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#429348 - 03/28/13 01:10 AM Re: Wives: what helped you be nicer? [Re: SoccerStar]
SoccerStar Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/15/12
Posts: 915
Loc: New York
UPDATE:

Things are still going well, but there are two developments where I feel like I need input from other wives / family members.

1. The book she is reading is "Allies in Healing" by Laura Davis. Has anyone else used this? Was it helpful? I confess that I skimmed just a few pages of it and didn't 100% like what I saw - it was all about what to do when "your survivor" never shuts up about being miserable and always wants to redirect the conversation to their pain, and how the partner should stand up for him/herself in spite of this. I've got my issues but this is not one of them - I can't stand talking about it with her and she's got to drag it out of me every time, if I had my way we'd never speak of it again until the next time I had a nightmare or I find out the perp died. But that was just 2 pages so I'm not being fair. Overall is it a good, helpful book?


2. Despite how much better we've been dealing overall, there is still one point she's sticking to firmly and that I don't like - she really, really wants me to tell my best guy friend, because then he would tell his wife, who is BFF with *my* wife, and so at last she'd have a known peer and friend who she could talk about this with. Both her parents and mine know but she feels she can't talk about it with them, and she refuses therapy of her own. So she tells me she feels ostracized and alone in this because I haven't told him. Whenever I mention him in any context, she always turns the discussion towards whether I've told him yet or when I plan to.

And I'm not sure I want to.

On the one hand, in a pure vacuum, I think he'd respond well, supportively, understandingly. We've been best friends for over 20 years and were, let's just say, a lot closer than most straight guy friends. There was something of a phase during our teens and twenties where we'd watch porn together and... etc. Never touched each other, but otherwise.... etc. I only mention this because it did lead to deeper bonding and trust and the ability to discuss absolutely anything with one another. Both our wives know. At various points in our lives we've each held the other as we cried for one reason or another. We're very close.

Or at least we were until 2012, the "annus horribilis" that nearly killed me altogether. Part of all the bad shit that led to the CSA waking up was that my wife and I had another kid and bought a house and moved. Obviously that cuts down on socializing time. If we're lucky, the four of us will get together for a "double date" - but I haven't hung out just with him, just as two guy friends shooting the shit and talking about serious, private stuff, in something like 10 months. Hmmm, yes, that's actually exactly as old as our baby is now. Don't mean to sound like I'm blaming her, but... this is just how life works I guess. I haven't had one-on-one time with ANY of my friends in just about a year. So that means if and when I ever do get a chance to hang out with him again.... I really don't want the first sentence outta my mouth to be oh-by-the-way-some-guy-fucked-with-me, you know? I want to rebuild our friendshiip and just enjoy having normal time with him.

Making things even more complicated.... he and his wife are about to have their first baby. Like, in a matter of days. So he and I are almost certainly going to have a mixture "getting caught up / last hurrah" drinking night before his social life REALLY ends for the forseeable future. But that also means I don't want to drop a sad drama-bomb, about children in danger, right on him like 2 or 3 days before they have the baby!

My wife is irritated that I don't just up and tell him, but with how much I regret the slippage of the friendship I will not feel good about doing anything that would change it further. But when I told her that the other day.... she didn't get angry at me, instead she looked so SAD. Like she'd really been hoping to be able to talk to my friend's wife about it. I'd almost prefer she'd yelled at me, instead of now me feeling like I'm the asshole who let her down.

I've offered to tell one of her cousins, with whom she grew up very closely. This girl is very kind and level-headed, and her husband, my age, is cool and funny and low-drama - for some weird reason I could imagine myself just bringing it up with him and him making some casual, sympathetic "damn, I'm sorry to hear that dude" comment - and then my wife would have her cousin to talk to. But when I've offered this (twice!), she shot it down real quick and was cagey on exactly why. She eventually said "well, then my cousin would have nobody to confide in except her own [the cousin's own] mother, who can't keep a secret".... which is bullshit because SHE HAS A HUSBAND. Why the hell would she need to tell her mother or anybody else? It's not like she'd be getting traumatized!

