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#58295 - 10/22/05 04:31 AM Re: Feelings. Including the irrational ones.
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
Tracy, this is an excellent thread, thank you for starting it.

I should say that what follows is some of MY perspective and experience as a partner of a male survivor, and not the official word of an administrator, and it is

****TRIGGERING*****

So if you don't think you can handle some harsh truth from a secondary survivor, you might want to stop reading here.


So much of what partners/friends/family feel is the inability to express what's going on with us... can't turn to anyone else with it for fear of further hurting/betraying the survivor, can't go to the survivor with it for fear of doing worse--

And some people are even shamed BY THE SURVIVOR for the things we are going through... how many of you have heard (or said) "Why would YOU need help for MY problem" or "You have no reason to react this way, you CHOOSE to deal with this stuff by dealing with me, you weren't the one abused, you can walk away from it all anytime you like" "You're trying to own my problems" "I can't handle your feelings" "It's too hard for me to think about how I've hurt you".... there is a nasty threat in this last one that if a partner continues to have "bad" feelings, it will be the partner's fault when the survivor is upset about those things that the SURVIVOR has done which hurt the PARTNER. That is unfair, as are all of these things which I have heard and read in this forum over time.

We focus so hard on being all the things that are so important for us to be-- supportive, helpful, peaceful, patient-- this creates so much PRESSURE-- it has to go somewhere... so does the rage, sadness, shame and all the rest of it... I am sure that for some survivors on these forums, those emotions in a partner are incredibly scary and triggering to face. BUT THEY EXIST.

Fozzy said:
Quote:
I want to let you know that I hear what you are saying and it sounds like you are going through emotions that a survivor feels.
This is true of MANY partners, friends, and family members when they learn that someone they love has been sexually abused. It is why they are often referred to as "secondary survivors."

I think some of the responses that seem to be directing Tracy away from her feelings of rage and blame are missing the mark. This is a forum intended for family and friends of male SA survivors to openly discuss how male sexual abuse has affected them. They have a right and a need to process ALL of it and I think Tracy showed consideration and caution in how she chose to share those emotions that might be difficult to others (by stating at the top of her post that it was the perspective of a partner and by starting another thread previously about whether or not this would be okay to do).

I don't think many people here would tell a survivor who had only started dealing with his SA two or three months ago that he should focus on being peaceful, or being a better listener, or letting go of his rage and blame. Yet partners are often expected to absorb the emotional blow of disclosure and hit the ground running with the rest of this stuff-- and forget about time or permission to deal with any of the "collateral damage" done to the relationship because of the survivor's symptoms or acting out-- nope, those are frightening, overwhelming issues that can only be handled on the survivor's timeline.

I have been meaning to start a thread on this same theme for a few days, my perspective is a bit different having dealt with some of this stuff for long enough to regain equilibrium... but people-- you can say and feel all these scary things and it will not diminish your strength and capability as a loving, patient, supportive ally. It will just make you human. What will DE-humanize anyone is denial of their needs and feelings. And so many of us do this to ourselves.

So who is out there, who needs a safe place to share from the perspective of a mostly loving and supportive (but once in a while very angry) partner?


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#58296 - 10/22/05 05:29 AM Re: Feelings. Including the irrational ones.
Born to Resist Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/30/05
Posts: 269
Loc: Southern California, USA
thanks for the posts


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#58297 - 10/22/05 07:31 PM Re: Feelings. Including the irrational ones.
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus
MaleSurvivor<

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
Wow. OK, here goes.

While the knowledge of my b/f's s/a is not new to me, the effects of it are. How could I have known what happened and not put the puzzle pieces together to see how it had damaged the man I love? How could I profess love and then not see? How selfish and stupid. I feel a tremendous amount of guilt for that. It's true that he hid the effects from me very well, almost to perfection, but I should have seen and I should have done something, anything, years ago. All of the signs were there. In bits and pieces he showed them to me, but I didn't complete the puzzle until all hell broke loose. This has revealed what I see as a pretty substantial flaw in my own character that I have a difficult time with and it makes me scared. Do I really have the ability to be strong when I must and to stand with him while he heals?

