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#411847 - 09/30/12 07:14 PM I Don't Know How to Begin
Ginger37 Offline

Registered: 09/30/12
Posts: 11
I am a new user to this site, which was actually recommended to me by my live in boyfriend, who is a survivor and has recently, thank goodness, started to take the proper steps and begin healing.

We began a relationship almost four years ago, and it quickly moved ahead, full steam ahead. We met, and within three months had moved in together. We seemed well matched for each other, and well suited. We never argued fiercely or even outright with each other. Things were good, in the beginning. Aren't they always? crazy

At that time, he had just gotten out of a marriage, wasn't even divorced yet. He had only been separated for the last time for a few months, if that. That should've been red flag number one. And it was. I was unsure that he had dealt with the issues from his marriage. There seemed to be alot of anger and resentment there, but I understood that sometimes a person may have already grieved the loss of their marriage and moved on from it before their divorce is actually over.

So then we move in together. One day out of the blue, he calls me up and says, "I'm moving down there! I am on my way, I've packed all my things and I've quit my job, and I am moving in with you!" Ok... things were going really well between us, and I, too, thought living together would be a fine idea. I admittedly loved him at that point, and he had said the same to me. Things were running right along smoothly.. we got along, we had fun, we were comfortable with each other, we had intelligent conversation.

Until they weren't running smoothly. I found out in this process of his history of job jumping. He had never been at a job for more than a few years, if that, at a time. He tried to find a job, and found one in just a few days, but during this time I got to learn and see how many different places he had actually worked. I also learned that he had been in the Navy, and had took a discharge. (Not honorable, nor dishonorable, just that he didn't want to be in the Navy anymore). I also learned that he had began college, and then quit that as well. There were always reasons given that could be explained, and were likely. (i.e. - the Navy was just too hard and too fast paced with job and schooling alike, and was something done in a fit of patriotism.. ok. I can believe that.) The dropping college was because the exwife got transferred for her job and so he couldn't stay and complete the courses. Ok.... I can believe that too.

Again, was a red flag. But I truly believed his reasoning and explanations. Sometimes people make mistakes in life, especially in their younger years.

Then the day came that for some reason, something told me to check his phone. I don't know why, I cannot explain it. Self preservation? Something was off. I couldn't place what it was. So I checked it, and he had been chatting with another woman online, through his phone. I got upset, told him I had a bad dream of him cheating on me, and for a while it stopped. He seemed genuinely concerned for my reaction. I figured he would stop at that time. Hey, I can over look one mistake. I am not perfect myself. Everyone deserves a second chance in life. I can over look one mistake. At least thats what I told myself. At that time it didn't seem a big deal. It wasn't explicit in nature and seemed harmless. Just something "seemed" wrong to me. I chalked it up to my own paranoia and went on.

Things progressed quickly. We ended up buying a home together, a vehicle, got a puppy. He had a job that he liked at a local computer store as their technician. He's very computer savvy, which is great when your PC bugs out on you. I was working as a bartender at a local place, and things were a tad strained due to the fact that he was only working part time at this place, and wouldn't even consider getting a full time job. Being someone who works in a profession not necessarily because the money is good, but because I love the profession myself, I tried to understand. But it got too tight, and I was carrying too much of a load. So, not knowing the ramifications of the behavior, I would gripe and complain at him, telling him he needed to get another job.

During this time he would come to the place where I worked and play on the computer there while I was tending the bar. One day he comes in from his job and asks me if I sent someone up to the local lake to find him, because he thought he saw my nephews car. I said, No? and was completely confused as to why I would send someone to the lake to look for him. I wasn't surprised he was there, he was very much into fishing and would often stop and cast a line in before picking me up from work.

One morning I heard him talking in his sleep. He does this often. Sometimes things can be made out, and sometimes they cannot. This happened to be one of the mornings that I could understand him and he mumbled something about his girlfriend not getting home from work until 7, so they'd have to make sure she was gone before I got home.

