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#407765 - 08/24/12 03:03 AM Where do we go from here?
CdnDW Offline


Registered: 08/24/12
Posts: 105
My husband and I are still madly in love. We met 18 years ago and it was almost love at first sight for me. We started dating 5 years later after our previous relationships ended naturally and married 2 years after that. While we were still dating my husband told me a little of his abuse, but only the "minor" offenders. We talked about these incidents, but he insisted that having finally gotten them off his chest he felt much better. I foolishly accepted this, but he seemed like such a calm, easy going, confident, funny and totally together and grounded guy, that it was easy to accept. I admired his strength... just as he wanted me to. There were issues with him binge drinking at times and other "acting out" behaviours, but they were not out of control, so no red flags went up for me.

When his behaviour started to spiral after our second child was born five years into our marriage, he finally told me that he had another abuser in his life... his much older brother. He gave little detail but I understood it was much worse than the other incidents and occurred over years. He asked that I tell no one. This was the hardest burden for me to carry. I knew this awful truth and not only couldn't talk to anyone about it but he wouldn't talk either AND I had to associate with this family member as if nothing had happened to respect my husband's secret.

Then, three years following my daughters birth, my H's younger brother had an emotional breakdown and revealed to the family that he had recently begun to remember his own abuse by the oldest brother.

My husband's abuse was also revealed, but he declared his commitment to do whatever his younger brother wanted and needed to recover, even if that meant facing their older brother (who has still never been confronted by anyone), going to the police or attending therapy with him. But he was doing this for his brother, not himself. My husband felt (and still feels) responsible for his younger brother's abuse - for not having protected him from the oldest and for knowing and not telling. . I think he sees himself as not worthy of recovery or care and empathy. I think his self-abhorrence is so deep that he is denying himself the right to ever be happy and healthy and feels guilty for everyone else`s pain, including his parent's and sister's pain having learned of the past abuse. In the end, no action was taken. The brother has been ostracized but without explanation or confrontation (not that he couldn't guess why, but his wife and kids have no idea and simply think we are all just nasty people for turning on them).

We have been in couples therapy for just over a year now and it has done very little to improve our relationship as my husband will deal with anything but his own abuse. My husband fluctuates between between being a doting husband and doting father, to being depressed and feeling guilty about every little indiscretion, to being a distant, irritable man who seems to be ``checked out`` but ready to defend against every perceived attack. He spends much of his time distracting himself from life and from any real emotional connection and all intimacy has been gone from our relationship for a long time.

Recently my husband said he was triggered by something he read in Sheldon Kennedy's book (NHL player victimized by his hockey coach) about how he chose to leave his wife to set her free to be happy. My husband said he feels like he has this incurable disease and can never truly make me happy and would give his life to have me be happier than I am with him. This frightens me so very much.

I am having so much trouble being hopeful that our life together will ever be better than it is. I have had to bear witness to so much in the last few years and have dealt with so much alone as he just has simply not had the emotional connectivity to really support either of us. He just doesn`t notice. He is sleep walking through our life.

I need some sort of group in my local area to meet with so I can get the support I need to continue. I am not ready to give up on our relationship and I will never stop lovinim and belive him when he says he loves me more than ever, but I need support, love, connection from others going through the same thing. I need to know I am not alone and that even though we have been dealing with the effects of this through our entire relationship AND even though he still hasn`t even started his journey to real recovery, there is still hope. I need to believe he CAN recover and our marriage can be closer, more emotionally connected and more intimate. I also need the confidence to know when I should nudge him forward toward steps to recovery and when I should just stand back and bear witness while he takes this journey at his own pace.

I feel so alone sometimes. I try to talk to friends and they try to support me, but the subject makes people uncomfortable. They really don`t know what to say and I see their helplessness on their face, so I back off and suffer in silence. I experience such anxiety knowing I have no control over this and how it will effect our future happiness. I feel like it is all in his hands and I have no choices except to suck it up or reject him and lose the man I love.

I am hoping someone knows of a support groups for partners or can identify with my experience.

