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#376698 - 11/24/11 12:21 PM Don't Tell Me What to Do
Esposa Offline
F&F Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/19/11
Posts: 678
Loc: NJ
I wanted to share....

In couples therapy yesterday, we discussed what I perceive to be rebellion and withholding of affection. If I want something and express it, I have almost guaranteed that I won't get it. Even if he wants it too. It is a very frustrating cycle in our relationship. And a massive change from the VERY passive man I met and married and knew until he "perceived" that I had betrayed him.

These might be triggers....

The therapist carefully selected his words and he said to me, how do you handle other people's opinions or advice? To which I responded, well I guess. I am open to listening to other people. He then said, well, you don't mind being "penetrated" - you do not see it as an invasion. You have clear boundaries. He contrasted this to my husband and said that he clearly minded the invasion. That even if my words or advice came from a place of love or concern, he perceived them as unwanted penetration. And that he responded with complete rebellion, even when it was self-destructive. No one will tell me what to do!

My husband pointed out that he had not always been this way. That he has been very submissive to me - giving me 10 of 10 or even 11 out of 10. And the therapist pointed out that this too was a product of the abuse. No one can give 10 out 10 to another person all of the time. That he had learned this as a child. Full submission - or full rejection. No gray in this black and white.

So.... as a spouse, where does this leave me? If I expect fidelity, and my husband is not working on these issues, then I can just assume he will reject my wishes and act full force against them. If I expect an anniversary present, I won't even get a card. If I expect that he will be home at 9, he will roll in at 11. What a dilemma.

I told our therapist that I just didn't want to die. And he asked my husband what he felt about this and he was horrified. I would NEVER hurt her. To which the therapist replied, that is your conscious mind. Your unconscious mind instead has unprotected sex with another person which very well could kill your wife. The task for you is to bring this response, the need to rebel, into consciousness and then override it with conscious logic. Sounds so easy right??

I am very pained for him. I know he does not want to be this way. But I am scared for me.... what kind of life is this for me?


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#376704 - 11/24/11 02:19 PM Re: Don't Tell Me What to Do [Re: Esposa]
SamV Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/13/09
Posts: 5942
Loc: Talladega, Alabama, USA
Hello Esposa,

I feel the pain and rejection in your words. A marriage is based primarily on the relationship of trust. Communicating that trust through abuse is a challenge. Emotional controls, put in place maybe decades before, have manipulated your husband into sexual impulses that come moments after thoughts of sex.

Think of it as a light and a bell. A study with animals associated impulsive responses with sound. A bell was sounded, and then a light was turned on. The animal responded by closing the iris of the eye. The study went on to using the bell but alternating the light, and the results were the same. The animal's iris responded the with or without the light.

An abuse survivor has a thought, the bell, if you will. The thought is then blinded by a strong emotional response, the light. The result is your husband could continue to act the same as he has since he was abused.

That is him potentially... your thoughtful question, "what kind of life is this for me?", is really the topic here. Can you live with a man who is contrary, who seeks to find the cracks in your armor, who can be rebellious and impulsive and possibly sees you as an overbearing dominant figure?

I cannot answer those questions, Esposa. I can tell you that after 22 years of marriage to my esposa, I have acted out in many these ways, and we have endured. My wife had a wonderful support group. They did not allow her to complain about me(I found out later), but let her talk out her concerns with a condition that she resolve the issue and get the refreshment she needed. She was supported and appreciated, and I encourage you to find similar support, support that encourages you to be and do who you want to be, a vibrant, caring, strong woman.

My best to you hermana, muchas gracias por ayudas mi hermano. Y por tu, la paz, Sam

_________________________
MaleSurvivor Moderator Emeritus 2012 - 2014

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#376715 - 11/24/11 06:47 PM Re: Don't Tell Me What to Do [Re: SamV]
Esposa Offline
F&F Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/19/11
Posts: 678
Loc: NJ
Sam - I can work through this affair. In fact, I really have made quite a lot on progress on it - and I don't actually think it was acting out in a traditional CSA sense. I think he is very angry - and directing that anger at me unfortunately.

The thing that hurts is that he withholds love from me. We often joke that I am kept at arms length - I can't leave, but I can't come too close. It is an incredibly horrible and painful situation for me. I love him so much. But how long can I be held this way until I combust? And I know he loves me, although when he is especially angry, he likes to tell me things like "I used to love you so much" More pain.

My logical, non-abused brain is very confused. If you don't love me, then go. But god, if I say that to him he comes apart. All therapists involve say that it is painfully obvious how much he loves me. But how long can I continue this way? Having none of my needs met by a person I so desperately love? And on the other hand, can I really allow myself to become yet another person in his life who lets him down?


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#376749 - 11/25/11 07:41 AM Re: Don't Tell Me What to Do [Re: Esposa]
SamV Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/13/09
Posts: 5942
Loc: Talladega, Alabama, USA
In reading your posts, you have made a great deal of progress, Esposa. The ability to talk out feelings and anxiety is definitely progress. You are walking a difficult line, dear supporter. You care about him deeply, and you seem to be struggling with self care. This is a delicate balance.

