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#66393 - 10/23/06 04:46 AM I didn't heed his scream for help
Brokenhearted Offline
Member

Registered: 08/07/06
Posts: 644
Loc: TX
I need some advice. My husband is still out of town. I'm feeling really regretful tonight that I did not "heed" my husband's "scream for help" (his disclosure) some years ago when he first told me in so many words that he was sexually abused as a child. I didn't ask any questions after he told me because I sensed it might make him uncomfortable and I didn't want to pry. Now I see I must have seemed so uncaring. Out of my naivete and being TOTALLY uneducated about sexual abuse, I didn't even realize how serious/horrible/violent it was. In fact, I just read a survivor's story here a couple days ago, and it actually opened my eyes as to just what my husband was telling me happened to him in detail - it was cruel, horrible, unspeakable. But I was so naive I didn't even realize exactly what my husband was telling me.

He made the comment back on Father's Day when he started shutting me out and going for long walks, that, "I gave up on you a long time ago," and also when I said, "Why didn't you tell me anything was wrong?" he had said, "I've been telling you and you never listen!"

Now I'm thinking it sounds like he was referring to what I didn't understand were his screams for help falling on my deaf ears. I feel he is upset with me for not "figuring it all out and him out" sooner. And I never would have, honestly, without all the reading of books and of this website that I started doing about 5 months ago, and even then I didn't get it till only the other day when I read a survivor's own account of rape that "put flesh and blood" on what I'd been reading about in the books, and now see it from a *survivor's* perspective. How it wasn't just one time, how it went on and got worse, how it beat the boy down till he just gave in every time because his own needs totally did not matter. Probably even to the point of dissociation. But these things I had no understanding of until THIS WEEK.

But I ask you, is he right to be angry with me for not understanding just what he was telling me way back when, for not realizing he was screaming for help? I feel like he wanted me to be able to read his mind or something - honestly, I did NOT understand the horrible seriousness of what he was trying to "tell" me or convey to me that happened to him. I've been so sheltered, I did not even know that these things happen in the world. I lived at home till I got married, was even a virgin when I married him at 26!

I feel so bad that I didn't heed his cry for help long ago, I think it really did fall on deaf ears. I did not know what to say, or exactly what he meant by someone putting their "deal" in his mouth. I thought it was yucky, but I thought that was all it was - that someone put it in his mouth and then removed it - just ONE TIME - I did not even THINK about the abuser "completing" his act forcefully or anything like that until I read a survivor's story the other day. It was OVER 7-8 YEARS AGO that my husband disclosed to me and yet I did not even have a clue. And now, finally just now, I am "getting it" and realizing how shocking and cruel and unbearable it was. And how UNCARING I must have appeared to my dear husband. I can't believe he was telling me these terrible things happened to him and I just didn't "get it".

I hope he hasn't "given up" on me so totally that he's done, finished, disappointed in me and through w/ me.

I want to grab him and shout, "I'M SORRY!!! I'M SO SORRY I DID NOT UNDERSTAND!!!! I WAS SO CLUELESS UNTIL NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! PLEASE FORGIVE ME!!!!! I WANT TO LISTEN!!!!!!! I WANT TO HELP!!!!!! I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!" My regret is KILLING ME.

Hope it isn't too late for that. I HATE that I was so sheltered/naive'.

_________________________
Brokenhearted

It were better for him that a millstone were hanged around his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.
Luke 17:2

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#66394 - 10/23/06 05:05 AM Re: I didn't heed his scream for help
WalkingSouth Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16265
BrokenHearted,

I have to tell you, I hear your cry. I'm crying with you. I'm so sorry you didn't understand, but how could you? From the sound of it you were raised very sheltered. How fortunate for you. How sad for your marriage that you didn't have more awareness at the time, but it's NOT your fault.

