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#63310 - 09/14/02 05:18 AM Any Survivors have advice?
CrystalAries Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/14/02
Posts: 3
Loc: St. Louis, MO
My husband is a survivor. I need help.
We are looking at getting therapy together, and for him separately, but our lives together are painful. Our sex-life is strained, my emotions are running high, and I don't know what to do with him. I am consumed by this problem, and we are talking more and more, but he was into S&M before me. I am not into pain, so he never broached this with me, but he thinks making love is going slower. How can I get him to open up to me, in bed as well as in our lives?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

#63311 - 09/14/02 08:55 PM Re: Any Survivors have advice?
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
It sounds as though you're going in the right direction, therapy and talking between you both.
And it's good that he's getting individual therapy, try to find out if the therapist has good experience and knowledge of the problems of SA.

I think the other good thing you're both doing is you resisting his S&M and him not pushing it.
If you get his past sorted the future will get better.

Be strong

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

#63312 - 09/14/02 11:26 PM Re: Any Survivors have advice?
mrsunshineguy Offline

Registered: 07/13/02
Posts: 67
Loc: Texas
Hi CrystalAries,

Sorry you are here, but (sort of tongue in cheek) congratulations on the discomfort.

That means your "dashboard gages" and "warning lights" are working correctly.

Those indicators (stress, strain, consumed) are there to warn you.

Get yourself to a safe distance . . . . where you feel comfortable . . . .That is when you know you are at a safe distance.

If you will forgive me for jumping to military metaphor, I used to be involved in vehicle recovery (tanks, tracks, trucks) from field sites, and we had some rules for recovery.

Rule number one for vehicle recovery (but it applies so well to partners and abuse recovery, too): Don't get yourself stuck in the mud.

People tend to get carried away when trying to help someone else, and can slip right into the others' problems. Just like two vehicles stuck in the mud; or in this case, two people stuck in this mud, both of you in the mess will do nothing to help each other. It is just a big muddy mess.

He has dealt with his problems in some fashion before you, and if he chooses, he can deal with this in more helpful and productive manner, now.

But those are not your problems. Knowing that can help you from getting stuck in the mud, too. Look in some of the older strings here, where folks are comparing notes on controlling their partners like they are dealing with some sort of lab rats. For your sake and his, don't slip into that.

Maybe something that they teach in Al-Anon would be helpful to remind what is not your problem or responsibility:

1. You did not cause the problem
2. You cannot control the problem
3. You cannot cure the problem.

But you can start yourself with some good education -- A pretty good start is: Allies in Healing by Laura Davis. (The male/female genders in these books are mixed, but there is not a dime's worth of difference for male/female/partner recovery)

I guess I would say the best thing you can do is to take care of yourself. Speaking from too much experience, I would say that having a sane partner who is not all over-involved in your problems is usually a pretty wonderful thing.

See you,


#63313 - 09/15/02 01:38 AM Re: Any Survivors have advice?
CrystalAries Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/14/02
Posts: 3
Loc: St. Louis, MO
Greetings & Blessings Guys!
Thank you so much for your words.
I would like to ask you a question if you will indulge me for a moment.
I notice that my husband is more comfortable with chaos then I am. If we start argueing about something, he will confuse the situation so I don't know where we started, and we sometimes have trouble getting anything resolved.
Is this a common emotional change? If things are so confused in yours and your loved ones minds, does that feel safer? Am I thinking about this wrong?
I am really trying hard to keep my distance, and grow closer to him at the same time, I feel like I am teetering around.

And one more thing: as far as bringing back memories that are repressed, does it sneak up on you? Do you have to force it at times? I am not asking to try to make him say anything, I was just curious.
Thanks again, and I hope I can continue to ask your advice, it is the most sound that I have seen so far!

#63314 - 09/15/02 03:04 AM Re: Any Survivors have advice?
ARW Offline

Registered: 08/29/02
Posts: 161
Loc: LA
it's pretty safe to say the chaos route is a defense mechanism. An effective way to keep out the pain of reality. I've been doing it for years with great success. Kind of leads to your next point. If he's afraid of confronting reality, or put a nicer way, not yet ready, then you want to go very easy pushing repressed memories. If you can hack it, I'd go very slowly at this stage - expect little and give him lots of room to recover at his own pace. Agree with lloydy that boundaries must be set. And with MSG that you should seperate your issues. Not become subsumed by his "problem".
My wife is going to begin therapy soon - for herself. Knowing it will help her deal with me and what I'm going through as well. And I try to burden her with as little as possible of what I'm going through now - the memories coming back, etc. She knows when I'm down, we talk and all, but I definitely think boundaries are important and a cap on how much she has to deal with or know about it is equally so.
Good luck - to both of you.

In every cry of every man,
In every Infant's cry of fear,
In every voice, in every ban,
The mind-forged manacles I hear.
-William Blake

#63315 - 09/15/02 04:50 AM Re: Any Survivors have advice?
mrsunshineguy Offline

Registered: 07/13/02
Posts: 67
Loc: Texas
Hi Crystal,

Sometimes it seems like abused people (or alcoholics, or druggies, or . . . .) actively seek out chaos. We do. Maybe it sort of seems like a familiar place.

btw, as far as arguing goes . . . (I mean no disrespect to you or your husband) but never argue with a fool. It becomes hard to tell the difference (between who is the fool). And someone who is the fight mode while working on (or usually avoiding working on) this stuff is no one to argue with. Just state your case and do not take crap, and get safely distant.

