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#444393 - 08/15/13 10:58 AM needing advice on helping a survivor
feelinghelpless Offline


Registered: 08/14/13
Posts: 3
I have been married to my husband for five wonderful years, and he just told me a week ago that he was molested as a child. I am thrilled that he was able to open up so far to me, as I know it is a difficult admission for so many, but I was so shocked and horrified to learn that he had been through such a terrible thing. He told me he could not discuss it at all, but that he just needed me to know it happened (only once to my knowledge, but that is enough!). At the time I promised I would never bring up the subject, although I felt he should probably talk about it, because I want to respect his wishes on the matter, and because really I have no idea what it must be like living with that memory. I am just not sure I did the right thing, or how to proceed from here. He has done an amazing job of overcoming it to become a wonderful man, husband, and father, but now that I know I can understand certain issues he has with trust and anxiety, and some of his overprotective tendencies with our children. The trust issues and overprotective tendencies have in the past caused some discord in our marriage which we have tried to struggle through together. Now, however, I feel afraid to talk about my feelings about some things because I now know the reason behind them and feel that any discussion is just going to end up skirting the real issues. I feel like the honesty and openness of this revelation has in some measure curtailed the overall honesty and openness in our relationship. I would really like some input from survivors about what they would want from their spouses in a similar situation to ours. I don't know how to go on as if I didn't know, and that is basically what he asked of me.

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#444394 - 08/15/13 11:30 AM Re: needing advice on helping a survivor [Re: feelinghelpless]
newground Offline
Chatroom Moderator
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 10/11/11
Posts: 645
Loc: michigan
hi feeling
I cant speak for anyone else but for me now that you have made that agreement there is no other option. my wife and I struggle at times (many times over the last couple years) with this same issue. to me it doesn't matter what the thing is if it is mine I don't want it told ,PERIOD. a couple years ago when I came to this site I did make some changes which included trying to let her in on the source of the pain in my life and that was ,quite frankly ,terrifying. for me it takes more trust than I possess to believe that ANYONE will not betray me. I have come to the place that I think I believe there are some few who won't do it on purpose , my wife falls in that category. my ways don't always make sense even to me, but they are my ways and my world tends to be pretty black and white. I can either trust her, or I cannot so this place of being trusting but not really is very hard too. all that being said I think that the best you can do is to give him more reason to trust you more deeply. perhaps some marriage retreat or the like could help you grow as a couple and yes for a time ignore what you know. then when he is ready to bring it back up you could ask for him to let you out of your commitment.I have to expect that if you bring it back up at this point it would not work well.
I hope that helps
Jeff
_________________________
Towards thee I roll, thou all-destroying but unconquering whale; to the last I grapple with thee; from hell's heart I stab at thee; for hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee. let me then tow to pieces, while still chasing thee, thou damned whale! Thus, I give up the spear!"
Herman Melville

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#444402 - 08/15/13 02:33 PM Re: needing advice on helping a survivor [Re: feelinghelpless]
feelinghelpless Offline


Registered: 08/14/13
Posts: 3
Thank you Jeff. That does help me a lot. I could never bring myself to tell anyone else what he told me; I only tried for help here because I was sure I could be anonymous and I really did need advice. Can you tell me what makes talking about it so terrifying or am I prying too much? Is it just the fear of betrayal in general, or is there something more? I honestly just want to understand what he is going through, as much as is possible not having experienced such a horrific thing. I also want to be able to save him fear and pain regarding our own children as they grow and venture out into the world, and I know that is greatly on his mind.

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#444437 - 08/15/13 08:37 PM Re: needing advice on helping a survivor [Re: feelinghelpless]
pittsburgh Offline


Registered: 05/26/11
Posts: 84
Loc: west Chester, Pa
I hope I do not ramble to much, What makes it so hard to talk about. Shame , Guilt humiliation. There a whole list of reasons. Jeff had some good advise that I agree with. I would also suggest some books "Joining Forces" by Dr. Howard Fradkin, Victims no longer, by Mike Lew, They will give you a good insight. It is a process or journey for male survivors it takes time for us to finally open up. For me it was several years for me to finally tell all. There were times I just could not and would not discuss anything. Then as I worked with my therapist, It seeped out. I hope this is of some help, I wish you and your survivor the best in your journey.
_________________________
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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#444445 - 08/15/13 09:37 PM Re: needing advice on helping a survivor [Re: feelinghelpless]
Sunshine1 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 18
Loc: Virginia
Oprah Winfrey did a show concerning male sexual abuse. The show was titled, "two hundred men abused as boys". On part 2 of the show the wives of the male survivors spoke. If you are able to watch that show it may help with some of your questions. You can go to Oprah's website and review some the show.
_________________________
Tomorrow brings another day

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#444448 - 08/15/13 10:02 PM Re: needing advice on helping a survivor [Re: feelinghelpless]
Adam A Gedman Offline


Registered: 08/12/13
Posts: 156
Loc: Canada
Hi feelings,
Haven't been here long, and my therapy is in its infancy, but I'll try to add something as well.
Telling my wife was about the hardest thing I ever had to do. I was wrought with abject fear. I was opening my oldest, ugliest wound, and was dead sure she would see me as damaged, broken, ugly, weak, less of a man and ultimately reject me and leave me.
I think he's taken a huge step and shown incredible trust in you.
If you're seeking help here, he's obviously got some great support in you.
Mike Lew's book Victims No Longer is great, this site is also helpful.
It'll be his choice as to when he's ready, you can only offer your help and support. He'll accept it when he's ready.
_________________________
I am not my name, or my history, or the contents of my mind, I am the awareness behind of all this.

