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#65226 - 04/07/03 09:35 AM The Wall
Janis Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/31/03
Posts: 7
Loc: Northeast USA
My husband was a victim of CSA. The genesis of our troubled relationship was not disclosed to me until I became aware of his acting out sexually after over 20 years of marriage. While I have specific knowledge of some of the ways he has sexually acted out (gay pornography on the computer) and he does not deny this now, I have seen indicators ( evidence )that our married life has been further peppered with other occasions of this behavior. He has alluded to other incidents of sexual acting out but has refused to discuss this with me ( too personnal )When he continues to deny the importance of his honesty and openness with me surrounding these issues, I feel devalued, that the relationship is devalued, and that he is allowing a barrier to continue to exist between us. I don't want to mistrust him or resent him for the damage brought to our marriage because of CSA. I want to feel close to him and I want to understand what he has battled troughout his life. I want to know, I want to forgive, and I want to build our lives on a foundation of truthfulness.

Can anyone help us?

...One day, reaching out to each other,
they found a barrier they could not penetrate,
and recoiling from the coldness of the stone,
each retreated from the stranger on the other side.
For when love dies, it is not in a moment of angry battle,
Not when fiery bodies lose their heat.
It lies panting, exhaused
expiring at the bottom of a wall it could not scale.

Anonymous, The Wall

_________________________
Jan

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#65227 - 04/07/03 10:23 AM Re: The Wall
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5779
Loc: Lambertville, NJ USA
Hi Jan:

You wrote:
Quote:
He has alluded to other incidents of sexual acting out but has refused to discuss this with me ( too personnal )When he continues to deny the importance of his honesty and openness with me surrounding these issues, I feel devalued, that the relationship is devalued, and that he is allowing a barrier to continue to exist between us. I don't want to mistrust him or resent him for the damage brought to our marriage because of CSA
The At Risk forum of the discussion board is a good place for him to talk about the "too personal" issues in safety. If he is interested in talking about these issues with other men who have also acted out, have him email me and we can see about getting him in there.

If he is hesitant about doing it, ask him how many times he has told himself that the acting out would be "the last time" only to break his promise to himself (or you)?

Ken


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#65228 - 04/07/03 11:56 AM Re: The Wall
Janis Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/31/03
Posts: 7
Loc: Northeast USA
Dear Ken,

Thank you.

I will pass these messages on to my husband suggesting that he can safely get the help in overcoming this barrier in our efforts to rebuild our relationship with complete anonymity. With his permission, can you reassure me that when and if this happens, that he is at least broaching this topic with you and the other members of your group? It would help me alot.

Thank you again for your help.

_________________________
Jan

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#65229 - 04/07/03 01:54 PM Re: The Wall
SandyW Offline
Member

Registered: 02/25/03
Posts: 86
Loc: NJ
Janice...

I know exactly how deflated you feel. The internet porn seems to drain everything out of a marriage: trust, honesty, faithfulness. You seem to have a lot of tolerance to not be angry with him about these things. I only wish I was more like you in that respect.

Quote:
I want to know, I want to forgive, and I want to build our lives on a foundation of truthfulness.
It sounds to me like you already have forgiven him. So the next step is to rebuild on truthfulness, and you can do that only by being truthful. After 20 years of living a lie, this is going to be harder for him than it is for you. You seem to be patient, kind and loving enough to do this.

Sandy


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#65230 - 04/08/03 01:25 PM Re: The Wall
Janis Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/31/03
Posts: 7
Loc: Northeast USA
Thanks for the vote of confidence. To be absolutely truthful, my point of view has not always been very loving or forgiving. It's taken some time and lots of "collateral" damage has been done during that time, making the process of forgiveness even more complex. And it is just that, a process. I work at it everyday (when my head is not completely up my butt) and little by little some progress is seen. Mostly I try to live in the present, do anything/everything I can to reduce the anxiety that all of this provokes, and try to get clear on what it is that I want out of this relationship. Not always easy...

_________________________
Jan

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#65231 - 04/09/03 09:09 PM Re: The Wall
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Janice
nobody feels worse about acting out than we do, the feeling od devaluing the relationship is immense.

That's also a reason we act out, to make ourselves feel worse.
It's a complicated thing, but we feel bad about ourselves and our self esteem and feeling of self worth is shattered. We live in a world where we believe the abuse was our fault, the way we feel now is all we deserve, we are useless and incapable of normal life.
And to reinforce this we have self destruct patterns that kick in every time something starts to go right.
"If it's good I can't deal with it, I don't deserve this." that's the way I thought, so I would sabotage myself and the events around me to bring myself back down to the level I was used to, the bottom of the barrel level.
Acting out became a part of this for me, an automatic thing that I had no control over in the end, and something I had a battle with to control.

