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#343746 - 10/31/10 09:34 AM Wife needs advice. Please help.
hopefuture Offline


Registered: 10/31/10
Posts: 18
My husband told me about his CSA about a year and a half ago. We have been married for 6 years and dating for 9. On our honeymoon we didn't even have sex. We have some since but not in 4 years. I have wanted children for years and am now 40 years old. He waited until I about lost my mind a couple of years ago to tell me and now I am afraid it is too late. I have taken him to therapy with two different therapists and he doesn't go anymore and shuts down when I bring any of this up. Also, it has been hard on me because I haven't been able to tell anyone but my therapist. He is a wonderful, giving person but I am angry and feel bad about this. I am not sure if I can hang in there if he doesn't try or if he does at this point. Please help. I love him and I am lost.


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#343750 - 10/31/10 10:13 AM Re: Wife needs advice. Please help. [Re: hopefuture]
expom Offline


Registered: 01/06/09
Posts: 123
Loc: Australia
Hello Hopefuture

First of all let me say a huge thankyou for hanging in there this far, also for looking out for help FOR YOU as well as your man, for not giving up. Thankyou for expressing your anger - that righteous indignation that should be expressed no only because of what was done to your hubby when a boy but also because it has made you into a secondary survivor.

I was only able to tell my wife about 2 1/2 years ago - after being married for 26 years. We were so close to splitting up and it was the only thing left that I could do - try and tell her about what was done to me all those years ago.

To my amazement my wife didn't freak out or run out. She stayed and listened. I told her that I would not be able to cope if she tried to take over my recovery. My body (including my injured mind and emotions) heals at its own speed and in its own way. Sure there are things that can be done to help or hinder but I had to have space to learn to feel and then learn to heal.

Unfortunately that meant - like for many guys - I went of sex for a while. 3 and a half years in fact without nookie. It put my wife through hell; thinking I had gone off her, was having affairs or was gay. The truth of it was that it was hard to process the pain of the childhood sexual memories at the same time as trying to experience the pleasure of making love. The experiences feel so similar that the present is still - sometimes - triggered by the past.

We have developed ways of communicating about it now - Julie does not take it as a personal insult when I decline sex (in the same way that she is not affronted if I decline a cup of coffee - it is not personal; it is where I am today).

One of the things that doesn't help me - I can't speak for your hubby, but it is worth asking him - is that my pressure cooker of emotions is more likely to explode when my wife turns up the heat. It took couple's therapy to show her that her strong desire to "help" was smothering and was passive aggressive and manipulative. Open honest communication in the safe environment of the couple's counsellor's office enabled Julie to explore new ways of asking if there is anything that she can do.

We got things going again sexually by using skin therapy - back rubs; massaging her feet and progressing using non-penetrative contact so that we learned how to go into previously dangerous places and to banish my childhood ghosts from our bedroom.

When you are feeling lost like this it may be useful to play a memory game: "remember when . . . . ?" Giving reassurance that you still value and love the man you fell in love with despite and including what was done to him as a child.

I still find it difficult to talk about any details of what was done to me with my wife. Some say that there should be no secrets between man and wife: I disagree; we do not use the bathroom when the other is present. When we are both in a safe place there is a higher chance of talking specifics. I allowed my wife to read my police statement in all its detail but we haven't discussed the contents - only learning to accept my wife's admiration and acceptance of being able to survive what i was put through.

It is a long and often lonely road. There were a dozen or so wives and partners who met up at the MS International Conference in New York this year - we went from Australia. My wife is still in contact with several that she met - a very useful set of contacts. I encourage you to hang in there but more than that I encourage you to find ways to look after yourself so that you can then be ready to help your man when the time is right.

Endure and Prevail

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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#343812 - 11/01/10 06:11 AM Re: Wife needs advice. Please help. [Re: expom]
hopefuture Offline


Registered: 10/31/10
Posts: 18
Thank you so much for you compassionate and helpful response. I try to give him as much space as he needs. I have learned that pushing only increases his anxiety and makes him shut down more, just like you said. Unfortunately, this does lead to a lack of communication and a wall between us, especially since we (or me?) wanted children. Not being able to have children has broken my heart into a million pieces. I feel like we're stuck and may always be until he is ready to continue getting help. I have found websites like this and told him to peruse as he wanted to, but have not seen any desire there either. I feel like we may never get over this thing. Sorry for rambling, but one more thing. Did this affect your ability to pursure career dreams? Thanks so much again!


