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#61913 - 05/23/06 12:12 AM My Perfect life EXCEPT
weepywife Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/22/06
Posts: 57
Thanks in advance for everyone who responds to this post. Thank you also for all the words of encouragement and support you all give to each other. I have been reading other posts and find that the advice is very helpful.

OK here it goes. My husband and I have been marred for over 5 years. About 9 months ago we had an arguement over why our sex life had been declining over the last 6 months. I thought he didn't want to work on our relationship and was very mad at him. He very reluctantly told me that something had brought back memories of sexual abuse that happened when he was twelve. H e did not want to tell me this information but figured I had a suspision (which I didn't)
When he told me I was completly blown away and responded completly wrong...but I'm educating my self and getting much better on what I should be doing.
Since he told me we have been having problems. First, we have no intimacy. When my husband first told me he couldn't even look at me he was so embaressed. Now, he doesn't want to kiss me or initiate any intimate acts. If we do start to kiss he gets physically repulsed by me. He starts to get nauseated, have palpitations, and sweats. He told me that he is trying because if he didn't love me he would pack up and move. He would like to move away from me because he feels so ashamed....I am the only one who knows his secret so he would like to run away from me at times.
He states that if he would go to counseling he would just sit there and not talk. He states he would read a book if I made him but he didn't want to talk about what he read. He wants to avoid the whole situation and never talk about it. It scares me that he is trying to work this out all on his own.
As I alluded to in my subject my life is great except this. My husband is my soul mate. We love each other so much and he is a great person. He is so kind, smart, and strong.
My problem is I feel horrible that he gets physically ill from me. I am only 28 and am scared that we may never have children or sex again. Is there any hope that our sex life will be normal again?
Do you have any suggestions for my husband? He seems fine on the outside except when I bring up the topic. Then he gets quiet and sad. I'm worried about what is going on in the inside and the fact that he is trying to deal with this all alone scares me. I know he would prefer if I never touch him and never talk about the issue.


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#61914 - 05/23/06 12:37 AM Re: My Perfect life EXCEPT
Nobbynobs Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/26/05
Posts: 1286
Loc: Toronto
Weepywife,

Welcome to Malesurvivor.

Off the very top I would say that your husband needs to get professional help. The damage caused by abuse does not go away on its own, and things will get much worse if he doesn't see a therapist.

The second thing I will say is that recovering from childhood sexual abuse is a very difficult and painful experience, for both the husband and his partner. If your husband does choose to get professional help, you should both understand that you are in for a long, hard journey.

That said, he is very lucky to have a wife who loves him so much and who wants to help him. My wife stood behind me during my recovery and I can honestly say she saved my life. If I were you, I would write something very similar to what you have written here, and give it to him. He needs to understand that you are very concerned about his wellbeing and the state of your marriage. This may be enough to trigger him to get professional help. The only other advice I can think to give you is to provide him with support, but try to avoid being his therapist.

Finally, there are many other posts similar to this one on Malesurvivor, if you have some time it might be a good idea to take a spin through a few of them.

Take care,

Nobby

_________________________
When you go up to the bell, ring it! Or don't go up to the bell.

- Mel Brooks

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#61915 - 05/23/06 02:01 AM Re: My Perfect life EXCEPT
shadowkid Offline
WARNING from ModTeam, September 2013: user "Shadowkid" was exposed as a hoaxer. His entire online persona and stories of sexual abuse were fiction. We encourage you not to become emotionally concerned by anything you see in any of his posts. Thank you
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/18/05
Posts: 2437
hi i just wanted to say that as strange as it seems ,i can understand your husbands avoiding things like kissing,kissing turned out to be a huge trigger for me , a girl tried to kiss me and untill she did i had no idea i would react the way i did ,yes i got nauseated,i got short of breath ,i got even a little angey .i felt trapped ,and reacted to that feeling. i also want to say that although i found it very repulsive,it was not the girl that made me feel that way it was the memories of being forced to kiss my abuser that caused it ,i dont think your husband is repulesd by you at all ,just by bad memories, for me when she leaned over my body to kiss me ,i flashed back to my abuser laying on top of me ,holding my head and mashing his mouth over mine ,this was not imagination ,i could smell his rotten breath ,i could feel the whiskers on his face,her face became his face ,unless you have experienced a flashback like that its hard to understand but to me it was my abuser there not the girl and it feels as real as anything in the real world ,also you might wonder how he could have kissed you or been intimate before this ,but the memories can stay hidden for a long time then suddenly they are there in your mind ,for me as a 21 year old my abuse has taken away my desire to have sex ,i never have with a girl , for me sex is one giant trigger ,dont know how your husband or myself can fix this but his actions are not that unusual, at least i do understand what he is going through . to me sex equals pain and shame this is the kind of stuff our abusers leave inside us. he has you and that is a big plus i hope he understands how important you can be in his recovery,also seeing a therapist could help a lot ,but you cant force him to go . sorry this is not much help ,he is not the only one who has been affected in this way by abuse adam

_________________________
its not hard to fall
when you float like a cannonball - damien rice

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#61916 - 05/23/06 03:07 PM Re: My Perfect life EXCEPT
clemente Offline
Member

Registered: 03/15/06
Posts: 32
Loc: Eastern US
First, let me say how very sorry I am for what you and your husband are going through right now. I'll let the guys address what he might be experiencing and I will just speak to what you are going through.