I think it's something more unfortunate.... my wife and all her cousins grew up very competitive, having to show each other up. This particular cousin has VERY rich parents and her husband is even richer. So I can't help but think that she doesn't want me telling her because then it would be like, the cousin would know that not only does she have way more money than us but also that her husband is "better" - more normal, less damaged - than I am. My wife has never used those words but I seriously cannot think of any other reason why she's so desperate for an outlet for sharing but forbids the only person with whom I am actually comfortable sharing it with.


Am I an asshole if I never want to tell my best friend - if I want to keep that relationship, like, in a bubble of normalcy? Is it wrong of me to deny my wife a peer who would know, who she could talk to about it - even if she only seems to want ONE specific peer?


Sorry if this was a ramble.... would really appreciate any tips....


Matt
_________________________
My story

"Don't think it hasn't been a little slice of heaven just because it hasn't!" --Bugs Bunny

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#429360 - 03/28/13 04:15 AM Re: Wives: what helped you be nicer? [Re: SoccerStar]
Rosemary Offline


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

Personally I don't think it is fair for your wife to pressure you into telling anyone that you are not comfortable with. The moment will present itself sometime when you can talk to your friend, that will be the right time.

However, it sounds like your friend's support may very well do you the world of good, allowing you to open up with someone who you can connect with. DON'T do it because your wife wants you to. If you speak to him and it does not turn out as you hope it will, and things take a negative turn with your relationship two things can happen - you blame your wife or she blames herself, either way it will have an adverse affect on your marriage.

Please try to encourage your wife to speak to a therapist, she needs to remember that she is experiencing secondary trauma as your spouse. I did see someone for about 2 months after my husband disclosed his abuse to me and it did help me tremendously. Your wife may feel you are trying to fix her by suggesting therapy and therfore you need to broach the subject very carefully, she may feel comfortable going with you on the first visit.

Unfortunately most women need to discuss things of a personal nature with a friend, but as a woman I know that a lot of women cannot hold onto such information. That is why it has never occured to me to discuss my husband's past with a friend. I only recently discussed my husbands trauma when disclosing my own abuse to my sister and gave her my husbands website and blog details. I am pleased to say she has been very supportive to me but she has not seen my husband since reading his story so I am not sure how that will go.

Remember, your wife is hurting and battling to process things, it is not easy seeing your life partner in pain.
_________________________
Rosemary

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

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#429377 - 03/28/13 10:00 AM Re: Wives: what helped you be nicer? [Re: SoccerStar]
Jacob S Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/01/13
Posts: 550
I've been reading along so I hope its ok if I chime in to.

1. I don't want to open up a can of worms, but Laura Davis has a very, um, mixed reputation. She's a survivor of incest but not a trained expert at anything but teaching writing classes. If the book seems to be helping her, that's great. Just remember that her words are just one person's opinion and not always based on any research. (edit: but I'm sure its better than nothing).

2. When my wife first started finding out about my past, she wanted to be able to talk to her mother about it. I finally gave in and said ok. She quickly found out that her mother, while a very sweet person, didn't have the first clue in how to deal with this. Other people I told early on had even worse reactions and basically ended the friendship because it was too overwhelming.
Its not fair for you to have to risk your friendships for her. I've come to the conclusion that telling anyone, no matter how tight you are with them in other areas, is really rolling the dice. Your friend or her friend might not respond at all and it could do more damage than good.

There is a saying that floats around here: "don't go to the hardware store to buy milk." Which means that just because a friend is good in one area doesn't mean he will have the first clue on how to behave in another. It makes a lot more sense to go looking for support in places where you know there is already some level of understanding -- a website like this, therapists, etc. She has every right to go looking for support for herself. She doesn't have a right to demand it be someone that risks your friendships.

I don't know what to tell you to do, but its _not_ healthy for her to be so hung up on a specific friend that she refuses to go looking for other supports. If I were you, I would ask her to find other supports like groups or therapists and if after 6 months of honest interactions with that she still wants to tell her friend, then you will revisit it then. But that's just my suggestion, and obviously I don't how she'd respond to that.


