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#449060 - 10/03/13 04:04 PM Do you tell those who are close
tbkkfile Offline

Registered: 09/16/13
Posts: 393
Loc: Surrey, United Kingdom
Hi All

I need a few viewpoints please, I'm at a stage of healing where I feel the need to share some of what's happened to those close to me, does that make sense? my wife knows some of it, I told her around 3 months ago, and she asked me when I told her whether I was going to tell the kids (they are 33, 25, and 19) well at the time not, however I'm not sure.

Will it serve any purpose, is it better for them not to know, why do I want to tell them, am I being selfish, will it help to explain why I've been like I have when they were growing up, did they even notice?

So many questions and I can't seem to answer them

#449061 - 10/03/13 04:23 PM Re: Do you tell those who are close [Re: tbkkfile]
sugarbaby Offline

Registered: 08/17/08
Posts: 382
Our kids know about my H's abuse and they are younger than your youngest.

It wasn't difficult for them. They asked a lot of general questions initially and then pretty much it's been an openly discussed issue.

They don't ask much now but they have certain reservations about things like.....for example: if there is any kind of possible trigger scene in a movie it makes all of us uncomfortable to watch that with H. We just say so though and if it makes H uncomfortable he changes the channel. If it doesn't bother him it's OK.

I preferred they knew about the abuse (in general terms) because I want them to understand how that type of thing can happen and how they can protect themselves....and much more importantly I wanted them to know that they CAN TELL if they ever had a similar issue. The lessons they can carry on to their children are many.

#449063 - 10/03/13 04:36 PM Re: Do you tell those who are close [Re: tbkkfile]
On The Fringe Offline

Registered: 09/21/13
Posts: 326
Loc: Southeast USA
Very interesting topic. I have told who I felt comfortable with, when I was ready. I told two people in AA. We are used to talking with each other about personal things. I have not told my wife yet. I am waiting for the right time.

I know many women are victims of incest and CSA. And I never hear them talk of it. So I feel like there is no compulsion to tell it on a mountain, so to speak. My daughter is married with a few kids.

I can understand how you would want to. It helped me to tell my two friends. And I visited here for a while but never joined. It just took the time it took. And right on time I joined here and shared with close friends.

It was eye opening. And I felt accepted and a very strong compassion and love in a pure form.

I hope you find your place of harmony on this topic.
I feel more like I do now than I did when I got here.

#449067 - 10/03/13 05:46 PM Re: Do you tell those who are close [Re: tbkkfile]
CruxFidelis Offline

Registered: 06/16/10
Posts: 486
Loc: NJ
I never, ever want my son to know what happened to me. He is only 3 so that might change in time. But I wouldn't want him to have that image of his father.
If a man wishes to be sure of the road he treads on, he must close his eyes and walk in the dark.

- Saint John of the Cross

#449069 - 10/03/13 08:45 PM Re: Do you tell those who are close [Re: tbkkfile]
SoccerStar Offline

Registered: 10/15/12
Posts: 929
Slowly but steadily I have told most of the people who are closest to me: my parents, sister, closest friend (20+ years), and my email list of college friends who were all constantly in contact for the last 17 years; that last part puts the list of "told" at over 40.

My wife found out, when I was trying to hide it from her. Ugly scene but since I wasn't ready to talk about it my one and only one regret is that she did find out. She is an ally now but it was all wrong at the time.

Her parents know but have been ordered to never ever bring it up because they're really rotten annoying people and perps (physical / emotional abuse) in their own way. I also blurted it out to my dentist when I was in a near-panic after he'd extremely triggered me. So put all of those on the "bad" list.

That just leaves my kids, someday.... I honestly don't think there's a way to tell them while they're at the age of needing protection that wouldn't take away some of my "shield" of paternal strength. They'd be more likely to understand in their late teens, by which point it would probably be pointless to tell them. We'll see.
My story

"Don't think it hasn't been a little slice of Heaven just because it hasn't!" --Bugs Bunny

#449073 - 10/03/13 09:06 PM Re: Do you tell those who are close [Re: tbkkfile]
Esposa Offline

Registered: 10/19/11
Posts: 811
Loc: NJ
If the following sounds judgemental, I apologize up front.

