When you say...I spent a lot of time pretending to have feelings for people I had no feelings for...
(not exact quote but that phrase)
That sent a big signal to me...
My FWH goes through phases where he says he feels nothing. Then he gets mad at me for assumiing he feels nothing.
I guess one of the questions I have in my heart is, is he so damaged that in reality he is only pretending to love me because he believes that is the right thing to do?
I have to be okay with whatever the answer is...but I do question...his son (9 yrs old) has this kind of detachment...sometimes I wonder if it is genetic, this disconnect...Obviously his father had it...and his son has it...would it skip a generation????
I don't know. His dad was a very mentally unstable person...which lets just say leads me to this thread as far as WH is concerned (never mind my own crap)and if it is a genetic propensity for an ability to connect with others - such as a sociopathic tendancy - then I can hope and dream all I want but I am pretty much screwed.
I don't know if this makes any sense, I try not to worry about it too much.
[This message edited by healingtree at 11:18 AM, May 23rd (Friday)]
I don't think you're screwed. And yes, you can look at it as a sociopathic thing, but first you'd have to see what it was like after your FWS sought out counseling and began to heal himself, you know? I know at the time this does not seem a viable option. So don't diagnose him just yet.
Does he have absolutely no attachment to people at all? In a way, I have an incredibly intense and often inappropriate attachment to people. It is only later, after the relationship has ended that I can acknowledge that those feelings weren't an accurate depiction of how I really felt.
Look at it this way--we all form, from birth, a perception of "love." This perception is either supported or contradicted by our relationships, with pretty much everyone.
Your FWH's definition of love was formed by a relationship rife with abuse, self-down, self-deprecation, and incredilby low self-esteem (feelings of being unworthy). I have spent the past 16 years being unable to truly love myself, to be comfortable in my own skin.
I know I love my husband. I know I love my children. I do not yet know if I am expressing love in healthy ways, or even if my marriage is healthy for me right now. My perception of love is completely and totally fucked up.
I love my BH, so I orignally used sex to get him to stay. When he attempted several times in the beginning of our relationship to separate himself from me, I clung tighter. Always, always, with sex. It didn't work as well with him as it had with others.
When I said that I spent a lot of time pretending to have feelings, it's because further reflection (and the new understanding I am gaining of the word "love" and it's actual meaning) showed me that those feelings were all caught up in getting a sense of power through sex--and once that "power" was gone, the intense *feelings* I experienced were completely irrelevant, as I had just proven again how unloveable I was.
Am I damaged? Do, as far as sexual/personal relationships are concerned, have what can be seen as sociopathic tendencies? Absolutely. But in no way do I view myself as unfixable. If for no other reason, I will fix myself so that I never have to fix my daughter. And if, God forbid, I do have to fix my daughter, I will have a healthy and clear perspective with which to do that.
Your WS needs counseling, as I'm sure you've concluded. You cannot force someone to begin a recovery process if they aren't ready. I hope, hope hope someday that your FWH can begin that process.
In the meantime, focus on yourself, and what it will take for your damaged perspective to change. Even if you've excluded your own history, you've been told by your FWH that people who love you will fuck other people, sotospeak. While you know that isn't true intellectually, it can be hard to convince that inner voice, especially if that inner voice is harboring feelings of rejection and confusion based on their abusive past.
Does that make any sense at all?
[This message edited by AppAE127 at 8:17 AM, May 25th (Sunday)]
"And I won't cry
If you can't love me
Like the way it used to feel.
We had our summer on Long Island
Now there's wounds that never heal."
Exactly. I feel like this is somehow a continuation of my own abuse...
When I stopped having sex with whatever man looked my way that I found attractive, and started trying to build a relationship, each and every time I have ended up being cheated on.
I am so frustrated. How can I expect my FWH to emotionally connect with me when I myself am so withdrawn and confused?
Here is one very screwed up thing that I do...
The only way I can achieve O with my FWH now is by visualizing him having sex with someone else.
Like, for some reason, I am not good enough
This feeling goes back before any rape/abuse happened.
I have always felt this way.
I try to convince myself that my body is beautiful...and something very large and invisible keeps me from ever really believing it.
I am a very spiritually centered person, and do live many moments in joy...
But when I did deep into this place we are talking about...it is like that monster we are scared of that we are convinced lives in the closet, or under the bed...KWIM?
I know in my heart that my FWH can feel things...and I know he is confused. All I can do for him is continue to work on me, ask for what I need, and maintain empathy through my pain.
I can do that.
FYI...after d-day, I went to counseling and dropped a decade of sexual abuse from others and promiscuity of my own spurred on by getting no help for my problems on my counselors lap...my counselor that I have been seeing for over a decade.
When I got done telling her "my story"...she had to pick her chin up off the floor.
What happened, what I was and what I did in the past is nothing like who I am today. And for a decade of counseling, through my first D...and beyond...I never ever told her a darn thing.
It was that moment that I realized how well I compartmentalize on my own.
