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#17024 - 12/17/01 03:55 PM How to tell spouse

For about the past year I have been in therapy struggling with some PTSD. My therapist has a wonderful mix of intelligence, compassion and is completely non-judgemental. I admitted to her about being repeatedly sexually and physically abused by two men and a woman over a period of several months while I was five years old and in daycare.

We have dealth with subsequent memories that have come flooding back into my brain and the fact that I have suffered through several flashbacks.

I still find it difficult and frightening to recount these unspeakable acts that were done to me more than 30 years ago.

Here's the situation. I am married and feel that I need to tell my wife about this. It's the only secret from my past that I have kept from her. But I am scared to do it. I'm afraid that somehow she will think differently of me if she knows. I also worry about falling completely apart while I tell her. Even today, when I dwell on the memories, I have severe anxiety attacks and even throw up sometimes.

I guess what I'm asking is if any of you can share with me how you told your spouse or SO about being abused? How did that person react? How did it change your relationship?

Thank you for your replies.

#17025 - 12/17/01 05:00 PM Re: How to tell spouse
Redsongbird Offline

Registered: 12/01/01
Posts: 209
Steve - I am sorry that you have such a difficult time when recalling these memories. I have done that too. I have always journaled for the past few years. I had told my wife that if she wanted to ever read them she could and if she had any questions to just ask. One day I came home from teaching and when I walked in the door she was crying and came to me and held me. I knew immediately that she had been reading the journals. This was a BIG step for both of us. For a while she did not even talk about it. But later she did start asking questions and such. She even got very angry but not towards me towards the abusers. And recently with the sexual assualt that happened to me two months ago she was sooooo understanding and was right there when I needed her. So I don't know if you have journaled or not but maybe if you even haven't you might want to write something down and share that with her. Just a thought.


#17026 - 12/17/01 07:47 PM Re: How to tell spouse
sonlite Offline

Registered: 12/11/01
Posts: 100
Loc: North Carolina
Hey Steven -

Have you discxd telling you wife w your thpst? You may want to game-plan a few details beforehand such as to whom do you want to limit this information - so your wife doesn't go out seeking support from family members or others you do not want to know. In my humble opinion, your privacy has been violated enough so take the time to think this through SAFETY FIRST.

Also what kinds of outside support does your wife have for herself i.e. (a) SAFE - non judgemental or Nosy female friends can she turn to (b) a pastor (c) maybe direct her to the thread on this site for family member's of survivors (d) or, maybe have some book recommmendations.

I don't want to make this more difficult than it has to be, but this is emotionally loaded stuff and she (as well as you) will need extra TLC and support.

And when it comes to dealing w your wife always remember, LOVE.

[not sure what I meant to say w that but it sounds good].

good luck.

#17027 - 12/18/01 10:29 AM Re: How to tell spouse

Thanks to both of you for your responses. I hope to hear from others as well.

I have discussed with my therapist about telling my wife. My therapist says that she believes it will help me to tell my wife and that my wife will be a wonderful source of support for me as I work my way through all of this.

That being said, my therapist says the decision is mine whether or not to tell my wife (or anyone else) and she will respect any decision I make.

I've never lied to my wife and I can't stand the idea of doing so. And while I haven't directly lied to her about this, I still feel it's necessary to let her in on this part of my life that has become so all-encompassing.

Thank you again,


#17028 - 12/18/01 09:09 PM Re: How to tell spouse
sonlite Offline

Registered: 12/11/01
Posts: 100
Loc: North Carolina
Steve -
God be w you. I hope that you find the source of support you deserve. You have a lot of courage and resolve. That will go a long way in your healing.


#17029 - 12/18/01 10:27 PM Re: How to tell spouse
getteddie Offline

Registered: 07/19/01
Posts: 226
Loc: Cub Hill, Md
You had been sexually abused at 5yo...WOW....if you don't tell your wife and get her subport...she may find out like may wife did..."acting it out with another man"! Does she know that you're in therapy ...for some reason? If so...take her with you to therapy after you arange it with your therapist and have the therapist help brake the news...she would have to work for your money that day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If you're smart enough to get pro help for yourself and dissocate completly at the age of 5...and keep it hiden from yourself for 30 years...there must be some big time reason for not telling her yet??? It is most likely all in your head...tell her...with pro help or not! Remember the movie Popeye..where he or his father is tied up and keeps saying no I won't eat my spinach...he's thinking back and acting like he is 5yo...Tell Her...No I don't wanta tell her...that's cool...they always find out anyway theirselfs!!!! LOL



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