Telling your children does not make you weaker in their eyes, it makes you real and strong and you teach them that adversity can be overcome. In fact, NOT telling them BECAUSE you think it makes you somehow weaker or less of a "protector" only perpetuates the thinking that men cannot be victimized and that victimized men are somehow LESS men than others. It also perpetuates the DO NOT TELL crap that allows perps to continue to exact their power. Which is all BS in my opinion.

Resiliency, struggle, overcoming adversity - those are traits to be proud of.

Yeah, it sounds judgy (and maybe nave) but it comes from a place of true dedication to increasing awareness on the topic of male sexual assault and abuse.

In this house, my children (13 and 10) do not know the details of their father's abuse but they know that he was hurt when he was a little boy. They know that abuse happens. They know how to identify situations that provide fodder for relationships that are not positive. They see their dad as an incredibly strong and loving person who was not protected yet fought to claim a life that he loved. They also see him as real and with loving compassion. He is theirs and nothing that happened to him as a child has changed that for them.

All of this said, and before I click submit, I understand the fear. But I also have empathy for someone who is living without the compassion and, as OTF says, love in the purest, most accepting way.

#449152 - 10/04/13 12:58 PM Re: Do you tell those who are close [Re: tbkkfile]
CruxFidelis Offline

Registered: 06/16/10
Posts: 486
Loc: NJ
At least for me, I have a lot of physical/health limitations that I think already demonstrate to my son about resiliency and overcoming adversity... I remember when my son was first born and how he used to look up at me with these wide eyes. I remember a good friend saying to me that I was a big strong giant to him. The bigger and stronger he gets, the weaker I seem to be to him. When he was about 18 months old, he would run all around the house and I remember the day he realized that Daddy wasn't able to walk like he was. When he was about 2, he started using the potty and realized that Daddy was still wearing adult diapers and getting changed by his mom. I think I have emotionally accepted that despite the way he looked up to me as a baby, eventually he will get taller and look down, and no longer see me as a strong, protective person--even though I do protect him in other ways.

I want him to believe the world is a safe place and that while there are some dangerous people out there, he doesn't have to live in constant fear. I know it's an outright lie that I can't believe for myself so maybe it's unreasonable to transfer such faith in humanity to him... My sexual assault happened when I was in the hospital and I've also worked hard at helping him see that going to the doctor and being in the hospital is not scary, because he has type 1 diabetes and he has had to deal with these things too. I remember a few months ago my wife got him this "Elmo Goes to the Doctor" DVD and I can't be in the room when he's watching it.

I have a dear friend that is suffering from ALS right now. He isn't even 30 yet. I told him what happened to me once, and I really wish I hadn't, because it scared the everliving sh*t out of him and he is in a position where he is having to depend on others completely, and that's scary even when you're not dealing with sociopaths in scrubs. ignorance is bliss, sometimes.
If a man wishes to be sure of the road he treads on, he must close his eyes and walk in the dark.

- Saint John of the Cross

#449168 - 10/04/13 05:00 PM Re: Do you tell those who are close [Re: tbkkfile]
dark empathy Offline

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 2709
Loc: durham, north england
One thing I have come to realize is that there are levels of "telling" which are useful at different different times for different people.

I often use the "I've done some research" to express opinions on the fact and prevalence of male sa. It's useful for strangers or casual acquaintances, and since I am at university and have obviously just finished a doctorate it's a plausable little lie and keeps things impersonal while at the same time being honest.

I've then used euphamisms like "ill" to explain for instance why my doctorate took longer than expected, that helps.

Recently I've been focusing on reactions. saying straight out "I'm genophobic" is something I've found helpful. it explains why I don't laugh at s/xually motivated jokes or the like.

Of course however, all of these serve only for varying levels of more casual acquaintances or at most very superficial friends.

Funnily enough, my parents actually told me in a way, since my mum was the first to use the word "raped" in connection with what happened to me. They were aware that I experienced intensive levels of bullying, and that the s/xual side of that left me with major hangups, but the most I've said is that girls were involved, I've not wanted to give the gorey details.