I hesitate to offer advise. I'm not there, and don't know everything, and I'm no psychologist. I will however tell you what would get my attention if you were my wife and we were in the situation you describe. If you were to simply tell me the the things you've expressed in this post. Share with me the shock of your realization, the grief it's caused you to feel for me and for the loss I've suffered. Share with me the emotions you've expressed in the CAPS at the bottom of your post.

I don't know what else to say, BH. I can tell you that would go a long way toward getting my attention. I'm not your hubby tho, and I've no idea if that would work for you and him.

I wish you good things even if it's a while before you experience them with him.

Tell him you love him, Sister.

Lots of love,

John

_________________________
“Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy ____…! What a ride!’” ~Hunter S. Thompson

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#66395 - 10/23/06 11:26 AM Re: I didn't heed his scream for help
beccy Offline
Member

Registered: 05/28/06
Posts: 449
Loc: england
Brokenhearted,

here walkingsouth says a good thing:

''How sad for your marriage that you didn't have more awareness at the time, but it's NOT your fault.''

Also where he says about sharing those feelings you have too, that's good.

It's not your fault you didn't know more than you did. It's not your fault those terrible things happened to your husband. It's not your fault people do these terrible things.

It was not your responsibility to 'read his mind'. Nobody should be expected to do that. At the time my bf told me about the SA with his sister, I did feel the 'weight' and the seriousness of it. I was destraught for him. He even cried with me. I asked him if he wanted to talk more about it, both at the time and a few times after. I didn't know what else to do/offer. He didn't seem to want to talk any further. 4 years later, after therapy for myself, everything 'clicked'. I out two and two together, did a bit of reading and took some initiative. I felt so guilty that I hadn't done that sooner, but with my T I realised, that firstly I was in such a mess(from this relationship) by then, that I wasn't myself anymore anyway. And, secondly, that was not really my responsibility, although I am still glad I did.

Now I can think of numerous occasions throughout our relationship where bf has said things which have been like hints at things. Or 'tests', like to check my response. Both before and after he disclosed to me. How could we possibly guess? Or understand what certain things could possibly mean?

Please don't punish yourself with guilt,

peace
Beccy


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#66396 - 10/23/06 03:54 PM Re: I didn't heed his scream for help
sweet-n-sour Offline
Member

Registered: 10/03/06
Posts: 409
Loc: chicago
Brokenhearted:
My husband mentioned to me as well many years ago that he may have been abused as a boy. It was just a quick comment in passing and when I questioned him further, he downplayed the statement. I too feel regret that perhaps it was a cry for help that I failed to recognize. I believe in truth, he was not ready to go any further in discussing it and I felt it was important to give him latitude. It probably would have saved us all a lot of stress and heartache had I been more insistent that he get help or open up. I believe however, it all played out the way it did for a reason. In the light of today we are better for everything we've been through and besides embracing regret is a waste of energy. The only thing we can do in life is learn from the past then move on and hope for a better stretch. That's how I choose to look at it anyway.
Please keep hope and I'm sending you my support at best.
s-n-s

_________________________
"As long as he continues to try, I will meet him in that determination and commitment."

cm 2007

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#66397 - 10/25/06 02:54 AM Re: I didn't heed his scream for help
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus
MaleSurvivor<

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
BH,

Don't beat yourself up over this. I think you can see from the responses you've received that our partners told us, sometimes outright, sometimes with just passing comments, about the abuse sometimes years before we really had a clue what that meant.

In my case my b/f told me of other things first, the physical and emotional abuse. I knew his childhood was beyond awful. He didn't tell me of the csa until years into our relationship and even then, after he cried and cried, I had no clue how deep the wounds went and how it continued to affect him because he refused to talk about it any more. CSA was something I read about in the paper or heard on the news, thought how awful it was and went back to eating my dinner. It had never touched my life before and I was a pure white blank page.

