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#426878 - 03/01/13 06:24 PM Partners who are also survivors
deerhntr Offline


Registered: 02/27/13
Posts: 9

First, I just want to say how relieved I am to read that there are women on here who are survivors themselves with male partners who are also survivors beginning the healing process. It seems that this shared experience complicates being a support to our CSA survivor partners.

I find that as my partner is facing his abuse from the past, it's dredging up all kind of things for me. I also feel a little bit like, "Hey, what about me? What about what happened to me?" Especially when his abuse somehow justifies his behavior that is destructive to our relationship or is hurtful to me. My past doesn't give me the excuse to cheat or lie, nor does it make me *want* to do these things: So why do I need to keep forgiving him as he makes the same mistakes over and over?

And I feel guilty for feeling this way at all. Like I'm failing as a support for not putting all of his needs before mine.

I suppose this is another subject, but it is also so frustrating to see the "relapse" coming and not be able to stop it. I see the alcohol use increase. I see the exercise habits fall by the wayside. I see him questioning my commitment, doubting my love. I see the obsession with sex increase. I try to talk to him, to get him to open up. I don't address any of these particulars (as they are merely symptoms, not the deep-seeded problem), but instead describe how I'm aware of a difference in our relationship lately, how we're communicating, etc. I guess the frustrating part is that I see it, I know it's happening, but when I address it he just denies it all, makes me feel like I'm accusing him of something and/or overreacting. And then weeks or months later it finally comes out that he's been "relapsing" with his destructive vices.

I also think back to the first time he sought therapy and after about 5 sessions felt like he was done. Having faced my own abuse earlier in my life, I knew this wasn't the case and tried to encourage him to continue. Well, now he's "relapsed" (as I guess I'm calling it) and realizes that he needs to continue with therapy. Part of me thinks, "I told you so!" I guess I wish he gave me more credit for understanding what he's going through.

I suppose I'm looking for advice on how other women deal with their own pasts in relation to their partner's. Seems like there isn't room for both partners to "heal" together. And thoughts on how having already gone through most of the healing process (as it never truly ends) changes our perspective on what our partners are going through. Does anyone else feel like your experiences, emotions and opinions are disregarded? And how do you process those feelings internally so as to not interfere with their healing?

Hope I making sense to someone out there.

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#426908 - 03/02/13 05:39 AM Re: Partners who are also survivors [Re: deerhntr]
Happy Birthday Rosemary Offline


Registered: 02/06/13
Posts: 31
Loc: Johannesburg, South Africa
deerhntr,

Yes, you make perfect sense to me.

It isn't easy when you are both susvivors but I truly believe that in time your relationship will be so much stronger. I have often wondered if my husband and I fell in love because of both our pasts.

When my husband disclosed his sexual abuse to me 10/11 years ago we were married at the time for 17 years, relatively happy and we had 2 daughters. At the time it did awaken my past but I chose to put it on hold. I cannot say to you whether it was a bad or good thing. I don't see as a sacrifice but at the time I felt his sexual abuse and rape was more traumatic than what I had experienced as a child. I know now that there are no degrees of sexual abuse especially child abuse. Anyway, my husband went to therapy for about 2 years and felt that he had exhausted that route. We continued our lives and it came up in conversation on the odd ocassion but he did not deal with it much until last year when he went from South Africa to England to attend a Mike Lew Workshop, which in itself is quite a journey. When he returned is when I saw the biggest change, he was different in so many ways but the original man I had fallen in love with so many years ago was still there. He is now a thriver.

I suppose I processed it in my mind that it was now my chance. I had hinted in the past to him that I may be a victim of child sexual abuse but I never pursued it any further. Well I sat him down towards the end of last year and told him my story, started seeing a therapist and fast and furiously the memories came back. My experiences are mild compared to what he went through but they are family related, and the responsible people are still in our lives. Most of my experiences were of more a sexual harrasment but they have affected me all the same. As a child I had to continually protect myself against an older brother, and I am pleased to say that I was successful in that.

So what I find right now is that my husband is seeing me through my healing process now, and I might add he is taking some strain. However, he is involved in starting an organisation for male survivors in SA and he has been going on counseling courses. I think it has helped me tremendously and inadvertently our relationship. I still have a long way to go but I am content with my progress.

