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#62749 - 04/08/02 05:34 AM I am seeking advice
Karina Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/08/02
Posts: 6
Loc: Melb, Australia
Hello,
I hope that anyone can give me some understanding for my situation.
My husband is American (I am Australian) and after 3 years of being
together, he left in November to return to the USA. He said that he
was "depressed" and could not cope any more. I went over there for
Christmas and found the man he had always been to me and still
claimed that he "loved me" and just had to get himself right. He
went to counselling and in the process emerged childhood sexual abuse
which he had buried. I was not surprised, because he had all the
symptoms (having been an abuse survivor myself, I was aware of some
of the symptoms) and he seemed to always be chronically depressed. I
came back to Australia with his promise that he would return.
However, over the last week, he has seemed to have gone backwards and
has gone back to his past "negative" comments, those being that he
is "no good for me", "a failure" and "that I should find someone
else". After another short break, he has sent emails saying "that he
truly does love me" and he has spoken to members of my
family, "crying and saying the same", but needs more time.
I know he is afraid, particularly now of his sexuality and whether he
can be a husband to me. I do not wish to desert him. I love him and
in all our time together, he was the kindest, most caring man I've
ever met. I am afraid to know what to do, as I almost cannot bear to
be hurt any further.
I would appreciate any comments, or advice, or even any male points
of view on my situation. I just do not understand why, if he says
that he loves me, he would wish to be away from me.
Thank you....
Karina


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#62750 - 04/08/02 11:18 AM Re: I am seeking advice
fenics Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/25/02
Posts: 25
Loc: Midlands UK
Karina

You must know that it is impossible for anyone to know enough about you, your husband and your situation to be able to tell you what to do. But one thing I am sure of is that you must not try to support him for his sake. Of course you love him and feel sorry for him and what to stop or at least reduce the pain, but if you do that for him then you are doomed to failure. You will not be able to cope with the stress and strain of giving out to him on that basis.

On the other hand, if you want to do this for your own sake (because you genuinely want to be with him irrespective of his pain, because you love him so much you cannot bear to be apart from him) then stick with him. Make sure he knows that you feel you have no choice but to stay with him, not for his sake but for your own. This will help because he will know that he does not have to live up to anything and does not have to do anything to maintain your love. (One of my problems with receiving affection is that I do not trust it to be on it's own merits and without strings attached. For me, the offer of love and affection feels like an aggressive act because I then feel I have to do something in response and if I don't or if I do the wrong thing then there will be terrible consequences.)

So, no advice beyond this: look inside yourself and do what you want to do.

Good luck

fenics


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#62751 - 04/08/02 05:59 PM Re: I am seeking advice
getteddie Offline
Member

Registered: 07/19/01
Posts: 226
Loc: Cub Hill, Md
Dear Karina,
The first thing to do is to decide if you really want to know!!!! Know why he booked for the US...was he gay...did he turn into a perp...the list goes on for ever but you can find out!!! Get a good PI to check in to his back ground right where you live now...let him turn the place upside-down and see what falls out! He wasn't with you 24-7...find out where and what he was doing when not with you! He also may have been freaked out or doing strange things if he is DID form the SA...You know that he's got PTSD...if he was SA under the age of 9..he may have DID!!!! Find out what the whole story is...what he did while living there and what happened here in the US...going to cost a little money but it will give you the answers and you will know which way to go!!! He maybe just freaked from the SA....But, SA men are the ones that to go out and do some pretty strange things...he maybe on the run for a good reason!

Eddie


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#62752 - 04/08/02 07:19 PM Re: I am seeking advice
Ken Followell Offline
President
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 12/30/01
Posts: 990
Loc: Bradenton, FL
Karina,

This running away from you may be for many reasons. One of he more likely ones is that he is afraid of hurting you and not livig up to the image he has for the man you deserve to be with. the abuse does very strange things to a man's head. Not to down play the effects of your own abuse, but it has different results for a man.

Support him as you can but do not allow yourself to be re-victimized in his process of healing. It is only as each of you continue to heal that your love can deepen and grow.

