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#216877 - 04/09/08 08:04 PM Greetings...lots of new feelings!
Bulala Offline
New Here

Registered: 04/09/08
Posts: 17
Hi all,

My fiance is a CSA survivor...he has just started his route to recovery. We see a counselor for pre-marital who is also working with him on abuse issues.
Because we are in a pre-marital relationship we deal with a LOT of things very openly but often quite emotively! Its a lot of say the least.
I guess what my issue regards is MY REACTION and my thoughts to his abuse (and my knowledge of it.)
...I am a very empathic person, and have always had this tendency to feel 'for' others...
Well...I'm pretty angry! At a lot of the perp, at the family members who didn't make it a conducive environment to speak up about it...I mean, his mother put the perp on our wedding guest list with a little note beside it saying "is he still in your life?" to her credit she has no idea the abuse occured. Just the affects and her 'constant struggle' living and raising 'a son like him.'
These things make me very angry. My fiance needs support and I am having a very difficult time with HOW I am supposed to support him and create a peaceful, embracing environment so that he can communicate what he needs to me...'cause all I want to do is express my anger!!
On another hand, I have LOTS of questions...and my fiance is not at a place yet where he can talk about things openly with me. He has told me a brief version of the story, and we have a book that he reads and I read about CSA survivors...but he is journaling the WHOLE story and discussing it in counseling only.
I KNOW that this takes time and its on his watch...he's been dealing with this for SO long...and I have just been introduced into this arena and don't know the rules yet!
I want to ask things about triggers...about our intimacy...
He seems to have dealt very differently than other survivor stories I/we have read and in many ways, of course, the same.
What do I do to continue support and get some support myself here??

"There's life outside of your madness, and there's a face behind every scar...but theres a LOVE overflowing with gladness. Get out of that place that's restraining your love."

#216880 - 04/09/08 08:36 PM Re: Greetings...lots of new feelings! [Re: Bulala]
Freedom49 Offline

Registered: 12/31/07
Posts: 2724
Loc: Washington State
Bulala, welcome to Male survivor. I am glad you found us for you and for him. I have a question about your pre marital counselor. Is he familiar with counselors survivors. I am going to assume that he was a minor when this happened. A professional experienced in dealing with child sexual assult recovery is preferred because of some unique issues. He will have some sexual issues that will need to be addressed if you are to have a healthy satisfying relationsip. If you read the other posts in this forum you will notice that subject being touched on quite a bit.
As to what you can do to support him and yourself I would start be reading Mike Lew's "Victims No Longer". Be aware of times that he will withdraw, or freeze up on you which may indicate he has been triggered. Take stock in what was going on at the time and see if he will talk about it. I would keep an eye on his perp if he is still around because a perp will rarely have only one victim and stop.
Again welcome.

#216888 - 04/09/08 09:51 PM Re: Greetings...lots of new feelings! [Re: Freedom49]
LandOfShadow Offline

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 684
Loc: Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
Welcome Bulala.

Speaking as a survivor, it's good to hear you're angry and involved. I imagine if you look and read through a lot of the history of messages here you will find a lot of helpful stories and information. Jump in and ask away with your questions. Survivor issues can be quite varied.

I guessing and hoping you will find this a helpful place.

Et par le pouvoir d’un mot Je recommence ma vie, Je suis né pour te connaître, Pour te nommer

And by the power of a single word I can begin my life again, I was born to know you, to name you

Paul Eluard

#216919 - 04/09/08 11:57 PM Re: Greetings...lots of new feelings! [Re: LandOfShadow]
WalkingSouth Offline

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16270
Loc: Waldport, Oregon

As the others have said, Welcome! We're glad you found your way here, but ever so sorry you have the need.

Something you said caught my attention in a way it'd never before been caught and that got me to thinking. I wanted to share those thought with you.

my fiance is not at a place yet where he can talk about things openly with me. He has told me a brief version of the story, and we have a book that he reads and I read about CSA survivors...but he is journaling the WHOLE story and discussing it in counseling only.

