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Sexual Abuse Survivors/Spouses - Part II

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Schilling posted 7/16/2013 14:51 PM

This past month I started to confront my own childhood abuse in therapy for the very first time.

Shortly after I confessed what happened to me in IC, my partner in a drunken state confessed his own childhood sexual abuse.

It didn't surprise me based on his many issues as an adult.

But, I can't bring myself to tell him about my own experiences. Because.. I don't trust him. He wouldn't do anything malicious with the information, it might shock him, but.. I just don't trust him because of the many times he has cheated.

I want to tell him, but I can't bring myself to do it.

nealos posted 7/18/2013 09:14 AM

FR2012: I came to realize that I was sexually abused as a kid only because my ex-fiancee pointed it out to me. I am a wayward, and a sex addict in recovery. A little more than a year ago I was in the car driving with my then-fiancee after she discovered my infidelity, and I was giving her an inventory of everyone I've ever been sexual with. For no other reason than to desperately provide her with more information, I told her about my brother and me being sexual when I was 7-8 yo. I really didn't think it was relevant, but only threw it out there because I was grasping for straws. She then pointed out to me that my first sexual experience was with my older brother-- suggesting that was the beginning of a confusing and shameful relationship with my sexuality. I later began to think of that experience as abuse.

For the record I don't blame my infidelity on my abuse. I think it contributed to me having fewer healthy choices as an adult, but it isn't a prudent excuse.

Our experiences are probably different-- my abuse experience was locked away in denied. Even when it came out, I have tried not to allow myself to feel like a victim. What comforts me is knowing that my abuser was sick/confused/scared. People who sexually abuse others were probably abused themselves. I feel sorry for my brother. I don't know where he learned to be sexual, but I would guess he was abused by someone and shown incorrectly what sex was... then he passed it on to me. I try to empathize with my abuser, and that has helped me to accept it for what it is: very very unfortunate, and very very sad.

My mission is to break the cycle. I won't pass on emotionally-detached communication to my kids, and I certainly won't teach them that sex is a confusing & shameful thing meant to be secretive. This is a significant part why I'm in recovery.

Duffy1958 posted 7/22/2013 01:38 AM

Schilling, maybe 10 years enough to spend on a relationship you can't trust. It isn't always necessary to tell your S/O but you would at least like to be able to. Strength for you my friend & a hope for you to find your self worth. You are worth more than a 10 year serial cheater.

Nealous, I applaud your reasons for recovery. Our children are a good reason not to do a lot of things & good reason to make better choices. Good job, loving your kids.

Being a child sexual abuse survivor has so many repercussions! I have PTSD & it makes a huge difference.

I haven't had problems with my self esteem so much as, the residual effects of CSA. It IS like a banner on your forehead, predators notice this stuff. They look for it. By predators, I mean spouses or S/O looking for a

I have become aware of the banner & actively work to change the outward message. So I'm cordial upon meeting ppl. Not so friendly anymore. I like it better. I wear black (I mean business) a lot. Not morbidly so. My hair is not as blonde as it use to be. Dateline has even done a study, in ppl take brunettes more seriously. I'm sure there are other changes. Being aware of your surroundings is a big thing.

These are just my "things" I have done to help myself. It carries over into dealing with my husband. I can 180 good because it's how I usually live my life with people.

PhantomLimb posted 8/6/2013 00:46 AM

This might sound odd-- but I'm looking for some insight as to whether or not my last sexual experience with my WS was an assault or not. I'm going to try not to get too graphic, but I have to explain some stuff to get your opinion.

Background is that I was date raped back in college and after my last sexual encounter with my WS, I had something of a psychosomatic recollection of that rape and it's been tough for me to sort out.

As for the thing with my WS: it was shortly before DDay and I hadn't seen him in about 8 weeks. We did our usual thing but I felt like he was a little rough during. In my mind I thought that he was out of practice and because he works out a lot, I likened it to him "doing reps" on me. He was also pulling my hair a little, which he had never done before. I didn't say anything about it at the time thinking that after so many weeks apart and male egos being what they are, to suggest that he was majorly sucking didn't seem kind. I figured I was moving back home in a couple of weeks and we'd get back into a groove. No big deal.