_________________________
Ken Followell

Everything works out right in the end. If things are not working right, it isn't the end yet. Don't let it bother you, relax and keep on goin
- Michael C. Muhammad

"I get up. I walk. I fall down. Meanwhile, I keep dancing."
� Rabbi Hillel

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#62753 - 04/08/02 10:14 PM Re: I am seeking advice
Karina Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/08/02
Posts: 6
Loc: Melb, Australia
Thank you everyone for your comments and support,
I truly need to understand all of this from a male view. I can only see what I would do from my female eyes. He keeps pushing me away with his behaviour, but then tells me and others that he "really does love me" and "that I am his best friend". I want to be there for us both, but he is not allowing me to do that because of the distance he has put between us.
I guess I just need to know, does he really really care?
Thank you again,
Karina


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#62754 - 04/10/02 03:24 AM Re: I am seeking advice
babs Offline
Member

Registered: 07/20/01
Posts: 59
Loc: Cub Hill, MD
Karina,

My SA husband of 22+ years is Getteddie (post # 3 on this thread). His SA childhood experiences surfaced nearly 2 years ago after being buried for 40 years he is now 53 YO). The phrase you have used to describe your husband, "the kindest, most caring man I've ever met", equally describes my husband. From an intellectual perspective he has come a long was in understanding he should not feel "shame or guilt" about the abuse, but reaching that same level emotionally has been elusive. As recently as a week ago he was also telling me "that I should find someone else". He has achieved some significant healing, but is prone to relapses in which he reinvests himself in that old "negative" self image of shame and guilt.

To tell the truth my own reactions over the last 2 years have often surprized me. I have shown more love, strength, tolereance and understanding than I thought was humanly possible. NOT ALL these interactions could be described as "HEALTHY". I have often substituted strength for good sense. Will the real codependent please stand up!!

Our personal **emotional roller coaster ride from HELL** has been both soothed and complicated by the existence of our, now, 13 year old daughter. Only in the last couple of months have I come to realize that I ALONE cannot make everything right! That regardless of the depth of my love for this amazing man there MAY become a point at which it is just too painful to stay together. There COULD be a time when I may actually have to say NO MORE for the sake of the child, if not for my own sake.

Those monsters that abuse not only sexually traumitize their young victims, but usually try and are often very effective in shifting the burden of shame and guilt to their prey. The result is the near total destruction of the victims SELF ESTEEM. It sounds like your husband is pushing you away to punish himself for allowing the abuse to happen.

You MUST DECIDE to what length you will go to maintain the marriage. I agree with Kenf that you must not allow yourself to be re-victimized while trying to help him. You have a tremendous asset in the support and involvement of your family. Does he have his family's support? Our own struggle has been under a veil of secrecy. Revealing his pain and trauma would only destroy his 2 older (sexually repressed) sisters. All 3 of them are amazing survivors of an physically and emotionally abusive father and a invalid mother.

I'm sure that your husband cares deeply for you and the person he doesn't love enough is himself.

The confused and fuzzy (illogical) thought processes triggered by flashbacks, unwanted same sex attractions, shame and guilt are extremely powerful. Hopefully your husband can find his way in the fog and will return soon. I'm sure I'd have trouble tolerating a 10,000 mile disconnect. Keep trying to get both of you on the same continent. Try to stress to him that he has choices NOW which he didn't have when being abused. A couple of months more time away from you will NEVER be enough "to get himself right." He is probably in denial about how much of an impact the SA has had on his entire life. You can only help support his healing if he lets you close again.

Find out what he expects to achieve during this "more time" phase and set a definite date which he must come back. BUT you must be ready to act if he fails to come back. Setting acceptable limits for his behavior toward you is the only healthy option and I pray he can respond in kind by returning to you.

I hope I haven't too preachy in my comments. For myself I've got to work on what is healthy & happy for my daughter and myself. My husband is truly amazing for having just survived the SA and I believe he has the strength to more forward in this healing. The big question for our future is whether he believes that he has the strength to more forward.

My thoughts are with you...

