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#63092 - 08/06/02 09:34 PM JJ Needs Advise
JJ Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/06/02
Posts: 2
Although Iíve been coming to this site for a while and reading everyoneís comments and stories, this is the first time Iím posting. I was sexually abused by an older teenager when I was about 11 years old. The abuse consisted or touching, fondling, masturbation, and oral sex, no penetration. There were probably around 10 incidents of this abuse. It was not "forced" abuse, but rather manipulative. Iím now 46 years old, my wife is 42 and weíve been married for 23 years. Other than the abuse, I grew up in what I would consider a normal household. There were problems, difficulties, fights and so on, but no issues such as alcoholism, abuse, violence or the like. My wife on the other hand grew up with an alcoholic mother and a disengaged father. She was the caretaker of the family, covering up for her mother, taking care of her younger sister, etc. For most of our marriage Iíve asked her to participate in the sexual fantasies I have about having sex with men (I have never acted out these fantasies, nor do I have any desire to). When the sex is over I donít have the usual euphoria and satisfaction normally associated with sex. All I feel is disgusted, weak, angry, and unsatisfied. About 10 years ago I told my wife about the abuse, but no real details. About 6 months ago, I started sensing a change in her. She lost weight, made some new friends, started to become more assertive. Of course in my mind she was having an affair. I would want to add at this point, that I can imagine her having an affair at the slightest provocation. Working late, talking to another man, new clothes, whatever. I can turn any innocent situation into her cheating (I never have and as far as I know, neither has she). And of course thatís when all my insecurities come boiling to the surface and I become quite abusive (verbally, not physically). Anyway, about two months ago, she finally refused to go along with these fantasies of mine, and told me she thought I was gay, and that the future of our marriage was in real jeopardy. Iím not gay, and other than the fantasies only during sex, I just have no desire to be with a man. She has since started seeing a counselor to work this out along with other issues. Iíve started coming here as my way of working things out in my mind. What Iíve found is that all things that Iím feeling and doing are quite "normal" for an abuse victim. I can see how the abuse has caused me to act in certain ways, to do certain things, to live my life the way I have. I can, she canít. I donít excuse myself for the person Iíve becomeÖ or blame myself. I except responsibility for my actions. Itís me thatís acted how I have, my abuser may have set the wheels in motion so many years ago, but Iím the one whoís taken the ball and run with it. Now it all makes sense. To me, not to her. I feel my both of us are trying in some way to as adults, act out the wrongs we suffered as children. Me with my fantasies, her by recreating the codependent, care giving situation of her childhood. My wife is very aloof, never opening up to me. Always defensive, not at all intimate. She is not one to be able to do all the little things that I associate with intimacy. Kissing (a peck here and there), touching (a touch on the arm, tousling of the hair), saying "I love you" without prompting. Iím really not complaining here, just explaining. I guess this is part of her defense mechanism. But the way she is sure does bring out all of my insecurities. And I blow up and say mean and hurtful things. So I guess thatís were we stand today. Iím doing what I can to understand myself and overcome my faults. To change. And I guess she is to. I donít know how all this will end, but Iím grasping for any glimmer of hope. Thanks for listening. I would appreciate any comments or advise.


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#63093 - 08/06/02 11:06 PM Re: JJ Needs Advise
Eddie Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/31/02
Posts: 25
Loc: Cub Hill, Md
JJ,
Welcome to our little group! I really don't see any problems of you acting it out with your wife, in fact it shows a great sence of ingenuity on your part...maybe it wasn't complete enough or maybe she burned out from it? I guess that you have to be a little more open about it in order to get any good answers. Sometimes people just grow apart...sometimes there is a key to the help to bring them back together. You should get a therapist for yourself and work on your problems from the abuse...just a thought...I have a big acting out thing with my wife also! I have perfected it into something that works for me right now but who knows about down the road.

