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#459524 - 01/27/14 03:38 PM Full Disclosure with spouse
5thmonster Offline


Registered: 01/24/14
Posts: 6
Hello and thank you for the opportunity to participate in this forum. This is my first post. I am in my mid- 50s and was sexually abused as a boy for about four years by my stepbrothers. I kept the family secret inside until early last year when I went to a therapist and told all but I still have not told my wife or any other family members. I think the reason that I have not come forward to my wife of 20 years Is because I question my sexual orientation. I do not believe that I am gay or bisexual but sometimes the monster inside make me act out. What are the chances a spouse could understand something like this ?

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#459530 - 01/27/14 05:23 PM Re: Full Disclosure with spouse [Re: 5thmonster]
Truart Offline


Registered: 01/25/14
Posts: 14
Welcome to the forums.

I don't think anyone can give a good percentage of what the chances are. Couldn't you dance around the subject and gauge her reaction by telling about someone you know who you found out to be sexually abused.

Questioning ones sexuality is something I think a lot of male survivors do. I do it myself as well because of the wierd feelings and I am certain I am straight. There is a subforum dedicated to sexual orientation confusion. Maybe you can find some answers there.

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#459550 - 01/27/14 08:05 PM Re: Full Disclosure with spouse [Re: 5thmonster]
victor-victim Offline


Registered: 09/27/03
Posts: 2972
Loc: O Kanada
i have decided to always tell the truth as best as i can,
and let the chips fall where they may.
all my relationships are build on firm solid foundations of brutal honesty.
i could not live any other way.

this might not work for others,
but it is perfect for me.

i have no more secrets.
nothing left to disclose.
freedom.


_________________________
Victor|Victim

War
Love
Poetry

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#459561 - 01/27/14 10:35 PM Re: Full Disclosure with spouse [Re: 5thmonster]
Rustam Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/27/04
Posts: 431
Loc: UK
Welcome to the forum glad you found us.

I don't know what to say about when, what or how much to disclose to your wife. I would think that the more you understand and forgive yourself for acting out the better. I think a good understanding of your behaviour and a good level of self-acceptance would help you in explaining the issues to her. If you can accept the acting out for what it was; a reaction to abuse then she would have a better chance of accepting it too. I suppose I am trying to say that if you come to her looking for forgiveness while carrying exaggerated guilt she would pick up on that and might feel that it was a lot worse than it was. I guess it also depends on the strength of your relationship, her personal morality and understanding. The acting out or same sex attraction is not well understood by most people so she would need some education before she would be able to see the acting out for what it is.

I agree with Victor that honesty is the best policy long term but I think I would disclose at a time that I am fully prepared. Yes freedom from secrets is very liberating and healing but there is no timetable that has to be followed.

I always think this stuff is best first dealt with in therapy and when I have sorted through stuff I can then share the parts I need to share with loved ones.

Welcome again.
P

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#459563 - 01/27/14 11:05 PM Re: Full Disclosure with spouse [Re: 5thmonster]
gettingstronger Offline


Registered: 09/24/13
Posts: 135
Loc: Virginia
Hi 5thmonster,

What you're describing is actually extremely common, according to my therapist, all the reading I've done, and talking with others who've been through what you (and I, and the others here at MS) have been through.

Every situation is of course very different and I'm not a therapist, but I've seen how straight guys can find themselves tempted in this way. For instance, male bonding can get improperly sexualized by csa. Low self-esteem and self-image can translate into envy over men you run into who are in really good shape. (This envy can become sexual attraction thanks to csa, when in fact it's just envy.) Acting out also fulfills a number of other needs, just in a way that generally doesn't deliver what it promises.

The short answer is, before you decide you must be gay, talk with a therapist. Just because you have times when you're attracted to men, (or at least to sex with men, if not the men themselves,) that doesn't mean you're automatically gay or bi. I thought that myself for close to forty years, and my therapist set me straight (no pun intended) right off the bat.

As for disclosure, perhaps some limited disclosure would be best. I told my wife of almost twenty years that I was abused by an older neighborhood boy for several years, and that before that, I was very badly sexually scarred by some friends of my parents at about age seven. Would you feel comfortable telling her that you were sexually abused, and that it has left you hung up about sex? She probably wouldn't want to know all the details.

Same-sex attraction is an extremely tricky thing, and I often wonder how many guys are wandering around out there, drifting from one unsatisfying gay relationship to another, when in fact the csa just has them confused.

Anyway, this is just my take on it. Don't be alarmed. Keep talking with your therapist, and even if it's tough, grill him or her about this issue. I did, and we sorted it out relatively quickly. Thanks for posting and heal well.

