him that he must put his sobriety first. I forget how it goes, but it's something like this: anyone who puts family, or work, or anything or anyone else ahead of sobriety, winds up losing the very thing they were trying to protect.

In other words: stay in your program. Work it conscientiously and with all the support you can muster, here and in real life. Take the next right step every day, when there is one to take. Eventually, all of this will be clearer. For now, you will have to believe that it can get better, as long as you are taking genuine care of yourself.

Again, I am sorry if I went off on a wild-goose chase for having assumed too much the first time I read your post. And thanks to walkingsouth for pointing out my mistake!

Anyway, Jim, I know you are here because you are looking for help. That takes courage on your part too. Keep asking; keep doing the next right thing; take it a day at a time. Good luck to you and your family.

Peace,
HG





Edited by honey girl (07/05/09 09:21 PM)
Edit Reason: misinterpretation of OP
_________________________
I'm just a poor wayfaring stranger, a million miles away from home.

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#294451 - 07/06/09 11:29 PM Re: Feedback from wives? [Re: honey girl]
loc Offline


Registered: 10/03/08
Posts: 12
Dear Jim,

First let me say that it is only the strong and the brave who seek out therapy. I believe that it takes courage to go into counseling and participate in 12 step programs and shows a willingness on your part to start the healing process which is no easy task. Working with your therapist and groups/sponsor will help you decide when is the best time/place to disclose. Even the more seasoned members can help to guide you. Please continue to take care of yourself on your journey. You are on the right track and I applaud you. And thank you for giving me hope that one day my husband will seek his own healing. I am the wife of a survivor. I wish all the best for you and your family.


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#294582 - 07/08/09 12:12 AM Re: Feedback from wives? [Re: loc]
DevotedWife Offline


Registered: 07/07/09
Posts: 1
Hi Jim,
I'm not sure how many of the above responses are from wives, but I am responding to you as a wife of someone who was sexually abused as a child.

It is impossible for your wife to know what you're going through if you haven't talked about it with her before. It is so easy for wives to feel their husbands need to man up and be the strong one when they feel they have nothing significant to be upset about. In my experience, I wondered why my husband wasn't as supportive and understanding of my emotions as I've had my own problems and need his support as well.

I should give some background. We have been married for just over 3 years, and I knew my husband had been abused as a child and been through years of therapy before we were married. I have no personal experience with therapy, and began to think that it may have stunted my husband's emotional growth as I learned more about his insecurities. However, I just recently learned that the therapy was never about his childhood sexual abuse...it had never been dealt with. In fact, he tried to tell his family years ago, and they wanted to pretend that there wasn't a problem. It wasn't until I learned that this had never been dealt with and how his family had treated the issue that I truly began to understand my husband.

I love my husband so much, and I want nothing more than to understand what he's going through. I can understand why he's been so afraid to speak out about this, but like I said I was originally under the impression that it had all been opened up before. For us, it took a family crisis to reopen the wounds. Unfortunately, his sister was also a victim of this uncle of theirs and their aunt is just now learning the atrocities committed by her ex-husband.

I can't begin to advise you on the best way to talk to your wife about this. I'm sure that the longer you hold on to secrets the harder it is to talk about them. I also believe that it is very important not to keep secrets like that from your wife. I guess I just believe that your wife won't think you're being a "big baby" if she knows what is really going on with you. It is so important for the intimacy of your relationship to understand each other. You might even learn why she seems to feel so negatively about therapy...perhaps you can start by talking about that with her.

I hope this experience brings you closer to your wife and that you can both be open, loving and supportive of each other.


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#295317 - 07/14/09 08:44 PM Re: Feedback from wives? [Re: honey girl]
Junefriday Offline


Registered: 06/05/08
Posts: 113
Loc: Canada
Hi Jim,

I haven't been on this site for a long time but thought I would pop back in tonight and read your post.

