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#356437 - 03/13/11 10:12 PM Help! Husband has pulled away!!!
helpless01 Offline

Registered: 03/13/11
Posts: 2
Hi- My husband told me about a week ago that he was a victim of CSA. We were actually arguing prior to this coming out. A little history about us. When dating for 3 years, there were occasional issues here and there will a hot temper but he was very very compassionate and SOOOOO loving. Once we got married, he was still loving, however, the anger progressed. He never hit me but would get so heated that he ended up throwing his cell phone or ripping his shirt off. Also during this time, we were trying to conceive. I had some medical issues and had to seek other means so after some failed attempts, a miscarriage, we finally have our twin baby girls. they are now just over a year. i had associated some of the anger with this entire process. Not to mention he is all to blame because I was also going through some emotional times myself. After the kids, things became hectic. I was doing most of the work myself so I was exhausted. We had always had a great sex life and after the kids it slowed down. In addition, the anger and outburst and hurtful comments were getting worse. As a result, I started to shut down and stayed quiet when he was home or didnt say much because of the fear of an outburst. He saw this as I was depressed. It all came to an explosive hault last week when we had a massive argument and I told him I couldn't do this anymore. He had a breakdown and that is where he revealed he had been sexually abused from ages 5-9 by his sister, babysitter, and step sister. He cried and I sat on the floor with him and cried with him trying to explain that it wasnt his fault and that he shouldnt feel ashamed to talk about it with me. He kept this secret for 24 years. I was the first person he revealed it. he told me that he needs me to be more affectionate which I was not before due to the unexplained anger outbursts. Not only did he work late every day this week but when i tried to do that he would tell me he didnt want the affection out of pity. It is not out of pity, however, out of understanding that his anger and hurtful words were not because he hated me but because he was holding this inside. Not to mention, there were a few days this week where he would leave and drive around until 1am. i feel so helpless bc i want to help him but cant seem to. He did go see a counselor yesterday. He went to a wedding last night with friends, which is weird in iteself because we never went to events like that without eachother. I talked to him the other day and he said he is not comfortable around me knowing what I know but to me I STILL LOVE HIM THE SAME and want to help him bc he is such a great hardworking man. Yesterday when he came home from the wedding everything was fine and in the flip of a switch today he went to the gym and that was 5 hours ago. He is finding a thousand other things to do than be here. It is really putting a toll on me emotionally because i am a stay at home mom and i have put so much time and effort into the kids and my husband. That is my main focus and I am so consumed with how we are moving backwards that everytime I look into my little babies eyes i start crying hysterically. I dont even want to leave the house.
I dont understand why he wont talk to me about ANYTHING. its like a on/off switch that is being flipped a hundred times. Obviously he feels uncomfortable around me. should i suggest i stay somewhere else with the kids until he is comfortable? is it normal to pull away? i feel like this is just the beginning of the end of the marriage because who else can you talk to if you cant talk to your wife? ANY ADVICE PLEASE WOULD BE HELPFUL. I feel completely helpless and lost. It is starting to affect my mothering because i am so preoccupied in thought and I can't have that happen. i love him so much and HATE the people that did this to him. I just want him to find peace and come back to us because we need him so much!!!!

#356474 - 03/14/11 02:27 AM Re: Help! Husband has pulled away!!! [Re: helpless01]
timetoheal Offline

Registered: 02/13/11
Posts: 27
Loc: USA

I too am married to a survivor of CSA. For him to disclose his abuse to you to this early to me is admirable. It took my husband much longer.

I believe all you can do is encourage him to continue couseling and perhaps even give him this website if he is interested. But, you cannot force him to get help or support, that has to be his own decision when he is ready to accept it.

I would encourage you to take care of yourself (if you lose your health, you will be no good to anyone) and your children first. They are babies and rely on you. Do be supportive of your husband, but do not tolerate abusive behavior to you or around your children, that is not healthy for anyone.

Your husband will only "find peace" when he is ready to work hard for it and want it for himself, you can't want it more for him than he does. It will be a lifelong journey.