Until our lives were turned upside down and he layed it out for me, through tears and gasping for air that the csa had destroyed his life, I didn't know. I like to think of myself as someone pretty in tune to other peoples needs, hurts, etc., especially those close to me, but this one went right by me. It was completely foreign territory.

I felt awful in the beginning; I continue to feel a pang of guilt every now and then because I didn't understand what he was telling me, but it's not often. Survivors are masters at letting us know only what they want us to know and my b/f was very effective at that, as I suspect your husband was too.

We can't change our past mistakes all we can do is keep learning and keep talking and keep trying to make tomorrow better. In our relationships, there are things to be forgiven and dealt with on all sides, and not immediately understanding something that you never imagined would exist in your world is pretty far down on the list.


ROCK ON.........Trish

_________________________
If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

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#66398 - 10/25/06 03:30 AM Re: I didn't heed his scream for help
Brokenhearted Offline
Member

Registered: 08/07/06
Posts: 644
Loc: TX
Sometimes I wonder if he refused to talk about it again because he thought I was too lily-white and pure and he didn't think I'd ever understand such a thing anyway. He knew I had been sheltered and it was part of our attraction to one another, but maybe it also stood between us as making him feel I wasn't accessible enough to him for him to confide such terrible things to me. I want him to know that I've read about this and especially that I read a survivor's story that really opened my eyes, and that I can handle it now and be there for him, and that I have no judgmental-ness of him in me at all whatsoever, I JUDGE THE ABUSER OF A CHILD and have only compassion and love up to my eyeballs for my husband.

_________________________
Brokenhearted

It were better for him that a millstone were hanged around his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.
Luke 17:2

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#66399 - 10/25/06 12:50 PM Re: I didn't heed his scream for help
beccy Offline
Member

Registered: 05/28/06
Posts: 449
Loc: england
You are trying so hard to do everything right BH, I can see that. It can get to feeling like you don't know how to offer the right kind of support in order for your partner to open up to you/trust you and it kind of reflects back on self-esteme I think. I relate to what you're saying in the sense that I keep getting this feeling that I just don't appear strong enough, or I'm too timid in my approach or something. All in all, everything kind of makes me feel like I'm just 'wrong' for him in almost every way.

We have to try to remember that we are on a very steep learning curve. Praise yourself for all the time/energy/reading/patience/compassion you have applied yourself to so far BH. You have done/are doing everything you can to save your marriage. You could have kicked your husband out/left him, which a lot of women would do, but you havn't, you've stuck by him.

If your husband was attracted to your innocence/purity of intention and love, then he chose well. The fact he was drawn into a relationship with you means he was following his heart. His heart is just all pushed out of the picture at the moment.

Be kind to yourself BH,

peace
Beccy


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#66400 - 10/25/06 04:21 PM Re: I didn't heed his scream for help
Brokenhearted Offline
Member

Registered: 08/07/06
Posts: 644
Loc: TX
Beccy, thanks. It is hard to be kind to myself right now. So many years I have thought some of his behavior was just being a jerk because it made me think he didn't want to be around me or whatever, now I understand it was only coping mechanisms from childhood, never intended to appear cruel to me. Or the way he can lie easily I understand why now, he had to learn how to do it back then as a survival technique. I've been lonely and hurt but not because he meant it that way toward me, even thought that's how it looked from my own naive viewpoint, but because intimacy isn't comfortable for him, or much conversation about anything but work...all SORTS of little things make sense to me now and I realize they had nothing to do with me, or my attractiveness or ability to please him. As my counselor said, "He's doing the best with what he has," and I understand it all now. How alone HE has felt all these years, so much more alone than me, ever. He wanted me to be more independent at times because he has taken care of everyone always, as a child even, he never had a strong, nurturing, adult to take care of HIM. He still needs that! He protected ME by not telling me for so long and by not bringing it up again to me, he protected everyone by letting the abuser(s?) isolate him from frieinds or anyone who could ever possibly have helped. The abuse is still continuing until he breaks it off by talking about it and seeking help, by honoring HIS needs for once in his life.