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#343829 - 11/01/10 10:13 AM Re: Wife needs advice. Please help. [Re: hopefuture]
expom Offline


Registered: 01/06/09
Posts: 123
Loc: Australia
Sure. It affected - affects - everything.

As a nurse, I pursued excellence. Like many abuse survivors I was a workaholic and got to the position of Head Nurse for Operating Theatres in 3 hospitals, ICU and Sterilising Services. At the same time I represented my professional organisation as an advisor at the British Government's Dept of Health. Then the hospital I worked for decided to make me redundant (male survivors of sexual child abuse are 8 times more likely to be laid off than non-survivors) and my carefully constructed world fell apart. That was 14 years ago. I was unable to work for 2 years then started the long haul back - part time in old people's home; then full time; then agency work and back into operating thetres. Then we migrated to Australia and 9 years later I work as nursing clinical instructor in theatres.

But it still eats me up - I have little energy (creative or functional) left after 4 ten hour shifts a week. I hate having to cut myself a break and realise that the sacrifices I once made are not worth it.

My aim is to get to the point where : a) People don't realise that I have had 2 decades of hard struggle (on top of the childhood experiences) and b) I have processed the past to the point that it can be left there - in the past - and that I (we) are no longer haunted by the long shadows.

So my career dreams have changed. Now, I want to give up nursing all together. I want to be able to act as an alongsider for adult male survivors of sexual child abuse as they go through the particularly painful and difficult early stages. I want to get a national free phone number set up to give help, advice and a listening ear for men dealing with historical abuse.

One thing more. Are you in a position to ask that dear husband of yours how you are doing? I was shown a while ago that this is one of the best ways of allowing the other person to talk.

"Honey, You know I love you; you know I'd do anything to help you with this. How am I doing? Is there anything more I can do or anything you would like me to do differently? If you can think of anything, anytime, I would really like it if you felt able to tell me" That sort of thing.

There is a book that might help - my wife rates it highly. It's called "If the man you love was abused" by M Browne published by Adams Media.

Hope this helps

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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#343840 - 11/01/10 01:49 PM Re: Wife needs advice. Please help. [Re: expom]
bluefairy Offline


Registered: 04/04/09
Posts: 52
Originally Posted By: hopefuture
My husband told me about his CSA about a year and a half ago. We have been married for 6 years and dating for 9. On our honeymoon we didn't even have sex. We have some since but not in 4 years. I have wanted children for years and am now 40 years old. He waited until I about lost my mind a couple of years ago to tell me and now I am afraid it is too late. I have taken him to therapy with two different therapists and he doesn't go anymore and shuts down when I bring any of this up. Also, it has been hard on me because I haven't been able to tell anyone but my therapist. He is a wonderful, giving person but I am angry and feel bad about this. I am not sure if I can hang in there if he doesn't try or if he does at this point. Please help. I love him and I am lost.


Hi Hopefuture,

Don't feel bad about feeling angry, it's natural, you've had a vision of the future where you would have children and having held that vision for years and then to feel that it has been torn out of your mind would not be easy for anyone. I think you're doing the right thing by seeking advice for him and yourself. I hope everything works out well for you.

Bela

_________________________
There will always be a place for you in my heart

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#343906 - 11/02/10 05:58 AM Re: Wife needs advice. Please help. [Re: expom]
hopefuture Offline


Registered: 10/31/10
Posts: 18
It sounds like you are highly motivated and your new goals are worthy ones. My husband has been a workaholic his whole life and he seems lost without work and outside of work. At home, it's like he drops himself at the door and becomes a little boy. I take care of everything including finances,mortgages, phone calls, social plans, etc. He is still living in a little box.I ask him how he is doing or anything personal about his feelings and he just says fine and laughs it off. He gladly listens to anything I have to talk about but does not let me in. I will try the book. Thank you so much for your advice and help.


