I need to speak my truth - help

Symba34

Registrant
Hi friends,

Quick backstory on us... I am a CSA survivor (only body memories and corroboration of the weird event by my mom) as well as grew up in an emotionally abusive home, and my partner was molested several times by his babysitter at age 5.

I've done a lot of healing myself in the last two years, and have reached a point where I'm finally able to hear the voice inside of me. Much of that work has been spiritual/energetic as well. Meaning, I am able to draw correlations between physical ailments I have, and what is going on emotionally. I am having some physical symptoms which are linked to denying my intuition and not speaking my truth. I know it is time for me to talk to my partner and lay all of my chips on the table with regards to our intimacy, future and cooperation in receiving therapy (separate and together).
I'm still grappling my own fears about speaking my truth, a by product of my upbringing for sure, and it's no coincidence that I fell in love with a man who is all too similar to my father which really paralyzes me to speak up.

What I want to say (in no particular organized order) is that I deserve intimacy, cuddles, hugs when I'm sad, support when I'm healing, empathy when something is wrong. I feel unloved and alone, and sometimes even vilified for crying, being upset, having emotions that inconvenience him. I also want to say that at 34 years old (and him being 44), I've given 7 years to this relationship and I always wanted to get married. I deserve that celebration from my relationship.
I also want him to somehow know that I've seen his heart open, and that I know that deep down he wants these things too but that I believe his past is playing into our present. I am trying to heal for myself, and my wish is that he could find healing too and start to unlock some of the deepest pleasures our relationship can bring. HE deserves it too.

My wish in all of this is of course that he will seek treatment and that we can continue to have open conversations about these topics with a counsellor together. I'm not expecting an overnight change, but what I want is the commitment at least to work on some of the pain points.

My fear, is that he will get defensive and withdraw and not let me finish saying what I need to say, or, that he'll listen but no action will be taken. In these cases, I'd be denying myself to continue with the relationship. Even just typing that fills me with dread.

So, what I need help with now is:
1. I'm looking for any resources on truth speaking that may help ME
2. I know there are things I need to say but to the extent possible I want to say them with delicacy for his feelings, and with love. I don't know how to do that without being a doormat.
3. ANY thing else you can recommend. Mindfulness practices, styles of psychology to look into for myself, him, and together.

thanks
 
Maybe this is not the right place for you. There are plenty of places on the web female survivors can go. On the other hand, this is one of very few places male survivors can go. It seems a little strange to me for you to be asking us to find resources for you.

I'm not saying you're not welcome here. But surely other women could help you with your questions better than we could.
 

karin4him

Registrant
Males and females react, process and heal differently from CSA. My husband and I are both survivors. We did a lot of joint and individual counseling. I did Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and it was tremendously helpful. I would recommend giving it a try. However, my husband did not want to try it and has worked on everything except his CSA. So don’t expect just because you are ready that he is as well. We’ve been married 32 years and haven’t had intimate relations for the last 10. I love him and have been too scared to leave so I suffer in silence because anytime I bring it up for him to get help, then he starts talking about divorce so I drop it. Divorce is very acceptable in his family so it’s his go to response. I wish you the best and caution you about setting expectations.
 

Alostman

Registrant
What does "speaking my truth" mean? Truth is truth, sounds very fake deep too me.This has nothing to do with you, I just seen the title and couldn't help but say something.
 

Toad

Registrant
Hi Symba,
Sorry for what you have gone through. You do deserve to feel loved. There is just too much pain to go around.

You cannot force you BF to deal with this if he is not ready. But there are things you can do to help the process along.
1. First and foremost - set a good example in taking care of yourself.
2. Set and keep reasonable boundaries. You are from an abusive background. So be mindful of any enabling behaviors that you may have learned growing up. In the long run they do not help the other person.
3. Set and keep reasonable expectations.
You deserve to be treated with love and respect for your body, mind, and emotions.
Decide on a reasonable minimum of how you expect to be treated by all people. And enforce those reasonable expectations. If someone is unwilling or unable to live up to treating you that way then that person is not ready at this time for a relationship with you.
He is your boyfriend, if he cannot treat you with at least a bare minimum of respect and love all humans deserve. Then he is not ready to be in a relationship at this time.
4. Be reasonably open about your experiences. There is much shame felt in being abused. He may not be able to cope with the shame. Many find it easier to open up to someone who is themselves reasonably open about their past. Letting go of any shame you may still hold can perhaps help him to let go of his.
5. Share with him what you read on this website. It can help him feel not so alone.

This is just my two cents.
You are welcome here, just remember that we are a bunch of really hurt guys, so be gentle and please forgive us if we react in a way that makes you feel unwelcome.

Toad
 
I won't repeat what I said when you introduced yourself but I will post a link to that thread...


