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Sexual Abuse Survivors/Spouses - Part 3

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YouMeI posted 5/5/2017 06:15 AM

Hi Dom,

My advice to anyone in "our" shoes is pretty simple.

Put her first. Period.

Bad crap happened to you, and you are probably furious at the people that caused you pain.

She has to live with the person that caused hers.

If you are in this for the long haul dig in!!!!

If you aren't in therapy, get there!!

Because if you can't take care of yourself you aren't going to be able to help her through this. You need someone impartial to hear you vent, to be upset, to talk about YOU. Because many days your spouse just won't want to hear it.

I often see BS say "I wish I could help him/her more."

And they really really mean it...but they just got run over by a truck WE were driving so the compassion isn't always there. WE just have more WEs then most

Your number one job is to become a safe person, for you, for her, for your kids.

This happens over time, not over night.

Don't try to fix things. Try to understand things, try to improve things. LISTEN to what she needs..Listen to yourself for what YOU need.

You're a good guy?

It's time to shine!

PS-Kate is my wife [so proud to say this )...she as are other members of this board are BAD ASS!!! Listen to them!

silverhopes posted 5/11/2017 20:43 PM

Hi everyone,

I'm sorry to drop in like this after being gone for so long. Can anyone tell me about dissociation? Like, what happens when you dissociate or have an episode? There was something weird that happened to me a little while ago today and it's happened more than once in the last few weeks. I'm struggling with words to describe it, but am feeling very freaked out, and wondering if it might be dissociation. Can anyone help?

devotedman posted 5/12/2017 07:11 AM

Silverhopes! I've wondered about you ever since you stopped posting. Hi!

If you read back a few pages there are some descriptions from some folks, just so that you don't have to necessarily wait. Just start reading backwards in the thread from this page. There are several descriptions from different posters.

Glad to see you!

edit - I believe that the first post about it was one from hopefulkate who described what it was like to see her H, YouMeI, have one. And YouMeI has posted about it as well.

[This message edited by devotedman at 7:16 AM, May 12th, 2017 (Friday)]

silverhopes posted 5/12/2017 10:37 AM

Hi DM! Good to read you again! Thank you, I'll start reading back until I can find it.

Hope everyone's doing OK on here!

cantaccept posted 5/15/2017 17:15 PM

I have occasionally popped in here. I lurk and I read but I tend to avoid this topic.

I minimize what I experienced. I lie to myself and think, it wasn't that bad, I am dramatizing it.

Had a huge trigger the other day. An unexpected almost encounter with one of my abusers. Story is in New Beginnings.

I think I really need to start facing this. Then I wonder, do I really have to? I am fine I think when I don't have these types of encounters. Since the incident I have been triggering hard. Heart is doing the rapid beat thing. I feel like I need to grieve? Damn I don't even know. I feel like I am about to have a real bout of sobbing but at the same time feel numb.

Just rambling here. Getting out the whatever thoughts that are racing.

Just damn all of this. I really don't want to have anything to do with any of it.

hopefulkate posted 5/15/2017 20:17 PM

Hi Silverhopes and can'taccept - hope you are finding a moment somewhere of peace! Even if it's just a big ol' bite of chocolate ice cream. I mean the kind of bite that seems awesome, until your brain is on fire - or frozen! Mmmm that one...

My point is, those moments are hard so get something little just for you and enjoy it. Hard as that is, I know!

Can't: I'm so sorry that you ran into someone. I can't even imagine what that feels like, so I will tell you what I do know. You are strong! You've made it this far, you can do a little more. Why not see if you can purge this stuff once and for all? If you are ready of course. Otherwise, more ice cream and deep breaths. It will be ok.

cantaccept posted 5/16/2017 06:52 AM

the people you told about your abuse, still love you even though they know the "gross" truth about you.

This is, I think anyway, the part that was always missing for me. The people that I did tell, in the past, did not show that they loved me in spite of it. They used it to hurt me further. Some could not deal with it and then accused me of lying or being overly dramatic.

