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#61195 - 01/02/01 03:30 PM Looking for support.....
searching Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/16/00
Posts: 21
Hi, all.

I'm the wife of a survivor. I've known about the abuse since before we were married 14 years ago, but only in the last few years has all of the baggage and pain from the abuse really been "out" in our marriage. My husband nearly had a sexual encounter with a young man two and a half years ago. He told me about it, and began seeking help for the devastating effects of his abuse. Things were better for a while, but then things got worse, and finally he gave in to his compulsions and had an encounter with someone several months ago. He finally confessed this to me after several weeks, and I was emotionally destroyed. I stuck with him in spite of the pain, and he entered a program for Sexual Addicts, and started facing up to all of the awful facets of the abuse and their legacy in our lives.

We've made a lot of progress, but the going is slow sometimes. I'm so proud of my husband (he posts here sometimes, and may recognize me, but I'm proud to say I'm proud of him!!), but I still suffer from fear, anxiety, and jealousy. I've also realized that I'm a definite codependent and have some abuse issues of my own, which I'm dealing with in therapy.

The most painful things are facing the truth of our changed relationship, living with the fear of being betrayed again, and the constant sense that some kind of doom will fall on us, that we can't deal with this huge issue. Some days I feel hopeful. Other days I'm filled with despair and a sense of grief and loss.

I'd be grateful for support from others in similar circumstances, and would be happy to give support back.

Wishing the best in 2001 to everyone, but especially those coping with this...


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#61196 - 01/03/01 07:50 AM Re: Looking for support.....
walldestructer Offline
Member

Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 5
Loc: Boston, MA
My heart goes out to you. I am not married, but my boyfriend has the same issues. Funny, today I came into work and usually feed my fears by reading all the bisexual gay stuff, but last night his issues resurfaced and he psuhed me away. He feels too much pressure while he is in recovery. I feel angry today because I have tried so hard suring this, to forget the betrayal, he too had an encounter. What works for you when he shuts down? It is so scary.


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#61197 - 01/03/01 04:38 PM Re: Looking for support.....
searching Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/16/00
Posts: 21
It's really hard, isn't it. That was one of the worst things for me, too--when he got angry, or defensive, or just plain shut down and I didn't know what was going on. Then I'd start imagining all kinds of terrible things--he did something awful, there are tons of things he hasn't told me, etc.

There are a few things that I do to help myself. One is looking for support like this. Another is writing in a journal. I also see a therapist, which helps because I start to realize how much of what I'm going through is just a repeat of patterns from my family--so, sometimes, I can start to see why I'm so scared and lost, and make some sense out of it.

But sometimes none of that helps, and I end up buried in pain. My mind becomes filled with images of what did/might have happened in that encounter he had. I go off into all kinds of huge anxiety about what might happen to us, or what might be happening already that I don't know about. I've done a lot of crying. I've spent a lot of time grieving over the relationship I thought I had, and coming to terms with the truth. That doesn't mean I lost everything--in fact, there are times when things are good, and I feel okay. But this is slow and not easy.

I wish I could write more, but I have to run--however, I'd be willing to e-mail if you'd like to. Maybe we can help each other out. In the meantime, please take care of yourself. Awful as it is, it's good to know someone out there understands.


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#61198 - 01/28/01 01:26 PM Re: Looking for support.....
sas Offline
Member

Registered: 01/28/01
Posts: 31
Loc: Chicago, IL USA
I am amazed that this resource has come into my life just when I need it most. Thanks to all of you for showing your souls. I am a survivor of sexual abuse and my husband was my anchor through my recovery. Last Saturday morning, after years of nightmares and a detachment from a part of himself (he called it his angry 15 year old), he told me that he wasn't sure he was supposed to live the rest of his life with a woman. I was hugging him, he was crying, and I kept hugging him. Inside of me the world had inverted. I felt that I was going to throw up. We spent all day talking, he read to me from his journal. So much self-loathing, hatred and simultaneous expressions of deep love for me. He told me that he has never lied to me - he does not have a lover, nor is interested in getting one. In fact, he said that the thought of sex with a man was a total turnoff right now. I was so confused. He told me he was conflicted - not sure. He said that all our times together were genuine - he never made love to me when he didn't feel it. But I couldn't get things to add up! Then yesterday I kept thinking about the "magic" that first brought us together. In some ways, we were drawn together by something beyond the world...does that sound dorky? But really, then I realized it.... My therapist had told me long ago about the power of wounded souls to find each other. In a room of 1000, the two souls injured in the same way will be drawn together. Is click! When we first began our relationship (after 3 years of friendship)- we had wonderful, tender sex. Then there was a time when I had to "down-shift" - working through my own sexual abuse issues, and it seems that after that he had changed...? He went through a major career change just before we were to be married, totally lost it before our wedding day (ended up talking to my therapist -- but he couldn't see the face of the part that was so angry). Divine intervention stepped in, he married me and now 8 1/2 years later he feels sexually conflicted. He hasn't told me that he was abused - and I realize that if "all you have is a hammer (i.e., sexual abuse) then everything is a nail," but I can't help believing in my soul that we came together to heal each other. He is going to see Annette this Friday (that is my therapist who he too has seen for other relationship issues), I will see her as well. I called her in a panic last week - she told me that now is not the time to make any decisions, that she will work with us both to get through. She said she doesn't know where we will go, but we'll go together. All I know is that I'm terrified he will leave me - I love him -he's the other half of my soul. It is a blessing of sorts to read everyone's story, to see that my situation is not unique. It's hard not to spin out of control, or run down the path ahead of him...


