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#62959 - 07/12/02 12:29 PM proper reactions/support for SA survivors
soccer Offline
Member

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 43
Hi all - just saw a post on the male survivors section regarding "why is it so hard to react properly to SA". I know we're not supposed to reply on the male survivors forum - hopefully someone will read this post from that group and find it insightful.

For me, I know that it has simply just been hard to accept that something so horrible as SA has happened to the man I love. Also the fact that it is so hard for me, not having suffered sexual abuse (I have suffered all other kinds, however) that even one or two incidents of molestation can cause such unbelievable effects is simply mind boggling. Once I came to the realization that it can and does cause such wide ranging and dramatic effects, the anger that I now have about the incidents, the perpetrator, those that "allowed and encouraged it to happen" is just so HUGE. Combine this with my own abuse history, its just a lot to handle all at once. I've been involveed with my SO for almost a year now, and have JUST been able to start acknowledging what has happened and accept the anger that I have and figure out better ways of dealing with it.

For a long time I didnt deal with it properly. I tended to stay focussed on HIM and his behaviour and what he was doing and has done to cope. I had a hard time putting things into context. I tended to stay focussed on his past - was so horrified at the things that my SO told me he did for 10-15 years as coping mechanisms (alcohol addiction, sexual acting-out/promiscuity/unsafe sex/compromising his sexual morals, heavy pot use, experimentation with other drugs, unstable relationship history and unstable job history, high school drop out, etc. etc.) What I found myself doing at first was turning my anger towards him and becoming unbelievably obsessed with his past - particularly his past sexual relations. (note - my reaction was no doubt exacerbated by my own tendencies towards depression/anxiety, PTSD, and obsessive compuslive disorder.)

Due to BOTH our abuse histories (his was sexual/emotional, mine was psychological/emotional/verbal), our relationship has been pretty rocky at times. My bf (and yes, sometimes I) from time to time act out with sudden, unexplainable anger at each other. My SO sometimes resorts to verbal cruelty at me during his "anger attacks". It is very very hard to be supportive when you are the closest to someone's "blast zone"!

A final difficulty lies in the fact that my SO has not made definite links between his behaviour and his SA. Its hard to tell sometimes if he's just being a jerk (as ANYONE, abuse survivor or not can be from time to time) or he's suffering an emotional swing due to the abuse. Its much easier to support someone who's sick or injured and help them - physical pain is just much easier to understand because you can SEE it. When one is dealing with someone with emotional side effects, that is very difficult. I know this first hand - my own abuse history led me to serious bouts of depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder and I know all too well how unsupportive MOST people are towards those with mental/emotional difficulties. I've lost a lot of friends and boyfriends over the years.

I've found that the posts on this site have really helped me understand my SO's behaviour. I have seen some of the same behaviours in my SO that have been described by some survivors. Thanks to those who have had the courage to put their stories down for us to read. I have much more insight into what may be going on in my SO's head than before I started coming here.

soc


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#62960 - 07/13/02 01:04 AM Re: proper reactions/support for SA survivors
babs Offline
Member

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

I think that most people underestimate the impact of SA on their survivor because they misjudge the Power of SHAME. In our culture "Men are not supposed to be victims." Many of these men have concluded that they are failures as men because they think that " they allowed themselves to be victimized." NO WAY!!!

The opposite is true; SA Survivors are HEROS.They have faced one of the 'ultimate' destructive violations by another human being and they survived.

Massive shame destroys self-esteem which can be replaced by self-hatred. Getteddie and I have talked alot about this issue. I think he realizes intellectually that he isn't responsible for the abuse, but emotionally he can't seem to shake the shame. The longest trip in the world can be between the head and the heart. Hopefully, I can continue to support Getteddie during this journey of recovery.

