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#60206 - 06/10/04 02:20 PM New to board looking for advice
lovehim Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/10/04
Posts: 2
Loc: NJ
HI

I am new to this forum and am looking for some advice.

My husband had a less then desirable childhood. His mom left him and his brother at age 8, he was then SA by his stepmom at age 14. After the incident he told his brother (who at the time was living with mom) and Mom got him out of house.

He is a good man who has three children. His son (age 13) lives with us full time. His girls are with their mom but spend alot of time with us. Recently he has gotten more and more distrustful of me and more and more angry.

When I try and educate him that he was abused he agrees, yet when I use the term Sexually Abused or Molested he says he wasn't. Everything that i have read tells me that his anger, distrustfulness and relationship issues are text book to what happened to him. He wants the best for his son but I think that when he sees how well I treat his son it makes him mad that he didn't have that from his Stepmother.

Recently he started going through my car and computer convinced that I was having an affair. I am not and for 7 years have totally devoted myself to him and his family. I am a very logical person and can see why he is the way that he is, but that doesn't make it any easier to deal with. This recent activity upset me beyond my belief.

He refuses to go see someone to talk about his anger etc...His mom did not get him therapy after the SA occured (which gets me mad every tinme I think about it). He also doesn't understand that what happened when he was young can affect him now.

How do I get him to see a therapist or at least read stuff? I have printed stuff out before but he will read a page and put it down saying he doesn't need that stuff.

I am deeply in love with him and want to help him and us.

Any advice will be helpful


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#60207 - 06/10/04 03:20 PM Re: New to board looking for advice
outis Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 2260
Loc: Maryland USA
Lovehim,

You can't force him to get better. If he recognizes abuse, but denies "sexual abuse" or "molestation," then he's in denial about what really happened.

Would he read some of the stuff here? There are stories from many of us in the "Survivor Stories" section. There are articles from survivors and from therapists off the menu at the top of the page, under "survivors" and "profssionals."

There is a PDF file of a paper by David Lisak, Ph.D that showed me a lot about how much I had in common with people who "really were" abused. It's big, 2 megs, online at

http://www.jimhopper.com/pdfs/Lisak
_(1994)_Male_Survivor_Interviews.pdf

That's all one URL, for some reason I have to break it in two in order to post it.

At one point I wondered if I had participated in his study and blocked the memory.

The last word is that he has to decide for himself to look at what happened and look at how it affects him today. You can't do that for him any more than you can inhale for him.

You can take care of yourself. Please do that.

Thanks,

Joe

_________________________
"Telemachos, your guest is no discredit to you. I wasted no time in stringing the bow, and I did not miss the mark. My strength is yet unbroken…"—The Odyssey, translated by W.H.D. Rouse

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#60208 - 06/10/04 07:17 PM Re: New to board looking for advice
RICK57 Offline
Member

Registered: 12/31/03
Posts: 1611
Loc: ENGLAND
Lovehim - try another angle.... he was abused at 14 years old by his stepmother. Your Stepson / his son is 13 years old and lives with you - perhaps he is wondering if history is going to repeat itself - 'When He sees how well I treat His Son it makes him mad'(I don't think that you are intending to do anything like that, but if he is even thinking it subconsciously....).

Like I said it's another angle - could be a discussion point for you both?

Best wishes...Rik

_________________________
*Never look down on anybody unless you're helping them up.
*I was seeking a way of expressing my anger - I found hope!
*There are many battles before the war is won! It can be won!

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#60209 - 06/10/04 07:54 PM Re: New to board looking for advice
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Love Him
we're a difficult bunch of people to live with for sure, our heads are full of confusion, doubt and fear. And the only people capable of dealing with it are us - unfortuantely.

However well intentioned, other people don't seem to be able to push us into healing.
That choice is ours, but we do appreciate help, support and love when we do make that choice.

Which is frustrating for partners like yourself, and indeed for Survivors like myself and many guys here who have changed our lives.
So, what can you do ? "help, support and love" is the answer I suppose, let him know that whenever he's ready you're going to be right there with him. Let him know that you trust him, believe him and don't judge him.
It's a tall order I know, but healing seems to be a very selfish process from our point of view.
The very nature of healing is so intense that it's all we can do to cope with that at times, the rest of everyday life falls onto our partners and supporters.

It's tough going, but worth it.

