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#419038 - 12/13/12 09:54 PM I remind him of his abuser
Hailwic Offline

Registered: 10/15/12
Posts: 19
After years of confusion as to why my husband won't have sex with me, he finally comes out in therapy and tells me it's because I remind him of his abuser.

I know it sounds selfish, but I'm so angry right now. Why did he ever ask me out on a date, and why did he ever ask me to marry him? I've went through ten years of hell with him, trying to figure out why my own husband won't touch me, thinking there must be something monsterously grotesque about me, feeling worthless as a wife and even more worhtless as a female.

Because of our situation I have no children, and I've desperately wanted a child for the past seven years. The problem is, the thought of having sex at all now turns my stomach, thinking that I somehow remind my husband of the sick perverted perpetrator that repeatedly abused him.

I don't see any light at the end of this tunnel. Has anyone else been through similar circumstances? I feel so hopeless right now.

#419123 - 12/14/12 05:27 PM Re: I remind him of his abuser [Re: Hailwic]
men_of_hrts.dbw Offline

Registered: 02/20/09
Posts: 302
Loc: Orchidland Big Island Hawaii
I had to log in and let you know,
You do not deserve what you got. I know your feeling like its all been a lie and are pissed beyond words. As a secondary survivor you, like your husband, have been affected by the ripple effect of a sex crime.
Double the pain for you because you didn't know you were a secondary victim.
When your husbands barracade came down it landed on both of you, people in your life, family and even the pets know something is going on.
So you've entered a new gateway, one that begins with pain, anger, issues and conditions beyond anything you have entered before.
New territory means setting up a new map...if you can..move thru this difficult leg of the journey with guidance from information and understanding. Peer support from this site and of all places with the YWCA..all across America they have programs and support groups.
I hope you and your husband can let this be a bonding factor in your marriage. I can only imagine.

Adressing the topic, I never remarried after divorce in 1983. I had bad pre-sexual anxiety with body memories after I was raped in 1977. Body memories are physical conditions and sensations felt after the event and sometimes brought on by flashbacks/memories or triggered by association.
So..I had physical feelings associated to the assault, but I did not identify them or the sexual dysfunction with the assault untill three decades later after disclosure.
Prior to the assault my sexual ability was 100% hetrosexual and effortless/active...then after the assault..pre-sexual anxiety and ability was agonizing. And yet I remained able to attract women easily...that made it worse.
So..I finally turned to avoidance in my mid-thirty's and stuck with women who didn't get too pushy about sex. Very uncomfortable subject back then.
When I was married those three first I was effortless...that blew me away so I figured I had to marry this girl..That was one of my first thoughts the next day.
But I began to have intrusive flashbacks and conscious memories of the assault during sex..would shut down and lose ability or fight off the images..yet it was impossible.
My former wife thought and mentioned how she felt it was her fault...if only I had told her she said when I finally told her the truth in 2007.
She told me we could have worked it out if I had told her what happened.

Maybe, your husband meant sex reminds him of what happened to him. Us men don't express ourselves well...especially with this subject.
I craved sexual intimacy with another woman all my adult life and it was only after much self-searching and understanding..after three decades of silence...once I began discussing, and today I enjoy intimacy and sex.
Spirit, Mind and Body can fully heal.
Recover the Spirit.
Restore the Mind
Rehabilitate the Body
Reorientate your Sexuality.

These four R's helped me create who I am today. I could never bring back the lost/stolen Doug and I didn't want the Doug I was after the event...I had to create a new Doug with everything that made me who and what I am.

Keep your chin up..sending you endurance and success.
Doug>ASA Survivor (1x)
ECV 6001/MaTuCa Chapter 1849
E Clampus Vitus
"What Say the Brethren"
"Hang the Bastards"

#419154 - 12/15/12 12:03 AM Re: I remind him of his abuser [Re: Hailwic]
RunningOnEmpty Offline

Registered: 10/08/12
Posts: 91
Loc: georgia

Edited by RunningOnEmpty (01/02/13 12:54 AM)

#419178 - 12/15/12 01:46 PM Re: I remind him of his abuser [Re: Hailwic]
newground Offline
Chat Moderator

Registered: 10/11/11
Posts: 1138
Loc: michigan
hey hailwic
I am so sorry for your pain. I finally told my wife that there are times when she is aggressive or acts flirty that it can be very triggering to me. before I could tell her I wrote this that is where I find myself and it is really hard to talk about it, because it makes me feel like a freak! I cant speak for you husband but for myself I have the same questions about me as you have about him why is it that way?, why would those thoughts come? why,why,why? the only way through now that you know is a very awkward one, talk about it. gain his permission first,love him as you obviously have and then let him know you don't want those things between you anymore then he does,and perhaps you two can build a new model of sexuality together that will work for you both. just a thought
Either I will find a way, or I will make one.
Philip Sidney

#419362 - 12/17/12 02:38 PM Re: I remind him of his abuser [Re: men_of_hrts.dbw]
Hailwic Offline

Registered: 10/15/12
Posts: 19

Thank you so much for sharing. Something you said sort of made sense, about how you 'stuck with' women who weren't pushy about sex. Through the years, mostly these past four or five, my husband has said things like, "Since when are you so obsessed with sex?" , and "You didn't used to be like this!"