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#61199 - 01/29/01 06:26 PM Re: Looking for support.....
Neil Offline
Member

Registered: 10/17/00
Posts: 81
Loc: Millersville, MD, USA
I wish I had some easy solution to your problem that I could pass along to you. I don't. I am a male survivor and have been through a lot. Fortunately I'm on the downhill side of my recovery. I just wanted to send you a quick note and tell you that I am with you (at least in spirit). I will say a prayer for you and your husband that you both will find the healing that you so richly deserve. Take care of each other. Neil


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#61200 - 01/30/01 02:26 PM Re: Looking for support.....
sas Offline
Member

Registered: 01/28/01
Posts: 31
Loc: Chicago, IL USA
Thank you so much Neil for your kind words. I really am trying to take it one day at a time - the good and bad days. My husband has really tried to reach out and stay connected with me - I am trying to. We hug a lot at night, when the alarm goes off in the AM we reach for each other and wrap ourselves around each other (and get to work late). I just hope that now that "the part" has returned, that he can tell me (or our therapist) the story of his 15 year old part. The story should be told, affirmed. I am afraid right now that he's split stuff off - he says that all his parts are still here, but I know that after my lost parts returned, I wanted to talk - but then again, being a woman, I guess that is what we do...? It takes effort to let him follow his own path and pace - I love him so dearly that I know I can do it - I can't force acknowledgement/recover/whatever on him. No more of that! I just hope that he loves himself enough that he trusts that he can be whole and happy (hopefully with me....). Thanks for letting me pour myself out.


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#61201 - 02/01/01 09:06 PM Re: Looking for support.....
Shelby Offline
Member

Registered: 11/27/00
Posts: 36
Loc: Littleton,CO USA
Sometimes the truth can do you in as well. I am a survivor myself and at 43 had never let anyone in on my deepest darkest secret. I myself work in the field and over the years had come to accept what happened and realized it wasn't fault. I remarried just over a year ago to a wonderful woman ten years my younger. I was so madly in love I decided to share this with her. The purpose was to give her a reason why I didn't care for certain sexually aggressive things she did. She still thought that even though I work with this daily, I needed to speak to someone myself, so I did. Our relationship started to slide and finally ended 3 weeks ago. I truly believe that telling all was a fatal mistake, at least for us. From the time I told her until present there was a wall that went up and the one and only time it came down remotely was for my birthday in December, and as fate would have it she is now 8 weeks pregnant and is very insistant on not having this baby. This comes from a woman who has had 5 miscarriages in 10 years and wanted a baby more than anything. So for me telling all was a fatal mistake, not only for us but possibly our baby as well.

My thoughts for all of you is please don't push your spouses or BFs too hard. As long as they can deal with it through a conselor, don't push for too much information, be supportive if you really love him, assure him that you will listen, but be prepared to hear things that you may not like. Most of us have some thoughts around an atraction or at least know that physically at one time our bodies responded to another man in a way we didn't want it too. I think my wife was so repulsed at the idea that I had sex with another man even though I was only 11 and had no idea what was going on she couldn't handle it. I feel worse now than I ever have about this situation, so ladies and friends, many of which have been abused yourselves, don't push too hard. 3 weeks after separating I got the nerve to contact people from her past and found an ugly truth about her that may have been part of it, she as well have been abused, maybe not sexually, but definitely emotionally and verbally, maybe this was just too much for her, I don't know for sure, but I still maintain that none of this wouldhave ever happened if I had not told her my little secret. I'm not sure this was of much help, it seems now more like I should have posted a separate posting. I just feel that this is something that happens, some of us make it through it alive, scarred, but alive and there is nothing that can be done to change what has happened, just the way we view it. Only those who have lived through this can have any idea what this means and unfortunately those who have survived and adapted probably don't come here and read this, so we tend to all be in the same boat here, all looking for answers. Some of which we may never get and then we may get them and not be able to handle what we hear.
I hope this didn't sound too stupid and if you read it a few times maybe you will see how this may or may not fit. Good luck to yu wonderful ladies and guys who are standing by your husbands and friends, just don't expect a miracle.


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#61202 - 02/02/01 09:12 AM Re: Looking for support.....
sas Offline
Member

Registered: 01/28/01
Posts: 31
Loc: Chicago, IL USA
Shelby, thank you so much for your reply - I can feel how deeply you hurt. To read what is happening to you, your wife and your baby tears my soul - it must also tear yours. I think you are right in some ways, sharing 'your truth' often creates a space in which others feel they have to face their's - and for many that is very frightening.

My husband keeps telling me that if it weren't for me - being honest about my sexual abuse - he couldn't do what he is trying to do now (thought we're not sure what that is...yet.). I too have longed to have a family, in fact, we were just beginning to try to have a baby when my husband told me about his conflicted sexuality. I have really had to go into my soul and think about what a child meant to me - was there a hole in my soul that I was trying to fill with a baby (never a good thing to fill a hole with ;-), did our starting to try to conceive trigger things for my husband? Perhaps your wife now sees the monsters in her shadow, and is terrified and blames you because you have shown her it is possible to face the monsters - and you live despite the force they have!

I think you are right - in the face of your courage, it must be hard for her ignore 'her truth' - and some people live their lives always terrified of the shadows, their dreams and the past, that is in the past.