Babs


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#62961 - 07/13/02 05:04 AM Re: proper reactions/support for SA survivors
Muldoon Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/30/02
Posts: 1428
Loc: St Paul MN
Soccer
Good to see you using the post again. I don,t care who use our ,s but that,s another matter. My abuse was short ,so I can,t talk for those that suffered long time but it becomes a major froce on my life. I also have the Church to vent my anger at which helps direct it away from my love one.s.
For 40 years I would hid in the dark cornor of my mind ,wasting away much time in the pot and Rum, barly keeping things under control.
We fell much pain but also want Justice, a justice that is unreachable now after so many years.
We fell totaly alone because no one reached out to help us end the hell we where in.
It must be hard for you to deal with the fact that he doesn,t make the link back to his SA, Dose that mean he dosen,t use this site for help?
The one thing which helps me the most is when my wife just hugs and holds me, we don,t have to talk ,I just need that one on one which makes me fell loved by her.
Hope things can get better for you and keep coming back here we need your iinput for an balanced view. Muldoon

_________________________
Teach the Children to Never Hide in the Silence

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#62962 - 07/16/02 12:11 PM Re: proper reactions/support for SA survivors
soccer Offline
Member

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 43
These are great posts.. I am glad that this site is out there! :p

Re: My bf and why he's not linked his actions/feelings to the abuse - just recently (several months ago) he decided to stop hiding by using drugs.. he is still learning. I dont know if he knows about this site - he has limited access to the 'net. He has done a lot of work on how the abuse affected himself, but he's just getting to the point of how the abuse affects his ability to be in a relationship.

I like your comments babs re: shame - what must be so extra hard for men who have been SA is the gender confusion - I know my BF thought he was gay for at least 8 years after the abuse. As a result he buried himself in alcohol and sexual relationship after relationship to try and prove to himself that he wasn't gay.

What is still so hard for me is that no matter how he explains why he did what he did (re: many sexual relationships, one night stands, slept with people for very strange reasons (i.e. once he said he did it to make someone feel better after he stopped dating (they had not been sexual). What bothers me most is that we have the very same roots/moral stand on sex and I was really shocked at how he had violated his own morals. Can SA really push someone that far away from their own morals/standards? It still makes me feel really insecure/odd and very disappointed - I know he did what he did to make himself feel better, but I still cant help thinking of all the women he's been with and it gives me this really sinking feeling in my gut. It has been a real issue in my own mind for a while. If anyone could help me put the sexual acting out part of SA in perspective that would be a MAJOR help to me - that he coudl be involved with so many people but still love me - that is so hard for me to understand.


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#62963 - 07/16/02 06:47 PM Re: proper reactions/support for SA survivors
getteddie Offline
Member

Registered: 07/19/01
Posts: 226
Loc: Cub Hill, Md
Soc,
Trouble with moral standards???? Being moral is very hard to stick to...if it wasn't for Babs..I would be glad to have sex with anyone or anything!!!! I have to force myself to control it...one med that I started taking about 3 months ago really helped...Buspirone...just remembered to take it...no wonder I'm feeling so hot! Male SA leaves men...maybe not all...with a burning feeling to just have sex!!!! I hope that your BF is in therapy and you like "LOTS OF SEX" and are willing to some strange things to keep him home...If not living with a sex addict will drive you nuts...he may not be telling you how much sex he wants now...BUT...wait until later!!!! Don't want to be hard on you but you had better be ready to put out or get out...if not he will sneak out for more! You must..in order to be really happy...find some way that you two can "ACT IT OUT " together or he will find some way outside.... himself!!! I do have pretty high moral standards when it comes to kids and the real old folks but everything else had better look out...I have been keeping it under control for 2 years now but it is a very hard fight! You may want to find a BF with out past SA. If you need any info on acting it out send me a private message..and let me know what happened to him and I maybe able to help you. Good Luck!

Eddie


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#62964 - 07/16/02 07:39 PM Re: proper reactions/support for SA survivors
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Soccer
My experience is a bit different to Eddies, but I guess there's common ground in there somewhere.

My abuse was by a gang of older boys and a teacher up to the age of 15, sometimes early on it was accompanied by violence. Always it was based on abuse of power.

