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#60688 - 04/01/06 02:16 AM Re: Acting Out

Registered: 09/23/05
Posts: 178
Hi Fast Forward

It seems to me that you are describing significant levels of abusive within your relationship. I hope you can do some soul searching as to why you would be willing to stay in a relationship that hurts you so much.

I never knew that my partner acted out and so really I wasn't hurt by it per say until I found out, and from the moment of disclosure I trust that he hasn't done it since.
He abused my trust and I think I can say that I am a secondary victim of the original abuse without absolving my partner from the responibilities which are his.


You said;
"I feel for the survivor in my life still. But I have come close to the point when I am indifferent toward the abuser. The catch 22: they are both contained in the same person".

I can honestly say that even in my darkest momenst of hurt and anguish my partner remained a million miles away from being contained in the same frame as the man who abused him.


#60689 - 04/01/06 02:27 AM Re: Acting Out

Registered: 09/23/05
Posts: 178
I'd like to add to my orignal post.

Fast Forward

You can leave this relationship anytime you wish. Survivors of CSA never had that option.


#60690 - 04/01/06 06:18 AM Re: Acting Out
FastForward Offline

Registered: 08/10/04
Posts: 188
Loc: US

Perhaps it was not clear: I am no longer in the relationshp. But as survivor accounts here attest, just because the abuser is no longer in your life, it does not mean that the effects of abuse disappear immediately. It takes time to sort through the past and place it where it belongs.

Thank you for your reply.


L&P - always.

#60691 - 04/01/06 01:49 PM Re: Acting Out
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA

I feel for the trauma you have endured and I'm sorry you had to go through that.

I wonder if one way forward would be to ask yourself how you can set good boundaries so this doesn't happen to you again. That is, try to focus on establishing a better framework for your future rather than dwelling on the pain of the past.

I'm of course not trying to dismiss what happened in the past. But if we work with it then I think we can rob it of a lot of its power to continue to harm us.

Hope this makes sense!

Much love,

Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

#60692 - 04/01/06 02:23 PM Re: Acting Out
Hopeful wife Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 14
I have become amazed recently reading a number of replies to peoples posts by the level of arrogance displayed by many of the respondants, in particular on the "trust.." post and now on this one. It would appear that we are fortunate enough to have in our midst some of the most knowledgable and enlightened S.O.'s...who feel obligated to patronise others who are not as fortunate as they are.

Tracey: \:\(

Why do people (as adults) stay in abusive relationships: The answers are many and varied but usually the thing they have in common is that the person is afraid to leave and /or has had their self confidence broken down to such a point that they don't know how to move forward. Maybe they are ashamed to admit they have been abused, maybe they have nowhere to go, maybe they have kids and have no means of supporting themselves...etc.etc..
If we were to take your comment that "you have the option to leave, victims of C.S.A. didn't" to it's logical conclusion then 99% of the male survivors should only have been abused once, because as long as they had parents or an adult in their life that they could have run to and told, then they should have according to your argument...Why didn't 99% of them? Because they were threatened, afraid ,ashamed ,etc...
Victims of abuse suffer very similar "effects/emotions" regardless of age/gender etc.

You are fortunate enough to be in a relationship where your partner wants help, is getting help and loves you and has never , it would appear, been abusive towards you. You are young, unmarried and have no have many options. I am also fortunate in that my husband has always been incredibly loving towards me and is also seeking help for his problems BUT I am always aware that things could change in that at some point in the future he could act-out again...I would not presume that I was in a position to patronise anyone about how to behave/ feel about their relationship.

This is a forum for people to express THEIR feelings in a safe and supportive enviroment and hopefully get some support or advise. I really feel that I am not alone recently in being "afraid" to respond to posts in case I am not toeing enough to the "Party line". It is NOT a competition about who is most supportive to M.S. or loves/supports their S.O. the most...we all do or we wouldn't be here but we also all have different lives and different experiences...let's try to learn from each other and not embaress or make each other feel "Less"

Thank You

Hopeful Wife

#60693 - 04/01/06 05:45 PM Re: Acting Out

Registered: 09/23/05
Posts: 178
Thanks for you points. I'm sorry that's the case, I feel thoroughly chastised.

I hope we can agree that sometimes email exchanges are a "cold" way of communicating and its very difficult to put across any emotion behind the words, hence they can come across not quite how they were meant. I've, ..usually! post and then read back and thought crikey thats not conveyed what I wanted to say. I guess I'm not that eloquent.