I am speaking up again. Sort of forced into it in a way, maybe not forced but having it pop up and choosing to speak. It is scary. I am making myself vulnerable to more hurt. Just keep reminding myself that how others react is about them, not me.

I have spoken some here, a friend that is mostly online and phone so that is a bit safer. The in real life speaking is quite a bit harder and it feels riskier.

hopefulkate posted 5/16/2017 11:01 AM

Hi Can,

I'm sorry you have only known assholes or idiots.

Good news, when you do share and people stick around - that's a good peep! Kind of a nice way to cut through the bull of getting to know people.

Risky? Yep. Possible hurt? Yes.

But, people who can't handle me are not worth my time. You know?

Easier said than done- certainly!!

Baby steps. Glad you are reaching out though. The world is full of good people. The jerks are just louder sometimes. I say, get even louder!

cantaccept posted 5/17/2017 05:57 AM

Thank you hopefulkate for the response. Btw, I love the name change.

You are right, it certainly is easier said than done.

This is hitting me pretty hard. I am a bit surprised that all of this is churning inside me now. It is getting all mixed up with the abuse from x and his using the CSA as a weapon to hurt me. Then it goes to the realization that those early abuses are a good part of the reason that I am here at this point in my life. I am feeling really angry.

Then to complicate it a bit more, I have met a very nice man. He is so supportive and kind. Now I fear revealing too much. Not that I fear his reaction but how much should I dump on him? Then I think he should run from me. Then I know that I am a pretty good person. Then I think I am a fuckin mess! Brain spin.

I had the 4am panic wake up.

I've been reading on pandy, a site DM suggested. It was pretty spot on.

I just keep thinking, I just want to feel normal.

I am having all of these "normal" things happen, good things. Crazy but it panics me. It feels so wonderful in the moment that I want to cry. Then I question the reality of it. I fear trusting that it is real.

I was reading about secondary wounding. That is a real thing. Being blamed for speaking up, as if I didn't then it wasn't so. That I was the problem because I spoke. Then x using it to demean me, say I was defective, that my "inappropriate behavior" was because I was damaged. Telling his ow about this, that still makes me cringe. Then saying what he did was not that big a deal because I was already damaged, that it didn't hurt that much because I had gone through worse. This anger and pain about this is real. I am not overreacting, these were horrible things too.

Then I find myself looking for "what is CSA". I still feel like I am lying or exaggerating. At the same time I know that I am not.

I do realize that this is just a jumbled mess of thoughts with no real question. I just need to get this out.

The only irl person I have to talk to without worry is now beginning cancer treatment. I just don't want to add to his burden. I believe I can talk to my SO but still worry about over sharing with him.

Well, thanks for reading this.

hopefulkate posted 5/17/2017 08:00 AM

To be clear - and I know everyone here will agree with me! - what you speak of, ALL OF IT, is ALL abuse.

Here is how I see your story. You were abused, and any minimization of it makes ANYONE feel like they either deserved it or are crazy for getting upset by it - or worse, denial of it making them question their very existence.

Later, unfortunately, it seems perhaps you recreated your abuse by choosing the ex. (What a piece of %%^*, btw!!)

So, ALL, yes, ALL!, of what you are feeling is 1000% justified and, get this, NORMAL. No one could go through any of that unscathed.

The great DM gave me the best advice, he told me to take my H's A and make that time in my life my rock bottom.

And by that I took it to mean finally, even though it was begrudgingly, to work on me. Go to the bottom of all the ick and uck that I didn't want to, and challenge all of that stuff put in my head by others that simply wasn't true! I'm a good person! I am not what they called me.

For you, perhaps it's time to go into the deep end. Go back and visit it all with a fresh lens of, NONE OF THAT WAS OK, NONE OF THAT WAS MY FAULT, AND NONE OF THOSE OPINIONS OF ME IS ANYWHERE CLOSE TO WHAT I TRULY AM - which is beautiful and kind and good.

I'm not saying it will be easy or be over in a day, but I do believe in the better life on the other side.

As for the new guy, does he feel in your gut different than the ex? Different from the way your ex felt at first I mean?

I only ask because it is easy to continue patterns not identified, KWIM?