I imagine the worst thing you are feeling right now is powerlessness and a loss of control. The life you thought you had "signed up for" is turning out to be totally different than what you are experiencing and it is confusing, hurtful and scairy! Sometimes, when a person experiences a "loss of control" in their own life, they try to fix it by focusing on what they see wrong in someone else. Right now, your first priority needs to be taking care of YOU and your own mental health. If you do not have one, find and go to a therapist. It would be preferable to select a T that has experience with CSA, but at a minimum it should be someone prepared to deal with issues of co-dependency. You need to be vigilant about your own boundaries and what you need. It is really the best thing you can do for yourself AND your husband.

The two books that have helped me the most in understanding the survivor in my life have been "Victims No Longer" by Mike Lew and "Abused Boys" by Mic Hunter. VNL can be like opening Pandora's Box for a survivor, but it can also be the vehicle that causes him to see his past behaviors in a new light and to acknowledge the effects abuse has had on him. "Abused Boys" helped ME, especially the part that discussed recovery from abuse (and partnering with someone who is recovering from abuse) in terms of the Grief Recovery process--the stages of grief are:

Denial - overt memories of abuse may not even be present
Bargaining - yeah, it happened, but it wasn't that bad, other people had it much worse (minimization is another word for this phase)
Anger - yeah, it happened to me and it pisses me off
Sadness - yeah, it happened to me and I am so sad for all the loss it has created in my life
Acceptance

Now, it would be great if people went through these phases in an orderly and predictable fashion, but it doesn't happen that way. People bounce back and forth and you may think you have worked through something when it is presented to you in a different way or a different aspect of what you have worked through appears and WHAM, you're back at the beginning. What I find helpful is to know the phases and recognize where I/my partner is. It's really hard for survivors to recognize their own feelings, let alone talk about them, so it helps if you can be sure of your OWN feelings. Then, you might find that the behavior makes more sense.

If I didn't make it clear before, not only does the survivor experience these stages, the partner does as well. Speaking for myself, I am currently working through the sadness. My partner is ANGRY. I actually see that as progress...because I remember when he was bargaining and minimizing. I don't have any illusions that this will ever "go away" or that we will ever "put it behind us". I recognize that this will color the rest of our lives, but I believe that awareness, respect and love will enable us to care for one another.

My heart goes out to you and your husband,

_________________________
Clemente

"Time is the currency of love..."

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#61917 - 05/23/06 04:14 PM Re: My Perfect life EXCEPT
Grunty1967b Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/28/05
Posts: 823
Loc: Australia
Weepywife,

I appreciate how you must be feeling. I am a male survivor of childhood sexual abuse. Although sad and tragic, as are all cases of the people here at MS, I also see hope and victory even by what you have briefly shared.

You’ve both been able to pinpoint an event (9 months ago) that related to the previous 6 month decline in your sex life, and that was “triggered” by something in the distant and repressed memory of your husband.

That’ actually a huge step and progress. It’s actually better than a general feeling from both of you of “what’s wrong?” At least you can both see there’s a reason. It can now be dealt with and worked on in the right way in the right time.

Having been ‘awakened’ myself from my repressed memories at the age of 21, after a TV show of all things, I can still recall how devastated I was. It was as if the abuse had just happened.

Let me try and put it another way so that you may better understand what hubby is probably going through. You’ve said how much you love him. He’s your soul mate. Imagine that the police knock on your door and tell you he’s just been murdered. You would feel very traumatised and would be a mess for quite days, weeks and months. I’m sorry if that’s a rather graphic example, but I believe that’s how grieved your husband is probably feeling right now. I know I did. Like I said, it’s as if it JUST happened, except now your husband is a grown adult with full emotional feelings and understanding of what “just” happened (in his recalled memories at least).

So, he will most likely be a mess for a while. Support, space and an open ear when he’s ready to talk are great things you can do for him.

