Originally Posted By: EagerLearner
For survivors:
1. What was it that ultimately drove you to seek therapy and how has it helped you?
2. If you have not seen a therapist, what are some barriers that you think might keep you from getting help? Or what coping mechanisms have you developed on your own so that you don't feel the need for professional therapy?
However, I know it has to be his choice. He will only benefit from therapy if it's something he wants to do. I can never force him and I won't ever try. I have made gentle suggestions, but I also try to always make it clear that no matter what he chooses to do, he still has my full support.

hi, Eager -

1.(a) as a male survivor, i did not cope very well with my past. i repressed everything and functioned OK until i totally fell apart in my mid 30s and fell into a deep pit of depression and could not function at all. i was practically led to a therapist by a friend and my wife. i was in therapy for about 15 months and regained control of my life, but had not really gotten to the bottom yet. i fell again years later - about 2 years ago - and was an absolute mess. this time, my wife insisted i get help or she would leave. i was afraid of what therapy would mean. it was agonizing the first time and this time i knew it would be worse because new and more serious memories were surfacing. but i did it - and i am glad. i've been in therapy this time since last Nov. - about 15 months again. i am much better now and think the end may be in sight. i could not have done this on my own!!! what helped me was a 4-fold support system - my wife, my therapist, the resources and forums and friends on this MS site, and faith in God.

(b) i have new self-esteem. i have a much better relationship with my wife - who is also much happier. i have newly-discovered real live emotions - not always positive - but healthy and normal. we have a restored sex life again - that had been dysfunctional to non-existent for years. i know and respect and value myself. i have more self-confidence socially and at work.

2. what previously kept me from getting help was - first, unawareness or disbelief that it could help. i honestly thought i was a hopeless case and could not imagine anything being any better. second - once i became aware that therapy was possible - fear set in - fear of facing the monsters in my past - fear of the painful emotions that i knew would come. fear that what would be revealed would be so repugnant to my wife that she would judge, condemn and desert me. fear that if anyone found out i would be branded as an untouchable. but the fear of losing her was greater than the other fears and i gambled on that slim chance.

you are right in stating that it has to be his decision and he has to want to do it - to put in the work of healing. you are doing the right thing - being patient and encouraging and supportive. bless you for that! but for me - gentle didn't work. i needed more firmness. i know everyone is different. hope you find the right approach.

"My experience has shown me that I all too often tend to deny that which lies behind, but as I still believe, that which is denied cannot be healed." Brennan Manning, "All is Grace - A Ragamuffin Memoir"