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#405252 - 07/29/12 10:57 PM When To Tell
Still Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/16/07
Posts: 6602
Loc: FEMA Region 1
Originally For The Good Men Project



When to Tell Her
July 13, 2012
Robert Brown


You don’t just blurt something like this out. I mean jeez...what I’ve been doing for 20 years has been working! Why would I just throw a great-big wrench into the gears? It would be the death of the best relationship of my life!

I love this woman beyond words! Imagine that! We met at Business School instead of a freakin BAR! I’ve waited so long to find the right person. I prayed fervently to meet someone like her. Everything is perfect about her. She’s simply the most amazing person I’ve ever met.

Everything is perfect about HER.

Lots of things are completely f**ked about ME!

No one can handle news like that. Its one of those things that was never supposed to happen! But I was a wimpy-boy, a colossal loser...at complete freak to allow that to happen without being reported, stopped, avenged...allowed to ever happen to begin with. I simply must never let her know. As planned, I’ll take it to the grave.

Oh God! Will she figure it out? Will she decipher from years of intimate behavior that I was raped over and over again by older boys? Will she figure-out that I was forced to provide oral gratification for them...that I can’t get these f**king images out of my head?

She wonders why I cry for weeks about a murdered or stolen child. She does not “get” why I sit-up all night drinking about 10-nights per year.

If she finds-out, she’ll believe everything conventional wisdom says about guys like me: “Destined to molest!” “Certainly Gay!” “Musta liked it if he didn’t report it.”

Your first 1000 orgasms were with older boys? WTF? C U L8R Rob!

The Sex and Couples’ Therapists figured it out in about 15 minutes; each and every one of them. They would then look me square in the face and say “Rob...man...you show ALL the signs of childhood sexual abuse...and its the only explanation for all of this!”

No, no, no NO! NOT ME! You’re wrong. I’m fine. If I tell her, I’ll lose everything! I’ll lose everything!

In 2007, I told her. 18-years into a marriage that still makes me cry today from the perfect love I had for her, I told her.

I lost everything. I lost her.

So the meat of debate: When do you tell your future spouse or significant-other that you were sexually abused as a child? Should you even have a spouse or significant-other?
_________________________
I'm "that guy."

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#405308 - 07/30/12 03:28 PM Re: When To Tell [Re: Still]
bodyguard8367 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/16/12
Posts: 1159
Loc: ""
""


Edited by bodyguard8367 (02/26/14 07:43 PM)
Edit Reason: SILENCED

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#405314 - 07/30/12 05:21 PM Re: When To Tell [Re: Still]
Esposa Offline
F&F Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/19/11
Posts: 728
Loc: NJ
I have thought often about all of this - and what Geoff wrote... over and over and over again.

My husband's disclosure only allowed me insight into his family or origin issues. I didn't think less of him because of his disclosure.

He has treated me poorly (and I let him). He has endangered my life (and I let him). THAT will be why my marriage ends. Did he make those poor decisions because he is damaged by neglect and abuse? Probably. Will I blame his disclosure for the end of our marriage? No. In fact, had he disclosed BEFORE he hurt me, he would have had unqualified support and love. Now, I am a little afraid of him. Could he attribute my fear to his disclosure? Sure. Would he be right? Nope

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#405319 - 07/30/12 06:17 PM Re: When To Tell [Re: Still]
herowannabe Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/01/11
Posts: 386
Loc: USA
Quote:
In 2007, I told her. 18-years into a marriage that still makes me cry today from the perfect love I had for her, I told her.

I lost everything. I lost her.


Like so many survivors, you have a nightmare of a story, Rob. You suffered horrific abuse- abuse no child should have to endure. Your abuse left you fractured, but you were, by outward appearances, getting along okay with your job, your wife, your children, your families, your church, etc. On the outside, it all looked grand.

As a wife who thought her married life was grand, I congratulate you on acheiving the same. Unfortunately, after ten years of marriage, a nuclear bomb went off directly in front of my house, and I got a snoutful of bitter reality. As it turns out, my/our life was FAR from being the life I thought it to be! My husband, who'd carefully and skillfully hid so much of himself from me, was FAR from the man I knew him to be. And I was confronted in the mirror by a face that looked like mine had looked just hours prior, but now looked twenty years older.

I'd had NO clue the abuse my husband had suffered. I'd had NO clue the secrets he carried, nor the double life he'd been leading. I have to wonder if, like me, your wife woke one morning married to the man she knew better than anyone else did, only to see the sun set on a day during which she learned she knew nothing about that man afterall.

Truly, from the supporter's perspective, your abuse is NOT the game changer! The survivor too often can't grasp it, but we get it: You were abused! You were raped! You were traumatized! You were a kid! You lacked the maturity and experience to process any of it! WE GET IT! I've yet to find a partner of a survivor who's decided to leave the relationship because of the spouse's childhood abuse. HOWEVER, I've seen enough and am living it myself to know that it's the stuff a survivor does as an adult that can, and sometimes becomes the game changer.

