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Sexual Abuse Survivors/Spouses - Part 3

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hopefulkate posted 1/13/2017 21:28 PM

Now, I mostly feel bad that I cannot support him as much with his healing as I might have done before I knew about the cheating. I just don't have the brain space. It's like we've switched places. Before (though I didn't know it), much of his emotional/mental energy/brain space was wrapped up in keeping the secret of his abuse. Now he says he feels like a all that brain space has opened up for him, and he can use that space in new, positive ways. But now MY brain space is occupied with what he did and I don't have nearly the mental/emotional energy I used to. Like his "block" before, it impacts everything --- the ability to work, be there for our kids, have friends, and especially be there for the other spouse.

^^ I feel this as well. When I think of all the years my husband had to carry those secrets and feel that shame and blame my heart breaks for him. It must have been so lonely and confusing. I want to support his healing and freedom from the bondage of those thoughts/feelings as much as possible. I try as much as I can, but since finding out about the cheating I am a tattered mess as we take turns holding one another up....and sometimes we just fall apart together...depends on the day...but at almost two years out most days are better.


derealizingMe posted 1/13/2017 23:30 PM

Thank you all for the responses to all the questions. I am having a love/hate relationship with theakronborg's question, though. I haven't quit moved back to the 'stop taking everything personal' stage yet. It was an excellent question, theakronborg, and the answers and examples have been put in a way where it helps the medicine gone down just a little easier.

kate, I am so sorry you triggered. I want you to know that it means a lot to me that you are sharing your research/history with us. Please take care of yourself, you are a valuable participant. Thank you for all you do.

devotedman - that goes for you too, appreciate you and thank you!

I was triggered BIG TIME today. My husband came home late last night to surprise me. I woke up with him crawling into bed as I was stirring. He's damn lucky I didn't have a gun next to me, or even a big knife! So there he was, trying to hug me/calm me down and my initial response in my head was "no, no, not again! why me?" I was trying to push him away and struggling with myself to not freeze up. Once I heard his voice, I started to come to but was still in a fog. I even asked him if he was real, and if he was really there. I spent a good part of my day at work jumpy, irritable, & visibly shaking (<- not a good combo when you work in a high stress environment such as a treatment facility)

I tried to explain to him what that had done to me, but he didn't/doesn't get it. I was going to try a different approach but a part of me is making excuses not to be firm with him, especially after he told me that I was worth driving home for.

[This message edited by derealizingMe at 11:31 PM, January 13th (Friday)]

YouMeI posted 1/14/2017 05:54 AM

DM everything in your post was amazing, and thanks to all for the support. I just wanted to focus on this part. Specifically "it is your normal".

You get used to the lying and hiding and minimizing and disbelief from others. You get used to being used, beaten, abused, put down, you internalize that you are a plaything for others and you just live that way because your parent taught it to you. It is your _normal_.

I am 3 therapists in now, all amazing for their own reasons. But something my first therapist said that helped me was "you think everyone thinks like you".

I had convinced myself that suicidal thoughts [actions] were normal, that the abuse I received was normal, that the voices I heard in my head were normal. That I didn't need to talk about these things with anyone because they probably went through them too and I am just being weak by letting them bother me.

My inner dialogue, my protector [my teen] would also often tell me to shut up and stop being such a p!!!!. Which 2 years later I understand that was his shame speaking. And that his narrative is that he did something wrong as a child needs to be changed. He needs compassion.

On a side note it is interesting for me to go look back at my last post and reread it. How it starts with a bunch of "I cant's" and ends with a bunch of "I cans". I didn't suddenly become positive. That for me is a "switch". One of me started writing and another me finished writing.

That might not make sense. I feel and understand what goes on with me internally but I am not sure I can express it well yet.

smokenfire posted 1/14/2017 08:37 AM

Loving someone who was hurt when they where little means. That you may never be loved back. Your heart will be broke a thousand times. You will be hated for no reason at all. Have a love life that may never be there. When you show them love it may never be remembered . And most of all when you start having issues of your own because of all this. Your hard work may not mean anything and you could be left all alone in the end with a broken heart. That's the chance you take when you chose to love someone who was hurt bad when they where younger.

The above is what my ex posted on facebook about ME. This from the person who raped me and sexually abused me for ten plus years. I killed myself trying to make him happy. He knew my past and did what he did anyway. My kids struggle to understand why it's so hard to walk away. I left in July and haven't looked back or talked to him. I went NC.

I don't want to be alone for the rest of my life, but I'm fully prepared to do so if I can't grow boundaries and a spine.

devotedman posted 1/14/2017 12:44 PM

Well, guys, this is about attempt number 30 to 'catch up' with some comments and messages to some of the posters. Sometimes it would behoove me to let go of something, but (and this is one of those "dreaded 'buts' " that makes everything that one wants to do okay ) I've really wanted to do this.

Ladies and Gentlement, go read the Guidelines! Links _can_ be included by first following guideline 6:

NO SOLICITING: does not allow soliciting of any kind, publicly OR via Private Message. This includes links or URLs to other websites. If you have a product, service or website you believe to be in the interest of, please contact an Administrator.

That's how my 2nd post in this forum includes links. Sent the whole thing off and got "okay" in return. Upon reflection, BTW, I suspect that it might be better to do the "Mod, Please" post in general to grab some attention. Somebody usually replies with a PM pretty quickly.

Greetings to the collective consciousness known as Skan! (I've always wanted to say something like that.) Quickly google up 'Mentor of Arisia' for a Science Fiction viewpoint, examples are scattered throughout a lot of Science Fiction.