I am inspired by your courage to tell your story - speak your truth - that is tremendous power! In a speech by Nelson Mandela there is a line which goes... "And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates other." That is powerful stuff, you are powerful beyond measure.

Be gentle with yourself, tell the hurt parts in your soul that I am proud of their courage!! It gives me hope.


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#61203 - 02/02/01 02:56 PM Re: Looking for support.....
Shelby Offline
Member

Registered: 11/27/00
Posts: 36
Loc: Littleton,CO USA
SAS
From what you write you seem very in love and determined. I admire your strength and "acceptance" of your husbands' conflicting sexual identity. This in it's self may be the whole key to the survival of your marriage. "Sex" is an ugly to word to many of us who have survived, including you as I recall, and your account of just cuddling and making each other late for work is probably a very strong key to your success. Don't worry about your husband not being a good father or you wanting a baby as a security blanket for yourself. From what you write you seem devoted to each other and outside of "sex" have a very warm relationship. I think what would have made my marriage better in the bedroom would have been if my wife had not been so self-centered. I really couldn't see it until I got out, but now, I see that even before things started going bad she was a taker and not a giver. She never attempted to find out what felt good to me and what didn't. I, on the other hand, was very aware of what pleased her, both sexually and emotionally and strived to meet them. But, by this only being one sided it turned into my own doing in. By me coming out of my confort zone to please her, caused my "hang ups" back to the surface and thus caused a decline in my ability to fullfil her needs and thus begins the vicious cycle, ending in separation and probably divorce.

You guys sound like you, at least, have a good line of communication which helps and being a victim yourself you are more able to empathize. The only thing I can add to that is to be very careful about saying things like, "I understand completely how it feels" and other such statements. The reason I say this is the fact that male survivors differ from female survivors in some some pretty dramatic ways. As men we are not readily accepted as victims by the general population, thus a stigma of being sissies, or gay or bi is attached to us rather than simply victims. For many of us, it is that part that is the hardest to handle, not the physical part. For me it wasn't painful physically, matter of fact it was quite pleasureful physically. I still remember that first orgasm as being the wonderful feeling in the world and it was at the hands of an older man.

I think if there is someway you can let him know that you care and will stand by him as long as he meets you half way, you will survive and so will your marriage. You sound like a wonderful person and wish you all the best.........by the way does your husband post here? If not, maybe at some point you should point him in this direction.


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#61204 - 02/04/01 01:44 PM Re: Looking for support.....
sas Offline
Member

Registered: 01/28/01
Posts: 31
Loc: Chicago, IL USA
Hi Shelby, thanks again for your thoughts, they help me keep my own craziness in check. My husband doesn't post here - he doesn't know I do. My husband has not actually told me that he was abused - so I could be barking up the wrong tree but something deep inside tells me I'm not.... My husband had a part (his "14 year old") who just 'returned' two weeks ago. He hasn't told me the story of the part - or why he left (i.e., split off). All he tells me is that this part has such a deep sadness, very deep, and in the past my husband was afraid of him because the part also has an extreme anger.

My husband is right now very occupied with applying to fellowship programs/interviewing for his future career. So what is going on between us sometimes shifts to the back-burner - actually, a fair amount of the time. My husband is embarking upon a career change - he's going back to do more training - so this is taking up his mind. He admits that sometimes it keeps him from having to think about things. He doesn't talk about what made his 14 year old part come back and then drop the bomb on me about not being sure if he's meant to spend his life with a woman.

It's hard for me to hear him talking about the future, where we might live, etc. - because I'm not sure if I'll be a part of it. I told him two days ago that it is hard for me to hear him talk about the future, because I want more than anything to be with him - but it is not certain. He seemed to hear me. He told me that when he does talk about the future, he is picturing us together. But then I think that is just because things aren't integrated yet....ellagel

Anyway, he did go and see our therapist on Friday. I saw her first - I have a 13 year old part inside who is having panic attacks and gets extremely depressed. I'm trying to hear her - hear her feelings but she puts up some good arguments why I am destined to be "messed up" by another man in my life. Not nice stuff, but she's pretty scared -she doesn't want to relive what she has already relived - you know what I mean? I know I worked through a lot of my issues about sexual abuse, it's just times like these that get the dust storm going again.

Back to my husband... he had the appointment after me and was 1/2 hour late. I stood there with my therapist waiting for him, frightened that he might be too frightened to come. She told me to go home, that she'd be there for him. I left and paged him, he said he was on his way just got caught up at the hospital. Yikes, I just pray that he finds the courage to keep talking to her. He told me a little about what they talked about - basically not much. He is pretty blocked, I hope something shifts him.

I don't always know how to be? I want to be supportive, but I can't take his process over and do it for him, but parts of me want to. He gets so "squirrel-y" that I'm not sure if he'll be able to hang-in-there and see the truth - whatever that is. Right now I tell him that I hope that one day his 14 year old part will be able to tell me his story, I want to listen. I tell him that I love him and all his parts - including the 14 year old - I do, it's just hard. We go back to our therapist this Friday - the days in between are so long!

If you have any advise on what helped you 'connect the dots,' or anything, that would be great. Keeping taking care of yourself, you are making a difference to me. Thanks so much. I just want to help....