I don't know your situation, so I'll speak only from my own. If my husband would not have finally been honest about his past he'd never have come to MS, nor would he have gotten a counselor. Without real effort made to learn about his trauma, and without the humility required to look at the damage done to his self and his life, and without the continued effort to recover, we would be O-V-E-R. Our marriage wouldn't be over because he was so horribly abused and taken advantage of as a child and an adolescent; our marriage would be over because the boy in the man's body would have decided he wouldn't/couldn't become a thriver. And marriage must be between two healthy adults. It can't work any other way.

So, what happened between 2007 and the divorce, Rob? What didn't happen between 2007 and the divorce? Have you recognized areas of recovery that you were not able to embrace back then? Most importantly, what has happened between the divore and today? What do you need to do to put your abuse in the correct and proper perspective? What more needs to be tended to in order for you to leave behind Rob the survivor and become Rob the thriver? I think your soulmate is out there looking for you, and I'm sure you want to be at your very best when you two meet!

Get out of the harbor, Rob. The only people who are there with you are your abusers. Turn your back on them. Set sail for your healthy fulfilling future! Someday, your kids are going to grab ahold of adulthood and thrive because you will have taught them how to sail through the most dangerous of waters!

((((Robbie))))
herowannabe

P.S. You should tell a prospective spouse as soon as you identify her as a prospective spouse. And YES, you should be part of a relationship, if that's what you want! You'll know you're healthy enough for a relationship if you can not only tell her about your abuse, BUT can tell her about your RECOVERY! You can do this, Rob!
_________________________


For I know the plans I have made for you. Plans to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11


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#405320 - 07/30/12 06:21 PM Re: When To Tell [Re: Esposa]
herowannabe Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/01/11
Posts: 386
Loc: USA
SPOT ON, Esposa!!! Spot-freaking-ON!
_________________________


For I know the plans I have made for you. Plans to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11


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#405332 - 07/30/12 08:41 PM Re: When To Tell [Re: Still]
SamV Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/13/09
Posts: 5947
Loc: Talladega, Alabama, USA
Esposa and Hero's reaction to this topic is wonderful insight Rob, I hope this clarity, that spouses may react sympathetically to a disclosure, but are excruciatingly hurt when the survivor acts out (non abusively)sexually or abuses physically, sexually or emotionally. That a survivor can bring a sexually transmitted disease to his supporter is absolutely true and immediately clear and present danger. I appreciate their articulate expressions in their replies and wish them much recovery in their relationships.

Quote:
So the meat of debate: When do you tell your future spouse or significant-other that you were sexually abused as a child? Should you even have a spouse or significant-other


In your question I perceive a leaning towards a misconception. If I may, whether or not the survivor has the cognitive ability to make others aware that he was abused, and much more so himself. The shame and embarrassment of sexual abuse is so intimate, so personal that it creates dissociation and incredulity in the life of the survivor. What labels sexual abuse in the mind of a victim? Was he experimenting? Was it simply a lifestyle choice at that time? The experts are still coming around to those perspectives and it is important to get the information to children, young men and adults so that an informed decision can be made in that traumatic, chaotic part of life.

Once that decision has been made, then there is the matter of the disclosure. Someone with whom a sexually abused survivor wishes to re-create, and that is important, to re-create feelings of longing, attraction, trust, unity and sexual feelings with he first must disclose that he was sexually abused. I feel it apropos to point out to potential partners of survivors that the survivor may so desire the ideal of love and compassion of another being interested in them that sex and it's accouterments would be pushed down in his awareness as it had been since the abuse. He may expect that once the relationship has been developed, he will simply be expected to "perform". Sex is an act, at one time it was demanded without possibility of exclusion, now it is a release of the abuse controls or simply a part of a relationship equal to and maybe even as repulsive as menial fluid procurement that happens in relationships. All of these feelings, traits and structure had already happened in his life. He may have once longed for the attention of his abuser, attracted to the sexual feelings his body was arbitrarily producing, trusting the abuse as it may have been his authority, an older peer or a dominant personality, unified in a perceived exclusive relationship with the abuser, and sexual abuse, of necessity, includes manipulation and/or penetration of sexual organs. The idea of disclosing previous sexual abuse depends on so many variables, and is inherently full of potholes as to make it almost impossible. The juxtaposition of this would be to ask a potential partner if there were any events in their lives that they feel would negatively, even fatally impact a relationship. My hearty congratulations to those who have, and to those who say they have produced every situation up front prior to an emotional response that could potentially harm a survivor in a relationship. But that is where the whole thing may fall down, an emotional response is usually first, imho.

Relationships are about growth and potential. A game changer could be simple contention, children, maturity, divided interests, not spending enough time, unrealized pursuits... are these to be a topic of a potential relationship? Absolutely! But within these, coupled with the above considerations, when would a survivor input about that, and how would a supporter respond? Would the partner be turned away? Would they be at the emotional point where that would be reasoned or rationally removed as a former event, would it emotionally draw the partner into the relationship. Imagine a survivor who was accused of disclosing the abuse to illicit a nurturing response!