He suddenly got incredibly sweaty-- to the point that I had to ask him to go towel off or hop in the shower. He came back out and, per usual when we've been apart, we prepared to go again. Usually on round 2 I would get into doggy style because I know he likes it (although it doesn't do much for me-- so it's usually something I do after I'm all set, if you know what I mean).

This is where it got weird. He couldn't really get it in, but he just kept shoving it really hard. I was trying to use my fingers to guide it, but he wasn't even waiting for me... he just kept forcing it. He got it in and started going really hard and he grabbed the back of my head by making a fist with his hand in my hair (he had never done that before). He just kept going and I was trying to bear it. It was definitely one of those experiences where you just want him to hurry up. He was so violent with it that he fell out a couple of times and did the same thing-- tried to force it in again. Finally I just asked him if he was at all close. He said no. I told him I couldn't do it anymore.

He laid down and I tried to do oral, but he started to lose it. I asked him what the problem was (I had never seen him fail at a second round before). He just said the second time was a crap shoot sometimes. I was just glad it was over, so I stopped. We were late for a lunch date, so we got dressed and that was that.

I bled for three days after that and was still uncomfortable/in pain for at least a week after.

A few days later I was out with a friend who asked me how his visit was. I paused and said "good... it was great to see him." I paused again. And then I started venting about how the sex was awful and I didn't understand what was wrong. My friend encouraged me to talk to him about it. I agreed that we needed to talk if the next time was just as awful.

DDay was a few days later (over Skype). A lot of those conversations are foggy because of the shock, but when he told me, one of the first things I remember saying was "Oh, Jesus, please don't let that be the last time we have sex. Don't let that be the way I remember you!" I asked him why he was so rough with me. He told me that, he didn't want to go into too many details, but that's the way the OW likes it (hair pulling, etc). So I guess he just tried that shit out on me? If that's what they're doing together, more power to them!

I told him that I didn't want to use the "R" word with him-- but that I think I could consider what he did to me, now that I understood the context wasn't his lack of practice, was assault. He was just silent.

So I don't know how to think of this. Did he assault me or was he just trying out his new rough play that he likes with his OW?

I hate that I'm carrying this around.

[This message edited by PhantomLimb at 12:50 AM, August 6th (Tuesday)]

AppleBlossom posted 8/17/2013 07:37 AM

Hey Phantom Limb. That sounds like quite a traumatic experience - all of it.

It doesnt matter what your husband was doing, what is really important is how it made you feel. When you are making love with someone, there is a level of trust, no matter what the relationship. If the role and the method becomes something else then it is really important that you both consent to that. If you did not consent to that and you felt violated in some way, you were assaulted. As an abuse survivor myself, I spent most of my adult life trying to minimise the actions against me, but in the end the only way I could recover was to acknowledge what it was.

Not only did this act make you uncomfortable, but apparently it was borne out of some act that he had performed with someone outside the marriage.

I think there are two aspects to this - the physical betrayal and the assault.

How are you coping at the moment?

silverhopes posted 8/19/2013 03:55 AM

AppleBlossom said it. It sounds like a very difficult thing you're carrying, PhantomLimb. Please keep talking about it, we're here for you.

There's something bothering me tonight and I needed somewhere to talk about it. This might sound kinda dumb, I've been watching the Buffy and Angel series recently and reading some online discourses about it. Read articles on a particular character who has been thought to sexually shame his fellow female characters. It brought up a lot of odd thoughts I hadn't known were in here. I feel overexposed. Everything that's not covered up, emotionally or physically, feels like I'm "asking" for inappropriate attention or commentary from people, or any little slip in behavior merits criticism. Not sure why this hyperawareness is going on. I can hear the voices of some of the people in my family in my head. I don't like it. I don't know how to make them stop talking.