I am not one to give out advice, but I worry about your babies, the children have to come first. If you feel that you and your husband cannot live together, you need to do what is best for you and the babies. He as their father will understand that. If someone has to leave, it should be him, unless you have other options that will work better for you.

Anyway, I am very sorry for your pain, but you have now begun the journey of healing; whatever that may be. One other thing I forgot to mention is this, your husband has entrusted you with his story. Please be respectful of this. It is his story to tell. Yes this is a safe place for you to share, but to friends, family, co-workers would completely humiliate him and you'd lose his trust. I'm sure you must know this, but I just had to mention it, because CSA is so shameful and powerful to those who have suffered it that they must be able to control what is and is not said.

The best of luck to you, your husband and babies.


#356494 - 03/14/11 05:18 AM Re: Help! Husband has pulled away!!! [Re: helpless01]
Giggles Offline

Registered: 12/29/10
Posts: 14
Loc: Oregon
I am sorry to hear your family's hurt. Your situation sounds similar to when I figured out I had a CSA history. I wanted to caution you against this kind of thought, "Not to mention he is all to blame because I was also going through some emotional times myself." Do not play the blame game, it is a road of hurt and mistrust and will make things worse for both parties.
The light switch analogy is a likely appropriate. No Dr. but he is likely dissociating. Very common, maybe everyone I've talked with here has suffered it. Don't push but be there for him. Let his therapy be HIS therapy. Trust me, when he can tell you he will, likely an emotional flood. I would suggest reading some of the material that is provided on this site.
Start finding books for you like "Surviving Their Depression" and "When They Are Depressed" as well as books focused on the SURVIVOR(that's what he is). You will find books for you as well(can't think of titles off hand but they are out there) regarding coping with those coping with CSA(specifically).
I will end with this last set for you. I don't exactly know how to put it in perspective but I have been through an ugly divorce, seen many dead and dying, held my father in my arms as the final vestiges of life left him(hard when you have helped save many lives)...none compared in the end to CSA (least not in my eyes)
Tell him we are Brothers at MS. I have healed more coming here than elsewhere. He may well not be ready to talk to other Survivors, I was not for years.
I hope something in my blurbage of verbage may be usefull and helpfull. If any is hurtfull I apologize, I would not intentionally, ever.
My best wishes to Your family, Giggles.

#356531 - 03/14/11 04:04 PM Re: Help! Husband has pulled away!!! [Re: Giggles]
Disappointed Offline

Registered: 08/11/09
Posts: 542
Loc: U.S.A.
Dear Helpless 1,

First, I would accept this is a long haul proposition.

Second, I would NOT take it personally. Ever.

Third, I would back off, back off. For him, telling you is a big thing. Really big thing. Let him get used to it. Be friendly, cordial, but don't bother engaging in tiffs. It's not personal. Be friendly, but not overly. If he wants to engage, engage. If not, not.

Give it time. Don't panic. Don't take it personally. If he wants to talk, talk. Otherwise, keep conversations on grounds he finds safe.

Pushing things right now, will only make things more unpleasant, unnecessarily so. Really, I'm confident he loves his children and you, but now the secret has been revealed, he needs to adjust.


P.S. I wouldn't move out. Just let him pick what he wants to talke about, if he wants to. Give him space. let him go where he wants, etc. Accept him. that is what he needs most right now.

Edited by Disappointed (03/14/11 04:07 PM)
Edit Reason: Added Postscript.

#356535 - 03/14/11 05:04 PM Re: Help! Husband has pulled away!!! [Re: Disappointed]
helpless01 Offline

Registered: 03/13/11
Posts: 2
Thank you everyone for your responses.I must say I am so grateful in finding this website because it has given me such great insight.
Timetoheal- I agree with you and I do believe that it is very admirable of him to tell me so early on. I also agree that I need to take care of myself. I believe yesterday was a hard day and I wrote for advice but might have made it sound worse than it is. I do ache when I think of his pain but I am always putting my babies first. I go get sad at times and have breakdowns and am not fully interacting(meaning rolling on the floor playing or reading books with them) but I am always there for them. I am very grateful to be on a road to healing. He is continuing counseling in his own. He has decided to continue counseling on his own.