And, welcome. I am glad that you've found something that works for you. I have always respected your posts, they are all well reasoned, wewll considered, and helpful. I'm sorry that you have need of this particular section of SI, a fist bump to you }{

derealizingMe, why that particular name? What seems unreal? Is it a desire that things were unreal, an escape? Or is it one of derealization, depersonalization, or both together? Two answers are important, the immediate one and the considered, thoughtful one.

Reading your story was like reading my own, in places, themes, old reactions, generalized current approaches to life. There were, not triggers, but empathic commonality from times of deep personal pain. I apologize in advance if anything that I say is painful, but ( a "dreaded 'but' " ) one cannot get better without addressing the reality of and removing the splinter, leave it alone and it gets infected and a lot worse.

I have a difficult time relating to people ... even with the cloak of anonymity in the wild wild web I have major trust issues. As Gomer Pyle would say: 'Well Surprise, surprise, surprise.'

Yes, I get this. I understand, I agree, I've had those same thoughts and doubts about me, the world, other people.

First observation (don't worry, we all do this) - you open up with some truths, you admit trust issues (we all have those, too), and then you end with a joke. I'm going to go out on a bit of a limb here and say that that joke is you minimizing. Everyone minimizes. Minimizing is pretty socially ingrained. Look at the Brits with their 'keep a stiff upper lip' phrase and approach. I am not "calling you out" on minimizing, I am merely pointing it out. When we minimize look at the thing being minimized - it is usually either us or something that hurts. It can be selfish, too, when we minimize others.

I will try my best not to ramble on and keep it male-friendly (short, precise, and to the point).

Minimizing again. Not a bad thing by any means. It helps us to speak about those things that we really would rather not speak about. Only thing is - you have to be willing to go into emotional affects later, after the hard part of speaking is done.

Going into these things, being open about our really sucky experiences, is how healing occurs. Keeping it inside, encysted in layer upon layer of scar tissue, poor coping mechanisms, feeling isolated and unloved and unloveable, results in what usually happens with cysts. Somewhere, some time, somebody touches it and it explodes icky all over the place. In life the icky usually takes the form of poor self-worth, and getting into bad, injurious relationships and chancy, dangerous situations.

derealizingMe, that was my life. Can you see why I relate so strongly to your story so far (because there is oh, so much more of your story left untold)?

Your highschool exBF and exWH mixed up in a blender (what better fate, eh? ) are similar to my exWW. My story leading up to that relationship is probably way different in particulars but pretty similar to everyone else's on this thread: Dysfunction. Dysfunction personified. And recognizing that is _important_ because that dysfunction was directly tied to the CSA and that dysfunction marred every aspect of my life for a number of years.

I learned to lie about the abuse. I learned that I was unlovable and worthless. I learned that I was there for the sexual gratification of others. I learned to fear. I learned that my Mother would beat me bloody (in places easily concealed of course) on a relative whim. I learned about genital sex and oral sex and my pre-teen reading was stuff like the Kama Sutra and The Joy Of Sex. Oh, and the incest pornography that my Mother bought for her own, personal enjoyment. I was heavily sexualized, which is a thing by which everything is viewed in a sexual manner.

As YouMeI spoke of in a post on this thread, I thought that this was everyone's normal, sort of, and that it was common to say one thing in public and do other things at home. I internalized that and lied in public and about my sexual history? encounters? escapades? all through my teen and pre-teen years. There were other societal messages that were very confusing. "Don't tell lies" was a big one. "Treat others with respect" was a big one, too, and I've always tried to do that. It was all very, very confusing for a young man such as myself.

What I'm trying to get at rather long-windedly is that _I_ was responsible for me and I wasn't doing a very good job of it. The whole thing came to something of a head when I discovered that there was a bad thing called "child sexual abuse" and "childhood sexual abuse" and it was being studied. So I got everything that I could get my hands on. Another societal message that I got was that you could choose who you wanted to be and I hurt so much that I wanted to not do that anymore, so I read voraciously. Not to minimize, but there was a near/attempted suicide about 15 or 16 when my recently divorced parents were deciding to get back together. I was living with Dad, unsurprisingly, and I didn't want to go back. Not much of an attempt as things go because I was alone and I simply decided not to go through with it. It would have been simple and sure, but I decided that life was really a better thing and that one cannot foresee tomorrow.

All of the ancillary effects of CSA hadn't really been as fully explored and written about as they are today.

So, first (and only to date) wife I met in college. She, too, was a sort-of-survivor of CSA from her grandfather and we pain-bonded. We had first-date sex and kept on going, pretty much simple as that. We broke up once and when she confessed to having sex and staying the night with her pill supplier I just figured eh, sex is no big deal, and moved on. Remember the SI adage that hurt attracts hurt, broken attracts broken, and both attract predators? I wasn't healed when we met nor was I when we married and we let each other down in a lot of ways. Which might be minimizing -but- (another "dreaded 'but' " ) I don't want to write a biography here.

I'm getting rather wrapped up in re-telling my story and the only value in that, derealizingMe, is that I think that we have parallels.

We both pick relationship partners badly. I think that we have both picked relationships that weren't good for us but that were either pain-bonding or doing a thing called 'recreating the abuse'. Abused people put themselves in abusive situations to try and control the outcome, to make things different, to demonstrate to themselves that they finally can _control_ the abusive situation. And that's false, we can't control it because we can't control the abuser, but we try to and we always fail. The only way to control _their_ effects upon _us_ is to learn to value ourselves enough to not get into the situation in the first place. We rob them of power by not being alone with them, by learning that _we_ _are_ _valuable_, and by not allowing ourselves to get into chancy situations.