Eddie


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#63094 - 08/07/02 01:31 PM Re: JJ Needs Advise
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
JJ
Welcome to our world, we certainly dont want to be here, its sad that we are. But it's a good place for SA survivors to be, a place of support and friendship.

Your history sounds so familiar, myself and many others could have written it with just minor detail changes. But that doesn't make it any better or easier for you, it's still yours. And you sound as though you are getting a grip on it, coming here for a start means you are aware of what is happening to you.
But the best advice is always to get a therapist, find one that is a specialist in SA, or second best one that has good experience in it.
We try to heal ourselves, but we tend to go around in circles doing the same thing,and we need a kick in the right direction sometimes.
Also, Mike Lew's book "Victims No Longer" is possibly the best reading on the subject and has an excellent chapter for the other people in our lives. ( The links from the homepage will lead you to a copy )

It's a fight, that's the truth. But you've made a start.

Be strong
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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#63095 - 08/07/02 01:49 PM Re: JJ Needs Advise
soccer Offline
Member

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 43
JJ: Your situation seems very similar to mine. I was raised in an alcoholic/depressive/violent/drug addicted home and my SO is a SA survivor. Your issues and interactions are VERY familiar.

I've cut and pasted and replied to a few of your sections:

********
>>>For most of our marriage I've asked her to participate in the sexual fantasies I have about having sex with men (I have never acted out these fantasies, nor do I have any desire to). When the sex is over I don't have the usual euphoria and satisfaction normally associated with sex. All I feel is disgusted, weak, angry, and unsatisfied.

************

For my BF he has always linked sex with shame, and still to this day has issues with being "accepted and liked" by men. He has terrible issues right now as he's just moved to my city and has few male freinds. He just wants to be trusted and loved by them but is too afraid to make friends with any men (he's even been fired from a few jobs because his boss reminded him of his SA perp and he just lost it and told the guy off). I would think that perhaps this "acting out" is the result of same thing - you want to feel loved/accepted by a man (my bf had many many girlfriends/lovers/one night stands in his teen and early twenties years just after his abuse at age 17. He said he pursued these encounters to make himself feel better, prove he wasn't gay, and that he linked sex with love - that if he had sex with these women it would make "everything better" and they would love him, and help sort out his emotional pain. However, when it was over, he said that all those sexual encounters left him feeling empty and lost.) Perhaps you are linking sex-love-acceptance like he did. Like if you could have a good sexual experience with a man (in your own mind) you'd be able to wipe away the pain and guilt and shame from being sexually abused by a man?? Just a thought - I am no expert but I do know from my women friends who are promiscuous, they ALL have abusive fathers and they are seeking acceptance from men through sex. About the empty feelings after - I would bet that acting those fantasies bring up a common feeling from sex - I know and have experienced full well that sex with someone I dont know very well, or with someone I am just having sex with and no commitment (booty-buddy, fuck friend, whatever you wanna call it), left me with a very deep empty feeling, probably not unlike the feelings that you have after acting out your fantasies?? Maybe you realize you're not having sex with your wife as much as you are trying to set things right from yhour past and it *still* didnt work? This is just a hunch - in no way am I a professional, just someone who's going through some of the same issues as you.... so feel free to tell me to take a hike if I am off base!

************

About 10 years ago I told my wife about the abuse, but no real details. About 6 months ago, I started sensing a change in her. *snip*... in my mind she was having an affair.. *snip*... I can turn any innocent situation into her cheating (I never have and as far as I know, neither has she). And of course that's when all my insecurities come boiling to the surface and I become quite abusive (verbally, not physically).

Anyway, about two months ago, she finally refused to go along with these fantasies of mine, and told me she thought I was gay, and that the future of our marriage was in real jeopardy. I'm not gay, and other than the fantasies only during sex, I just have no desire to be with a man.

