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Sexual Abuse Survivors/Spouses - Part 3

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SI Staff posted 2/17/2016 18:57 PM

For those that are personally dealing with this situation.

[This message edited by SI Staff at 6:59 PM, February 17th (Wednesday)]

devotedman posted 2/18/2016 00:57 AM

For the new people who find this thread, a set of links that I have permission to post as-is. Except for the first couple of lines the I's and Me's are the people who originally posted the material:

Here are some CSA resource. Some are from my company EAP and some are from other members.

The Sexual Healing Journey is considered very good by many. Author below.

http://malesurvivor.org

http://pandys.org/forums/

You need to create an account to access the survivor support forums. It is a wonderful resource for survivors and their secondaries.

ETA: The site has several communities, for men, women, teens, and covers just about every area of sexual assault imaginable. There is so much support there, but it can be overwhelming as there is a lot of info to process

Journey to Wholeness by Monique Lang,
The Sexual Healing Journey by Wendy Maltz,
The Rape Recovery Handbook by Aphrodite Matsakis,
Courage to Heal Workbook: For Women and Men Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse, by Laura Davis,
I Can't Get Over It, A Handbook for Trauma Survivors by Aphrodite Matsakis,
How to Survive Sexual Assault for Women, Men, Teenagers, and Their Friends and Families by Helen Benedict-Nonfiction.
Selected parts of "How to Survive..." are available online at:
http://books.google.com
and then select, copy, and paste the title and author from the line above. The actual link is so long that the whole page containing it renders badly in browsers.

Dealing with the Effects of Trauma—A Self-Help Guide, available at:
http://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content//SMA-3717/SMA-3717.pdf

This link has tips on physical and emotional self-care for survivors:
http://www.rainn.org/get-information/sexual-assault-recovery/self-care-for-survivors

We have more than a dozen books, the ones I found most helpful were,
1. The Courage to Heal by Ellen Bass & Laura Davis,
2. The Sexual Healing Journey by Wendy Maltz
3. Allies in Healing by Laura Davis,
4. Ghosts in the Bedroom by Ken Graber,
5. What about me? by Grant Cameron

Books by Patrick Carnes.

Secret Survivors - uncovering incest and its Aftereffects for women, by E. Sue Blume.

http://courageousjourneys.com

"The Body Keeps the Score" and it relates HOW trauma affects the brain and CHANGES the chemical processes, the connections, etc. I don't think my husband should read it just yet because he is still having flash backs and other fear based responses, but as a spouse, to read and UNDERSTAND why he acts this way or that is really helpful

There is hope and healing. You have only to seek it out.

[This message edited by devotedman at 6:06 PM, February 20th, 2017 (Monday)]

devotedman posted 2/18/2016 08:53 AM

onlytime, I did the facebook search thing, too.

I'm a data guy and I did a lot of searching for OM and OMW. It was truly crazy-making. The old NCNo New Hurts is definitely true. In fact, the only reason that I didn't mention it before is that it is just (to me, anyway) expected behavior from reading here.

He is not running away. I tell him I think he would be better off without me, but he disagrees.

These sorts of thoughts are normal. Very. They're also to be avoided. The reason? Well, this might be a 2x4, but a gentle one: They often come from a 'poor me' mentality.

See, from one point of view, _everyone_ would be better off alone. There's no risk. There's also less in the way of joy, sharing, bonding, and exploring the full range of human experience. The trade-off of no-risk is sitting alone inside your concrete bunker buried 1,000 feet below the surface tending to your hydroponic gardens and writing manifestos. Most people simply don't want to live that way. So, they _choose_ to take risks. And a relationship is a risk.

From another point of view you're invalidating _his_ choices, his desires, and his caring for you. And that's not a good thing, either. You know how that invalidation feels, you've been writing about it.

He's willing to take the risk even knowing what possible outcomes there are. Now the hard thing is up to you - will you do the work necessary to make his risk worthwhile? And that work isn't being done for him, oh no, that work is being done by you for you. One of the outcomes of the work is that you're an acceptable risk. Another is that you're healing, which is what makes you an acceptable risk.

He says he is not going anywhere and that we are in this together. I want to believe that, but it has always been scary to believe in anything or anyone.

Yep, I do understand that, very much. I trusted my mother over and over again. The main point here is that it is your decision to accept the risk or not.

Here's something said to be by someone that I respect very much, and I'm still wrapping my head around it. I'm the "you" in this.

"You're a safe partner for her. Even if you decide to break it off with her you'll do it in a way that will minimize hurt for her and with respect for her feelings."

The dichotomy, oxymoron, what have you, for me is the juxtaposition of "safe" and "break it off". I can see what my friend meant. Now I just have to believe it.

Not to forget, kudos on making the psychiatric visit, your diagnoses, and intent to share with out other counselor! Facing those fears is a head-on approach to getting better! Bravo!

I'm sorry that your exH is still such a danger to you. That would be very, very hard for me to live with. I admire your dealing with it.

hopefulkate! Thanks for the update. Sorry that you went through that mess, and still good on you for sticking by your H through this recovery and healing process.

2frayedsouls, what you wrote about having already lived through the hard part is a really, really good way to look at that. You've given me something to really think about. Thank you.

For my own take on the "you poor thing" style of comment - I don't take offense to that phraseology. Their reaction is their reaction, after all. It doesn't validate or invalidate me or my experiences. I usually respond with an offhand type of comment and don't really share anything more with that person. I'm not offended, but their world-view is such that they'd rather not have to deal with the icky stuff. I have found that that style is usually from the head-in-the-sand type. That they do that says absolutely nothing about me and quite a bit about them.

Good luck to us all, and may we be blessed by our Deity of choice!

[This message edited by devotedman at 8:58 AM, February 18th, 2016 (Thursday)]

onlytime posted 2/18/2016 11:42 AM

devotedman:

I'm a data guy and I did a lot of searching for OM and OMW. It was truly crazy-making. The old NCNo New Hurts is definitely true. In fact, the only reason that I didn't mention it before is that it is just (to me, anyway) expected behavior from reading here.