Formerly Adam A Gedman (AKA - A damAGed man)

But you can call me Kevin

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#444452 - 08/15/13 10:28 PM Re: needing advice on helping a survivor [Re: feelinghelpless]
focusedbody Offline


Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 271
Loc: NY
Feeling helpless:

My thought is that trust is truly the right subject to focus on. Along with that concern is what it is protecting for each of us.

Betrayals of trust are what survivors carry around often unacknowledged. Re-establishing it over and over again may seem like an awful lot to do, but perhaps that is where the process of healing takes place.

Before the memories re-emerged, trust and safety may not have seemed so intimately connected. But with the acknowledgment of something that was denied, what is understood as safety is all of a sudden a bigger and clearer aspect of a trusting relationship.

I hope you can go slowly enough that you can experience the needs amidst the pain that is being remembered. Being there makes all the difference.

FB
_________________________
Lose the drama; life is a poem.

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#444474 - 08/16/13 08:44 AM Re: needing advice on helping a survivor [Re: feelinghelpless]
newground Offline
Chatroom Moderator
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 10/11/11
Posts: 645
Loc: michigan
hi feeling
the terror is of betrayal yes, but also all that these have added. it is the fear that she will see me as I see myself, when one of the things that have always brought me strength and comfort is that she has seen me as so much more like I could fly if I wanted to and that has driven me to be more. I couldn't bear too loose that.I fear that if she sees me for who I am we will both loose a great deal.and there is a fear that is hard to explain. some of the things I do, say cutting, do not make sense in a typical kind of way. and they translate as very frightening in the rest of the world. It is IMPOSSIBLE to explain how this is comforting to me and when she sees this she is frightened for me. and we have had stress in our relationship over it. And so I want to stop doing it for her. but there are worse things and the lack of that comfort at times is so very hard for ME PERSONALLY so I am in a rock and hard place situation. so it leaves me wishing I had never told her. but rationally I know I need the accountability and to find abetter place to find comfort. I know she wants to be the source of that comfort but that means I have to go to someone else for my comfort and again the old experiences say that is NOT a good thing. and the vicious cycle begins again. I don't know if everyone finds these things but I really do so I weigh what I tell and who I tell very carefully because it can cause just more pain.
hope that kinda helps
Jeff
_________________________
Towards thee I roll, thou all-destroying but unconquering whale; to the last I grapple with thee; from hell's heart I stab at thee; for hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee. let me then tow to pieces, while still chasing thee, thou damned whale! Thus, I give up the spear!"
Herman Melville

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#444475 - 08/16/13 09:10 AM Re: needing advice on helping a survivor [Re: feelinghelpless]
feelinghelpless Offline


Registered: 08/14/13
Posts: 3
Thanks to everyone. I remember hearing about the Oprah show a while back; I think I may have seen a few minutes of the first half. I will look that up. Jeff, I see what you are saying. I wish there was some way we wives could prove unequivocally that we feel exactly the opposite. I already thought my husband hung the moon, but when he told me what had happened to him I was even more impressed with him. I cannot imagine what it took for him to become the kind of man he is with that secret weighing on him. Far from thinking he is damaged or weak, I know he is the strongest and most amazing person I know. I only wish I had that kind of strength! I imagine your wife feels the same way about you. I don't even want to know any details; I'd just as soon not have those images in my head or force him to relive them in the telling. I just want to be sure that the shared knowledge doesn't make other discussions uncomfortable to the point that we cannot talk to each other. I will do as all of you suggest and just go on with life as usual, discuss anything I need to discuss just as I always have. If it comes up, we can deal with it; if not, that's okay too.

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#446879 - 09/11/13 01:23 AM Re: needing advice on helping a survivor [Re: feelinghelpless]
Joy1980 Offline


Registered: 12/20/11
Posts: 11
Feelinghelpless - I was in your shoes about two years ago. I know exactly what you mean about how brave your partner was to have told you. When my H told me I knew immediately I was witnessing the most courageous human act I'd ever seen. I also just wanted to tell you how quickly things can change. After intermittent therapy (out T died, we found a new one, then we moved cross country), my H has made huge strides in just the last coupe of months (starting to tell his family). This road is not easy - I don't want to give that impression - but there can be leaps and bounds of progress along the way, if the survivor is ready and willing. The fact that he told you speaks worlds of you and your relationship.

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