I don't think anyone can really predict how your wife will react. If she does react negatively, it may only be temporary. People are afraid of change and don't process well what they can't understand. Don't push her; state the facts, offer to answer any questions she may have when she is ready and ask for her support. Then give her some time.

My former husband didn't disclose his history to me but when I asked, he told me the story. I didn't know what to do or how to react despite the fact that I suspected it somewhat. I think I was expecting to see more emotion from him, but he was very "flat" as he told the story. He then said he was over it which I knew wasn't true at all. The biggest challenge for me was that I didn't know what to do about it. I didn't know if I could ask him questions when I had them. I didn't know if he wanted to talk about it now and then. I didn't want to ignore what had happened but I didn't want to push him. Whatever I did or didn't do though wasn't right because he wound up saying that I treated him differently after I found out.

Think about what you want from your wife so that you are prepared to answer her if she asks what she should do or what you need from her.

Good luck!

JF

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

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#295409 - 07/15/09 01:11 PM Re: Feedback from wives? [Re: Junefriday]
Jim1961 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/10/09
Posts: 1116
Loc: Pa, but likely traveling...
Thanks to everyone for your responses (and support), I am considering them all.

I am tired of the secrets. My whole life seems to be a giant secret at times. Can I live without secrets?? Hmmm.

Jim

_________________________
Loneliness is a power that we possess to give or take away forever. -Yes, Starship Trooper

My Story

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#295432 - 07/15/09 03:15 PM Re: Feedback from wives? [Re: Jim1961]
Sans Logos Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 5791
Loc: in my own world in pittsburgh,...
jim, that is one big struggle you have there. i feel for both you and your wife that things have to be that way. i'm sorry i am not able to be more supportive. secrets are just too painful for me to handle in my own life. i feel badly that i can't get beyond the hurt and vulnerability i feel around secrecy issues. secrets are rampant in my family, and so trust is ZERO. add to that the fact that i disclosed to so many people unwisely and have had my very livelihood at stake for doing. you are a good man, and you deserve to live in disclosure, but i realize, it just is not that simple....i do understand that. you will let her know when and if the time is right. in the meantime, you have managed to create an awesome support system to surrey you above the mosh pit in these dark times.

all the best,

ron

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


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#295474 - 07/15/09 10:42 PM Re: Feedback from wives? [Re: Sans Logos]
Jim1961 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/10/09
Posts: 1116
Loc: Pa, but likely traveling...
Ron,
Thanks for the kind words and sound advice. You are part of that support structure too, thank you.

Jim

_________________________
Loneliness is a power that we possess to give or take away forever. -Yes, Starship Trooper

My Story

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#296376 - 07/22/09 11:34 AM Re: Feedback from wives? [Re: Jim1961]
MPackard Offline


Registered: 12/09/08
Posts: 43
Loc: MS
Jim, I'm the wife of a CSA survivor. He's an addict and rather self destructive. Unfortunately I, too, used to think that T was for sissies
But then my whacked out coping skills failed me. I have a lot of FOO issues myself and used to think that if I could get through my childhood "unscathed" then so can anyone. I really thought that!!!! I'm SO NOT UNSCATHED!!!! At any rate, I'm now in T myself. I know now that it was a coping skill that made me feel that way. Perhaps that is what's going on with your wife?
My H is early in his recovery. He disclosed to me about 2 years ago, but even then I didn't know what that meant. When he got caught acting out was when I came in search of the effects of CSA. I think it would be great for your wife if you disclosed in a general way and then sent her here.
My prayers are with you.


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#296421 - 07/22/09 05:02 PM Re: Feedback from wives? [Re: MPackard]
WalkingSouth Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16264
Originally Posted By: MPackard
Unfortunately I, too, used to think that T was for sissies
But then my whacked out coping skills failed me. I have a lot of FOO issues myself and used to think that if I could get through my childhood "unscathed" then so can anyone. I really thought that!!!! I'm SO NOT UNSCATHED!!!! At any rate, I'm now in T myself. I know now that it was a coping skill that made me feel that way. Perhaps that is what's going on with your wife?


