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#462516 - 03/13/14 10:35 AM Could there be more? Advice welcome
SoniaDx Offline


Registered: 02/18/11
Posts: 21
I haven't posted in a while because things with my husband had been going fairly well. He completed 3 years of therapy and was in a good place regarding his recovery. He understood it wasn't his fault and learned ways to calm himself when he gets triggered. Of course since therapy ended he's had a few moments of acting out (being distant/avoiding sex/being irrationally angry) when he occasionally triggered but those were very few and far between. 5-7 months in between.

But for the last five months the triggers are more common and the acting out is getting progressively worse. He's gotten back into some old bad habits which I haven't seen in a few years. I thought that the cause could be the birth of our first child (a boy) but that doesn't seem to be the case. He's very affectionate and attached to him and has readily admitted the few times he was jealous of him. The reactions were the opposite of the acting out. He also shared his fears about something happening to him and again we worked through it fairly easily without a lot of drama and no acting out.

Lately stories in the news regarding CSA have set him off (beyond his normal triggers) where they never did in the past. He doesn't want to process his feelings and then explodes. I've suggested seeing a T again either together or alone and the very mention of seeing one sets him off worse than stories about CSA do or other normal triggers. The first time he saw a T he was nervous and uneasy and reluctant. This reaction is extreme and out of character.

Since we met I had a feeling something was "off". He has very few memories of his early childhood. His father molested two female cousins when they were children and his reaction to his own experiences with an older woman at 14 always seemed off. As if there was more to the story or perhaps other things occurred before or after. While I don't want to rule out the birth of our son almost a year ago as being partly to blame I just feel like his extreme mood swings and anger are worse now than he was when he first disclosed.

Could there be more he's not telling me? Things he's now remembered? I know recovery is an ongoing process with setbacks. Do others have setbacks that seem worse than the initial moment/catalyst that starts the recovery process? I know I cannot force him to return to therapy but seeing as how therapy was an overall positive experience what may cause someone to shut down and be almost belligerent at the thought of getting help other than new triggering memories/things beginning to effect him? He prefers to stew in his own extreme anger. An anger that never seems to be directed at anyone that's "present" during his outbursts.

Thanks for reading and for any insight.

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#462581 - 03/14/14 02:03 AM Re: Could there be more? Advice welcome [Re: SoniaDx]
focusedbody Offline


Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 340
Loc: NY
SoniaDx:

Originally Posted By: SoniaDx
I thought that the cause could be the birth of our first child (a boy) but that doesn't seem to be the case.


Speaking as someone who didn't directly deal with any of the uncomfortable childhood memories until two years after the birth of my children, I can't really stand on completely solid ground. However, I will say that the birth of a child changes a lot of things.

First of all is the feeling of wanting to make everything different. For oneself and for one's child. This feeling is basically a constant and tends to feed one's need to heroically change everything. It's very hard to talk it down, to balance the need to protect one's child with the need to take care of oneself.

Even when there is no childhood trauma, this balancing act is something to learn, as you may already know.


Originally Posted By: SoniaDx
He's very affectionate and attached to him and has readily admitted the few times he was jealous of him. The reactions were the opposite of the acting out.


In an article on this website, another possibility is mentioned which might be more of what you are talking about. It is described as "acting in". I suppose the way I understand it is, when "acting out" has been curtailed, it doesn't necessarily mean that the internal pressure has gone away. Thought patterns that lead to negative emotions can also create behavior that shows some difficulty, unrest, or pain. These patterns are habits of relating to oneself that have become ingrained. In my case, they are part and parcel of memories that seem to have become suppressed or not dealt with.

Here is a link to the article:

http://www.malesurvivor.org/ArchivedPages/singer2.html

I'm wondering about his discussing feelings of jealousy. These might be good to find some context for, if nothing else than to slowly begin understanding what may be going on in with his feelings about how a child is cared for.

In my case, feelings about my infancy didn't really surface until my children were past that stage. On the one hand, that may have been a good thing, as it enabled me to be a good father in their early years. On the other hand, as my relationship with their mother crumbled, it is clear now that there were long buried feelings that could not find their way to my conscious thinking without some concerted effort and openness.

For instance, when my children were born, I remember my own mother's behavior as somewhat surprising. She seemed troubled by something and unable to make the affectionate connection I expected. It was as if the decision to have children and the birth itself had opened a window on what had really happened way back when. She soon disclosed how my father had not really been as "hands on" as she would have liked. Listening to her, I felt as if I knew what she meant. I felt as if her disappointment had been set aside in favor of raising me.

What would transpire over the next few years was the unfolding of that memory, whether I liked it or not. These days I'm dealing with the constant frustration of trying to talk to Mom without anticipating other things she may have set aside and which may have affected our relationship.

As you have seen in my other post, I have gradually had to grapple with a clearer understanding of my upbringing. As I do, I can only slowly allow myself to bring into my present consciousness what I have to accept.

Originally Posted By: SoniaDx
Lately stories in the news regarding CSA have set him off (beyond his normal triggers) where they never did in the past.


