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#442546 - 07/29/13 06:29 PM Found out by accident should i talk to his parents
dewalt Offline


Registered: 07/29/13
Posts: 2
My husband and i have been married for twelve, together for sixteen years. I just found out he was one of several scouts abused by a scoutmaster when he was fifteen. He'd recently gotten a letter from a lawyer who was looking for some more background (i think he's coming up for parole), and because my husband had testified against him, he was contacted. I found the letter and opened it..(i wasn't being nosy, we've just been having some legal issues that aren't related.) Anyways, i asked about it, and he told me the cursory details. His parents took him to therapy, and after one visit, he said he didn't need it and didn't go again.

It's been a great relationship - he's a great husband and dad, but every once in a while, he would exhibit self destructive behavior that i could never understand - he once went on a business trip and went out, got drunk and woke up on a park bench missing his shoes and his phone. Or, completely out of character, drunk texted a friend how he'd like to hook up with a particular gal...stuff like that. I used to attribute stuff like this to his dad having a very dominant personality - now with this new info, my head is going crazy with imagining what happened, and I'm wondering if his abuse has anything to do with what happens when he drinks too much...in addition to what I think is self sabotaging behavior at work. (he has a deadline, and will do everything else but what he's supposed to be working on. Authority issues? I don't know.)

He insists he doesn't need more help, even though he was told by this recent lawyer that therapy would be covered, and that he just wants to forget about it. But i don't think he has or can. I have so many questions, but he doesn't want to talk about it, and it doesn't help that we have outside stressors as well...(his job and investment related)...i want to help. I want to ask his parents what happened, since i don't know the whole story...my gut is telling me i shouldn't, but i know they love their son, and if they knew about the destructive behavior, they'd want to help. i feel like i need to talk to someone. I can't talk to my friends...it's not my secret to tell. I also can't help but feel a little like i'm being selfish in that i want to know. I mean what difference does it make of how and how long, and how many...if it was once it was awful enough. i'm at a loss.

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#442567 - 07/29/13 08:57 PM Re: Found out by accident should i talk to his parents [Re: dewalt]
SamV Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/13/09
Posts: 5942
Loc: Talladega, Alabama, USA
dewalt,

Peace and comfort to you in this difficult time. The times that he is "not himself" can be attributed to parts of his personality that have been "frozen" in the time he was abused. The little inside him, that part of his personality that was hurt can come to control him during those times of drunkenness, exhibiting those thoughts and feelings associated with the abuse.

Those thoughts need to be expressed, they need to be recovered, reasoned on in a safe way and then matured so that when they overwhelm the survivor in the present, the mature man can be aware of them and calmly reason on them so that he is not controlled by those feelings anymore. Talk therapy is a must, there is no "forgetting". Those toxic thoughts and feelings drive the survivor until they are talked out in therapy.

Please dewalt, join a support group like CoDA, Co Dependant Anonymous, or a group for Supporter's of Survivors' Group, or ALaNon, but the drinking is a coping mechanism, not the underlying issue. This will let you share your anxiety as well as give you life experiences of several supporters who can help guide you through the anxiety and weariness associated with living with a male sexual abuse survivor.

Share here as much as you feel you can, our supporter's here are top notch and have sage advice, here comes some more, look below. wink

Sam
_________________________
MaleSurvivor Moderator Emeritus 2012 - 2014

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#442600 - 07/30/13 08:41 AM Re: Found out by accident should i talk to his parents [Re: dewalt]
SoccerStar Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/15/12
Posts: 915
Loc: New York
Whoops
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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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#442601 - 07/30/13 08:42 AM Re: Found out by accident should i talk to his parents [Re: dewalt]
SoccerStar Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/15/12
Posts: 915
Loc: New York
Dewalt,

You did the right thing by beginning to seek help. I am sorry for how much this has shaken your world, and also for the other stresses you are under that you mentioned which might be worsening the situation for the both of you.

Thank you for doing your best to understand your husband, for still seeing him as the same, and for respecting his privacy by not telling your friends or talking to his parents. For now at least, this story is between the two of you.

The fact that your husband saw some justice - that he told and testified and the perp was arrested and jailed - is immensely important. Probably the most important thing you said. As a rule, sexual abuse is unreported and unpunished, and one of the absolute worst sources of damage to survivors is the knowledge of injustice, of unfairness, of no one knowing or believing or helping or stopping. Your husband took an active role in the perp's punishment and the whole legal and judicial system announced that the perp was wrong and your husband was right. The stabilizing force of that - the sense of being Right - cannot possibly be overstated. I can't in my head count up even 3 guys currently posting here who had that happen. There's even a thread in the MS forum asking who told quickly and got some measure of justice - and so far nobody did.

Obviously that doesn't make everything hunky-dory. Your husband binge-drinks to blackout because the bad feelings from the abuse are still there and liquor helps stifle and silence them. It is highly dangerous, it is not an answer, and you are right to fear it.