See, that is the defining statement of this discussion, in my mind anyhow. It doesn't matter what sex we are or what trauma issues contribute to the brokenness in which we find ourselves. Broken people choose broken people to enter into relationship with AND every person has within themselves some degree of brokenness.

The wise person, when brought face to face with their own brokenness will seek a positive way forward through it.

_________________________
“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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#298065 - 08/05/09 12:56 AM Re: Feedback from wives? [Re: honey girl]
dangal Offline
New Here

Registered: 02/09/08
Posts: 222
Loc: seattle area
I'm a wife and I'm going to try and be helpful. I'm sorry your wife isn't as understanding as you need her to be. I couldn't help my husband until I knew what was going on however with him. My husband was cold and uncaring and really pushed me away at every turn and I WAS ANGRY at him all the time. I'm sure years ago he may have felt like I was not supportive of him. It's hard to hug a porcupine comes into mind. When I had the details, when I knew how hurt he had been I was 100 percent behind him. Prior to that I was really being mentally abused by my husband. He was hurt and he was going to make sure that I hurt as much as he did. Let me tell ya, being on the same page feels a whole heckof a lot better than not. We have our ups and downs and he stumbles but I think we are moving forward. Keep going to therapy. Don't let anyone keep YOU from making strides. You have to get better for you and your kids. I sure hope your wife will be there for you no matter what and that she can see the progress in you and become proud of you.
Good luck!!

_________________________
~Jen~
Life is to short to blend in

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#298957 - 08/12/09 08:15 AM Re: Feedback from wives? [Re: Jim1961]
roxanne Offline
New Here

Registered: 03/22/08
Posts: 16
I can only say what happened to me.

My H disclosed to me after 14 years of marriage. It was like 10,000 lightbulbs going on. In one moment I understood all the confusing stuff of our life together: all the hurt and pain he put me through. I had taken it personally all those years, I felt ugly and unattractive to him, I felt like he would always be annoyed and angry with me no matter what I did or didn't do. And in one moment I understood.

He went through some very bad weeks after his disclosure, hit the wall, we were both focused for the first few weeks on helping him get through the next 15 minutes and the next 15 minutes after that. As hard and scary as that was, I wouldn't have chosen to be anywhere else but there helping him or rather, witnessing the human will to survive horror. I learned so much about his pain. It was a great privilege.

I began to read, eventually have read 17 books on trauma and CSA and so much of the "crazy" began to make sense. I realized how I might have said things in the past that would have made my H scared to disclose. I realized how some of my innocent behaviours might have triggered him.

If you don't know, then you can't know, right?

As has been often said on this website, once you disclose, you have no control over what people do with it. I don't know how your wife will react. For me, it was a wave of relief. I finally understood what it was that sat between us. His disclosure freed me.

It has been 3 years since his disclosure. He has worked very hard at therapy and healing and is doing so well, but things are still really rocky between us. I often feel that he thinks I am obligated to take whatever bad treatment he dishes out because of the CSA. He even jokes about it in good times (It triggers me when you ask me to take out the garbage - HAHA). Will we survive as a couple? I still don't know. We are both working at it. Good days and bad days.

But his disclosure gave me a great gift: I spent the first 44 years of my life ignorant of the subject of child sexual abuse, and I am now informed. I cry sometimes for all the children. Sometimes I feel guilty that I made it through childhood without being abused. Why him and not me? I raise the topic of CSA often with others, and not once when I have raised the topic have I not heard from someone who either had it happen to them or someone they love: people I have known or worked with for years who have never told a soul have told me about themselves or their siblings or their kids. I have found people positive, affirming, wanting to know how to help, how to support. I have only found good from others. We talk, we cry, we laugh, we explain it to those who don't understand, we make it less secret each time, we expose the abusers.

I would never want to go back to not knowing. It was a terrible place to be.