Since the day I left school I have had problems, I was "slow" with girls, but it was a boys only school, so that was normal enough.
But I suppose my sexual behaviours and thoughts were begining to show signs of being affected. I masturbated frequently, many times a day, and used memories of the abuse ( I didn't call it that then ) as fantasy. I started to use the fantasy when having sex with girls, until I became reliant on it.
Probably in my late 20's I started to seriously think about making the fantasy come true, just the simple act of performing oral sex with another man. Inevitably, by the time I was in my 40's I was doing just that, following the absolutely unstoppable urge to enact my fantasies.

I now know that my abusers took me there, they led me by the hand to stinking toilets in search of sex I hated. Again with hindsight I realize the sex wasn't the important factor, the whole deal was a distorted view on regaining power by doing these acts I learnt as a kid, on my terms as an adult. Naturally it doesn't work that way, but we dont know that. Not until we discover that fact during recovery, generally with extensive therapy. It's not the sole reason we, I, act out, and therapy isn't the only help. We're far to individual for there to be set menu cures unfortunately.

Eventually I have stopped acting out big time, it's been 4 years or so now I guess. But I still have my moments of weakness when I let the fantasies take over, but they're getting less.
Unfortunately the down side is I'm heading for asexuality, I make love to my wife, who I love to bits, far to infrequently. I can go for weeks between making love. And I'm also not filling the gap by doing it myself anymore.
It's the opposite problem to Eddie, perhaps I need a few tips ?? But we cope with this, we view it as a price to pay for my sanity, and that's not to strong a word for it either. I can vividly remember the states I got into when acting out, the highs and lows were SO extreme, adreniline crazed rushes followed by suicidal despair. And inbetween there was the constant lying and cheating, not to mention the dreadful fear and excited anticipation of the next attack / opportunity when the cycle would repeat, as it surely would.
To deal with all this shit AND deal with shame, guilt, gender confusion, drink, drugs, depression and stress is a heavy load.

I've said before that if this is as good as it gets for me then that's fine. I'm calm, fairly sober, drug free - mmmmm, sure of my sexuality, not very depressed ( work mainly ) and dealing with it. The only great loss is my sex drive, but my wife still has one, and I'm taking lessons.

Sorry to ramble on Soccer, but it's a big subject. It's surely the most destructive thing we endure.

My wife knows exactly what I've done, but she also appreciates that "I" didn't do it, it was my alter ego being led by my abusers.
A truly loving response, I'm a very lucky man.
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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#62965 - 07/17/02 04:07 AM Re: proper reactions/support for SA survivors
babs Offline
Member

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

You wrote:
Quote:
I know he did what he did to make himself feel better, but I still cant help thinking of all the women he's been with and it gives me this really sinking feeling in my gut.
I think that what you are missing is that he PROBABLY didn't do all this acting out to make himself feel better. He quite possibly did these things for a number of different reasons; some of which are listed below:

(1) prove "what a bad person he really must be" (because only a bad person would allow themselves to be abused)
OR
(2) feel in control of his own sexuality (which was violated by the abusers)
OR
(3) like the use of drugs, "another futile attempt to NUMB the pain of the SA."

You can be dammed sure that I NEVER thought Eddie would cheat on me. I'm even more surprised that I didn't end my (then) 21 year marriage when I found out about his sexual ACTING OUT. It was ONLY at that time that I found out about the sexual abuse. I knew he had been raised in an emotionally, verbally & physically abusive home.

Several times in the last few years the issues raised by the SA history has "convinced Eddie that he was GAY". At first I tried to figure out how I could maintain our marriage, yet allow him to embrace this new sexual orientation. Then I realized that " FOR ME, the only acceptable option was monogamy". " Even though I understand on an intellectual level why he acted out I also realize that on an emotional level that the pain of the betrayal/broken trust cut SO DEEPLY another episode will DESTROY us.

SA maybe the reason for the "acting out", but IT IS NOT AN EXCUSE. These behaviors have nothing to do with me, my sexuality or how good a wife I have been to Eddie. They ARE NOT a reflection of me or our relationship. These behaviors are Eddie's issues and they have to do his experiences and his sexuality.