Edited by Jacob S (03/28/13 10:47 AM)
_________________________
"As long as the child within is not allowed to become aware of what happened to him or her, a part of his or her emotional life will remain frozen . . . all appeals to love, solidarity, and compassion will be useless."
-- Alice Miller

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#429690 - 04/01/13 12:07 AM Re: Wives: what helped you be nicer? [Re: SoccerStar]
focusedbody Offline


Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 271
Loc: NY
Originally Posted By: SoccerStar


1. The book she is reading is "Allies in Healing" by Laura Davis. Has anyone else used this? Was it helpful?



My kid's mom has had some experience of sexual abuse. I found reading this book to give some perspective on how to handle the difficulties of opening up the past. I haven't read all of it, but I liked its focus on making sure that you and your partner are not getting enmeshed by the existence of any kind of similar pain.

Originally Posted By: SoccerStar


Or at least we were until 2012, the "annus horribilis" that nearly killed me altogether. Part of all the bad shit that led to the CSA waking up was that my wife and I had another kid and bought a house and moved.


You might consider more why this happened then, in preparation to talking to anyone. I found that all of my confusing sexual experiences were slowly making their way into my conscious mind during the time leading up to and including the experience of having children. This is one of the most clear indications that having children is also about healing yourself and being a great Dad. If you do choose to tell someone, including your best friend, you might try framing the discussion that way.

FB
_________________________
Lose the drama; life is a poem.

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#429783 - 04/02/13 01:27 AM Re: Wives: what helped you be nicer? [Re: SoccerStar]
ThisMan Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/22/13
Posts: 758
Loc: upper south
Matt-

I am not a spouse of a survivor, but I was married to one. (24 yrs- my greatest supporter in life). Your story has touched me, bringing forth private memories the two of us shared concerning her support of my CSA issues... multiple. She HATED the man who had me in my teen years. I shudder to think how she would have reacted if she had known it had started at age 4, I just chose not to tell her the full extent. Wives have a lot to think about and deal with when they discover their husbands were abused as little boys.

I want to paraphrase a statement that touched me deeply because I had already experienced that part of life in my 40s....

... "if you were so ill and no longer could have sex with your husband, then your husband as caretaker would also be doing without sex..."

You are such an honorable man... This is what commitment is, Matt. This is what two people together need from each other....One becomes ill, the other becomes the caregiver. One is lost, the other lights the way back. One hurts, the other is there for the healing. No big questions, no big demands. Only the sweet, reassuring knowledge of love and support. You have a way with words and a profound wisdom I find in almost every posting you leave.

In direct response regarding the sharing of your abuse...

If you have as little as ONE misgiving about sharing YOUR experience with someone, don't. Follow your instincts. Doesn't matter if it is your best friend of 20 yrs or your old, fat neighbor that you detest. Don't share. I have already shared the horror of what happened to me when I ignored my instincts a few years ago. Your wife will be fine. She can journal, continue to read, talk with you, see a therapist, but she can't dictate your sharing of something so very very personal. Not in loud voice, not in repeatedly saying with whom she wishes to confide, not in emotions of sadness when you say no.... she should be saying, "Okay, I understand". Anything less is a manipulation and you don't need that.

You have helped me tonight, and my wife left long ago. Isn't it strange that so much is given when stories are shared. And your wife has made such progress in giving the kind of support you need. She obviously loves you if she is taking the time to educate herself on the lasting issues of CSA. Just don't give away your control of the healing process. My best, guy.
_________________________
For now we see through a glass, darkly.



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#430131 - 04/04/13 09:27 PM Re: Wives: what helped you be nicer? [Re: SoccerStar]
SoccerStar Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/15/12
Posts: 915
Loc: New York
I told him. It was my own choice, I wasn't pressured. I didn't know I was going to do it until I did. I think it was the best response yet. I've never been made to feel so.... normal about it. That's a best friend for you.

We met for his last "pre-fatherhood" drink and were just talking about whatever. Then HE brings up that he's glad we could hang out because it was good to see how much happier I am now than I'd been in the fall. I joked about how ending a 14-month sex famine and getting a better job with a raise and no psycho abusive boss will really help your mental state, and we joke around for a while like always. I give him first-time-dad advice, we drink. And then... sorta testing the water I bring up another of our friends, who happened to have been in crisis about a year ago.

