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#403026 - 07/09/12 02:04 PM What would survivors ask of partners?
Haps Offline


Registered: 07/06/12
Posts: 89
Loc: Ohio
Instead of muddying up the other posts, I'm curious about what survivors would ask of their partners if they knew they could be heard? I'm curious that IF my partner could put words to where he is and what he needs from me, what would it look like?

As I've stated around here before, my parter is not actively addressing the issues related to CSA that I'm aware of. He does not know that I'm on these boards. (Oh, what if he shows up, though? Be a nice problem to have, I guess!) His diagnosis is otherwise at the moment. He greatly trusts his T, and I don't want to step on his progress wherever it might be.

All of that said, what would you ask of your partner? What would you tell them? What do you want them to know? If you could include a bit about where you are in your relationship and your own recovery, I would greatly appreciate the addition of that perspective as well.

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#403119 - 07/10/12 09:03 AM Re: What would survivors ask of partners? [Re: Haps]
Valkyrie Offline


Registered: 04/27/12
Posts: 167
crickets...

either they haven't come across this or they don't know themselves?

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#403123 - 07/10/12 09:45 AM Re: What would survivors ask of partners? [Re: Haps]
Haps Offline


Registered: 07/06/12
Posts: 89
Loc: Ohio
I'm hoping it is just time for well-thought, well-crafted responses. wink

I've asked my guy in general, and he reiterates his T comment of "patience, love, and understanding". I'm a bit unsure of what that "looks" like since I'm not in his mind. Understanding as I would like to,see it includes gentle encouragement, but, again, don't want to step on toes.

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#403128 - 07/10/12 10:12 AM Re: What would survivors ask of partners? [Re: Haps]
jls Offline


Registered: 03/06/09
Posts: 1142
To be treated as the same person I've always been. I fear being defined by others as merely a sexual abuse survivor and not as a whole human being, which when I'm trying to feel normal while dealing with such difficult stuff is the last thing I need. Anyways that's what I would ask for.
_________________________
Love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.


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#403168 - 07/10/12 03:10 PM Re: What would survivors ask of partners? [Re: Haps]
JoeUniverseHP Offline


Registered: 06/05/12
Posts: 72
I am not in a relationship while I work on myself...When I start dating again with a dating plan in SLAA I will let you guys now how that progresses...

For now I am thinking I would like a woman with a spiritual program...But what do I know. My sponsor is getting married to a normal woman with no program but she is very spiritually evolved...

But I am thinking I might like a fellow survivor partner? But maybe that's just me with base-level self esteem...Maybe with more sobriety in SLAA I will prefer partners with less issues.

This stuff takes time!

Cheers.

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#403203 - 07/10/12 08:24 PM Re: What would survivors ask of partners? [Re: Haps]
scottyg Offline


Registered: 06/26/12
Posts: 253
Loc: Seattle
I suspect there are very few survivors who dare enter this corner of the forum. Me and WHOME and maybe a few others is all I ever see here. So the crickets are due to the lack of traffic from your target demographic. Another fact that cannot go ignored is there's a lot of ANGER and HATE over here. The Survivor's side is all about spreading the love. This side seems mostly about releasing the rage... Not that those emotions are unjustified. I've read your posts. You are right to be DISAPPOINTED. However, as a survivor I am already filled with self-hate, self-blame and anger about my life being crap and the ruination of everything I touch. So added critiques by anyone else are not going to go over well. Perhaps that will cover SOME of the reasons few of us seem to migrate to this side to answer questions, however valid. And this is a good question that required some thought.

I will volunteer that I have a good relationship with my wife and that is mostly her fault. I did almost all the things that the contributes on the Family forums talk about. The only exception is I did not have an extra-marital affair. But when I was going AWOL and "gaslighting" -thank you for that new word herowannabe- and abusing drugs and acting in self-destructive and hurtful ways I was so far down in my disease I had no idea how to communicate.

Which is the paradox of this particular forum. We have men and women who're learning and engaging with each other waiting for their partners to heal, but the healing has to come from that guy. He needs to want to get better. From there comes small disclosures, then bigger disclosures and eventually healthy communication can become the norm.

To bring it back around, my wife and I are doing better than ever and I blame her. As I said, I couldn;t tell her what I needed... I still have a hard time accessing my most inner needs. But she never quit on me. She wanted to, asked herself 100 times why she didn't at some point. Guess that teeny-tiny spark of good out-shined all the bad.