I know it is crazy-making. I have only looked up the men that sexually assaulted me maybe a handful of times, but with my abusive xH and with BF13's AP, I was doing it many, many times a day (even after the xH was back in jail and after the OW killed herself). There was nothing to find there. Just me repeatedly hurting myself. As a borderline I used to cut myself all the time. I stopped doing that about 15 years ago. I am beginning to think (right now, and am wondering why it never dawned on me before right now), that maybe I am doing that in place of the cutting? Trying to numb myself from the pain? I dunno, just thinking out loud right now.

He is not running away. I tell him I think he would be better off without me, but he disagrees
.

These sorts of thoughts are normal. Very. They're also to be avoided. The reason? Well, this might be a 2x4, but a gentle one: They often come from a 'poor me' mentality.

Thank you for the (gentle) 2x4, I needed to hear that. Yep, it definitely is me slipping back into the "poor me" mentality. Definitely an area that needs A LOT more work.

See, from one point of view, _everyone_ would be better off alone. There's no risk. There's also less in the way of joy, sharing, bonding, and exploring the full range of human experience. The trade-off of no-risk is sitting alone inside your concrete bunker buried 1,000 feet below the surface tending to your hydroponic gardens and writing manifestos. Most people simply don't want to live that way. So, they _choose_ to take risks. And a relationship is a risk.

Is it bad that the concrete bunker actually seems appealing? I do get what you are saying though. Risk is pretty darn scary though.

From another point of view you're invalidating _his_ choices, his desires, and his caring for you. And that's not a good thing, either. You know how that invalidation feels, you've been writing about it.

I didn't even see it this way. I get so focused on my own pain sometimes that I can't see past myself. Which is really horrible, because I don't know how many times I have called him out on invalidating me. And, I imagine he has a hard time calling me out on my shit because of a) the guilt he has for betraying me and b) fear of my reaction (BPD rage). I think this may be a good thing for me to address in IC and for BF13 and I to address in MC.

Not to forget, kudos on making the psychiatric visit, your diagnoses, and intent to share with out other counselor! Facing those fears is a head-on approach to getting better! Bravo!

Thank you. I knew I had to do it. I watched myself get sicker and sicker and sicker. Discovering BF13's A ripped me right open and all the traumas from the past spilled out and blended in with what he had done. I was not functioning. I was angry and bitter and resentful and hateful and what I wasn't taking out on BF13, I was taking out on myself. My mental health suffered and I blamed BF13 for ALL of it. The thing I slowly realized though was that I had a responsibility to heal myself. No one could do that for me. The only one that was keeping me STUCK, was me. And that is when I knew I needed to work on myself and begin to address my own shit.

I'm sorry that your exH is still such a danger to you. That would be very, very hard for me to live with. I admire your dealing with it.

I have been dealing with his shit for almost 30 years (nearly 3/4 of my life). The only way it is ever going to end is when he is dead , and yes I have fantasized about making that happen on more than one occasion. (IC says it's okay to fantasize about that - as long as I don't act on it).

It is hard to heal completely when his psychopathic bullshit is always there and I have to deal with it. People say to just ignore him. Yep, the guy is a massive risk to my family and I and people want me to just bury my head in the sand and pretend like he isn't there. Not seeing how that is even remotely helpful, AT ALL! (Okay, rant done).

devotedman posted 2/18/2016 16:09 PM

onlytime, here's a technique to help make some of those hard communications easier.

Hold hands.

So, when you acknowledge to him that you've been invalidating _him_ (you were going to do this, right?), stand face-to-face, take his hands, both of them. Look him in the eye and say that you have something to say. Look at his hands. Turn them a bit, really regard them. Tell his hands about invalidating him. Then, look him in the eye and repeat it.

Having said it once, it will be easier to say the second time. I've found that it is pretty hard to get mad at someone that you're holding hands with.

Give it a shot and see if it works for you / helps. If it doesn't then that's okay, it just doesn't. No loss, at least you tried.

One more comment re: "poor thing" and "just ignore him (re: exH)" comments:

The people making those comments are making them from their own point-of-view, not yours. They're suddenly forced into realizing that their world-view doesn't include CSA and extreme DV and danger.

They simply have absolutely no context. Make no mistake, being confronted with the fact that CSA happened, not to someone else, but to a friend or loved one, is a big thing to acknowledge/accept/deal with. Suddenly someone who has lived the unthinkable is standing right there looking at you. And sort of expecting an answer. It takes one aback, it does. Same with the extreme DV stuff.

I've gotten some of the same sorts of responses and I have educated a few of my closer friends about the behaviors, reasons, results of having lived with CSA. They've been surprised, but open and willing to learn. Even after making statements indicating that "recreating the abuse" doesn't make any sense. Even after poo-pooing the idea that promiscuity is a result of CSA damage and not just/only a lifestyle choice.

Maybe next time the "poor thing"-ers won't respond the same way.

Okay, off _my_ soap box now. (laughing at myself and my reactions, there!)

onlytime posted 2/18/2016 18:05 PM

devotedman:

So, when you acknowledge to him that you've been invalidating _him_ (you were going to do this, right?)

Was it that obvious that I was going to struggle with this?

stand face-to-face, take his hands, both of them. Look him in the eye and say that you have something to say. Look at his hands. Turn them a bit, really regard them. Tell his hands about invalidating him. Then, look him in the eye and repeat it.

Having said it once, it will be easier to say the second time. I've found that it is pretty hard to get mad at someone that you're holding hands with.

Give it a shot and see if it works for you / helps. If it doesn't then that's okay, it just doesn't. No loss, at least you tried.

After getting that little nudge from you and using the approach you recommended, I found it helped a lot. He thanked me. I could see that it meant a lot to him. I do need to practice this more.

One more comment re: "poor thing" and "just ignore him (re: exH)" comments:

The people making those comments are making them from their own point-of-view, not yours. They're suddenly forced into realizing that their world-view doesn't include CSA and extreme DV and danger.