"I'm glad that X is feeling better too - remember when he attempted s**c*d*?"
"Yeah, he told me vaguely about that. What happened?"
"I don't know, but he must have been in a lousy place for a while. At least he got help, right?"
"Yeah, of course."
"I mean, we've both had our own dealings with depression too, and nobody should think any less of the three of us for dealing with shit like that, right?"
"Of course not!"

He's a doctor and he has had his own experiences with depression - we reminisced about our own shit like that together - spurred by unemployment, girl problems, stress, or nothing at all, "joking" about the pills we'd taken, and in his case all the pot he'd smoked and in my case how I'd drank my way up 15 pounds in a year. This was all old news, like I said, we share everything.

And as the talk alternated between serious shit and random fun shit (movies, video games, sex, etc) I began to feel actively bad for not telling him. Like I was lying to him. We'd just compared our antidepressant histories. We used to do all-night horror movie fests *starting* at 2:45am. Helped each other with homework when younger. When not so younger we were j/o buddies for like 11 years. He was best man at my wedding. I pep-rallied him when he was out of work for a year. This is a secret from him, really?

I couldn't keep it. It felt wrong. It felt like when I was keeping the reality of it from my parents - that I HAD to tell them or it would get in the way of a normal relationship. He's veritably a brother to me, heck for some years there I saw him more often than I saw my parents or my sister. I couldn't keep it.

So....

"Back on the subject of dealing with bad shit.... you said you'd noticed how miserable I was in the fall?"
"Yeah."
"And we've done stuff together a little closer than most guys do, right?"
"*laughing* You could say that!"
"So I can talk on a different level here. Tell me for real, being honest: do I seem any different to you?"
"Yeah, you seem happier now that you've got the better job."
"But nothing else different, now?"
"No."
"Okay, so... everything in 2012 but especially the fall... Well, all that shit piling up for so long, kind of fed into other shit and made some other bad feelings way more intense. And it forced me to deal with stuff I had never had to completely deal with before, when bad stuff had happened to me as a kid."

"Oh really?" He looked worried and curious

Deep finishing swig. Best friend for 20 years. Here goes...

"Yeah, because when I was a kid I was attacked by a pedophile."

Eyebrows shot up, stricken. He sees me as a brother too. "Oh no, that's horrible! Was it your sister's boyfriend?"

Quick as that, instant association. He still remembers. Everyone will remember that case forever.

"No, he never touched me. This was a playground monitor in my elementary school. I was 8."

"Matt, I'm so sorry you had to go through that. You hadn't remembered all this time?"

"I knew about like 3 seconds of it vaguely and meaninglessly, because I'd blocked out all the sensations, it was that bad. There was no grooming, I wasn't his special secret friend, he attacked me. And it was more than just touching. He was so violent to me I had to block it out."

"I am so sorry you've had to deal with that. Was this after school or during recess or something?"

"It was definitely during school hours. I'd gotten myself into a freak circumstance and he took advantage of it."

"Jesus. How many others were there?"

"No idea."

"What did it feel like to remember it?"

"It felt terrible, it felt as bad as it felt the first time. Like I said it went beyond touching and he was really violent."

"I can't believe someone would do that to you. That is so fucking sick. What happened to the guy? Is there anything you can do to him?"

I summarized my 007 routine where I'd given the school an alias and gotten enough info to net-stalk the perp... and talk to him... and regret doing it. Just like my parents, my friend couldn't help but laugh as I described the superspy cover story stuff. And seeing him laugh made me laugh. Unexpected. I explained how there is nothing I can do, that the law is on his side now.

My friend scowled. "Wait, they're trying to change the law on that. They're trying to cut back the time limits so you have one year to file charges no matter when stuff happened."

"Yeah, but that comes up every year and always loses. If they somehow pass it this year I'd sure file a police report, at least."

"Would you ever call him up and threaten him, say you found him?"

"Shit no! First of all I don't know what his family circle is like, who he's got and if they'd defend him and how. I'm pretty sure he didn't know my last name. I just can't risk it."