I went to work that morning, and decided to do some checking of my own. Sure enough there it was. He was listed on a personal site, and not just any personal site. The same one he met ME through. He had been emailing various women from his account at work, and from the computer while was waiting for me to get off work. I also found out he had met a woman at that local lake the day that he asked if I had sent someone to look for him.

That night I will never forget... As I was screaming and crying, cussing and freaking out, wondering WHY in the WORLD he would ever do anything like this, to me, me of all people, he admitted to me that he had been sexually abused by his sister for most of his young life. From a very young age to a teenager. Then later, he ended up having a sexual encounter with an older woman, then a bisexual experience with an older male, whom I see as abusing him as well. He was a teenager, this was a grown man, who should have known and done better. He saw a vulnerable kid, and he took advantage of him. And that is so wrong. (This information was just divulged to me a few days ago. I knew about the abuse from his sister, but not these other incidents.)

My initial reaction was shock. Then outrage. How could anyone do this to someone? I raised two kids from the ages of 2 and 4, until they were 12 and 14 in a previous marriage who had PTSD from child abuse sustained from their mother. Not sexual in nature, but physical. So I know a little how heart broken people can be. Someone who is the victim of someone else's ire, is never the perpetrator in the situation. Then of course, I had some sympathy for his sister, after all she was young as well when she began abusing him. Children don't know this behavior naturally not at that young of an age, and so therefore, she had to have been abused herself. This was later confirmed to us by their mother.

The down ward spiral had begun. For the last three years of the four of our relationship, I have dealt with his acting out every 3 to 6 months. The longest he's gone between incidents is 8 months. He seems to be drawn to older women, and the behavior has varied. I have caught him multiple times trying to meet up with these women. I have caught him sending intimate pictures of his privates to these women. I have caught him saying and emailing and texting things to these women that he has never once said to me. I've demanded they be deleted, and he usually complies only to reactivate them, or to recontact prior women whom he had these "relationships" with. Over and over, again. The straw that finally broke the camels back was when he had an incident, I busted him on it, and he, this time, acted as if it were everyone elses fault but his. *I* was stressing him out, by bitching and griping at him, and I admittedly was. I am tired of being the one to bear the load. Stress at home and stress at work were his reasons. And he got angry this time. Angry at me for what I do not know, other than just pent up anger that has been there for so long. He then did it again within weeks. Right back to the same old horse, for the same old ride.

And I know the reasoning behind it is not his fault. I know that its a direct reaction to his abuse. I know this. I know its not directed at me. I know its not meant to hurt me. Its an attempt to push me away. But I have bucked the system and held on for this long because the last thing I felt he needed in this world was another person leaving him. He'd suffered so much loss already.

Everytime he does this my heart breaks into a billion pieces.

I don't know why, but everytime he has done this I have found out about it to my knowledge. I can feel the shift in the dynamic of our relationship. I can just... feel it. And I know that sounds insane. But I can always tell. And unfortunately, I am always right. frown

Three years I have been dealing with this up and down. This emotional roller coaster is so hard to bear. Until recently I have been the only person he had told. I can say that I am glad that recent turn of events have caused him to tell his mother, and he even sent a pretty scathing message to his sister about it. He has alot of anger towards his sister, and I don't really blame him there, but its not healthy. I know he not only blames her for the abuse he sustained, but cannot figure out why she didn't quit, and as a partial result, he sees this as playing a role in the death of his brother, who committed suicide before we met.

This has been going on for years. I don't know how to take anymore of this. I am so tired of being sad. I am happy that he is going to get help and has started the process of healing that he absolutely has to go through. It cannot be held at bay any longer. The human psyche will only take so much stress and so forth before it finally just melts down. I am depressed. Its started to not only affect my emotions and mood, but my stomach and body. I need time to heal. I need time to get ME back. I cannot help him if I am not whole myself. And he is so afraid that I will decide that we shouldn't be together in a relationship capacity, that he wants me to make promises of his return when he gets back, he wants me to promise I won't date anyone else. He wants me to say that everything is going to be ok.