With regards the above post, I guess the response it provoked in me was one of "Oh I hope that the men who read that don't think that women usually cast men who've acted out at their partners expense as abusers"

My post was probably biased, a bit tactless and more personal than I would have wished, (FastForward I'm sorry for that, I should have made a more general point)but I do not accept a label of arrogant / competitive. Maybe I was having an off day.



#60694 - 04/01/06 11:15 PM Re: Acting Out
FastForward Offline

Registered: 08/10/04
Posts: 188
Loc: US

Thank you. My future is the brightest it has ever been. That is why it was finally easy to post what I did. I had spent several years making sure it did not become worse. If I had no boundaries, his behavior would have caused much more damage. Instead I am out of that situation, even though it meant the end of a friendship. In three months I am beginning a new chapter in my life as a financially independent person with more time to spend with family and friends. I plan to take a year off and trave, then start my own business, travel some more, and go back to school. I look at my behavior as well as his to remain as objective as possible.


I did think you jumped to a few conclusions but I know me well enough to know what applies and what does not. As for labeling men as abusers - calling abusive behaviors in one man is a far cry from labeling the whole male humanity abusers. I read your email more as a revelation about where you MIGHT be than a reflection on where I am. I am already gone from that scene. So, no hard feelings.

Hopeful Wife,

Your words echo ak's in the male survivor forum. You make some good points that help the communication process. Overall, I understand, it is easier to focus on something in another person. It may even deflect something we do not want to deal with at the moment. \:\)


Thank you for your comments! Really, thank you. Perhaps greater eloquence will come to all of us with trying. \:\)

BTW, Rayne started this thread with questions about acting out ... .

Have a great weekend all.


L&P - always.

#60695 - 04/02/06 03:26 AM Re: Acting Out
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
Hi FF,

I said in my previous response to Rayne that I don't know that asking why is always the best way to come to peace with a partner's acting out-- and I think it's relevant to what you ask about "understanding" the survivor.

Knowing "why" my partner acted out was helpful to me because I needed to know what kind of a person he was, who could do the things he did. I needed to know something about his motivations because I needed to know if he was someone I felt okay re-committing to, as a person and a parent. At the end of the "why," I felt safer, but not better, if that makes sense.

I know some survivors who say the same type of thing about knowing "why" someone abused them. It might help them to understand the difference between themselves and the abusers-- it might help them to regain some personal power and reject a false sense of blame or responsibility for the abuse-- but it doesn't make it stop hurting. It doesn't even make it make sense.

I don't think Tracy's question to you

I hope you can do some soul searching as to why you would be willing to stay in a relationship that hurts you so much.
is a very different questions from me or Rayne asking our partners why they acted out in the first place.

As Hopeful Wife said, it is about the number of options that each person feels he/she has available at the time. Someone else could certainly be in the very same situation and see other options there too-- someone else in my situation might have made other choices. So what is it about me that caused me to make one set of choices?

FastForward, if it's not too personal, I'd be interested in reading a thread about the point at which you decided to exercise your option to set boundaries for yourself and get out of the situation.


#60696 - 04/02/06 04:15 AM Re: Acting Out
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
this is a what the 'Dictionary of Psychology' says about acting out and acting in -

"Acting out.
A rather irrational, impulsive display.
This meaning is usually reserved for uncontrollable outbursts in problem children.
The display of feeling and emotion which has previously been inhibited. Here the term is used with a neutral or even positive connotation in that such self expression is regarded as healthy and therapeutic.
A coping style in which the individual deals with conflict or stress by actions rather than reflections or feelings"

There is, oddly, no entry for 'acting in' but it is generally accepted that it is more or less opposite and the individual deals with conflict or stress USING reflections or feelings"

The important part regarding survivors is the last bit, we act out using ACTIONS, and these can be anything, not just sexual. Drink, drugs, violence, porn and anything that is an 'action' is acting out.
This is also thought of as a predominantly male behaviour, and women tend to act in and deal with stressors and conflicts in a much more emotional way than men do.
Obviously none of this is cast in stone, but it does seem to be the way it is, men display the effects of their trauma with 'actions', and women do it in their 'heads'.

