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#294135 - 07/04/09 03:01 AM Feedback from wives?
Jim1961 Offline

Registered: 03/10/09
Posts: 1201
Loc: Pa, but likely traveling...
I'm 48, been married to my wife for 17 years. We have 2 kids (15 yo boy, 11 yo girl). I started working on recovery about 4 months ago. I've had issues with cybersex addiction and am seeing a T and in a 12-step. Have had only one slip in the last 50+ days.

My family went to "community day" last weekend. It's held at a local park. Local businesses/groups set up booths and have fun things for the kids to do and businesses promote their stuff.

I had taken my daughter and her friend around the park as my wife worked one of the volunteer booths. I had a great time with them and enjoyed the fun.

Later I'm walking by a booth with my wife. I had never heard of this company (something like "love connection", thought it was a dating service or something). The lady hands me a flier, and I glance at it and its counseling services.

My wife asks "what do they do?" And I quickly answer "counseling services." She rolls her eyes and says "They must know just by looking at you that you need that. She didn't hand that to me." I gave her a little whap and say "hey, c'mon now". And drop it.

When I disclosed I was seeing a T a few weeks ago, she said "whatever" and made a comment like "counseling is for those that can;t cope..."

So I am triggered. She's shaming me for seeing a Therapist? I immediately feel the anger/pain/rage thing in my chest. What was a fun day, now feels awful.

The only thing she knows about my past is a) I had a rough childhood, b) I'm seeing a T for anxiety and c) I saw a T in the past.

I'm conflicted. The more I share, the more shame ammo she will have to hurl my way. I have this huge fear that she'll leave me and take the kids. That fear has kept me silent and also built a wall between us.

Disclosing (or not) is a huge dilemma for me.


Loneliness is a power that we possess to give or take away forever. -Yes, Starship Trooper

My Story

#294141 - 07/04/09 04:54 AM Re: Feedback from wives? [Re: Jim1961]
pufferfish Offline

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6875
Loc: USA

I had the same trouble with my wife. It was too much for her to absorb in a short time. I almost suddenly realized the truth of where I had been as a child. It nearly knocked me over and I am still recovering. My wife was really wonderful and tried very hard to understand.

The things I found useful to help my wife understand included watching movies together about abused kids etc. They seem hard to find but there are some out there: (Netflix has these). The point is to help her develop empathy for problems boys can go through. These will not hurt your own kids to see them. Some of them might be pg-13 or have violence


a. Trapped in Silence (Kiefer Sutherland)
b. I Know My Name is Stephen
c. Oliver Twist (the one with Barney Clark)
d. Joe the King
e. The Boys of St. Vincent
f. The Chorus (French origin)
g. I Am David
h. Where Eskimos Live (some violence)
i. Kite Runner
j. Flight of the Innocent (some violence)

Reading selected books on abused children and their recovery.
Any of the books by Torrey Hayden. These will create a love for the kids who have had a tough time. They are not sloppy or sentimental but just good solid readible books about how kids can have a tough time. She's the best. Some about girls is OK. Remember, the goal is to broaden her (and your)perspective on though things children go through and what helps them get better. None of the following is boring or technical. None will hurt your own kids if they see them.

a. Tiger's Child
b. One Child
c. Twilight Children
d. Beautiful Child
e. Someone Else's Kids
f. Murphey's Boy (the movie version: Trapped in Silence)
g. Children With Emerald Eyes (by Mira Rothenberg and Peter Levine)
h. I Am David, by Anne Holm (yes the movie came from this book)
i. One Little Boy by Dorothy W. Baruch
j. In the Blink of an Eye; Inside a Children't Trauma Center by Alan Doelp


pufferfish whistle

#294146 - 07/04/09 05:46 AM Re: Feedback from wives? [Re: pufferfish]
wes-b Offline

Registered: 08/17/07
Posts: 438
Loc: Western, Canada

Jim my brother;

Glad you shared this. My disclosure started dramatically to get out of "trouble" (10 years ago not) and was about expediance not recovery or healing... It was 8 more years before I dumpped the bombshell about my acting out, not the way to do it either Dramatic Grandiose Addict/CoAddict behaviour -- I'm a dual winner who qualifies for both sides of the coin :-\ -- What I understand from therapists that I and my wife and I have worked with is that disclosure is important and is most effective with a qualified facilitator. Full disclosure does not mean full detailed disclosure, I would generally call detailed disclosure a form of abuse.

Full detailed disclosure is, in my humble opinion, is what belongs in 1st and 5th steps done with a sponsor or in a step study group. As you know, being a 12-stepper, that we are only as sick as our secrets.