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#407768 - 08/24/12 03:40 AM Re: Where do we go from here? TRIGGER WARNING [Re: CdnDW]
SamV Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/13/09
Posts: 5942
Loc: Talladega, Alabama, USA
Hello DW, and welcome to this healing site.

It is frustrating feeling alone while a partner struggles to come to reason after being stripped of personality, a sense of free will emotionally, the ability to protect oneself and then sexually abuse physically. Survivors immediately bury the acts with dissociation, blurring the events in the mind, even completely forgetting them. My wife completely forgot the abuse until she began helping me with my recovery. I did not forget, just understated the intensity of those heinous acts.

Recovery is a difficult process, it may be best to understand his affliction as a long term illness such as cancer. While he battles to slow the spread of the malignant tumors ravaging his mind, he is exhausted with the effort while seeing very little rewards. Worse, he may feel that he gave himself and his little brother cancer, and that would feel devastating. Whatever he can hold onto in recovery, no more drinking and acting out, no more porn or smoking, those are plateaus in recovery and holding them fast takes incredible mental and emotional effort. Progress can be measured in his ability to be consistent, in keeping what healthy affirmations he has already changed in his life.

He needs a specialized child sexual abuse therapist, but he will need to make the choice to find one and attend. Honor the disclosure he shares with you, but remember you are not a clinician, that you cannot hold the chaotic emotional explosive energy, and during those times, while you listen and respond affirmatively, he needs to be encouraged to find the kind of help that brings lasting relief.

You certainly sound overwhelmed, and with what has been happening, you should be! My heart goes out to you, dear supporter, this has been a tumultuous journey for you. Several recommendations I have seen on the site would be to understand that you need a break in the vigilance. You need hours of rest and relief. Find a relaxation program that includes calming breathing, stretching exercises, visualization and affirming thoughts. Two, understanding codependency and how it affects the perception of the sufferers environment as well as the recovery of the survivor is a healthy undertaking. Three, play. Enjoy the time of your children's little lives, take them to play and be in wonder with them as their selves explore the world. Four, find a support group for yourself and your husband. Here is an example, in Toronto of a survivor group http://www.malesurvivor.org/resource-directory/view-support-group.php?id=72. You may be able to contact them for resources for yourself as well. Here is a list of support groups for you:
Quote:
CoDA Wednesday Step Group - caon305
Wednesday 7:00 PM
Bloor Street United Church
300 Bloor Street West (2 blocks east of Spadina)
Special Instructions: Not wheelchair accessible,the meeting room is on the 3rd Floor, up three flights of stairs. Everyone is welcome. We read from the Twelve Steps; the Twelve Traditions; and other CoDA literature, with a sharing' portion, for those who do wish to share. Literature is also available for purchase.
Open, Step
Contact Person: Connie R.: connie.coda@yahoo.com

Fearless Fridays - caon318
Friday 7:00 PM
Bloor Street United Church
300 Bloor Street West
Special Instructions: Please check at either staircase in church for paper saying where meeting is taking place that night.
Open, 12 Steps
Contact Persons: Trevor 647-774-2396, Joan 416-655-7792

12 Step/Tradition Workbook Group - caon308
Sunday 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Trinity St Paulís
427 Bloor Street Suite 110
Special Instructions: Spadina & Bloor
Open, Steps and Traditions / Wheelchair accessible
Contact Person: Lydia 416-461-7437

CoDA Meeting - caon334
Thursday 7:00 PM
The Listening Post
740 Broadview AVe (South of Danforth Ave.)
Special Instructions: 2nd floor board room
Open, Steps and Book Discussion/ Wheelchair accessible
Contact Person: Donna 647-858-5608

Came to Believe CoDA Group - caon338
Tuesday 6:00 PM
Alano Brodview Club
740 Broadview AVe (South of Danforth Ave.)
Special Instructions: 2nd Floor
Open,
Contact Person: Nicole 647-386-6532


My best to you DW. Continue posting here for your struggle is great, and to let us know how you are, the supporters here are insightful and compassionate. You are very important to us. Please mention us to your husband, he too is a survivor and we are here, eager to support him.