Well, I was really shy and timid when I first met my husband, hadn't had sex yet and didn't know much about it. I didn't know how often couples were supposed to have sex, or if I was doing something wrong. I asked him for guidance, begged him for some kind of direction, and when he blew me off, I started really feeling like I must be hopeless, or something must be wrong with me.

These past four or five years I've just been frustrated and angry. I'll admit, I've said and done things to him out of anger because I've felt so hurt and angry for so long that I wanted to make him hurt like me.

He didn't tell me about the abuse until he finally agreed to go to counseling two years ago. I was so hopeful at first, thinking, "OK, he's really making progress - maybe we can work things out after all." But then he suddenly stopped going to see his therapist and refused to go back until a few months ago when he dropped the bombshell that he has trouble touching me because I remind him of his abuser.

I've cooled off since my original post, but I'm still pretty angry inside. Your story gives me some hope, though smile

#419365 - 12/17/12 03:01 PM Re: I remind him of his abuser [Re: RunningOnEmpty]
Hailwic Offline

Registered: 10/15/12
Posts: 19

Thanks for sharing, and at least I know I'm not alone with my feelings. I know my husband can't help what happened to him or how he feels, but Holy Moses, to think I remind him of the sick twisted monster that tortured him?! It's so horrifying.

He opened up that specifically, it's my weight that triggers him. That's even harder for me to be ok with because I've struggled with and been insecure about my weight my whole life. I've never been a twig - that's hard to do when when your'e built the way I am. I'm 5' 10'' and weigh 180lbs. I can diet and exercise (we run 5ks all the time with eachother, by the way) but the most I ever lose is about 5 or 10lbs. So, yes, I have arm flab and belly fluff.

The woman that abused him apparently was obese. My husband says that pretty much any time my fluff touches him he freaks out.

Typing it all out makes me feel silly, but seriously, how the heck can you be intimate with someone you can't touch?

#419366 - 12/17/12 03:28 PM Re: I remind him of his abuser [Re: Hailwic]
RunningOnEmpty Offline

Registered: 10/08/12
Posts: 91
Loc: georgia
Oh that is horrible!
It's not your fault.
And you are NOT obese! 180lbs on your frame is normal. This trigger is not your burden.

#419367 - 12/17/12 03:47 PM Re: I remind him of his abuser [Re: newground]
Hailwic Offline

Registered: 10/15/12
Posts: 19

Thank you for sharing your post about your struggle. Reading through it, there's no question that you love your wife, and I hate thinking that you (or my husband, for that matter) can't just be free to show that love.

Before I knew about the abuse, I often accused my husband of not really knowing what love meant. He will say "I love you" all the time, and yet has never offerred me a loving caress I haven't had to beg for. I told him one time when I was really angry that this (our lack of intimacy) wasn't normal. That really infuriated him, so it was a long time before I said anything about it again.

I know now it's not a matter of what is or isn't normal, but instead what is *healthy*. In trying to figure my husband out, I figured myself out. I know now that touch is really important to me. Touch is affirmation for me. Without it I wither. Touch is *healthy* for me.

So where do I go from here? I just don't know.

#419386 - 12/17/12 06:50 PM Re: I remind him of his abuser [Re: Hailwic]
Mountainous Buck Offline

Registered: 12/15/09
Posts: 1631
Loc: Minnesota
Try to not take it personally- he was violated and sexually damaged and needs to heal from decades of pain and unresolved trauma.

As a male survivor , I see how so many things in my adult life remind me or trigger memories of my abuse: Bosses, athletic confident men, etc. Study up on Csa and its effects- and be clear you want healing in your marriage. At some point you may have to decide if u want to stay with someone shut down and unwilling to address real and persistent issues.

Hurting him or making him feel bad only undermines whatever sense of safety and trust he has with you.

I was unable to really love, be empathetic, or access deeper emotions until I started to work thru all this and learn intimacy from within. I had to get rid of the deeply held shame and disgust and fear that was pounded into me from the abuse. This was hard for my wife not to think my stuff was all about her-it was 95% from my childhood.

I hear you too are hurting from being married to a man who is hijacked emotionally and in all sorts of ways. That is painful. And there is healing if you get the help and support you need to deal with it.