But I would not say (mho only) that chaos is an issue of safer . . . it is a place of familiar. When we are (or make that WERE, thank you HP \:\) ) in chaos in the real outside world, the outside world matches us more closely on the inside.

I sort of think at as a variation of the quote "We see the world as we are, not as it is."

One friend I have been working with a lot this year is black, or I guess African-American would be the more current term. We were discussing how childhood events can effect your life. During his first week of first grade in integrated school in West Texas, he was very eager to do well. He was very prepared for school by his older siblings who attended segregated schools, and he knew much of the class material. The third day of class, the teacher took him out in the hall, beat him with a yardstick and yelled "I was not asking you, nigger!"

That left a real imprint in his young mind. He never did ask nor answer another question. He is very intelligent but never made it through college because he still resents that and distrusts the schooling system, and now distrusts most of the world.

And in my case, I suppose since I was sexually abused, I smeared that over my view of the world. I was always on guard for who was going to f*ck me and would be putting counter-f*cks preemptively in place. So I was always a part sleaze in everything.

But we have both caused our worlds to match our minds. But at any rate, you asked about chaos. Chaos is a pretty common symptom, but that is one the "promises" of AA. That the chaos will leave. It does.

(sorry to be "quoting" AA and Al-Anon stuff so much . . . It is just such an effective model for many recovery situations, including abuse)

- - - - - - - - - - -

About the memory stuff. I had one common theme. Avoid, avoid, avoid.

I totally lost my marbles (I think de-compensation is the correct term) after attending a seminar about child abuse. I was 36 at the time, and had managed to keep it all pretty well suppressed, but my brain just vomited when I really realized they were talking about me. Huge chunks just came back up and I barely made it home and just sat in a corner and on the bed and tried to breath between sobbing for about three days.

Now I have gotten a little (but only a little \:\) ) smarter on how to deal with this. When there is something to work on, I usually know and even if I do not always directly work on it, at least I do not actively avoid it. But all bravado aside, it is some pretty tough work.

But in the end, either you work on the issues or the issues work on you.

In time, once one starts to make it successfully through the first big "emergencies," you learn how to handle the problems, and memories, and mental crisis, until somewhere down near the end you can really see the end of the path, and know that life is going to be alright. Or at least something you can really manage. Without hate, or chaos, or fear, or sleaze.

That was about five years ago that I had that de-comp, and now I have been through lots of group stuff, therapy, made it through some real mental crisis, been blessed with a girlfriend-to-be-wife, we have a wonderful baby daughter, and most of the sleazy people have exited my life.

As bizarre as it seems, I have been sort of blessed by the process. And about the only thing I have left to do is properly forgive my perp. But I have been putzing about doing that for almost two years, now, and that is why I am back, grouping.

Then I figure life gets pretty good. I will help folks like us who are hurting, and be a good husband, live a Godly life, and raise or a good child, or if we are further blessed, children.

hmmm, ain't such a bad deal.

See you,


#63316 - 09/16/02 06:58 AM Re: Any Survivors have advice?
CrystalAries Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/14/02
Posts: 3
Loc: St. Louis, MO
ARW (& et all) - Thanks for the support!
Mr. Sunshine Guy,
Thank you for sharing such personal information with me. That really means a lot to me.

My husband doesn't forgive easily. He can't remember his first perp (sexual that is) the second he does remember. This happened about age 13, and he just recently died (I think of an AIDS related condition). He was apparantly a friend of his mothers, but she never knew of the abuse. She always thought of them as "close friends" so she was surprised when he wasn't more upset when she told him. She never put two and two together yet. If she ever will, is up to my husband.
He has had anger management problems all his life, he has been kicked out of just about every school he ever went to. He even got a GED rather than graduate from a high school, because he exhausted all of the local schools (just about).
He used to think that if you have a problem, you can fight your way out of it.
It is just so crazy! He is trying hard to change his ways. He is trying to get all violence out of his life. It is such a big part of him that he is coming up with many roadblocks.

I know he is doing all of this not only for himself, but for us and our daughter.
He is even changing how he is disciplining her. Before he decided to change this, he was quick to spank her, nothing major, but quick to swat her rather than use different methods. Now, after I talked to him about it, he realized that he was doing the same things his mother did, not as harshly, but I think he realized that other things can work. And as far as our daughter goes, he has totally re-thought how he wants her image of him to be. Personally, while I know that sort of change can be done by anyone, I am really proud of him for learning from the past.

About a year ago, we talked about therapy, but then he "wasn't ready" for it, but in his line of work, he did enquire about mental health insurance, which was without my knowledge, and a selling point for him in taking the job. I see that as a positive, even if he can't bring himself to go yet. Then again, he has gone to therapists in the past and had bad experiences with all of them. Especially when he was a kid. The schools took him to anger management programs, which he failed miserably (I'm talking destroying offices and shit like that!)
I think that now, that he is redirecting his temper he may be able to find someone to talk to without wanting to do damage!
I know I need someone to talk to face to face, I want that. Friends while understanding and well-meaning, can't really give advice that will move me forward. I have gotten to the point where even verbalizing how I am feeling brings me just more confusion. I know I am running around in circles, and cannot find the tangent to lead me out.
With time, and patience, I am confident that we can only go up from here.
Like GI Joe used to say on the cartoon, "Knowing is half the battle"

\:D Gotta love cartoon wisdom!


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