Bob


Edited by gettingstronger (01/27/14 11:07 PM)

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#459568 - 01/28/14 12:49 AM Re: Full Disclosure with spouse [Re: 5thmonster]
justplainme Offline


Registered: 09/01/09
Posts: 203
5thmonster, what you are experiencing is the initial reality both emotionally, relationally and physically due to the rape,all these appear when initiating a healing process of Child sexual abuse or at the very least the end of denial.

It is good for you to be here, and hear all the amount of personal experiences that we survivors provide.

Our sexual identity , our sexual orientation can be immensely warped,twisted,confused,deformed,covered up,emotionally destroyed, even robbed to the point where you actually feel that you do not have a personal sexuality because of the rape.
In my opinion most of us who are straight and do not work out the homosexual subconscious materials that are involved with the fact that it was a "male" who raped you suffer from this confusion.,That in the actual society we live in,men do not suffer of or are allowed to have sexual doubts in any form not to mention if the identity issue is caused by sexual rape. It is easy for us to fall prey to the stereotype that is socialized: "That all men who were raped must be homosexual,because real men are never victims, it is worst if you were groomed by the pedophile and pseudo mutuality occurred because this creates intense guilt and shame over ones sexual beliefs and preferences, and i use the term here homosexual in a very weird manner because that is patriarchal society talking, i myself am a straight man who has dealt with this issue as well,we all have! What the message is throughout society is that if you are weak or sexualized by another man, you will immediately become gay or made gay. Sometimes we the victims were so deprived of a personal sexual identity that the only way we experienced our own sexuality was with a adult of the same sex never with a consenting loving woman or man,it is natural for us humans to have sexuality,it is part of the beauty of being human, and it is an instinctual drive that needs be fulfilled and enjoyed, otherwise if denied or repressed it will show up in regressed manners AKA "acting out".
Seek help, specially with a therapist who is versed in sexual abuse problems, if you do plan to disclose to your wife i suggest you have the therapist before hand, that way you can reassure her of your true commitment to the relationship if you wish to pursue it, recovery is a bumpy ride and i have found that having a person who loves you can make all the difference.... Stay courageous while under FIRE.


Edited by justplainme (01/28/14 05:12 PM)
_________________________

"Survivors need an opportunity to define their own sexuality in their own terms, rather than in reaction to the abuse, so that they stop allowing their offenders to have power over them sexually."

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#459603 - 01/28/14 03:00 PM Re: Full Disclosure with spouse [Re: 5thmonster]
1lifenow Offline


Registered: 03/07/11
Posts: 385
Loc: west coast
Welcome 5th

Great strides were made when you talked to your T, that's a huge step.

The 1st T I had was a "slut shamer" who loved to use the term "act out", my 2nd T helped me realize like others have eluded to here that sexuality is complex and revealing your desires is not easy.

I agree with VV that the closer you get to revealing truths, the more authentic your relationship can be.

I agree there are men out there having sex with other men who identify as str8, but I don't think str8 men have relationships with other gay men. That takes more than just sex. But yes gay relationships can be unfulfilling if again you are not truly honest with yourself and therefore not capable of being honest with your partner, but that goes for str8 guys as well.

I like what margaret chow the comedian said about her marriage. It is open but at the same time she wants EMOTIONAL MONOGAMY. I think that's the key. For women their sexuality is more fluid and likely for some men too. It doesn't really matter, what matters is can you feel safe and trust enough to express your hearts desire without judgement from you and when you come to understand your sexuality more, your spouse as well.

I agree with others you have to be comfortable expressing your sexuality without labels or shame. Calling it the monster is giving it a lot of power.

Get educated, read some of dan savages stuff on monogamish. ms groups help hugely when you find out your way of thinking and your sexual conundrums are very normal for survivors str8 or gay.

Some spouses are also very open, some understanding but not flexible and some are rigid and unyielding. The first step is to ask yourself what you really want in this life, what the cost is personally and emotionally and decide if it is worth it. That is a lot of work. Good luck, be kind to yourself, you are not alone or that unique( tho the names may be different - I used to call "my monster" my "dark soul") and trust yourself. Then you can begin to trust her more. Where it goes from there is not knowable, but it is only with the truth that it can go someplace real. Otherwise the pattern of carrying the burdensome weight of all those secrets just goes on. And by just being here, I think you are ready for change.

Lose the fear, change your life.
_________________________
The need for love lies at the very foundation of human existence. Dalai Lama

WoR Barrie 2011

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#459609 - 01/28/14 03:53 PM Re: Full Disclosure with spouse [Re: 5thmonster]
johndoe Offline


Registered: 11/15/13
Posts: 10
Loc: california
Thanks for the great replies guys. I may not have been the one who asked the question, but all of these answers were helpful to me.

