Sorry to all but this is a really long reply.
Polly your post just spoke so much to me - I hope you dont mind if I write a long note back. I hope my experiences will be of some help or comfort to know that you are not alone.
Originally posted by Polly: Thank you so much...
Sammy, you said my posting sounded lonely oh I do feel so lonely.
I was given some good advice from a friend of mine once about finding a female friend to talk to - but I can't talk to ANYONE about this, how can I. I need to keep his secrets too and keeping secrets hurts
I know exactly how you feel. I wish I could give you a hug!!! Dealing with things that are so "outside the mainstream" is the most isolating thing on the planet. I have to admit that on a few occasions my own pain drove me to break my BF's trust - he was not happy with that so now I am in fact seeking a therapist with specialization in SA that I can tell my crap to.
How could I say to a friend - OH by the way, I am feeling shitty at the moment because my husband, who I love more than anything in the world, is a bi-sexual, transvestite who recently had/has feelings for another woman at work (not a sexual affair, just an emotional one - somebody he could talk to I suppose) and he is so closed off to me - he won't talk about his feelings and I just need someone to talk to.
You DO need someone to talk to. Can you find a therapist for yourself? Someone who has knowledge about SA - someone who can be your anchor through this?
I totally relate to your situation - when all hell was breaking loose for me in my current relationship (my BF did not initally want to go to therapy so I do understand what it is like to "feel stuck" - we in fact bordered on breaking up many times due to serious verbal and borderline-physical abuse that was going on...) I would go into work and go "why do I friggin care about anything here when my BF is at home crying on the couch for days, cant go to work, and wants to die because of some man in his past who plied him with alcohol and used him to "get off" and coerced him into participating in kiddy porn pictures of with adults..... and that he's just remembering some things now.. and that he just said that he hates me and never wants to marry me ever and that I"m full of shit... and that he just slammed my freaking face in a door and cut me (I still have a scar).. it kind of just makes "every day life" just seem so irrelevant!
And the fact that all of this was going on on TOP of years of my own abuse recovery, my dad's third suicide attempt and arrest/prosecution for DUI, my brother's nervous breakdown and job loss, and just after a period of unemployment and homelessness and a bad breakup and the death of a good friend of mine!
For several years - from 1998 - 2001 I thought I was gonna die. I wanted to die. I couldnt take the pain any more. I stole my dad's tranquilizers and used them for a few months. I started to get hooked. I knew I was in trouble. A few times I even wandered - no staggered - over to the local hospital and collapsed on the intake nurse - and was able to see a crisis counsellor in the emergency Psych. ward.
And the hardest part was that to tell someone in "real life" what was going on would just floor them. My life was like a damn soap opera for years.... I really cut myself off from old friends and family because I KNEW that they'd just run away from the intensity of the situation I was in! I felt like a freak. I would cry uncontrollably. I would scream and rage. I alienated a lot of people.
I posted a post a while ago entitled "in comparison to every day people" and the essence of it was just what you wrote - that sometimes I find it hard to "fit in" with the "rest of soceity" when so many horrible things happened and were happening, and in a way, still are happening.
Rest assured Polly your life wont' always be the way it is at the current time. Things will change. They definitely wont stay the same. You WILL get through it!!!!!!!!!! I know you dont believe it at the time but you will!!! And you will grow stronger. Things you dont think you will be able to ever deal with you will find yourself dealing with.
With respect to your husbands feelings I belive that he did and in fact deep down inside still does love you. But you certainly hit the nail on the head that indeed "there is so much crap in his head that he is trying so hard to deal with it there is nothing left for our marriage."
I grew up with a father that was going through this same type of issue - having so much going on inside his head that he just wasn't there (not only was he not there he was abusive when he "was there"). I can firmly say that it horrible to deal with - my experience has hurt me deeply, left me with major abandonment-anxiety issues, and profoundly affected my life in more ways than I can explain.
All I can say is that you are stronger than you think and you WILL get through this. You do need to spend some time and effort on a support network other than your husband. Therapists, social workers, trusted friends - you must build that up for yourself and use them to lean on them through times like this!
With respect to staying "grounded" during a panic attack - I can relate to this too - I suffered from the same thing - I went to therapy a LOT and talked in the abstract about things, but when the chips were down I didnt act or feel any different. As a result, I have sought hypnotherapy to be able to be more "in my own head" and recognize when I'm actually in a panic attack. If you have access to that type of therapy and are open to it, perhaps you may wish to explore? It has helped me in countless ways that other therapy never could.
I do hope I haven't made the situation worse by telling you that my BF and I did go to counselling. I was hoping that your husband might be able to see couples therapy as something different than his own therapy. I can relate to your situation actually as my previous relationship (five years - two years common law) wound up in a situation like this. He was a SA survivor only he didnt recognize it. He refused to go to therapy and it was horrible.
All I can say in hindsight is that I wish I had taken better care of myself while my life all went to shit around me. Because I realized that the most important person that I could count on was ME and that I really didnt take care of myself. And in the end I did literally lose everything, and I was in shitty shape to deal with that.
But if my story has any lesson - that it did take some time but my life DID turn around for the better. Four years after my breakup, homelessness and unemployment, I find myself almost (almost!) engaged to a great guy, with an amazing job, in a new city, with new friends. But my dad is still suffering. My brother is still looking for work but has decided to go back to school to retrain. My BF has - wonder of wonders - gone on to group therapy for anger management and even taken the bull by the horns and decided to prosecute his SA perp. I still suffer from the anxieties of the past, and my BF and I still have the heartaches of SA to deal with, but we are starting to come out the other side. It IS possible and you WILL get through it. But we certainly didnt get through this alone. We relied heavily on a support network.
Also Polly what is important here is that you have to recognize is that even though your husband has gone through something horrible there is a line that cannot be crossed when it comes to acceptable treatment. While I recognize that my own father was the victim of horrible abuse, that did not give him the right to turn around and abuse and neglect me in turn. What happened to your husband was horrible, but it does not give him the right to turn around and hold your marriage hostage to those emotions. What happened to my BF was horrible too but that did not give him the right to abuse me early on in our relationship....
Hold tight - it truly is a scary situation that you are in. It is totally normal and expected for you to be afraid. You care for your husband and your marriage and your life so your feelings wouldnt be any other way. I have been there with my last relationship falling apart - him saying things that were more and more outrageous. Him having feelings for his best friend's roommate. Me feeling him pulling away from him. You feel that your whole life seems to be falling around you - your hopes, your dreams, your expectaions of how you thought your life and your marriage would be. And that alone is hard. The grief of things not being the way you thought or wanted them to be is very very hard and painful indeed.
If you are wanting to try and stick this through as you said so determinedly in your post - you WILL definitely NEED a multi-layered support network around you as much as possible right now. Friends, family, professionals, activities for yourself only, prayer/spirtuality if that suits you, exercise, a proper diet, everything healthy. You need to cling to the things, the good things you can count on right now.