Me - FUBARD. Well ok, I'm exaggerating. Just need a lot of work (which I am on board to do!)

I get that, and that is the minimizing and deflecting (a bit, not too much) speaking again. Good job being on board to do the work! It is hard, and scary, and brings up a lot of the past, and you'll be more peaceful and happier for having done it.

CSA Survivor, Rape Survivor x2 (+.5?), Physical/mental Abuse survivor, misdiagnosed as Bi-polar now changed to PTSD/Anxiety/Major Depression, may be sex addict, codependent, DID etc etc.

Yeah, I got a few of those, too. Thing is, they're just best-guesses if they're done by people without experience in the particular area of Trauma, CSA, etc.

I got the sex addict diagnosis, too. Thing is, I wasn't. I'm not. This was a guy with a bright, shiny, new CSAT hung on his wall that was so new he hadn't yet updated his bio page on the group's web site. _Everyone_ was a sex addict to him. CSAT was his hammer and everyone else was a nail. Plus, money. He spoke to exWGF and I and immediately labeled me a sex addict and her a co-addict and then started talking about years of therapy and money and those were his primary subjects from then on. Years, money. But spend it! He can help us!

Understanding that I _wasn't_ a sex addict took a lot of research and support from people that were, or that lived with them. The responses of CSA victims _can_ result in "sexual addiction", which is a phrase that describes behaviors that are sometimes unlike addictions with which we are more familiar. Usually those behaviors are very like other addictions, but sometimes not quite. I think that, like 'multiple personality', 'mood swings' or 'bi-polar', "sexual addiction" will be broken down and renamed a bit more in future. But CSA can also result in behaviors that can mimic some behaviors of sex addiction, too. And treating those underlying traumas can cause the sexual-addiction-like behaviors to reduce such that sexual addiction is no longer a viable diagnosis.

I guess what I'm suggesting is that you come talk with folks here on SI about your diagnoses and basically get a second opinion. There are a few therapists on the board whose opinion is better than mine, for instance. On that same note, many employers have a program named EAP (Employee Assistance Program) and those often help with the first six or so visits to a therapist. They can also prepare lists of therapists based upon distance or specialty, if they have the specialty information. And they can list by male or female. Check it out throught the company HR or Benefits department. Oh, yeah, they don't report back to the company.

Whew, that wore me out right there!

No doubt, and good on you for talking about it! Truly, talking about it, starting to open up, realizing that one isn't alone, unloved and basically unloveable, is a _huge_ step.

It's kind of hard to find a starting point since one part of history relates to another and it is all relevant, so please bear with me if I jump from one to another and then back again full circle. And maybe you can recognize a couple of dysfunctional patterns here (I try to add more fun and less dys).

Here on SI we label statements of painful, eye-opening, truth 2x4's. I try to name mine. I haven't been doing it above, but I'm naming this one.

Here comes the 2x4 of Painful Truth. It isn't hard to find a starting point at all, it all started in the CSA. Everything that you've done, I've done something quite similar. I had to name those things to myself for my own healing and I'm going to name them for you, too. It might hurt, I'm not going to lie and say, "This won't hurt at all."

To try to heal from the various abuses of my exWH, I used unconventional methods.

Here comes the 2x4 of You Are Not Alone. derealizingMe, you are not alone. If you needed an appendectomy, would you do it yourself? If you had an eye poked out (I have), would you try to fix it yourself (I didn't)? Sister, I tried the same self-medication, self-developed self-healing methods as you (okay, not exactly, but very, very similar) and you know what? They resulted in _more_ self-harm because my (and your, dare I say) self-developed methods reinforced the very same messages that I had internalized for so very long -and- those messages were both so very wrong and so very hurtful for true healing.

I got involved with a couple in an open marriage and become good friends with the both of them.

Not open marriages here, well, not many (!), but I was involved in 'open/casual' relationships a good deal in my younger years. For me, those don't work in a healthy way. Here's why: I internalized the childhood messages that I wasn't worth anything. My mother said to me often, "I pity the woman that ever gets married to you." And so I avoided committed relathionships because _I_ knew that I wasn't worth anything. My relationships reflected that. Anybody that wanted any sort of commitment was avoided. I actually had the thought, "Well, they wouldn't want to commit if they knew me as well as I know me" a good number of times. That was me devaluing me.

Here's a true thing: You train people how to treat you by the treatment that you accept from them. If you continue to accept bad treatment then the other person learns that bad treatment is acceptable. It doesn't matter if you beg them to stop treating you badly, because by staying you continue to tell them that the treatment is acceptable. This concept is the entire basis of the SI quote, "In order to save the relationship you have to be ready to leave it." To expound on this a bit more, by staying, no matter how you're treated, you give up complete power and control over _how_ you're treated to another person. That is never acceptable long-term in a relationship where two are supposed to be equal.

This was, for me, the 2x4 of I Know My Place. For me, when I was involved in these kinds of relationships, I took the position in the relationship that you took - friendly third. There are few demands made of the friendly third because the real relationship is between the H and W. Both enjoy the friendly third because that's what a friendly third is for. However, I'll wager that if you had started making yourself a priority you'd have been out of the open marriage quite quickly simply because healthy requirements are not the province of the friendly third position. When it comes down to it, the friendly third position is mostly one of fuck-buddy and/or sex-toy. It doesn't require much of one and thus it feels 'good' and 'safe' to many a CSA victim/survivor. Being of minimal importance feels right to many of us. It reinforces messages from childhood. What could be wrong with that? Well, besides _everything_.

I got involved in the BDSM community.

Yep, all very familiar to me.