Babs


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#62755 - 04/11/02 01:11 AM Re: I am seeking advice
Karina Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/08/02
Posts: 6
Loc: Melb, Australia
Dear Babs,
Thank you for your reply. I feel for the moment, that I must like you, find the strength within and give as much support and love to him as possible. I too have been abused, so on some level I do understand where he is at. I do not understand him wanting to be away and I am struggling desperately with athat distance, but I believe him when he says he loves me. I know that is no consolation 10,000 miles away and I truly do not know what else to do.
I tried to get angry, just last week after he had said, he would come back. I had pressured and pressured for a time....but I realized after that, that my pressuring was not really helping. I was wanting "instant pudding" instead of "souffle".....
I told him he was selfish blah blah blah, but then I realised, that perhaps, I was not giving him the grace he needed to truly get well.
I do not know why he went back there, other than I feel it "felt safer" for him to be in his home country and maybe, he needs to be there to "resolve his memories".
I don't know. I surely wish I did.
Please keep in touch. I need some life lines at the moment. And I particularly need people who understand the situation.
Regards,
Karina


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#62756 - 04/23/02 08:01 PM Re: I am seeking advice
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Karina
from where I sit, nearly 50 male, SA survivor, I find it hard to iagine what you're going through, although Bab's seems to have some idea.
My wife of 27 years, listens and doesn't judge, gives advice and encouregment not orders, accepts where I've been and what I've done.
If that sounds like I'me having the easy life from her - I'm not, because she see's through any crap I give her, and if she thought I was using SA as an excuse for something else she'd be on my case so fast I wouldn't know what hit me.
And I love her for it, I need the balance of hard and soft, I need a cuddle as much as an occasional arse kicking.
But through all my recovery I have had the utmost concern that she should not live my problems.
It's a hell of a job, but someone's got to do it !
Good luck to you both.
\:\)

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#62757 - 04/24/02 09:47 PM Re: I am seeking advice
Karina Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/08/02
Posts: 6
Loc: Melb, Australia
Dear Lloydy,
Thank you for your reply. My difficulty is that he left to go 10 thousand miles away to deal with this and it seems that he will never come back. He continues to say he is "not mentally well enough, or stable enough" to be in this marriage. And while I do understand what he says and his reasons, I do not understand why he would want to do this on his own. I do not understand why he wants to throw "our marriage" away when it had so much love in it.
He is not giving me choices, he has dictated the terms all along.
I do not know what to do any more. Should I just move on and let him have what he wants, or should I continue to support him?
Thank you again
Karina


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#62758 - 04/25/02 07:33 AM Re: I am seeking advice
fenics Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/25/02
Posts: 25
Loc: Midlands UK
Karina

My guess is that your husband's sense of himself and the validity of his own feelings, thoughts and actions is very shakey. Perhaps you could encourage him to talk to someone about it. If he is not happy going to a therapist (and I can understand why not) he could give this message board a try. Or he could even browse here and then send a personal message to someone who seems to have gone through a similar process (although he will need to be aware that some of us are not in a place where we can give much out, but I am sure that we will all be glad to listen).

fenics


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#62759 - 04/25/02 07:58 PM Re: I am seeking advice
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Karina
We sure as hell are mixed up, and it only becomes apparent as we start our recoveries.
Maybe I'm generalizing a bit there- I don't know, but during my recovery I've worked hard and read what I can, and talked to others. I've made a point of being active in order to find out what the hell goes on between my ears.
My personal experience was one of 31 years of denial and silence, not a word to anyone. And telling my wife just before our 25 wedding anniversary opened such a can of worms I can barely believe.
I nearly walked out, I nearly took the ultimate walk, but somehow I clung on.
I guess it was realising my wife was possibly my only hope. but with hindsight ( such a wonderful thing ! ) I realise it was mutual trust. About the only thing we had left somehow.
Since telling her I've needed space,and some days I just call in sick to work and spend the day inside my head, I walk, sit in the chair, cry, sing along to the stereo, anything- but I work things out that only I can work out, and when I feel it is right I share my thoughts with her.
I guess what I'm saying is keep offering love and support, be prepared for shocks, and if you can possibly do it stand by him even though the shocks might be bigger than you think.
My favourite songwriter Tom Waits wrote "We do crazy things when we're wounded"
And we do, I did. And that was the cause of my fear, a fear like I have never known, if she knew what I had done, not so much the abuse but my "acting out" as an adult, I believed everything I ever had would be gone in an instant. And that frightened me.
I took the gamble and won, maybe your husband is still weighing up the odds.
I was lucky with therapy, I found an excellent charity that provides therapy for adult victims of SA only, so I got someone who was dedicated to the cause, and fully understood my situation. But I do read some horror stories about crummy therapists, so beware.
Fenics suggestion of encouraging him to get reassurance is absolutely right, and if he feels like it then this forum is as good as it gets.