I appreciate that karin4him responded to your post. She clearly knows more about this from a woman's standpoint than the men on this thread who are digging out of their own despair. Good luck finding your way. And remember the Serenity Prayer. It is perfectly apropos to your situation. There ARE things in the world over which we ultimately have NO control... and that includes people, places and things...
 

Symba34

Registrant
Nothing anyone has said has made me feel unwelcome.

I am aware the tone of my post was actually very self serving sounding, I think what didn't come across in my post is that I love this man very, very deeply. The idea of ever leaving him because he is struggling to give me what I need kills me, because I feel like that would just torture him for a part of himself he has (or feels he has) no control over, but then the trade off (and where my own past haunts me) is that I torture myself instead. The advice for me to join a female CSA forum was sound, I think I'll do that as well and try better to filter my words between the two and keep it relevant. I hope I did not offend anyone, if so, please forgive me... I'm new to this (not just this thread, but talking about any of this.)

What I am trying to accomplish, and why I am here, is i want to find a way to lay my emotional cards on the table, but I truly want to do this in a sensitive, and non threatening manner. I am so aware of his anxieties, insecurities, and what happens when someone plucks those cords. He shuts down... understandably. I'm aware of them to the point of policing myself into silence, but being silent is doing neither of us any favors at this point.

I am also here because, although I am a female CSA survivor, I have literally no idea how this type of trauma lands on a boy then a man. I want to better understand the many implications it can have on a boy. Its so hard to look beyond your own experience of something, but I'm trying.

I do not want to threaten, give ultimatums, insinuate there is something wrong with him.

I do want to illuminate the love I have for him, that he deserves connection and openness as do I, that commitment means always having me in his corner, and that we can face this together.

My ultimate goal is that we can remain in each others lives and support one another, even if that's apart, for the sake of our daughter! (But hopefully together)

So maybe you guys could help me with times you were in these types of convos, what worked, what didn't? What helped you feel supported from your partner (even if the relationship dissolved in the end)?
 

Symba34

Registrant
Hi Symba,
Sorry for what you have gone through. You do deserve to feel loved. There is just too much pain to go around.

You cannot force you BF to deal with this if he is not ready. But there are things you can do to help the process along.
1. First and foremost - set a good example in taking care of yourself.
2. Set and keep reasonable boundaries. You are from an abusive background. So be mindful of any enabling behaviors that you may have learned growing up. In the long run they do not help the other person.
3. Set and keep reasonable expectations.
You deserve to be treated with love and respect for your body, mind, and emotions.
Decide on a reasonable minimum of how you expect to be treated by all people. And enforce those reasonable expectations. If someone is unwilling or unable to live up to treating you that way then that person is not ready at this time for a relationship with you.
He is your boyfriend, if he cannot treat you with at least a bare minimum of respect and love all humans deserve. Then he is not ready to be in a relationship at this time.
4. Be reasonably open about your experiences. There is much shame felt in being abused. He may not be able to cope with the shame. Many find it easier to open up to someone who is themselves reasonably open about their past. Letting go of any shame you may still hold can perhaps help him to let go of his.
5. Share with him what you read on this website. It can help him feel not so alone.

This is just my two cents.
You are welcome here, just remember that we are a bunch of really hurt guys, so be gentle and please forgive us if we react in a way that makes you feel unwelcome.

Toad
Thank you <3 Its scary and hard for me to implement much of what you mentioned, but that's my shit to figure out. You're right on all of it.
 

Symba34

Registrant
I won't repeat what I said when you introduced yourself but I will post a link to that thread...


I appreciate that karin4him responded to your post. She clearly knows more about this from a woman's standpoint than the men on this thread who are digging out of their own despair. Good luck finding your way. And remember the Serenity Prayer. It is perfectly apropos to your situation. There ARE things in the world over which we ultimately have NO control... and that includes people, places and things...
I'm not familiar with it, but I will look it up. I don't judge on any of the responses... I actually kept thinking about my post and realizing how self serving it was on a support group for men. It wasn't my intent, but I think that wasn't clear. <3
 

Symba34

Registrant
Maybe this is not the right place for you. There are plenty of places on the web female survivors can go. On the other hand, this is one of very few places male survivors can go. It seems a little strange to me for you to be asking us to find resources for you.

I'm not saying you're not welcome here. But surely other women could help you with your questions better than we could.
Your honesty got me thinking, and you're actually right... I think as I come to terms with my own past, a female support group would be useful. I'm used to focusing on my relationships first and me second has a habit of my past. What you said translates to self-care. Putting on my air mask before helping the passenger next to me. Thank you for holding up the mirror. I definitely do have questions that apply here, and I hope I clarified it better in my response below.
 