Be a safe supportive and trusting person- to yourself and him.
You are together for a reason
We have to take responsibility for what we're not responsible for.

ÔŅĹIt doesn't matter where you've come from,
It matters where you go" Frank Turner

#419489 - 12/18/12 08:25 PM Re: I remind him of his abuser [Re: Hailwic]
Hailwic Offline

Registered: 10/15/12
Posts: 19

Thanks for sharing with me. I know my posts make me sound mean and angry - and I still am angry, just doing a better job of handling it - but I really do love my husband and I really do want healing in my marriage. Besides the zero-physical-affection thing, I couldn't ask for a better man.

I always get compliments from everyone on how great of a guy I have! Which is why I was so confused for so long, thinking I must be the sorriest female in the world if even my perfect husband couldn't manage to find a single thing about me desirable.

The confusion turned to frustration, and the frustration turned to anger. Before I knew about csa, I had learned that the only way to get response out of him was to intentionally say or do mean things to him. I remember thinking, well good, now at least he hurts like I hurt.

If I only knew how much he had already been hurt...

#419492 - 12/18/12 09:01 PM Re: I remind him of his abuser [Re: Hailwic]
blacken Offline
Chat Moderator

Registered: 08/13/01
Posts: 1881
Loc: Northern Ohio
The "Why didn't he tell me" is a very hurtful fraise to use with any victim of any abuse/assault.
The answer though, can be broken down into two sides.
1) Embarrassment that is so overwhelming powerful, that even approaching the topic makes us want to die. That is how so very bad we can Feel & Think of ourselves. Not just for our own pain, but for the pain we are causing others. Itís a vicious circle of silence & pain.
2) we may not actually know why at all. And that particular instant of the trigger, even 50 yrs later, can be the first time since the abuse we feel it again.
I myself struggle with trying to figure out why I canít be intimate with a woman, when my abuser was a man. I donít see the connection. There are aspects of my life & my behavior I was not even aware of for dozens of years. Then one day it smacks me in the face at the worst time.
We usually donít know a trigger, until one is pulled.
sometimes I ask "Why?". Most of the time I dont even know there is a question to be asked.

blacken, aka Paul

#419500 - 12/18/12 10:18 PM Re: I remind him of his abuser [Re: Hailwic]
Hailwic Offline

Registered: 10/15/12
Posts: 19

Thank you for sharing. I don't mean to be hurtful, to my husband or any survivor. I don't mean to be insensitive, or to minimize. And I know my own hurt and frustration isn't comparable to yours.

But it still hurts. I think it hurts more than most people know or can understand. I feel my own pain, and feel pain for my husband, too.

#419503 - 12/19/12 12:19 AM Re: I remind him of his abuser [Re: Hailwic]
Candu Offline

Registered: 07/01/12
Posts: 312
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Hailwic
And I know my own hurt and frustration isn't comparable to yours.

Yes and no. We have been hurt so bad that a lot of us stopped feeling at the same level as you. My sister recently told me that when she was receiving a beating from our father she in the middle of it just switched off. She stopped crying and just turned numb. And never really got back to Normal. Later going through school she couldn't understand the girls she knew. She just didn't have the feelings the others had. Decades later she is doing better now but only because of the drugs she takes. What she described to me matched exactly to some of the reactions I read about in books on CSA. But not everyone is the same or will have like reactions to the abuse.

Personally I have been hurt by the CSA but mainly because of events in my life in the past couple of years had I been pushed over the edge. While I was damaged before I was able to exist without too much hurt. It has not been a fulfilling or satisfying life (I haven't kissed a woman in over 25 years) but it was one with reduced pain. If you have limited interaction you can't get hurt too bad. No risk, no gain & no pain.(or not too much)

It is when we make ourselves open to others that we really can get hurt. You have and unfortunately you got hurt. Your pain is no less. But if you don't risk getting hurt then you don't love or get love in return.

#419549 - 12/19/12 06:28 PM Re: I remind him of his abuser [Re: Candu]
Hailwic Offline

Registered: 10/15/12
Posts: 19

Thank you for sharing. You really made me think when you said, "When you have limited interaction you can't get hurt too bad." No one would ever describe my husband as an introvert - in fact he's a social butterfly. But the one person he is supposed to be able to trust is me. And I'm the one he goes out of his way to ignore. He keeps his head down and volunteers for extra work hours, holiday duty, etc. When he's home he either plays video or computer games. On an off day he'll sit and watch TV with me, as long as I don't talk too much.

I don't understand.