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#459634 - 01/28/14 09:34 PM Re: Full Disclosure with spouse [Re: 5thmonster]
ThisMan Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/22/13
Posts: 758
Loc: upper south
Welcome to MS, 5th.

You will indeed find this to be a place where you continue to heal your spirit and heart in a safe environment. I am just going to echo what johndoe has said… thanks for the great replies. Each is filled with the wisdom of experience. I am also going to suggest as 1life has done….rename the fear of your sexuality from the "monster" to something that you can begin to deal with. Something that will help you feel not so much shame with.

You are well on your way to gaining a new you. Congratulations on the T and on beginning to share with us.

b
_________________________
For now we see through a glass, darkly.



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#459638 - 01/28/14 10:05 PM Re: Full Disclosure with spouse [Re: 5thmonster]
KMCINVA Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1432
Approach with caution. I told people who were supposedly there for me but I was treated as though I was my abuser. The way I was treated made me believe they knew everything about abuse, trauma and the effects--wrong. It nearly killed me. They listened to inept so called medical professionals--and I use professionals quite loosely because they know squat about CSA and trauma. I believe these people should not be practicing in areas that are not their expertise or giving incompetent advise because they destroy people.

Your feelings about who you are, is the effects of CSA. Healing and exploring the pain will allow you to find who you truly are. For me I would dissociate and loss time and place. What my buried part sought was love and compassion. Maybe the love that part identified with the abuser, which is common for some victims. But I will never know what truly happened. But as I healed, I have been at healing for over 2 and half years with competent professionals and support groups. With them and having found myself with people who give love and compassion I am healing and enjoying life.

I caution you on telling your wife, if she is a compassionate and understanding woman, she may be able to understand but if she is lost in herself your life could become quite difficult. How she uses the information can affect your life. I have heard many things said by others third hand about me but the CSA, trauma, triggers and hospitalizations have been lost in what has been told. How your wife handles maybe positive and supportive, only you can make that decision.

If you tell please make sure your wife gets competent support from a professional with expertise in CSA and trauma.

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#459650 - 01/29/14 01:17 AM Re: Full Disclosure with spouse [Re: 5thmonster]
justplainme Offline


Registered: 09/01/09
Posts: 203
As you can understand by now, we all come from different backgrounds and families, we all have particular setbacks in our recovery from the effects of it, but you will find a lot of personal knowledge from all of the men here.
Shame and silence work so much in favor of the abuser that we start to believe certain things as stone truths, yet life is a kaleidoscope of experiences.,Good and bad. What really count's is our attitude towards them.
Stay healthy my friend.


Edited by justplainme (01/29/14 01:21 AM)
_________________________

"Survivors need an opportunity to define their own sexuality in their own terms, rather than in reaction to the abuse, so that they stop allowing their offenders to have power over them sexually."

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#459656 - 01/29/14 04:39 AM Re: Full Disclosure with spouse [Re: 5thmonster]
victor-victim Offline


Registered: 09/27/03
Posts: 2972
Loc: O Kanada
some thoughts about secrecy and disclosure here:

http://www.malesurvivor.org/board/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=459655#Post459655

pm me if you want the links for further study.
_________________________
Victor|Victim

War
Love
Poetry

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#459695 - 01/29/14 12:34 PM Re: Full Disclosure with spouse [Re: 5thmonster]
Castle Offline


Registered: 10/03/09
Posts: 695
Loc: NJ
I would be very cautious with this disclosure, I know men who have had both good and bad experiences.

My advise would be to work with a therapist and figure some stuff out and plan the disclosure with thier council. You should have a plan and always want a positive experience with any disclosure.

Give yourself some time to work through the abuse...incest and holding the family secret can really warp things....most important breathe and go gentle on yourself.

Good luck
_________________________

My posts can self destruct at any time..read them while you can.

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#459705 - 01/29/14 03:04 PM Re: Full Disclosure with spouse [Re: 5thmonster]
victor-victim Offline


Registered: 09/27/03
Posts: 2972
Loc: O Kanada
i agree with Castle,
slow and steady,
with lots of preparation and professional advice.
_________________________
Victor|Victim

War
Love
Poetry

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#459743 - 01/30/14 12:35 AM Re: Full Disclosure with spouse [Re: 5thmonster]
Jude Offline


Registered: 08/09/12
Posts: 1369
Loc: New England
Hey 5thmonster,

Welcome. You ask some very good questions, and have gotten some good answers. I can only add that all you've described, the confusuion about sexuality, the acting out, the secret keeping, are all common stories among the men on the site. I used to think I was the lone freak in the universe, until I learned that others have had similar experiences.