Does anyone else ever struggle with conflicted feelings of questioning what's appropriate and proper? Sometimes feelings of being less?

One of the critiques of this particular character was his sense of entitlement. He'd had a crush on one of the other characters, but she didn't return his feelings, so he made commentary on every romantic and sexual choice she made, rather than respecting that it was her and her partners' business. It made me aware of so many boundaries. How much can I really judge what my partner does and doesn't do? More acceptance. Fewer judgements. I was judging him for so long because of things he'd done in the past - not because he'd done them, but because he wouldn't do them with me. Where do I get off feeling entitled to those things? It's comfort I might be looking for, but that comes from within. I have no right to ask that of him, especially if it's something he doesn't feel comfortable doing. No entitlement allowed. I have my own insecurities, wondering if I'm tainted and fighting that - but he's not my bandaid. Intimacy is beautiful. It's still growing. It's not to be demanded.

Just sharing thoughts, still forming what healthy intimacy looks like to me. I think it ties a lot into being a survivor of sexual abuse. Because someone else crossed my boundaries and told me what was expected, what I was and wasn't allowed to say no to. Or shamed me when I said stop. People in my family. That twists things. I have had trouble sometimes with nursing my son, and it's torn because on the one hand it's nurturing him and it's bonding, and on the other I feel deeply uncomfortable as certain feelings come up, mostly with feelings of invasion and feelings/fears that it's dirty. Not sure how to navigate those boundaries. But it was something important for my son, something I'd learned about and believe in. But it's so complicated, and it's one of the things my family and friends have made the most off-hand comments about: "When do you plan on weaning him?" (happening right now). "That child must be constantly on the boob!" "Just don't be nursing him when he's five, haha!" It feels weird that people can make such blatant commentaries on it to my face, but I know it's not meant to be invasive. Just... complicated with the other issues surrounding abuse. The comments feel invasive, even though that's probably not anyone's intentions.

Thank you for letting me ramble. I hope I haven't offended anyone.

[This message edited by silverhopes at 3:59 AM, August 19th (Monday)]

jjct posted 8/27/2013 06:32 AM

Hi everybody!
I've never posted in here, but I'm in a NB with *one of you* - that is, a survivor of SAB, and I've recently started reading in here & other places for insight. I've also scheduled IC for myself to go over some of my findings, and to acquire tools to try to have THE BEST RELATIONSHIP EVAH despite the SAB and its inevitable issues.
No question I got to "fix my picker".

I have seen some patterns I'd like to point out & see if they resonate.

It seems to me that "feelings of being less" are common. I might go so far as to say predictable and inevitable. (I'll let you guys guide me here)
By its very nature, is not SAB *just that message* imprinted traumatically in a young, not-fully-formed mind?

Thus, self-esteem suffers, and issues relating to it surface later - issues you all are so bravely working on. I'm in awe of that. You are all so kind and helpful!

So, common denominator #1 - feelings of being less, and its attendant older sibling, shame.

Could it be helpful to release shame's shackles on your heart if you knew it arose from that abusive "imprinting of being less"?
How many times have you been told; "You didn't deserve that. You have nothing to be ashamed of."...and still it sits there, like some nail in your soul?
I'm trying to forge a prybar, to pull that bitchnail out!

Common denominator #2 -
"I feel overexposed."
Thinking about it, I think, How can fear not be imprinted?
Fear's inevitable result(s) include:
- not being able to trust, or at least, let's face it, sometimes it wise not to trust, hah!, why we're here in the first place...but
- having "trust issues". Common? I think so...ties into the future-forming of healthy bonds (interesting word, right?) and boundaries.
- Do you feel sometimes you're in an emotional fetal position? Garden-variety A damage leads to this for sure, but I think it's magnified to incredible proportions with SAB survival.

