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#64557 - 01/19/05 01:37 AM Where Do I Start?
Starbuck Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/18/05
Posts: 4
Loc: UK
I have always known that my husband was a witness to the abuse of his older sister - and that his mental health problems stem from that....or thought.
Today I found out that the abuse was his too. After 6 years of different therapies and techniques I have found out why none of them have worked - because we weren't working on he 'real' trigger. His own abuse by his father. He has opened his heart to me today and told me all the things he has been doing to himself and why. He has explained how he has hidden the truth from me always and how his OCD's (the main Mental Health problem) surround it. Why he cleans 100's of time a day, why he checks, there are other things he does which he has admitted too - from reading the other posts I think its usual in a survivor (perhaps will explain later)
So now where do I start? We've done the GP, mental health route - they failed him, granted he never told the truth but I know he won't want to take that route. So how do I start looking for counselling? What does he need? How can I help him to start coping rather than hiding? I know that once we begin this process all the other problems will dissappate which is why its important to begin - but I just don't know how. I'm so scared for him. He told me at night when he goes to sleep he hopes he doesn't wake up.
Any advice. Please?

#64558 - 01/19/05 04:33 AM Re: Where Do I Start?
Wifey1 Offline

Registered: 12/03/02
Posts: 380
If I come across as a bit rattled and forget to add something important those who are better equipped should be along soon to help you further.
Until then perhaps I could suggest that taking a few big breaths to release your own tension for a place to start. If by any chance you are like me, I find when I am stressed out I tend to hold my breath, and my brain then gets starved for much needed oxygen, which I need to think with. I am in NO WAY minimizing with that suggestion. It is very true for me at least.
So now where do I start? We've done the GP, mental health route - they failed him, granted he never told the truth but I know he won't want to take that route. So how do I start looking for counselling? What does he need? How can I help him to start coping rather than hiding? I know that once we begin this process all the other problems will dissappate which is why its important to begin - but I just don't know how. I'm so scared for him. He told me at night when he goes to sleep he hopes he doesn't wake up.
Any advice. Please?
**the following is my opinion only!**
1) You've both already started and have been traveling this journey for some time. Your partner sharing with you has just finally come to the point where your partner felt safe, etc. enough to "tell the secret".
2) The GP/ mental health route failed him.... I dont mean to sound callous or even to send any type of minimizing or negative message re: the health care system -- however, we get back from any project what we put into the project -- he simply was not in a ready position to share, so not to entirely defend the GP/ Mental Health system but if they dont know all the info then the only true help they can give is what the client shares (a side note I have very serious personal problems with the USA medical health field so it was difficult at best to even try to find some neutral words for them).
3) How to look for counseling, you can search this site which has articles for guidance in finding counseling help. Or request thru your current GP a referral ... Please let me caution you here... ONLY your Partner can Heal Himself, YOU cannnot do IT FOR him/her. However YOU can find support for YOU, and YOU are very important to take care of for yourself through the next phase of this long journey.
4)what does he need? - he is the only one who can answer that, what does Starbuck need?
5) How do you start helping him cope rather than hide.... ONLY your partner can tell you that , again YOU cannot do this FOR him, he must do this on his own, .... look for a way for you to be supported so that YOU can Cope.
6)You said that you know that once you start this all the other problems will dissipate, I dont want to bring you false hope or shatter your dream , but NO ONE can ever know the "outcome" of the journey of healing. There are no set rules to ANY of this healing journey nor a time period.

7) How brave of you to share about how scared you are .... I still have many days that fear fills me, sometimes for fleeting moments, sometimes for weeks on end.
The pain in your heart must be heavy hearing the words "I hope I don't wake up".
For me personally my own experience -- my first reaction was "it hurts so bad that I am Not enough for him to want to live"..... and then again, being a survivor myself and living now with a terminal illness.....
I've said those exact words and found out far too late saying them aloud injured those who love/d/s me.... now I only say them in my prayers in my own head
Please know Starbuck, you are welcome to return here often and as much as you need. I care, and many others care ..... You are not alone, and this partner stuff is mighty lonely business sometimes.
Others shall come along and bring you words of wisdom and hope.
Peace For Us All, Sammy

#64559 - 01/19/05 05:07 AM Re: Where Do I Start?
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
There's not much to add to add after Sammy's reply, but I'll throw opinions in the ring as well.

If he's only just disclosed his abuse to you then he's only just starting to accept his abused past, so it's small wonder previous therapy hasn't been a success. But the positive thing is, he's been through therapy before so he knows the ropes, even if wasn't the right therapy.

Finding a therapist that specializes in, or has good experience of, abuse is important I think. And worth the effort of finding.
But it has to be his choice, and in his time. I haven't met a Survivor yet that has been pushed and benefited from that push.
Support, trust and love - we need that, but we were pushed into our abuse and somehow we have to find our own way out.