They simply have absolutely no context. Make no mistake, being confronted with the fact that CSA happened, not to someone else, but to a friend or loved one, is a big thing to acknowledge/accept/deal with. Suddenly someone who has lived the unthinkable is standing right there looking at you. And sort of expecting an answer. It takes one aback, it does. Same with the extreme DV stuff.

This makes sense.

I've gotten some of the same sorts of responses and I have educated a few of my closer friends about the behaviors, reasons, results of having lived with CSA. They've been surprised, but open and willing to learn. Even after making statements indicating that "recreating the abuse" doesn't make any sense. Even after poo-pooing the idea that promiscuity is a result of CSA damage and not just/only a lifestyle choice.

Maybe next time the "poor thing"-ers won't respond the same way.

I think I could try this next time.

devotedman posted 2/19/2016 08:32 AM

This might get long, sorry. (Heh, heh. Like it would be a surprise if a DM post was long. It'd be a surprise if it wasn't! )

dm said:

So, when you acknowledge to him that you've been invalidating _him_ (you were going to do this, right?)

onlytime replied:
Was it that obvious that I was going to struggle with this?

Yes. No. Maybe.

You're hurting, really hurting, and seeking help for that. So is it possible or even likely that you'll be a bit slack in recognizing when others are hurt by your actions? Yes. It is a normal reaction to being hurt, emotionally or physically, to be a bit self-centered. Maybe not a _good_ reaction, but it does fall within the normal range of responses.

His A hurt you, too. So is it a normal reaction to be a bit less concerned with _his_ emotions? Yes. You're trying to R, so do you at some point _need_ to be concerned with his emotions? Yes.

Here's where MH situations get so very complicated. Because _he_ is feeling the same things that you are (with regard to the respective A's), so he has to comfort, heal, and fix himself at the same time that you have to do those things, too. Honestly, some of that is fodder for another forum, mostly. All of the MH/A/WS/BS/CSA/DV stuff, some of it from both sides, has to be dealt with by both people from both points of view. A lot of it at the same time.

From my own life I have come to believe that the most that I can do is try to create and maintain an environment in which another reasonable person _can_ be happy. Their happiness is on them. Making me a safe partner for them to relate to is on me.

Okay, so that was the Yes part. The No part is simpler. I realized that you would recognize what you had to do. I can only assume that you will do what needs to be done.

The Maybe part is pretty simple, too. Are we brought up to really incorporate that we will make mistakes and apologize appropriately, fully, and heartfelt-edly? Not particularly well, we aren't. Admitting mistakes and taking responsibility for them is _hard_. And it shouldn't be. I've re-jiggered myself to the attitude that I am human, I will make mistakes that hurt others, and I should recognize and apologize and _learn_ not to do the same thing again so that I can lessen the amount of hurt that I unleash on the universe. Eh, DM philosophy, whatta loadda crap.

But - just think about how _he_ felt to have his feelings validated. He felt exactly the same way that you feel when you are validated via an apology. He felt relief, he felt better, he felt that you were _human_, and it was a good feeling for him.

That was you taking steps to create and maintain an environment in which a reasonable human can be happy. Fistbump: }{

The method of communication example? That's what works for me. I've been there, right with you, in having to apologize and validate. That's the Open, Authentic, Trustworthy, Honest style (OATH if you need a mnemonic). Yes, it does make you vulnerable. Yes, vulnerable is good.

Regarding how others react to CSA/DV that we were discussing?

Be prepared for someone to refuse to change their world-view to accept that CSA/extreme DV doesn't just happen to "someone else" or "low-lifes" or "ne'er do wells".

Here's the thing - and there've been discussions in General, R, D/S, etc - as we heal and become aware, safe, and healthy we will sometimes leave behind those people who continue with a head-in-the-sand approach. We will grow beyond those with a less aware, more simplistic? innocent? laissez-faire? approach to life.

We _will_ find that some people that we care about simply cannot accept into their frame of reference that those things really do happen to good people. And that finding out will hurt.

Then we _will_ find that we are more picky? discerning? careful? with the friends that we make. We'll gain new friendships with really aware people. I've been to one G2G and it was an amazing experience. Some of it was just party-talk and friendly-talk -but- the open, frank discussions of all of this crap happened, too. Quite different, and quite an eye-opener.

Now, onlytime, a question - will your having apologized once make it easier to do when it becomes necessary again? And think about _why_ that that is so.

ETA:
The groups that a lot of people create in their minds to hold CSA/extreme DV victims? The "low-lifes", "someone else", "ne'er do wells" groups? That is a defensive reaction by them. People do this, put others into groups and then make the group less than themselves. It is a diminishing of the other people. By making them "not me" and "less than" the person can, through mental gymnastics, convince themselves that "it won't happen to _me_, because I'm not in that group."

It is also cruel and dismissive.

[This message edited by devotedman at 8:50 AM, February 19th, 2016 (Friday)]

onlytime posted 2/19/2016 11:10 AM

You're hurting, really hurting, and seeking help for that. So is it possible or even likely that you'll be a bit slack in recognizing when others are hurt by your actions? Yes. It is a normal reaction to being hurt, emotionally or physically, to be a bit self-centered. Maybe not a _good_ reaction, but it does fall within the normal range of responses.

That self-centeredness is something that I have recognized, yet at the same time denied...for years. I definitely think my codependency and BPD contributed to that in some way.

The codependency for sure allowed me to say "Hey, look at me. I am doing all these things for others. Look at how selfless I am!". Once I started reading and learning about CoD it opened my eyes to how my actions were not selfless at all - in fact they were incredibly selfish. It was about control, about trying to get others to think I was indispensable (so they wouldn't abandon me), about me thinking I knew better and could do things better than others (you know, thinking "here I will do that for you because I don't think you will do it right or as well as I can"). None of that was selfless at all. It was ALL about me. Ugh. That was a tough pill to swallow when I realized that.