Thanks so much for sharing...I think that of all of this...dealing with this crap is definitely the most challenging thing for me.
We both "seem" functional...and yet we are not...and I wish we could just turn towards each other and just be together in our brokenness until we can figure our way out of it...
Anyone I love will end up having sex with someone else...it makes me feel like I am worth nothing.
Fulfilling the prophecy of that broken girl inside.
I sought out a specific group of men to engage in this behavior. Think about it--if I had wanted a guy to love me for me first, and see all of my amazing qualities, the guys I chose to give BJ's to wouldn't have been comfortable getting the BJ in the first place. KWIM?
Wow. Ten years of compartmentalizing. That's a long time. I think that you will find counseling much more productive from now on, since you can really begin to get at the core of your situation.
Hugs. Please keep me posted on how it's going.
I found it amusing because it sort of highlighted for me how compartmentalized I am - it had never occurred to me that I should talk about more than my dad, my dh, and the mm, despite the fact that I have 3 sibs who are also factors in my life, and a mom, and a whole bunch of other feelings and issues to toss in. lol
I have done so much self-analysis over the years, I feel practically qualified to be a counselor myself.
And yet, we remain so blind to things that have had significant affects on us.
I guess it is all just part of the journey.
If I know that I have healed and grown to the place where I am now...and still have major blind spots, it can help me to understand my W partner...and his reluctance to really look...because the significance is lost on him.
You just don't get it until you get it.
All I can do is learn...and listen, and love without judgement.
And APP...we probably dated some of the same guys... I was truly slumming in those days...was only with people who valued me as a sexual adventure...kind of like what my FWH did when he cheated.
I guess my first question would be, does your WH continue to use this as an excuse?
When they cheat, they are totally in the fog, and they can use something as stupid as toothpaste left in the sink to justify what they choose.
It is only after the fog lifts that they see their excuses as false.
Fact is, if he was having issues with your sex life, and especially knowing that you had SAb issues...he should have discussed it with you, rather than taking it elsewhere.
Regardless of what your WH does or doesn't do, just work on feeling good about yourself...
Praying your nightmares go away, and are replaced with good dreams.
No, my H no longer uses it as an excuse. He is angry with himself for using the information and sharing it with her. During the stalking days, she left me messages about it as well, which made him feel so much worse. I know he is remorseful.
I am just not sure how to put this in the box to move forward with R. Besides his discussions with her about a future with her, this is the most hurtful thing he has done. Maybe even worse than actually having sex with her - which I know sounds strange. At least their sex was between them. It's funny how much they talked about me to make both feel secure in having sex. It's just awful.
The dreams come and go... and will go again. I have healed from it once and I know I have the strength to get over the sexual abuse again.
On down days during R, it's one of the actions my H took that makes me see how truly selfish he was. I am trying to make sure that he is not any longer before I make up my mind. Just wanted to post to see how others move through this part of whole pain thing.
You know what sweetie? I think that is one a SAb counselor, or a really good IC would be able to handle best...
I only say that because the scars/memories of SAb that you still have may become subconsciously attached to the pain of your WS cheating on you...KWIM?
It is like what he did by using it against you is like aiding and abetting your abuser, whoever that may be...
I think it is important for you if you want to R that these two pains (allthough I know it all just ends up in one big ball doesnt it?) don't cross each other...
I can see how his telling your story would be more painful than the fact that they had sex...that isn't strange my friend.
Hope you are doing okay. Don't shove your pain in a box...if your WS is remorseful...then let him take some of the burden from you.
Very briefly, my BS is a survivor of horrific childhood SAb. She has had a lot of therapy and is amazing, considering what she's been through. I love her, to the ends of the earth and beyond. But she will not acknowledge the effects of the abuse on our marriage (other than matter of fact verbally), and it is basically a sexless marriage.
I am starving and so lonely I cannot express it.
I have tried to find resources and cannot find anything for spouses. The little I've found is for male spouses (we are a same sex couple) or so Christian, which I wouldn't mind even though it's not my belief system but there is always eventually the message that homosexuality is caused by sex abuse (*I* was never abused).
Does anyone know of *anything* for the spouses? She will not go to MC. I do not want to leave. I love her and want her and miss her.
I could almost write your post.
My WS is a SAb survivor, and thanks to that, her depression, her anxiety and perimenopause, we're in a nearly sexless marriage, maybe once a month.
I'm feeling affection starved too. I'm not sure how to talk to her about that without sounding forceful or triggering her. I fear what would happen if an attractive woman started to pay attention to me.
I'm concentrating on myself, on things I enjoy, and building friendships with other guys, in masculine hobbies.
It sucks, it really does.
I wish I had an answer, because this sitch is killing me.
I was given this link to a support site. Your might try it.
Here's an uplifting article from the same site, about survivor's rights -
I am so very busy right now and will be through out the summer. I thought be busy would help, but it has added to the stress.