I see us as a team, sometimes against the world out there but I can say without a doubt that we have a stronger marriage in spite of our pasts. We will be married for 28 years in September, now "not relatively happy" but "very" happy.

I hope this gives you some reassurance in the knowledge that a couple far away is facing very similar issues successfully.

Rose
_________________________
Rosemary

Partner Support
South African Male Survivors Of Sexual Abuse
Web page www.samsosa.org

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#426915 - 03/02/13 08:14 AM Re: Partners who are also survivors [Re: deerhntr]
pittsburgh Offline


Registered: 05/26/11
Posts: 87
Loc: west Chester, Pa
Thank you for you post, your story is very simular to my wife and I, but with a twist, It was I who my now wife found me close to death and wanting it. She was abused as a girl of nine. Had been in a program for years and been seeing a T for some five years. I on the other hand had delt with nothing, the usual blame of myself,rage, very deep depression. I have been in T for some three years plus. Also in a men's group. Several years ago we were married. She as well as I had many broken relationships. It is very differant now. Our respect and understanding of each other is very deep. Our love for each other is still growing. It takes a willingness and much work but a better way and life can happen. Best wishes in your continueing growth
_________________________
it is and has been quite a trip thru life, as last I feel that I am in a better place, it takes work and in my case a wife the was and is forgiveing and helpful. At last a relationship has gone right, messed up three.

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#426945 - 03/02/13 01:09 PM Re: Partners who are also survivors [Re: deerhntr]
Alyk13 Offline


Registered: 02/21/13
Posts: 9
First I apologize I have not yet learned the quote buttons. I am very sorry to hear what you are going through, but at the same time relieved as it sounds so familar to me.

"I see him questioning my commitment, doubting my love. I see the obsession with sex increase."

I see this on a weekly basis almost to the day. He is not seeing a T, he has read some in the book Victims no longer, and is making some effort, his lack of trust is so frustrating. We keep talking and talking, when he gets enraged I have to just tell him look I'm not discussing any of this while you are angry.....because in my case he yells at me, blames me for past mistakes and has trouble focusing on the current situation without bringing up EVERY thing that ever hurt him. I went to T years ago as a child and a young adult, I couldn't read enough self improvement books. When he makes suggestions of what we can do I consider everything he says and research to see if that makes sense with healthy functioning, or if it's just a way for him to get what he wants through his vices.

"Does anyone else feel like your experiences, emotions and opinions are disregarded? " YES!!!
I know I am not perfect, but I do my best and focus on now and the future which is so hard to do when he wants to live in the past and talk about all the hurt and pain and mistakes and place the blame on me.

I feel so much for you. I really don't have any concrete answers other than I just keep working on myself because really that is all I can do, then just be as supportive as he will allow me to be. If I keep getting pushed away everytime we get close, I just have to take a deep breath and say it's his struggle not mine, I can only do so much. After being yelled at for neary 4 years over the same issues, it is getting a little more than I can take, I have suggested many options for him to talk with someone inlcuding this website, however he has to want to.

I really wish you the best!!!!!
_________________________
Aly

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#426956 - 03/02/13 04:27 PM Re: Partners who are also survivors [Re: deerhntr]
HD001 Offline


Registered: 07/30/12
Posts: 243
Loc: us
Oh yes you guys are all really speaking my language. When I. Married H I felt like being a survivor who had done therapy prior would make me more understanding of his csa. I have been surprised that it has stirred up my old crap. And that H doesn't want to talk to me about any of it. I get hurt sometimes feeling like my issues are second to his. Something that has helped me be more patient is that I remember that before and during my first round of healing I was pretty self absorbed. When I acted out or hurt people I felt like it was out of my control and that they should just know that I'm "damaged".
After therapy I became I different person much kinder and able to accept full acountability for my actions. So even though Hs healing has brought my stuff up again it feels different this time. Almost like I'm seeing my past from another angle. "Csa healing round 2" is how I think of it. And although it would be wonderful if H would support me in this a little and it hurts that he doesn't. I understand why he can't. He just can't see anything beyond his own thunder storm. I remember how that felt.
How I. Cope is by telling myself that part of my second healing process is going to be to learn true compassion and unselfishness. As well as emotional independance which is something I have struggled with. I take the coping skills I learned in therapy and use them when I feel triggered. I'm also very blessed to have other people for support in my life. It sucks and I. Complain at times but when I try to see the big picture I. Know that going through this will make me a better person.
And I also take comfort in knowing that there in no way I would be able to handle things very well if I hadn't already been to therapy before. So yes even though the healing is never over I know that I mad a lot of progress the first time around. I. Have really enjoyed this thread.
_________________________
Everything comes from within