Next month we will celebrate our 23rd wedding anniversary with our 13 YO daughter. I've been to hell and back "standing by my man" , but Eddie is WELL AWARE that if he makes the choice to ACT OUT again that he is choosing to end our marriage.

I hope my RANT gives you some help. Protect yourself and hopefully your BF will be strong enough to continue to respond with healthy choices.

Take care, Barbara


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#62966 - 07/17/02 10:55 AM Re: proper reactions/support for SA survivors
soccer Offline
Member

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 43
Hi all thanks for all your responses. First to clarify - my bf has never cheated on me nor on anyone. He has always had the decency to break something off with. Its not even our "compatibility" right now thats a problem - we are pretty evenly matched as far as sex drive. What bothers me is his "track record", number of partners (especially 5-7 years after the abuse which happened at age 16 or 17), etc.

Thanks for the lists of reasons why he might have felt compelled to "act out". Really helped.

I guess one thing I have noticed is that its when we have problems in our relationship (not sexual problems) is when this (his past) starts bothering me more.

One thing my BF is currently exploring is anger - he really doesnt have a good handle on it, what it is, how it is damaging, etc. Its just been a really tough go in this relationship lately - he's launched a case against his SA perp and lining up witnesses, etc. has really been hard. What makes it harder is that my BF tends to stick his head in the sand about stuff like that - when he finished filing the case I asked him "ok what now" and "are you sure you are ready for the next step" (identifying witnesses, etc) and he just went "uuh I dunno I guess I'll deal with it when it comes" and never gave it a second thought. Now he's finding it really tough and his emotions and stuff are all over the place.

I dont know whether we're coming or going these days. One minute our relationship seems doomed then the next we get back on track. I'm just tired of the rollercoaster. He's just had stuck emotions for so long now but now there's no booze/drugs to hide behind. I really think his substance abuse really hindered his ability to deal with problems and handle difficulty.

Thanks for reading my rant.. I'm sure that many of you can understand.

soc


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#62967 - 07/17/02 05:46 PM Re: proper reactions/support for SA survivors
getteddie Offline
Member

Registered: 07/19/01
Posts: 226
Loc: Cub Hill, Md
Soc,
You sound like you got a hell of a brave man....going after his abuser...no one knows how hard that one is...it's the top...#1 !!!!
Mood swings are the name of the game...that's what drives most women off.."I THINK". My Pdcocs tell me that this will lessen as time goes by...Years not months! Some times I feel on the top of the world and can really relate with everyone then I get triggered.."think about the SA"..and my mood can change in a second...up and down all of the time. Outside pressure causes most of it...fighting his abuser...hang on tight...he will need you just to stay alive! One guy here attacked his abuser and won...now he stops by his house once in a while and the guy has to talk to him...the survivor sounds really together...works as a leader of men in a dangerous job...so going after his abuser must have really helped him! He says that he still has some mood swings...I think that we all will for the rest of our lives...just less frequently and more controlable. Being that brave puts your guy at the top of our pile...they say that 1 out of 4 men are SA before the age of 18...that's 100's of 1,000,000's of men in the world...how many of that number become survivors...very few...most kill theirselfs, get put inside---nut house or jail, become the living dead..junkies-whores-SA perps, etc. Out of the survivors...how many go after their abusers???? Very few. You sound like a good 'stand by your man type' lady like mine...he will really need your help now! Just remember that the mood swings will take him to lows where he doesn't even like you...that's the hardest time for you...I can see it in my Boo Boo's eyes when I get that way...but we all swing back up to the top again!!!!!
With the lots of people and sex thing...he is a completely different person now...he just has more experience and is a better lover! All SA Men change when they open up! Most become better people...more are open and closer to their partners! I was married for 21 years and still couldn't fall asleep with someone else touching me!!! Now I feel right when spooned up...I can feel pain and everything else like never before! Look..I know that women think men are full of it..so what can we do but put out what's inside...still say that lots of lovers means lots of good experience! Good luck!