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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#60210 - 06/10/04 10:43 PM Re: New to board looking for advice
TeeJayUU Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 04/30/04
Posts: 262
Loc: MidWest
Dear Love Him,

As one of "Hims", thank you for doing just that! My wife knew about my SA before we were married. She gently nudged and urged me at certain times to seek T for my past. It took a BIG TIME CRISIS after 14 years of marriage, I for THE FIRST TIME realized that what I went through was sexual abuse, not "just life".

Keep on lovin that man of yours!

TJ

_________________________
"There is a plan for me, God has a Purpose, I know there is a reason that I'm ALIVE!" Cherish Grace
PEACE HOPE LOVE

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#60211 - 06/11/04 10:16 AM Re: New to board looking for advice
lucentny Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/08/04
Posts: 20
Dear lovehim,

I am relatively new here too. Have been a member here since January when things re: my relationship with my boyfriend began to quickly go downhill. He "acted out" the same way: he would shut me out, would snap at me for the everying, etc. Holidays are a bad, bad, ugly time for many surivors if their abuses were family members.

In January of this year, I decided to break-up with him and it took that "crisis" for him to FINALLY reach out and seek help. I think it had to get to the point where his whole world was falling apart before he would go. Unfortunately the therapist who he was begining to build a trust with moved and now he is starting from scratch with a new one. We got back together and tried to muddle through...

When a survivor reaches a point when they acknowledge they need help, let me just warn you to fasten your seatbelt. If things are bad now, it probably get much more rocky once he begins to really dig and unearth all the feelings he has been hiding for so long....not only to you, but more importantly to himself.

We currently are not together, and that is his choice not mine. I love him sooooooooooo, sooooooooo, much. I am sitting here waiting for him.....hoping that he will realize that he can trust me and that I won't betray him....am trying to be strong for him as he sorts himself out. I am so proud of him for doing what he is doing, but at this stage (very begining of his therapy) he doesn't want me around. Heartbreaking for both of us, and it's been an emotional rollercoaster.

I'm sorry things are so difficult for you:-( Please do come back here for support and people on this board provide sound advice and support. A resource that was actually very helpful for me was a book written by Mic Hunter: Abused Boys. I gave a copy to my boyfriend...or I guess for the moment ex-boyfriend, and he found it helpful too. He said that he doesn't even know where to begin to think and feel and at the end of each chapter in the book it asks you (the reader) questions. For example in the first chapter it defines what is SA...your husband might not think what happened to him was actually SA....in the book it recounted a story of how one his clients actually thought SA was strictly intercourse.

Sigh. You are in a difficult position and all I can say to you is what everyone else posted above. He has to be the one to heal himself. He has to want to make it happen and it isn't your role in life to "fix" him....all the love and effort on your part won't work. Hopefully, he'll realize this and begin the very tough process.

I send you hugs. Please know that you have support here.

-lucentny


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#60212 - 06/11/04 02:47 PM Re: New to board looking for advice
PAS Offline
Member

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 577
Loc: Canada
>>>When I try and educate him that he was abused he agrees, yet when I use the term Sexually Abused or Molested he says he wasn't. Everything that i have read tells me that his anger, distrustfulness and relationship issues are text book to what happened to him.

Sounds like denial.. but try not to be too hard on him if he is still in denial. Be aware that denial has a purpose - accepting one's past abuse history necessarily comes with a flood of uncontrollable emotions that can paralyze someone for months or years. Denial is a way to keep that at bay until the person is able to deal with it, or until it just overwhelms them and they have no choice but to deal with it. Its a coping technique - not necessarily a good or effective one but something that he has to do at this time in order to "manage".


>>>Recently he started going through my car and computer convinced that I was having an affair. I am not and for 7 years have totally devoted myself to him and his family. I am a very logical person and can see why he is the way that he is, but that doesn't make it any easier to deal with.

No of course it doesn't because this whole issue and the way people react to it is beyond logic. There are no straight lines, no direct cause-and-effect linkages, no guaranteed or predictable responses to SA or abuse of any kind. There are some "common" or typical response and recovery patterns, but everyone proceeds through the various stages in their own way at their own speed.

>>This recent activity upset me beyond my belief.

I would be upset too. The only tip I can give at this time is to become REALLY good at a) defining appropriate and inappropriate behaviur and b) defining what is "your stuff" and what is "his stuff". We as friends and family only have the right to comment/act when it is THEIR stuff that is manifesting itself in inappropriate behaviour. If it is their issue (i.e. which therapist they should see and when) or if he is acting within appropriate bounds, then there is not much we can do or say that wont be percieved as intrusion.