Prepare for the 2x4 of Unhealthy Is Unhealthy. So, in swinging parlance you were a Unicorn, an unattached, single, swinging female. They're much sought after. That position?, station? in life feels pretty good because we're wanted, or we can feel wanted, and since sex is just a thing (more on that later if I remember to), what can it matter because it feels good, right? As for BDSM, Dom, Sub, Switch - doesn't matter. The thing about the BDSM community is that they're really just following carefully defined roles in a dysfunctional dance. The Dom is supposed to show respect and caring by respecting boundaries and the Sub is supposed to show trust and loyalty both by obeying/subjugating themselves to the Dom and by continually pushing their boundaries.

Yeah, written out, does that sound like a really healthy relationship or division of power? The 'sub' position, commonly written as D/s to emphasize the minimization of the 'sub', is a form of 'recreating the abuse' that we suffered earlier. And the Dom? That's recreating the abuse, too, because we're giving ourselves up to the Dom in such a way as to mimic, in a false-choice driven fashion, the taking of power by the CSA perpetrator. We can, in our hidden minds, make all of the childhood stuff 'better' and less painful by recreating the abuse in adult life and fooling ourselves into thinking that that is a conscious decision and that we have control over the situation.

I'm sorry, derealizingMe, that you found out so horribly that you really didn't control the situation. That putting of ourselves into sketchy, dicey, chancy situations is a hallmark of sexual abuse and trauma. That is classic 'recreating the abuse' behavior and it is also classic that it backfires and hurts us more.

Fist bump of Been There, Done That, sister? }{ I _do_ understand.

I'm going to do a brief quote of hopefulkate from another thread from General:

DevotedMan ... once told me, Pain not transformed is transferred. A different take on hurt people, hurt people.

And add... Sometimes the people that we hurt are ourselves.

If it was a married couple, I always got to know the wife as well and I knew my boundaries.

derealizingMe, that last bit, "I knew my boundaries" speaks volumes about self-worth. About demanding that a relationship be equal between equals. I understand, again, BTDT.

I think I have to explain simply because of the fact that I cannot wrap my head around it.

Too many details and you risk offending some folks, which I have done by providing too many details.

I understand the "cannot wrap my head around it". Most sexual abuse (of which physical rape is only one form) are perpetrated by someone we know and trust. That betrayal is on them, not us. We are often left asking, "what did I _do_" and that question is an attempt to shift blame onto ourselves and we do _that_ because if it is our fault then we can exercise some control over it.

We can't. We cannot control the actions of another. The only thing that we _can_ do is learn to recognize sketchy, dicey, chancy people and situations and do our best to avoid them in future. We don't deserve bad treatment even when put ourselves in situations where bad treatment can easily result.

Right now I am in my house, sitting at my computer facing the street. Across the street lives an older woman. She _could_ have been stockpiling gunpowder and explosives for years and she _could_ choose this moment to set them off (in which case you'll never see this post but you'll read about me in the papers and not know that it was me). That's being as safe as I can be and not taking risks. What is _not_ safe for my emotional well-being is walking to the bar down the street and picking up a ONS partner because why should I trust them?

derealizingMe, please believe me when I say that I am not putting you down. I am not putting you anywhere other than "equal posting, hurt person, posting person." The biggest service that I can do for you is to be honest with my equal person (you) and try to give you my background, experiences, and insights. As they say on SI, "take what you _need_ and leave the rest."

The rest of your story, which I am neither ignoring nor minimizing, mirrors my own as well, though specific events and sequences are a bit different.

Here comes the 2x4 of Don't Minimize, It Hurt - legally, morally, ethically, drunk people cannot give consent. They cannot. One of the first things that alcohol does is diminish the inhibition centers of the brain. Then it removes the ability to reason, coordination, and other things. It brings lethargy and screws with the time sense. It removes the ability to recognize danger. There's the old redneck joke that predicts catastrophe with the words, "Here, hold ma beer! Watch this!"

You were victimized. You had absolutely no control over that. It could have happened drunk or sober. There are three responses that people have - fight/flight/quiet. The "quiet" response is just that, you don't really fight or put up resistance. You become compliant. We learned in childhood that to resist is to be abused more, we have no ability to resist effectively, and so we simply shut down. There is no shame in that response. Even guys who have gone through intense, realistic training in the Armies of the world sometimes react to real, live conflict by hunkering into a ball in the trenches. It is normal, known, and understood. It doesn't mean that you wanted the abuse, not at all. It just means that that is your abuse survival mechanism.

derealizingMe, you've had a hell of a life, as have we all in here (and SI in general) and there is no shame or blame to be attached to you. You did your best with what you had and what you knew.

Frankly, truthfully, honestly, authentically, I am proud to call you my Sister in Adversity. }{ You're young, you have so much to look forward to in life. It _will_ be okay. Maybe hard in spots, but okay.

Also, re: posting links - you can name the music by title and I think that it is acceptable to do something like "listening to From The Inside on the 'tube". Loves me some Queen, Alice Cooper, The Who, I do. And MTA by The Kingston Trio is hilarious and catchy. Read about it and then listen to it. Oh, "Guitar and Pen" by The Who never got enough air time...

You're alone above the street somewhere
Wondering how you'll ever count out there.
You can walk, you can talk, you can fight
But inside you've got something to write
In your hand you hold your only friend
Never spend your guitar or your pen
Your guitar or your pen!

listen to it while the lyrics are up, really powerful. More not played enough are "From The Inside" and "For Veronica's Sake", "How You Gonna See Me Now", by Alice Cooper (loved that whole album). Creepily enough, "Rough Boys" by Pete Townshend is a good one, as are "Lola" and "Walk on the Wild Side". I say creepily because some of my abusers were male. I struggled with that a good bit.

