We all have work to do when it comes to healing from CSA. It is tragic, it robs us of our inner soul, it confuses us as to you we are.
Like you said we first learn to deceive ourselves in so many ways--deny it happened, pretend it had no effect on us. We become lost in ourselves. The abuser conditions us to a life of silence, silence creates shame and sadly acceptance of what was done.
For me, I thought I could hide the abuse and what was done to me. But every time someone looked at me differently or made me feel uncomfortable, I would think they know and are looking down at me. In the church's cellar my mind took over to protect me. Sometimes, I could leave and it would be over. I was physically there but my mind was elsewhere. Sometimes felt I was looking down and watching what was being done to me and the most difficult times were when I was there in full force.
At 49 the child and the abuse had full control of me. No longer did I have the strength to fight and bury the child. I was battling the child I buried and those around me that triggered the past. Two converging forces, squeezing me from both ends, and like the child I left. I let the two forces,both evil in my mind,to figure out what needed to be done. The lost child squeezed to from the body to the mind, took over looking for the love it only knew. Not a wise decision, as I reflect in hindsight, but I could not control. But I had learned how I could survive. For me it was dissociation and fugues, for you it is compulsions to escape the pain, the void we are left with in our hearts and soul.
I did not know how to be a survivor, just a victim to myself, to the abuser and to others around me. As a victim I left myself open for attack. It was only after hitting rock bottom did I realize I needed help. I resisted early on in therapy. But finally a breakthrough. I began to attend support groups, first SNAP for both genders abused by a priest. Then a second for men who had been sexually abused. I can only tell you, slowly acknowledging and speaking of the abuse allowed me to heal. I began to think of myself differently. I will be honest, it was not an easy path, ups and downs, setbacks and steps forward. I have been at it for almost three years. And today I can honestly say I am happy and surround myself with supportive people, I have not been hospitalized for the effects of the abuse in almost a year, I have learned new methods to cope, dissociation and fugues are no longer the coping mechanisms of choice.
For me, the options you mentioned but had managed to avoid may give you hope on healing. You sound like you have a wonderful supportive wife. Make sure she takes care of herself as you begin the healing journey. You mentioned you had escaped the conflicts of the abuse created, so it may be time to find a path that allows you to heal before these conflicts control your life.
I wish you well, and hopefully the experiences of others will be insightful to you as you undertake a path to heal.
Remember, we are here for you, we have lived what you are living, we know healing requires support and finding what works for you. We all reacted differently to the abuse and we all heal differently.
Please keep us posted. We are hear to support and if you need to vent, I have done it so many times, just let it out.