Let's let him do his thing for a moment, and focus on a healthy you, ok? What do you need, not in the relationship, but what do you need? I spoke of a group of friends, supporters for the supporter. Do you have such a group, that can work with you to address your needs? You need to feel loved, valuable, and connected with friends who you can easily communicate laughter and concerns with in safety. You need to fill those areas of life that every person needs(self care), to be accompanied, to have the best joke, to be the loveliest, to shine and to be an important part of a group.
Addressing these in your life gives your "tank" a time to fill up. Find a support group, find close friends, and let them help fill your empty tank, so that you can continue in the life you want with your husband. Let them in, tell them of your struggles and fears, and let them support you.

Please let the first part of the post be separate from him, because you are so important, Esposa. Ultimately, do what is best for you, make the choices to support yourself now, through friends and through changes in how you interact with this abuse survivor.
------------------------------------------------------------

I understand SA and anger. Anger is not it's own emotion, but rather is amplified fear. Let me say that again. Anger is fear, amplified. Let me try to explain it this way.., as you look back on the years you may have known your abused husband, were there ever events in his life that you witnessed or were told about *while you knew him that could explain the primal, raw anger he displays to you now? For example, the first time a new driver experiences the events leading up to an accident, they are confident that the events will lead to a miss, no damage, right? Why is that? It is because they have never had an accident. When there is no previous experience, there is no fear.
***If he has not experienced fear in the depth that you have known him to produce these reactions, then his fear MUST have come before you knew him. The difference for you and him may be that you have never had an *accident, and he has been in a life threatening wreck.

Fear is an understanding of a previous trauma that the sufferer was unable to process, escape from or resolve. It controls his reactions when he is triggered, or events cause him to feel like he is being attacked. That fear, when it is re-visited in arguments involving family disputes for instance, has the ability to dive deeply into the emotional trauma and bring out "abuse-level responses" to disagreements that do not call for such reactions. An argument about what to watch on television may be a two or a three on the scale of ten, ok? In the beginning, he too is calm and reasonable, but then the bottom drops out, and he is triggered. This trigger floods him with fear, rejection, destruction and abandonment. In his mind, he will be left without support, he will be alone, or worse. He may remember the abuse, because he did not want that to happen, but he was powerless to change it. He will again lose his identity, and will be destroyed. He will act irrationally, he will fight bitterly to make sure he is safe. While you may be wanting to change the channel, he is fighting for his very life, does that make sense?

Arguments with survivors change rapidly, with no warning, to desperate pleas. A sentence or two may be all a supporter gets before the anger and rage of abuse comes to full bear on whatever the subject. When this clue is missed, the fury of being completely controlled and the fight for life itself begins. The non abused can argue for minutes, and get very heated. The abused knows that if the argument continues, he will most certainly be abandoned and destroyed.

Sexual abuse creates fear, and fear stokes the fires of anger. Anger IS from the control and destruction of sexual abuse. He never learned to appropriately confirm his boundaries, to know that he is not in danger.
He may need to be taught, through patience and submission, that there is a balance between conversation and wild eyed defense-of-life rage, there is a distance, and it is not necessary to transfer instantly between the two extremes.

If he was abused by relative, if he heard or was involved with mother-father rage, he can associate that with being controlled through the abuse. He is now the father/husband, you are now the mother/wife. He can transfer the feelings of the abuse and the dysfunction from them and then to now and you both. He does not know any better, Esposa, it is what he has been taught. Why can't he change? Because the abuse still has him in the trenches, and bombs are going off around him. He needs to stick with what he knows for his very survival. He will die if tries to change, in his perspective.

To understand him better, see a small child who has been hurt. Dirty face turned upwards, he smiles at his mother when she wipes his tears away. He goes back to play, and a boy beats him mercilessly. He goes back to his mother, but she is busy. He goes to his father and he tells the boy to toughen up. After many beatings and the same reactions, the boy stops asking for help. There is still a part of him that longs for succor and support, that can love and be caring, but there are other parts of him that are programmed to take over when he is hurt. These fragments are not the man you married, but they are soldiers, designed to take the hurt and the abuse. When the threat is neutralized, the man comes back out, and he is loving and caring.

The Secret Service and the President, all in one.

This is a great deal to take in, dear supporter. Remember, without knowing the heart of the survivor, it can be very difficult to understand the symptoms he presents with currently. There are many professionals out there, but only a handful have male sexual abuse training. Why is that? Because this is a specialized field, and most professionals, while competent in their own specialized areas, cannot bring healing to a male survivor.

He is a boy, battered and beaten, abused and thrown away, for years and decades dear supporter. Everywhere he looks there is no relief.

This is his perspective, Esposa, and is not intended to reflect on you or the love and care you give him freely and tirelessly, I know the hard work a wife gives to an abused husband, I have been blessed with my supporter, and her tireless efforts are finally being appreciated by me.

_________________________
MaleSurvivor Moderator Emeritus 2012 - 2014

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#376750 - 11/25/11 07:43 AM Re: Don't Tell Me What to Do [Re: SamV]
SamV Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/13/09
Posts: 5942
Loc: Talladega, Alabama, USA
Oh for crying out loud, that is a BOOK! Please take what you need, and I apologize for the length.

Sheesh!!

Sam

_________________________
MaleSurvivor Moderator Emeritus 2012 - 2014

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#376763 - 11/25/11 10:12 AM Re: Don't Tell Me What to Do [Re: SamV]
Esposa Offline
F&F Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/19/11
Posts: 678
Loc: NJ
Sam - It is actually the clearest thing I have ever read on this topic.


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