Early in my healing and recovery my wife questioned whether I would ever be healthy enough to be an equal... That hurt a lot and I spent much time on that with my counsellors ( T's, Sponsor, and fellow 12-steppers ) to walk it out. In due course we worked it through to today, we're doing quite well and I have since disclosed to my sons and my daughter is on the horizon (she is the youngest). Disclosure with counselling and support is an eventuallity, early disclosure is surely fraught with trouble.

One day at a time my brother.

Hugs, Love and Prayers, Wes

Happy to be a recovering survivor. :-)

Continuing to meet more of my fellows as I "Trudge the Road of Happy Destiny".

My Story, 1st pass

#294150 - 07/04/09 06:11 AM Re: Feedback from wives? [Re: wes-b]
WalkingSouth Offline

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

You've asked specifically for feedback from wives so I'll limit my comments to just a quiet word of support and tell you that I understand the feeling.

Safe Hugs,


"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

#294169 - 07/04/09 11:51 AM Re: Feedback from wives? [Re: WalkingSouth]
sweet-n-sour Offline

Registered: 10/03/06
Posts: 409
Loc: chicago
Dear Jim:

First, I want to send you support for doing what is best for yourself on your journey for recovery through seeking the proper support that you need. What a positive step forward!

Personally, I feel that enlisting the help of trained professionals is truly a strength so no matter what anyone says (your wife included)and doing the work that needs to be done is a great thing to do for yourself. I have seen with my relatives a sort of negative outlook on therapy and a person that seeks help for themselves. Where as I feel proud of the fact that I can ask for help, they feel embarrassment. To me, that is okay because that is their personal issues and limitations. I truly believe most of this stigma stems from fear and from not truly understanding.

In your wife's case, it may have more to do with a fear of change. You have been married for 17 years and she is accustomed to everything being just as it is. Enlisting outside help threatens what she knows and the dynamic between you.

I have finally come to the conclusion after about three years of chasing in circles that I was expecting certain people in my life to offer me what they were simply not equipped to give within my relationship with them. We want so much for everyone to just extend what we are willing to give to them but I'm afraid it does not work that way. We are all different and unique...we carry forth every step we have taken to arrive at this moment. Without walking in each others shoes, how can any of us truly comprehend where the other person is coming from? How can we react other than with the life skills that we carry from where we have been? That is why therapy is so very important. It offers us all an opportunity to rethink our grow and change for the better.

It's complicated. I think the suggestions of watching movies together surrounding abuse is a great idea. It may offer an opportunity to share but also it could help you understand where she is coming from regarding certain issues as well. IN that understanding it would be possible to determine if telling her more about your past is the best thing to do at this point or not.

When you said: "I'm conflicted. The more I share, the more shame ammo she will have to hurl my way. I have this huge fear that she'll leave me and take the kids. That fear has kept me silent and also built a wall between us."

This is something you need to discuss with your therapist and work through properly before moving forward. Without being able to really talk with your wife, there will always be a wall between you but maybe for some reason having that wall is what your wife is most comfortable with. Therapy maybe threatens her level of comfort and that is why she made comments as she did. It is only a guess since I am only going on what you have shared.

Sending you support,


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

cm 2007

#294184 - 07/04/09 01:44 PM Re: Feedback from wives? [Re: sweet-n-sour]
riz Offline

Registered: 10/08/08
Posts: 123
Hi Jim,

You've received some great advice here from the others.

My 2 cents is to make sure you understand how clueless your wife can really be about your situation. When my husband told me about the abuse I thought it was terrible. Child abuse is terrible, right? But it wasn't till I came to this website and read the stories of the men here, that I really began to understand what had happened to my husband. Oh my gosh and then to see that some of my reactions has been so wrong, even though they'd been well meant. Then all the rage that comes with the new realization of what is happening to children everywhere and how people are unaware as I was. And anger about our situation, sadness, sense of loss, helplessness, guilt, etc.

Since you have known the reality of child abuse your whole life, it is probably hard to imagine there are people like me out there...with no real understanding of it and who sometimes don't react to the shock in the manner that you had hoped for.

Maybe if/when you decide the best way to disclose to your wife, she will react with all the support and compassion you imagine. If not, although her reaction may be painful, I hope it helps you a little to know that I loved my husband even more for his strength and courage in dealing with such a tough childhood...even if I didn't always know how to support him...and this may be the case with your wife as well.

