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#406380 - 08/10/12 11:09 AM Survivor Self-Education??
Valkyrie Offline

Registered: 04/27/12
Posts: 167
In an attempt to help myself and better support my survivor while he is addressing his CSA, I have immersed myself in books, this forum, and other media in trying to learn more about CSA and its affect on my survivor and myself.

However, my survivor, while in therapy, refuses to do the same. He doesn't want to, don't know how else to phrase this, "learn about CSA". He has admitted his abuse, talks to his therapist, talks to a select number of friends, and that is all.

The problem arises when I use language that reflects what I have learned. My survivor says I treat him as "less than human", and like a "science experiment" when I do. Also, I feel as though he is denying himself really valuable tools in dealing with his abuse. I know I can't force him to do this, I'm not even trying, but in educating myself, he seems to resent it...


I am very careful in my wording to him. I often try to use language he uses to reflect an understanding, but anything I say seems to set him off and then he gets upset that I don't share with him what I am feeling.

It's bad enough when gets upset over me having feelings and emotional responses to all this, but it feels like now he doesn't want me to have thoughts or observations either.

...which of course drives me to looking for rooms to rent...circuses to join...well, other circuses more fun than this one anyway...

#406406 - 08/10/12 02:43 PM Re: Survivor Self-Education?? [Re: Valkyrie]
Lavinia Offline

Registered: 12/02/09
Posts: 61
My partner used to accuse me of acting too "clinical" with him and wanted me react more emotionally to things he was telling me because it would feel more real to him. I still don't show much emotion when he tells his horror stories, but it's more out of shock that these severe, atrocious things happened to him than it is my trying to be detached and clinical like a therapist would.

My best advice for your situation would be to just listen, and try to gauge from his reactions how to respond without setting him off further. It's much easier said than done, I know, but I think in all instances, it's best to respond as genuinely as you can. If you start reciting what you've read in a self-help book (or he perceives it that way) he'll think you're acting superior. Trust me, I've been there! Also keep in mind that your feelings and emotions are your natural reactions and he really can't argue with a sentence that begins with "I feel" instead of "I think" or "I know."

I hope I've made some sense. I feel like I'm rambling...I'll stop here.

#406447 - 08/11/12 12:57 AM Re: Survivor Self-Education?? [Re: Valkyrie]
Jonah Offline

Registered: 08/09/12
Posts: 18
Loc: USA

I'm a survivor. I just started acknowledging and dealing with my CSA issues less than a full week ago. I just wanted to pop in and say that i admire your dedication. You must hold a lot of love for the person that you're helping get through this, because I know it isn't an easy path to choose. Since i acknowledged my issues (against my own desires, i might add), i have been weeping, experiencing panic attacks and mild agoraphobia, having shivering fits, and experiencing bouts of guilt and abject shame whose depths defy verbal description. Facing this and dealing with this is so, so hard. My advice to you, if i may, is to continue to gently encourage your survivor to engage you, but try not to overwhelm. For me, a big part of my pathology rises up when i feel that someone else is in it sex, love, shopping, dealing with my problems, housework, whatever. For me, i surmise, that uncomfortability comes from having been physically and emotionally dominated as a young and defenseless child. My defenses pop up before i am even aware and i try to run, argue, fight, or just derail things so that i am back in control again.

Maybe the issue is similar with the person you're helping to get through this. I don't know...i read your post and what you had to say struck a chord. I wish you both the best and apologize if I've intruded.

#406462 - 08/11/12 07:55 AM Re: Survivor Self-Education?? [Re: Valkyrie]
Valkyrie Offline

Registered: 04/27/12
Posts: 167
Jonah - thank you so much for sharing, especially given how soon it is that you have acknowledged your CSA. I want you to know how much I appreciate it and how big a ((((hug))) I am virtually sending out to you. What you wrote is ringing a lot of bells.

You just shared a very VALUABLE insight. Thank you!!! Please, please, please keep posting. You are amongst friends here.

If any other survivors reading this have experienced the same thing, how does a partner not overwhelm of "smother" the survivor? My husband has been complaining about me treating him like a child with regards to the cooking, cleaning, shopping, etc., but in the 12 years we have been together, I have ALWAYS done these things! Do I start asking for him to help out more? Or does that get misconstrued as now controlling him??