***********

I seriously doubt you are gay too - I have suffered no sexual abuse but I will be the first to admit that if I was single I would NOT turn down a sexual experience with a woman. Just before I met my current partner I was seriously thinking about being sexual with a new girl-friend of mine. I'm not gay either (perhaps bi-curious?). I dont lose a minute of sleep over my sexual preferences though - but I have told my BF and it really does gross him out... so I just keep it to myself (I discuss it with my lesbian friends though). I certainly would never act out on it though as long as I was in a committed relationship with my BF. I know well that it grosses out my boyfriend and I woudl never ask him if it was ok if I did do such an act. I respect his comfort zone...

As far as your wife spiffing herself up - perhaps she is just working on herself a bit after spending so much energy workign on your relationship. Lately I have pulled back from my BF and spend a lot more time on my own, have lost some weight, and spend more time with friends. When being in a difficult relationship, going outside the relationship for awhile is what keeps my energy going. What she is doing is NOT necessarily evidence of an affair. It may be, but it is not a guarantee! She may be just doing things for herself! Keep an eye on this situation though.

I can understand your fears though - every time my bf is late, goes to a party alone, hangs out with work colleagues, I get really stressed. I've even driven around and snooped around places he's been.. just to see if there is any "evidence" of another woman.. whooeey I get pretty insecure too. I have been cheated on before and never exhibited this behaviour before that time.. so I dont blame myself for this paranoia.

************

>>>She has since started seeing a counselor to work this out along with other issues. I've started coming here as my way of working things out in my mind. What I've found is that all things that I'm feeling and doing are quite "normal" for an abuse victim. I can see how the abuse has caused me to act in certain ways, to do certain things, to live my life the way I have. I can, she can't. I don't excuse myself for the person I've become… or blame myself.

*******

Nor should you feel guilty! HOWEVER - here is the hardest thing for any abuse survivor to deal with - sorry but I am going to be blunt with you here.... It IS VERY difficult to be with someone who has some unresolved issues and anger and takes them out on you. There is NO excuse for violence. My BF verbally abused me frequently over the past few months and I continually told him that I cannot and will NOT put up with this. There are only so many times that I can put up with his verbal abuse (he can be the meanest SOB in the world when he's having an episode) I have many times thought about leaving him.

I can fully understand your wife telling you what she said. She probably is very serious about wondering if she should stay or go. She too has her limits

BUT IN NO WAY are you to BLAME for your FEELINGS that result in your verbal acting out, but you DO have control over your resuling ACTIONS.

Its like what I learned in Adult Children of Alcoholics meetings - "I was powerless to the effects of alcohol on my life and my family, but that experience does NOT give me licence to dump on others and abuse others because of it". (I abused many ex boyfriends using the excuse "but its because my dad was so awful to me, insulting me, verbally abusing me, tormenting me, etc. Can't you understand and forgive me?". Nope. Didnt hold water. I got dumped more times than I can count. I eventually got the message.

I finally learned that as abuse victims of ANY kind (sexual, verbal, physical) just as Jesus did, we have a cross to bear. We have to bear as this load while at the same time workign as hard as we can to protect others from it - and it is a SON OF A BITCH of a heavy cross to carry!!!! But remember you are NOT ALONE in this! There are many other male SA survivors (and other abuse survivors such as myself on other forums) who can talk to you about how to carry this burden (on here I have noticed that Lloydy and GetEddie always have a LOT of very wonderful insightful things to say). Im sure they can help to lighten your load from time to time.

Regarding your wife's inability to accept what happens to someone who's been abused - besides receiving verbal abuse, that is a whole other kettle of fish. That is the main reason I started coming on the NOMSV site. I couldnt (and still dont totally) comprehend the magnitude of what happened to my bf and how it makes him act out - violent verbal abuse, his past sexual encounters (non protected, anonymous, etc) and reconcile that with someone I really wanted to be with.. someone that I wanted to be a nice guy but often wasn't and had a horrendous work/drug/alcohol/numerous sexual partners history. However, it WAS a very hard road. The hardest for me to accept was how ANGRY just snake-spittin-mad at what happened to my bf!! OH I was and still am SOOO DAMN ANGRY about what happened to both of us! I was all ready to meet my "knight in shining armour" who could redeem my lost and damaged childhood, and WHOOP there it was again - trauma, difficulty, strife, DAMN!!! Its very hard to "live that over again" when you've already lived it (which your wife has already lived too). As I often say to my BF when he's in one of his verbal abuse phases "I've seen this movie before!! I dont want to see it again!!! TURN IT OFF!!!"