The fact that I refused to accept my BPD diagnosis years ago ("the doctor is just a quack, I know myself better than he does") was absolutely arrogant and completely selfish. Years without treatment. I blamed the symptoms on having been a victim, that is why I acted the way I did, and apparently there is some truth to that (neglect, physical/sexual traumas in childhood are believed to contribute to the development of BPD). But still without treatment, I made things all about my pain, my hurt...me, me, me.

I think I have been more than a bit slack in recognizing when others are hurt by the things I do (or have done). I think it has been a pattern. That is not to say that I never recognize pain/hurt I have caused others, because I definitely have, but there are certainly times that are more difficult for me than others, and if I look at those times closely, it definitely is more difficult for me to recognize it in people who I feel have harmed me. (Maybe a connection to the idealization/devaluation dynamic of the BPD??).

This is certainly something I need to explore further and do some serious work on.

His A hurt you, too. So is it a normal reaction to be a bit less concerned with _his_ emotions? Yes. You're trying to R, so do you at some point _need_ to be concerned with his emotions? Yes.

This was a HUGE struggle for a long time after d-day, and it is only within the past month or so where I have been able to show more concern for his emotions.

I was so angry with him. Okay, not just angry - I was ENRAGED. He knew my history, he knew what I had endured, he knew about the PTSD, and he was the one person who I believed had my back. Until he betrayed me, and then (in my mind) he was just another asshole who had hurt me, he was no different from the rest of the men who had sexually/emotionally/physically abused me.

It has only been with his consistently remorseful behaviour, and the incredible amount of work he has been doing on himself, that I have been able to see him as separate from those men and start to let go of the pure rage I had been holding on to.

It has been a slow process and an area that still needs a lot of work and I think healing from the past abuses is going to play a big part in my ability to consistently have concern for his feelings.

Here's where MH situations get so very complicated. Because _he_ is feeling the same things that you are (with regard to the respective A's), so he has to comfort, heal, and fix himself at the same time that you have to do those things, too. Honestly, some of that is fodder for another forum, mostly. All of the MH/A/WS/BS/CSA/DV stuff, some of it from both sides, has to be dealt with by both people from both points of view. A lot of it at the same time.

It is complicated indeed, but I think we are on the right path now.

Are we brought up to really incorporate that we will make mistakes and apologize appropriately, fully, and heartfelt-edly? Not particularly well, we aren't. Admitting mistakes and taking responsibility for them is _hard_. And it shouldn't be. I've re-jiggered myself to the attitude that I am human, I will make mistakes that hurt others, and I should recognize and apologize and _learn_ not to do the same thing again so that I can lessen the amount of hurt that I unleash on the universe.

I can't remember if it was you or 2frayedsouls that said "Hurt people hurt people", but it really made sense to me, and at the same time it made me want to do better. It is what is inspiring me to take on the hard work of addressing my past, of unpacking all of the shit I had long ago stuffed deep, deep inside.

But - just think about how _he_ felt to have his feelings validated. He felt exactly the same way that you feel when you are validated via an apology. He felt relief, he felt better, he felt that you were _human_, and it was a good feeling for him.

It was. Not only did he express that, but I could see it in his face and his body. There appeared to be a lightness in him for a brief moment.

That was you taking steps to create and maintain an environment in which a reasonable human can be happy. Fistbump: }{

The method of communication example? That's what works for me. I've been there, right with you, in having to apologize and validate. That's the Open, Authentic, Trustworthy, Honest style (OATH if you need a mnemonic). Yes, it does make you vulnerable. Yes, vulnerable is good.

Vulnerability is still really freakin' scary, but I do see where it is a good thing. I am working on it. I like that OATH thing - I am going to write that down so I can keep referring back to it.

Regarding how others react to CSA/DV that we were discussing?

Be prepared for someone to refuse to change their world-view to accept that CSA/extreme DV doesn't just happen to "someone else" or "low-lifes" or "ne'er do wells".

I fully expect that there will be people who are stuck in their own view of the world. People who find it necessary to maintain a sense of denial in their lives.

Here's the thing - and there've been discussions in General, R, D/S, etc - as we heal and become aware, safe, and healthy we will sometimes leave behind those people who continue with a head-in-the-sand approach. We will grow beyond those with a less aware, more simplistic? innocent? laissez-faire? approach to life.

We _will_ find that some people that we care about simply cannot accept into their frame of reference that those things really do happen to good people. And that finding out will hurt.

Then we _will_ find that we are more picky? discerning? careful? with the friends that we make. We'll gain new friendships with really aware people. I've been to one G2G and it was an amazing experience. Some of it was just party-talk and friendly-talk -but- the open, frank discussions of all of this crap happened, too. Quite different, and quite an eye-opener.

It is interesting that you mention this. For probably 10+ years now I have been far more careful with who I allow into my life and have cut out a lot of unhealthy people - both so-called friends AND family members.

Now, onlytime, a question - will your having apologized once make it easier to do when it becomes necessary again? And think about _why_ that that is so.

I think it will make it easier.

In all honesty, I think I need to sit back for a bit and reflect on why that would be so. I am feeling stumped by that question right now.

I am actually feeling frustrated by not getting it, because normally I am more insightful than that.

ETA:
The groups that a lot of people create in their minds to hold CSA/extreme DV victims? The "low-lifes", "someone else", "ne'er do wells" groups? That is a defensive reaction by them. People do this, put others into groups and then make the group less than themselves. It is a diminishing of the other people. By making them "not me" and "less than" the person can, through mental gymnastics, convince themselves that "it won't happen to _me_, because I'm not in that group."

It is also cruel and dismissive.

Agreed.

I have seen this far too often.

helpmehelphim posted 2/25/2016 07:23 AM

Sorry I cant find the original post is this a place for people who have been sexually abused to post ?

onlytime posted 2/25/2016 08:48 AM

helpmehelphim:

Sorry I cant find the original post is this a place for people who have been sexually abused to post ?

Yes. It is.

Feel free to post whenever you are ready to.

hopefulkate posted 2/28/2016 16:52 PM

Update:

DM - thanks so much for getting this forum up again! And thanks to the monitors for keeping the old file up. There is so much helpful info there!