Common denominator #3 -
It could arise from fear, (pretty natural) but I think if it does, it becomes an underlying theme, an undealt-with hum that permeates too many interactions and relationships. Why? Because it's arising from fear, and fear is the triage point, the originator and cause of that particular type of anger. That seems to be why it's "not doing anything for you", not helping, not resolving, not going forward. It's. Just. There.

The other kind of anger is healthy anger, based on what really happened, and owning the righteous rage of; "I didn't deserve this dammit" and getting away - to safety.
It's the anger that moves you to a healthier place, a safer place. It's the anger that puts its boots on,
kicks ass, and walks away from the toxic.
It's good for you, and the other benefit is, you don't have to hold on to it once you're in that "safe place".

Gosh this was long. I think I might've broke the internets.

20WrongsVs1 posted 8/27/2013 08:49 AM


Because someone else crossed my boundaries and told me what was expected, what I was and wasn't allowed to say no to.

Just wanted to say ICR. Took me 20 years (well, 35 from the CSA events, 23 from when I remembered them) to finally get into IC and deal with this damage.

Now post-DDay, I am faced with this: have I ever had a clue of what healthy intimacy looks like? Looking back, signs point to "no."

If you feel uncomfortable or angered when people comment about your nursing, those feelings are valid. If it were a family member I might say, as gently and blame-neutral as I could, "Nursing isn't always easy for me, so I'm sensitive about that topic. When you just said that, I felt uncomfortable."

20WrongsVs1 posted 8/27/2013 09:07 AM


Gently, are you looking for a girlfriend or a fixer-upper? Forging a prybar? Only she can pull that nail out, and only when she's ready.

Are you seeking a better understanding of this woman--like studying Portuguese for an extended trip to Brazil? Or, are you hoping to help her overcome her damage?

Not intending to criticize, just observing and asking questions that are yours to answer (or disregard) for yourself...since you said you need to fix your picker.

jjct posted 8/27/2013 09:33 AM

Seeking a better understanding.
For the purpose of helping her.
Even if it's only just "being there" for her.

So, when I see things, hear things, it doesn't confuse me, so I will know what basic common denominator xyzee thing is coming from at its source.

I will explore the fixer-upper question in IC, because my heart is really being attracted, and I do want to make sure I'm making healthy choices - not knee-jerk or old patterns.

It honestly doesn't feel like it though. I think of her like any one of us, willing to work on things. She does not seem *that broken*...

The prybar.
If I gain insight and understanding (knowledge is power), they are tools for me to wield for my own peace and understanding.
I can hand them to her, knowing she's the one to have to use them.
I can't do it for her.
I been to that town.
No thanks.

Thanks for the questions.
I've learned if some of them make me uncomfortable, there's a reason for that.

I know I don't want to hear that SAB cannot be overcome (like some PD's)...

...but if that's the case, I need to hear it. Please tell me that's not the case...

20WrongsVs1 posted 8/27/2013 09:51 AM

She does not seem *that broken*

Pre-DDay, my BH said the same

jjct, this ICR thread is obviously not popular, despite all the CSA survivors (W and B) on SI. Could be awhile, if ever, before anyone wiser comments.

I just stepped onto the healing path a couple months ago, but I say hell yes CSA damage can be overcome. If the survivor is ready and willing, and she takes the initiative.

So, when I read this I cringed a little.

I can hand them to her, knowing she's the one to have to use them

At the risk of nit-picking semantics: she doesn't have to use them. What if you hand them to her and she drops them? Will that be OK with you?

More questions for you to take to your C...or not. Consider the source (barely-former, recently-deeply-delusional WW) and take it FWIW

Best of luck on your NB journey.

jjct posted 8/27/2013 13:18 PM

That is kind of you - no worries.
I have to let go if she doesn't use the tools.

I am trying to be sanguine (and slow) about it, but I can't imagine feeling safe with her if she didn't...


Edith posted 8/29/2013 10:38 AM

Hi everyone, I am also a survivor of extreme SAB as a child. My mother forced me to go to bed with my drunk father, starting at age 6. Over the years, I have done IC to try and patch up the damage, which was significant, though I hate to think of myself as damaged. Battle scars maybe.