The anger that results from me being in this situation was (and sometimes still is) so intense that (although I hate to admit it) I *have* even turned on him (combination of being at my wits end because of his abuse and my own anger at what happened to my BF - many issues get all fuddled up into one feeling sometimes). I recall one night sitting at the dinner table, asking him yet again about his past and then standing up and yelling in his face "you disgust me!! Your fucking drug habit and your disgusting alcoholism and all those women? One night stands even!! Having so many sexual partners before you were even 20! How could you do all that and possibly love me??" am I just another one of your acting out slut-of-the-month?? .. etc etc.
Boy did he put me in my place though!! He screamed back "You're confusing me with someone who was lost, abused and an alcoholic. If you think that I'm the same person now you're so totally wrong. I think you better shape up and change your attitude". After I stopped being so angry about him yelling back, I got the point. Am grateful that he actually said and did that.

The reason I started coming on this board is for that exact reason. The anger and shock of realizing what had happened, and that sexual abuse really could have had that much effect on someone who I KNEW was a realy good guy, well that was just SO mind blowing its unbelievable. Even today I sometimes obsess about his past lovers, his drug habit, his past alcoholism. Its still not something that I've totally mastered. Its a VERY hard thing to deal with!!

********

>>>I except responsibility for my actions. It's me that's acted how I have, my abuser may have set the wheels in motion so many years ago, but I'm the one who's taken the ball and run with it. Now it all makes sense. To me, not to her. I feel my both of us are trying in some way to as adults, act out the wrongs we suffered as children. Me with my fantasies, her by recreating the codependent, care giving situation of her childhood.

*******

I'll bet all my money you are both doing so. Both my BF and I are seeing counsellors, and we have both identified that we are often playing the "victim - perpetrator" game. I want to get back at my dad for his violence, so I lash out at my BF, my BF wants to lash out at his abuser and his mother who failed to protect him from the abuser, and YEEEHAW the fight is on!!!!! (I used to do the "caretaking" role with an ex boyfriend - that ended after 5 years with him saying "well you've helped me grow up but I dont need you anymore. Goodbye. Pack your things and get out".

With my current BF and I playing the victim-perp thing we've said and done some unbelievably horrid things to each other (yecch)!!! It happens and it is so awful, so sad.

We are planning to go to a couples' counsellor this fall. However, things are starting to go a bit better now. I've been dealing with PTSD from the abuse suffered as a kid (my dad was SOOO scary), working on centering myself and staying on-course despite others' nasty behaviour, and my BF is going to anger management therapy. (This is an unbelievable breakthrough for him - working WONDERS!!! He is no less angry but he can PROCESS it without ripping my head off as often)

What you have to recognize though if she was raised in a violent home, you being angry/violent verbally just brings back the EXACT same feelings of frozen-ness, anxiety, etc that you felt when you were being sexually abused. Its the same feeling of disassociation, fear, anger, shame that comes out. You are triggering her insecurities and fears. What you are both doing is what my boyfriend and I do - my aloofness/protectiveness/closeness/mothering/care-taking triggers his insecurity and fear of being smothered/abused, his insecurity triggers his violent anger, and his anger and violence triggers my fear/PTSD thing, I lash back and here we go!!! It sometimes takes us DAYS of threats, screaming, manipulation, and crying for the cycle to subside.