Roxanne


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#298961 - 08/12/09 09:15 AM Re: Feedback from wives? [Re: roxanne]
MPackard Offline


Registered: 12/09/08
Posts: 43
Loc: MS
Roxanne, beautiful!


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#298962 - 08/12/09 09:36 AM Re: Feedback from wives? [Re: MPackard]
riz Offline


Registered: 10/07/08
Posts: 123
I logged in just to say I agree :-)Beautiful.


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#299454 - 08/15/09 10:20 PM Re: Feedback from wives? [Re: roxanne]
sugarbaby Offline


Registered: 08/17/08
Posts: 328

I did and said a lot of things in my marriage that I never would have done if I'd known about his abuse. Some of the things were really hard for him to deal with but, I didn't know.
Geez, even after I knew it still took a long time before I got my foot out of my mouth!

I always explain T to people as a tool. It's like a hammer, if someone needs it they pick it up and use it. Maybe working in that little analogy, or something similar, might help her to see it differently.


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#299502 - 08/16/09 10:01 AM Re: Feedback from wives? [Re: roxanne]
honey girl Offline
Member

Registered: 10/09/06
Posts: 245
Loc: Midwest US
Beautifully put, Roxanne. Thank you. Good luck to you and your husband.

Peace,
HG

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

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#305187 - 10/04/09 05:02 PM Re: Feedback from wives? [Re: Jim1961]
Piglet Offline


Registered: 04/29/09
Posts: 17
I think your wife needs counseling, too.

I have the flip side of this problem. DH mentioned his abuse as an aside, years ago, and I - very young at the time - accepted his assurance that it was nothing. He "thought it was a game". Years later at the marriage counselor, when she asked him about his first experience, and he mentions something much later and I called him on it - well, it all made sense. I've been trying to have an adult relationship with a six-year old boy.

I don't know if I can keep doing this for the rest of my life. I don't want anyone else. I wouldn't be likely to have more sex in my life if I left. But I can't even chat with other women about life, because it always comes back to sex, and how men always want it. At least maybe I could be free to breathe as myself, and not have to continually keep his "privacy"/secret.

I am circling around to your answer. This isn't just about me! Your wife has her own anger and issues about this, and she may well be feeling like she's drowning, like I am, at times. She's in over her head. I don't know if she can ever become supportive, but I can see she needs to talk, and learn, and vent. She has a lot of pain and anger that she probably can't share with you, and she may have all she can do to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

I hope things work out well for you and your family.


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#305678 - 10/08/09 10:04 PM Re: Feedback from wives? [Re: Jim1961]
supportinghim Offline


Registered: 10/08/09
Posts: 7
Jim,
I think it is great you are seeing a therapist, i wish is was something my husband was willing to do. There are something in this world that we can't make go away all on our ownand bravo to you for having the strength to see that and get assistance. I do not know enough about you wife to tell you if you should disclose the information or not, I know that I have made sure my husband knows that anything about his past he wishes to tell me I will not think less of him. I would hope that your wife would have the compassion to do the same thing.


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#305731 - 10/09/09 05:03 AM Re: Feedback from wives? [Re: supportinghim]
James Landrith Offline


Registered: 07/07/08
Posts: 40
Loc: Alexandria, VA, USA
I can relate somewhat to several people here both as a survivor and as a secondary survivor. I spent 16 years as a secondary to my wife - waking her out of nightmares, watching over her during regressions, looking out for triggers in everyday interactions, holding her while she cried, etc. I did everything I could to assist in her healing to the extent she would allow herself to be helped.

For the first 15 years, I completely ignored my own rapes and refused to even acknowledge I was a survivor at all. In May of 2008, I was triggered by a discussion at work. After that, I immediately sought out help through the local rape crisis program and began seeking a therapist. I already had a pretty good idea of what I was going to be dealing with as I'd witnessed it firsthand during our marriage.