#419555 - 12/19/12 07:00 PM Re: I remind him of his abuser [Re: Hailwic]
HD001 Offline

Registered: 07/30/12
Posts: 276
Loc: us
I can't imagine how hard this would be. No wonder you are hurt. I hope that your H will continue to open up it therapy so that you both can heal. I would be horrified your H's behavior sounds a lot like mine. I wish i could offer advice but all I can offer is empathy.
Everything comes from within

#419583 - 12/19/12 11:29 PM Re: I remind him of his abuser [Re: Hailwic]
Candu Offline

Registered: 07/01/12
Posts: 312
Loc: Canada
Hailwic, only people that we care about can really hurt us. And in order to not get hurt then you can't care.

I'm only speaking for myself and it may have nothing to do with your situation.

But the one person he is supposed to be able to trust is me.

But does he trust them or just get along well with them? Would he tell them what you know?

Earlier today I posted to a thread in the MaleSurvivor forum and included a link to this video on vulnerability. There also was a followup video on shame (that I didn't post) If you haven't yet seen them I think they are worth watching.

#419619 - 12/20/12 05:51 AM Re: I remind him of his abuser [Re: Hailwic]
crazy gecko Offline

Registered: 10/04/12
Posts: 309
Originally Posted By: Hailwic
No one would ever describe my husband as an introvert - in fact he's a social butterfly. But the one person he is supposed to be able to trust is me. And I'm the one he goes out of his way to ignore.

He's a social butterfly, but do the people he socialises with actually know anything about him? I was like that for many years, and in some circumstances still am. I chat and laugh and joke, but I NEVER talked about my past. I talked very little about myself, and then only about my work, my child, etc. Never shared my hopes and fears with friends, except one or two. About 2 years or so ago, I decided to finally come clean and tell at least some of my friends. I'll always remember what one wrote in an email to me - that he never realised how little he really knew about me, even after being friends for years.

My late wife, however, was a different story. She knew everything - always did. It took me more than a decade together before I was finally able to trust her to not leave me. The fact that she knew, made me vulnerable when I was with her. She knew my wounds, and if she wanted she needed only to touch them to hurt me - that is absolutely terrifying. Even now that I'm older and wiser (and have more therapy under my belt) I sometimes feel the same way towards my girlfriend - she wouldn't need any kind of weapon to hurt me - she can only touch the raw wounds - she knows exactly where they are.

It's so much easier to just put on my mask and play the role of the goofy friend...
I guess what I'm trying to say
Is whose life is it anyway because livin'
Living is the best revenge
You can play
-- Def Leppard

My Story, Part 2

My blog

#419752 - 12/21/12 03:46 PM Re: I remind him of his abuser [Re: crazy gecko]
Hailwic Offline

Registered: 10/15/12
Posts: 19
Originally Posted By: crazy gecko
It's so much easier to just put on my mask and play the role of the goofy friend...

I guess I never thought of it that way. It makes me really sad. No one should have to hide behind a mask! frown

#422341 - 01/17/13 08:40 AM Re: I remind him of his abuser [Re: Hailwic]
confusion4life Offline

Registered: 02/12/12
Posts: 109
Loc: Italy
i dont know if it helps you, but almost all survivors have issues with sleeping with their partners whom they love.
intimacy and love...and sexual stuff (which is felt as dangerous, unwanted, bad, overwhealming...) just doesnt go together. survivors can sexualize anything and anyone, just not their partners whom they love. that is until they heal enough from what their abusers did to them.
usually its got nothing to do with you personally.
your husbands saying that you remind him of his abuser only means that you do. so you should ask HOW you do that. is it your body, is it your hight, is it your character...
find out first before you start hating him more. how exactly did he mean that sentence.

if it really comes out that he chose you to be with him for the sake of making your life hell because he is reminded of his abuser, then you can still get out of this relation (hard but possible).
you not having kids is probably sad for you, but that too could be a reason for him not to sleep with you. he didnt want kids. he didnt want anything to happen to his kids. maybe he just thought it would. you need to talk to him. ask things properly and no assuming with a survivor, it just never works out.

i am saying all this, cause my husband sexualized children who were the same hight like his mother, who abused him for years. he had a memory loss and didnt even know anything about his abusers before. we went thru a lot, shits lots! but i did learn one thing, its never what it seems to be first. you need to really get down to the inner feelings of your husband.
even if you find that he really wants to hurt you because he hurts and he finds life unfair alltogether, then you still need to find out if that too has something to do with you.
this whole thing is so complex and very individual. all you can do is hope for him to being fully honest to you and you shouldnt forget yourself as well. you too do exist.
if he was with you all those years because he needed to "torture" someone and it worked with you, then you could still stick to "better a fast shocking end than a neverending shock". in that case, make sure you get help and you are strong enough to leave him.
everything is always okay in the end, if it's not, then it's not the end

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