Fortunately his anger therapy seems to be working - he is learning to STATE what he is feeling instead of blowing up, and now sometimes adds a statmenet about "but this has NOTHING to do with you - you're great and a wonderful girlfriend and I am just a little mixed up for awhile but I'm sure I'll be better in a few hours". THAT I can deal with. I can handle whats going on when I KNOW what's going on. When he just blows up out of the blue it reminds me of my psycho-dad and all the feelings of worthlessness and the paralyzing FEAR that go along with it.

***********

>>>My wife is very aloof, never opening up to me. Always defensive, not at all intimate.

*snip*

...I'm really not complaining here, just explaining. I guess this is part of her defense mechanism.

*******

It most definitely is. Getting over alcoholic/violent parents is no less painful than getting over SA. The only thing that differs is that you may not have any sexual acting out (however it can happen especially if the opposite sex parent withheld love or gave conditional love "i.e. I'll only love you if you do this or that".) It was my opposite sex parent that was the abusive one and instead of acting out, I acted in - avoided guys, was rude to them, turned a lot of them down, treated boyfreinds like shit, kept to myself, etc. I was afraid of men and still am. Makes working for a male boss (a man in an authority figure.. yipes) difficult sometimes!!

*****

>>>But the way she is sure does bring out all of my insecurities. And I blow up and say mean and hurtful things. So I guess that's were we stand today. I'm doing what I can to understand myself and overcome my faults. To change. And I guess she is to. I don't know how all this will end, but I'm grasping for any glimmer of hope. Thanks for listening. I would appreciate any comments or advise.

*****

I hope by sharing my story you will see that you are not alone. Your relationship is VERY much like mine. Some of the other things my BF and I have explored are:

*Buddhist therapy/meditation
*Praying together
* Rituals (i.e. after a fight we write down what we were so angry about, and then burn it - watching the fire consume my words just washes it right out of my soul) and other rituals to celebrate the changing of the seasons - how we intend to grow, etc.
*Cognitive therapy counselling

What your biggest challenge is now to keep working on yourself and your relationship. However it takes TIME. Be patient. Dont give up. Work hard. Its a tough process but it CAN be done. Also take breaks from it - take time to exercise, play, goof off!

Sorry about this monologue - I wanted to write to update people on what happened after my camping trip (it went great) but my grandmother died last week and I had to dash back from camping and then hop on a plane for an emergency trip out west for her funeral.

Hopefully I combined recent developments as well as being remotely helpful to you JJ!

Soc


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#63096 - 08/07/02 08:40 PM Re: JJ Needs Advise
The Dean Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 2080
Loc: Milwaukee, WI

JJ I am not a woman and don't know how a woman thinks. But I think I would be very angry that you want to have sex with me--not make love--just have sex, while thinking in your mind that I do not exist and it is a male that you are having sex with.
I am REALLY naive about sex. But, I would think people want to feel a great deal of love and affection for someone and it gets to the point where you feel you have to express your love for that person in a physical, sexual way. I think your wife must have loved you a lot to have always have just sex with you knowing that it was not invovling her except as a way to have a climax.
But, as I say, I am not a woman so maybe they would not feel that way at all.
I hope the situation works out well for both of you.

_________________________
If we do not live what we believe, then we will begin to believe what we live.

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#63097 - 08/07/02 09:50 PM Re: JJ Needs Advise
jackjohn Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/17/02
Posts: 23
Loc: Fallston, MD
JJ,

Welcome to NOMSV. I understand many of your thoughts and also have similar feelings.

The most import part of all of this is having a qualified therapist. Please find one for yourself. Your wife may feel a little more secure if she knows you are seeing a therapist.

There is one point my therapist has told me several times. He explained to me that a young boy who has had sex before puberty will always be affected. It's because a sexually abused boy learned "sex' in a most inappropriate manner. It messes up his ability to have "normal" sex. Thus the acting out etc. He thinks in order to be friends with a man it should involve sex. Yet he knows that society doesn't accept that way of thinking. It all becomes so confusing. I'm still trying to sort it all out. Like you I have never acted out but I do have sexual thoughts about men.