That you found out his secret was - I promise you - terrifying for him and he wishes every day it hadn't happened. Now he thinks YOU think of him, at at least some point in his life and possibly even now, as a weak victim who isn't really in control. He doesn't want to speak to you of his being tricked, hurt, and victimized because he thinks it will - it COULD ONLY - change how you see him. As you yourself said, it's been 16 wonderful years; he sees keeping the secret as part of the reason for that. He is afraid of losing stature, losing authority, being seen as weak. He is afraid of breaking down and crying in front of you (he cries somewhere else) and afraid of ANY POSSIBLE CONVERSATION that could POSSIBLY cause that to happen.

So, again.... thank you for still seeing him as the same. Thank you for telling him as much.

You do need to proactively address this. If he's under more stress through work and various real-life issues it can make his unaddressed abuse issues more mentally intrusive. That in turn gets in the way of work productivity (been there done that), which can set off a worsening spiral of regret and failure-feelings.

Here is what I would suggest:

Pick a time when you and your husband are alone and things are quiet and calm. NOT immediately after work. NOT when he has had ANYTHING to drink. Tell him you have to talk to him about something. Say you are very disturbed and upset - ask him to hold you. Say you know he hates talking about it but there's something about "that stuff from the Boy Scouts" that you just have to say because you can't keep it in any longer. Say you just need a few seconds to find the right words for it, then be quiet as you pretend to think of it - this will give him time to prepare to confront the feelings, as an "ambush" will just make him shut down. After a few moments, say you've been consumed with hatred for the perp. That you feel an anger that frightens you. That you think of him tricking and hurting your man and you want to smash his face in, have his legs broken, locked in solitary confinement forever, etc. That you've always seen your husband as the same and always will and that your feelings and perception of him will never change. That in a way you understand why he didn't want to tell you - "Did you think I'd see you in a worse light? It's ok if you did, you can say it if you want to. But I never ever will." And then bring it back to your hate of the perp, that you are so angry at this filthy pervert it almost scares you.

AFTER all of the conversation yielded from the above, ask him if this was why there had been times where he drank too much - if he was thinking of this when he did it. If yes, ask him how he feels about that. Etc.


This will steer the conversation towards:
-your husband's perception of your relationship dynamic
-your husband having to face that he was dishonest with you
-your husband having a "go" to address feelings related to this case, especially anger and fear
-your husband being able to refer back to getting some justice from the system
-your husband having to acknowledge the bingeing

Talk about your feelings, around those basic lines.

DO NOT ASK FOR PHYSICAL DETAILS. NEVER ASK FOR THE STORY, NEVER ASK FOR PHYSICAL DETAILS. What you can say is that you will never press him for details of his story but if he ever does feel like sharing with you, you will listen and there is nothing he or anyone else could ever say that would make you love him any less or see him as less of a man. Look him in the eye and tell him he's the same to you and always will be. Probably a good time to kiss him too.

You might notice that some of the above sounds like talking to a child. That's because for some parts of it, you will be talking to a child - a scared, hurt, confused, dirty-feeling kid, who needs to be reassured that Its Okay. Likewise, some of it goes WAAAY over the top in deferring to and appeasing the legendarily fragile male ego. In a situation like this, in the early stages, that too is on purpose. But make sure as time goes on that you don't actually treat him differently - and that includes being sure not to give him "victim privilege", conspicuous overcoddling, etc.

Ask about what therapy was like after somebody hurts you like that. Could there have been something else the shrink could have done that would have made him want to stay? What was bad about it - and was anything good? You can't force him into therapy but you can try to get him to conceptualize his therapeutic needs.

Ultimately his drinking has to be under control. If he is regularly (yearly?) and recently (this year?) massively overindulging and blacking out, there has to be an end to that.


My wife found out too. When I had minimal recall, I kept it from the whole world because I didn't want to be seen as different, damaged, dirty. I was shocked into more extensive recall by a horrifyingly stressful year - and it was because I knew the year had been stressful for my wife as well that I continued keeping it secret. She found my pills one day. Her responses ran the spectrum from "angel" to "unforgivable". Much of the above is crystallized from her better moments, in the hopes that you can carry forward what she did that helped while avoiding what she did that made it worse.

I wish you, and your husband, all the luck in the world.



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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#442616 - 07/30/13 10:41 AM Re: Found out by accident should i talk to his parents [Re: dewalt]
dewalt Offline


Registered: 07/29/13
Posts: 2
Thank you all for the wonderful advice. thank you for being compassionate and giving of yourselves and experience. I feel like I have a guide plan now (so to speak) for this completely unexpected journey

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#442621 - 07/30/13 12:33 PM Re: Found out by accident should i talk to his parents [Re: dewalt]
learning2remember Offline
Member

Registered: 10/21/03
Posts: 261
Loc: Europe
What I would say is do NOT speak to his parents or to your friends. You are right that this is not yours to talk to others. Except, by all means go to a support group for yourself if you feel the need or the desire. Things there can be shared in confidence, and will be about how your are experiencing this. Be well.
_________________________
"This is not my shame, this is their shame." Mona Eltahawy

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