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#426961 - 03/02/13 05:35 PM Re: Partners who are also survivors [Re: deerhntr]
deerhntr Offline


Registered: 02/27/13
Posts: 9
Thank you to Rose, pittsburgh, Aly and HD001 for your support. Reading your comments gives me hope that my partner and I will get through this and end up in an even better place than when we began and I fell so deeply in love with him.

pittsburgh, I definitely hear what you are saying about broken relationships. My partner and I are both divorced. But despite the obstacles we face, we are intent on making this one work. (Though I must admit I feel a little insecure these days. We are in a long distance relationship right now, and because he is facing his CSA anew, he has expressed the need for "space". This means no more skype-ing, no more texts, no more emails... No contact hardly at all. This makes me worry that he will grow away from me during his healing.)

HD001, I like your reminder about how I was before therapy. Yes, I do remember being quite self-absorbed and expecting anyone close to me to feel as deeply as I did the pain that my abuse caused me. I've since realized how unreasonable and *impossible* really it is to expect someone to have that kind of empathy. So, yes, I can and should expect him to be very selfish at times.

You also reminded me about what therapy has given to me in terms of kindness, compassion, accountability. But the opportunity to practice these things is important. This is my chance to be for him the partner I wish I had had long ago.

And, Rosemary, perhaps it does function best when we take turns dealing with our CSA. I look forward to the day when he and I can enjoy a relationship with mutual trust, compassion and happiness.

Aly, it sounds like you are understandably feeling frustrated and worn down by the process. I'm sorry that he hasn't committed himself to healing as you wish he would. You are a wonderful support to him. I think it is especially frustrating for us as partner-survivors to see them suffer and (at least we think) know what would be a more productive way for them to deal with the pain they are experiencing, but they don't want it or aren't ready. I hope he takes a step in a positive direction soon!

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#427305 - 03/06/13 03:46 PM Re: Partners who are also survivors [Re: deerhntr]
HD001 Offline


Registered: 07/30/12
Posts: 243
Loc: us
Just wanted to say thanks to deer for starting this thread. I hope that you will keep posting. Its really helpful for me when I read about the other relationships that are similar to mine.
_________________________
Everything comes from within

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#427384 - 03/07/13 02:01 PM Re: Partners who are also survivors [Re: deerhntr]
deerhntr Offline


Registered: 02/27/13
Posts: 9
It is comforting to find out through this site that we aren't alone! We could always arrange a chat on in the friends/survivors chat room if you want/need to compare notes, vent, etc.

To update my post above... We are in communication again. I think he is relieved and touched that I am being so understanding about everything. I don't want to push him, as he is already doing a lot, but I just want so much for him to get back in regular T. I don't want to have to go through this again.

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#427677 - 03/10/13 07:00 PM Re: Partners who are also survivors [Re: deerhntr]
karin4him Offline


Registered: 03/18/12
Posts: 18
Loc: Illinois
My H of 26 years and I are both survivors and this thread, although sad that are so many of us is also comforting as we are not the only ones. I have been through EMDR therapy and as w e all know I'm not "healed", but I'm in a pretty good place. I have the same desire that you do for your spouse and that is for him to start with his T, dealing with his CSA, but so far to my knowledge he has not. I just am thankful that he is not acting out. I pray space and time will see him better! Keep posting, good discussions!!!!

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#427708 - 03/10/13 11:00 PM Re: Partners who are also survivors [Re: deerhntr]
pittsburgh Offline


Registered: 05/26/11
Posts: 87
Loc: west Chester, Pa
My wife I are also survivors also. It took me three years with the support of my wife and working with a T. Each guy progresses at a differant speed, because we are all so differant as a person and our abuse is differant. I wish you the bestmy wife and I are both in a better place.Thank God.
_________________________
it is and has been quite a trip thru life, as last I feel that I am in a better place, it takes work and in my case a wife the was and is forgiveing and helpful. At last a relationship has gone right, messed up three.

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