BTW - I wouldn't worry about much of the christain stuff out there, look at the root message.
I really wish I could write out much of how I feel. But I just don't have the heart or energy anymore. My W may have survive the SAb, but I fear I won't and I know she is just existing in reactive mode, unwilling to help herself.
Sending you (((((inchoate))))).
Hurts, I'm right there with you when you say she might have survived but you're not sure you will.
It's been more than a year, it had been three years when she told me "I don't care what you do, just don't bother me with your issues. Everything I need is sleeping upstairs <our kids>." Yet she was devastated by my EA and of course we all know the sequelae of any A. It surely didn't help the trust issues, but she's handled it like she handles everything else--by stuffing it down and soldiering on.
Meanwhile, I'm here, working my ass off and utterly alone. I'm faithfully...withering on the vine.
It's gotten so I can't watch romantic comedies or be around people who are in love. I'm so bitterly, corrosively jealous of people with *any* intimacy in their lives. Just once I would like to make love with eye contact. This is not who I am. I'm a romantic pollyanna! But I just can't keep up the pretense that there's anyone in this marriage but me any longer.
Lonerider, I understand what you're feeling as far as fear of someone paying attention to you. Let me tell you from the horse's mouth that all it does is give you one more reason to feel worthless and unloveable. If you love your W no OP fills that void, and of course we all know the damage As do to everyone they touch. To tell you the truth I think one of the reasons I'm having such a hard time right now is that I don't even have the fantasy that "well, if it gets too bad I can seek solace elsewhere"....I've been down that road and it only leads to a deeper pit.
I feel like the game's over and I'm just waiting for the clock to run down.
Hurts, thank you so much for the links. I'll check them out tonight after the kids are in bed.
Hang in there, everyone.
He just seems different than other sabs I read about. Except he does look at sex as a physical act not really associated with love.
Anyone elses spouse like this?
If someone was only acknowledge as valuable in a sexual way, it might lead to them seeking validation in the same way.
When I was younger, I thought I would find what I was seeking in that way.
All it did was show me the wrong way to go about it...my wound never healed, but only grew deeper, and I was hurting myself with what I though would make me feel better. Now that I know better, and have worked toward healing, I don't seek validation in that way any more.
It's pretty common for SAb survivors to separate sex and love. Sex is for people you don't love. It's what you "do" to get their approval or other things you want, because you aren't worthy of those things just for being you.
Of course, the flip side of this is that you don't have sex with people you *do* love, or if you do, you don't do it with love. You got through the motions (and often with enthusiasm and real physical enjoyment....just no emotional intimacy).
And if someone you love makes you feel like you "have" to have sex, then that puts you right back in that "that what's what I'm for" place. People that love you don't insist on using you for sex.
Or at least that's how it is for my beloved.
Inchoate, what you said above is what he has done. I will not say here what that was, but he did do that. He gave sex for something he wanted. He told me about it and it was while we were married.
As far as sex being mechanical or without emotion, it is not. I can tell he enjoys it and he is a wonderful lover. But I do believe he likes it better if he initiates and is in control. Just a feeling I have.
But he could have sex everynight. No kidding. And the first years we were married he wanted it like two or three times a day. And he is very loving and cuddles etc. It just does not fit with what I read here.
He told me one time recently " I can't go without sex." We were talking and he just said it. And I could not read the look on his face when he said that. It was almost like he was revealing something to me about himself And the look was shame, desperation? I don't know.
But it bothers me he thinks of sex as just a physical act. He says he is beginning to think diffently but I think he says that to please me.
Could it be he is still trying to prove he is a man because of the sab? Maybe that is why he wants it so often? Heck maybe he just has a very high sex drive.
I have to admit that I am very similar - I separate sex and love; although I do love to have sex with dh, whom I love desperately, I know that sex does not always equal love to me. I also could have sex a lot - in fact, this week I'm having problems with needing to act out, have had sex with dh twice in 2 days, mb on the third day, and was really, really ticked off last night cuz dh wouldn't wake up when I went to bed and wanted to ml again (same day as mb earlier.) Last night wouldn't have been ml, though - it would have been sex. To me, both are good, but they are really not the same thing, even if they are basically the same act.
And I don't know the answers of how to fix that. I know that there is a disconnect there. I don't know what healthy is. I have finally talked openly about this with my IC, who suggested a 12-step group after having me take that test and another one and scoring...well, lets just say I've been dealing with life the same way for the past 30 to 35 years, and I'm not 40 yet.
I wish you luck. I know how blessed I am to have my dh, who didn't know anything about this crud when we got married, yet has chosen to stay with me regardless. He loves me - and I love him, with all that I know how to, as broken as that is.
So do you think you just have a very high sex drive? Is sex a way to make you feel better when you have problems? Hope it is okay to ask. Just rying to understand.
We got married in 67 and he told me about the abuse in 93 or 94. Said he did not want me to think bad about him. He had a huge issue about feeling he was not a man because of the abuse.