My FWS was abused by his father who is now 85 years old and as with many elderlys this age, he suffers memory loss.
It would be futile to initiate any type of confrontation at this point. Even if age was not a factor, my FWS would not confront due to his PTSD. I will also not confront, this is FWS's 'demon' and whatever method he decides to use in living with it, I will support him.
[This message edited by OnceWasEnough at 12:37 AM, July 20th (Friday)]
This is quite a slow thread! I went to my IC and she said don't confront the abuser on my fWH's behalf. First it's his issue and his choice and second she doesn't want me to be the one to "bell the cat". I've never heard that expression before but she explained that the mice were getting killed off so they came up with a plan to put a bell on the cat so they would know when it was near. The question is "who bell's the cat" (and basically dies or become the sacrificial lamb). The whole family is involved and all have rugswept it or denied so it would be very ugly for me. I just felt that SOMEONE should stand up for him.
As a sexual abuse survivor, I would be highly pissed if my WH confronted my abusers.
Not because I don't want someone to stand up for me, I do, but I can only handle so much at a time...and I need to be prepared for the repurcussions.
I need him to be there for me when those repercussions hit.
I was, however, finally able to confront my mom about my stepdad. It sucked.
My story...is much easier to tell after years of therapy.
My mom and dad married while in high school and divorced shortly afterwards. My mom had my older brother at 15 (we have a different dad) and had me at 17 and was divorced before she turned 18. Both my parents were heavily into whatever they could snort, swallow, or inject into their bodies.
The first abuse I can rememebr is a babysitter's boyfriend. I was very very young. She babysat my brother and I for 4 years (my ages were 3 years old till 7) our 2 cousins were there also.
So for 4 years this man had all day access to a 1 year old (my cousin) two 3 year olds (me and my other cousin) and a 5 year old (my brother)
He abused us all, for years. He videotaped us, took photographs and every other ugly thing...for years.
He told us everyday that if we told our parents he would kill us, then our parents.
At the same time, my mom was usually drunk or high and hit us all the time (my brother and I have many broken bones). She would have boyfriends over, pass out, and sometimes the boyfriends weren't so nice either. I'm pretty sure we were used to buhy drugs, no concrete evidence...just a feeling.
During this time my dad was doing and dealing drugs and really couldn't be bothered with his children. He usually just locked us in a room for his weekends so he could still party.
My dad was arrested and spent almost 5 years in jail and my mom went to rehad and the most wonderful time of my childhood started, I got to live with my grandparents.
For years, I was with them and I absolutely loved every minute of it. They taught me everything I know and what type of person to be. I will forever be in their debt and will love them with all my heart.
Then my mom got out of rehab, met a married man, they married and pulled me away from my grandparents. For awhile it was fine, my stepdad didn't let my mom hit us and there was no more babysitter or sexual abuse.
Then I developed, got boobs, and all of that changed.
My stepdad no longer started looking at me as a daughter. He commented on my breasts and was always in the bathroom when I showered. This remained until I left home, when I graduated high school.
Our neighbor during this time also touched me inappropriately, i immediately stopped going over to play with his daughters, so that only happened once -- when I was 12.
I left home, joined the Navy and was physically assaulted in "A" school. I immediately told my class advisor and the other student was masted and discharged.
So as you can see, many years of assault, from many different people.
Fast forward to now (at age 37) and I was finally able to tell my mom, 3 years ago, that I didn't want my stepdad around my 3 children. My oldest daughter was starting to develop and everything came crashing in like a tidal wave.
All my mom said was "she understood"
that was it!
Since then, she calls on the kid's birthday and Christmas. That's it.
I don't talk to my stepdad, nor will I anymore.
Wow..that was cathartic! probably way more info than what y'all wanted.
Needless to say, this pain and hurt, from those who were supposed to protect me, is making this A really hard to handle.
But I am taking it day by day...as my IC tells me...
I have survived worse
Some thoughts since that post both as a BS of a SAS and now going on 7 years as a marriage and family therapist.
Really love The Sexual Healing Journey, A Guide for Survivors of Sexual Abuse, Revised Edition, by Wendy Maltz used it first as a BS with then SAVictim and over the years including this week as a therapist working with an ongoing caseload that includes past abuse victims. The surveys in the first few chapters are eyeopeners for many SAVs who suddenly realize that are acting/reacting in a sane way to the insanity of abuse.
Two strong believer in Bill O'Hanlon's posssibility therapy which central to that is the concept "your past influences you but doesn't define you" which he strongly promotes when working with abuse victims.