-- sas


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#61205 - 02/04/01 01:53 PM Re: Looking for support.....
sas Offline
Member

Registered: 01/28/01
Posts: 31
Loc: Chicago, IL USA
Hi Shelby, thanks again for your thoughts, they help me keep my own craziness in check. My husband doesn't post here - he doesn't know I do. My husband has not actually told me that he was abused - so I could be barking up the wrong tree but something deep inside tells me I'm not.... My husband had a part (his "14 year old") who just 'returned' two weeks ago. He hasn't told me the story of the part - or why he left (i.e., split off). All he tells me is that this part has such a deep sadness, very deep, and in the past my husband was afraid of him because the part also has an extreme anger.

My husband is right now very occupied with applying to fellowship programs/interviewing for his future career. So what is going on between us sometimes shifts to the back-burner - actually, a fair amount of the time it does. My husband is embarking upon a career change - he's going back to do more training - so this is taking up his mind. He admits that sometimes it keeps him from having to think about things. He doesn't talk about what made his 14 year old part come back and drop the bomb on me about not being sure if he's meant to spend his life with a woman.

It's hard for me to hear him talk about the future, where we might live, etc. - because I'm not sure if I'll be a part of it. I told him two days ago that it is hard for me to hear him talk about the future, because I want more than anything to be with him - but it is not certain. He seemed to hear me. He told me that when he does talk about the future, he is picturing us together. But then I think that is just because things aren't integrated yet....

Anyway, he did go and see our therapist on Friday. I saw her first - I have a 13 year old part inside who is having panic attacks and gets extremely depressed. I'm trying to hear her - hear her feelings but she puts up some good arguments as to why I am destined to be "messed up" by another man in my life. Not nice stuff, but she's pretty scared -she doesn't want to relive what she has already relived - you know what I mean? I know I worked through a lot of my issues about sexual abuse, it's just times like these that get the dust storm going again.

Back to my husband... he had the appointment after me and was 1/2 hour late. I stood there with my therapist waiting for him, frightened that he might be too frightened to come. She told me to go home, that she'd be there for him. I left and paged him, he said he was on his way just got caught up at the hospital. Yikes, I just pray that he finds the courage to keep talking to her. He told me a little about what they talked about - basically not much. He is pretty blocked, I hope something shifts him.

I don't always know how to be? I want to be supportive, but I can't take over his process and do it for him, but parts of me want to. He gets so "squirrel-y" that I'm not sure if he'll be able to hang-in-there and see the truth - whatever that is. Right now I tell him that I hope that one day his 14 year old part will be able to tell me his story, I want to listen. I tell him that I love him and all his parts - including the 14 year old - I do, it's just hard. We go back to our therapist this Friday - the days in between are so long!

If you have any advise on what helped you 'connect the dots,' or anything, that would be great. Keep taking care of yourself, you are making a difference to me. Thanks so much. I just want to help....

-- sas


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#61206 - 02/04/01 05:41 PM Re: Looking for support.....
Shelby Offline
Member

Registered: 11/27/00
Posts: 36
Loc: Littleton,CO USA
Hey SAS...
Thanks for the kind words. You asked the question, "what helped me connect the dots?" I'm not really sure if I have a clear answer for you. First of all, I'm 43 and my abuse was when I was 11, so some of the dots were connected with 32 years. Actually, if I had not remarried 18 months ago to a much younger woman, none of this would have resurfaced now. I was married to the mother of my children for 21 years and, even though I wasn't in love with her, we understood what made each other tick. I must also tell you that my teen years were terrible!! Thoughts of being gay, then suicide, then having sex with women to prove I wasn't gay, to thoughts of having sex with guys because it felt good too. I'm telling you my teen years were very painful. But, by getting an older girl pregnant when I was 18 changed my focus from me to raising a family. So I guess that focus is what got me through the last 23 years. Now my kids are both grown and away in college and the focus came down to US and that's where we parted. We had nothing in common and it wasn't a nasty divorce, matter of fact we still talk from time to time. My problems all began when I fell in Love for the first time and had to start the process over.......learning each other likes, dislikes etc. Then you add into the equation that my second wife was/is very self-centered was at no point during our 3 years together in the least bit interested in what I liked in the bedroom and chose to only concentrate on her own wants and needs. This selfishness on her part had a direct impact on my self image and esteem. I began to have trouble in the bedroom, which caused a distinct reaction from her, then from me, then from her and on and on the problem built. I must say I am much more at ease with myself since we split up 3 weeks ago and I have even told a few of my very close friends the whole story, which has made me feel better too. (I caution you though on talking to others outside of your therapist about your husband, betrayal can be a nasty feeling) It still really hurts that she did me this way and I have to admit that I am still madly in love with the woman I met 3 years ago and would go back to her in a heart beat if I got the impression she was her "old self" again even after the advice of her family and my friends that this is the way she is going to be and I am only kidding myself to believe that has changed.