I'm ok, my brand new 3 ton company van had hand brake failure and ran away down a busy street, wrecking a new BMW before going down a pavement and lodging itself in a pub doorway, I was stood in a cake shop watching it go past the window! Thankfully nobody was hurt at all, but it was close.
Hey, you're a Northerner, you should know Ronnie Barker's 'Arkwright' from the sitcom 'Open All Hours' He had the best stammer I've ever heard.

Fast Forward
Here is another thought: is it possible to abuse your significant other so much that at some point they do understand because at some point they become a survivor?
I would say "yes"
Thankfully, I don't think I've done this myself, but I freely admit that over the years I've given my wife a lot of unneccessary hard time.
Obviously different people have different tolerances, and I think I'm extremely fortunate that my wife is very tolerant of both my needs and me pushing the limits of our relationship.

But I can see that there must be limits and boundaries that we ( especially me ) must accept and adhere to.
I 'know' when I'm pushing my luck now, but it hasn't always been that way, and boundaries that we've agreed have been broken by me. And she's let me know when I do!
Having said that, it's what I want her to do. How else am I going to learn? If she just kept adjusting her levels of tolerance and allowed me to ride over our boundaries then I'd be back where I was 10 or 15 years ago.

I'm always saying that survivors "have to do it our way, and in our time" - and I stick by that, because what I mean by that statement is that other people cannot possible do our recovery for us.
So my view is, that we have to be allowed to do our own recovery, but NOT at the expense of those around us who love us, support us, and do their level best to understand us.
Why should you put up with crap from us? you shouldn't, and that's a major part of our learning and recovery; understanding that just because we suffered 'crap' as kids it doesn't give us the right to inflict crap on others.
Yes, it's going to happen because we're learning, and like a baby falls over when learning to walk, we 'fall over' sometimes.
When that happens though we should also have the balls to stand up and deal with our fall, WITH our partners.

For those of us that are in a relationship we do have advantages and disadvantages. ( BIG genaralisations following )
Obviously we have the advantage of love and support, someone to share our feelings with, and the prospect of the relationship growing.
But we do have all this as an extra area of thought alongside our own very personal recovery.
Single people are possibly more likely to be the opposite of that.
But I know that for all my falling down, the times my wife has said "come here, I want a word" I would personally not change a thing.

I don't really know what to say about a situation where this doesn't happen though, but I can see your point that if the survivors does, constantly, break the boundaries and behaves with disregard for their partner than eventually the partner could become victimised in much the same way the CSA victim / survivor is or was.
Maybe it's a case of the partner being dragged down to the ( struggling ? ) survivors levels of behaviours and thinking rather than the survivor moving forward and attaining the partners levels, assuming the partner is somewhat 'in front' of the survivor.

I'm a firm believer in the ethic that nobody should suffer at another persons expense.
That's something every survivor who has a partner, family or close friends that are willing to support and love us should strive to live by.


PS. If this reply make no sense it's because AOL threw me offline at the exact moment I pressed 'add reply' and I lost the complete post.
You have no idea how much I hate that BITCH that says "goodbye" in such a smartarse voice !

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

#60697 - 04/02/06 02:45 PM Re: Acting Out
nymij Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/29/06
Posts: 16
Loc: Dallas Metroplex
All: First, Rayne, thank you for your original post. And, to all you significant others, you are very brave for being on here in an attempt to understand/help. I am married 17yrs, 2 incredible kids and a survivor who has acted out significantly with men.

So, I cannot express how I felt reading this thread. First compassion for you and other supporters of someone who is acting out. Second, I was crying (not normal for me) while reading others describe the insanity of acting out. That is what it feels like, insanity! I cannot possibly re-iterate what they said with the same clarity!

This has helped me so much. Three years ago I was acting out and my wife found out. For the past 3yrs, my wife has asked the same questions and expressed the same concerns. And I, have not known how to respond to those question of "how could you do this? Did you not think of me, our freindship, your kids? You have hurt my heart, what were you thinking?" When those questions come out, not only do I not have the words that could possibly explain the insanity, but I then SHUT DOWN and turn the guilt and shame inside! Of course, turning in that guilt and shame becomes debilitating to me, and completely a form of rejection to my wife. It is a horrible cycle...

So, thank you all for your comments! From the perspective of a survivor trying to improve, provide support and answers to my wife, and stop any urges to act out, this has been a help. Knowing that the questions Significant Other's ask, and knowing that other survivor's insanity is similar.

Thanks for all your candor and honesty!


Phil 3:13

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