It is critical that you focus on what happened to you not what is wrong with you. By that you didn't chose to be a victim so whatever issues that followed are a product of what happened to you.
You need not understand your past abuse to overcome it. It is not so much what happened back then as how it still makes you feel today. If someone invading your personal space triggers specific feelings learn why you have those feelings and how to cope with them in safe/non-destructive. Understanding how you react to touch both wanted and unwanted has nothing to do with going back over past abuse.
Finally the cruelest thing about past abuse is the false message it gives its victims....and how they continue to give themselves that same message long after their abuser is out of their life.
Life gives us us sorrow so we can have something to measure happiness with.
Thank you for the book recommendation, I will certaintly be checking it out.
There is much work left to be done, boundries to be set, and triggers to overcome. But I can handle it, a day at a time.
Thank-you for your story. It's absolutely heart wrenching!! I just can't understand cruel people.
I am the BS and my WH is the SAB survivor. I can understand why he has to do this on his own time. I appreciate you letting me have insight into the life of SAB's.
"Have any of the spouses of a SAB ever confronted the abuser? Have any of the SAB's?"
My husband never confronted my abuser and I would have been devastated if he had. Back when we were dating and the abuse was going on, I had begged my then boyfriend, to not tell anyone. Had he divulged my secret to someone, a friend or his parents, without my permission, would have been equally devastating. Now that the abuse is over and I've worked on it, I could care less who knows or who he tells and discusses with if he was so inclined, I'm no longer a captive of shame.
I have never really confronted my abuser. There was one instance when I was 14 or 15 and my mother made my dad and I sit in our driveway so we could get our "angries" out at each other, so I could have my chance to confront him about what he did to me as a child, she thought it would be a good exercise for us, it was surreal. Little did she know that the abuse never stopped and he was having sex with me since I was 13.
We sat there, sobbing. First time I ever saw my dad cry. He was broken, I know that now. Neither of us could grasp how broken I was at that point though. He didn't talk, just cried. I finally told him that it had to stop, it was wrong. He said he knew it was wrong and he was sorry, and it would never happen again. It was probably the last time I ever felt truly hopeful about the abuse ending. But it was very short-lived.
I confronted my mother 7-ish years ago, who I consider the enabler in all of this, the one who failed to do her duty and protect me. I just calmly told her the abuse never stopped. She wasn't sorry or angry on my behalf, she wanted off the phone and we'd never speak to each other again. Being the peacekeeper, I wanted to work things out, but she refused to take my calls. After several weeks I decided it was best and haven't resumed a relationship with her, despite her now twisting it around that now she is the victim and I'm punishing her, and yet she is living merrily with my abuser, yeah that's not supposed to bother me one bit.
If I wanted to punish her, they'd all be in jail. Right now, I'm just ready for them to die, but they probably have several more years left in them, they're in their 70's. And to clarify, I don't wish them dead. I'm just trying to prepare for the mental upheaval their deaths might cause. I love my parents. I don't wish them ill or death. I wish they could have been better parents is all and just leave me alone in peace forever.
Hugs to momxgbg. I hope you find healing.
Because momxbg and others were brave enough to share...
I was 3/4yo at a summer camp with lots of other kids. I am allergic to some kind of grass and when running around outside, had an allergic reaction and had to come inside for cortisone cream. Of course the camp director, a slimy old guy, was in charge of administering first aid.
I clearly remember sitting on a high bench, dangling my legs. at this point, this filthy old man used me as a receptacle and forced me to do something that I cannot fathom someone making a child do, much less a child so small.
it is likely he did this to both boys and girls. Some kids, I grew up ad went to high school with. The camp closed down about 13 years later. gee, wonder why. maybe he finally got caught, the sick fuck.
I bet if anyone ever confronted this filthy loser, he would relive mentally his happy times putting himself in children's mouths. I firmly believe in karma. There is a special miserable fate awaiting this asshole if he hasn't met it already.
I really don't think it was that bad but I just don't remember a lot. Except I do remember his icky nasty lips. My cousin's wife said he used to chase her around and try to "romantically" kiss her. I sort of have memories of that and his lips make me want to vomit.
I don't know what to expect here.
STBXWW has recently suggested her actions may be a result of being molested by her uncle when she was 7 years old.
Five simple rules of happiness:
1. Free your heart from hatred.
2. Free your mind from worries.
3. Live simply.
4. Give more.
5. Expect less.
Maybe you have repressed some memories, and if they happened when you very young, that is a natural thing to do. Even just touching and groping is very damaging and terrible, it all is. There is no worse or less, it all hurts and is all relevant. I hope your family is able to heal and your uncle is punished for his crimes.