Feels cathartic a little to post in the new thread. Not sure if that is the right word or not, but maybe I can make sense soon. After sending my letter to the AP and taking a barely there dose of AD, I am feeling miles better. Today my brain was quiet. Not that it's not with me, but it's not in control. Wow-I can't say enough about that feeling. Almost normal!! Woohoo! (For me, there is only so far I would go lol!)

My H continues to make strides and work hard and has started to be able To Verbally thank me for fighting, for staying ...

For my part I'm getting better at seeing when he switches personalities. Though really it's just emotional states and not really other people. That child is present a lot more these days as he goes through the work but he is also getting more aware of the switch in order to recognize he needs to be an adult (when arguing with our kids for example). Huge is such a small word for this.

Seeing him, really seeing him has helped me understand what happened. Seeing him work so hard to be better for himself, for his family, has helped my love for him to stay. We are still healing. I will still have tough moments, and if I let my mind linger, really painful episodes, but the other side is getting brighter and brighter each day. I'm so glad I stayed so far. And thankful he is here on this earth to share this day too.

To all battling, and especially those just starting out. Keep the end in sight. It exists and it's worth it. (I'm not at the end, but I see it. Not something I could see day 1-or 180...)

Thank you all who have been there and helped me through this. I'll be in and out but you are all on my mind.

And 2frayed- one more day of February and we will have made it past yet another "thing"!! Go us!!

devotedman posted 2/29/2016 14:46 PM

Actually, to be Open and Honest, someone else requested a new thread before I got to it. I posted the last post. The different "views" of SI (SImplicity, not logged in, logged in) show replies/all posts so there's a "one off" between them since the first post isn't considered a "reply".

hopefulkate, glad to hear that things are looking up.

onlytime, the reason that validating him/admitting bad judgment, errors, mistakes will be easier next time is because there was only positive outcome from this time. That reinforces that it is good and not too difficult to actually admit it when you've done a wrong thing. Well, that and telling the truth feels better than lying.

Still at work, got to go!

onlytime posted 3/2/2016 09:36 AM

the reason that validating him/admitting bad judgment, errors, mistakes will be easier next time is because there was only positive outcome from this time. That reinforces that it is good and not too difficult to actually admit it when you've done a wrong thing. Well, that and telling the truth feels better than lying.

Thank you for this. I actually had a chance to do it again yesterday. We were at the doctor's office and we had her check a lump that BF13 felt on my back when he was hugging me. I mentioned to her, in what I recognize now as a very invalidating tone, that BF13 was really worried about it because that was how his (deceased) mother's cancer had started out. On our drive home I realized that I had invalidated his feelings and concerns and I apologized for it. I also recognized that part of the reason I played it off as his concern was because I did not want to be viewed as a hypochondriac (which is directly related to issues I had with my old family doc, who consistently invalidated my concerns about my health). We then shared our feelings about his mother's cancer and subsequent death.

It felt good that I was able to recognize where and how I was not validating him and projecting my own issues onto him. It also felt good to be able to own it.

So anyways, a recent post in the Reconciliation forum really brought up some feelings about BF13's A and how certain dynamics of it really bring up feelings related to my (sexual) abuse history. It was regarding feelings about the AP being 1/2 the BS age. While BF13's AP was not quite half my age, she was only a couple years older than my eldest daughter, and 21 years younger than BF13.

This age difference has been a huge part of my struggle in the R process and I know it relates both to my relationship with my xH and to one of my sexual assaults.

One of the men that sexually assaulted me was close to 50 and I was only 16. He was a teacher at a local high school. This always disturbed me. I never reported what happened and the older I got the more I struggled with not having reported it- I have always wondered how many other young women he preyed on. I really wish I had, at least, reported his behaviour to the school board.

Then there was my xH, who was/is a psychopathic predator. He cheated on me repeatedly with much, much younger women (girls). In viewing his social media over the past few years I have seen that he never changed in that respect and IMO got worse (he is close to 50 and has "friends" on FB that are 14/15 years old). And he has an unhealthy obsession with my youngest daughter. I won't go into details, but everyone who has seen the stuff he posted is very concerned about what they have seen.

When I met BF13 he was the complete opposite of my xH, and I felt safe having him around my children. After discovering that his AP was so young - so close to the ages of my children - I just felt sick. Had I been wrong about who he really was? Was he no different than my ex, no different than that teacher? Was he a predator too?

I know he has never harmed my children. They adore him and think he is a really good father.

But I do find myself projecting my feelings about the teacher and my ex onto him. I still get disgusted by his choice to have his A with someone young enough to be his child.

Logically, I know that at the time of his A, he had the emotional maturity of someone in their 20's rather than someone nearing 50. I know he had shit boundaries and his coping skills were crap. I know that he felt worthless and useless and that he sought out someone to "rescue", someone to be a KISA to. I was strong and independent and not in need of being rescued anymore and she was exactly like I was when him and I had met.

I understand all of that. I know it had nothing to do with either me or her. It had nothing to do with age. It had everything to do with HIM and HIS issues.

I just don't know how to stop seeing him as the same as my ex; the same as that teacher. It is one of the biggest things that I still struggle with.

Thoughts? Ideas on how to overcome this?

[This message edited by onlytime at 9:37 AM, March 2nd (Wednesday)]

hopefulkate posted 3/2/2016 09:57 AM

Hi Onlytime, I'm sorry you have so much pain to work through, but you sound really strong and determined to change - good for you! It is not easy at all!

For me, with my husband's affair, I struggled (and continue on and off) with seeing him as two people. The one who loves me and the one who hurt me. I have worked very hard on challenging those negative thoughts that this person is like all the other men in my life. I counter with my knowledge of where he was during this time and what drove him there. Similar it sounds to your understanding of your husbands "choices". Term used lightly. Choice in part, not choice in part of that makes sense.

It takes time but eventually that negative talk will automatically be rebutted by the truth you have learned, and then those thoughts come up less and less. I am not healed yet, but that is how it has gone so far for me, so I am hopeful that eventually they will mostly go away. We will have some of this stuff forever, so it's good to be mindful of what our true fears are that trigger these thoughts in order to counter them. Especially on the darker, harder days.