I have been so tempted, just to run away myself. Just to remove myself from the situation all together because I cannot help him with the bigger issues that he needs to have help with, not alone. I have tried my best to be there, to listen, to not judge, just be a sounding board. I am a bartender, its what we do. However, now its become a matter of he is expecting me to deal with my issues, his issues, and our issues, all simultaneously and I just cannot do it. I cannot handle everything at once anymore. Not with this sort of pressure, which is what I feel. I feel like if I say no we need to be friends, but move on, then I am abandoning him.

If I stay I feel like I am abandoning myself.

I am so guilty right now.. so hurt, and empty. I cannot and do not trust him. His actions I know are not excused just because he has suffered abuse. I don't want to cry anymore. I don't want to worry anymore. I don't want the anxiety anymore. And until he gets help I cannot promise him that I will be there. Because I just don't know if I can. Its just as wrong to stay out of guilt and sadness, than it is to leave out of anger.

Thank you so much for having this forum and letting me vent. I know that I have been sucked into the cycle and am being made into a survivor myself. I just need to know what to do? I feel so pressured, so smothered, and so conflicted. Yes I do love him, as I believe that he is a good person who got dealt a really crappy hand in life. I want him to do better, for him. So HE will feel happiness and know what joy is, again.

I want those same things for myself. And right now I see no light at the end of the tunnel.

#411877 - 10/01/12 03:38 AM Re: I Don't Know How to Begin [Re: Ginger37]
CdnDW Offline

Registered: 08/24/12
Posts: 105
Hi Ginger. I cannot write much right now, but I want you to know you aren't alone. Never abandon yourself. Just because you H was hurt in a profound way as a child does not make him unaccountable for his actions now. I am so glad that he has begun his recovery... I suggest you get yourself some too, regardless of your choice to stay or remain. I have also come to believe, through painful self-experience, that we must always make certain our needs are being met and let go of what the outcome will be of this. Set your boundaries, with consequences. And if you choose to put some distance between the two of you while you learn to take care of yourself a while, it does not necessarily mean the death of the relationship. You can choose to remain in each others lives, but with some space and with the intention of drawing closer again when each of you have more to offer one another. It sound like your guy may need some time too. You can be a support and friend without being crushed under the weight of it all. I also believe that you can't "abandon" an adult.

Anyway, not sure if what I have said makes sense or has come across. The following website says it so much better than I.

Be well.
I am not your rolling wheels, I am the highway
I am not your carpet ride, I am the sky
- Audioslave

#411893 - 10/01/12 01:41 PM Re: I Don't Know How to Begin [Re: Ginger37]
Ginger37 Offline

Registered: 09/30/12
Posts: 11
Thank you CdnDW, for answering my post. Thank you for your words of support.

I wish I could get him to understand that. And I know in time he may...or he may not ever truly understand why I can't handle all of this right now.

He wants intimacy, he wants affection. And while I am an affectionate woman and want to show him love and affection I am so scared that this will only perpetuate the cycle. (He acts out, I catch him, huge blow up ensues, I'm hurt, he's hurt, and then we "make up" and everything is roses again.. for a while.)

I don't want to encourage him in thinking that its ok to just smooth all this over with a little hanky panky, and then end up not addressing any of these issues at all.

Its all so confusing. And you are right.. I need time. I need time to sort out my thoughts, my feelings, and do whats right for me. Just as he needs to do, and I keep telling him this.

Somedays I think he actually believes it. Others not so much. He doesn't seem to understand that this is just the beginning. Its going to take a lot of time and healing and help before he is in any position to be worrying about a relationship on top of that. Especially one like ours already so thick with hurt and despair.

Thank you again for your kind words. It makes a huge difference knowing I can talk to someone who might be able to give me some insight.

#411895 - 10/01/12 02:04 PM Re: I Don't Know How to Begin [Re: Ginger37]
Robert1000 Offline

Registered: 06/27/12
Posts: 453
Hi Ginger,

Thanks for posting here. I think you'll find a lot of helpful people here. I would recommend therapy for you. You seem well-grounded, and straightforward, but I'm a HUGE fan of therapy.