As my wife was dealing with a death on her side of the family, I didn't burden her with my problems just yet. I had hoped to get through 3 or 4 sessions first. No such luck. I was triggered hard and froze up when she initiated sex. So, we talked about it for a while. I cried and she held me for a few minutes and then went on about her business as if nothing had happened. She then did the same thing a lot of secondaries do - tell me how much worse other people have it. This bit of wisdom only served to make me feel guilty over my emotions. I was raped by a woman so I have enough guilt and shame as is - thank you very much.

Exactly one week later she began to minimize my trauma, use my therapy against me in arguments and blame any disagreement (no matter how many times we had the same argument in the past) on my PTSD in the most mocking and offensive manner. Then she made sure I understood just how much more violent her rapes were compared to mine. Why the competition? I gave years to her as her secondary and she failed completely when I needed the support. So I found help online and formed friendships at several survivor forums. I was told that this was B.S. and that I am only to tell her what I feel. Well, that got me a whole lot of nothing but secondary wounding when I tried to talk to her.

At this point, I don't even bother talking to her about it. It is my job to support her and her job to make me feel guilty for finally deciding to take care of my own issues.

You know, she actually delinked me at MySpace when I began to talk about it publicly and joined the RAINN Speakers Bureau? I blog regularly talk about civil liberties issues and human rights with my feed going directly into LexisNexis and other news services. It was only natural to me that I use my own experience to help others. I hear from other survivors regularly through my own writings and speaking engagements. Well, she decided that was wrong because her friends might find out.

Ugh. My participation in therapy is used against me in arguments. I am minimized and treated like a whiner for daring to feel traumatized and made to feel like an embarrassment for not cowering in shame and silence.

I give up. What is the point?

_________________________
Member of RAINN Speakers Bureau and syndicated blogger
Good Men Project author
Vice President, Men Recovering from Military Sexual Trauma
http://jameslandrith.com

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#315256 - 12/19/09 08:38 PM Re: Feedback from wives? [Re: James Landrith]
catfish86 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/27/09
Posts: 820
Loc: Ohio
Wow. Reading this from the beginning, I am lucky to have my wife. My father in law passed away and at the funeral, I patted his hand and said "Thank you". I meant for being the father of a wonderful girl who supports me in this really freaky time.

When I disclosed, it was to explain some recent freaky behavior that she later admitted had her thinking of how to go about bailing out. When I did, I was kind of shocked at my own body because as I was telling her, I sounded like a stuttering idiot with flinches as I recalled certain things. Her reaction was to tell me to sit on the couch with her and she held me. She agreed to listen to anything I had to tell and for the most part listens to me at my own pace. She has even kind of ushered me out of a few situations quite gracefully. She helped me seek a therapist and has been very patient in the bedroom.

Even so, we had an unpleasant blowout that had me leaving for the office in a huff. I was describing what I felt was a relieving prologue to an earlier flashback (I thought my perp had induced me into killing another boy but it turned out in the additional flaskback that I had missed badly). It involved some further sex to which she gave an unguarded response that it was warped and twisted. OK, it was a bonding experience between me, my abuser and a kid he had raped and almost had me kill, that is twisted, but I didn't need to be told that.

It is hard on a spouse to understand what happened. One wife responded here she felt guilty for not having experienced this. I can see that, but I am happy for those that were not abused. This DOES NOT HAVE TO HAPPEN and we can work to prevent it. It is like some of the guys in Psych Ops units I was in in the army, you can't make people respond 100% like robots in the way that you want, but you can shift public opinion and make a difference in the way a lot of people act. For example, you can't stop everyone from smoking but you can reduce the percentage from 50% to 15% and that does make a difference.

_________________________
God grant me
The Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The Courage to change the things I can,
And the Wisdom to know the difference.

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#315278 - 12/19/09 10:59 PM Re: Feedback from wives? [Re: catfish86]
Jim1961 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/10/09
Posts: 1116
Loc: Pa, but likely traveling...
Catfish,

Thanks for the reply and reminding me of this thread!

My wife and I have had our ups and downs since July. I have not disclosed anything further, I am careful not to tell her about my T sessions or even that I have an appointment.