Not sure if this will help or not, but that is what has been helping me. Good luck!

onlytime posted 3/2/2016 10:19 AM

you sound really strong and determined to change - good for you! It is not easy at all!

Thank you HK. I don't know that I am strong necessarily, but I do recognize resiliency in myself. I am incredibly determined to change, learn, heal and grow. The life I had been living all these years is not even close to the life I wanted to be living. I know the journey to create a better future will be a long and sometimes difficult one, but I know it will be worth all of the effort.

For me, with my husband's affair, I struggled (and continue on and off) with seeing him as two people. The one who loves me and the one who hurt me. I have worked very hard on challenging those negative thoughts that this person is like all the other men in my life. I counter with my knowledge of where he was during this time and what drove him there. Similar it sounds to your understanding of your husbands "choices". Term used lightly. Choice in part, not choice in part of that makes sense.

Thank you for sharing this. It really does help.

2frayedsouls posted 3/5/2016 09:22 AM

And 2frayed- one more day of February and we will have made it past yet another "thing"!! Go us!!

Thanks Kate. Feels so much better to be past February. Feels like a level of oppression has been lifted if that makes any sense.

Onlytime, I tend to do what Kate does in my head with my husband's cheating...almost separate him into two people. Mr. Frayed beta version which had some serious flaws in the think/action programming, and Mr.Frayed now.

Logically, I know that at the time of his A, he had the emotional maturity of someone in their 20's rather than someone nearing 50. I know he had shit boundaries and his coping skills were crap. I know that he felt worthless and useless and that he sought out someone to "rescue", someone to be a KISA to. I was strong and independent and not in need of being rescued anymore and she was exactly like I was when him and I had met.

I imagine it has to be a struggle to reconcile your husband's AP's age when you were dealt such shitty blows by older men in your life. Your framework for older man/younger woman relationships comes from the predatory experiences you've experienced/witnessed with the teacher and ExH. (And just my little public service announcement: That teacher was a predator. Not turning him in to the school board is a regret you have now, as an adult looking back. But at 16, dealing from the trauma of being victimized, you really were not in a position to handle all of that. All of the guilt belongs to HIM! I understand the hindsight regret, but please be compassionate and do not judge yourself for not going before the board.) It sounds as though your husband realized that he chose an AP based upon matching maturity levels, and has been doing to work to grow and mature himself. Perhaps her age probably didn't have as much to do with the attraction as the mirror she held to him. Like you already said, a woman who was stronger and less needy would not have been giving him the ego strokes and reflecting back to him the messages he thought he needed to fill the chinks in his armor. In my husband's case, when he looks back now, it is very obvious to him that he was using their attention to compensate for the gaping holes in his esteem. My much cruder interpretation is that he spent time filling the wrong holes.

DM Thanks for copying over all of the links and resources. Hope you are doing well.

silverhopes posted 3/14/2016 21:53 PM

Happy Pi Day everyone! Just coming to check in.

I've been spending more time in the high room up in the snow-capped mountains (thank you DM). It is a welcome respite. Has anyone else here found reading about boundaries to be helpful? There was a book I was reading a long time ago, by Cloud and Townsend, and I've been thinking about picking it up again. I've been struggling to maintain my boundaries with people who would cross them. I only just realized that the ability to say no to people - that's what I've been lacking this whole time. I've always tried to be nice; my father called it "sugar-coating". Even when I was saying no to people, they just kept doing what they were doing. I always said no during the assaults and abuse. I've said no when I've just needed space, or when I'm not hungry, or when I don't want to be sociable. But for some reason, the people around me have real trouble respecting those boundaries. It gets exhausting. It's been a struggle to learn what part of that is mine, and what part of that is theirs. Like with everything, isn't it? But it's hard to make sure that working on these things doesn't translate to feeling "less than", nor blaming myself for the abuse.

Rambling. H and I had a very bad fight last month. I haven't been the same since. Mentally, it's very hard to determine reality and focus, and my thoughts are scattered and don't make sense. Has anyone here dealt with this?

The good news is that I no longer look to sex as validation. I did, for much too long, desperately want my H to value me sexually. There is so much wrong with that. First of all, because sex is about connection, not ego, and I was looking for an ego boost. Secondly, because we're both survivors of sexual abuse. We should both know how important it is to be safe above all else. From our fights, it's clear that emotionally we aren't always safe together. We have no business having sex until we can be safe most of the time. And third, there is so much more to a good life than sex. I am ashamed for caring so much about it. I felt shame because of the abuse history - I'd been told that abuse survivors will avoid sex, and because I wasn't avoiding it, well... We know the epithets people call women sometimes. But back to a good life - that's what I am trying to build. Something with health in it. Where I can just be alive. Gardening, lost of gardening. Playing and laughing with my son. It'd be nice to get the pain in my head away. That's what I should be focusing on. The simple things. Like getting enough sleep.

Has anyone else found it helpful, when you're overwhelmed, to go back to the basics? What worked the best for you guys? Was it a short-term thing (breathing in the moment and being able to refocus right away) or a long-term thing (rebuilding mental health after a severe psychic blow)? I would love to hear from those who've had to rebuild over the long term; it seems to be where I'm at these days.

Thank you for being here and for listening. Take care, everyone.

PeaceLily210 posted 3/15/2016 14:41 PM

SO.MUCH.TO.READ!!!

I found the 2nd SAS thread and started reading at page 40... WOW... just WOW. I'll go back and read through more of what has already been shared as I found a lot of useful tidbits and advice in those pages.

But I figured I'd jump in, say hi, and share my story first. I apologize in advance if this gets long... its a lot to tell and I guess I should add a TRIGGER ALERT. I noticed some similarities to previous stories and wouldn't want anyone stumbling unexpectedly across a trigger.

