Jaco ( Hopeful ? )
Last night my wife and I were talking about the bad old days Before Therapy - BT - when I was acting out, and about the way she dealt with the discovery of my behaviours etc. And she opened up a lot more about it than she has done before.
The circumstances of her discovering my acting out were different to yours in a way. I didn't disclose my CSA to her, or anyone else, for about 25 years after it stopped. Then I started therapy, and it was during this time that she saw on our computer something that she thought I'd downloaded and was written by another survivor ( or something like that ) It was only as she continued reading that it slowly dawned on her that I'd written it, and forgoton to delete it. By then the secret was out, she knew exactly what I'd done barely 12 months previously. What I'd written was a part of my journal, and possibly the most detailed thing I've ever written.
To this day she is still amazed that I could have hidden my acting out so convincingly, but I grew up in a world of secrecy and lies, I accepted that way of life because there was no alternative for me while at boarding school, and I had 5 years to learn it well.
Learn it I did though, and I used those skills as I acted out and for all the previous years when I kept silent about my abuse.
But now she realises that I have those skills ( they haven't gone away ! ) she has developed a new level of radar that see's lies and bullshit before I open my mouth!
That's because I came clean at the time she read my journal and didn't try to lie my out of it.
The thought crossed my mind believe me, but by then the therapy was changeing my behaviours and outlooks by the simple fact of 'being honest to myself' in therapy was producing positive changes that I wanted and needed. So I chose truth, and in return I got love and support, a damn good deal in my book!
That trust has since increased many times over, because it was a two way thing.
I have exactly the same opportunities to act out that I did before, and I have been propositioned a couple of times when I've used public toilets as well. I walked away, politely refusing their offers and wondering if they were in the same boat I was in a few years ago, they probably were.
Does she ever question me about my behaviours or express her concerns that I might be still acting out? Not to me she doesn't, and she wouldn't tell me if I asked anyway. But I honestly believe that it isn't a concern to her anymore because she has learned to trust me again, and I've earned that trust. We both also know the cosequences of any further acting out - I become homeless!
We both also know that I couldn't act my way through it anymore, not like I did in the past when I could act out on the way home and 5 minutes later walk through the door as though nothing had happened.
So "tangible proof" of change is quite possibly an unrealistic thing to want.
Why ? because who we were before is not the 'real' man you want back. And because it takes a while to get past the 'act' we are very capable of putting on.
I put on a show for my wife for 25 years, I was the average husband that gave little cause for complaint. But underneath I was a mess, and had been since I was 11yo and the abuse started.
Some of the act I put on was pure macho crap that I used to bolster myself up with as well, but a big part of my act was to act stupid and let my wife do all the work, not the everyday stuff like washing dishes but the important stuff like looking after the money and booking holidays, anything that required a bit of organising.
My act was a complex one that had a huge impact on our lives, not solely limited to abused related thing in a direct way that we would ( now with hindsight ) expect.
The man you really want back is the one you thought you fell in love with, and he's going to be there somewhere.
But be prepared for change, because as I've dumped all 'my crap' I've learned a whole pile of new things, like self respect and esteem. So when she pisses me off now I tell her about it! I don't just accept it and internalise it like I used to do. It's just like a real marriage now.
I know that I've changed dramatically in the last 4 or 5 years, and people who haven't seen me in that time have commented on the change when they do meet me.
But my wife said last night that the 'Dave' she fell in love with is still there in some way or another, the basic building blocks are still in place, with all their faults :rolleyes: , but the inner Dave has done a complete U turn, for the better - or so she says!