However, I did realize (with my Ts help) how I would go off the deep end myself when she has her meltdowns. I would blame myself. I am NOT in control of her. I can only do the best I can at being me. I have basically surrendered her to God.

I love her and I pray for her. And my boundaries are better and if (when) she tries to pass her shame on me, I stand tall and tell her that I don't accept it. This alone I believe has made her think more about her behavior.

Maybe one day (like when our youngest kid is out of the house) I'll disclose the whole enchilada. But for now, steady as she goes...

Jim

_________________________
Loneliness is a power that we possess to give or take away forever. -Yes, Starship Trooper

My Story

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#315354 - 12/20/09 10:52 AM Re: Feedback from wives? [Re: Jim1961]
sono Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/19/09
Posts: 1069
Jim,

I know much of what you are speaking about here and my wife and I have a great relationship full of incredible amounts of understanding and compassion. BUT there are even still times when it just doesn't go the way it should in my opinion and then it all sucks big time. I go to that place where I feel used, abused and controlled just like with my perp...no fun!

You sound like you've got a great handle on this. Congrats!
I've found many of us married guys having strikingly similar stories and I'm sure we are only scratching the surface of this particularly painful part of our recovery. Having been a victim of male perped csa adds a dynamic to working out those difficulties in our marriages that is no doubt unique to us. Victims of female perped csa would certainly have another set of issues. Victims of both?...yee ha, now that's some fun!

hanging in there with ya!

sono

_________________________
the family
the perp

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#356824 - 03/17/11 12:21 AM Re: Feedback from wives? [Re: Jim1961]
Jim1961 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/10/09
Posts: 1116
Loc: Pa, but likely traveling...
Originally Posted By: Jim1961
I'm 48, been married to my wife for 17 years. We have 2 kids (15 yo boy, 11 yo girl). I started working on recovery about 4 months ago. I've had issues with cybersex addiction and am seeing a T and in a 12-step. Have had only one slip in the last 50+ days.

My family went to "community day" last weekend. It's held at a local park. Local businesses/groups set up booths and have fun things for the kids to do and businesses promote their stuff.

I had taken my daughter and her friend around the park as my wife worked one of the volunteer booths. I had a great time with them and enjoyed the fun.

Later I'm walking by a booth with my wife. I had never heard of this company (something like "love connection", thought it was a dating service or something). The lady hands me a flier, and I glance at it and its counseling services.

My wife asks "what do they do?" And I quickly answer "counseling services." She rolls her eyes and says "They must know just by looking at you that you need that. She didn't hand that to me." I gave her a little whap and say "hey, c'mon now". And drop it.

When I disclosed I was seeing a T a few weeks ago, she said "whatever" and made a comment like "counseling is for those that can;t cope..."

So I am triggered. She's shaming me for seeing a Therapist? I immediately feel the anger/pain/rage thing in my chest. What was a fun day, now feels awful.

The only thing she knows about my past is a) I had a rough childhood, b) I'm seeing a T for anxiety and c) I saw a T in the past.

I'm conflicted. The more I share, the more shame ammo she will have to hurl my way. I have this huge fear that she'll leave me and take the kids. That fear has kept me silent and also built a wall between us.

Disclosing (or not) is a huge dilemma for me.

Thanks,
Jim


Well... fast forward nearly 2 years...

I've made a ton of progress in therapy... but hit a "wall." Decided to try EMDR and had my preliminary session Monday.

While I was traveling this week, the center called our home phone and left a MESSAGE about my next appointment. Its the "Integrated Medicine" center, so not obvious what it was about.

I looked at her with a puzzled face and said, I'll have to check into it... She then asked, are you ok??? Like I have a heart condition or something.

But I know she is worried. So tomorrow, I have to tell her something. I just HATE having to lie to her. But I still can feel the pain of her criticism from two years ago. I just never mention that I am seeing a counselor. I don't bring it up because she shamed me pretty bad for it.

