Thanks for the great and inspiring conversation evolving here. My hat is off to everyone. With all due & sincere humility, if I have learned something about myself and my own brokenness that has been CONSTRUCTIVE in the past few years, it has definitely come from the wisdom that has been communicated on this very forum. I thank ALL of the posters at MS, survivors and F & F, from whom I have been learning a tremendous amount. Thank you. I am eternally grateful.
So let me share one other component and one other memory.
Yes, I am also a CSA survivor with a rather "colorful" biography. I've been married twice already to 2 different men (at least one of whom shows some degree of sexual addiction himself). I was also in a very long term relationship with a woman, and I identified at that time as a lesbian. So I am very, very mindful of all the issues I brought to the table--or at least I thought so--when I became involved with my F.
I was at least aware enough to send him a letter, very early on, that said something about my appreciation for finding someone like him, who had similar questions as I about gender roles & sexuality, parenting, belonging to a larger community.... Ha! Little did I know at that time how much our struggles really WERE similar, because this was long before he officially disclosed his CSA history to me.
I did realize at the time that I had huge issues with trust, especially trust of men. Paradoxically, in the ways that have not been directly affected by his SA (there are some, I believe
I HAVE developed some ability to trust. Trust of him, his judgment and his advice; and trust of my own capacities. (Layer upon layer of irony, it seems.)
But I was FAR less willing to acknowledge then (and am only beginning to do so now) how much I was attached to my resentments. I had so many good reasons to be mistrustful, after all. Men had treated me terribly on a pretty regular and predictable basis.
I am not saying that a certain self-protectiveness is misguided--far from that. What I am saying is that my own sense of proper boundaries was also so badly distorted, I never knew very well how to calibrate intimacy, either. And so I also lurched from pole to pole, in ways that continued to hurt ME. And those close to me, like my daughters.
I don't know how any of us survivors manage to heal as well as we do. The mystery is, though, that we do. And some of us manage to get healthier in the same relationship, even more surprisingly.
If anyone has this all figured out, please let me know, OK?
Actually, that's way too flip. We get better exactly in this way: sharing our struggles and our insights and our encouragement with each other. Here, or in 12-step groups, or in therapy--whatever works. But we find compassionate people, willing to listen and to learn from each other.
I admit I have more to say about the toxicity of resentment, but that's likely another thread. Anyway, that's about all I am able to tolerate on that topic at the moment!