Hang in there. It's a slow process. NOMSV is here for you.

I wish you well.

Jack

_________________________
jackjohn

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#63098 - 08/08/02 10:54 AM Re: JJ Needs Advise
searching Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/16/00
Posts: 21
JJ, I am a woman, and the spouse of a survivor, and I have to agree with TheDean on this one. It isn't that I don't expect my husband to have certain fantasies--in fact, I know that he does, we've talked about it, and we've tried to integrate his feelings into our marriage as well as we can. But there are lines that we've learned (the hard way) not to cross. Of course, I have no doubt that he thinks about those fantasies while we're making love (not every time, I hope, but you never know), but I would definitely be hurt if he wanted me to act them out with him. Maybe this is because, in our case, he did act out at least once--but I think I'd feel that way anyway.

Think of it this way. Imagine that your wife had a "thing" for, say, her best friend's husband. And imagine that, every time you made love with her, she wanted you to pretend you were that person instead of yourself. Wouldn't you begin to feel used and hurt? We all want to be loved for ourselves, even if we know, consciously or not, that we all think about and desire people other than our spouses.

I don't think this is quite the same thing as "playful" acting during lovemaking--when both partners are choosing to play roles to add some excitement to things. This seems alot more one-sided to me.

I respect the fact that you've never "acted on" your desires, but the fact is that you're acting out each time you have your wife engage in sexual behavior that makes her feel bad. That's a subtle form of abuse. Sorry to say that, but I really think it's true.

I hope you understand that I don't mean any of this as a criticism, just a way for you to see some of this from a woman's (and partner of a survivor) point of view. I wish you and your wife the best in your recovery.


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#63099 - 08/08/02 01:05 PM Re: JJ Needs Advise
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
JJ
like you I rely a great deal upon fantasy, it's my crutch. I went further though and made it happen.
Now when I make love / have sex with my wife, ( I use both terms because of what I have just read and I agree with what Searching JackJohn and The Dean have pointed out, and it leaves me with very conflicting feelings ) I still rely heavily on fantasy, the same old one of performing oral sex with strange men. But now it fills me with shame simultaneously, a huge fight breaks out in my mind- I think I can't perform without it, I'm ashamed of thinking about it because I love my wife and I don't want to involve her in "my shame"
So the fight intensifies as my ardour dies, and I fail all round.
My wife now knows why I have trouble, but it's very hard to deal with ( unlike me \:\( )

My fight right now is to ditch the fantasy, but forcing yourself to forget something is impossible, so controlling it has to be my next task.
Lloydy
PS
JJ, there's not much else to add after Soccer's wonderful reply, we're so lucky to have so many caring people here with so much to offer. \:\)

_________________________
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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#63100 - 08/10/02 11:09 AM Re: JJ Needs Advise
JJ Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/06/02
Posts: 2
Thank you all for your comments. They are so helpful. Are things looking better? I think so, the last couple of days have been good. My wife has gone out twice this week with friends and that makes her feel good. And when she can come home to peace and love and acceptance that makes her feel even better. I'm trying hard to break the cycle, as a teen, her mother always made her feel guilty about going out, having friends, having her own life, and I've been doing the same thing all these years. It's like an algebra problem, you can't solve it no matter how hard you try, unless you know the formula. I feel like I'm finally starting to understand the formula. She goes out, I feel insecure, so I react. So she pulls back, withdraws. So I feel even more insecure, so I react even more. So she becomes even more withdrawn. And on and on. So instead of blaming her for not being more intimate, more loving, the formula is for me to be more understaning and accepting. And when she's out not to let dark thoughts come through, but to go to that happy place in my mind. I know I'm rambling, but thanks for listening, and thank you again for your comments.

JJ


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#63101 - 08/10/02 03:09 PM Re: JJ Needs Advise
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
JJ
The happy place in our minds is sometimes hard to find, so make sure you keep a map of how to find it again.
Good luck
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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