Sometimes this has helped a lot, such as my brief stint on antidepressents at my dad's urging, or my parents finding my first therapist, other times it's been less useful. At one point my mum attempted to sweep everything under the carpet, saying "oh your done with all that" and at another she even tried to trivialise things like my genophobic reactions saying "oh stop being silly!" or words to that effect, needless to say that didn't go well.
We also now have an unspoken rule that we don't discuss relationships, especially with my mum, however equally my parents have got used to the fact that if I am in the bathroom always! keep out, that if we stay in a hotel I will not share a room with anyone even my father or brother etc.

My brother is another case, since while I think my mum told him at least some of it, I'm not convinced how much he knows, ten again my brother isn't really someone I can have meaningful conversations with much less ask advice from. he has recently learnt that he! can talk to me, (or at least talk at me), about his issues, but things aren't one way.

I have admitted to a couple of fairly close friends about the same, that I experienced sa, but that is rare indeed, in fact I think I only did it last with a particular girl since frankly we'd skirted around the issue, and also because she has clinnical depression of a purely chemical sort we did at least have some psychological symptoms in common even if causes were amazingly different, (she knew what a fugue was).

I have told in detail three people, all over the phone and all close friends. This was early in my recovery when i simply needed to cry and for someone to listen, these were good experiences at the time, but I'd not repeat them too often, indeed I think part of the reason I use this site as extensively and continually as I do is that it is a chance for me to share and discuss details which I just wouldn't feel appropriate actually speaking to someone.

If I ever had a wife or girlfriend, frankly she'd have to know at least that I experienced sa and was genophobic, indeed in 2008 there was one long time female friend of mine who other people were convinced was interested in being closer and I regret not at least giving her an outline since maybe if she had! known she'd understand I couldn't do the natural signals thing and why I froze when she hugged me even though I might have been interested in being more than friends.

I don't however really see how we could have a relationship without at least some knolidge on her part, though i don't think it'd be necessary to go into complete detail.

About children I simply don't know, not having any. I will say however my own parents it didn't change the way I felt about them when I realized their pasts weren't exactly perfect.

#449193 - 10/04/13 10:15 PM Re: Do you tell those who are close [Re: tbkkfile]
Adam A Gedman Offline

Registered: 08/12/13
Posts: 188
Loc: Canada
Hey tbk,

I understand the....compulsion to share this secret. I am weighing the idea of sharing this with my wife's parents. I think they would be empathetic and I feel I can trust them. But sometime I just want to scream it from the rooftop. Get it out, and be done with it. But I temper that with the fear of the fallout.

I have told only those I felt I could trust. Trust to offer support of some nature, not that I know what form that may take, if at all. Trust to keep the information in confidence, and to not use it against me.

I told my wife several years ago, but was not prepared to do much of anything else at the time.
I told my son and my close friends this year.

I see this secret as an impediment to intimacy, in all forms, and I have pushed people away for far too long. My hope is it will, and it has to some extent, allow me to foster closer relationships with those I have shared this horrible event with.
I think it allows them to see me, all of me, scars and all, and perhaps understand me better.
Telling my close friends in particular, was incredibly affirming for me, and they have been nothing but accepting, and supportive. They ask about how therapy is going, and I share what I've discovered. I posted the letter I sent to them all, feel free to check it out, it is in the progress forum, titled "what does progress look like?"
I have not and will not, at least at this point, share my history with my family or my brother in-law. My mom died several years ago from pancreatic cancer, and my father physically abused me for years after the CSA. My brother has proven to be someone who uses people to further his own ends, and I fear my brother in-law would see me as a threat to my nieces, who I love dearly and would and have protected them, when others have not seen threats that I have eyes for.
It's no easy question, and case by case is the only way I would suggest you can assess this.

Think of yourself first, it has to work for you, as you are the one who has to deal with the results.

Edited by Adam A Gedman (10/04/13 10:23 PM)
Edit Reason: Previous Post reference
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

#449197 - 10/04/13 10:28 PM Re: Do you tell those who are close [Re: tbkkfile]
CruxFidelis Offline

Registered: 06/16/10
Posts: 486
Loc: NJ
that is so sad that people would see you as a threat. i can't believe people think that way
If a man wishes to be sure of the road he treads on, he must close his eyes and walk in the dark.

- Saint John of the Cross

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