I'm the daughter of a SA/Porn addict/serial cheater. My mother apparently was attracted to the same type of man throughout her life, as my Step-father and many of her BFs were also SA and predators who either were sexually inappropriate with or molested me. When I faced old traumas and memories it became clear to me that it was a FOO issue for her. And that is where my story starts

I was approximately 4 years old when I first remember being in my uncle's room at my grandparent's home. He was my maternal uncle, was paranoid schizophrenic, and he was a sexual predator. His walls were wallpapered with centerfolds from Hustler, Playboy, Penthouse etc. My earliest memory of him is being in that room, on the bed, being molested and compared to the pictures on his walls at the same time. I was told repeatedly that when I grew up I would look like those women and THEN I'd be sexy. (I've come to realize over the years that he used the word Sexy to mean "worthwhile") One of my older brothers was 7 years older than me and would often take part in molesting me with our uncle. (I learned later that our uncle started molesting/grooming him at age 4) He carried that behavior over to our home by the time I was about 5-6 years old. I have more memories than I can count of being taken to my uncle's room, into the basement at my grandparent's home, into my brother's room, into our attic at home and being molested/raped as either my uncle or brother would look at pornography but satisfy themselves with me. I was always verbally compared to the women in the magazines that they were looking at.

Though my father didn't molest or rape ME, he was extremely inappropriate with me verbally and he had sex with several girls in their teens in our neighborhood, including my babysitter.

I had my first STD at age 10 Yes, you read that correctly... Age 10. And it turned out my mother had it too. She thought my father was molesting me but didn't do much about it. But it turned out that I got it from my brother, who got it from my babysitter, who gave it to my father who passed it along to my mother too... (still with me??) Seriously some days I can't believe this was my life...

That same year my father left us for an 18 year old he was having an A with. My mother had a string of BFs over the next 2 years that were all extremely inappropriate with me or molested me. At this point I don't even think I questioned if it was right or wrong anymore.

About 12 years old I somehow got the courage to tell my brother not to touch me ever again. But the damage had been done and I saw myself as worthy only if I were getting sexual validation from a man/men. I also was already struggling with food addiction, cigarettes and alcohol as forms of escape. Until I was 17 I was pretty shy and introverted in public. But that was the year I lost weight and boys & men really started to notice me. And off I went... Between the alcohol and putting myself in very dangerous situations with men, I'm shocked I made it through to my 20s in one piece.

I've been married 2x. Both were addicted to porn and had very unhealthy views of sex/women/themselves. My ExH didn't think women were worth much unless they either stayed home and took care of the kids/home (and didn't have to be seen) or they looked like supermodels/centerfolds.

When I look back, every man I've ever been in a relationship with has had a distorted (Through the lens of pornography) view of women and their worth. No wonder I was so attracted to them. The "devil you know" syndrome I guess.

I've been in IC on and off over the years and dealt with some of my issues each time. Most recently 2014, when I thought it was my insecurity causing me to think my H was having an A. I did a lot of hard work in IC over the last year re-telling my story, deciding who I am, where my worth is, and who I want to be. My abusers don't get to determine anymore what I think about myself. I decide that now. It's a long road and I'm still walking it and occasionally hitting a fence or a wall somewhere. But it was surprisingly easy to separate my sexuality from my self worth. Maybe that's partly an age/maturity thing too.

The hardest part was reconciling the woman I remembered as my mother with the woman who really raised me. We were the perfect christian family on the outside. Anyone who knew my mother would tell you what a strong, devoted christian woman she was. We went to church every week for Bible Study and Sunday Services. My grandparents also were devout christians, always helping the needy and reaching out a hand to pray or counsel people in their church or community. My grandparents and mother studied their bibles every day and could quote you scripture for any situation. I loved them all dearly and always believed they loved me too.
So you can imagine how difficult it was in IC to admit to myself that they HAD TO have known what was on the walls in my uncle's room. They had to have seen the signs in me (bed wetting at 6 years old, food addiction by 8, STD by 10) yet they continued to sweep it all under the pretty carpets they put in their pretty homes.

I've come to terms with most of it. I still have nightmares but they seem more tied to trying to R with WH right now than anything. I am again in a situation where I don't feel safe in my home. I'm once again in pain due to someone's addiction to porn/sex and their connected behavior to that. I'm living here again because he says he is trying to work on himself to become a safe partner for me, and I see him doing that work right now. He says he wants me to feel safe with him. Hmmmmm.....So maybe THAT is why I'm still here... finally someone is taking responsibility for their actions and trying to provide a safe atmosphere for me. Food for thought as I wrap this up.

If you're still reading and haven't dozed off yet, I thank you. And I thank the Forum moderators for providing this place for us to connect as I think for many of us, it's related to the infidelity in some way, shape or form.

devotedman posted 3/15/2016 23:15 PM

silverhopes!

So good to read you again. And the tone of your post, the language, the thoughts, the atmosphere is so changed, I'm glad, really glad for you. You've come so far, acknowledge that and honor it.

I've been spending more time in the high room up in the snow-capped mountains (thank you DM)

You're very welcome. I'm gratified that something that I've shared has been of use to another one of us. As it was for me, your private room is a refuge. A calm, safe environment.

Has anyone else here found reading about boundaries to be helpful?

Yes. Very. From my sexualized upbringing I didn't know how to say, "No." And the only way that I interacted with people was primarily sexually for many years. Boundaries for others and boundaries for _me_ was a very good thing to learn about. For me, setting boundaries both ways helped me discover what real self-worth was all about.

the people around me have real trouble respecting those boundaries

Gently, silverhopes, those are not healthy people. They're being entitled and selfish and disrespectful. They think that their desires are more valuable than your desires. That is entitled, selfish, disrespectful thinking. It isn't healthy thinking. It is pushing boundaries, like children, to see what is acceptable behavior. And boundaries without clear, enforced consequences aren't really boundaries and teach other people how it is acceptable to treat us.

Remember the SI line "we train others what is acceptable behavior by what we accept"? (I've also seen it as "we train others how to treat us by what we accept".) If we accept unacceptable behavior by not enforcing consequences then we train them that violating a boundary has no consequences. That the boundary is, in fact, not a boundary at all.

it's hard to make sure that working on these things doesn't translate to feeling "less than", nor blaming myself for the abuse

silverhopes, whom I am proud to call my friend, _you_ are not responsible for _their_ bad behavior. I know that you might be able to think that what I said above about training people how to treat us makes us responsible for their behavior. It does not. We are not responsible for them choosing to act badly. We _are_ responsible for how we react to it.