My "telling the wife about the abuse" experience did not go too well. Others have found their wives very understanding and supportive. You are probably the best judge of how to procede with your mate. I do not reccomend telling wives about sexual acting out, outside your marraige. Confessing your betrayal does not usually help the process of working through it all.

Jude
_________________________
"When I was a child
I caught a fleeting glimpse
Out of the corner of my eye
I turned to look but it was gone
I cannot put my finger on it now
The child is grown, the dream is gone
And I have become comfortably numb."
Pink Floyd

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#459854 - 01/31/14 05:20 PM Re: Full Disclosure with spouse [Re: 5thmonster]
5thmonster Offline


Registered: 01/24/14
Posts: 6
Thank you all for your comments. I do have a few more bones to dig up, so this might not be a good time for me to disclose everything, But I do believe I should give her a clue as to what is going on, and then work on it from there. My therapist did recommend not disclosing anything to my wife... Im not sure why. Since then, I have stopped seeing her. I learned a lot from her but I need to find someone else to help me.

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#459873 - 01/31/14 11:42 PM Re: Full Disclosure with spouse [Re: 5thmonster]
Hartdaddy Offline


Registered: 10/18/13
Posts: 13
Hi 5thmonster,

A lot of good advise, I do not know what more could or should be said. Let me share a bit of my past, My wife and I had been married for about 15 years when I disclosed to her that I was living a secret life. I was about 35 years old and falling apart, I had developed a sexual addiction that I could no longer control or hide. Not only was I playing with fire and risking my life I was putting my wife's health in danger as well.

Before I told her I had made plans as to where I was going to be living in the future. I truly did not think our marriage could have survived such a betrayal. It has taken years to regain her trust, we have been married now for 34 years and there are times when I am running late getting home after work or the store, I can tell from the look on her face it is still in the back of her mind.

My wife will admit that working through this has made our marriage stronger and brought us closer. Sharing with her that I was sexually abused as a child forced her to deal with her own sexual abuse issues, we were there for each other in a way that someone who had not experience the same abuse could not relate.

Several have already said this but it is worth repeating, take it ssssslow, once that genie is out of the bottle there is no turning back.

You are in my prayers
Dave

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#460069 - 02/03/14 04:38 PM Re: Full Disclosure with spouse [Re: 5thmonster]
5thmonster Offline


Registered: 01/24/14
Posts: 6
Thank you all. I want to ease her in on my child abuse but I cant get the conversation going. Its hard to just throw it out there.
Im not slipping out, my acting out is with myself in my head. I am too afraid of people and disease to act out with real people. I fear the opportunity will knock someday. I am hoping that by telling her about my child-abuse that it will help our sexual relationship. I have had issues in bed for a long time but it seems like it is getting worse and the only time that it seems to be good is whenever I have total control.
I know what you mean about considering my poor behavior as 'my monster' but I am really afraid of it and I don't want to give into it. So by not giving in to 'it', 'it' controls me just as much as if I did give in.

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#460153 - 02/05/14 04:33 AM Re: Full Disclosure with spouse [Re: 5thmonster]
peroperic2009 Offline
Moderator
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/09/11
Posts: 3566
Loc: South-East Europe
Helo 5thmonster, you started nice topic, there are many good advices.
I'll share one PM that I recently wrote about one therapy group were T has been discussing relationships between males and females, maybe it could be helpful.
So I've recently started group therapy, it is small group and and issues like love, relationships and marriage were on agenda.
So during discussion T has made interesting point and I'll try to recall it here.
She said that relationships between females are much different compared to male-female relationship (we were talking about friendships but also about love kind relationships or marriages). Friendship between females is based mainly on conversation and many times females are doing "mistake" when trying to set up the same dynamic with males and when it doesn't work. So basically my T (she is female too) said: marriage should be more like sort of "small company" with set of tasks to achieve trough time rather than to be some "team" with discussion open about current issues all time long. The base should always be on some action/tasks and not on talks/discussion.
She said relationship between partners is "object related" meaning that trough talk (and especially trough some arguing or talks about issues that could be difficult to handle) it is very easy to make other partner angry, furious or similar. And because it is relationship it is easy for both sides involved to get hurt once if things went into wrong direction.
This object related means that all our scars and vulnerabilities from our growing up could be pulled out very easily to surface by our partners and vice versa and that is the main reason why such relationship shouldn't be based mainly on conversation and why we could be very vulnerable with our partners if something very personal is on talk agenda.
Some girls were quite surprised by this explanation as they were not satisfied with amount and quality of dialogues in their relationships and wanted to talk in group how to improve it, lol. At the end therapist said that they need to work hardly to stop "talking" and demanding needless dialogue and explanations from their partners and to move focus on themselves or something different.
It was strange and interesting to listen all that, off course that all pairs can't jump in same shoes and that there are different stories.