Okay, that was one of the hardest things that I've written to date. That's on me, my experiences, my problems. I'm taking a break for a bit, more later... as I continue catching up.

devotedman posted 1/14/2017 13:24 PM

That position?, station? in life feels pretty good because we're wanted, or we can feel wanted, and since sex is just a thing (more on that later if I remember to), what can it matter because it feels good, right?

Took me a while, but I remembered.

Separating physical sex from emotional intimacy is another thing that is pretty common in sexual abuse survivors.

What we might be doing by doing that (I've done it, too) is, again, devaluing ourselves into a set of genitals. We transform sex in our minds into "casual sex is okay". I have a lot of trouble with this because many folks seem to, at least in the dating world at my age(s) there, think that casual-ish sex _is_ okay.

But to completely separate sex from emotional intimacy is not okay. That reinforces the message that we're not worth committing to, IMHO, and _that_ message to a CSA victim is sort of like alcohol to an alcoholic. Damaging and hard to stay away from.

At least this is, I believe, true for me. So I've been "on the bus" for a couple of years now, since Oct. 2014, and that feels okay to me. I'm not ready to commit, I don't really want to get into something committed beyond "not sleeping around", and this works for now.

I am also going to take the opportunity to ask a question of hopelesskate:

I call you hopefulkate a lot, most always in fact. I did that quite consciously when you first appeared because names have power and your name for yourself didn't seem to me to reflect what you really wanted to have happen. So I took it upon myself to call you by a name that seemed, to me, to be more reflective of your attitude. Yes, that might have been rude, "dreaded but" coming, but I thought that you needed a bit of a lift above a name that might have been chosen whilst in the Pits of Despair.

Your name is your choice. You're no longer in a spot emotionally where I can justify calling you something else as a "shot in the arm" sort of thing.

So, what do I call you going forward? You get to decide. "Choose well, young Kate!" he intoned deeply and dramatically. Plus, I got kids almost your age!

hopefulkate posted 1/14/2017 22:05 PM

I prefer hopeful Kate 😊

I have gone to change it many times now....but fear the rebound of a positive. If I change it to hopeful, and then I get sad again and don't feel hopeful, I fear the pain of that. I can only change my name once.

Admittedly, this is ridiculous. But here I stay. I figure the day I do change my name here will be an important day in my life, to say the least.

Names are powerful. I wish I could say more about this, but I thank you, DM. Seeing my name as I want it to be, rather than how I felt at the time of registration *HAS* been helpful. Hopeful even.

Much, much appreciated.

hopefulkate posted 1/14/2017 22:11 PM

Derealizingme: triggering at night? Normal. I came to bed last night and didn't announce myself and my H twitched violently / it was a hard night for him.

Later, when the baby woke up again, I was purposely loud and announced coming back into the bed.

For right now (or always) it is TOTALLY ok to explain to your husband that it would be helpful to have him make noise before he gets into bed to make sure you are awake, aware, and present so that all of you know that it is your H coming and you are safe.

This is normal. And when you calm down from your recent experiences, may not be necessary.

derealizingMe posted 1/15/2017 10:11 AM

devotedman & hopelesskate, thank you for the feedback. DM, It will take me a little time to process everything you have said.

To answer your question:

why that particular name? What seems unreal? Is it a desire that things were unreal, an escape? Or is it one of derealization, depersonalization, or both together?


You were victimized. You had absolutely no control over that. It could have happened drunk or sober. There are three responses that people have - fight/flight/quiet. The "quiet" response is just that, you don't really fight or put up resistance. You become compliant. We learned in childhood that to resist is to be abused more, we have no ability to resist effectively, and so we simply shut down. There is no shame in that response. Even guys who have gone through intense, realistic training in the Armies of the world sometimes react to real, live conflict by hunkering into a ball in the trenches. It is normal, known, and understood. It doesn't mean that you wanted the abuse, not at all. It just means that that is your abuse survival mechanism.

I understand this, and yet I refuse to accept this. Why? Is it because I have to admit to myself that I had a lack or no control and that scares the shit out of me? Because I want to minimize it or believe that I'm that damaged? Afterall, I've told myself over the years that I am a survivor, not a victim.

I opened up to my H last night, told him about my sessions and more of the details about that night. It did not go so good, and I'm fighting internally to keep myself from even hinting at believing that "I'd spread my legs for anyone (with sugar on their lips?)" <--that's the jest of what H said on dday. He also quoted - I think it was Latin - something about drinking just gives us the courage to do what we want to do ???
Funny, I don't remember wanting to have sex with a stranger.

My motive for telling him was to be more honest and transparent with the details. It appears that it may have done more damage - if not to him, but to my own self because he believes I did have control.

As for minimizing & humor.... yup. coping mechanism. So much so that when I spoke to my soul sister shortly after that happened, I made it sound pathetic and funny. Of course, this was because she had just told me that the doctors think she has breast cancer and has spread to the brain.... and she was looking for some distraction.

Alice Cooper. Own almost every (older) album of his on vinyl. Spent most of my allowance on them when I was barely a teen. Love him (to death) So glad I got to see him live when he decided to tour again in the 80s. He's my #1.

derealizingMe posted 1/19/2017 15:47 PM

helpfulkate (can I call you that?), how can I help my H through this? When I've tried to communicate to him how important it is that he makes sure I am present when we are sexually intimate (even before ons), I feel like he doesn't believe me. Or even when I explained to him about startling me awake and how it impacted me he was trying to minimize it. I don't think his intentions are to be an ass, I do believe he just doesn't know how to process it.