>>>He refuses to go see someone to talk about his anger etc...

Generally people dont until they see a reason for THEM to do so. People dont heal for others, they have to find a reason within themselves to do it. Either they have lost a lot, they have alienated themselves, have lost jobs, friends, become addicts, etc.

>>>His mom did not get him therapy after the SA occured (which gets me mad every tinme I think about it).

Not every parent fulfills their basic protective responsibilities. My mom failed to protect me from my dad when he was on his abusive rampages.

>>He also doesn't understand that what happened when he was young can affect him now.

It took me a long time to realize that now. I guess you could explain to him that all humans (all animals) learn certain fundamental beliefs about themselves and their safety in this world when they are kids, and those beliefs affect how we act and relate and see things and operate as adults. And those of us who have been abused manage to create some pretty warped, inaccurate belifs about the world as a way to protect ourselves as kids, but those coping techniques STOP working for us as adults and instead can create any one (or some of) isolation, anger, relationship problems, work/career problems, trust issues, secondary abuse issues, and even addictions.

>>>How do I get him to see a therapist or at least read stuff? I have printed stuff out before but he will read a page and put it down saying he doesn't need that stuff.

You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink.

The only tip I can give you is to lay down the law with respect to how he treats you (i.e. the way he treated you with respect to his suspicions about about you having an affair was WAAAY out of bounds) and any other "symptomatic" behaviours. It is really up to him to come to the conclusion of what is behind it all.

Unfortunately for him, as for people who are in serious need of recovery/healing, his behaviour will have to seriously cause him some serious internal PAIN in order for him to be motivated to seek help - and unfortunately we as partners sometimes act (classic codependent) to protect our partners from that pain. Be careful NOT to protect him from the pain too much - he needs to find his own motivation.

In addition to laying down the law on how you expect to be treated, you can tell him taht you strongly think he should see someone and that you fully believe that his SA will be a problem between you, but after that the ball is totally in his court. Unfortunately with people in denial there is little you can do until they realize they have a problem. If he is still in denial, he doesnt realize he has a problem and he will do all he can to focus the "problem" elsewhere (i.e. his rampaging paranoid inquiry into your non-affair).

>>>I am deeply in love with him and want to help him and us.

The best thing you can do then is to NOT be too involved with his recovery, but focus on how his behaviour, which is affected by his SA is affecting you and the relationship. Anything above and beyond that will likely be interpreted as intrusion and will probably a) get your head bitten off and b) eventually will sound like nagging.


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#60213 - 06/11/04 06:06 PM Re: New to board looking for advice
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

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

Quote:
Everything that i have read tells me that his anger, distrustfulness and relationship issues are text book to what happened to him.
I once said something along these lines to my boyfriend; I suggested that it might help him to know that he wasn't alone, that people had LEARNED about this stuff, studied it, that there was education to be had... that sort of knowledge has always been a comfort to me, after all.

My boyfriend said, "So you want me to learn that what happened to me was nothing special and it happens to lots of people?" \:\( :rolleyes:

I don't think anyone could read Dr. Lisak's paper and feel that what happened to those men is "nothing special." But I think that the fear of being dismissed in this way (especially if people have been telling you to "get over" your feelings all your life) is what kept my boyfriend from reading the paper in the first place.

You can't mess with someone's fears, or educate the fear out of them, even if you know the fears are irrational and have no basis in truth. You have to accept your husband's denial/fear as true FOR HIM at the moment and try to help him move on from there. It sounds gloomy, I know, but eventually living "with" the fear and anger will go from comfortable to claustrophobic and then he will feel the need to move into a new space. If you try to move him into a new space now the fear and anger will just go with him.

You DO NOT have to accept abusive/unreasonable anger or out-of-bounds behavior from him. And Rick is absolutely right that he is probably projecting/reliving part of his own childhood on to you, his son, and your relationship with his son. I don't know if you would really want to force him into a discussion about this, but it might be helpful for him to hear you say, "I am not (stepmom)."

take care
SAR


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#60214 - 06/14/04 09:21 PM Re: New to board looking for advice
lovehim Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/10/04
Posts: 2
Loc: NJ
Thank you to all that replied to me.

You have all given me some food for thought. I think that I will try and get him to read this site. I don't know if it will work, but I will try.

I know he wants to be a better person, it is just that he can't seem to get there.

At the very minimum this site has shown me that I am not alone.

Thanks so much again


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