For FR2012, I found that in my early to mid 30s, I was able to finally start to confront what had happened in my childhood. It was like a switch flipped in me that could never be turned off. I knew what they had done to me. I was angry and thought they should have gone to jail. Of course, they lived out their years with respectable silence from my other sibs. Good citizens and all that.

I moved to another state a few years after my confrontation. My sibs all are experts in denial and attacked me relentlessly for my accusations, even though they were all victimized as well. The beatings made my brothers "stronger," my sister claimed our dad just wanted to "cuddle." Cuddle is an obscenity to me now.

After my dad passed some years back, I was really able to build up my healthy rage. I have struggled with my responsibilities as a daughter to my mother, though. IC advised me not to contact them, but they always seem to reach out to me, usually in an hour of need. Which brings me to the current issue.

My mother is ill, has had surgery and hospitalized for almost 2 weeks. I have made arrangements to travel there to visit with her and help out for a few days, which I can feel the anxiety building. She lives in the same house of my childhood. I have a hotel and a rental car in case I need to make a quick escape, but the nightmares are back and this is causing me a good deal of distress.

How do you balance family responsibilities with what they have done? This is probably the last time I will see my mother alive. I'm not sure how I will feel when she is gone, but I don't want to feel guilty for not having been there, at least to a very limited extent.

I very much appreciate anyone's opinion.


caspers1wish posted 8/29/2013 11:41 AM


I think that you have a good grasp of what your SO seems to be going through, and I think it will be helpful for her knowing you want to understand her, as well as it being a great peace of mind for your own sanity to go in with eyes wide open.

Absolutely survivors constantly deal with low self-esteem issues, crippling shame, fear (over things as simple as fear of the dark, to major things like fear of abandonment, feeling hopeless and powerless), not being able to trust, and intense anger.

For me, anger came out at everyone over the smallest of infractions. It didn't really come from fear, although I'm sure there were elements about it (it is maddening to be fearful about things I think I shouldn't be), but it was more anger at myself. Tied in with low self esteem and shame, there was intense self-hate. For not fighting back, for not telling anyone, for not being protected, for feeling responsible for how long the abuse went on, to thinking of how cowardly I was, for not being able to just be ok once I was on my own and away from the abuse. For me, I couldn't do anything right, and I hated myself for it.

All that hate gets focused inward and it's very destructive. It takes a while for the survivor to place the blame and anger at the feet of the perpetrators and enablers of the abuse. Because there is a lot of guilt associated with viewing your parents or loved ones as less than, when they were really less than quality people.

I know I don't want to hear that SAB cannot be overcome (like some PD's)...

...but if that's the case, I need to hear it. Please tell me that's not the case...

I do think SAB can be overcome and it takes time. I still have issues trusting and struggle with intimacy with my partner. I still struggle with shame and fear and anger, but to such a lesser degree that it no longer interferes with my everyday life and self view. The death grip of being SAB no longer has the same choke hold on me as it once did. I can breathe, I can smile, I can relax, feel peaceful, and it feel authentic, not a facade to make everyone believe I'm ok, but really feel ok deep inside. I can even still feel less than at times, and know that I need to just give myself a break. The lows are never as low as they used to be. I've accepted what happened, what I felt during, and after, and forgive myself. My abuser can rot in hell, and I forgive myself for not forgiving him.

caspers1wish posted 8/29/2013 11:53 AM


I know that it is very painful to let go of your parents. I thought I could hold on until my dad died so that I could reach out to my mom and repair that relationship. I came to realization that that waiting was doing a lot of damage to myself. That holding on to the hope that they were someday going to finally come through for me, it was draining.

I wrote my mother this past spring and severed that relationship forever, and it has honestly brought me an even greater level of peace. I've let go on my terms.