Eddie


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#62968 - 07/17/02 10:21 PM Re: proper reactions/support for SA survivors
getteddie Offline
Member

Registered: 07/19/01
Posts: 226
Loc: Cub Hill, Md
Soc,
I feel kinda bad about my last post...I was in a bad downward mood swing...outside pressure from my job..my boss told everyone about my SA and that I was surely gay...now he's trying to fire me! You sound like a life saver sent to your BF...sometime post from the other side.."The Partners" hits to close to home..which will send Male SA Survivors into a mood swing.."Blame it on the ladies" men try to slide out of everything! Post from You and the other Partners and Friends does more to help us then anyone wants to admit! Thanks for your help and best to you and "Your Old Man"!!!

Eddie


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#62969 - 07/18/02 12:42 PM Re: proper reactions/support for SA survivors
soccer Offline
Member

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 43
Eddie: no worries about your post - I actually started laughing when I read the part about "mood swings so low he doesn't even like you".. I laughed because this is SO TRUE!!! I can SO identify with that.. I swear I have cried my eyes out at least 4 times this week on account of remembering past fights, etc.

Thanks so much for your note - I need all the help I can get to believe that my BF really loves me. He just does some things that really mess with my head (he "says" he loves me but he acts so mean.. etc. etc..) and I get SO CONFUSED! The fact that I was raised with a father with similar characteristics makes it extra hard...

As far as my SO going after his perp - this one is not a legal case (I dont think he's quite ready for that yet) but rather a complaint to the teachers board - hopefully will get this jerk (who is now a principal at a catholic school!!) out of the classroom and away from kids FOREVER. However even this kind of complaint requires him to dig it all up again, talk to strangers about it, contact old people from his life, etc. Oh man I cannot imagine how hard it would be should this teacher rip apart my my BF, deny it, etc. etc. I think I'd literally throw up reading his reply. I'm glad he's sought therapy to handle this.

My bf has not really talked much about the "what ifs" My big fear is that the sh**head perp will go after my BF should he lose his job.. that would be a major nightmare. The guy sounds like a real piece of work, a real manipulator.

My SO is so low-key about it.. he really tries to hide his emotions a lot.. I just wish I had a better handle on how hard this was for him. He really doesnt let it show.. I wonder if that causes the mood swings even more I dont know.


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#62970 - 07/23/02 11:09 AM Re: proper reactions/support for SA survivors
AMiNUTS Offline
Member

Registered: 06/13/02
Posts: 37
Hi All,

WOW! What a terrifically insightful thread. Where to begin...

The rollercoaster of emotions is very difficult for BOTH involved in the relationship. This is one thing my H has actually brought up when we start getting into issues in our relationship. He cannot handle the rollercoaster type feelings. It is just TOO much for him. I myself can't handle the pain of the roller coaster and would just rather get out of the relationship (most of the time). Why go on like this. But I suppose this last week answered that question. Finally, some real, tangible emotional discussion...some revelations about himself...that he shared. This is what I have been waiting for. Hopefully, there is more to come.

Babs- you truly amaze me. It is so clear how much work you two have done together...and apart. Whose stuff belongs to who, etc. Its great to be able to separate his stuff and KNOW/FEEL it has nothing to do with you. I get so wrapped up, I can't tell whose is what.

Eddie-your statement about lots of sex from the SO kind of scared me, because I find that him needing sex has nothing to do with me (sometimes) which completely turns me off. I don't want any party of it. It feels like being used, not a mutual act of love. This is an area I struggle with alot....and I know that he REALLY, REALLY wants sex ALOT. I can't give it under those circumstances. BABS...any insight? Sounds like you two have worked it out.

Thanks all for you openness and the great insight!
-AMiNUTS


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#62971 - 07/25/02 03:20 AM Re: proper reactions/support for SA survivors
babs Offline
Member

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

In your previous post # 8 you felt the need to clarify that your BF had not cheated on "you or anybody else." My comment about cheating in post #7 was just about my personal situation, not an implication of 'like' behavior by BF.