The reality is though that she is in a much better place than she was 2 years ago. Maybe... I can trust her? Let her know about the abuse./neglect from age 10 to 15?? That would change our relationship forever. And I can just see her thinking, "Jim has a mental problem, so I better make the decisions on x"

On the other hand, I am tired of secrets. But am I strong enough? Crap, I'm dissing just thinking about this. Time to pray....

_________________________
Loneliness is a power that we possess to give or take away forever. -Yes, Starship Trooper

My Story

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#356977 - 03/18/11 08:16 AM Re: Feedback from wives? [Re: Jim1961]
Jim1961 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/10/09
Posts: 1116
Loc: Pa, but likely traveling...
Well, she didn't bring up the call from the hospital. And I couldn't muster the courage to tell her. So... status quo.

If she brings it up or maybe Monday asks where I am going, maybe I'll tell her.

Do any wives post here anymore? I thought I'd get some kind of response.

Jim

_________________________
Loneliness is a power that we possess to give or take away forever. -Yes, Starship Trooper

My Story

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#356979 - 03/18/11 08:33 AM Re: Feedback from wives? [Re: WalkingSouth]
mac80 Offline


Registered: 03/15/11
Posts: 38
Hey, buddy, are you talkin' about my girlfirend? smile She's perfect just the way she is thank you very much.

Originally Posted By: WalkingSouth
Originally Posted By: MPackard
Unfortunately I, too, used to think that T was for sissies
But then my whacked out coping skills failed me. I have a lot of FOO issues myself and used to think that if I could get through my childhood "unscathed" then so can anyone. I really thought that!!!! I'm SO NOT UNSCATHED!!!! At any rate, I'm now in T myself. I know now that it was a coping skill that made me feel that way. Perhaps that is what's going on with your wife?


See, that is the defining statement of this discussion, in my mind anyhow. It doesn't matter what sex we are or what trauma issues contribute to the brokenness in which we find ourselves. Broken people choose broken people to enter into relationship with AND every person has within themselves some degree of brokenness.

The wise person, when brought face to face with their own brokenness will seek a positive way forward through it.



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#356981 - 03/18/11 08:48 AM Re: Feedback from wives? [Re: Jim1961]
mac80 Offline


Registered: 03/15/11
Posts: 38
Not a wife, but have one and know her well.

I kind of like not having my gf (we're not technically married) on this site, but if you really need to talk to a woman, I could figure out a way.

1) EMDR works. Always make sure you trust you therapist.

2) I don't know you, but I support you and you can talk to me anyime. My girlfriend and I have pretty good communication so if you want to know how we do it, I can tell you.

3) You can't keep going like this forever not talking to her. Have you talked to a therapist who specializes is marriage and family therapy? I'm very lucky that my EMDR therapist is also a marriage and family therapist. Maybe you could find such a person.

4) Good luck. You clearly have an amazing ability to sail in rough waters


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#357043 - 03/18/11 08:27 PM Re: Feedback from wives? [Re: mac80]
hopeandtry Offline


Registered: 07/28/10
Posts: 476
I'm not a wife, but an ex-girlfriend and honestly I'd be thrilled if my ex got some help so he could heal. I'm DYING for that to happen. I hate seeing him miserable.


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#357057 - 03/19/11 12:23 AM Re: Feedback from wives? [Re: hopeandtry]
Jim1961 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/10/09
Posts: 1116
Loc: Pa, but likely traveling...
Thanks Mac and Hope. I appreciate your comments.

_________________________
Loneliness is a power that we possess to give or take away forever. -Yes, Starship Trooper

My Story

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#357099 - 03/19/11 09:36 PM Re: Feedback from wives? [Re: Jim1961]
eyesforward Offline


Registered: 03/13/11
Posts: 92
Loc: Ontario
Not a wife, but will a 2-year live-in female fiancee/partner suffice until one appears?