My wife was the best support I had in my battle.
We talked a lot, we are lucky that early in my recovery she let me talk while she listened. She asked questions and talked back but it was my show in the early days. Thankfully she never judged or criticized me.
When she found out that I acted out with other guys my initial thought was "that's it, finished. I'm history" But although she was deeply upset her words to me after we'd talked long and hard about it were "It wasn't you, it was those bastards. They led you there."

I always think that whatever a survivor says about acting out, whatever it is - porn or casual sex - it can sound like a list of pathetic excuses. I felt like that for a long while, I felt as though I was justifying my behaviours and therefore making excuses.
But the truth is I was out of control, and I've heard this time and again, our distorted lives lead us to act out. ( not all survivors )
it's not sex, it's shame, guilt, reclaiming the power we lost when the abuse took place, numbing the pain. A whole raft of reasons, none in our control.


Quote:
I want to feel close to him and I want to understand what he has battled troughout his life. I want to know, I want to forgive, and I want to build our lives on a foundation of truthfulness.
There is life after acting out, I promise you that. Maybe not all sunsine and roses, but good and loving. And what you write here is a damn good start.

Dave

_________________________
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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#65232 - 04/10/03 08:11 PM Re: The Wall
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Vic
how I agree with your reply, the things we do might be different but the root causes remain the same.

Quote:
One thing that's helping me is something called Covenant Eyes, a computer accountability program.
Which my wife knows I have, and will register & email a copy of every site I go on every week to my accountability partner.
How about some info' on this on the forums ? It sounds as though it's something some others might be interested in.

Dave

_________________________
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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#65233 - 04/13/03 08:21 AM Re: The Wall
Janis Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/31/03
Posts: 7
Loc: Northeast USA
Dear Friends,

I appreciate each of your responses to my original post "The Wall." Dave, your frank comments about the influence of low self-love and the self destructive patterns that resulted; and Victor, my heart goes out to you for the pain you have endured as an abused child as well as all of the after effects that you battle so bravely. I've been reading your(as well as others)posts here for several months and have gained such an appreciation for all that you do for others and the great distance many of you have traveled. When you speak of your wives, the love and support that they have provided, I only hope that when the final story is told here that I too can be among those who have believed, stayed strong, and have had the courage to do the right thing. Hats off to them.

Victor, I given alot of thought to what you said about taking all of this personally. To clarify my original statement ("too personal") what I meant was that Ernie has found it difficult to talk with me about his history and it's after effects because it has been his view (I think) that all of this was just "too personal." Of course, I've had just a bit of a hard time with that point of view.

It, however, has never been that I've taken all that has happened "personally." I'm afraid that I would have been long gone if what has transpired here over the past several years I had taken personally. I believe that nothing that another person does or says is about another... It really is about oneself. (I'm reflecting on my memories now of all of the times that I've said to those closest to me that when they've expressed anger or have retailiated against another, "you are only hurting yourself.")

However, I must tell you that I do believe that the fact of CSA and the after effects have impacted my life, my marriage, and the relationship that I would dream for with my husband. The history that was brought to this relationship has affected our sense of our trustworthliness, our physical/sexual connection, and emotional intimacy. It is only to this extent that I take it personally. Because it is personal, it's my life. I believe that I have a right (and an obligation) to be aware of my history, understand it's impact, and be a fully functioning (informed) partner in resolving/minimizing the negative impact that CSA and all of the after effects have on my life.

While I am powerless and have no control over the effects on his life, I do have control over how all of this affects me. The question (The Wall) is, does he want to join with me in penetrating this barrier or will we both eventually lie panting, exhausted, expiring at the bottom of a wall we could not scale. It's the shame, guilt, anger, unmanaged emotions, false perfectionism (lies) that stand in our way.....

_________________________
Jan

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#65234 - 04/13/03 07:03 PM Re: The Wall
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
I had a wall once, it's mainly rubble now.

I wrote this a long while back, about 18 months into my therapy, and though it might make some sense to see 'our' wall, maybe it's the same wall viewed from a different side ?

Dave

Quote:
15-12-99


ďIíll tell you what I want, what I really really wantĒ


I donít think thereís anything wrong in wanting things, as long as it doesnít stretch to being greedy or coveting thy neighbourís ox.
Wanting things, having hopes, desires and ambitions is normal. Never mind the ox, I want the lottery jackpot.

But I am quiet prepared to start with wanting some of the simple things in life. Start at the age of 46?
Yes, I want to start again Ė back at the beginning. But thatís a dream, like the big lottery win.
I canít go back to my childhood and restart my life before the sex abuse started, I canít relive my life to a plot that I write and direct. I have to make do with what Iíve got, and Iím lucky, I have a hell of a lot.
I have a loving wife who understands me, and my problems, and is my main source of support in the process of re-building my life . A loyal and loving family who unconsciously prop up the ragged edges. And my best friend who kicks the bits back towards the centre when they fall off.
Thatís a hell of a lot to be thankful for and in one way or another they all help me to regain what I have lost.