I know that not knowing is tearing you up and possibly if you are ready to hear almost anything you should pursue it. I know I would, but like I have said before, sometimes


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#61207 - 02/04/01 10:37 PM Re: Looking for support.....
Shelby Offline
Member

Registered: 11/27/00
Posts: 36
Loc: Littleton,CO USA
SAS
..........sorry I had to stop in the middle of my post. My youngest son stopped by to see how I was doing. He's 20 and like a carbon copy of me; sensitive and worries about me. Anyway, I was almost finished with the post, but what I started to say and didn't finish was that if you pursue the questions you have to be ready to hear possibly the worst fears you have ever had. He may consider himself Bi or even gay for that matter, probably for the same reasons I did. What I experienced "felt good" to my body which contradicted what my brain told me should not. The confusion was terrible! Shortly before I was 18 I decided to give it a go and accepted an offer by my room mate, to "satisfy each other" since our girl friends were both away at collge. The physical act was pleasurable, but I felt so sick inside afterwards.......still no real answers.......in the years that have followed I have learned to understand that as merely acting out from my abuse. So if your husband still has thoughts of this and questions that only an encounter will answer, be prepared to hear this. I predict that if he did act out on any thoughts of the such, it would probably end like mine, physically satisfied but more psycologically messed up than he may already be. This first thing is to try to keep going to the therapist and maybe at some point he'll allow you to go and maybe with outside support he will be able to tell you what it is that is making him think that maybe he wasn't meant to spent the rest of his life with a woman. I think this is a question he is fixated on. If he has already had the encounter, don't look at it as cheating try to look at it as another person, because for many of we look at ourselves and see 2 completely different people: 1 that is madly in love with a woman and 1 that is attracted to the physical pleasure given us against our will. Fortunately, mine was before I got married and I was able to see the emotional relationship was the important one, not just a physical release that left me feeling sick and repulsed once it was over. But there are still things that make me have those thoughts, mostly movies with scantily clad guys and girls.....I relate to both......but there again, I have no emotional connection between either but see it as only a sexual release. Fortunately for me my religious beliefs keep me focused on any relationship is not based on sex and thatif there is nothing more than that it is not worth having so I've not acted on those thoughts, but they still surface once in a while. The thing to keep in mind if this is what is bother him, it has absolutely nothing to do with his love for you or your marriage. It's not even comparable to him going to a prostitute, he would see that as cheating. I looked at mine as almost a split peronality as I had a girlfriend at the time, but to me it had nothing to do with our relationship, it was the other me. I have since learned that is not really the case but rather the real me, who love my wife very much and consider myself completely hetero and the otherside is the one that is still dealing with my abuse. This may never go away, but at least I know what it is and can accept it a the reminants of what messed me up 32 years ago and simply dismiss it now. I can't stress enough that if and when the "14 year old side" is told to you, it has nothing to do with you and there is/was nothing you could have done to avoid it. But, what you do do is very important. You can tell him you've done lots of reading and maybe introduce him to this site if your suspicions are correct to compliment his therapy. I know, I for one, would love to here about the horrors that he relives from time to time and what sparks them. I'll bet they are quite similar to what the rest of us go through, sometimes daily. Keep me posted and good luck, you are a great lady and very couragous.


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#61208 - 02/05/01 01:27 PM Re: Looking for support.....
sas Offline
Member

Registered: 01/28/01
Posts: 31
Loc: Chicago, IL USA
Shelby, thanks again, even more than before, for your kind words and wisdom. You are right, I have to hang-in-there and and keep reminding myself about how important it is for him to heal - to find his own way to peace. Yesterday was hard, it was my 35th birthday and I was having a bit of a "pity party" for myself - I tried to keep the party to my journal and not let it spill out. But my husband has such a good radar - he came upstairs while I was writing and gave me a nut (pecan) and told me not to be squirrel-y (this is now a joke between the two of us). It made me laugh.

You are right that he might need to dive into the deep-end to figure things out for sure - for some reason I feel that coming. My stomach tenses up so bad when I think about that, it's hard not to feel like you're being judged in some beauty pagent (and let me tell you, red-heads never win - that's the negative-me coming out). I know I need to focus on today, and just taking it one-day at a time, but it is so hard. My pattern is to make a plan and implement (no wonder I'm good at my job...), anyway, it is taking all my energy to "just be."

My heart bleeds for him, and for me. I know that is selfish but it's where I'm at right now. Today is not such a good day, I could care less about work, eating, sleeping. I feel like I'm living in a plasma and some days it becomes quite opaque - it's so hard to see through, to see light. It is hard to get through the day and do a good job - my team/boss stops by to ask "work" questions and I feel like my brain is misfiring - I think I've lost a cylinder :-).

Anyway, I've never been patient - I drive to fast, eat too fast, and feel too deeply. Sometimes I wish that I could be like those women in the grocery store - dull to the depths and heights of life, preoccupied with their coupons and the fat content in peanut butter. I could care less.

I read a quote by Joseph Campbell, he talks about the important elements of a marriage and one he highlights is compassion. Compassion, he tells, means "to suffer with." That is so true. I know I am growing and will heal myself through this, I just pray to the spirits/God that my husband cares enough for himself, and the family he has inside him, to find his way through this.

It is so hard, so hard to keep the tears back, I'm not doing a good job....


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#61209 - 02/05/01 11:32 PM Re: Looking for support.....
Shelby Offline
Member

Registered: 11/27/00
Posts: 36
Loc: Littleton,CO USA
SAS......hang in there kid. You're on the right track. We sound a lot alike in that I too have to have a plan and work it to the end. I am also with you on this has been a bad day as well. Until today I had myself convienced that my wife was just needing time to digest and come to grips with this whole thing and the fact she is pregnant (8weeks today). But, something inside of me had doubts and I've hired a private detective and just found out that she is having an afair with a local cop. This repulses me and the thought of her doing damage to my baby infuriates me. There is no turning back now, I'll never be able to trust her again and there is no marriage without trust. I know I can sound a little hipocritical especially when I say that for a male survivor to feel compulsed to act out with another male is not uncommon and that it is like another person and has nothing to do with his love for his wife and then turn around and say that I can never forgive her for this, but I feel that if she had been abused by a woman and she felt compulsed to act out with a woman I could accept that and be able to move ahead and work on the relationship. Hope that cleared me of sounding hypocritical. Anyway, she spend last night with him and tonight it appears he is spending the night at MY house in MY bed with MY wife. I am so angry and so hurt all at the same time, but you know in one respect I am proud of myself. I have never cheated on either wife, with another woman or man, not that at times I have had dreams or even nightmares of the male thing, but never even considered another woman and even now when some might choose revenge and have their own affair.