I agree that it is a fine line - we're not responsible for the abuse. We are responsible for enforcing consequences - or not. That is our action. Absent consequences the abuser thinks that that is okay behavior. The abuser is _still_ responsible for their choice to engage in abusive behavior. For the good of ourselves and others we have a societal duty to enforce those consequences.

The distinction is hard and I don't think that I'm making a good showing of teasing out the difference. Trust me on this one? We are not responsible for being abused. Abusive behavior is _their_ demon, not ours.

H and I had a very bad fight last month. I haven't been the same since. Mentally, it's very hard to determine reality and focus, and my thoughts are scattered and don't make sense. Has anyone here dealt with this?

Sadly for both of us, yes. After xwgf lied, cheated, and walked out I had a very hard time dealing with it. I thought that we were for keeps. We had always agreed that the relationship was more important than pride, ego, etc. and that we would always talk whenever something was a problem. She fell back into (or never really left behind) her old behaviors of lying and leaving. My world was shattered, my thoughts confused and conflicted, what I believed didn't match what _was_.

It took time. I actually wrote down what I observed as fact and then went back and re-read it later when my thinking got muddled. I would write down her actions and her answers to questions and then re-read, re-realize, and re-think the differences between actions and words. It took me a while to figure the difference and I still did the "pick me" dance.

I didn't value _me_ at all. I learned that behavior young. CSA, beatings, beratings, cursings, all that contributed. I hear what you are saying and validate that it is so.

Has anyone else found it helpful, when you're overwhelmed, to go back to the basics?

Oh, yes. Revisiting those beginner techniques for becoming grounded again. Breathing, being in the moment, rebuilding that sense of self, discarding _again_ those outside values that lessen us, The 180, again, to focus on us. Build that foundation again (quicker the second time, maybe since we've done it before) so that we can expand the healthy bubble around us.

And your paragraph about being sexually healthy and healthy sexually - spot on, IMHO. Take the time for you. You can't heal him, the very best that you can do is create an environment in which a reasonable person can be happy. Their choice to be happy is on them. I feel odd and unsure saying this next because I don't have a good handle on it sometimes, but do be aware that sex can be a healthy and healing and bonding thing. Bonding isn't always about sex, but between healthy marrieds sex is always about bonding. I think.

And Little Silver, the smaller hope, is well I trust?

Even in your trouble your post, the tone, the questions themselves, has/have a vibe of "I'm better." I do hope that I've aided you.

PeaceLily210, welcome. Thank you for sharing. You have been heard.

First, good on you for seeking help, for sharing, and for getting better. That can be very hard to do. For a few of us here touching is an odd, scary thing and the internet hugs of SI ((huggedpersonsname)) is an odd thought. We do fistbumps because they are human contact, but very reserved and safer for some of us.

Have a fistbump of I'm so very sorry that you went through that }{

At this point I don't even think I questioned if it was right or wrong anymore.

My profile story starts with some similar points. Your statement

At this point I don't even think I questioned if it was right or wrong anymore.

I completely understand. Understanding how the world works is what we're supposed to learn about as kids. And physical, mental, emotional, verbal, and sexual abuse give us such a skewed understanding.

When I look back, every man I've ever been in a relationship with has had a distorted ... view of women and their worth

Gently said, interacting with that distorted view was your normal. Normal might be scary but there is a certain odd comfort in normal. We know that we can survive normal. Change, even change for the better, is scary and, for us, scary is terrifying and possibly life threatening. So we do that thing called "recreating the abuse."

The rest of your post shows how hard you've worked on healing and getting to a realistic view of things. That was really, really hard, I'm sure. The telling and re-telling took a tremendous amount of courage and dedication.

PeaceLily210, thank you again for sharing your story. There's a tremendous amount of hope and healing in it.

If I could make a small suggestion? My story in part II starts on about page 14. Edith was posting then. That woman's writings have a grace and poise, a quality, that make them (at least to me) very uplifting to read.

lilies21 posted 3/23/2016 10:17 AM

Hello all. I posted in Part 2 once upon a time but I thought I would share an update. I think it's a good update.

I've been with my SO for seven months now. I struggled with if/when/how to tell him about my CSA. I really thought about not telling him but my counselor encouraged me to when the time was right, especially in case PTSD symptoms come back again.

We had a kid-free night at the beginning of the month and we stayed up most of the night talking. At one point, it came up if there was anything the other person needed to know. He had already told me a couple of things, nothing earth shattering and no deal breakers but things I'm glad he trusted me to tell me. And then it was my turn. I started by telling him about dealing with PTSD and how I haven't had to deal with it for a long time but I couldn't say it would never come up again. He did ask what happened and all I told him is that when DS turned three, it triggered me because that was about the same age I was when things started happening to me. He hugged me and told me he was sorry. I didn't give him any more details and he didn't ask, thank goodness. He already knows what my "childhood" with my mother was like so I'm sure he was able to fill in some of the blanks by himself. All he asked is what happens to me if/when PTSD hits and I told him. He said he understands now why I'm so protective of DS.

I had never told anyone (aside from counselors) about the CSA except Asshat. When I told Asshat, he made it into some weird competition, like he was trying to have his abuse top mine, giving graphic details even when I told him to stop. I don't think anyone can make that call on whose was worse but it turned out that despite Asshat bugging me for every detail I could remember (which I never told him everything), he never believed me anyway. He told me he didn't. Looking back (this turns my stomach to write) but it seems like Asshat got off on the details.

I don't know it if was an irrational fear or not but I was worried about how SO would be after I told him. But he doesn't look at me any differently, he doesn't treat me any differently, and he still wants me physically (). I didn't quite know what to expect after the experience with Asshat but it felt like a little weight was removed from my chest after I told him.

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