I was attempting in post #7 to address your statement in post #4:
Quote:
If anyone could help me put the sexual acting out part of SA in perspective that would be a MAJOR help to me - that he coudl be involved with so many people but still love me - that is so hard for me to understand.
This is my opinion ONLY, but I think you are mixing apples and oranges. You seem to be confusing (1)his sexuality with your desirability, (2)his obsessive compulsive SA-based pathology with his moral standards (based only on what he has expressed verbally to you).

THIS IS NOT AN ATTACK ON YOU OR HIM, but imho several "shadow issues" could yet surface. You seem to be able to separate and tolerate his SA triggered anger issues, but once you wander into the sexual areana, quite naturally, you lose your objectivity. Maybe your BF was spared some of the after-affects of SA that Getteddie and others on this forum have openly admitted because his abuse took place in his late teens. Maybe your boyfriend was lucky enough to have a well developed sense of himself as a "male" and that the abuse was NOT his first sexual experience. For Getteddie and others who was raped pre-puberty have EXTRA added confusion because their first sexual pleasure is forever linked to the sexual abuse. I sometimes wonder how I could have been so clueless about Getteddie's sexual nature for over 21 years. ** Actually I now realize he had built "a very strong & tall wall" from even himself **. The sexual addiction that continues to control him was a surprise to me. I know you believe the following statement, but....

Quote:
Its not even our "compatibility" right now thats a problem - we are pretty evenly matched as far as sex drive.
It may be that he minimizes his real obsession because (1) he is ashamed of the 'compulsion' or (2)he is afraid that the reality of his 'needs' will drive you away. Your BF obviously loves you very much to have opened up to you about such a sensitive issue. Build on that foundation, but be aware that you need to be strong & flexible because you are building in a relationship EARTHQUAKE zone

I know that I sound 'more together about sorting through issues' than is actually true. My capacity to understand the impact of SA from an intellectual standpoint FAR EXCEEDS my emotional reconciliation. I have just gotten to a point that I can't waste my limited energy fighting what IS unfair and am trying to focus on 'healthy ways' to accept and move forward.

Putting my soapbox away now,

Babs


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#62972 - 07/25/02 09:34 AM Re: proper reactions/support for SA survivors
AMiNUTS Offline
Member

Registered: 06/13/02
Posts: 37
Hi Babs,

your quote:
"It may be that he minimizes his real obsession because (1) he is ashamed of the 'compulsion' or (2)he is afraid that the reality of his 'needs' will drive you away."

This is exactly what I THINK goes on with my H, but with no acknowledgement from his side. Unfortunately, it does creep me out. I am sure he knows it would. I am pretty conservative sexually. He is the only partner I have ever had (met when I was 15).

At one point in time, he actually admitted to being a sex addict, but recently he denied this altogether (even the fact that he said it). This was after I found out about the porn that he admitted the addiction. How do I encourage him to be open? Secrets are a trigger for me. I can't stand deception. I need to know how it is straight out or I go nuts (AMiNUTS).

I am sure my baggage is so mixed up in all this, but in order to move forward I think honesty is the key. How do I live with him if he refuses to get help because he thinks he doesn't need it? After reading everyone's posts here, I am convinced that it envelopes him so completely (even if he doesn't realize it).

Either Lloyd or Eddie said not to let his stuff be your stuff, but how do you not? It is all so intricately woven together. It ultimately impacts me and the relationship.

You also said:
"I know that I sound 'more together about sorting through issues' than is actually true. My capacity to understand the impact of SA from an intellectual standpoint FAR EXCEEDS my emotional reconciliation. I have just gotten to a point that I can't waste my limited energy fighting what IS unfair and am trying to focus on 'healthy ways' to accept and move forward."

So how DO you cope? My emotional resources are low and when we end up in the turmoil, I have a melt down. How do you distinguish and detach his stuff and go on unaffected or at least minimize the impact on you? What are your healthy ways and strategies to move forward?

Thanks much Babs!


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