Otherwise, if he seems different, then give him a little and see how it goes?

FWIW, I think you are awesome! :)

[This message edited by hopefulkate at 8:02 AM, May 17th (Wednesday)]

onlytime posted 5/17/2017 08:31 AM

I read your posts in this thread cantaccept and could relate to much of what you are currently struggling with.

I am curious, have you ever been diagnosed with complex-PTSD, or had the possibility of it looked into?

cantaccept posted 5/17/2017 12:21 PM

hopefulkate, I honestly did feel like I hit rock bottom. Guess I just didn't deal with everything.

As for the new guy, does he feel in your gut different than the ex? Different from the way your ex felt at first I mean?

Yes he does feel different. He acts differently. Of course I am still watching carefully, it's only been about 5 months. It takes a whole lot longer to really know who someone is, if you ever really do.

I am definitely aware of repeating patterns. Seems that I have 57 years worth of repetition.

I did share some of the CSA info with him. He seemed genuinely horrified that it had happened to me. Not horrified in a "you are damaged" sort of way but more of a "how could someone hurt you like that" sort of way. It felt/seemed more like compassion, empathy but not judging of me.

Thanks for the vote of "awesome".

onlytime, I have not been diagnosed with anything. I had to stop therapy immediately after dday #2. I was just beginning to address this with my IC when the crap hit the fan, again. He walked out on dday, again. Left me with a mess financially and I am still just living paycheck to paycheck. Healthcare has become a luxury for me. I have a $4700 deductible. Not in the budget. I read. I write. I come on here. I sing.

That is about the extent of my therapy right now.

I do have some symptoms of CPTSD. Nightmares, heart palpitations, hyper vigilance. Not as bad as a couple of years ago but they still crop up. I think that being in a new relationship is causing some unknown issues/triggers to surface also.

I am curious, what made you ask?

onlytime posted 5/17/2017 13:34 PM

cantaccept, there was just something familiar in what you wrote.

I was diagnosed with complex-PTSD in February 2016. I am just starting Pete Walker's "Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving". There is a lot of good stuff that I saw while skimming through it. Have you read it at all?


cantaccept posted 5/17/2017 17:57 PM

onlytime, I have not read that book. To be honest, I think I have pretty much avoided anything close to CSA info.

For quite a while it was all I could manage to deal with what I had lived for the last 12 years with x. It took a long time to wrap my brain around the fact that he is abusive, most likely on the spectrum of personality disordered. There were so many lies and twists to come to terms with, not just the infidelity. He lied to me from the start, not just about what he had done and lived but who he was, what he really thought.

I have been thinking all day that I almost refused to deal with the CSA as an act of defiance against x.

When we were in therapy, he would come home and tell me that his therapist said that I was so hurt and struggling not because of what he did but because of my past. I can see how prior abuse would amplify the pain but he was using it as a way to relieve himself of responsibility. He was using it to put the blame on me. I just was not going to allow that.

It may have been different if he were a different type of person. Perhaps if he had been sincere and remorseful, really concerned about how I was dealing with things, then maybe I could have faced it at that time.

This all came up strong the other day. It was Saturday. I work as an interior decorator and do in home consultations. I received a call from a woman. I chatted with her about the project, we agreed on a time. Then I asked for her address and last name. Turned out that she is the wife of one of my childhood abusers. He is my sister's ex-husband. I was blindsided. I blurted out "your husband is "name". She asked how I knew and I told her who I was. I was just so shocked that I just blurted this out. There was no way I could ever go into his home. I have seen him a handful of times over the years at events for my nieces, his daughters but always in a crowd and I can keep my distance. I just could not be that close to him, in his house.

This was the trigger for me now. Such a small thing. I spoke with my boss, told the truth and he got someone else to take over. Done. Except now I am not done. Now I am reacting and it feels terrible. My body is reacting. My mind is going places that I don't want it to.

To add insult to injury. Work told her that I was unavailable, had double booked. Today the phone rings, I answer, it is her. The woman that was supposed to take care of this did not show. This is a supposed friend. She knows the story. I told her why I could not go. She did not follow through. I had to call her and got some vague story. Then later a different story. I am thinking that maybe she is really not a friend. I feel perhaps betrayed by her, not sure yet, still digesting it all.