Yesterday he disappeared from the house again for about 6 hours. Of course to me, I was wondering what I did and why he was avoiding me because I didnt say anything, however, when he came home he opened up to me. I am SOOOO relieved and grateful for that. He basically told what was going on his mind and was confiding in me. This is another big step for him(another reason why I admire him so much). We were able to go to dinner together and talk more. After I suggested we go talk to someone together to figure out a way we can communicate better through this time he agreed. We are both very hardheaded. He is going out of town for a work conference next week which he did express he was excited about going because it gave him 4 days to get away and get his thoughts together. because he told me his feelings about it and I am totally fine with his wanting to get away. It is just an uncomfortable feeling when you leave and dont say a word.

Giggles- i am sorry but i miswrote. I meant to wrote he is NOT all to blame. I know that I have my issues as well. No one is perfect.I know that. I have been looking into books when I have time, however, with my 2 little babies its hard so hopefully I will be able to get to it soon. I did tell him that I wasn't telling anybody about what he told me and that I found a great website and have been talking to CSA survivors and before I could even suggest it he said I am not reading anything about it so hopefully he will come around one day and ask me.

Disappointed- I am finally realizing that it is not personal and that is only because he was able to open up to me and tell me that. I asked him if he wanted us to leave for a while and he said he didnt want to be separated and also he had no where to go so, I think that this California trip came at a perfect time. I do believe he loves us all but its hard to know it when you cant exactly feel it. He did express that he was pushing me away yesterday on purpose because maybe if i had known before I wouldnt have been with him or that he needs to push me away so that I can be with someone better. This is when i suggested the counseling together and he agreed.

Honestly, I am so proud of him. The leaps and bounds that he is making in such a short time. I know it is a long road ahead but he definitely is on the right path and I am so very grateful.

Thank you again everyone for your advice. It is so helpful!!!

#356541 - 03/14/11 07:22 PM Re: Help! Husband has pulled away!!! [Re: helpless01]
Mulligan Offline

Registered: 06/15/10
Posts: 94
Loc: USA
Prior to disclosure, the reality of his abuse was a supersupressed trama in his mind. After discloser there is no going back and it adds some reality to abuse. I have described it as unknowingly stepping into a vacumn tube. So you have a transfermation here from supressed reality to actual reality. There is no way he can hide it now. Its great that he is seeing a therapist. It will take a while before he is functionable again. Emotions do not decay, they are amplified and confused as they lay unprocessed, so he has a lot of feeling to do and sorting before it will get better. But for the sake of your family it is so worth it. Juat hang in there!

Because I never give up the fight!

#356747 - 03/16/11 04:01 PM Re: Help! Husband has pulled away!!! [Re: Mulligan]
mac80 Offline

Registered: 03/15/11
Posts: 38
Sounds like you're doing the right things. Yes, sometimes we need space. I'm always trying to rescue my girlfriend, it only puts pressure on her and makes her anxiety worse. When I leave her alone, she gets better. Make sure he knows how important he is to you. It's a scary situation. Try not to add your fear to his. OK, sorry way too much advice. Good luck!

#356754 - 03/16/11 04:55 PM Re: Help! Husband has pulled away!!! [Re: mac80]
RecoveryReady1 Offline

Registered: 12/05/10
Posts: 433
what incredibly compassionate and insightful words....

#357132 - 03/20/11 03:50 PM Re: Help! Husband has pulled away!!! [Re: RecoveryReady1]
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5781
Loc: Lyons, CO USA
Maybe he needs to read the forum for survivors of female abuse. It's not that abuse by a female is "better" or worse than abuse by a male, but it makes it more difficult to accept on some levels. Finding out that he is not alone and is experiencing some of the feelings that others feel may make him feel less damaged.

Blissfully retired after 35 years treating sexual abuse

#357151 - 03/20/11 09:28 PM Re: Help! Husband has pulled away!!! [Re: Ken Singer, LCSW]
hopeandtry Offline

Registered: 07/29/10
Posts: 476
So sorry you are going through this...I know it must be even harder with kids involved.

I'm glad you found this site. It's a life-saver!

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