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#445506 - 08/26/13 07:04 PM Introduction
QuillAnh Offline

Registered: 08/23/13
Posts: 3
Last week, my husband of 36 years finally revealed to me that he was sexually abused by his sister(6 years his senior)when he was 11. Though nothing like this had ever crossed my mind, I've always known there was something not quite right -not with him- not in our relationship. Truth be told, I had internalized that it was me - largely because I was told that in subtle and not so subtle ways. I have twice sought therapy to figure out my problems.

I think that my husband is doing all the right things. He's shared this dark, horrific secret, he's seen his PCP and has an appointment to begin therapy this week. I realize that I also need to take some steps as well to get myself into therapy.

But, in the mean time, what I would like to know here, is how do wives deal with the anger, or do you not feel any? I keep going over and over in my head things in our marital past that suddenly now make perfect sense...from intimacy issues, to trust issues, to issues with substance abuse, pornography and the list goes on. Thirty six years of coping with these and other "crisis" issues many (though not all) of which can be traced right back to the sexual assault of a little boy.

I want so desperately to be the support my husband needs and I'm pretty confident that I have the strength to do it. As for my husband, I've always known him to be a strong man, but I had NO idea how strong! I know he can't be my sounding board. I know that can only come from a therapist, but I'm finding that biting my tongue about the havoc this horrific situation has wreaked on him, on our marriage, and by association, on me.

What am I allowed to say without contributing to the guilt and shame the abuse has caused him. And though I understand it on an intellectual level, there is part of me that is angry that he waited 40 years into our relationship to tell me this. Is there anyone out there that can relate to my feelings and tell me where to put them?? Thanks so much for being here!!!!

#445560 - 08/27/13 12:07 PM Re: Introduction [Re: QuillAnh]
SamV Offline

Registered: 12/13/09
Posts: 5972
Loc: Sunnny, South East USA
Hello QuillAnh and welcome, while finding the answers to some of the anguish of being belittled is satisfying, that you and your survivor have to experience this frustration and lack of trust and respect is saddening. I love that you are aware of his strength, his resolution not to allow those traumatic experiences to overwhelm him, that he is doing his best to live a life removed from those controlling thoughts and feelings. You are a generous and sensitive supporter, ready to appreciate what is good and comfortable about him and others.

What are you allowed to say so as not to contribute to the guilt and shame? That is a difficult question. I liken it to trying to rescue people from a burning building that do not speak your language. You try to tell them which way to go in order to live, to not be harmed, to find the best way for themselves but they just do not understand you. They are afraid, the building is on fire, thick smoke and explosions all around and they do not completely trust your direction.

First of all, the fear and immediacy of the terror or the drive of the abuse needs to be quelled. This is done through therapy, Weekends of Recovery, books and in here with other male survivors. The "fire" needs to be put out. In the above illustration, it would be much easier to tell the occupants how to get out if there was simply damage to the building and no fire. The same is true for survivors.

Meanwhile, get help through your own therapy and reaching out here in MaleSurvivor with our supporters, asking as you are and getting the relief you need. The F&F forum will provide much information and camaraderie. You can also join a local CODA Codependents Anonymous group where you can share and get support locally.

I wish you much success, for you and your survivor.

MaleSurvivor Moderator Emeritus 2012 - 2014

#446212 - 09/02/13 02:03 PM Re: Introduction [Re: QuillAnh]
Esposa Offline

Registered: 10/19/11
Posts: 811
Loc: NJ
Hi QuillAnh - I encourage you to post these questions in the Friends and Family section because I think you will find that we have all asked ourselves these questions at one time or another. Being able to recognize your own anger is such an important step - and having the maturity to consider how to communicate it is quite remarkable.

#446248 - 09/02/13 10:56 PM . [Re: QuillAnh]
JoeSmith Offline

Registered: 05/04/13
Posts: 129

#446322 - 09/03/13 04:38 PM Re: Introduction [Re: QuillAnh]
Adam A Gedman Offline

Registered: 08/12/13
Posts: 188
Loc: Canada

I saw your post and thought I could offer a perspective as well.
I've read from other spouses how it feels like a light just went on, that makes so many things make sense all of a sudden.

I understand your anger or frustration with this information being withheld from you, when we are led to believe our spouses are to be the one person can share anything with. This is not the same.
To paraphrase from Mike Lew's Book "Victims no Longer"; He could not have started his journey of recovery any sooner than he did. He is doing it at exactly the right time for him.

It took me many years as well to tell my wife and this had nothing to do with her. I hope you can recognize something like this crushes the ability to trust. He could not trust his own sister, and his parents could not or would not protect him. The child's mind, at least mine, decided no one was trustworthy, I let no one in, period.

I very much worry about the effect my recovery is having, or will have on my wife. I desperately want to share all this with her, yet want to protect her from all the ugliness at the same time.
I can see in her reactions, that when I try to share something she just does not know what to say, how to say it, whether to respond or just listen. She does not want to further my hurt, and
really cannot understand it, and I am truly grateful that she cannot.

We all want to be everything to our partners, but we have to accept that we have limitations.
No different than we cannot be our partners doctor, or dentist or any other specialized profession. We can accept that to be true, so this I see as no different.

I don't want to offer advice as everyone is different, but I will say he would likely be comforted by your support.
That you believe him, support him and allow him the space and time to work on it speaks volumes to me.

And there is nothing wrong with seeking help to deal with this yourself.

I hope this is helpful to you in some way.

Keep well.
Presence is the key, for all we have is now.
All we ever have is right now.

Formerly Adam A Gedman (AKA - A damAGed man)

But you can call me Kevin

Toronto Mini WoR - May 2014

#447069 - 09/13/13 08:43 AM Re: Introduction [Re: QuillAnh]
victor-victim Offline

Registered: 09/27/03
Posts: 6387
Loc: 𝒪 𝒦anada
very happy that you have chosen to join the MS>ORG discussion forum.

a big welcome hug!

i sincerely hope you find some useful information here,
that will improve your relationship.



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