My best to you and your family,


#294265 - 07/05/09 05:47 AM Re: Feedback from wives? [Re: riz]
sojourn111 Offline

Registered: 05/09/08
Posts: 86
Loc: midwest
My wife blew it off and minimized it for a long time... actually 9 years before she even acknowledged that it was bad. 3 years into my recovery she blew up at me. I was spending to much time, money, whatever why couldn't I just get over it.

So I took her to this very nice dinner. We ordered and as soon as our food came I gave her the details. She didn't ask for them, I simply said I want to share something with you. I want you to understand a little of the value I am receiving for the effort, money and sacrifices we have made. And I told her in specific slow detail every ugly horrific detail.

I talked in a regular voice and yes the other guests overheard. They got uncomfortable and a few got up and left giving me bad looks and saying harsh remarks.She was angry at first, then as I continued she really heard what happened. Then she was embarassed wanting me to be quiet. And I went on.

I didn't stop until I got to the end of a sessions issues. She was devestated because she had married me and looked at me for what she thought I was, not who I really wa. This was public, humiliating, unending and out of her control. She had to for a moment deal with me and what I felt and its not ignorable. She didn't like it.

After several days she approached me and apologized because she realized how much she didn't understand. She couldn't shake or forget what I shared... its haunting. Now she knew.

#294272 - 07/05/09 08:26 AM Re: Feedback from wives? [Re: sojourn111]
michael banks Offline

Registered: 06/12/08
Posts: 1755
Loc: Mojave Desert, Ca

You know how much you and i relate in regards to our wives. Csa is a difficult subject for our wives to understand and to be supportive of us.
Mine told me that the other that our marriages is over. And I find myself strangely at ease, not at all worried or feeling anxiety over this news. Will be one less issue for me to deal with. Sort of tired of having to be careful what I reveal to her so as not to get it thrown back into my face.
Today i know who i am and what issues that i have to address and if others cannot be understanding and supportive. Then do i really need them in my life.
Hope your relationships and marriage inprove as you heal my friend.


To own one's shadow is the highest moral act of a human.
-Robert Johnson-

"IT ought never be forgotten that the past is the parent of the future" John C. Calhoun

WOR Alumni Sequoia 2009

#294303 - 07/05/09 06:47 PM Re: Feedback from wives? [Re: michael banks]
DJsport Offline

Registered: 02/20/08
Posts: 1742
Hi, Jim.

Buddy my thoughts and heart are with you. You will get through this. I know you need to hear from wives but, I wanted to add here my message to you publicly.

Sojourn - WOW. What a powerful message.


Live to your fullest potential

Never make someone a priority if your only an option

#294320 - 07/05/09 09:50 PM Re: Feedback from wives? [Re: DJsport]
honey girl Offline

Registered: 10/09/06
Posts: 245
Loc: Midwest US
Dear Jim,

I'm editing this reply significantly because one of the moderators pointed out to me that I might have misread a vital portion of your original post. So if you read the first reply I put up, and notice a change, that's why. I hope that I have not offended you or anyone else with my earlier message, and if I have, I apologize.

What does your wife know about any of your issues?
Does she know that you are in recovery at all, let alone in a 12-step program for cybersex addiction? I was assuming that she knew, but I could be very wrong there.

If she does not know, then naturally you ARE at big risk of really awful consequences if you disclose much, either about your CSA or about your recovery.

I would not underestimate the risk, frankly, because it is clearly the case that people do freak out about sexual abuse and sexual addiction. It's alarming and unnerving to many, and if as you indicate here you're not getting any signals that it's safe for you to disclose, then it's probably not going to go well at this time.

However, I would pass on one little piece of SA wisdom third-hand, from my F's sponsor to my F to me. My F has been hesitant about breaking off one of his liaisons because he fears some repercussions at work. His sponsor reminded him that he must put his sobriety first. I forget how it goes, but it's something like this: anyone who puts family, or work, or anything or anyone else ahead of sobriety, winds up losing the very thing they were trying to protect.

In other words: stay in your program. Work it conscientiously and with all the support you can muster, here and in real life. Take the next right step every day, when there is one to take. Eventually, all of this will be clearer. For now, you will have to believe that it can get better, as long as you are taking genuine care of yourself.

Again, I am sorry if I went off on a wild-goose chase for having assumed too much the first time I read your post. And thanks to walkingsouth for pointing out my mistake!

Anyway, Jim, I know you are here because you are looking for help. That takes courage on your part too. Keep asking; keep doing the next right thing; take it a day at a time. Good luck to you and your family.


Edited by honey girl (07/06/09 01:21 AM)
Edit Reason: misinterpretation of OP
I'm just a poor wayfaring stranger, a million miles away from home.

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