Sam
_________________________
MaleSurvivor Moderator Emeritus 2012 - 2014

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#407793 - 08/24/12 10:39 AM Re: Where do we go from here? TRIGGER WARNING [Re: CdnDW]
CdnDW Offline


Registered: 08/24/12
Posts: 105
OThanks Sam. I know I am sometimes impatient. Maybe my expectation are not realistic. Maybe hoping that one day we will have a normal, healthy relationship again is wrong. The negative behaviours and one thing I can put into perspective. I've always been able to see them as symptoms, but still address them as actions that he needs to be culpable for. I have been able to be objective and say to him "I love you, I know why this self destructive behaviour exists and will do all I can to support you getting help for it, but it must end." I will not aide and abet his self destruction. He always chooses to halt the behaviour without getting help and I accept this because I can't force him into recovery, I can only hold him accountable to his behaviour, however he addresses it. I know though, the without the help, the behaviour always creeps back in. And this time I have said, and meant, that if he drinks again he will no longer live with me and our children. This was so difficult to say, because I just want to hug him and make it all go away, but know I cannot make this happen. I am not a counsellor, now wish to be, but I do want to support and help him as a wife.

The distance between us is another problem altogether. This I don't know how to deal with because it is so connected emotionally to how the distance makes me feel about myself. I know in my head this is not about me, but my heart still feels rejected. My heart aches for human connection. I ache to be desired, to be touched, to be hugged, to be listened to, to be cared for and by someone else. I am a damn strong woman, but sometimes I yearn for these things so much I become despondent and depressed. I suffer through anxiety and a need to control everything around me in an foolish attempt to protect us against more pain. I know I have no control and feel like I am losing myself to all of this. How do I separate myself, fulfill my own emotional needs without betraying and abandoning him?

I feel very lost today. I made a call for support today and am hopeful I will find what I need. I am east of Toronto in a suburb, so the info you gave me Sam is a little too far to be practical for me, but I will keep looking.

Thanks for your caring.

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#407817 - 08/24/12 04:23 PM Re: Where do we go from here? TRIGGER WARNING [Re: CdnDW]
Haps Offline


Registered: 07/06/12
Posts: 89
Loc: Ohio
cdndw - sorry for such a short reply. I'm at work and if I wasn't, I might be in tears myself. I can so resonate with the pain u described. Wanting to be loved, cared for, etc. Also the control and anxiety. Wow. I'm sure you'll hear from many other supporters who'll relate as well.

More to come, but you're certainly not alone! wink (( BIG HUG))

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#407879 - 08/25/12 10:36 AM Re: Where do we go from here? TRIGGER WARNING [Re: CdnDW]
northernflicker Offline


Registered: 08/19/12
Posts: 88
.

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#409094 - 09/05/12 03:46 PM Re: Where do we go from here? TRIGGER WARNING [Re: CdnDW]
Robert1000 Offline


Registered: 06/27/12
Posts: 336
Hey CdnDW,
I just read over this first post of yours. I can't help but think your husband would be a better artist, stronger person, better brother, husband, dad and all that if he just started to see a therapist who specializes in survivors of child sexual trauma. I can't tell you how many years I resisted therapy. I can't tell you how much I tried to just move on. I have insane will-power, and I thought I could just bull forward. I'm this huge muscular guy who can seriously kick ass, and I thought that I could keep myself safe by being imposing and tough. That wasn't enough. There is no way to be safe. BAD SHIT SOMETIMES COMES RAINING DOWN ON US! It's just life. People just victimized me! For no reason, except that he had an opportunity. That's the only reason. I just drew the short fucking straw. But I couldn't accept that truth and I couldn't face and begin to process the pain until I had the help of a therapist. He can get past this stuff, keep his secrets and be SO MUCH happier if he would just seek help. Seriously. Seek help, man. Don't stand out there in the damn rain. Come inside, if you catch my drift. Seek help. It works.
In fact, my wife has been bugging me to start with therapy again. I'm going to look up a therapist and start right now.
Bob
P.S. You can suggest to your husband to message me on this site. I might not reply right away. Sometimes I'm on several days in a row. Other times I'm away for weeks. But I'll get back one way or the other. Or you can suggest that he read these posts. Good luck.

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