Symba34

Registrant
What does "speaking my truth" mean? Truth is truth, sounds very fake deep too me.This has nothing to do with you, I just seen the title and couldn't help but say something.
For me it is very difficult (if not paralytic) to speak openly and truthfully about how I feel. I'm very afraid of upsetting people or angering people. It's amplified when the person I need to talk to is someone I love, and even more when I know that person has a trauma past and shells up or becomes defensive. There are many layers here, and my purpose in being on this forum is to try to understand how to navigate 'hard to have' conversations so that I can have it effectively - for both our sakes.

I was merely hoping that there may be some members here who, in their travels, have stumbled upon resources that have resonated with them surrounding speaking up, regaining their voice, etc... books you may have read, articles that landed, etc. Then share :)
 

Symba34

Registrant
Males and females react, process and heal differently from CSA. My husband and I are both survivors. We did a lot of joint and individual counseling. I did Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and it was tremendously helpful. I would recommend giving it a try. However, my husband did not want to try it and has worked on everything except his CSA. So don’t expect just because you are ready that he is as well. We’ve been married 32 years and haven’t had intimate relations for the last 10. I love him and have been too scared to leave so I suffer in silence because anytime I bring it up for him to get help, then he starts talking about divorce so I drop it. Divorce is very acceptable in his family so it’s his go to response. I wish you the best and caution you about setting expectations.
Thank you so much for your share.. I really appreciate it. Yes, we do heal differently. Part of why I'm here is to hopefully gain a better empathy for what boys/men experience with this. I've been doing EMDR as well. My partner has said he's interested but I think one of the issues is our therapist is too far away. I'm hoping when we move to a new city I can find some support that's local, and maybe some regular babysitter support.
I'm sorry for what you have gone through as a girl, and also the struggle in your marriage. It. Is. Hard.

I am trying not to expectations, but I have my ... wishlist, i guess? Best case scenario. Worst case... and a plan for each.
 

bigman883

Registrant
Hi friends,

Quick backstory on us... I am a CSA survivor (only body memories and corroboration of the weird event by my mom) as well as grew up in an emotionally abusive home, and my partner was molested several times by his babysitter at age 5.

I've done a lot of healing myself in the last two years, and have reached a point where I'm finally able to hear the voice inside of me. Much of that work has been spiritual/energetic as well. Meaning, I am able to draw correlations between physical ailments I have, and what is going on emotionally. I am having some physical symptoms which are linked to denying my intuition and not speaking my truth. I know it is time for me to talk to my partner and lay all of my chips on the table with regards to our intimacy, future and cooperation in receiving therapy (separate and together).
I'm still grappling my own fears about speaking my truth, a by product of my upbringing for sure, and it's no coincidence that I fell in love with a man who is all too similar to my father which really paralyzes me to speak up.

What I want to say (in no particular organized order) is that I deserve intimacy, cuddles, hugs when I'm sad, support when I'm healing, empathy when something is wrong. I feel unloved and alone, and sometimes even vilified for crying, being upset, having emotions that inconvenience him. I also want to say that at 34 years old (and him being 44), I've given 7 years to this relationship and I always wanted to get married. I deserve that celebration from my relationship.
I also want him to somehow know that I've seen his heart open, and that I know that deep down he wants these things too but that I believe his past is playing into our present. I am trying to heal for myself, and my wish is that he could find healing too and start to unlock some of the deepest pleasures our relationship can bring. HE deserves it too.

My wish in all of this is of course that he will seek treatment and that we can continue to have open conversations about these topics with a counsellor together. I'm not expecting an overnight change, but what I want is the commitment at least to work on some of the pain points.

My fear, is that he will get defensive and withdraw and not let me finish saying what I need to say, or, that he'll listen but no action will be taken. In these cases, I'd be denying myself to continue with the relationship. Even just typing that fills me with dread.

So, what I need help with now is:
1. I'm looking for any resources on truth speaking that may help ME
2. I know there are things I need to say but to the extent possible I want to say them with delicacy for his feelings, and with love. I don't know how to do that without being a doormat.
3. ANY thing else you can recommend. Mindfulness practices, styles of psychology to look into for myself, him, and together.

thanks
There is a list of counselors on the malesurvivors website who are expert in working with CSA survivors. I would start there, one on one at first. Whether you are male or female, regardless of what happened to you, it is a highly individualized process, one that isnt easy to navigate. You may have better success with a skilled and knowledgeable therapist who can assist you with resources, rather than the struggle and frustration of trying to go it alone. I will hold a good thought for you
 

dark empathy

Registrant
Hi Symba.

Personally I see you being here as quite legitimate and definitely a good thing, we've had various partners and supporters of survivors on this board before, and generally its definitely worth guys here hearing their perspective as much as visa versa, I've certainly had questions for partners of survivors myself.

