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#56593 - 12/10/03 08:20 AM Re: I want to help. I want to listen
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Sar
The first and most important thing I had to do was learn to trust myself. There was no way I could trust others untill I did that.
Not trust as in the normal everyday things of trusting her not to spend the houskeeping money on gin and horseracing instead of food; but trusting my emotional feelings enough to share them, and also to recieve emotion from her - and other people.

I might be in a somewhat extreme position regarding my emotional development, or lack of it.
I was raised in the country in a remote place with no close extended family. My parents are more cold and practical rather than warm and sharing. So I grew up with myself for company. Then I went to boarding school. That was a disaster for me, the whole ethos of the place was one of not showing emotion, because if you did there was nobody capable of responding to it. Except the abusers.
They were my source of closeness, and I have to admit - emotion.
With that sort of background what was I going to learn ?

What turned me around is still a bit of a mystery, I decided that my life was such a mess that something had to be done, and I sort of stumbled into my recovery.
I saw George Michael and a British politician on TV after their very public and humiliating downfalls, and the interviewer treated them with respect, and they said they were getting help.
That was such a demonstration of trust by both these men ( although I didn't recognise it as that back then ) that it spurred me into action.

Somehow I began to trust myself, and I disclosed to my wife - so I must have begun to trust her. But it was only a tiny bit, I half expected to be thrown out.

But what you want to know is why she didn't throw me out ?
Well, we've talked about this a lot - and the bottom line is that she loves me and always has.
It's been shakey, make no mistake. But although I was always emotionally distant I was ok in most other things. Not great, but I got by.

The one thing that's always been in my favour was that I was faithful to our marriage, and I respected that.
Even the knowledge that I had acted out with men during the marriage didn't make her throw me out, and I really believed I was going then !
But because I was learning to trust fast, I was sharing what I was experiencing and learning with her. We would talk endlessly after my therapy sessions so she understood. Maybe your husband won't do that, I don't know. But I do know that the unconditional support I got from my wife was the backbone of my healing.

We have never had cross words over anything to do with my recovery. We laid down some ground rules, honesty, no more acting out, and a few other things; and that's what's carried both of us through.
If I showed some honesty and responsibility by 'phoning her and saying "I'm having trouble here, I want to act out, help me please" then I'd get help.
I know how hard it is to pick up my cell phone and say those words, I can't imagine how hard it is hear them and not go mental at me. But I suppose she realises that help is more use that anger or berating me. My acting out is more to do with the need for humiliation, and the need to self sabotage, than sex. It's nothing to do with sex.
So making me feel even worse by berating me would probably just make me do it.

What came first, the chicken or the egg ? my self trust, or my trust in her ? I have no idea, my best guess is they grew together.
She was persistent in encouraging that growth, never in asking questions about what, when or how. Lots of question about why - "why" I was thinking a particular way about something now, and how that had changed from my old thinking, she provoked confrontation in MY thinking, and therefore I began to trust my ideas because I had a sounding board for them, I wasn't thinking in circles anymore.

I spend a lot of time in this forum because I know how much difference the support of a loved one can make. I've said before that if it wasn't for Linda I'd be a bum on the streets by now, still acting out.
What I missed as a boy, before and after the abuse, I am having to learn now at 50yo, but I've got a wonderful teacher.

I'm a lucky guy, and I have to say that if a partner makes the effort to come here and learn as much as they can about this very painful fact then their fellas are just as lucky.

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#56594 - 12/10/03 08:53 AM Re: I want to help. I want to listen
tschirret Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/16/03
Posts: 20
Dear Dave,

I want to give you a big hug for your message on this forum. For helping us , even if you probably feel that you are repeating over and over what you have already said! I do not know about the others, but I am at a stage then I need to hear the same things, to get out of the vicious circle of my crooked reasoning.
I greatly appreciate you taking the time to write such compassionate and honest answers to us partners. I trust your opinion and explanations. You sharing with us what went on with Linda and you is so important: it gives us a positive model. It gives us hope. Many, many, many thanks.
((((((((( ))))))))))
MN


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#56595 - 12/10/03 04:06 PM Re: I want to help. I want to listen
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
I also want to say thank you Dave! Whatever you're still having to learn now, it seems to me that you're doing a terrific job of it! Thank you for being so patient and kind.

To hear that what saved your marriage was just two people loving (trying to love?) each other is the best thing I can hear. The love I share with my boyfriend is possibly the only thing in my life that I have never doubted. At times it seems like the most ridiculous and imaginary thing to hold on to but even at those times I couldn't let go if I wanted.

