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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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