That being said, I agree with Toad that this is something you can't necessarily force. One of the problems is that where women (especially in the current climate), are encouraged to discuss their feelings and CSA as they relate to others, men generally don't, indeed even the concept of men as abuse survivors is a pretty radical one.

for me, I didn't even know rape of a man was possible, then , even when I had to come to terms with what had actually happened, I was very much of the "well its in the past, so it doesn't matter" school, despite what I realise now were some pretty major indicators.

It is also likely that if your Bf loves you, he interprets any distress on your part as his fault, especially if he is aware of at least some of your history. This is a regular problem, plus if he has intimacy issues it is entirely possible that he is unaware of his own reactions or what is going on, or is actively trying to avoid them.

I was genophobic for years, and terrified of anything and everything to do with sex. I was convinced that touching a girl on the arm, especially someone I found attractive would make me an abuser, and was triggered by my own reactions.
I don't know if this is the same for your bf, but just to note that a lot of the social crap about "men don't have feelings, men always want sex" is not only untrue, but also very damaging.
All that being said, you definitely have the right idea in being honest. It was a lot of very honest conversations with the wonderful lady I'm married to that let us get over a lot of the really major issues, we even read Alex Comfrot's joy of sex together, which was quite astounding for someone who'd been genophobic, so it definitely is possible to improve things, but it takes a lot of work and a lot of care.

So, I'd first suggest going about things very carefully, trying to avoid aserting that there is any "Fault" involed, and maybe just suggesting ways both of you could make things better. also, perhaps getting Mike Loo's book victims no longer or maybe pointing your bf to this site, since it often be very helpful to just realise that yes there are other men who've been through this (again something the current climate isn't making easy).

Hope some of this is vaguely helpful.

Luke.b
 
Hello Symba34, reading over responses, Toad's caught most of my attention. Expectations and boundaries have been a new part of my healing process in the few years I've worked on this. I'm in a too often toxic relationship, and have been for over 34+ years. It fills me with sadness and grief that so much of my fatherhood has been warped by the person I married.

I think there is a lot that happens in childhood, which has taken an inordinate length of time to become distinguished in Therapist training, revised in the DSM, now 5th edition, and public awareness about mental health with a broad range of issues. We're in the back of the line per say when it comes to services, and recognition of our mental health needs. That's changing, but glacial pace isn't helping. There's no will to fund our needs on a scale that represents the broad spectrum of males and non-binary who are adversely affected by childhood, late teen and early adult sexual abuse, assault and rape. It's good to have allies show up with their concerns, and lend to the discussion. I welcome your and many in F&F over time.

Too often, our relationship expectations are warped by the bias' we've developed from being abused, sexually assaulted, and raped. The media plays to a platform of neutrality with their headlines and other word choices, or opinions and articles. The circumstances about any childhood, and teen abuse, assault and rape are not having sex. It's not OK, that the dynamics of rape become re-narrated into a teen having sex. That's absurd, the power imbalance is too out of proportion, and these circumstances leave long periods of doubt about the truth. Men come here all the time with the belief their actions can be interpreted as seeking the older for sex, therefore, it's not abuse, and as much their fault. Understanding that issue can come into focus better when allies and partners like you, explore their truths. Shaping the future will require a lot of allies who are aware, and care about what men have dealt with as children and teens. That we lived disrupted lives, with varying dysfunction/s and self loathing, while navigating a life fraught with sabotage both committed by oneself, and partners. It's the systemic flaw of narrative that perpetuates our slow advancement among the systems of support.

I know there are ways to seek substantive change for oneself, while maintaining a boundary that promotes one's healing. I'm forced to live that. I know that lists I've created, and patterns I've examined not long ago using CBT, reviews (I write for myself), have lent perspective and reassurance. That's what I have sought since the worst break-down I've had a few years ago, to know this is manageable, and possible to thrive. The most effective help has come via my therapist and maintaining a connection here and some other sites. I sometimes interact with another (thousand or so member) group of majority women. I know a lot more about their issues by participating. It keeps me away from toxic rad fem misandry too. There's too much of that skirting around men who need help. Much too much, and any hindrance to men's Processing, healing and hopes for thriving are too many.

I can message you about that group, if you may want to consider a sexual assault group, comprised mostly of women, but invites men. It is somewhat like this F&F situation, but the men I encountered there are all survivors of sexual assault and rape, either as children, teen or adult.
 
Symba34,
Thanks for sharing all of your struggles; I admire and appreciate that. I'm just in from a long flight, and a little bit groggy, so I'm having trouble focussing on all of the long resopnses, but there is one thing I wanted to clarify. As I understand it, this "Family and Friends" Forum is precisely for people like you. Your feelings are valid, and I think it's great that you've come here to find out more.
 
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