So then we come the "meat of debate": When do you tell your future spouse or significant-other that you were sexually abused as a child? The answer is, of course, as soon as you are capable. It is impossible to tell of something you are not aware of, nor of something which is felt to be resolved, nor something that is felt to be insignificant in the present life. When, and this is important, when the light of understanding becomes evident, then the survivor MUST disclose, abuse is done in secret, recovery is done out loud. Disclosure is for a survivor can be much different and for much different reasons than the hearing of it is to a supporter. A survivor discloses for support, in order to hear himself say those words, in order to begin a process of individuality, or healing frozen traits in his personality, to overcome stressful trauma, to heal. Survivors are terrified of abandonment, rejection and destruction, the very contenders of disclosure. The ability to overcome these is within the cope of recovery, not at it's inception, and certainly it may not be within surviving.

This brings us to the next segment: Should you even have a spouse or significant-other? The answer is yes. The question is when. Ideally, during the time in recovery when the rage and unfairness, the hatred and revulsion of our actions and those of the abusers/enablers are minimized to thoughtful, sad responses.

Without the ability to access healthy, positive recovery however, I feel this is discussion is academic. Every time a child, in this case a male child is sexually abused, the health care necessary to assist becomes increasingly sparse.

The question is more problematic than simply asking "when" and "if", I am afraid. The answer is more complex than "shoulds" and accountability. No disrespect intended, dear survivors and supporters, but please be careful with our ideals, they are not meant to be merciful nor forgiving. Instead a gradual coming together for ourselves and future readers will allow for the greatest healing and compassion, for both parties.


Humbly Yours,
Sam
_________________________
MaleSurvivor Moderator Emeritus 2012 - 2014

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#405343 - 07/30/12 09:57 PM Re: When To Tell [Re: Still]
Still Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/16/07
Posts: 6602
Loc: FEMA Region 1
...but looking at this for 35 years now, all I've seen is that "disclosure" and "acceptance" are in fact mutually exclusive elements of life. I honestly have seen no exceptions to this rule, baring the fine filtering naturally provided by the membership of MS.


Edited by Robbie Brown (07/30/12 09:58 PM)
_________________________
I'm "that guy."

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#405344 - 07/30/12 10:57 PM Re: When To Tell [Re: Still]
GoodHope Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/05/11
Posts: 417
Originally Posted By: Robbie Brown
...but looking at this for 35 years now, all I've seen is that "disclosure" and "acceptance" are in fact mutually exclusive elements of life. I honestly have seen no exceptions to this rule, baring the fine filtering naturally provided by the membership of MS.


Trigger: Not true Rob. I can name 5 women on this board who know our husbands first orgasms were w older boys/men, who are used to having to sexually gratify others. My husband was anally penetrated repeatedly by age 10. Why am I being so graphic ? Because I need you Rob to completely understand that these facts that my husband has shared w me are limited but horrific. And I'm. Still. Here. When he told me he was abused it was BEFORE he started treatment. I NEVER thought less of him. Not for one millisecond. Leaving him for that? That is nutso. I inately understood and was sympathetic to why he couldnt tell me for 7 years. Now fast forward 3 years and add some acting out. Guess who wanted the hell out of their marriage. This girl! 3 years of deception, 4 women, porn binges--that made me want to leave! But guess what? Still here. Working my ass off in individual therapy and couples therapy. Not doing it for myself or my health. It would be so much easier to leave but I'm still here. I don't know which part of your story your wife couldn't grasp but just know that all women aren't the same.

And you should tell when you know you are serious about the person. If she can't handle it, better to know early and good riddance.

Ps: as usual love my ladies hero and esposa responses. Spot on for me as well.
_________________________
Wife of a survivor

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#405345 - 07/30/12 10:58 PM Re: When To Tell [Re: Still]
SamV Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/13/09
Posts: 5947
Loc: Talladega, Alabama, USA
What you may have experienced first hand versus the first hand telling of disclosure with acceptance that you have personally read about here in MS Rob.., Rob, please pay attention, it happens.

Don't let one situation become the rule versus the exception.

It happens. It will happen again, it may even happen to you.

S
_________________________
MaleSurvivor Moderator Emeritus 2012 - 2014

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#405403 - 07/31/12 02:28 PM Re: When To Tell [Re: Still]
Gretta Offline


Registered: 09/17/11
Posts: 239
Robbie your story is one that I will never forget, I want to hug and squeeze that little boy, who carried a knife to protect himself. I admire the spirit and strength which carried a beautiful little boy through a brutal time. I am just sorry my husband didn't trust me enough to tell me. I had to find he was acting out. I know why he did it and we are still together. We are both working hard. You deserve for someone to love you, all of you, for you, I am sorry your wife let fear get the best of her. I have had my moments. No one is perfect or normal, everyone has their problems. Don't give up and she wasn't/isn't as perfect as you think.

I am with GoodHope the disclosure isn't going to be the reason I leave. Actually for me I don't think the acting out will be the reason I leave, it will be because his behavior hasn't changed. I hope it has but that's not enough. The jury is still out.

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