I did ask him if it would be ok with him to give him access to my counseling records and authorize him to speak with my therapist and he concurred. I do hope that is a step in the right direction.

hopefulkate posted 1/19/2017 21:05 PM

I like helpfulkate too. Thank you :)

So, I guess the question is, his daughter was diagnosed too, right? How does she present when she is/is not her core self? Can he tell? Does he not want to understand because he has guilt that this happened to her? Has he been to any counseling? Does he believe it for her?

I only ask, because since there is a big history with a lot of working parts, it is possible to carry a level of denial that could rival mine pre-A!

However, if has does genuinely want to understand, I really think the book, "the body keeps the score", is a good starting point. It gives a little about brain science, how trauma impacts the brain, and what behaviors can look like when trauma or traumatic experiences present themselves, and what the freeze, flight, fight, submit response means and looks like. The book, "the haunted self", dives deeper into disassociation and the levels on the spectrum - but it is filled with CSA anecdotes, so beware of the huge trigger factor there.

As for the DID, I think I mentioned this a few pages ago??, one day soon I will go back and read my other posts as a healing exercise - just not ready yet - so forgive me if I am repeating myself.

For a gross oversimplification of DID, draw a circle, and separate the circle into three parts (or however many you would like - three is an easy number to start with). Now draw another circle, and divide it just the same but with dash lines instead of solid ones from the first circle.

Next, color the top 1/4 of the circle in. For both. The colored section is our conscious thought, and what people perceive to be us - walking, talking, engaging, or not.

For ease of discussion, let's divide the circles we split. 1/3 is childhood, 1/3 is a teenager, and 1/3 is an adult. For both circles.

In the circle with the dashes, that represents us without DID. Information can flow from all points in time, across the brain and up into consciousness. All memories and all experiences are known to the whole mind and body. The only dissassociating I do is while driving or day dreaming. (We all do this, "how did I get here?" with no memory of driving somewhere. Take this feeling and magnify it to get to the next circle.)

Now, the circle with the lines represents DID. Information in childhood does not freely flow into the next chunk of time. Likewise, the middle teen cannot send information back or forward, and the adult has no idea what is contained in the other two.

Worse, is that teenager section is likely the protector of all things related to pain. And that teenager section will BLOCK anything from the child section from getting to the conscious section or into the memory of the adult. It literally will jump over fire to not let that shit out until some point in time that some say, "the brain is ready to deal".

I drew the picture and am trying to figure out how to put it in here. Then I will give a story that may help. But I have to ask YouMeI first. Be back soon.

DISCLAIMER! Please see my "oversimplification" note above. What I would LOVE to post is YouMeI's drawings of how his brain works and ESPECIALLY of how he drew it during the A. It really is helpful. But this may be WAY too early to even ask - ah! he's here now, so he will see this! Too bad, his drawings are awesome and you should know.

From a clinical perspective, it really is a spectrum that depends on so many things. Typically there is the core self, a protector self, and the child who survived the abuse. But this can present itself in so many different ways. (Show him Skan's 'out of the closet' post - great thread!)

[This message edited by hopelesskate at 1:13 PM, January 20th (Friday)]

hopefulkate posted 1/19/2017 21:27 PM

ok - this may work, this may not work - but I don't think my explanation works well without a graphic so...I made a quick fake blog in my poor tired attempt at inserting graphic. :)'s like i can feel DM shaking his head at me!

ok, and if this doesn't work- how do i just copy this thing i made with paint and stick it in here? possible?

[This message edited by hopelesskate at 9:39 PM, January 19th (Thursday)]

hopefulkate posted 1/19/2017 21:52 PM

Having him talk to your therapist is a great idea. Having him talk to his own too -one that has experience in trauma, did, and CSA is one that will help- even if it is just to help understand his daughter.

I am not sure if I have helped any, but as he reads and learns more, and the more open you are with him - and everyone is - he will start to see everyone.

Body language, speech, word choice, it's all different depending on who's talking.

I can remember our MC appointment, way early on after DDay and him sitting on the couch - he wasn't really with us as the counselor and I spoke. She was talking to me. She knew I had been reading and was barely surviving. She looked me in the eyes, said, "this was reenactment." I breathed a sigh of relief (even then!) and I said, "really?" She nodded and said, "he has disassociative identity disorder."

About 8 months later I heard my H refer to voices, not for the first time of course, but I suddenly said, WAIT! What was that thing I was told...

It took me at least another 6 months to sort through the research, along with my counselor (I was preggo then and took time out of that and work etc)....

A little over a year later and I think I have a pretty good grasp of it (for a lamen) as well as who is speaking when - those that I have met anyway.

I'm getting too wordy again...time for sleep. Good luck and have him read here if that could help?

devotedman posted 1/20/2017 03:39 AM

Yes, hopefulkate, very possible. A lot here get a free photobucket account, upload a picture, and use the link that can be gotten there to put between [ img ] [ / img ] tags, like the quote and bold and italics tags.

You might want to make sure that the picture is not so large that it exceeds the size of the computer screen, which makes the text flow here on SI all wonky and sometimes makes the text too minuscule to read.

hopefulkate posted 1/20/2017 13:15 PM

Thank you DM! I totally did it! So psyched when I can learn a new trick! (and seriously, how did i forget photobucket was a thing...oh well)

I updated my message above. Scroll up for my pic. It may not resonate with everyone, but our counselors and YouMeI like it, so take it if you like it. :)

Skan posted 1/20/2017 13:38 PM

derealizing me, a lot of what you wrote resonated with me.