As others have said, counselling for him would be hugely beneficial but it will need to be in his own time. For you, reading books on CSA (Childhood Sexual Abuse) will help you get an insight into the damage that is done, particularly to males as there are issues that uniquely affect males, plus these books normally have content aimed at spouses and partners of victims. By all means, if you want to see a counsellor that would probably help as well. Just make sure that the person you and hubby see specialises in CSA. I’ve spoken with those that don’t and it didn’t help; and in fact made me feel like I was all upset over nothing.

Stick around, read and post like you’re doing and you’ll find great support for yourself, and when hubby is ready, this place could be great for him too.

Glad to have you with us. Sad that you need to be – but glad that you are.


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#61918 - 05/23/06 07:20 PM Re: My Perfect life EXCEPT
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

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

Just to add to what others have said, I would like to assure you that your husband is not repulsed by you. He is reacting to the memories that have been triggered by his abuse and he is equating sex with shame and harm. Basically, he is viewing intimacy now as he reacted to abuse as a boy. This happens to survivors quite frequently.

He is also reacting very negatively to things like therapy, talking, reading, and so on, because he has been so devastated by these new memories and can't imagine being able to bear any more. He is probably very frightened, and a lot of the loathing you think is directed at you is actually directed at himself.

He has undergone a huge shock, in other words, and will need a lot of support. I would certainly get him the two books recommended by Clemente - they are the very best and they will reassure and enlighten him a lot. But he will also need therapy; there really isn't a shortcut around that, in my opinion.

I would also advise him to come here. He will be helped so much, and one of the first things he will learn here is that he isn't alone and what happened to him wasn't his fault. He will also see a lot of guys struggling for what he needs as well. He will see that he isn't a lost cause, not by a long shot.

Much love,
Larry

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

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#61919 - 05/24/06 12:01 AM Re: My Perfect life EXCEPT
weepywife Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/22/06
Posts: 57
Wow!!!! Thank you all for your words of encouragement and support. I am given strength by your answers.

I always try to find the bright side of things. If there is a bright side to this it is 1) finding people who are willing to help perfect strangers (yes your words help so much and I am amazed by the thought you put in your responses-Do you realize you are changing people's lives?)
2) when my husband and I get through this I know our marriage will be rock solid.

It is so hard to talk about this stuff. I am actually embarassed that I neeed to come here.

My husband and I are both very stubborn people. We are usually the ones that other people turn to for help. Someone mentioned therapy for me. The wierd thing is...I don't want to go. At times I do...... but to actually go and do it is another matter. I know it would probably help. But I guess I know why my husband doesn't want to go.

I know right now my husband doesn't feel like there is any hope for his recovery. I feel like there is no hope because he feels like there is no hope. ARe there any inspirational stories that I could find? Do we have hope for a " normal" life?

Thanks


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#61920 - 05/24/06 02:45 AM Re: My Perfect life EXCEPT
Nobbynobs Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/26/05
Posts: 1286
Loc: Toronto
Weepywife,

I found this essay very helpful:

http://spaz.ca/aaron/billious/RCYS/Contents.html

_________________________
When you go up to the bell, ring it! Or don't go up to the bell.

- Mel Brooks

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#61921 - 05/25/06 10:28 PM Re: My Perfect life EXCEPT
clemente Offline
Member

Registered: 03/15/06
Posts: 32
Loc: Eastern US
Nobby:

Thanks so much for the resource on Reclaiming Your Self. That is a very powerful document, written in very easy to understand terms with concrete, practical suggestions of how to reform your habituated thought processes that lead to feeling awful. I got so much out of it! Thanks again.

_________________________
Clemente

"Time is the currency of love..."

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#61922 - 05/26/06 03:23 PM Re: My Perfect life EXCEPT
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
Hi weepywife,

My partner disclosed to me about three years ago (we have been together for close to ten) and I don't know that we have a "normal" life, but we have a life we like very much and feel good about right now. \:\)

However-- while the people here have given you some great and supportive insight so far, I have to be honest and say that you are most likely in for difficult time in terms of sexual intimacy-- at least for the near future. It is not fair and it is not fun.

It's important to understand what everyone else is saying about WHY sex is hard for your husband right now-- his mind is a scary place to be right now and sex is a big part of that. He's not trying to hurt you and he probably feels terrible and ashamed about the whole thing... what guy in his 20's wants to admit to turning down his wife?... but it's also REALLY important for him to know that when it comes to the way that his SA is affecting his married sex life, he's not the only one affected.

There really does need to be a middle ground. If the two of you had good communication in this area before his disclosure, I would encourage you to really build on that-- don't try to bring his abuse into the bedroom more, but do talk about ways that you can help him feel comfortable, or ways that he can let you know that he's not comfortable ahead of time.

It DOES get better, but it takes a lot of respect and understanding on both sides, and honestly I don't know how much progress we would have made in this area if the two of us had just tried to figure it out on our own.

SAR


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