So what she did was accepted me as I tried to push away. She forgave me for acting like a maniac. She supported me and remained stable as I was falling apart. But most of all she respected herself. After being patient with me for 6 or 7 years of freakish behavior including one arrest and one Sandusky-related total meltdown, she lay down the law, said the destructive behavior couldn't go on or she was gone. Luckily I was just smart enough to realize she's probably the only woman in the world who'd have me. But I'm not hyper-sexualized like a lot of guys. I withdrew and became alienated from everyone. So I did what I needed to do. I entered therapy and it's been good for me but not a great experience.

Now what I need for her to understand is all that bullshit that's been going on: the bad behavior, the sexual dysfunction, the lack of communication... not her fault. That's the worst thing about being where you are as partners. Absorbing all these hurtful side-effects of trauma and trying not to take it personal. How could you not take it personal? So I get the anger, but people like myself on the survivor side are pretty sensitive.

That's my perspective on this but I gotta say, none of this is gonna matter if you stay trapped in these cycles. The sexual abuse victim needs to get fed up with his pain and dysfunction and become a survivor for himself.
_________________________
I've got a bike you can ride it if you like.
Its got a basket, a bell that rings
And many other things to make it look good.
I'd give it to you if I could -but I've borrowed it.

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#403214 - 07/10/12 10:01 PM Re: What would survivors ask of partners? [Re: Haps]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 2015
Loc: durham, north england
Well, the problem i often find with F&F is that sinse I've never had a partner due to my abuse, i often feel extremely unqualified to give any sort of answer. Dating, attraction someone, it all seems an alien process to me, as do many of the issues discussed here.

For example, with my genophobia, the idea of extra mariital affairs or s/x addiction is one I find absolutely incomprehensible. While I can empathize with the hurt that people experience because of it, to me the idea of being addicted to s/x sounds like someone saying they are addicted to eating mud.
I'll also admit that the desire for a relationship is one I struggle with intensively, and often fail at suppressing, indeed I've often felt unreasonably jealous of people here simply because they have! had some sort of working relationships and that the survivers here have partners wo care enough about them to go and find out about their partners' problems, indeed sometimes I've had daydreams or pleasant, admiring fantacies of having a girlfriend of my own posting in F&F bsaying how much she loves me and wants to help with my abuse history, ----- crazy and twisted though that might sound.

I'm really sorry about this, I know this is absolutely my own issue and I appologize for not being more objective.

As regards the question of what I would! want from a partner if I had one, I think the first and most important thing would bbe straight up honesty about what they felt.

Several occasions I've had female friend who my parents were convinced were interested in being closer to me, but I'm just too broken to pick this up. I would really need someone to be absolutely and completely honest with how she felt about me, and about things like physical touch. I have a terrible recurring nightmare of sitting with a girl and talking, then being accused of abuse. asking permission for physical contact is really something I'd have to have happen, indeed the only friend I'm totally happy with getting a hug from is someone w'eve who is so honest as to be ridiculously blunt, and part of the only reason I can be close to her is I know where she's coming from.

The second thing is space. I know for a fact I really! need my own space. Sometimes, as in fact has happened over the past few days, this can become extremely unhealthy and too much, yet at the same time, there is a point that the physical proximity of others I find to be extremely difficult. I can only recharge by spending time alone, and I really need a physical space that is mine, I find even sharing a room difficult.

I realize this all might bae asking too much, which again might be why the partner thing has never gone anywhere, indeed one female friend of mine who knows about the abuse once suggested that my reactions were so different from others' in society that most people just didn't know what to make of them, which again is quite probably why this post doesn't help too much.

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#403268 - 07/11/12 10:12 AM Re: What would survivors ask of partners? [Re: Haps]
Disappointed Offline


Registered: 08/11/09
Posts: 540
Loc: U.S.A.
Hi D.E.,

This is cute :^)))

"indeed sometimes I've had daydreams or pleasant, admiring fantacies of having a girlfriend of my own posting in F&F bsaying how much she loves me and wants to help with my abuse history."

D.
_________________________
Female.

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#403283 - 07/11/12 11:46 AM Re: What would survivors ask of partners? [Re: Haps]
KMCINVA Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1702
Very interesting question. I know the questions but I do not believe I would get an answer, it will be diverted away and directed at what I have done. To answer would require a true reflection of what happened to begin my unraveling to the dark place.


Edited by KMCINVA (07/11/12 01:58 PM)

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#403359 - 07/11/12 10:59 PM Re: What would survivors ask of partners? [Re: Haps]
GoodHope Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/05/11
Posts: 416
ScottyG,

Thank you for your honesty. I struggle here on the board and with my husband with how to honor my pain, frustration, anger, while at the same time being supportive and loving for truly broken people.

It's a weird space to be in because it all resides together. I love my husband, no partner, no matter how angrily ranting he or she is on F & F, would spend any length of time perusing these boards if he or she didn't.

