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#406582 - 08/12/12 04:29 PM Afraid of repeated behavior
spainmia Offline

Registered: 08/12/12
Posts: 2
My story is long but I will try to be as brief as possible. A year ago I discovered some affairs my husband was having. Through this discovery he disclosed his sexual abuse his brother made him endure. I felt like this was a turning point for us and so I was on board with recovery of our marriage and his personal life. He began classes with our pastor at our Church.

Just a couple weeks ago from the help of our psychiatrist they recommended husband take a polygraph because they were still convinced, as was I, that he was still lying about several aspects of his affairs. Before the polygraph my husband disclosed several other pieces to the affairs, which I now understand as acting out. This included information about drug use and meeting with other random men for sexual acts and homosexual activity as a teenager with relatives. I was completely blown away by this. He reluctantly went for the polygraph as he knew if he didn't it was over for us.

Now to the issue at hand. His acting out began when we had sons. We have a five and a three year old. All of his acting out began around the birth of our first son. We also have two older daughters.

Because of the lack of boundaries around woman and men it was recommended that I include a question about my children on the polygraph just as a safeguard. Now I do realize that just because he was sexually abused doesn't mean he is going to repeat. I completely understand that and I was positive that he would pass the question regarding the children because I am very protective of my children and never saw anything.

Well he failed that question. The exact question was "have you ever had any inappropriate contact with any of your children for sexual reasons".

Now I am left with figuring out what to do. We are currently separated. My five year old son has extreme anger that started about 1 1/2 years ago. I have had him seen by the doctor who has checked every aspect of his health and couldn't find anything wrong. He has also displayed some sexual behavior towards his younger brother. I don't know if this is normal boy stuff but I always checked it out as normal boy growing up behavior.

I am left with not knowing what to do. I have to figure out if something happened because what kind of a mother would I be if I ignored that and something is going on? As far as husband goes I have spent my entire marriage trying to help him with his issues. Up until a year ago I didn't even know what they were but always knew he was a tortured soul. He has always been violent and been dependent on something unhealthy. I thought a year ago he was to the point of wanting to heal from this but he felt like once he disclosed it to me, that was good enough. I have always had compassion for him and he has just taken advantage of it. I have tried everything to make our marriage work. Now I fear for my children. I don't know what to do or where to go for help. If something has happened, how do I protect them from it, he is their father?

Any advise would be great. I'm at a loss here of what to do. I just want to protect my children.

#406612 - 08/12/12 09:13 PM Re: Afraid of repeated behavior [Re: spainmia]
SamV Offline

Registered: 12/13/09
Posts: 5950
Loc: Talladega, Alabama, USA
Mia, there is so much to be unsure about in this situation, proceed with careful consideration, with your safety and your children's as the paramount resolution.

Here is a post on lie detectors from one of our supporters and replies. It is important to have the right questions presented in the right manner. A lie detector is not fool proof. He may have imagined, fantasized or even viewed porn that could have included such material as child pornography. Regardless, it would seem that you have some time to sort out the issues.

You son experiencing a severe mood change can be a sign of abuse, certainly. Please consider going to a trained, licensed child sexual abuse expert with your son to determine the extent of any damage emotionally, physically and mentally, if any is to be found. Persevere Mia, it may be months and years before a child would feel safe enough to disclose sexual abuse. It may also take multiple therapists.

My heart is reaching for you in this crisis. This so overwhelms supporters, it is unbearable. It sounds like you have found some of the definitions that shed light on his activities, and you can find solace in that understanding. Continue for the sake of your children, and too, the possibility that your husband, a survivor, may not have abused your children.

Having said that, find in here and hopefully the replies to this topic the actions, feelings, thoughts and behavior of supporters who must protect themselves and their children. What these dear supporters have had to do because of the acting out of their abused partners is nothing short of battle. In this battle lay the victories or defeat of love, trust, loyalty, empathy and self. Each must be carefully weighed.

There is a wonderful article here about the beginning of setting beneficial boundaries.

Much care and respect for your plight, Mia, find time to quietly affirm that you are making the correct choices, that you are doing the best you can. It IS enough.

MaleSurvivor Moderator Emeritus 2012 - 2014

#406621 - 08/12/12 10:54 PM Re: Afraid of repeated behavior [Re: spainmia]
Valkyrie Offline

Registered: 04/27/12
Posts: 167
I second sasuva's concern about the poly. I work in a field where they are regularly used (have had many performed on me), and at best, even with the most highly trained technicians, they can detect lies only slightly better than chance. There are way too many emotional complexities surrounding a CSA survivor's state of mind that would and should render most polygraphs immediately invalid. I would also be concerned for the survivor's mental health after being forced to disclose things he may not have been ready to disclose because he had not properly processed it yet.