Don't ever wake me unexpectedly. Or trap my legs. I come awake with all talons extended, fighting for my life. It took FWH years to be able to soothe me in my sleep, when the night horrors came over me. The trust is back, so he can soothe me, or wake me genteelly, but don't ever make the mistake of trying to shake me awake.

And I do second and third you having your husband talking with your therapist. Even with the evidence of over 20 years, my FWH thought that my descriptions of my protector was me simply describing another part of "my" personality. A way to describe a feeling or emotion. He got a big awakening in MC when my protector came raging out and our MC recognized what was going on (coincidentally he had some experience with DID patients). It was really driven home for him (pun intended) when, on a drive home from visiting relatives, my little girl popped out in hysterics, and then her protector came raging out, hitting the body we occupy, trying to drive her back into the closet for safety. A bit of an eye-opener when you're in the fast lane of a freeway. I will say this for him. He knows us now and he can tell when we are swapping places and when we're all struggling and the body is frozen in place. He's gotten really good at grounding us. Even when the boy has popped out in bed with him!

Devotedman, a restrained }{ to you! I'll be frank. This forum may not be a proper place for me by the guidelines, so let me give y-all my story, and you tell me. If the decision is that I don't belong here, then tell me. Y-all won't hurt my feelings. I wrote this up for Furious1, so I'm going to cut and paste it here.

My story isn't all that spectacular, actually. I am one of the uncommon DID people who wasnít sexually abused as a child. At least to my knowledge, and I think that I would know. Instead it was emotional abuse. I was an incredibly sensitive and artsy child, and one that was born into a family who, except for my mother who had her own problems navigating in the family, didnít value that at all. If you werenít a boy, then you were second class. Mind you, my maternal line was strong and opinionated, but there it was. 2nd class. Then, if you werenít a tomboy who could hold their own and be a mock boy, you were 3rd class. And god forbid that you were sensitive, you liked to read more than ride motorbikes, had an active internal fantasy life, and showed appreciation for the artsy side of life. My father wanted a boy, had a boyís name all picked out, and they had to scramble for a name for me because it was beyond his comprehension that I could be anything other than a boy. He punished me for the rest of his life for that, and he did so with no understanding or desire TO understand what he was doing. I was both ignored by him and kept under a tight leash of restrictions that made no sense to anyone. My cousins just a few years ago, asked me if I had any idea of why he treated me with so little compassion and so hurtfully, so it wasnít exactly a secret. I was in Indiana with him as an adult, vising my Grandfather (paternal) when Grandpa was in the hospital and I actually asked dad why he found himself unable to love me. He told me that he did, but that he absolutely could not understand me, and then he blameshifted yet again, by calling me strange, unapproachable, different, etc. He couldnít love me because I was unlovable, to him. Yet my Ĺ sister, 21 years younger than me, is his entire world. And he isnít shy about broadcasting that to the world.

I grew very adept at figuring out where he was and avoiding him for a long time, which is where I believe that L, my protector came in. As we got old enough for him to start taking us places, I believe that she split into the boy, who took over at those times and was able to protect me. My little girl came into being at that time too, and the boy became her protector. I sometimes think of her as the potential female that I would have been, had my dad not been around. Mind you, all of the men around him were exactly the same way. It was a very small, isolated town and county, and thatís just the way it was. If you were a girl, not much was expected of you other than to get married and start breeding when you were around 18. Mom did it, and then, thank God, got herself and us out of there by divorcing my dad, meeting and marrying a navy man, and away we went! My biggest ambition for years was to be a playboy bunny, because those were the only women that the men I was exposed to until I was 14, seemed to value. Being sexy, unclothed, and available was desirable. It led me into several abusive relationships when I was an older teenager and until around mid 20s. Sex being loved, being desirable for me, and I bought the entire scenario. Results were being raped twice, contracting severe pelvic inflammatory disease and stds, being passed around by one boyfriend like a community service, and being continually cheated upon. I dragged myself out of that forcibly and went into my first marriage, then rugswept everything into a deep, dark basement. My first marriage ended because of some rather (to me) horrific lies, and I met/married FWH. Carrying just a shit load of undiagnosed PTSD, DID which had been (I remember) sort-of diagnosed but not treated back when I was about 19-20, and the determination to never fully trust again. Which FWH managed to patiently push through. Then Lyme Disease, the resulting fallout from that, a move back to SoCAL, 911 where FWH got laid off for almost 2 years while I was trying to support us while still sick, him starting to go to strip clubs to help feel better, him getting into a series of abusive jobs, me being unable to open to him because of my fears of financial ruin and living on the streets, etc, and the whole ball of wax started melting faster and faster. And ultimately DDay, counseling, my being outed with PTSD and DID by our MC who luckily had experience with both conditions, and all of the stuff that has happened since then to now.

From all of this, I learned that people will always leave you. Best to leave first and not be blindsided. Withdraw, when things get too intense, and shield yourself from the pain to come. When pain comes, swallow it whole, accept it as being your due, and soldier on. Enjoy beauty when it comes, and open yourself to meeting new people, but donít invest deeply in them, because they will leave at some point. Be wary.

Not too tragic a tale, really, but of course, the pain of the splinter that one feels, is almost always the center of oneís universe.

My original thinking was that I probably did, due to my teen years. However, I find that I am questioning that now, so please be blunt and let me know if otherwise. I promise that you won't offend me one bit!

hopefulkate posted 1/20/2017 14:16 PM

Very much welcome in my opinion -especially of course for the teen years.

My foo issues stem from similar upbringings as yours, just with different characters and different played out issues. No male genetalia? No worth. You become an object. I'm sure others here can sympathize with that feeling. My place was to be the object of lots of things but never have an opinion or stand out- thankfully no true sex abuse to my knowledge, but certainly objectification, uncomfortable touches and comments and a culture of allowance that shaped me in very dark and deep ways.