Questioning if I am correct in feeling mistrust for her or is it me? Am I overreacting? Am I jumping to conclusions? It just felt like a lie.
My gut says it was a lie but it is hard to tell as I do know that I have a few trust issues these days.

It seems I have some work to do. I must say an island sounds preferable, with no people. Just me and my dog and some wine.

I am curious, if you don't mind sharing. What are the symptoms that you experience from CPTSD?

I do wonder but then of course think I am over dramatizing it all.

onlytime posted 5/18/2017 10:36 AM

Now I am reacting and it feels terrible. My body is reacting. My mind is going places that I don't want it to.

I can very much relate to this. I thought I was through all of that shit. It was incredibly hard when it all resurfaced after the trauma of discovering FWH's A.

Even though I was diagnosed with complex-PTSD in 2016, I can see now it had been there for some time, and that BF13's betrayal just brought it out into the open.

My complex-PTSD is comorbid with Borderline Personality Disorder, and there is significant overlap of symptoms (both are believed to be caused by repeated and/or prolonged abuses). So it is difficult to really differentiate between the two, but the symptoms that I have experienced are:

Emotional dysregulation (raging, difficulty in controlling emotions, intensely emotionally reactive)
Severe, long lasting and profound depression
Denial
Intense fear of abandonment
Frequent suicidal ideation
Profoundly low self-esteem
Intense self-loathing
Lack of self-worth
Perfectionism
Blameshifting
Selective memory/gaps in memory from dissociation
Distrust/paranoia
Isolation
Profound shame
Flashbacks
Repression of memories
Frequent episodes of dissociation

Physically it has expressed itself in gastrointestinal issues, an eating disorder, and fibromyalgia so far.

cantaccept posted 5/18/2017 20:13 PM

onlytime, you have so much on your plate!

It makes my problems seem so insignificant.

I do see a whole lot of the things that you listed as what I did before dday. Suicide ideation, that was there long before the affairs. I do think that the way x treated me added to my problems. Now I only have brief, almost flashes of the suicide thoughts, I really don't think I am at risk.

Perfectionism, I used to try to be perfect, do everything right, follow all the rules, twist myself into a pretzel to be perfect for the ever changing expectations of what perfect might be in the moment.

I know that still I worry about if I am behaving or dressing or maybe doing something that I don't know that I am doing. It is still a battle to not hear those judgements against me. Almost like two sound tracks running in my head at the same time, the truth of me that I know and the horrible things that I was told that I was and still somehow have moments when I believe them and feel shame.

So many others ring familiar. Not so much the rage as I have always been too far on the other extreme, much too passive and accommodating.

I am so sorry that you are having to live with all of this.

I have read quite a bit about BPD and there is a whole lot that can be helpful now. I had a therapist question if I were BPD shortly after dday #1 because I was so traumatized by it, I was an absolute mess. I lost my voice for a couple of months because I would sit in my room and scream, like a primal scream from some deep dark place. The pain of the abandonment was almost too much to bear.

I shared so much with x about what I had been through and his hook was to constantly tell me that he would always protect me, never hurt me. Then he would use this information about the CSA to beat me down, make me feel damaged, the shift back to the protector. It made me insane. It's almost as if he took my most vulnerable spot and built up a safe place to be able to destroy.

Trust sure is an issue now. I have to keep checking if I am being mistrustful because of what is happening now or what happened before.

I do have a question, do you ever feel like you are outside yourself and just observing? Like you are watching yourself go through the motions? Hard to explain, but like you are just removed somehow?

silverhopes posted 5/19/2017 00:12 AM

Does anyone ever have the feeling that they don't want to be their gender anymore, or any gender at all, so people will stop abusing them? There are times where I want to cut off my body parts that make me a girl, so my abusers won't be able to affect me anymore. Last Monday one of my abusers was at my therapy center (unfortunately he goes there too) and began harassing me again. I did the right thing, but I feel disgusting all over. I want to cut his eyes out so he can't look at me anymore. But of course that's illegal. So I want to mutilate myself so badly that I can't feel their hands on me anymore. Is there a way to desensitize yourself so you can stop the hands? I'm spiraling.

onlytime posted 5/19/2017 10:57 AM

@cantaccept

you have so much on your plate!