Stay in touch- stay cool
Lloydy

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#62760 - 04/26/02 12:50 AM Re: I am seeking advice
Karina Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/08/02
Posts: 6
Loc: Melb, Australia
Dear Lloydy,
Thank you for your honesty and insight. I really do appreciate it right now.
I am trying incredibly hard to stay focused and positive for him. He is doing alot of reading too and some self help stuff, but he is seeing little progress, so is very negative and thinks he will never get better.
Hence why he thinks he can't be with me, for he thinks he will "hurt" me more or "hurt" me because he is mentally unstable.
I do not totally understand, for I would be like you and want that person to be around me. But I am trying so hard not to take it personally and so continue to support him.
I just wish he did not choose to be so far away. And I cannot make him understand that "his leaving me is not doing me a favour"....
It is very difficult to be objective.
He does not have a good counsellor. Where he is, it is very difficult for him to find one. I feel in a way that I have become his counsellor. (I too am an abuse survivor)....so I am trying to encourage him with the things that I did and have been through.
I just need insight from a man's viewpoint. So once again, thank you. I appreciate your insight.
Take care,
Karina


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#62761 - 04/26/02 09:36 PM Re: I am seeking advice
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Karina
Personally I found that self help was no help, not until I sought and found decent help from my therapist. For over 30 years I thought that I was smart enough to figure my way out of the torment, strong enough to stop acting out, but I was wrong. I needed my supporters, therapy ( and again I say how lucky I was to find a therapist who solely dealt with SA ) my wife and my best friend Steve.
The feelings of being able to deal with it myself were strongest after acting out or any other of the behaviours so many of us seem to have been left with,( there's a surprise ! ) but it didn't last long and soon decended into the cycle of "indulging a little fantasy" and feeling bad. Feeling bad and using stronger fantasy to feel better. Feeling worse and acting out..... the list goes on.
I know we're all different and I wouldn't be so presumptuous as to hand out advice, all I tell you here is my male perspective based on my experiences, but I guess you have to ask yourself how much can you do for someone so far away ?
My friend Steve and I "cheer" each other up some days, he tells me about his horrendous divorce from a mad alcoholic and I tell him about my SA, it usually ends in tears !!
But we do tell each other repeatedly that "sometimes you just have to be fucking selfish " and we don't mean being mean and nasty to others, just making sure that we look out for ourselves sometimes. Something everyone should think about- as often as it takes.
Take care, be cool
lloydy

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#62762 - 04/27/02 01:51 AM Re: I am seeking advice
Karina Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/08/02
Posts: 6
Loc: Melb, Australia
Lloydy,
Once again, thank you for your candour. The ultimate question, is "how much can I help him from this distance?" But my hands are tied to do anything else.
It is almost impossible for him to find a counsellor.
I am torn between being selfish and telling him to "fuck off" and being selfless and "thinking that I am his wife, so I should stand by him".....it is a dilemma.
I'm tired and lonely and I need support.
But somehow I keep going.
Thanks again mate.
Karina
p.s Please take care......


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#62763 - 04/27/02 08:26 PM Re: I am seeking advice
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Karina
I guess you have to figure out where your support is, your friends and family, and ultimately your husband- and is it enough to keep you going ?
I do think of myself first now, it's up to me to keep my sanity. And if I do that then I hope I'm a better, or at least an easier person to live with as far as my family and friends are concerned. It might sound a perverse argument but I believe that to be the case.
Support is a two way deal, and I know my wife wouldn't be sat by me here if I didn't give something in return, if I didn't she would have crashed and burned a long time back. Or thrown me out on my arse !
I'v just re-read the earlier post from Babs, and I guess she says it all from a wife's perspective, I can see my wife there as well. As Bab's says, Goals, rules and frameworks need to be established- hey, we're going to break them alright- but they provide a kind of circle of protection for everyone involved, and when we break them and want to get back on track they're there, it doesn't matter what they are but for me our little rules are something to aim for, or something to cling to !!
Don't go under from sorting someone else out who ain't giving something worthwhile back, either to himself or you.
think hard- stay cool
Lloydy

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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