I love him more than he may ever know. I WANT to be able to take care of him. Or at least try to make up for all the years I appeared uncaring. "UNKNOWING" is what I was. Until now.

_________________________
Brokenhearted

It were better for him that a millstone were hanged around his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.
Luke 17:2

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#66401 - 10/25/06 05:37 PM Re: I didn't heed his scream for help
beccy Offline
Member

Registered: 05/28/06
Posts: 449
Loc: england
Brokenhearted, I have a little more to write to you, but later, cause it's tea time here!


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#66402 - 10/25/06 06:22 PM Re: I didn't heed his scream for help
beccy Offline
Member

Registered: 05/28/06
Posts: 449
Loc: england
Here where you say,

''Beccy, thanks. It is hard to be kind to myself right now. So many years I have thought some of his behavior was just being a jerk because it made me think he didn't want to be around me or whatever, now I understand it was only coping mechanisms from childhood, never intended to appear cruel to me.''

I do understand what you're going through right now, I had the same thing too and for a period of time, I totally took care of/loved bf like you would a child. Like the treatment he should have had as a child. I think it helped to get bf through the very start, until he was seeing T. But then things had to move on from that. He's a grown man who has to learn to look after his own feelings/love himself. He can never go back. I can never give him what he didn't have as a child, cause he's no longer a child. He chose to distance himself slightly from my very caring love as soon as he began seeing his T. At first I felt pushed out, but now i realise I am glad, as it means he standing on his own feet. It is a stronger position for him to be in. It can be counter-productive to take care of someone too much. Kind of dissempowering. We shouldn't try to be their caretakers.....

I know you're feeling guilty at the moment, but BH, there is no reason why you should have known what you know now. I never knew, even though I had the thing with my uncle. Hell, I didn't even remember that until recently. Please do try to be kind to yourself, you've done nothing wrong. You've been a normal woman with normal feelings of rejection/hurt who's responded in the only way you've known how, based on your own history. For sure none of this is your husbands fault, but neither is what has happened between the two of you your fault. Try to remember that. You can only be truly kind to someone else if you can be truly kind to yourself first.

peace
Beccy


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#66403 - 10/25/06 06:35 PM Re: I didn't heed his scream for help
honey girl Offline
Member

Registered: 10/09/06
Posts: 245
Loc: Midwest US
Dear BH--
I agree with what every one else has said so far. We are definitely on a very steep learning curve! This is not something that is in the ordinary experience of most people. So, yes, we do the best we can with forgiving ourselves too.
Peace,
HG

_________________________
I'm just a poor wayfaring stranger, a million miles away from home.

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#66404 - 10/25/06 09:07 PM Re: I didn't heed his scream for help
Brokenhearted Offline
Member

Registered: 08/07/06
Posts: 644
Loc: TX
B,

When you say "He chose to distance himself slightly from my very caring love as soon as he began seeing his T." .... it is so parallel to how PARENTING works - the parent (us) nurtures the child (husband/bf), the child then grows and gets independent and moves away from home....hope this doesn't mean they see us as a parent of sorts rather than a mate because that might make them "move out" to find someone else for a mate! I know, I'm thinking way too much! In fact, my counselor told me today I am thinking too much!

BTW, teatime sounds so great! I know it is probably an everyday thing where you live that everyone does, men included. Over here it is still not as common as coffee and still there is no designated "coffee time" each day. But I adore the ritual and always have a pot of tea at home and wish I had more friends who loved it also. I've visited England/France before and was in tea heaven there.

Honeygirl , steep learning curve, yes, and thankfully we have brains and are able to learn it, it just takes time, and I wish I could learn it ever faster although I feel like I've absorbed so much information nonstop for the last 5 months that my eyeballs hurt!

_________________________
Brokenhearted

It were better for him that a millstone were hanged around his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.
Luke 17:2

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