"I understand, I understand. Shit. So what are you doing now?"

"Well, I'm in therapy and taking pills. I used to be on sleeping pills... for 2 months after I got the memories back I couldn't close my eyes, you know? I always saw it and didn't feel safe. So I had to have sleeping pills along with the rest of the shit. SO glad I was able to get off those...."

(*long digression about sleeping pills, whoever we knew who had used them, Ambien and "sleep-sex," etc)

"How long do you think that's going to last? The pills?"

"I don't know. I've gotten put back together since last fall but I don't feel the need to mess with the recipe yet."

He asked me if there was anything about myself or my life that I thought this had influenced. And there... I did lie. I don't like to believe my sexuality was influenced by this, but regardless, I didn't want to give the double-whammy of an "oh, BI the way...", especially since I've never even been with a guy so what really is the point of telling? I didn't want to talk about self-hatred of a dehumanized mindless thing, about compulsive lying, about screaming night terrors, or my own "attempts." So I said the only part of me I could really point to as a result was my exaggerated overstartle response. He nodded, and said:

"Listen, I really would never have known, never would have suspected a thing. You asked how I've perceived you and I meant it, I knew you weren't as bad off as you'd been last year and that was all I was worried about."

I reached over and held his shoulder. "You have no idea how much that means to me, I get so paranoid that people can just see it on me, that its obvious. It means so much to hear that it's really not..."

And I got a little emotional. He sort of nodded, patted my hand on his shoulder reassuringly. If we'd been standing we would have hugged, we do that a lot, no biggie - but a sitting down hug violates the bro code and Einsteinian physics. We settled up the check and left.

Walking to the train we mostly talked about new baby stuff, last minute warnings and teasing. But as we walked he also said:

"Listen, it means a lot to me that you trusted me with this, that you knew you could share it with me. It means a whole lot."

"Well, I knew I could. Thanks for taking it so well, that really meant a whole lot to me too."

I told him my wife also knew and that I told my parents - he was astounded to hear that and asked how they'd responded. I told the truth: that mom was much more upset and still is and that dad has become my "masculinity cheerleader" (and I used those words) whenever I get really down about it. He said he could see my parents reacting exactly that way.

We finished out with more baby advice and random smalltalk, then he thanked me again for trusting him so much. THEN we hugged goodbye, and that was that. I actually never mentioned his wife at all and am not sure whether he'll tell her.

It felt amazing to tell him, I've felt good all day. We've always been there for each other and I really did know I could trust him - and he didn't let me down.


Matt





_________________________
My story

"Don't think it hasn't been a little slice of heaven just because it hasn't!" --Bugs Bunny

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#430164 - 04/05/13 02:47 AM Re: Wives: what helped you be nicer? [Re: SoccerStar]
crazy gecko Offline


Registered: 10/04/12
Posts: 309
Friends like that are more precious than anything money could ever buy... Well done for telling him, and I am happy for you that you have someone like that in your life!
_________________________
I guess what I'm trying to say
Is whose life is it anyway because livin'
Living is the best revenge
You can play
-- Def Leppard

My Story, Part 2

My blog

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#430169 - 04/05/13 04:26 AM Re: Wives: what helped you be nicer? [Re: SoccerStar]
Rosemary Offline


Registered: 02/06/13
Posts: 31
Loc: Johannesburg, South Africa
You are healing in leaps and bounds, well done for grasping the moment as it presented itself.
_________________________
Rosemary

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

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#430450 - 04/07/13 11:11 PM Re: Wives: what helped you be nicer? [Re: SoccerStar]
focusedbody Offline


Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 271
Loc: NY
Matt:

Thanks for sharing your journey. Hope itself is a process and it's good to know that people can be there for each other, even when it seems like a done deal not in our favor.

Focused
_________________________
Lose the drama; life is a poem.

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#430801 - 04/10/13 09:42 PM Re: Wives: what helped you be nicer? [Re: SoccerStar]
sugarbaby Offline


Registered: 08/17/08
Posts: 306
I am glad for you both! smile It is good to have a friendship like that!

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