With my own husband, I believe he has disclosed all of his infidelities, but it took months to do so because he repressed much of it. He would literally wake me up in the middle of the night or call me at work when he remembered something. It wasn't that he was trying to hide, it was that he really didn't remember for a while. On another note, he also told me of being put in a tub with his cousin as a child and the shame he carried for experiencing an erection. Fairly innocuous event, but in his mind it is blown to a much larger proportion because his sense of what is "normal" is skewed. I don't know that I could trust a polygraph exam performed on him given the way he currently feels about even the most innocent events.

I think there is valid concern regarding your son but I also think there is reason to heed caution as sasuva suggests. There are many things that could explain your son's current behavior. For example, a friend's divorce and consequent separation from her husband set off similar behavior in her daughter (no abuse was involved). But by all means, you should engage a specialist given these circumstances.

I am so very sorry for the situation you find yourself in. The uncertainty must be overwhelming.

#406623 - 08/12/12 11:11 PM Re: Afraid of repeated behavior [Re: spainmia]
spainmia Offline

Registered: 08/12/12
Posts: 2
The issue I have with devaluing the polygraph is everything i've read states that generally the error is in not picking up a lie verses a false negative. He stated to all our friends he knew how to pass it regardless of the questions. The administrator also stated he was altering his breathing attempting to "cheat the test". I do plan to get the kids into therapy immediately because the uncertainty is unbearable.

But not putting value in the polygraph seems irresponsible. What kind of a mother would I be if I didn't look into this? My son is very quiet and withdrawn, without the polygraph it may never have come out. I need to protect him now in case something has happened so it doesn't happen in the mean time. And if it was a thought, isn't that the first step towards acting? I would think that is bad enough. I don't fantasize about children.

#406648 - 08/13/12 05:58 AM Re: Afraid of repeated behavior [Re: spainmia]
Lancer Offline

Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 901
Loc: Florida
I can't speak as a parent, but as a survivor who, prior to the SA was forced to live with parents who were so wrapped up in the tunnel vision of their own battles they completely forgot about my very basic, necessary childhood needs. Like safety.

And I usually hesitate to give any advice since I don't know the ins and outs of a specific situation. But this sounds serious, especially if you're separated, and it sounds like the kids need your protection.

I'll second sasuva's point, but a bit more emphatically. From what you've described, the safety of you and your children is the most important thing. Put indelicately, to hell with the polygraph issue and, for now, to hell with your husband's issues. I'll say hell with wondering and wondering about a polygraph. He's an adult. Time to stop taking care of him (setting his appointments, etc.). First things first. Use your energy to take care of the kids and - since you're all they reliably have - take care of yourself. You're responsible for their well-being.

Use your mother's intuition and act accordingly. I have no doubt you care about your husband, but the kids are more important because they're helpless and absolutely reliant on you.

If you can, get your own therapist. (S)he may also recommend involving DCF. Find some Al-Alon meetings, as well. Get whatever support you need that works for you.

If he's been violent - sorry if the reality check feels a bit much - be prepared to get a restraining order. It may not be easy on you, but it's better than the alternative. There are loads of free legal resources if you're in a U.S. city. I had to do it last year and the peace of mind since is immeasurable.

He may not approve. Your self-worth doesn't depend on his approval. That may be a hard one to swallow after several years of marriage, but there it is. One of you has to be the adult, and you've been elected.

#406652 - 08/13/12 08:28 AM Re: Afraid of repeated behavior [Re: spainmia]
Valkyrie Offline

Registered: 04/27/12
Posts: 167
To clarify: I have concerns about being overly dependent on polygraphs given my professional experience with them. Some people can and do cheat them, albeit that is rare. And there are a lot of bad technicians out there who administer them.

Your original post seemed to want to explore the possibility for alternative explanations, but your follow up post suggests that
you have made up your mind that abuse has occurred. If this is the case, then Lancer is right, your children are the most important thing here. Go with YOUR gut and do everything you need to to protect them.

I am terrifically thankful I don't have children while trying to navigate this with my husband, but if I were in your shoes, I would say to hell with seeking approval/opinion/justification and just get on with what I felt was best to help my children.

Best of luck to you, spainmia, keep posting. My heart goes out to you.

#406657 - 08/13/12 09:18 AM Re: Afraid of repeated behavior [Re: spainmia]
Still Offline

Registered: 02/16/07
Posts: 6897
Loc: FEMA Region 1
I'm actually half-surprised that a psychiatrist recommended the poly. First, that they have any faith in the outcome, and two, that an MD-Psych is doing any sort of clinical therapy. They tend to be inept and drug-oriented for treatment.

When the judge in my divorce case fell to the default myth that "victims offended," and that my wife's lawyer was vicious about shredding me into suicide, the judge and consulting expert psychs all recommended a very tough and thorough psychologist spend tons and tons of time with me, me ex and my kids.

We all spent many hours over the course of about 6-months with him...all at a cost of $25,000 out of MY pocket. Oh, and there were ENDLESS S.A.T.-like exams, psych-profile exams given multiple times with many twists and turns to make deception an absolute impossibility (and I mean that...if I or anyone else had attempted a lie or changed position, it would have been clearly detected).

