In retrospect, I panicked. In the light of day I really don't think she was SA'd either and she's even tossed that into conversation.
Anyway.... worse to worser. Forgive me for treating this place like a diary but it happened again last night and really hurt....
Her: "I just don't get why you seem so unhappy all the time. Why can't you focus on happier things, on all you've got going for you to get past it?"
Me: "I do, this is what it looks like. Without that I wouldn't get out of bed some days."
Her: "It just seems like you're wallowing in this... there isn't a way to put it past you?"
Me: "Yes, this is what it looks like. I was raped. [First time I'd been able to say that to her clearly, without already being crying]. Violently, with horrible pain and fear. I'm working things out with my therapist, my psychiatrist, I'm making progress, I'm comparing notes with other guys who've dealt--"
Her: "Yeah, that damn website you're always on? You're obsessed."
Me: "See, I think YOU'RE obsessed. You've known me for years, you've seen my computer habits, you know I'm not on there nearly as much as I used to be on the collector websites or political blogs."
Her: "I really think you're being influenced by the pain those people feel. And I've got to say... your story has evolved too..."
Me: "...what is that supposed to mean?"
Her: "I don't know, maybe you've remembered more or maybe you're kind of repeating what all those guys are saying."
Me: "No offense but between the two of us, it isn't me who is the one who gets mentally swayed by websites and self-diagnoses every disease I read about, from multiple sclerosis to lupus to AIDS [yes]. This is how the process works, and yes, I have remembered more, between the first big blow-up and then therapy. My therapist says that's exactly how this happens."
Her: "Or maybe that's just what the therapist industry wants you to believe."
Me: "I don't even know how to respond to that."
Her: "Look, the reason I hate that website so much is that you think you have the right to keep secrets from me. In a marriage there shouldn't be any secrets."
Me: "It isn't a secret if it's part of the therapy that's supposed to get you better. Besides, what I talk about there is me at my worst, me in a light that even I can't stand to look at. I'm not super eager to open that door and show that side off to you."
Her: "Why not? I don't judge you. I don't see you as any less of a man."
Me: "Hmm. Well. You want to see how deep this goes? Ok, I'll show you what I'm fighting with now."
[I pull up "Inner child, inner monster" and let her read it.]
Her: "You used your real name????"
Me: "How many Matts are there on Earth? Keep going."
Her: "I guess I just don't see why this is all so immediate for you. It happened so long ago-"
Me: "No it didn't. It happened in October. Your life is impacted by what you feel and experience and I felt and experienced it in October."
Her: "I don't understand that at all. You said knew since you were a kid you'd been abused."
Me: "Do you get that people can only remember part of something and then get the rest back later? Do you get the difference between seeing a picture and feeling something?"
Me: "The brain remembers traumatic violence differently. There are hormones and neurotransmitters that make those memories much worse than others, more permanent and inescapable. They get stored differently, get hidden away, come back worse and sharper. Have you heard of what female rape survivors go through? Have you heard of soldiers who come back traumatized and different?"
[Humorous aside: we watch Homeland and love it, but she utterly hates Brody, sees him as a pure evil villain as bad as Abu Nazir. I ask her if she can sympathize with horrible experiences leading people into mental damage and alteration and she says no she can't. The entire sexual / romantic subplot between Brody and the CIA agent is a mystery to her, because he's just so purely evil now that he's done something bad.]
Her: " I'm not saying 'just get over it', I get the seriousness of it, but everybody goes through some trauma and has to move on in life. I was heartbroken when my dad died-"
Me: "Now time-warp me back to 3 months after your dad died. Would I be speaking to you about it at that point in time like you're speaking to me now?"
Her: "But you've known for way longer than that!"
Me: "Suppose you look at a photo of a lion. Then suppose a real lion jumped on you and tried to eat you, and you could smell it's breath and hear it growl, feel the weight, and as it tried to bite out your throat you put up your arms as defense and it ate all the skin off your arms. Do you get the difference between the two concepts of 'lion' involved? What shape would you be in a few months after that?"
Her: "I guess I just dont understand. I'm not a professional. I just knew that a lot of other people have been through this and gotten over it."
Me: "No one has ever gotten over it. And 'a lot of people' have beaten and cheated on their partners, turned to drugs or prostitutes. I am not 'a lot of people'."
Her: "I'm so tired of this being our everyday issue, okay? I'm tired of you being obsessed with it and tired of how every time we talk it always involves how I'm not supposed to say certain things."
Me: "Well, I love you babe but too bad. That is how it works. When someone goes through this there really are ways to talk about it that are antagonistic and ways that aren't. We had a hypothetical duscussion once of how if a wife had a severe illness or injury and could never have sex again, the husband could never have sex again either, not even if he still lived with her and took care of her. You were horrified when I disagreed with you, when I said after like a year, the caretaker husband could get sex elsewhere. Well now we have a real situation where a husband is dealing with emotional trauma and needs to recover as best he can and the wife doesn't get to criticize or complain about those recovery methods. And if the whole point is to help someone calm down... you know, I told you there are books that go all over this including from the wives' perspective, and there are websites for the wives of survivors, and you said you weren't interested. Is that still the case?"
Her: "Yes. I don't want to get even more of this. And I'm tired of you saying 'this is how it works' too just because your therapist and some website people, who for all you know could be child molesters jerking off, said so. I'm dealing with stuff of my own. The baby, my job, our house still isn't fixed..."
Me: "I kinda have to say I'm really surprised that I let you read that essay and this is how you responded. You haven't even addressed what I wrote, it was full of heavy shit and how I'm trying to work through it and my feelings, and you kind of haven't said anything about it at all. It was sort of a big deal that I let you read it.
Her: "I appreciate you letting me in, but I didn't understand it."
Me: "What part?"
Her: "Any of it."
Me: "...I don't know what to say..."
Her: "I guess I don't either. But I love you."
And she gave me a hug. And said some nice things... about me, about us. Not about this issue or how I'm trying to cope with it.
What am I to make of this? I hate being That Guy who comes here and whines about how his wife doesn't understand, but it's killing me, it's a knife in my heart. Ive got my flaws - because of CSA and the meds I'm forgetful and often zoned-out. And yeah, Im sad. But I've kept doing everything my wife and kids need and deserve from me, even if sometimes there's a sad look on my face when I do it.
I've thought of inviting her to a T session, but everything I've given in on so far - letting her tell her parents, offering her books, showing her my essay - has been for nothing. I can't keep going further out on the limb, exposing more of my worst and weakest spots in one concession after another, and not having her hold my hand when I do it. I just can't.
Matt (one of probably 130,000,000 in the world!)
"Don't think it hasn't been a little slice of Heaven just because it hasn't!" --Bugs Bunny