Hey CdnDW, I hope you had a good weekend. It's good to see you and everybody else online again today, still wrestling with the demons! By the way, take a look at a few of the posts in the male survivors area, if you get the chance. I posted one asking for people to post the bravest thing they've ever done (you can encourage your H's to post something there, or you can tell their stories there). There's also a thread about physical memories. I read it and posted to it, even though I was a little nervous about what would happen when I started to write. But, hell, it turned out pretty well. And it's a good thing to describe these things--physical memories and what-not--because I think it helps me to control them, to define them and to let them begin to fade. They're like unruly ghosts. Once they're honored, they can start to rest in peace.

But on to your points.

1. Your H will never be free from his abuse. It's a part of his history. But it can and will fade as a malevolent force in his life. I'm sure there's an ugly history back there. Fucked up stuff. But, hell, we've all understood that women get raped. It's horrible. But they're not "ruined" forever. People survive. People overcome. For some reason, in our society, it's an almost unthinkable violation for a man to be raped. How does he overcome the violation? How does he continue to be a "man?" Well, shit. I got raped. I'm still a man. (By the way, writing that makes me feel so awesomely powerful, but also a little freaked out. And I feel the rage that only those with PTSD can understand.) I don't think that your H's abuse and your idea of him as a father are necessarily tied irrevocably together. When a person behaves as your husband does, he's probably doing it out of fear, out of the feeling that he has no choice. So my question to him would be, what's the worst case scenario? What's the worst thing that could happen if you stood up and fought for yourself, you wife or you family? Seriously? Well, the worst thing might be that he'd lose the fight. That he'd get punched in the face. Or that he'd be rejected by, what? the school? He might feel like the safest thing for him is to fly under the radar. He might think the safest thing is for him to coopt the abuser, to join the abuse in some version of the Stockholm syndrome. (That's the thing where the hostages fell in love with their captors. It's something that people will do instinctively to try to save themselves.) Well, your husband is clearly reacting in the present to dangers that are now far in the past. And he's interpreting things that aren't dangerous (i.e. standing up for your boy to get him the help he needs in school) as dangerous. That's just crazy. He needs to get a handle on that shit, and I believe he can. A lot of times, we survivors don't do shit until we need to. You can tell him what you expect in him as a father, a husband and a man. I know from experience that we can and will pull our heads out of our asses if we have to. You can use humor. You can nag the shit out of him. Those phantom fears are scary, but in the end they're only phantoms.

2. You will have to let the hatred go. I really feel for you, because his abusers are right in the middle of your lives (or at least close by, some of them, the brother, right?). You can cut them out of your life. Basically, I think you and him need to create safe space for yourselves. If you can do that with them in it, great. That's a tough one. I hope you have a counselor for advice on it.

3. I sure hope you stop feeling the "why him" and "why me." There is no answer to that. Sometimes life sucks. You know, in reference to your husband's cowardice, I can identify with that. In my old pre-therapy, pre-acknowledgment of my child sexual trauma, I thought of myself as a coward. It was one way that I could hate myself. I was scared to stand up for myself. I stood up for myself, but it was in a reckless and crazy aggressive way. I also used all kinds of magical thinking to rule my world, and to make decisions. The truth is that none of that stuff made me safe. The aggression didn't make me safe. The cowardice didn't make me safe. The magical thinking didn't make me safe. BAD SHIT HAPPENS sometimes. It's not the case that bad shit happens to good people. Bad shit happens to everybody sometimes. It's all about opportunity. There are people out there with evil impulses. They will hurt us if they get the opportunity. People get diseases. People get sick. People get hurt. I'm sorry that you've had more than your share. I understand that it's exhausting and overwhelming. That's all the more reason why your H needs to get his head out of his ass. Things are easier to deal with if you have a partner.

4. No. Don't accept that you can't have a "normal" sex life. You two need to work toward being fully adult, fully husband-and-wife. What the hell? I know that all this trauma we've experienced is a big deal, but what the hell? It's only history! So he got fucked in the ass by his brother or neighbor or whatever! Who cares!?! Get over it! It's life. There's too much in front of us, too much happening right now, for us to get too goddamn caught up with the past. My goal here is to let the past be the past. Goddamn the past. And I want a full sex life, a full life with my wife, even though I cheated on her. Even though I lied to her. I won't lie to her again. I won't cheat on her again. She's still traumatized by what I did. But I still want a full and fun sex life with her! (We're not there yet, but we're working on it.) I'm not going to give up, because she's the love of my life.

5. You'd better be able to stop thinking about these things. You know, my therapist once warned me to keep a journal. You don't, she said, and your thoughts will bounce around in your head in the worst, most destructive way. Man, was she right! The past might be that past, but it's also the prelude to the present, and abuse casts a long, long shadow. You need to write things down. Write down your thoughts. Fears. Worries.

And, finally, I'll suggest that you model the behavior that you want with your husband. Role play on him standing up to or confronting someone in a scenario that would mean something to you, like in a conversation with a school counselor, or even his brother. You guys might gain a lot from something like that. You could talk through troublesome intimacy stuff with him that way, too. You need to work toward erasing the barriers between you. And if he's not getting therapy and maybe meds, then get him to a therapist! I take meds every day, and MAN MY QUALITY OF LIFE IS BETTER!!! Do it, CdnDW.

You've got a bright future with this man. Go for it! I hope this is helpful. And don't forget to check out some of the stuff on the malesurvivor site. And, dude, if your husband's not on this site, at least have him read some of the posts. Or read them to him. Whatever.

I hope I wasn't too blunt above.

Bob