So, with a lot of help from them and my therapist, I am going to reach back and retrieve some of the simple things in life that have been denied me. I am going to reclaim the emotions and the life stolen from me, the normal life thatís been forced into the back of my mind and held there by the occupancy of my abusers ghosts. Squatters in the back of my mind.

Itís all there somewhere, I never lost all my emotions, hopes and fears, I was just prevented from using them fully. And now I am starting to reach back and grasp a little bit at a time, wrench one more piece of my emotional history and framework out of the dark corner of my mind they have made theirs.
If you think thatís a bit over the top - making a corner of my mind theirs Ė it isnít.
They were there skulking in the dark corners repeating their lies over and over. Telling me I enjoyed their abuse, encouraged their abuse, their abuse was my fault. They told me these things when it was happening, and I believed them, their ghosts continued the tirade for the next 31 years and I believed them too.
They were there, they came back to me the minute my guard was down. Theyíre still there, but now theyíre beginning to realise whoís the boss. Me !
If someone keeps repeating something over and over you eventually take it as gospel, if you accept the gospel and start repeating it to yourself it becomes carved in stone. Thirty-one years is long enough to have carved the whole miserable story in foot high letters into the hardest granite.

By repeating their lies, and my acceptance of them, they trapped all my normal emotions behind a wall in my mind. A wall they expertly constructed in my mind, using my emotions as the bricks and all my pain, guilt and shame as the mortar.
Occasionally the mortar would crumble and small gaps would appear in the wall as I fought with the memories and scored small and minor victories, I would relish the tiny bits of normality that resulted. But it was just a series of botched D.I.Y. jobs and for a short while the mortar looked good and the wall would hold. Then, just like the rain coming and washing the mortar away, something would knock me back, and it didnít take much most of the time, and the rebuilding would start once more.
Rebuilding the barricade was something I was no good at on my own and without help. I didnít have the right tools.
And as the years went by they became experienced experts at demolishing my flimsy defences, hell, they should be good Ė they had me to help them! I just listened to their instructions and threw away my self-confidence, trust and love Ė the main blocks of the wall.
In payment they gave me guilt, pain and shame. It was a crappy deal.

I just want to catch up on the love I have been given and not reciprocated, the trust that many people have placed in me that I have doubted and also not returned. The trust in myself that I have denied over the years and now need badly. The confidence in myself that was knocked out of me and I am only now starting to drag back.
All these traits that people take for granted and need to get through life have been hi-jacked and I want to salvage what I can while I can.
I didnít even realise what had gone, or was at least badly damaged, my reference points had moved to accommodate my confused and distorted standards.
I saw other people full of confidence and exhibiting their love and emotions, people doing what they wanted to do. People who were confident in their lives and work.
I recognised what I saw and sometimes thought that I wanted it too, but then I thought ďno, I canít do that.Ē I believed that I wasnít that good, wasnít that clever, it wasnít my style, it wasnít what I really wanted. I would talk myself out of it and settle back into my life of going with the flow, but it was a flow that was getting slow and turgid.
Itís time to stir it up a bit.

It would be naÔve of me to believe that all my problems can be laid at the door of my sexual abuse.
But if I can sort some of these problems out and recognise those that can trace their history back to my abuse, I can start to put them in their place. If I can make a bit of sense out of my very messy past I will be in better shape to think about the future.

If I can alter my behaviour, my way of thinking, my prejudices, my hopes, my fears and my attitudes just a tiny bit in the right direction it will be victory for me and defeat for the ghosts. Any other stuff that can be tagged on the back of my surviving will be a bonus.
Iím lucky that the people who count, my close family and friends, are still around. I somehow managed to keep the lid on my abuse, the ghosts, and all the other crap that went with it for thirty-one years and didnít drive anyone away.
And those that know varying amounts of my history of sexual abuse are now closer and more supportive.
But I doubted that support for thirty-one years.

I doubted it because it was hard for me to trust anyone, itís taken me 25 years to tell my wife because I didnít trust myself, trust my instincts and worst of all I didnít trust my wife to support me Ė or rather Ė I didnít trust my judgement of her support.
My trust was shattered by 4 years of sexual abuse, rape and bullying by older boys and a teacher.
The one chance that it could have ended was when my rape by a number of boys, an afternoon of abuse and beating, was uncovered by the schools headmaster who did nothing. Nothing except punish me for being out of bounds and being in possession of the ten cigarettes I was given by the rapists to buy my silence and complicity.
The headmaster was as guilty as the rapists, he was no better than they were and might just as well have fucked me himself.
They fucked my body Ė he fucked my mind. One heals and the other doesnít.
I guess heís as bad as they are, if not worse.

I want to escape their influence, I want what was rightfully mine. Itís not too much to ask is it ?


15 / 12 / 99


_________________________
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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