Often my feelings align with my husbands. However, not as deep of a level. I have self hate, but I have never been actively suicidal. So I think that, like everything, there is a spectrum.

derealizingMe posted 1/21/2017 08:09 AM


So, I guess the question is, his daughter was diagnosed too, right? How does she present when she is/is not her core self? Can he tell? Does he not want to understand because he has guilt that this happened to her? Has he been to any counseling? Does he believe it for her?

Yes, she is. I've only detected one, maybe 2, in her. It is that of a very young child and it is rather obvious (she will "baby talk"). I also see the "I want to run away and not deal with this/start a new life" but I dont know if that's a split yet. I dont think it is because I fell like she feels safe here. And loved. Yes, I believe he can tell. The thought about understanding has crossed my mind. He has told me that he has asked himself why he didnt know what was going on (common reaction). He has not been to any counseling for himself and IME, he has a hard time opening up about this stuff. We've done the MC years back when we were having major issues with his ex and the kids. Or more accurately, I strongly suspected that he had PTSD and that he had been abused by his ex and it was impacting US. (and SI has helped me put some of those pieces together - I did not know that infidelity can cause PTSD, and he had exp it with his exW and exAP). I dont know if he believes it for her. I'd like to think so, but I really dont know.


derealizing me, a lot of what you wrote resonated with me.

And a lot of what you have written resonates with me. I think my Mom would have rather had a boy, knowing what kind of person my dad was.
My biggest ambition for years was to be a playboy bunny, because those were the only women that the men I was exposed to until I was 14, seemed to value. Being sexy, unclothed, and available was desirable. It led me into several abusive relationships when I was an older teenager and until around mid 20s. Sex being loved, being desirable for me, and I bought the entire scenario.
YUP. While most kids wanted to be a doctor/nurse/President/fireman.... well, I wanted to be a model. Like the ones in one of dad's mags - I think Hustler was my fav. This was apx first or second grade, mind you.

From all of this, I learned that people will always leave you. Best to leave first and not be blindsided. Withdraw, when things get too intense, and shield yourself from the pain to come. When pain comes, swallow it whole, accept it as being your due, and soldier on. Enjoy beauty when it comes, and open yourself to meeting new people, but donít invest deeply in them, because they will leave at some point. Be wary.
OMFG THIS!!! this this this this this!! Did I mention, THIS?!

As for your story, Skan, you may or may not have physically been sexually abused but IMO, abuse is abuse. Also, claiming "wasnít sexually abused as a child. At least to my knowledge, and I think that I would know" could be your protector. could be nothing. There are just now questions coming to the surface that I have: why do I freak out (internally) when being digitally penetrated? Why do I hate being splashed in the face? why did I often sleep hidden in the closet or under my bed when I was a kid? Why did I approach sex as a science experiment instead of with all the icky love stuff at the ripe age of 13*? Oh, there's a bunch more! *my first real memory of CSA was at the age of 14/15apx.

HELPFULkate, thank you so much for your posts, they are always enlightening. It will take some time for me to process all of it. Thank you for all you do, and for YouMeI!

Devotedman, you once asked me about my "name" in which I replied Yes to all of your questions. But I am tired of running. I am tired of not understanding, I am tired of always being afraid. I have hit a brick wall head on and my options were to toss myself into the junkyard for good, or to love this vessel, not give up, and put her back together and make her stronger and better.
I tend to be very methodical (a prev IC pointed that out to me), but lately it's been a bit harder to keep my emotions on the down.
As for the minimizing/joking, while serious is serious I have always believed in finding the humor in something whenever possible. I am the type of person who cherishes laughter, and it makes the bitter pill of reality a little easier to swallow. By all means, I am not trying to fool myself into thinking something is "not as bad" as first thought - unless, of course it really isnt. I'm also not trying to devalue myself or the matter at hand.

So, here's a little story for s&g's:
My "head boss" joined me at the table I was at during lunch the other day. We were talking about some potential upcoming changes, and then switched to college sports teams and their fans. From no where, he made a comment "You have personality". Had I been not caught so completely off guard I would have responded "Yes, I do, but to which are you referring?" (my H even said I should have responded 'I have several') but alas, my immediate thought triggered was provoked by his complete and total assholiness and I responded "yup, and you are such a Capricorn... totally a Capricorn". (apologies to anyone who is a Cap, this guy resonates all the negatives of the sign). But anyways, I beat my brain up for days wondering WTF he meant. Seriously, who does that? Too open for interpretation.

Skan posted 1/21/2017 17:58 PM

^^^Ah heck, I think that We Who Are Many have a tendency to overthink and approach anything that might possibly be construed as a potential threat, with many approaches, to see which one resonates with us. I find that when someone is speaking, that I almost have a secondary conversation going at a sublevel, with an instant reply. This gets me the reputation of being mentally quick with a fast retort/comment/play on words, but really, if everyone had a few people giving them reply options for the on-going external conversation, then it would not be noticeable.

while serious is serious I have always believed in finding the humor in something whenever possible

Finding the humor in just about every situation is very much how I deal with things. It's similar to the black humor cops, ER staff, paramedics, etc, do, to relieve the stress and daily horrors of the job. I'm pretty conversant with it, after being a Navy corpsman for 4 years. It's also great deflection, to get the attention placed anywhere else than on yourself, lest people see too much.

derealizingMe posted 1/23/2017 18:38 PM

oops. Lost my temper and called out a member on Wayward. Had a trigger and I projected my anger on him.

hopefully I wont get reprimanded too bad.

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