Something dawned on me as I was reading that and asked myself why it is that I've never been willing to tell my wife "all about it". I think for me I feel the need to keep some aspect of my masculinity and telling it all somehow robs me of that, or I feel as if it does. I've journaled it, talked to my therapist about it, but I've shared very little of "the story" with my wife.

I don't know whether this is the same issue your future husband is dealing with or not, but whatever the case, your need to know cannot ever trump his need to share only what he feels able to. I'm not suggesting you're pressuring him at all, but just know that he needs you to honor him on this very basic issue if he chooses not to talk about it. He's been open with you that it happened, as time goes on he will probably be more than willing to discuss many of the aspects of his recovery and the things he's learning, but the other may well go with him to his grave, and that is just fine in the overall scheme of things.

I hope your time here interacting with the survivors and their s/o's helps you understand more of what he and you face.

Lots of love,


"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 Shit! What a ride!'" ~Hunter S. Thompson

#216974 - 04/10/08 02:27 AM Re: Greetings...lots of new feelings! [Re: WalkingSouth]
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus

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

Hey there, I see that the welcoming party has already got to you with stellar advice, as usual. I echo what Roger, LandOfShadow and John have said.

As for your anger, oh boy do I feel it. I still struggle with the anger even though the abusers, his parents, are dead *good riddance* Sometimes without warning, it'll want to explode in me like a volcano, but I have to swallow it. We're itching for the fight and more than ready to have it, but it's not our fight. I've found that my anger about what happened is actually very bad for my b/f to see. He can't handle it and retreats deep into himself. I actually think he becomes a little afraid of me because I'm mad, which is a side of me anyone rarely sees.

Scout around the boards some and you'll see many, many of your questions answered. Some of the conversations will probably bring up a whole host of new ones too. It takes time to find your stride and how to best deal with your fiance, but most importantly yourself when negotiating this mine field but I can promise you that you'll receive all the support we can muster here.

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

If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

#216998 - 04/10/08 04:36 AM Re: Greetings...lots of new feelings! [Re: Freedom49]
Bulala Offline
New Here

Registered: 04/09/08
Posts: 17
Wow! Thanks to each of you for the welcome...I don't have to tell most of you how nice it is just to have some place safe to express certain feelings!

To Freedom49, our counselor is experienced in abuse counseling as well as PTSD and a myriad of other affects related and unrelated such as self-worth, spiritual formation, boundaries etc. It is one of the reasons we chose him....
we both knew that in order to honestly go forth in pre-marital...we would each have a certain amount of 'skeletons' that would need to be dealt with. He had alluded early on in our relationship that the abuse had occurred in response to my questioning his prostate health seemed natural to me simply to ask if there had been any 'trauma' to the prostate to cause enlargement at a relatively early age. So it was kind of 'out' and we knew that it would one day get dealt with...and when we agreed to go to premarital for some of our unhealthy dealings with each other and potential marital problems we don't want...well..we both kind of sat down and got very real about it!
So, our counselor has a unique blend of specializations that really work out well for whatever our 'known' issues are (even if un-aired!)
Whats more surprising for me is that FH (that'll be my name for my Future Husband preserve autonomy)...FH is so comfortable with our counselor, who happens to be male. When at first FH said there was no need for counseling. I guess I figured since it was male/male abuse that it would generate some discomfort talking about it with a male counselor.
FH is different in that in our first couple of pre-marital sessions our counselor (who does not differ in age from us very much) seems more like a buddy to FH...simply because he doesn't write things down like 'most therapists.'
....FH surprises me every single day! He is such an amazing man inside there!!