As a survivor of abuse, let me tell you that it's very easy for us to use our abuse as a manipulative tool. The timing of your partner's admission of abuse seems messed up to me. He had just hurt you BAD. You were expressing your anger/fear/pain/passion. He may have used his abuse to one-up you, so to speak. To derail your expression of feelings and get the relationship back into the comfort of dysfunction, if you catch my drift.

Survivors of abuse, or at least survivors like me, find a strange comfort in layers of lies and secrecy. I call it a strange comfort, because it's anything but comforting, but it allows us to hide our shame and humiliation and pain from ourselves, or something. But this tendency has real-world consequences. It hurts people. It's unsafe. It's unhealthy. It's mean. It's ridiculous. It's a waster of time and money. It builds barriers between people who should simply love each other. It kills intimacy. It carries on the cycle of abuse.

Your partner has all the signs of someone who's not dealing at all with his history. He has no boundaries to speak of. And yet he has an enormous boundary between you (and probably everyone) and his innermost self, his scared and odd little childhood stuck deep down in his being. I say that because lying is a kind of boundary. It shields us from the truth. And he's clearly lying constantly to himself and you and probably just about everyone.

Good luck. He's lucky to have someone with such clear communication in his life. Keep healing. Set absolute boundaries for yourself and very clear expectations for him. He's hurting you, and there is NO EXCUSE at all for that kind of behavior. This isn't about "forgiveness." That's different. You will either forgive him or not. I don't think you're anywhere near that question. The issue here is whether you will have a functional life with him or leave him to his dysfunctions alone. That's HIS CHOICE. Not yours. Your choice is whether you will be functional or dysfunctional. None of these are value judgments. I wish you all the best. Please post and keep us updated. I think it'll be helpful for you, and I can tell you that it'll be helpful for me, and probably for the rest of us.

Once again, good luck. Seek peace. Do fun stuff, so you don't wallow in the pain of it all.


#411900 - 10/01/12 03:05 PM Re: I Don't Know How to Begin [Re: Ginger37]
Ginger37 Offline

Registered: 09/30/12
Posts: 11

Thank you so much for responding. This is the type of conversation I need. I need someone who is totally unbiased to give me their take and stance.

I cannot talk to my parents. To be honest, they are highly protective of me, and my father would either shoot him, or my mother would string him up. Either way the relationship would have to be unequivocally over. They would only see the pain and hurt he's caused me. And while I understand their position, I also understand his. This is something that I feel I need to work through, not be railroaded by anyone: him, my parents, my friends... into making any decision too rashly. I believe that straight forward thinking is the only route in this.

I do have some "in real life" friends that I can talk to, but let's be honest, they are going to be very "pro-me" and "Anti-him", and thats not what I need either.

My sister is of course, very straight forward like I am, especially with me. She has advised me that I need to cut ties with him for a while and then possibly see down the road where it may lead. If he can allow me the chance to do that. Right now I feel very pressured to give in to him and just take him in my arms and hold him tight and tell him things will be ok. But when I do this I feel this overwhelming need to remind him that this doesn't change anything its just sometimes we need a little love in this world.

I don't want to be dysfunctional, and right now, we are both operating at the definition of dysfunction. And thats just not logical to me. I can't see where we can help each other if we aren't ok with ourselves first. Because right now I am not ok. I have so many conversations going inside myself.

My head says,"Its not entirely his fault. He has issues, and what the hell would you do if you had endured something like this? You just might lose your crap for awhile too. Everyone has skeletons and you're not perfect yourself, so how can you judge him?"

Then my heart says,"You still love him, and he's hurting, so just take him and hold him and show him some affection. Everyone deserves affection, and you're being cold for not extending that to him."

Then my gut says,"This is a bad @$$ situation that is likely to get worse before it gets better. And its only going to get better if he gets help. Run... run... run...."

And then the guilt sets in for having any/all of these thoughts. Not to mention it gets quite tiresome having all of these crazy women talking in my head. No one agrees, and I have found that I will beat a topic to death inside of myself. I deal in absolutes and logic. I overthink everything (as shown by my rambling posts. wink ) and I do not make rash decisions. However, I also have certain "rules" or boundaries in my own life that I set a long time ago that I have allowed him to smash straight through and violate all of them except one.