So many of you have stated that you have intimacy problems with your partner and I suppose I do to, but they are not for lack of sex. My b/f is, on top of everything else and likely because of the s/a, a sexaholic. Our sex life was very active yet as soon as the "new" wore off, he went looking for more "new." He loves me, but he needed "new" physical conquests. For 4 years we have been together, yet I didn't see this. I look back to before I caught him cheating and try to see if there were clues, but can't find them, still. I'm a professional woman with alot of responsibility and I earn a good salary. I got through a bad marriage and divorce and I've raised a daughter on my own for 18 years who I'm now putting through college. Pretty smart, right? Not! Again, am I that stupid?

My own inadequecies frighten me to death. I'm terrified that everything I give my b/f won't be enough. I won't be woman enough for him. These thoughts make me angry - at him - and then at me. Why wasn't I good enough? We're talking and crying and laughing and making love again. But will it be enough in the long term? The "new" is gone from our sexual relationship but while I find comfort in the sameness and revel in the sometimes exciting, I'm terrified that he won't/can't learn that.

Cheating is not an option for him if he wants our relationship to work. I did tell him that as a condition of our getting back together. He not only agreed to it, he says that I am the only one he wants - ever. But just because he doesn't cheat, does that mean I'll be happy? Will just the thought of him wanting to cheat set me off? Can I truly trust him again? We will survive the time necessary to make that happen? If I can't satisfy him then am I really doing him any favors by insisting that he only be with me?

Nothing like this has ever invaded my perfect little world, except the exact same thing, but the didn't the light bulb didn't go on over my head until 3 days ago. I'm adopted and found my birth mother ("M") about 17 years ago. Long story short, she is a nice woman with mental/physical issues up the wazoo. Why? because she was a victim of incest by her father and a brother. She had me at 18 and gave me up for adoption - thank god she was wise enough to see that it was the right thing to do and I'm grateful to her because I had/have a wonderful family. M and I don't communicate often because she does have such severe problems and because I can turn away from it. She lives far away, she isn't my family, except by blood and even though she's nice and we do get along, I don't have to deal.

The fact that her brother tried to find me years ago, before even she and I connected, made me question a great many things about my ancestry and to wonder whether I'm a product of the incestuous relationship that M was forced into. She was shocked when I told her that her brother had searched for me, but I never had the nerve to ask her if she knew why. I've put this little tidbit away for years because I don't need the answer. This whole mess that I now find myself in is forcing me to look back on things that I don't want to look at and THAT makes me angry and frightened too!

My b/f knows about M and her history because I told him, without knowing his. Now, I can't discuss my own fears with him because it could set off a firestorm. I understand that, I accept that, but I'm not at all happy about that. I feel like such a selfish bitch!

There is so much more..........Maybe another post to deal with other stuff. This one has taken it out of me.

Trish

_________________________
If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

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#58298 - 10/23/05 03:19 PM Re: Feelings. Including the irrational ones.
TRACYUK Offline
Member

Registered: 09/23/05
Posts: 178
ps. Its worth it though.


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#58299 - 10/23/05 04:38 PM Re: Feelings. Including the irrational ones.
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Trish,

I don't want to hijack or divert a thread that should be for partners to express their feelings. That's important, and I feel I benefit from that as well. Survivors don't live in a vacuum.

But I just want to jump in here quickly with something that I hope will interest all the partners, family and friends who see this thread. Trish, I am so glad you say all of the above. These are your feelings and expressing them will be a first step towards dealing with them. But let me assure you 100% that these things that make you feel so bad about yourself are NOT your fault. NOT AT ALL. They are the fault of abusers, who, as SAR so rightly says, harmed you by harming the man you love.

Apart from that, Trish, please believe me when I say that hardly anyone is really able to "see the signs" and read them correctly unless they have experience (therapist, social worker, survivor or closely involved with one). From an early age survivors become experts at hiding it all; nothing is more important. My guess is that the vast majority of disclosures meet with shock and astonishment.

As to how you react and help him and cope...well: Let me tell you again that as a survivor I feel most times like I am stumbling all over the place. How can I expect my loved ones to do any better? There's a very sharp learning curve - for everyone involved. That is no one's fault either.

Take care,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#58300 - 10/24/05 04:04 PM Re: Feelings. Including the irrational ones.
TRACYUK Offline
Member

Registered: 09/23/05
Posts: 178
Trish

There are two things that strike me from your post.
Stirring up of your own past and trusting the survivor.