I don't know the full extent of my man's abuse. I'm willing to hear about it if and when he's ready to tell me. When he told me that something had occurred in his boyhood, it explained much about his behavior -- withdrawing, crushing self-doubt and anxiety, and his cruel self-judgements. These things were puzzles to me. They didn't fit with the kind, loving, smart man that I saw. What I mean by that is that these are habitual thoughts and reactions that are part of what he does, but they aren't really who he IS, if you know what I mean.

... so therapy:
I'm really sorry that your wife's reaction was callous, cavalier and hurtful when you told her that you were seeing a therapist. Good for you for fighting for yourself by continuing to see the therapist despite your wife's unsupportive opinion. That has to be tough.

I have dealt with the therapy from both sides: person engaged in therapy/treatment with loved ones concerned about me and person loving someone engaged in therapy/treatment. Here's my observation and conclusion: It's tricky for loved ones to find a balance between wanting to "be there" and not intruding into a person's personal work.

You know your wife and you say she's in a much better place than she was 2 years ago. I imagine that she has more than a little regret about her reaction 2 years ago to your disclosure of seeing a therapist. [small voice]I kinda sorta do hope she does regret it only because you deserve to be married to a decent human being who's willing to confront her pettiness and discomfort in exchange for the privilege and joy of loving you[/small voice]

If she's not too damaged from her own childhood, disclosing to her what happened to you, or as much of it as you can bear to tell, is likely to transform you, her and your relationship in a positive way. As you know, it's unfortunately not guaranteed. What does your T say about this? Jim, I really hope that whatever you choose goes well for YOU.


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#357364 - 03/22/11 05:54 PM Re: Feedback from wives? [Re: eyesforward]
PIXEL Offline


Registered: 03/22/11
Posts: 3
hi Jim,

I am brand spanking new here, and your post caught my attention.
Why because, it makes me sad that you find it necessary to keep such a big secret from your wife when you are working so hard on your recovery.
It also makes me sad her response to your first attempt at opening up. Do I dare ask her thoughts/feelings on couples counseling?

You asked for input from a wife, and although every situation and experience is unique to the individual, I would like to believe that if your wife knew the whole story she would be supportive. If I read your post correctly, her response was based on knowing a portion of the story. I can't imagine 17 well 19 years of marriage and there not be love, trust, and collaboration on many issues. Not every, but many.

Your recovery, your journey through recovery might just be that next frontier. I would suspect she knows something is not quite right. We women sometimes pick up on external ques that men don't tend to pick up on. If you choose to be vulnerable with your wife, I would suggest preferencing the conversation with words of encouragement, and set clearly your expectations. Help her to see how IMPORTANT this is to you. That is what would help me.

In a nut shell my story is, my husband was abused and shared this with me after years on sexual intimacy issues. It has and still is quite the struggle.

Anyway, hopefully this post is helpful in some way, apologies if it is simply a repeat of things others have shared over the past 2 years. I did not read all of the post.

All the best on your wonderful road to healing and recovery.


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#357414 - 03/23/11 06:56 AM Re: Feedback from wives? [Re: PIXEL]
mac80 Offline


Registered: 03/15/11
Posts: 38
I agree with Jim, if a relationship has a chance of rewarding success, honesty must be a part of it. But I warn you from personal experience, it may be wise to tell the whole story honestly, representing it truthfully, but leaving out the more graphic, possibly triggering details. I know my story brought up a lot of triggers for my girlfriend that she wasn't quite ready to face and in retrospect, I could've smoothed it out a bit. Know your audience smile I mean, if your wife took it that hard the first time, she definitely has her own issues.
P.S. not to beat it to death, but Marriage counseling is good. It's a scary thing for a person to set foot in that room for the first time--it can feel like admitting that there is something wrong with you and your relationship (I'm talking about your wife here) but once your in there and if you trust your therapist, it can be a safe place where you can let things out that you won't let out at home where you have to deal with life.

The following may sound like a rhetorical question, but it's not, I'm genuinely curious: What do you feel you might lose by asking her to go to counselling with you?


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