I'm so sorry you have to go back to your childhood home where the abuse occurred. I think that if you feel the need to be there while she is ailing, even in a limited capacity, then you are doing what's right for you. If you get there, and it is too much, let yourself acknowledge it, unacknowledged, the anxiety will build. Know your limits. I think it's great you have a safe place you can retreat to if you need to. Don't feel beholden to explain yourself.

I wish I had better words of wisdom for you.

Edith posted 8/29/2013 12:43 PM

Thank you C1W. I was probably about your age when I severed the relationship with my entire FOO in what I thought was a final letter. Of course, over the subsequent years, my mother reached out to me and literally begged me to speak to her.

I was then called upon whenever there was a family crisis, my brother had cancer and they needed my help. I have always been the one to help, despite my being an outcast. My father's funeral was a circus, I was the target of such unbelievable hatefulness. I suppose it was fitting and has helped me cope with my childhood memories. I have allowed myself righteous fury.

So I suppose I have to suck it up, take a deep breath and get on that plane.
Most of my life the rage was focused inward. After his death, I have permitted myself to feel the rage toward the rightful owner(s). But now I have to pretend all is well and let my mother have the peace she has stolen from me.


caspers1wish posted 8/29/2013 13:18 PM

I don't think you should feel obligated to pretend or sacrifice yourself to anyone if it's not in your best interest and is not what you want. Only you know and only you can decide the best course of action. I'm really sorry you are having to struggle with this decision.

silverhopes posted 8/29/2013 17:03 PM

If you feel uncomfortable or angered when people comment about your nursing, those feelings are valid. If it were a family member I might say, as gently and blame-neutral as I could, "Nursing isn't always easy for me, so I'm sensitive about that topic. When you just said that, I felt uncomfortable."

Thank you, 20v. It would feel a lot better to set boundaries with them. Maybe I could say something like that. I feel unbelievably vulnerable admitting I'm sensitive or uncomfortable (I am, it's just so strange how I suddenly felt when I thought about saying it)... It's strange to note it. This might be something for me to explore further.

Could it be helpful to release shame's shackles on your heart if you knew it arose from that abusive "imprinting of being less"?

It would be, but part of the problem is that I am still around some of the people who crossed my boundaries. Some of them were family members. So a goal I have is that one by one, I am slowly cutting ties and "escaping" from the people who make me feel so uncomfortable. With each person I get away from, it's easier to release the shame back to them. Easier to push them away. But some of them are still around. It's complicated. But your suggestion makes sense.

Do you feel sometimes you're in an emotional fetal position?

Yes, constantly. I'm in the process of imagining a person who is stronger and not vulnerable, and who can effectively get away from uncomfortable people. Right now I'm trying to learn the new habits to support this. One is getting out of the house more often, taking my son to the playground (and standing back as he plays and learns with the other kids), and being a very active mother. Believe it or not, even that was hard and a struggle for a long time, but it's finally becoming a habit. It helps me feel more like an adult to throw myself as hard as possible into my role as a mother. To remind myself that I'm not the child who got abused anymore, I'm the mother who is giving my child a happy, safe childhood. And of course, it's healthier for my son. Motherhood represents strength and caring and protection and trust in your children.

20WrongsVs1 posted 8/30/2013 11:19 AM


Take care of yourself. It was your mother's job to take care of you when you were 6 (my DD's age now). She chose to maliciously hurt you instead, and inflict a lifetime of pain.

But now I have to pretend all is well and let my mother have the peace she has stolen from me.

FTN. The hell you do! You're not a 6-year-old girl with no choices. Your mother begged to speak to you, but has she ever apologized? Or even acknowledge what she did?

You couldn't choose your family when you were six, bless your heart, but you can now. Detach. 180 and NC your entire family, for good this time...unless you feel you have something to gain from it.

You didn't deserve what happened to you, and you sure as hell don't deserve to be hated by your siblings. Nor do you owe your mom a damn thing. I'm gonna quit now before I get any further incensed.

Just, bless you, Edith, I hope you will put your own "peace" first: once and for all.

unfound posted 8/30/2013 17:06 PM


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