Yes and no. Sure it's a lot to deal with, but I've been taking my time working through all of it. FWH has been incredibly supportive. Watching him become mindful and work through his stuff actually inspired me to want to do the same.

It makes my problems seem so insignificant.

Please don't feel that way. All of us has different things that we are dealing with and it is all significant.

still I worry about if I am behaving or dressing or maybe doing something that I don't know that I am doing. It is still a battle to not hear those judgements against me. Almost like two sound tracks running in my head at the same time, the truth of me that I know and the horrible things that I was told that I was and still somehow have moments when I believe them and feel shame.

I understand and can relate to this. On an intellectual level I know that I shouldn't feel shame and that I did NOTHING nothing wrong, but emotionally I still struggle with the thoughts that somehow I could have controlled what happened. (That damn illusion of control).

I shared so much with x about what I had been through and his hook was to constantly tell me that he would always protect me, never hurt me. Then he would use this information about the CSA to beat me down, make me feel damaged, the shift back to the protector. It made me insane. It's almost as if he took my most vulnerable spot and built up a safe place to be able to destroy.

My xH, a psychopath, did the same. Pure fucking evil. One of his favourite things to say to me after a beating was "what are you gonna do, go to the police and cry rape again?!" It takes a monster to do shit like that.

Thankfully FWH has never done that. Yes, he betrayed me by having an A, but in 20 years he has never said shit like that to me. Not once. And, he has been there for me with gentleness, compassion and empathy as I sort through all of the traumas that reappeared as a result of his betrayal. I had something trigger me about the sexual assaults recently and started to hyperventilate and ended up throwing up in the garbage can and FWH stayed a few steps back but stretched his hand out to me and said he was there for me whenever I felt safe enough to go to him for comfort.

Night and day difference.

Thankfully not everyone is a monster.

do you ever feel like you are outside yourself and just observing? Like you are watching yourself go through the motions? Hard to explain, but like you are just removed somehow?

Often.

I struggle with both depersonalization and derealization. I know both are common given what we've been through.

It's a strange thing to go through, and hard to explain to someone who hasn't gone through it, for sure.

onlytime posted 5/19/2017 11:11 AM

@silverhopes

Does anyone ever have the feeling that they don't want to be their gender anymore, or any gender at all, so people will stop abusing them? There are times where I want to cut off my body parts that make me a girl, so my abusers won't be able to affect me anymore.

I went through that. Many times I wanted to take a knife and cut off my breasts. I thought that maybe if I could get rid of them then I wouldn't keep being victimized. Instead I spent a lot of time trying to hide them under baggy clothes.

It didn't matter. It wasn't about how I looked.

Is there a way to desensitize yourself so you can stop the hands? I'm spiraling.

The only thing I can suggest, one that has been working for me, is mindfulness. Bringing yourself back to the present when those thoughts start to spiral.

Have you done any reading about mindfulness at all?

How are you doing today?

Skan posted 5/19/2017 18:40 PM

SIlverhopes, one of the things that I use, when I'm spiraling, is bringing myself to the present by using tactile sensations. I'll hold, touch, or stoke something around me. Plants are great, because they have so many sensations, but a blanket, or even the chair that I'm sitting in. I try to feel every bump, crevice, imperfection, the smoothness pretty much memorize every feel that it has. Or I'll flood my senses with scent. Flowers, a mixed spice, whatever. I have a little nasal inhalant filled with aromatherapy oils to help clear my head, and I'll use that. I just try to flood my system with something else. Before I could reliably distract myself, I have to admit that I used pain as well, to break the focus. Fingernails dug into my arms, or palms. Scratching. Twisting pinches to my arms or legs. Hitting my self. Luckily that's not even close to my go-to methods any more.

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