Knowing that his sister also suffered will be a huge burden as well, I can imagine him feeling so much guilt at being unable to stop her being abused as well. Add that to the guilt we feel anyway as Surviors and it's a double helping.

Have a look at the 'Bookstore' link at the top of the page, there's many titles available there through Amazon ( MS get's a small % if you buy via this link ) The book I always recommend is Mike Lew's "Victims No Longer". There's so much in it, and for partners as well.

Take care

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

#64560 - 01/20/05 01:01 AM Re: Where Do I Start?
Starbuck Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/18/05
Posts: 4
Loc: UK
Thanks for your replys. Its comforting to know already that there are people who can understand exactly.
Your right about the guilt thing Lloydy - he said that he feels dirty and ashamed that he was made to watch his sister before it started happening to him. Its a very complex situation in the fact that she went to the police when she turned 16. She was put into witness protection and their father convicted and jailed for 8 years (although he only served 4). He had no contact with his father til our wedding day 3 years ago. Since then we see him every day and my husband has spent many weekends going out on long 'rides' (both are motorbike enthusisasts). He told me that his father had 'done his crime and time' and had changed. I have asked why he has remained so close and he said that he had lied to himself so long that it hadn't happened that he had believed it - I can't imagine how hard that must have been for him. Last October he called me whilst away on a work course to say he was sure he had just seen his sister and what should he do? He ended up following her and confronting her. She has done well has a lovely family, great hubby etc, her years of therapy have led her to decide that her entire family was dead. My hubby arriving on the scene has changed that dynamic for her - but we've all been meeting regularily and getting along well - I wonder whether this has been the catalyst for my hubby's choice to tell me all. Although he has insisted we do not discuss any of this with her (although I think she probably knows). The difficulty renmains that this has all been in secret from the rest of the family as she is still under witness protection even after 12 years. He is quite convinced that the rest of the family would carry out the death threats against her that still remain. I do not wish to seem melodramatic or make you wonder if I am over-reacting but this is the kind of family he is from. They have been involved in armed robbery, all sorts of crimes and my hubby has witnessed murders at his father's hands. How he turned into the wonderful, loving, health conscious, law-abiding (he is a community police officer) individual he is, is a miracle in itself, but you can see the further problem we now have.
My wish would be cut contact with the family completely (I've always wanted that anyway) but he says if we change the way we behave at all his father will know that my hubbys told me. Is is possible for this man to still have such a hold over my hubby? What should I do about it? Will make his healing harder if this man is still in 'the picture'? I know that this dimension is far away from the purpose of the website but I feel it important that you know what we up against.

Actually writing it all out like this is a quite a good release - I'm sorry to burden anyone that reads this! Please know its not intentional but would be good to get an alternative view.

Despite all this extra crap, my main concern is my husband. I have been through so much with him already that I know I can be strong again for him in any way he needs me - I just want to know that I'm doing all I can and in the right way. All thats been so far is listening and reassuring but from what I've read here that seems to be the best thing for him at the mo.

Thanks to both of you for your honest and open opinions I will keep returning here to gleen more advice and comfort! Perhaps over time I will be able to introduce this site to my hubby so he can share his feelings and emotions with others that DO understand especially if its too hard to talk to me.

Its strange though, I have lived with him for 6 years now supported him through dark times coped with him with his OCD's etc - how could I not know what he was doing? How could I missed so many signs? Its like everything he has ever done was like another hint that I failed to pick up on - now of course I understand the lot, the washing, the checking, his mood swings. I feel that I have failed him because I didn't spot what he was trying to tell me earlier - I know you're going to say that its not my fault. But its so confusing to feel guilty about something you have no control over. Then the anger takes over. I want to scream and make his father pay for ruining his life like this. He's a wonderful man - so young (24) with so much talent, that gives and helps so much to other people. He works with young men on the streets helpng with addictions and homelessness. He's been on all sorts of courses in the mental health industry (ironic I know!) and actively strives to make other lives better. I know he's good at what he does because he can emphasise having come from such a dysfuntional background - I was just never aware on what level he was with them.
Wow - how long have I been going on?
Thank you for letting me ramble I think I've vented about six different emotions in about 10 minutes! But it does help clear your head ready for the next session.
This site is wonderful - you are all amazing people - Thank God for you all to have the compassion to want to help and share experiences.
I can honestly say this is the first time in my entire life that I have not known what to do or how to proceed - I think thats what might be the scariest issue for me - not the information that he has confided I me but the lack of knowledge of what to do with it. I am someone who has an answer or solution for everything (I hesitate to say control freak but I want to be honest too!) - everyone comes to me - I am determined to continue that way - I will not let him down.
But if its okay I might just run any choices by you all first just for the 2nd opinons!

Feeling calmer now. Thank you.


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