But...

I can also see why if you are in a fragile place in your healing, that F & F could set you back. It is my prayer that those who can't handle it, don't come here until they can, but those that can, would choose to come here. Because whether we say it out loud, or stuff it down deep, this is your life now. Your partner will be damaged by whatever method of acting out you choose-drinking, drugging, sleeping around, porn, withdrawal.

But we supporters can't get stuck in the victim cycle either. I was talking to my husband last night about how in a way, him destroying my trust in one of the most important people (him) who is supposed to love, care and protect me, mirrors that of his abuser. This close family member should not have exploited the adoration of my husband from ages 5 to 13. He should not have used his position of authority in that way. My husband should not have done the same to me. And now, just like him, I try to trust, and I can't. And it frightens me to know that as hard a time as I am having, my husbands fear and lack of trust is ingrained at a much earlier age. I am old enough to know there are good kind people who WONT abuse your trust, and yet I now struggle. He has no expectation to lean back on, how can I expect him to trust me?

Today, the rage came and it is most explosive when I feel stuck. Of course, I'm not really stuck. I could leave. I could uproot the lives of our children because he hurt me. But I also don't think that is best. Not for the family unit, not for him, maybe not even for me, I don't know. And I struggle with what to tell him. It seems cruel to bring it up when what is done is done. He can't change it. He can't fix it. But it seems wrong for me to hold it all by myself. It feels like he took a massive dump in my lap. He said he was sorry. I even think he meant it. He tried to help me clean it up, but I can't get the stench out of my nose. On a good day, I can move past it. I can concentrate on the good that he has done. But on the bad days...

So I see why some of you fellas avoid us. Our pain is a constant reminder of events you can't be proud of, that you have to own in order to live in honesty.

And like so many things that have come out of this whole CSA thing, I don't know where to put it. I haven't yet figured out how to have it live comfortably with all the other parts of our relationship. My prayer is that one day it will. I don't want to pretend it doesn't exist. But I don't want it to stink anymore either.
_________________________
Wife of a survivor

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#403406 - 07/12/12 01:56 PM Re: What would survivors ask of partners? [Re: Haps]
Haps Offline


Registered: 07/06/12
Posts: 89
Loc: Ohio
This is very insightful, and I thank everyone who has posted.

Looking back, I see the damage I did as a result of my own recovery work. It's clear that I've taken out my own "brokenness" on my partner due to my own trust issues.

GH - the "massive dump" hits way home with me. Beyond the general crudeness of which I'm a HUGE fan, I kept cleaning up all the crap around our relationship and so lost myself. I'm wondering if he'll ever wake up and see the crap for what it is. For now, no such luck, but I don't have to keep adding to it.

Scotty - Womderful that you can post that as I am going to pretend like its my P who said it to me for now. wink

Disappointed - I love your hope! I do wish that there was a way for my P and I to share our recoveries and discoveries as a means by which to bring us closer. I tried to fix him for years, then it turned into (I think) my trying to control him. Big whoops! I'm not sure I would have ever been able to keep from hitting triggers. If you find the gal that can work for you, will you see if she has a brother? smile

Dark - Your post helped me GREATLY. I don't know how to react. When my P took his personal space, I was horrified. It's helpful to know that this isn't about me. I'm as lovable as you are and my partner is. I can't be expected to do a jive when I barely know how to keep rhythm. Luckily, I have this to discover a bit more of what is mine to worry about and what is not mine. There's a different way to look at how I take my own inventory here, and I'm so relieved for that.

KMC - I can keep taking time for me and stay off my partners back until/if that time comes. Again, it's not ME - such a relief!

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#403427 - 07/12/12 05:11 PM Re: What would survivors ask of partners? [Re: Haps]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 2015
Loc: durham, north england
Hi Haps.

As with lots of things, personal space is very much a case of recognizing what is enough, what too much, and what not enough, which can vary hugely betwene different people even without abuse.

For instance, one of my best friends who has a truly successfull and working mariage once really offended his wife because she came left him alone for a week, and when she asked him if he'd been lonely his instant response was "oh no, not at all" where upon his wife was greatly upset and asked "didn't you miss me?"