Hang in there and make it a point to reassure him that you are in this for the long haul, good, bad or indifferent. You can handle whatever he throws your way, not that it will be easy because may be extremely hard. As soon as he is ready try work towards going to therapy together. I waited or denied the problem too long to fix my situation, but you still have a better than average change to win your fight. Someone wrote, maybe you did, I don't remember, but it stuck in my mind "if you filled a room with a thousand people the 2 people who were abused will find each other" In checking into my wife's background I have uncovered a horror story. She was abused by here mother verbally and emotionally and her father over compensated to a point where that was equally unhealthy. They both died of cancer in the past 5 years leaving her without her security blanket. When she and her first husband separated at one point she had and continued an affair with a cop (AH, enter the new protector), he said she cycled through it every 2 years and finally the third time he called it quits. We were instantly attracted to each other, I though mine was that I feel madly in love with her from the first time we met, but I fear hers was finding a new protector (I look a lot like her father, I'm ten years older etc etc), 2 years have past and she is now cycling again and had to bring the cops to the house to protect her while she packed a bag one night 3 weeks ago (I think they had been seeing each other prior to this, but I had no idea) and is not "f....g" him in my bed.

Sorry to vent to you like this, I'm suppose to be giving you suggestions. Anyway, the rollercoaster will continue for a while, probably until he comes clean with you. Then you both will be on the same page, just don't rush it. I know it's hard, but like I've said before, too much information can be just as harmful and noth enough. Just keep the lines of communication open, reinforce how much you love him and are proud of him for taking what steps he has. Keep boosting his self esteem as that is the one area we, male survivors, lack and I know that I, for one, whould have responded a lot differently if my wife had been supportive and patted me on the back for being so brave to tackle this monster, but she instead chose the easy way out....find a new protector, the old one is defective. Fortunately for me, I really already had come to grips with my abuse and didn't blame myself, I know I'm a good person and if she is self-center to not be able to love me with some small bagage, well that's just going to be her loss. I plan to sue for full custody, even though she has already said she has no intentions of carry the baby, she hasn't lost it yet and has also made the statement, "fine I'll have the damn baby and you can have it." Pretty good picture of a good mom, right? NOT I'm sure it won't be easy to raise a baby by myself, but I do have a good support network and most importantly........The Will.

Kid, I get the feeling, even with the ups and downs you are experiencing, that you guys are going to make it. The steps may not be a big as you want them to be, but they are steps and in the right direction. Hang in there and God (higher power) will reward the both of you. It may be hard to plan as you say when you don't really know what to plan for.........I know I do the same thing right now. If she does this....this is what I'll do and so on and so forth and when I get faced with the unexpected I completely fall apart. So I will try if you will to not over react when the unexpected comes my way........Deal?
Keep posting and we'll keep each other in check......may you could give me some advice on my wife from a womans' perspective.


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#61210 - 02/06/01 03:45 PM Re: Looking for support.....
sas Offline
Member

Registered: 01/28/01
Posts: 31
Loc: Chicago, IL USA
Hi Shelby, it's me. Today is a better day - we've got some sunshine - still cold - but the sun helps. I must say that I read your posting with great sadness. I wish I could explain why your wife is doing what she is doing. I do not understand what would make a woman do what she is doing to her body and child. All I can imagine is that she must have a tremendous amount of self-loathing - absolute hatred for her body and self. I can't imagine doing that myself, and I have thought deeply about the issue of abortion, etc. But to try to miscarry, that is extremely tragic. I agree that all this has to be deeply linked with her past, finding her ultimate protector. They (whoever "they" are) say that we repeat behaviors over and over again until we learn the lessons from them. The problem is that most people don't realize they are repeating - and that there is a message in the behavior. I think the same is with dreams. I know that when I have my night-terrors (usually my Dad is involved), it's usually because something is going on which is making me feel like a victim again - or in some way I don't feel my needs are being heard. I'll have the same kind of dream over and over until I take the time to think about what is going on in my life -then, poof, the dreams pass. How nutty is that!

You must be raging at all this. Her betrayal is profound - shattering. It is so good you are away, your soul is safe. People like her try to steal your soul - your life spirit. You have shown great courage, she does not. I hope you are able to do what you need to keep yourself together, enough of you has been through the shredder.

I can't adequately explain that what you are doing - speaking the truth and telling the story - is awesome (in the true sense of the word). You have taught me so much (when I thought I understood), and you are willing to reach out to others to pull them along too. That is a great gift of the heart - I don't think she is capable of understanding that.

I have to recommend a song to you, by Peter Gabriel, it's called Solsbury Hill. A few hours after everything "spilled out" from my husband that Saturday afternoon, we played this song and danced around our family room. The lyrics are moving, and I think you would understand.... Since all this started, I have found support in music (though some would question my taste - Bauhaus, REM, Bowie) but it helps me connect to something bigger, and sometimes they just can say it better than me.

Listen to the song, it still lifts my heart while the tears pour down. I promise to hang-in-there with you - not get too nutty when we turn the next corner - and you can't either ;-).