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#343907 - 11/02/10 06:00 AM Re: Wife needs advice. Please help. [Re: bluefairy]
hopefuture Offline


Registered: 10/31/10
Posts: 18
Thank you for validating my feelings. It seems like no one cares or understands how much this hurts, especially when all of my friends are having babies. My husband shuts me down completely when he usually is very perceptive. I just need a safe place to grieve. I am trying my best to help both of us. I hope he will too.


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#343942 - 11/02/10 01:33 PM Re: Wife needs advice. Please help. [Re: hopefuture]
bluefairy Offline


Registered: 04/04/09
Posts: 52
Quote:
It sounds like you are highly motivated and your new goals are worthy ones. My husband has been a workaholic his whole life and he seems lost without work and outside of work. At home, it's like he drops himself at the door and becomes a little boy. I take care of everything including finances,mortgages, phone calls, social plans, etc. He is still living in a little box.I ask him how he is doing or anything personal about his feelings and he just says fine and laughs it off. He gladly listens to anything I have to talk about but does not let me in. I will try the book. Thank you so much for your advice and help.


You're husband sounds a bit like my ex, he is also very much either a work focused person or becomes quite child-like, I think he partly wants to be a kid again.

_________________________
There will always be a place for you in my heart

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#344003 - 11/03/10 05:57 AM Re: Wife needs advice. Please help. [Re: bluefairy]
Still Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/16/07
Posts: 6365
Loc: 2 NATO Nations
Have any of you folks on this thread read the book by Mike Lew: Victims No Longer?

It will provide a base of profound education for Family and Survivors.

_________________________
Jesus Loves The Hell Outta Me!

Still's Globs

New Video

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#344004 - 11/03/10 05:59 AM Re: Wife needs advice. Please help. [Re: bluefairy]
john38 Offline


Registered: 10/21/10
Posts: 90
Loc: Pasadena CA
Hi Hopefuture,

I'm a survivor who completely dissociated his abuse until 16 years ago. My memories of abuse started coming back after a nervous breakdown at age 39. Up to that point I was an overachiever, a workaholic, etc.

I've been married for 27 years to the same incredible woman, and we've gone through a number of dry spells in the physical love making department through the last 16 years. Even though she knows what's happening--that it's not about her--it's still difficult for Janice because she can still have feelings of not being wanted triggered. We've done a lot of couple's therapy to help with this and other issues. As Aden said, when new memories of abuse come up, and especially the feelings associated with those memories, I want nothing to do with sex--it's too traumatizing.

The chief issue that Janice and I had to learn to work on was how to communicate. It's so easy to expect the other spouse to be a mindreader. Moreover, we had to learn to talk out all our feelings of guilt/shame etc. that could occur because of each other's reactions. We had to learn to listen to one another. It's a process, but our relationship today is incredibly intimate at the emotional honesty levels and that emotional intimacy is profoundly helpful for both of us during the times when we're unable to be physically intimate. Janice is my best friend and there's nothing I can't share with her.

That said, it's okay for you to take care of you. If I were in your shoes I'd be very upset at my spouse. It's one thing to become a kid--every survivor does this over and over, but it's another not to accept responsibility for the effects one's behavior is having on one's intimate other. I understand why your husband doesn't want to talk about his feelings, memories or responses--he's carrying around a ton of shame, anger, grief, helplessness and fear. None the less, the abuse is now over, and if he wants to have a quality life he's gotta address his issues. Moreover, it's okay for you to set boundaries and say "I need to know you care enough about yourself, me and us to seek healing." It sounds like you're a very caring and supportive wife. You deserve the best too. The only way you'll both get the best together is if he seeks healing. Know from this survivor's perspective, you deserve the best. You've put up with a lot and it sounds like you're willing to stick by him as long as he tries to work things out. But if he's not willing, it's okay for you to let him know that it's not okay for you. Perhaps letting him know that it's not okay, and that you might need to consider how to take care of yourself without him, including possibly leaving him if he won't seek help, might be the best thing for him.

Afterall, if he's unwilling to heal, do you want the status quo to last for the rest of your life? I know this is tough, but you've stood by him and supported him, and he needs to do the same for you, and for himself.

All the Best & Good Luck,
John+

_________________________
Just for today I will treat myself with respect, compassion and acceptance.

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