No one told me this before the examinations, but this Clinical Psychologist was basically known as the Columbo of sex abuse. He supposedly discovered an ultra-high volume/proportion of abusive people and would 'out' those with any atom of sexual attraction to the young.

He even got into all my reactions to the sexual abuse, physical abuse, teen-suicidal stuff, cutting, masturbation fantasy, fears, life-aspirations, anger, rage, sadness, sexual acting-out as a teen and painted a picture, via the court report that described me better that I could describe me. He then got into suspected abuse by my mother's house-staff (which was real as it turns out). He did not just "clear me as "safe," but practically wrote a book of my mind, character, inclinations and favorite sushi (and why I like sushi), why I rode moto-cross, why I raced boats, why I cry and when...EDIT ADD: Oh yeah...he read my journal (the one the judge found disturbing, but was not bothered by the fact that it was covertly stolen from me).

Anyway, the Doc did all that research in such a shuffled-card way that he needed a computer system to keep me back on my heals and him fully focused.

OK...long conclusion-short...sounds to me like Spainmia found a lazy Doc with a highly suspect faith in an infamously flawed technology. I mean, pluggin someone into an elaborate voltage meter is NO way to separate a man from his children...and that psychiatrist ought to know that.

And BTW: I passed with flying colors, though the judge coldly threw-out the report and went with his gut for two-years of monitored visitation.

Edited by Robbie Brown (08/13/12 11:16 AM)
Those assholes mustah stolen the wrong exam! [Animal House 1978]

#406671 - 08/13/12 12:12 PM Re: Afraid of repeated behavior [Re: spainmia]
silentspouse Offline

Registered: 07/24/12
Posts: 24
Loc: ID
I feel for you. I also had to ask some hard questions of my husband and children, just to be safe. Is your husband denying the polygraph results?

You sound like a concerned and protective mother, and I know you'll do the right thing. You must err on the side of caution for your children - no unsupervised visits. Get those boys to a therapist as quick as you can. I think we're all familiar with the path these boys are capable of taking if childhood sexual abuse goes unresolved. Maybe you'll discover nothing, but maybe there is something there.

Good luck to you.

#406698 - 08/13/12 05:33 PM Re: Afraid of repeated behavior [Re: spainmia]
herowannabe Offline

Registered: 11/01/11
Posts: 386
Loc: USA
He stated to all our friends he knew how to pass it regardless of the questions. The administrator also stated he was altering his breathing attempting to "cheat the test".

I am extremely suspicious of the above quotated sentences from your post. In a million years, I can't imagine defiantly(?) or even jokingly commenting that I could manipulate a lie-detector test, knowing that it was my honesty being scrutinized. I think I'd be scared into humble respect, and would be eager to take the test to prove my truthfulness.

I'm also uneasy with the technician's assessment about your husband's physical maneuvers to manipulate the data. If it were me undergoing the test, the technician's instruction would have burned a hole through my brain, and I'd have followed those instructions to the tee. I wouldn't have wanted to do anything that might screw up my truthful answers. ...Unless I knew my answers were not truthful...

It is sad that you have to go to these lengths in an effort to determine the truth. However, your husband's deceit and acting out are what prompted all of this. Given that, the unnerving polygraph results and the behavior of your little one, I'd say the benefit of the doubt must go to your baby. Your baby has not proven himself to be a liar; your husband has.

Godspeed, sweet, tormented soul. Prayers are with you!
P.S. Just to clarify so I don't hurt feelings; it is natural that a survivor hide/lie about his trauma. When I say your husband has proven himself to be a liar, I am not referring to hiding his abuse. I am referring to his acting out against you and your marriage. In that regard, he has proven himself a liar. Hiding his abuse only proves he is a survivor. I hope I'm clear!

Edited by herowannabe (08/13/12 05:38 PM)
Edit Reason: P.S. Added

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

#406853 - 08/14/12 10:15 PM Re: Afraid of repeated behavior [Re: spainmia]
GoodHope Offline

Registered: 07/05/11
Posts: 425
Have you asked him? There was a wan on the board whose husband confessed.

Kids are first. You have stated it so I'm just letting you know I think your priorities are justified.

If the person recommending this course of action is the pastor or a Christian therapist, get another opinion. Stat. By the way, that does not change my first two points one iota.

Most clinicians are ill equipped to deal w male CSA. If they learn anything in graduate school about it, it's fleeting. My Christian therapist was particularly inept--was that her Christian counseling degree? Maybe. She may have just sucked in general, but I left her determined to find someone who SPECIALIZES.

My heart breaks for you. It broke my husbands heart to know I was watching him. It didn't help for him to know I was watching EVERYONE. I trust NOONE w my kids. But in the end he told me he would never touch our kids so keep on looking if that's what I need to do. It is...and I do it w uncles, cousins young and old, grandfather , and family friends. It's our job.
Wife of a survivor

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