Sar


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#56596 - 12/10/03 04:26 PM Re: I want to help. I want to listen
wifenneed Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/20/02
Posts: 91
Loc: Michigan
I want to thank Dave also, for his willingness to share with us his experiences. I learn so much from your posts! You are such a help. I feel I could learn a lot from your dear Linda also.

My husband and I have had an absolutely great few months since his last shut down/withdrawal. I know there will be another black time, but they are less and less, and are becoming easier to handle with time and insight from all the wonderful people here at MS.

Thanks again Dave!!!!

Kathy


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#56597 - 12/10/03 06:26 PM Re: I want to help. I want to listen
kolisha54 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/02/03
Posts: 475
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
Yeah - Dave - you are pretty terrific! Love to Linda, too!

_________________________
If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now... when? --Hillel

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#56598 - 12/10/03 08:10 PM Re: I want to help. I want to listen
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
\:o

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#56599 - 12/11/03 01:49 PM Re: I want to help. I want to listen
Leosha Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/18/03
Posts: 3614
Loc: Right here
Hello, and welcome.

Please try to keep yourself apart of this. By that, I mean, I guess, to not take things personal. There will be a lot happening in his mind, now that he has told you of it. Believe me of that.

But, you can not make him do anything. When first I started dealing of all this, people trying to help me were 'pushing' therapy at me (well, okay, suggesting it, but I felt pushed). But still, I had to discover it for myself. I had to finally 'find' therapy, and the person who is helping me.

No matter what you may feel will help him, he has to make those choices himself. He has to discover those options himself. You can be good friend, good partner. You can offer yourself, for him to talk or cry or whatever. But only he can decide when he can do that, and honestly, he may not even know sometime when it is possible.

So as I say, please do not take that as something personal about you. There are differences between males being sexually abused and females, differences of ideas brought on by society expectations and 'myths' of men. That does not at all mean that it is easier for women to deal with. I do not at all mean that. But, there are some things of a male being sexually abused, that it will be harder to 'face up' to. And again, it can only be done by the individual.

You being kind, loving and supportive, truly that is known and felt by him, and appreciated, I know that. I hope that you can have the patience to see progress made when he does deal more with it, but it will get worse before it gets better.

Thank you, for being such a kind person to him. I appreciate that.

leosha

_________________________
Avatar photo in memory of my younger brother Makar.

"Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted."~~~Martin Luther King Jr., 1963

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#56600 - 12/11/03 09:40 PM Re: I want to help. I want to listen
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
Hi Leosha, thanks for chiming in! I haven't met you yet but I've been following the post about your recent troubles and I'm glad you're feeling well!

Can't talk anymore now, I have to go read a bedtime story to my girls (same story, for the third day in a row :rolleyes: ), but I did speak to my boyfriend, just to let him know that it would be okay if he felt like he needed to change the parameters of our relationship, especially physically... I know he has trouble saying things that he feels will be hurtful (when he's thinking about how I feel) and I wanted to make sure he felt comfortable if that came up... he started to laugh at my worried face and gave me a big hug and a kiss, said, why would I want to be away from the only person I can tell?

So while I still am frustrated that I'm the only person he wants to speak to about this, I'm pretty psyched that he wants me around.

I have a feeling that therapy is not going to be an option for a long long time. But more on that another day.


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#56601 - 12/11/03 09:51 PM Re: I want to help. I want to listen
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
Eric,

Thanks for posting and answering my questions. I feel as though your post got lost in the shuffle but I did want to say thank you. I'm only here after all because I want to know what you guys are going through and what people like myself can do to help.

My guy is so obsessed with success and failure, what you've said makes a lot of sense. It's hard for me to think of his disclosure as anything but a victory for him, since I see it as a great step. And on the other side of that, maybe I'm too quick to anticipate failure in myself, because I just want someone else to be helping him too--I'm so afraid that I'll screw up trying to help.

Thanks again.

Sar


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#56602 - 12/11/03 10:11 PM Re: I want to help. I want to listen
ecb Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/04/03
Posts: 205
SAR,

I'm glad that what I said was of some help.

I can certianly understand why would would feel inadaquately able to help him go through this. After all, you aren't a therapist. But while therapy may or may not be something he needs, he doesn't neccessarily need it from YOU. Better to let the professionals handle that when and if he goes to see one.

I'm not exactly an expert in relationships, but what I would want from my wife is to know that she doesn't see me as weak or faulty or damaged in some way, and that she will be understanding in regards to sexual issues. i.e. having problems with flashbacks or "body memories" etc.

I can't speak for your husband but for me personally, I have trouble initiating sex because I don't want to take advantage of a woman the way I was taken advantage of. However, it's fairly likely that the last one only applies to me.

Best of luck SAR, it seems like he's very lucky to have someone so understanding. And like I said, give him lots of time and love, he'll need both.

Eric


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