#406474 - 08/11/12 01:52 PM Re: Survivor Self-Education?? [Re: Valkyrie]
silentspouse Offline

Registered: 07/24/12
Posts: 24
Loc: ID
If he is succeeding at the moment, I'd stay a few steps away. Let him go at his own pace. Sometimes books and articles are triggering. Often my husband would despair after doing that sort of research, because it reinforced that the problem was BIG. He needed to manage it in small doses - not to be reminded what an epidemic CSA is, and how difficult it can be to treat it, and what problems arise from it.

My husband has told me often that I push for too much, too fast. I agree. He's not ready to do the same in depth work you are doing, and that's okay. We want to help and we think we see things more clearly because we are not the survivor. I think the problem is we see things too simply because we are not the survivor. Try to be his soft place at the end of the day. I've often made myself "Manager of His Recovery" but the job I'm best equipped to do is be his wife.

Good luck.

#406476 - 08/11/12 02:13 PM Re: Survivor Self-Education?? [Re: Valkyrie]
Valkyrie Offline

Registered: 04/27/12
Posts: 167
After Jonah's post, I am beginning to wonder if it isn't a combination of things. I am re-thinking our whole home life right now.

#406479 - 08/11/12 03:22 PM Re: Survivor Self-Education?? [Re: Valkyrie]
Esposa Offline
F&F Greeter

Registered: 10/19/11
Posts: 811
Loc: NJ
My husband has often said he feels overwhelmed. That there is too much to fix. But that's his journey and his process - and yes, it's overwhelming and NO, I won't accept responsibility for it.

#406482 - 08/11/12 03:32 PM Re: Survivor Self-Education?? [Re: Valkyrie]
Valkyrie Offline

Registered: 04/27/12
Posts: 167
Esposa - if you won't, I won't smile ...holding ya to it...

Edited by Valkyrie (08/11/12 03:32 PM)

#406699 - 08/13/12 05:33 PM Re: Survivor Self-Education?? [Re: Valkyrie]
Lancer Offline

Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 901
Loc: Florida
Good post, Val, and I fully appreciate your honesty. Keep it up. Glad to hear you're able to immerse yourself in learning.

I can only speak as an MS. I think what Esposa mentioned about feeling overwhelmed is particularly valid.

I'd suggest Easy Does It, difficult as that may be. He knows you're doing homework and trying to understand. Even if he doesn't say it, he appreciates it. Trust me. But, if you'll forgive me, he already has a therapist.

What's most unhelpful to me as an MS and most aggravating is when someone tries to "fix" me. Sometimes all I need is an ear or validation of my feelings. If I don't ask for suggestions, don't offer them. (That's not to say go to the other extreme and angrily refuse to respond). In my case, already feeling overwhelmed, a well-intentioned "suggestion" can feel like yet another damn thing to deal with and I'll react badly. Believe me, it takes practice.

If you feel you're walking on eggshells, he'll notice...and possibly even feel responsible for that, too. He'll absorb stuff at his own pace.

In my experience, too, when someone tries to sound interested or complimentary, I can read it as being patronizing. Solution: be yourself. When you put on the therapist hat, he may wonder where his loving wife went.

Ummm...y'know, even though you haven't mentioned alcoholism, I've found Al-Anon or similar to be terrific ways to find a balance.

...and again, Val, thanks for the post.

#406714 - 08/13/12 07:47 PM Re: Survivor Self-Education?? [Re: Valkyrie]
Valkyrie Offline

Registered: 04/27/12
Posts: 167
I am a "fixer' and a bad one at that. I am controlling but am trying to dial it back and let him go at his own pace. I am smothering, but the activities he calls "smothering" are activities I have always done, so there, I am at a lost.

But can a survivor answer this: My husband will bucket dump all the awful thoughts in his head when he is in the mood to share (which isn't often). He gets upset if I get upset, but then I am hearing pretty awful stuff. I don't know what to say when he is like this. I know he just wants to feel bad and have someone listen, but I feel like an idiot saying nothing.

What are you, as a survivor, looking for in response when venting these really disturbing thoughts on your partner?

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