I hope he is serious about getting help. He swears he is. I guess time will tell. If he doesn't get help I know I cannot continue in the current situation. I still need time to myself, to regroup and look at the situation with maybe an unbiased view. Cause right now, I am just in protection mode.

#411904 - 10/01/12 04:35 PM Re: I Don't Know How to Begin [Re: Ginger37]
Robert1000 Offline

Registered: 06/27/12
Posts: 453
I don't think you're rambling. I think you're getting all of your thoughts out. It might help you to look over other posts and read what's happening with other people and how they're handling things. CdnDW has been through some really tough issues. She's a smart and resilient woman, who is also -- like all of us -- both clear-eyed and emotional. You can look at the stuff from northernflicker, who's also just a cool, good person who found herself in a fucked up position thanks to a former partner who's wrapped up with all kinds of bullshit behavior related to his CSA.

By the way, I appreciate the way you laid out your conflicting impulses/thoughts up above. I think my wife had the same kinds of conflicting thoughts with me. She probably still does. One of the best things she has ever done was to demand that I step up, take responsibility for myself and move on from the abuse and abuse-inspired dysfunction. My life is WAY BETTER when I'm not dodging responsibility, when I'm not feeling like my web of lies is about to fall apart, when I can honestly and truly look at the love of my life with no secrets rattling around in my own head/heart.

And believe me, if things can get better for me, things can get better for anybody.


P.S. I hope you take everything I say when it comes to advice with a grain of salt. I don't want to seem too pushy, but I also don't want to hold back on my honest opinions and thoughts.

#411907 - 10/01/12 04:48 PM Re: I Don't Know How to Begin [Re: Ginger37]
Ginger37 Offline

Registered: 09/30/12
Posts: 11

Absolutely, you do not seem too pushy. I think you are awesome for sharing your thoughts and feelings, and honesty is always something that is high key for me. Which makes this whole situation a bigger three ring circus than its already been.

He is having a downward swing today, which I understand in the beginning of the process is normal. I think he's finally realized that he needs help but he's just angry today about the fact that he is going to have to deal. In his eyes I think that because he HAS made a lot of strides the last few days (you know, that honeymoon period) and usually by now we are back "in love" and loving on each other, and this time it hasn't happened. I think he's disappointed that it hasn't.

Bob, I take everything in life with a grain of salt and sometimes a shot of tequila. smile Its always good to get others views. Thats how we learn to look at things we may not have before.

Thats honestly what inspired me to post. I was reading so many posts that mirrored my own thoughts, experiences and feelings. And I thought if someone out there can read mine and maybe be in this situation and get help, then thats all to the good. Because its one thing I have learned is that no one is ever totally alone. Theres always someone out there who might just know what those shoes feel like.

#411933 - 10/02/12 12:13 AM Re: I Don't Know How to Begin [Re: Ginger37]
RachelMac Offline

Registered: 08/26/12
Posts: 58
I like you advice about your wife demanding that you step up. Every time I make a demand, my husband gets his back up. He tells me he has authority issues because of what happened to him. How would you handle that one?

And Ginger, hang in there. This site is pretty helpful. Especially on those days where my husband can't handle a conversation about this stuff. I know I can always come here. I understand a lot of what your saying. Good luck.

#411978 - 10/02/12 03:12 PM Re: I Don't Know How to Begin [Re: Ginger37]
Ginger37 Offline

Registered: 09/30/12
Posts: 11
I'm faced with a lot of different thoughts today. Yesterday was a bad day. frown He was very frustrated at work, things have been strained around here (he wants to go ahead and work on the relationship and I feel its more important for he and I to focus on ourselves as individuals for a while) and I threw a halt on some intimacy.

I'd have gotten the same reaction if I had thrown a bucket of ice water on an old hen.