I am a WW and was sexually abused as a child. For me, there is a link between my abuse and infidelity. No boundaries, poor self esteem, reenactment of the abuse and shame cycle, reinforcement of negative thoughts about self, feeling worthless.
I found the Sexual Abuse Survivor's thread very helpful, the first part. The third post outlines it very well. Here is the link.
[This message edited by caspers1wish at 6:45 PM, August 7th (Tuesday)]
I just don't know why I can't remember. My sister remembers some stuff and she was in tears about it, and she has wished him dead all these years. I had no idea. My cousins girl was threatening to commit suicide, they put her in counseling, that is how all this came out. They had no idea either. There are more.
I just don't know why I can't remember.
Forgetting the abuse is a very effective coping mechanism and it happens because your brain is trying to protect yourself, to protect the small child who endured abuse.
With all that is going on in your family, do not be a little surprised if some of it comes bubbling to the surface. You should allow yourself to feel whatever you need to, maybe it's anger or sadness, or the need to process all the information coming to light, or maybe you will continue to have no feelings about it. There is no set way for you to react and work through things. Keep us posted.
Hugs and support.
My SAb was related to my A. I did not connect the dots til after D-Day, and I am still working through IC to put it all together. I was used like a filthy dishrag, then my life and my sister's life were threatened and I was thrown aside like garbage. Then, when I had my A, I put myself in a position where my value and self-respect was about equal to that filthy dishrag. Not ok or healthy.
That said, SAb does not excuse my A. Period. I have shit in my past and the healthy way to deal with it was through therapy, reading relevant literature, healthy activities, journaling, etc. NOT having an A.
I'm guessing you are seeking an understanding of your wife's issues. That is very valid and fair and acceptable. But do not let her use that to excuse her actions. There are plenty of SAb survivors who do not deal with their trauma by having an A. I'm sure there are some on this and the previous thread that can echo this.
Are you/your WW in IC with a therapist that has experience dealing with trauma survivors? That would probably help immensely.
Thank you to caspers1wish for the link, this is helpful to me as a newbie to this thread as well.
Thanks again, very enlightening information....
Here comes the anger......
Thank-you for your story and honesty. My fWH doesn't want me to confront and my IC says I shouldn't and I won't. I want to respect him. I agree with your whole post about how the abuse relates to the affair.
So much about my fWH's FOO issues (SAB/incest) came out just after dday. After getting to a great IC, she explained how it all related. The pieces fell into place and I could understand it. It still didn't make it any less painful and just like nothingelsematters said he could have dealt with it without having an A. Now that he is completely out of the fog and he has dealt with his past he is just horrified, disgusted...so remorseful. The whole story is just so sad...everything about it. We are just now moving forward (18 months out). It's hard. It's also worth it.
She does not want to go to IC and I can definitely respect that. My question is will IC help if she decides to open up to an IC? It makes me uneasy that fWW is willing to forgo any counseling because it is tough to talk about and there is no reason to bring up the past. She has made it this far without IC, I am sure she can make it further, but she has really compartmentalized quite a bit of her life with abusers and other men she chose to be with.
I am just not sure what to do, or how to help, or if there is anything I could do.
Her distorted view of sex and of herself is very much the result of her past sexual abuse.
Is she willing to discuss the abuse with you? Or if neither of you feel comfortable, as it would require a lot of support and patience on your part, a difficult task when you are the one who needs some support and patience as well at this time, what about a friend? sibling?
Or maybe attend IC with her as her support. I'm pretty resistant to counseling, but dealing with my past is very much a priority. I have an amazing support system of friends and family who I discuss the abuse with often, I have books and work books, an online support group apart from SI.
She may not be ready to talk about this with anyone, but she needs to stop running from it. She can journal out her feelings, do work on herself. Simply what's important is that she wants to work on it and face it and drag up the past. You cannot move forward and change distorted views without addressing where those views came from.
She is trying to suppress and ignore. Those things such as traumatic abuse, while forgotten, cannot be ignored. She will continue to act out and hurt you and your family without getting to the bottom of her past.
My husband wanted to help me too, but didn't know where to begin. What he found helpful was to educate himself on sexual abuse. He bought books, for me and for himself, but read them all anyway, so he could understand. And even though I was resistant to wanting to face my past, even if we had divorced, he needed to know what he had been dealing with and why for himself. His willingness to face it no matter if we were together or not, really helped me to gather the courage to make that step towards healing.
Hugs and support.
This book was helpful for me
Allies in Healing: When the Person You Love Was Sexually Abused as a Child
By Laura Davis