Anyway if you feel good and confident you should talk with your wife, I'm sure she would like to help you and give you support. However problems with intimacy and if they are related to child abuse could need something even more to be done and I'm sure expert's support would be very helpful to both of you.

Keep sharing with us!

Pero
_________________________
My story

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#460271 - 02/07/14 10:39 AM Re: Full Disclosure with spouse [Re: 5thmonster]
5thmonster Offline


Registered: 01/24/14
Posts: 6
My wife is good about the amount of conversations she needs. She does know that I had a bad childhood but I never told her how bad it was. I initially started seeing a therapist because of stress issues that I was having. When the stress issues started being resolved she told me that I should speak with the therapist about my childhood. After working with the therapist for several months about my childhood my wife started asking to talk about it with her. I have always told her the reason that I do not talk to her about my childhood is because I don't want her to change her opinion of me, Then whenever I told her that the therapist recommend I don't tell her about my childhood she has not asked again... The problem is now that I want to speak with her about it, even if it does change her opinion of me. I just don't know how to start the conversation.

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#460273 - 02/07/14 11:45 AM Re: Full Disclosure with spouse [Re: 5thmonster]
On The Fringe Offline


Registered: 09/21/13
Posts: 269
Loc: Southeast USA
Interesting the T said to let it slide.

Seems asking them why they said that is in order.

I have told two women. Both had compassionate responses. One was angry toward the perp.

I have it told my wife details. She is a good old redneck girl and would probably do something that would require prison time.
_________________________
I feel more like I do now than I did when I got here.

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#460445 - 02/10/14 12:48 PM Re: Full Disclosure with spouse [Re: 5thmonster]
5thmonster Offline


Registered: 01/24/14
Posts: 6
I dont think she believed i was ready to share because i still had issues to work through. However, a couple sessions later she said ok i think you are headed in the right direction, call me if you need to schedule a session. I thought it was weird she said that because we usually scheduled the next appointment at the end of each session. I just figured she was getting unconfortable with me and didnt want to see me anymore. the topic in my last appointme was about my confusion about sexual orientation. The session ended Just after she asked me how I know I am not gay and how would it affect me if I was.

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#460446 - 02/10/14 01:37 PM Re: Full Disclosure with spouse [Re: 5thmonster]
victor-victim Offline


Registered: 09/27/03
Posts: 2972
Loc: O Kanada
wow... that just seems weird.
forget about if she is comfortable with you...
are you comfortable with her?
_________________________
Victor|Victim

War
Love
Poetry

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#460468 - 02/10/14 10:34 PM Re: Full Disclosure with spouse [Re: 5thmonster]
ThisMan Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/22/13
Posts: 758
Loc: upper south
I agree with VV… the scheduling comment seems really odd. Or should I say, the failure to schedule the next session seems odd. I would be tempted to schedule one more session so that you can ask about "her confusion" about your sexual orientation, or whatever wall she has come up against. You deserve a respectful, full closure with the T, and she deserves to give that to you in a most respectful manner…not in a way that sort of blows you off by saying "call me if you need me". Hopefully she can explain what her hangups are so you can understand.
_________________________
For now we see through a glass, darkly.



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#460644 - 02/13/14 02:36 PM Re: Full Disclosure with spouse [Re: 5thmonster]
5thmonster Offline


Registered: 01/24/14
Posts: 6
I managed to tell her about my child abuse. I would say i learned to trust her. It was just the last visit that i felt like she wanted to move on. its ok really. she was pretty far from my house anyway. I think it will be good for me to tell someone else my story. I think it will make it easier when i tell my wife. Hopefully i find someone before i just burst out with it like a fat pimple exploding all over the place.

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#462607 - 03/14/14 02:26 PM Re: Full Disclosure with spouse [Re: 5thmonster]
jas4159 Offline


Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 245
hello 5th,

I went thru this also with my ex wife. keeping in mind that this stuff is so overwhelming and trying for all of us. I think it is great your wife is involved and being there for you. But as with all difficult issues it can become difficult and painful for those of us you support us. especally wives. I wouldn't read to much into it. She may have the heart to be there for you but she may need a little break.

jsut a thought
_________________________
Thanks

rich

justanothersurvivror.wordpress.com

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