I knew as soon as it happened what his reaction would be. I knew he was going to be upset, because I didn't give in to his wants. One of us has to be the voice of reason, and I didn't feel it would be beneficial to our situation. And he was.

He ended up angry, upset, frustrated, and then walked out of his job. He says its because there is no future there, and while I agree there isn't a very bright one, I don't think he should've acted on that impulse and just walked away. Rather than state his position and do what was responsible (he does have a child that he pays support for, and he does have responsibilities to attend to) he gave into the impulse of just walking away.

There was a lot of talk about how he wants to go to NY now, and will be within the week. I can't say that I won't be relieved on some level. This has been one roller coaster of ride, and I need a breather.

I have told him flat that he now has no choice. He either has to get treatment or the alternative is him just leaving. I am glad he is wanting to go to treatment. I only hope that he does do this and can get some help. Its heart breaking.

In the meantime, I feel like I am in limbo. My stomach has been torn apart for days, and I have to go to work later and I just don't know if I can tolerate it tonight. I don't know if I can deal with a bunch of demanding drunks right now. At least, not without losing my temper. And I don't like doing that. My job seems simple, but when you are already having alot of mental stress and emotional, and someone, even in fun, thinks they are being funny, says something just a shade off, it can really throw a wrench in everything. Top that off with the fact that I have PCOS, (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and it sometimes messes with my mood and state of mind anyway. Throw in all this mess and I am not real stable right now. I feel a moment away from tears, all the time.

I feel like that everything is just being held together by a thread right now. About to crumble. Now I am going to have to find a way to pay the bills, which I would have had to do anyway, when he left for NY. Its all just a little overwhelming.

Rachel, thank you for posting to me. Even though it really sucks that we are all here, we can at least be a support for each other. You're not alone. I am not alone.

#411980 - 10/02/12 03:49 PM Re: I Don't Know How to Begin [Re: Ginger37]
Robert1000 Offline

Registered: 06/27/12
Posts: 453
Hi Rachel,

I'm not sure.... And sometimes I forget how hard that first year was, after I started to really push through therapy. I forget where you guys are in the process.... Anyway, I found it really hard early on to be present sometimes, mostly because I was getting vivid memories pushing into the forefront of my mind about truly horrid stuff. And then other times, I'd feel a cloud of terrible depression engulf me. So... bear with your husband and have patience. I've had the benefit of three years of steady therapy and another year of continued work on myself.

And yet... you have the right to tell your husband what you want from your life, from your marriage. It's not about authority, and who has it. It's about open communication and meeting each others' needs. One thing that I have trouble with is admitting what my needs are. My default thing to do is be resentful. It's a crappy habit. My wife happens to be pretty bad at letting me know what her needs are in bed. Otherwise, she communicates really well. Both of us need to remind each other not to take each other for granted, and it's often a struggle for us to find time just for the two of us, for talking as well as intimacy.

My point is that it's hard sometimes to work out the logistics, and it can be hard to communicate around the hang-ups that all of us have, but none of us should be holding back or walking on eggshells because someone doesn't want to communicate.

For instance, say you ask your partner to be supportive of you, to man-up, if you like that phrase. That's a fair thing to ask. And maybe he'll be like, "Honey, I appreciate you asking, but right now, I'm just swamped in self-pity, to be perfectly honest with you." And then you could be a little pissy, but hey he told you the truth, right? Or he could put his own self-involved abuse-thinking aside and say, 'Hey, I want to be there for you, because you're there for me."

But you won't get where you need to go, in my opinion, if that frank discussion can't happen.

And here's something else to keep in mind. When I was in the thick of the early healing, I had a hard time just dropping my troubles and having fun, especially because I had cheated on my wife. I mean, I felt guilty all the time, practically, that I didn't feel the weight and shame of the abuse that happened when I was a kid. (We survivors get very good at proving to ourselves that we're shameful and guilty, no doubt.) But it was really great for me, and for us, when we did stuff that was just flat-out fun. And I'll never forget how my wife insisted that we do fun stuff together, things like playing board games or going for walks or whatever else.

Anyway, I hope that helps. I hope you post about how things progress.


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