Until later... sas


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#61211 - 02/06/01 05:16 PM Re: Looking for support.....
searching Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/16/00
Posts: 21
Shelby, sas, I wrote that first message at the very top of the list several weeks ago and gave up on thinking anyone would ever reply....it's so nice to see that I sparked a conversation between the two of you, and learned something in the process. Shelby, your words about having two sides and the issues with compulsion were really helpful. My husband has been telling me that for a long time, as we deal with all of the issues around his abuse and the acting out, etc. It's been so hard for me to believe what he's saying; it's so hard not to just see the whole thing as betrayal and to believe I'm still being lied to. As time goes by, I'm beginning to trust again, but it's very, very hard. And sometimes I get full of anger that I can't (and really don't want to) articulate.

sas, I'm also a huge Joseph Campbell fan and glad to see that someone else uses his words to help them get by.

Lately things with my husband have been calmer, easier, and I think we're making progress but I find myself depressed alot and sometimes overcome with weariness at trying to fight the good fight. I just want to rest and trust but really can't just yet. I guess it will come. The long, dark days of winter aren't easy. I have to keep believing in spring.

Anyway, thanks for sharing your words. Hope you don't mind my jumping into your discussion. It helped me so much to read it.


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#61212 - 02/07/01 08:39 AM Re: Looking for support.....
sas Offline
Member

Registered: 01/28/01
Posts: 31
Loc: Chicago, IL USA
Searching, I'm so glad you've joined in. I'm still amazed at how one's life can change from one moment to the next. I have to smile when I think about what you said... "fighting the good fight." It is SO HARD some days. I fill with such panic - I sometimes can't believe things are where they are.

Right now, my husband and I are into some kind of rhythm. In some ways it's just like before - we come home, dump our bags, change, cook, talk to family and talk about work stuff. Sometimes in the middle of this "routine" my inside voice starts yelling - "is this for real?" It's kind of a whole "out of body experience" thing. But then I realize it is real, that what is going on inside my husband is a mixed-up, painful dance of his "parts," and our "routine" is just as valid and real as the deep/heavy conversations we have too.

This morning we were an hour late for work. Our alarms kept going off but we kept laying there, all tangled up. It was wonderful - somewhere around the 1/2 hour mark of being late, we just looked at each other and said "f--- them." That was good.

I think I understand what you mean about anger. Ooooh I have avalanches of anger inside - sometimes it doesn't take much to start them off. Right now I am angry that homosexuality exists, that this is even an option in the world. I know that my feelings are misguided, but right now I can't help but blame it for all my pain and unbelievable fear. I guess it's like when I wish that it was beyond the capabilities of adults to do what they do to younger people.... My gay friends wouldn't like hearing me say this, but I really resent all things gay right now (God knows I can't watch any TV right now, which is probably a good thing, too many references). It is hard not to feel rejected/betrayed - it's how I feel sometimes. It does suck. My therapist told me to get a journal just for the part inside me who gets really upset, give her a forum to be heard. I bought a black spiral notebook (what other color would do?) and a goofy gel pen. Oh, she's got quite a tongue, but I can't always blame her. It really helps to get the anger out, and this way it isn't necessarily dragging my husband through my stuff. He'll hear it when it's necessary.

Anyway, Wednesday is here - thank God. I count the days until we see our therapist again - this Friday I'm going to join my husband after he has his hour with her - I think that will be helpful, though probably not fun....

Sometimes I just want to hide under the bed. Keep in touch, as best as you can. Thanks!


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#61213 - 02/10/01 05:43 PM Re: Looking for support.....
Shelby Offline
Member

Registered: 11/27/00
Posts: 36
Loc: Littleton,CO USA
Sas & Searching
Sounds like you wonderful ladies are hanging in there the best you can and from both of you have written I can see you both love your spouses very much. Sorry I haven't written in a few days, but Monday night (early Tues) at 3:00am I was rushed by ambulance to the local hospital with what I presumed was a heart attach. Thank God it wasn't, as while I lay in the ER with tubes and gadgets stuck all over my body all I could think or even say between the sobs was, "I'll never see my unborn child." As it turned out I had aquired a fluid build-up around my heart and a viral infection had invaded it, causing what appeared and felt like a heart attack. Most of this was brought on by STRESS and my lack of sleep and loss of 24 pounds in 6 weeks. That evening I had found out through a PI that my wife has been sleeping with a local cop (or 2). It was just too much, we pay these people to protect, not take advantage of, the people of this community. Needless to say, my attorney is all over this!

I too have connected with my feeling through music. I have a Rick Springfield CD in my car that I play over and over and over and over. I don't remember which one it is, but it stats out with "Jessies Girl". I would recommend this CD to both of you, turn the gender around and I'll bet you will bawl like I do. I have almost written and told him that he surely had to have gone through what I am going through in order to write those songs. It's almost uncanny how nearly every song on this CD relates to how I feel inside. It's in the car now or I would give you the CD title, but I think it's a greatest hits CD. If either of you are interested, I'll get it out of the car and add it to my next post.

I'm still recovering, my parents insisted I come home with them after I was dismissed on Weds and they don't even have an answering machine, let alone a computer so I've deprived of my link to survival for a few days.