He had to then explain that while yes, he did miss her, he felt nothing the least bit wrong in being on his own for a week, something that for her would've been quite a trial.

some people, like myself and my friend are just natural intraverts, are quite happy by themselves, and need a certain amount of time alone, away from others, even those they love. Indeed, I've often notice that in couples one will be an intravert and the other an extravert, who naturally relaxes by being around others and needs to be with other people to feel complete. This is certainly the case with my parents, my mum like me is a total intravert. She has social skills, can be around people, but she needs a certain amount of time alone, away from others both physically and mentally. This has nothing to do with love, and everything to do with relaxation.

the problem however is that like anything else, once abuse gets involved a natural intraverted tendency can go way too far, ---- perhaps the same thing is possible for extraverts and that's where you get people who want to spend more time with strangers than their loved ones, I don't know.

but certainly for myself, and I believe for other abuse survivers, being alone can be something that gets taken to extremes, especially if the actual physical proximity of others and things like touch are uncomfortable, as is the case for me.

i often find myself I will have a tendency and a desire in dark moments to totally isolate and not see or speak to anyone for up to four or five days at a time, and I need to physically make a lot of effort to remind myself to phone my parents, see my friends etc. At the same time however, I do need to remember not! to become addicted to isolating, something which is often pretty difficult to do.

This is nothing to do with not loving someone or disliking them, just again something else about a certain personality trait in survivers that can be taken to more extreme levels because of recovery. Indeed, it's not just survivers, a friend of mine who suffers from purely chemical depression has a separate bedroom from her husband, not because she doesn't love him, but because she simply needs! physical and psychological space alone during her down moments.

I hope some of this is vaguely helpfull.

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#403432 - 07/12/12 05:59 PM Re: What would survivors ask of partners? [Re: Haps]
Haps Offline


Registered: 07/06/12
Posts: 89
Loc: Ohio
Dark - Not vague at all. Very clear. Had my P told me this, it would have sounded like an excuse where I am in relation to our communication. Imhave a heavy psych background, and this makes great sense. I kinda wish my codependent butt enjoyed more "me" time to recharge - would keep me much safer, I think. (Who needs rescued?!?! Never mind - I'll find you!)

It seems like any time I want to do an extrovert thing (like hang with the neighbors for a chat on the stoop), he's right there. When he wants to do an extroverted thing, tho, I'm no where in the picture.

Any insight on that??

...Picking out the personality vs. abuse traits seems the key here. :-/

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#403563 - 07/13/12 09:12 PM Re: What would survivors ask of partners? [Re: Haps]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 2015
Loc: durham, north england
I have no idea on why when one person is being extravert the other isn't, that just sounds a little like personality awkwardness to me.

I will say though that often having! to do something extravert during an extremely down moment is a very real and complete strain.

For instance, one of the worst periods I remember with my recovery ewas new years eeve of 2008. As is usual my parents and my brother had been invited over to a massive party at a friend of hours.

This was the point when I was really prone to fugues, moments when my depression got so extreme I'd have so much mental white noise going on in my head that I could barely concentrate enough to stand upright, indeed these fugue moments were one of the most terrible experiences i've had connected with recovery.

So, there is me, having trouble concentrating on even where I was, just wanting to lie down in my room and listen to music until the fugue passed being forced to engage in a large room full of people, play party games etc.

I managed, indeed I don't think anyone there even noticed, however on the way back I was feeling so draned and devorced from things that I could barely give rational responses, a state made worse by the fact that my brother and my parents were totally happy and relaxed with life, while I was just struggling to stop myself shutting down completely.

I gave some fairly short responses on that car journey, just because I was so out of it I didn't want anyone! speaking to me at all, and of course felt guilty for doing that.

That was one of the worst extravert experiences I've ever had, and while my mumm was fairly certain nobody at the party knew how i was feeling, it had a really bad affect on me for that night and the next day. The only saving grace was that being a new years day I didn't have! to see anyone.

So, that might explain why your partner is sometimes less than enthusiastic about being extravert on occasions, though why your extravert moments don't go together I have no idea.

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#403600 - 07/14/12 09:23 AM Re: What would survivors ask of partners? [Re: Haps]
Haps Offline


Registered: 07/06/12
Posts: 89
Loc: Ohio
I'm so sorry about your experience, and thanks for sharing. It does sound familiar, though. There are many times in the car that I want to connect around what happened and my P shows no desire. He's also said that he needs to "conserve his energy" at times which seems to fit here as well.

So, again, this isn't about me, is it? Hard not to take things personally or be hurt when there seems to be no desire to foster a deeper connection. :-/

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#403601 - 07/14/12 09:36 AM Re: What would survivors ask of partners? [Re: Haps]
KMCINVA Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1702
Glad to hear you are taking time for yourself. Space is important as is keeping boundaries--boundaries help sustain a relationship and allows it to grow and hopefully heal. Once boundaries are destroyed or more importantly not respected, damage is done. If our perps had respected boundaries I believe many of us would not be here today living with the abuse as a survivor or supporter.

Keep well

Kevin

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