Another question or concern that I had was something another responder alluded to...that my anger or reaction could cause FH to withdraw.
That scenario is entirely my fear- I don't want to hinder his process in dealing with this in any way...but it becomes difficult because we are a 'we' and about to be a 'one!' I mean, we are IN a relationship...and his abuse, betrayal, shame, ambivalence is all wrapped up in 'relationship' how can I divorce one from the other? How can I be honest to our relationship...while (perhaps at times) needing to hide my reactions to some things to preserve his already fractured heart?

and how do I not allow it to hurt me in the process??

its such a strange dynamic! On the one hand I can see him as he cannot see himself and that is greater than he may EVER allow himself to see....and on the other hand I see this hurt child who just needs love and protection.
Do I confuse my role as future wife if, at times, he needs me to 'mother' him?
Do I allow him to use me as a sort of object to justify himself as a heterosexual man after he has had a focused bout of writing (his story...) and has been forcing himself to remember that which he would simply prefer to leave dead somewhere in his soul. This last bit is a new development...since my last posting actually...but he was focusing some time on writing and then wanted to be sexually intimate with me because he kept making himself remember "all this kind of 'gay' stuff"....
would that reason to say that a trigger in him does not make him withdraw but instead makes him want to nullify it??

It is SO early in this process (im assured) of dealing with this that he has not heard that it was completely normal for him to have an aroused response despite the pain, shame and betrayal. Nor does he have any sort of homophobia that stemmed out of this abuse (the perp is male/male oriented to this day and FH has a very bitter attitude toward him, however...we have very close friends who are gay and they do not pose any apparent kind of threat nor trigger.)
anyway I can understand a withdrawal from intimacy and affection due to triggers...but what about the antithesis? has anyone else had an experience where triggers just sent you more into what you truly desired...almost like a reprogramming your brain..."this is good" "that was bad"..."I like this", "that was bad"..."I am lovingly showing affection in a healthy sexual way toward someone who feels mutually toward my well being" and "that was bad"......

I'm so sorry I'm rambling! I feel slightly overwhelmed with information...I am reading so much more than he is about this, that is a difference between his pace and mine...when faced with an unknown all I want to do is dive in and figure it out, even if I have to get dirty! But he has to be much more deliberate with this process...and that I can sympathize with.

Thanks for any responses...the healing of wounds sometime requires cutting open the scar and that pain I don't want to add to...I know I cant fix it, I cant be a band-aid...but more...i want to be the neosporin in the bandage that helps it heal faster!!!

"There's life outside of your madness, and there's a face behind every scar...but theres a LOVE overflowing with gladness. Get out of that place that's restraining your love."

#216999 - 04/10/08 05:12 AM Re: Greetings...lots of new feelings! [Re: WalkingSouth]
Bulala Offline
New Here

Registered: 04/09/08
Posts: 17
also... to walkingsouth;

thank you for your honesty in that. Its VERY helpful to hear your perspective...
I suppose it is the nature of the woman to want to know the deepest recesses of the soul of her mate, and the untouchable parts seem like waters that simply NEED to be explored to us. We are the Magellan's of the heart!!

To me, history that is unknown is doomed to repeat itself...and it seems like it would only be helpful to have backup! How can I keep from hurting him more if I do not know what the hurt is in the first place?
how can I understand a seemingly irrational response unless I can see it in the light of his experiences?
and then much closer to the heart is the trust being equally tied to honesty...if he does not trust me to know this, then what else don't I know about?
it plants a seed of suspicion...and a recipe for disaster.