I hope your visit went well on Friday with the therapist. I'm sure it was hard and very exhausting, but keep reminding yourselves that when your husband tells you he loves you....HE DOES.....those other thoughts are the result of the abuse/conditioning they endured as children plus the conditioning we, as men, endure from society concerning male abuse. I too, can not imagine what could ever pocess someone to things like this to a child. Those few minutes of physical abuse cause a life long scar that sometimes is impossible to heal, but some of us have learned to be able to live with it and go on. We still have the thoughts, we still have triggers, we still have tabboos, but with the help of great wives like you two, we are able to forgive ourselves, which really is the biggest hurtle let alone ever being able to forgive our abusers. We are so afraid of things like has happened to my wife that we are very reluctant to open up. So, ladies, please, please , please be prepared for the worst thing you can image to be disclosed as you work towards healing. A lot will depend on how you react or how he perceives you to react as to how the outcome will go. If it hadn't been for my friends (my family still doesn't know about my abuse) who know, I honestly think I would be dead today. There is a good reason for not telling my parents. I am the oldest of three children and my 2 siblings have both passed away from cancer in their 20's and just can't inflict any more pain on them. There is/was nothing they could have or can do to change what happened to me 32 years ago and I can see no need to give them any reason to feel guilty or blame themselves. If it weren't for that I would have told them years ago.

Hang in there ladies, I'm glad your spouses have you 2, if anyone can hold it together you 2 can.

Well, it's back to the couch and those nasty TV shows that do nothing but spark bad memories as you say, but not much else to do in this nasty weather and with doctors orders to DO NOTHING for a few days, guess I'll endure it.

later


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#61214 - 02/20/01 10:58 PM Re: Looking for support.....
Shelby Offline
Member

Registered: 11/27/00
Posts: 36
Loc: Littleton,CO USA
SAS
We haven't heard from you in a couple of weeks. I hope all is well, how is the therapy going. Hope you reply and have good news for us.


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#61215 - 03/01/01 09:55 AM Re: Looking for support.....
Grace Offline
Member

Registered: 03/01/01
Posts: 4
Wow, I just found this site through Delphi Forums yesterday.

I am engaged to be married to a survivor of sexual abuse. We have just started therapy with another therapist because the last five out of seven years we have been together has been almost without sexual intimacy. I told him, we couldn't plan the marriage without some changes in this area.

The good news is that he is focusing on this now and we hoping for some help in this area.
Also, we both have been in recovery from alcoholism for the past 10 years and have experience with AA, therapists and other outside therapy programs.

But it is so frustrating! Because its me (of course) that suffers from the lack of intimacy and my patience is wearing thin. I also needed his assurances that he believes himself to be heterosexual because there is no point in continuing this relationship if he is not. He has blotted out what happened from 11 years old back but does remember instances of experiences from 12 to 20 with older boys, hitchhiking, etc. that until two years ago, he didn't remember. His longtime therapist believes he was abuses at an earlier age because of what happened in his teens.

I hope to get some hope on this board.

_________________________
Grace

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#61216 - 03/02/01 09:14 PM Re: Looking for support.....
Shelby Offline
Member

Registered: 11/27/00
Posts: 36
Loc: Littleton,CO USA
Grace...
This sounds very familiar in sorts to my relationship with my, soon to be, ex-wife. Because of the preasure she put on me in the bedroom and her lack of caring for my pleasure, only her own, it was like she was re-abusing me and caused me to be unable to perform. Thus, due to our male hormones and egos, we shy away from activities that we are afraid of.

What my therapist has told me is that had she been a mutual partner in the bedroom much of this would have never happened. As far as him being gay as you have suggested, I rather doubt it, but one never really knows and that includes him probably. When we are unable to perform with a woman, it causes not only you to doubt him but for him to doubt himself. He very well may be truggling to find his sexual identity as all of us have who have survived male sexual abuse. Therapy in this area will for sure be a good idea and probably as you say mandatory before you go any further.

Depending on how comfortable the topic is with the two of you, you might want to sit down and discuss what pleases and turnes each other off in the bedroom and then try focusing on the turn on's and avoiding the turn off's. Another thing my therapist did and it was a little corny at the time, but it could have worked had she put forth any effort was colored cards. We each had a set and depending on the color each hung from the bed post each night determined what happened. For example: If we both hung white, we did nothing, Blue, we just cuddled, Green a little touching and Red all the way. Whoever hung the least was what set the pace, so you always knew what the other expected that night. Kinda corny, but it eliminated all guessing and for me, if I couldn't tell if she was in the mood or not and tried to do anything, I was always afraid I would be forcing to do something she didn't want, thus, in my mind, being the perpatrator. We never really used them as by this time she was already having an affair and could have cared less, but I still think it is a good exercise.

The key is still going to be open and very frank discussions and getting a qualified therapist. Don't expect miracles overnight the recovery will be long and slow at times, but hopefully well worth it.

Good luck


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#61217 - 03/03/01 05:51 AM Re: Looking for support.....
Grace Offline
Member

Registered: 03/01/01
Posts: 4
But what is strange about this situation is that everything seemed "normal" sexually for the first two years, then things waned for weeks then months. My fiance has been in two long-term marriages plus an affair or two in the past, and apparently that is his pattern--starting out sexual then becoming less so to nothing.

I am certainly willing to work around his issues but he is either unwilling or unable to talk about them; hopefully, with this program we are going to we can have some progress. He says he wants to change. But he has been saying that for a couple of years.

He is a doll in all other areas of our lives but I feel like we are just roommates without the sexual side. And if we are just roommates, then I need to be somewhere else.

_________________________
Grace

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