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#377382 - 11/30/11 12:28 AM PTSD, Rape, Trauma Survival
stripeysocks Offline


Registered: 11/28/11
Posts: 43
Loc: US
I posted a few days ago after having just found out that my husband went through csa. We have yet to actually discuss what happened aside from hints he gave me that day that indicate it was physical. I suspect I know what the hints mean, but I don't want to go into details. I remain angry that his mother punished him for what happened to him, but I don't know what to do about that yet.

Yesterday he told me we would talk about all of it in the future. Since the time he has told me nothing but good things have come out of his confiding in me. I know this was a burden that he carried with him, denied, and tried to forget while wanting to tell me many, many times. From reading online about what this kind of trauma can lead to I understand him so much more.

The two of us have been very close for our entire 5 year marriage, but sometimes he would get angry and withdrawn for a couple of days and then be back to normal. I always chalked it up to the abuse his mom put him through. This I understand. I was beaten by my mom until I moved out at 18. I know what it feels like to be made powerless.

A few years ago I became very ill and had to have multiple surgeries involving a very delicate part of my body that made sitting and doing most activities impossible. Doctors abused me. I wouldn't call it sexual abuse, but it was so close that it felt like I was raped. I have never said that aloud to anyone except my husband or my therapist, but it is true. I don't say it in meaning to appropriate or deny what rape is, but just to convey the violation I experienced in my body. Anyhow, I developed PTSD. My husband has been there for me through it in an incredible way. He took care of me while I recovered physically and made me feel safe emotionally.

The thing is while I don't understand sexual abuse from a child's perspective, I do know how powerlessness completely alters a person's life. PTSD is a disorder of the body and our bodily memory as much as it is part of the mind (which is physical too, despite what people may believe).

None of this is something that can just be overcome immediately or willed away. None of this is something that truly happened in the past for those of us who have been through abuse. I still have flashbacks and I know he does too. It can reach the point that it is in the past, but it takes time. I still can't walk in a doctor's office or watch a movie with an extended medical scene.

I'm not sure what his recovery will look like, but I know that my husband feels telling me was a move that helped him. He said he feels like our relationship has gone through a baptism.

For now we are using e-mail back and forth to talk about the more serious things like figuring out a recovery plan for us to undertake. It's important to him that I'm there supporting him and going through this with him. That's such a key issue for him, as so much of his problem is that no one was there for him, his mom didn't believe him and he has felt alone.

Thanks for listening.


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#377406 - 11/30/11 08:40 AM Re: PTSD, Rape, Trauma Survival [Re: stripeysocks]
expom Offline


Registered: 01/06/09
Posts: 123
Loc: Australia
Hi there Stripeysocks

I want to say a huge thank you for standing by your man and being there for him while he is able to talk with you. Having that level of support is huge.

You talk about being angry at his mother. May I suggest a slightly different spin for you to try - just to see how different it feels.

Instead of saying that you are angry (which is always talked about in a negative way) how about talking about you feeling outraged at your mother-in-law's behaviour. My opinion, you see, is that your feelings are entirely normal and natural for a well adjusted human being. It is abnormal to fail to protect, nurture and provide succour to our children. In other words; it is about her and not about you or your husband.

I'd be interested to hear if you think that putting this spin on your feelings makes it any clearer to you what (if anything) you feel you should do.

I also like that you are using a comparatively safe way of communicating with each other - email. It's worth remembering, though, that although it may feel safe emotionally it might be less safe electronically.

My wife and I have done something similar - yet very different: We have agreed that we don't talk about the nasty stuff in our bedroom (that has to be kept safe for fun times together). We have a code for going out for coffee "and a chat" where we know we can talk freely without dumping on each other.

Thank you for reminding me how far my wife and I have travelled on our joint journey of recovery.

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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#377455 - 11/30/11 05:20 PM Re: PTSD, Rape, Trauma Survival [Re: expom]
stripeysocks Offline


Registered: 11/28/11
Posts: 43
Loc: US
Outraged is a good term for how I feel towards his mother and I agree it is about her and not my husband or I. That's an easy concept for me because that is something I learned about my mom when I went through therapy to deal with her abuse. I do think I will be angry at her for some time, but I won't be acting on that. I really appreciate what you said!

We are going to talk about the abuse in person and he's told me that. I just want him to feel safe. We've been talking about things in a roundabout way in person. He says all my e-mails are really wonderful and helping him. I've been sending him things like that I don't see him any differently and it's true, I don't. I also sent him one this morning saying that when he was ready I could handle him telling me everything. He is relieved.


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#377696 - 12/02/11 09:24 AM Re: PTSD, Rape, Trauma Survival [Re: stripeysocks]
expom Offline


Registered: 01/06/09
Posts: 123
Loc: Australia
Sounds like you are doing a great job.

If I were your husband, I know that I'd appreciate the help you are giving.

Providing such a safe place is so valuable. For me it has meant that I am able to make progress on my journey of recovery without having to watch over my shoulder all the time.

Giving your man reassurance that you value and treasure the times that he is able to share with you makes it so much easier to share. Knowing you don't have to fix him may just help you relax enough to provide even more safe space.

Stripeysocks, you have my respect and admiration.

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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#377861 - 12/03/11 04:03 AM Re: PTSD, Rape, Trauma Survival [Re: expom]
stripeysocks Offline


Registered: 11/28/11
Posts: 43
Loc: US
Thank you expom. I really appreciate your words quite a bit. And I agree. I don't see this as a fixing situation, but rather being there for him as he gets through pain that he has spent a lot of time trying to deny. I don't think he needs fixing because I do accept him as is. laugh


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