At least (and I hope to my credit) I do not pressure him about is enough to me, for now, that he is taking his own steps to deal with things. I just want to support it.
He knows that I do have expectations of disclosure...and I can understand him not going into too much detail to preserve my ability to consistently see him as MY provider and husband (oh yes, so many of you can SO tell we pay attention at counseling!! lol) but to leave out key facts would be a bad place for us...Just as he doesn't need to know every detail of every sexual encounter I have had, I don't need to know every detail of his abuse...what I need to know, as his partner...
is the basics of what occurred, places, smells the broad things that give me plenty to be able to support him, without making it to where I feel like I was abused right next to him!
I don't know exactly what had made him feel okay to tell me when he me it seemed like the wrong time entirely...we had been fighting for 2 days and were very near calling it quits if we couldn't find a way to push through...we were both exhausted from emotions and desperately trying to save our relationship. and (later he said...) he didn't feel like he'd have the chance again and so he told me. No fanfare, no hurt feelings...I was crying anyway...I couldn't leave BECAUSE of him telling me because we were about to part ways anyway. it was free of pressure I guess.
so he asked if I wanted to know, and I said yes...actually I said it pretty catty when I think back...I was pretty upset with him!!! I didn't want to feel bad for him right then...
I thought...WHAT A MOMENT TO DO THIS!! *throws up hands exasperatedly*
then, I thought...wait...he needs this and this is greater than my need for him to follow through with his word and might be the reason for it...duh!
He talked. for a good if I were not there...and didn't look at me once. I stayed close but I didn't know if I was allowed to touch him or hug him when the memories were that close. (I suffered PTSD after spending 5 years in Africa...)
But my point is more that there was a freedom and a bond that was made between us in what he WAS able to share...
he was free from it partially, I guess, because it wasn't a secret any longer...and he knew it didn't make me question anything about him, if anything it simply EXPLAINED things. It made perfect sense now why he tended to be cynical and pessimistic...all his life was hell so why should he EVER expect anything else?
And that allowed me to see it from that perspective instead of laying the grounds for a major argument by attacking his thought process or reasoning.
FH allowing me to see him as vulnerable and then the strength the self-contempt...all the good things and the very bad things...that weaved the tapestry of who he is ALL allows me to see him without the red thread, or the yellow...or whatever color I need to see him with or without...because I know exactly how that tapestry was woven.
its said that behind every great man is a great woman...but what is not said is that statement implies the man's NEED and him admitting that need (vulnerability) for support.
no man is an island right? no woman either for that matter...we are created as beings who have a need for relationships.
I find it an incredible testimony for his masculinity that he could have lived through such things and in private allow me to hold him when his head is low...but he is still then able to continue to face the world despite this horror, isn't it my role to arm myself with the correct tools to help him, support him, encourage him?
just my thoughts...

"There's life outside of your madness, and there's a face behind every scar...but theres a LOVE overflowing with gladness. Get out of that place that's restraining your love."

#217883 - 04/14/08 12:32 AM Re: Greetings...lots of new feelings! [Re: Bulala]
Liv2124 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 159
Loc: New Jersey
Welcome... Your post brought alot of things to mind. I don't know if my thoughts will help at all, but here goes...
My SO gave up bits and pieces of his story over about 17 years now. Initially, when it surfaced, it was when he'd been drinking and when he brought up the issue again, he'd been drinking that time too. He was never an alcoholic, and he wasn't so drunk that he'd forgotten he'd said anything. It was quite the opposite. After that, he gave up drinking entirely. Because he couldn't trust himself not to say anything, I guess. Most of his comments about what happened have been when he's dissociating and initially, I wasn't aware of it. I would bring up something he'd told me and he'd FREAK out, demanding to know who told me and where I got the information. When I told him that he was the one who told me, he had absolutely NO recall. For awhile, he even accused me of "going into his head." (Yes, it was easier for him to believe me to be a mind-reader than to believe he might have actually told me)
Over the years, when he brings things up, he does it with this weird understanding that I "know", and I take a definite position on "knowing". He can tell me whatever he needs to tell me, but I've never had alot of questions. I can relate to the anger, because believe me, I still have it. Anger at those responsible for his abuse, his family, etc. I've actually envisioned 5 minutes alone in a dark alley with the people that did this to him.
But, what I stress to him, is that he needs to tell somebody, it doesn't have to be me. In actuality, it's far more important that he hear himself say it out loud, than it is for anyone to hear it. Nothing that happened to him was his fault, and there was nothing he did, and nothing about him, that made it happen.
As far as triggers, my best advice to you is to pay attention. You'll be amazed at how much you'll actually be able to see. Make mental notes about what you see triggering him and avoid them when you can. (Keeping in mind that there are things that will trigger him in a negative way that CAN'T be avoided because they're part of restrooms, doctors and physicals, etc) Intimacy... another tough one...go slow and let him set the pace..
For us, anxiety is a huge issue at the moment. It's taking over... (On a side note, any survivors who might have some useful tips on effective ways to handle anxiety attacks, anything would be helpful) He can't sleep, can't drive, it's taking a toll....
Brace yourself, it'a a long, strange trip...
And again, welcome...

Edited by Liv2124 (04/14/08 01:08 AM)


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