Reading the books and articles about CSA, Mike Lews, Laura Davies/Ellen Bass etc etc...I felt a huge amount of fear. I then started to remember abuse from my my own childhood, not sexual but revolting none the less. Over the last weeks I've sought out some help for me, a therapist who I think I'm going to get on with, and tomorrow I'm going to see her for the first time.

But how do I feel about this? My partners life as he was living it had come to a dead end, it was utterly unsustainable and he is quite sure he'd have ended up either dead or in a mental hospital if it hadn't all come out and he started to heal.

But my life; its not that bad actually, good job, lots of friends, i've successfully removed the people from my life who bring crap into it and don't add anything good, I was in love with a gorgeous man who had his faults, some a bit odd but he was OK on the whole, better than OK he was great. What is the incentive for me to dig up all of my inadequacies, some extreamly well hidden and go through that pain to get to the other side? I'm watching someone go through it and my god it looks awful! I've seen is my partners coping mecahnisms collapse and him literally fall apart BUT BUT BUT now he's putting himself back together. And he's changing. I know deep in my heart that I'm going to have to change also.

It suits me to have a man who doesn't demand anything emotionally from me because I find it quite scary to feel needed, I don't cope well with others demands of me. I can give but on my terms please. Is that because my father demanded things of me he had no right to demand of a child. I'm independant and successfull, I'm a liberated woman who can run her own life. But am I really. Maybe the bigest success of my life are my own coping mechanisms?? Who knows but I do know this.

I love that man with all my heart and he's changing. If I'm going to be everything he deserves, if he's going to be able to ask freely for love and attention and affection and maybe even sex!! Then one things clear to me. I'm going to have to change too. Do I really have to do this right now. I'm exhausted. We've got one crisis going on in our home do we honestly need another. My partner says definatly yes. He is able to see and articulate the things about me he wishes could change and one of those is quite blunt.....This leads me on to trust. My partner has many confusions about his life and one of those has been his sexuality but for him he's arriving at this place.... he might have slept with hundreds of men but he is not gay, he doesn't know what he is but he knows he does not want to live with a man.He wants to live with me. I want assurances that he is heterosexual. Why do I want him to be able to label himself like that, AND I DO KNOW THAT LABELS ARE FOR CANS.... I want this because I'm bl**dy scared that if I let go of my self protectiveness and lean on him like a healthy person would be able to he might later say he's gay and then I'll fall down. And he has said to me this; "I'm not gay, and anyone, including you, who doesn't accept this can f*** off" ......So....I've made a policy decision. I'm going to believe him. and I'll stay with him and I'll continue to love him. But if I'm ever going to realy trust him and allow our relationship to really live up to its potential I need some help. and for that reason I'm off tomorrow to spill my guts to that therapist and hope with all my heart that what follows isn't as messy as what I'm watching unfold at home right now.

I must be mad. But madly in love also.

peace and joy.

Tracy


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#58301 - 10/24/05 11:52 PM Re: Feelings. Including the irrational ones.
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus
MaleSurvivor<

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
Tracy,

You sure opened a pandora's box with this thread, but not in a bad way. When I sat down to write, I was going to join with you 100% on your rage against the abuser, your feelings of isolation, not wanting to further hurt your loved one, etc., etc. What came out surprised even me and all of it really didn't belong here. I'll address it again, at another time.

Thank you and Roadrunner for your supportive and kind words. I know that I'm not really at fault for anything that was done to turn my world upside down any more than my b/f was at fault for being born to a monster, but I sometimes feel at such a loss and like I'm just floundering around with no direction. For the moment, at 6:44p.m., that feeling has passed but what's so odd is that by 7:00 I could be all shook up again.

I suppose it's the choice we make for love. I believe it is the right one for me and for so many of us. ROCK ON!

Trish

_________________________
If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

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#58302 - 10/25/05 11:24 AM Re: Feelings. Including the irrational ones.
TRACYUK Offline
Member

Registered: 09/23/05
Posts: 178
Trish

I also had no clue what my post would look lke before I wrote it which is odd because previous cautious attempts at posting have taken ages and been carefully>

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