Just for the record, this has happened to me also. While it seems easy to simply draw the line from the stories to one's own life, I think it can also take some time to get to know what the pain is that is emerging.

What's interesting about this is there are some stories that affect me more than others. Perhaps it has something to do with where I am in my recovery and what particular memories I'm trying to deal with at the moment.

Originally Posted By: SoniaDx
Could there be more he's not telling me? Things he's now remembered? ..... I know I cannot force him to return to therapy but seeing as how therapy was an overall positive experience what may cause someone to shut down and be almost belligerent at the thought of getting help other than new triggering memories/things beginning to effect him?


I know that saying anything about memories is uncertain at best and misleading at worst, so please take what I say here with even less than a grain of salt. My hunch is that it's not that there are more memories of abuse on the level of what he has explored already. It is more likely that he is asking more of himself as a man and as a father, which can cause some friction in his understanding of himself. What can seem like little failures can become extra big in the face of memories of those who were trying to take care of him, yet who also may have failed in their own way.

So if he did do some therapy, it seems possible that it would be a different kind of process. Perhaps more like something that would help him shed an old skin, drop some old self-defeating habits in favor of something more wholesome and healing.

Hope you can weather together whatever is there and difficult to see until more becomes clear as the old pains find a way out of the troubled past.

FB
_________________________
Lose the drama; life is a poem.

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#462615 - 03/14/14 04:26 PM Re: Could there be more? Advice welcome [Re: SoniaDx]
SoniaDx Offline


Registered: 02/18/11
Posts: 21
Thank you for your poignant insight FB. The article you linked to about acting in describes my husband exactly! As for the jealousy i think that you're right and that there's more too it then meets the eye. He has trust issues with women thanks to his perp and his mother and after years of sabotaging our relationship he finally trusts me not to leave him however now he has to share me with someone else, our son. I also think seeing me mother our son causes resentment at his upbringing with his own mother who lacked a certain degree of warmth, due to his grandmother also being cold/emotionally unavailable. He's made comments that he wishes he could have/have had a mother like me. (Both growing up and now).

Perhaps his new behaviors were a delayed reaction to our son and I should be thankful that despite his feelings of jealousy etc he is able to enjoy most of fatherhood.

What you said about feeling adequate and being enough once you became a father also resonated with me. I think we all worry if we'll be enough for our kids but in the case of my husband the every day challenge of providing and being a good father seems to weigh heavily on his mind. Especially money and finances his primary trigger.

Thank you again for your perspective.

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#462635 - 03/14/14 10:48 PM Re: Could there be more? Advice welcome [Re: SoniaDx]
focusedbody Offline


Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 340
Loc: NY
SoniaDx:

The fact that he says that he wishes he could have/have had a mother like you seems to be a healthy observation, albeit painful to carry. What might help is to understand that this kind of dual awareness will probably need to continue in order for him not to implode.

One thing that also seems to happen as we raise children is that all of the stages of development tend to collapse into one moment. For me it's like a tunnel back to the past that won't let me see the different points at which I grew, where I made leaps and reached milestones. It's like the pain just lets me understand one thing: that I didn't get what I needed. While that is important to acknowledge and to speak openly to oneself and others, it seems also important to relax into an awareness that things happen over time. We may not get true second chances but we can get a sense of where we stumbled and felt defeated. From there perhaps some wisdom can arise that will find some way to a little healing.

One more thing you might want to consider is that if his abuse happened when he was a teenager, that period of time is as crucial to development as toddlerhood. There is some research out there that says that the adolescent brain gets partly put on hold during those years. My sister has commented that her teenager is really more like a 3 or 4 year old trying to learn everything all over again.

So if your husband is somehow connecting dots from his adolescence to the world, both big and small, he may be unconsciously feeding a little of the fire within. Even if connecting the dots is a way of reaching more understanding, he may need to open up the space within a little more to feel where the difficulties lie.

More specifically, in my case, the shame around my parents relationship not being secure was unconsciously acted out by me as I made my way into the professional world at a young age. Lo and behold, I declared who I was to the world, knew it in my heart and then had no support to continue growing. My adolescence was etched in the memory of celluloid.

With the help of therapy, this website, caring people and a lot of reflection, I have been able to see that that false start in life was an echo of my infancy and birth. It doesn't make everything better knowing this. It simply puts it into a perspective that allows me to function better. As I go on, the voice reaches a little deeper into the boy who was on his way to becoming a man and stepped off the path a few too many times.

Hope you can be there for him as his concept of himself widens to include the difficulty and the progress.

FB
_________________________
Lose the drama; life is a poem.

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#462862 - 03/19/14 02:29 PM Re: Could there be more? Advice welcome [Re: SoniaDx]
sugarbaby Offline


Registered: 08/17/08
Posts: 341
My H had some issues after our son was born (I thought he was just 'adjusting' and it was a first child for both of us) and then when our daughter was born all hell broke loose.

That really is a difficult adjustment for some CSA guys from what I've read.

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