Strained Homelife


Things at home are incredibly strained. As much I try to make things better in marriage I seem to make them worse. I cry alot- which seems to upset my wife. She has nearly had enough of me and my mental problems. I don't want to lose the only person I trust. I want to be a positive person that brings her joy- not a man baby that cannot be happy. I try very hard but the problems of trust in our marriage make it hard. My history of secretive behavior hangs over us. I don't know what to do. I am so afraid to lose her. I want to be better. I go to therapy occasionally-- it is hard to get an appointment. Therapy has done nothing but put me on more pills and make me a crybaby.
I cannot concentrate on my crappy job because I am so worried and distressed. I don't know how to talk to my wife without angering her. I want to feel loved. I want to feel happy. I don't know what to do to change all of this.
Hi Brian, this abuse is so hard and makes our most important relationships very difficult. You're not alone.

Have you told your wife what you've just told us? That might be a place to start.

Some women can't handle the idea of their husbands being vulnerable, much less the reality of it. That's just the way it is, as women no less than men are raised to think men must always be strong. It does all of us, men and women, a disservice. It's possible your wife is one of those women. On the other hand, many times women, even if they don't truly understand where we're coming from, are able to roll with the punches and be solid support. Unfortunately, you can't know which type your wife is going to be without communication.


So I haven't posted in a while, but your post really hit home for me, Brian. I had literally decades of secretive behavior. The stress and anxiety of deception and acting out were so awful. My marriage suffered so much. In July there came a crisis in which I was forced to start coming clean to my wife and tell her what I'd been up to. She took it hard, understandable. She suggested that maybe I was a sex addict. I thought she was crazy but agreed to go to an SAA meeting. I am still very new to it, but it has REALLY helped me with realize that my behavior was/is an addiction and my thoughts -- secrecy, minimizing, deception, fear, shame -- were all those of an addict. It's been liberating and empowering. The more secrets I share, the stronger I get. My wife is trying to be supportive and understanding and she's trying to learn more too. And she is beginning to understand that there was a reason behind all my anxiety and pain. Bright days are ahead. ... and as for your crying, please embrace it. Emotions heal and cleanse. You are no man baby.


Tough dilemma. I've struggled with the fact that my wife is not at all sympathetic to any weakness. She doesn't understand that it's a lot tougher to tackle this shit than hide from it. I never discuss CSA stuff with her because I know her feelings about "weakness."

I'm currently recovering from eye surgery. Hardly a weakness but it does mean I'm limited in what I can do for a couple months. It annoys the hell out of her, even though she knows it's not my fault. The other day she said in exasperation, " "I'm just not the caregiver type." I laughed. Tell me about it.

But I have to be honest. Part of the reason she was attracted to me was I did an excellent job hiding any weakness or side effects from my abuse. That version of me was the match for her. And part of what attracted me to her was that coldness and lack of compassion. I never knew kindness or nurturing as a child, so it made me uncomfortable. We matched perfectly, as long as we don't change.

I used to have affairs, and occasionally I would get asked what my wife would think of me sleeping around. I used to say I don't think she'd care about the sex, per se. If I got caught with some other woman and embarrassed her, she would be angry, but more at my ineptness than the cheating. When I told women this, none believed it. The road I've been on is to foreign for most people to understand, Welcome to the life of a CSA survivor.

Anyway, don't mean to make light of what you're going through. I hope you can get with your therapist and find other sources of support. That's what has worked for me. Take care.
hi, ever think of doing couples therapy just so she can see a little about what your going through ?, and see if you can get into regular therapy sessions on your own it would probably be a big help just my thoughts.
@Brian76 I am so sorry for how tough things are. I had not cried in 40 years and this year began making up for lost time. Countless times my wife held me as I sobbed. She was so grateful that I trusted her enough and brought my need to her. It has been a critical piece of my healing and our marriage getting better. I am sorry you don't have that.


Brian - So sorry you are experiencing this. Someone else thought it was OK to do something evil to us, and we are left with the fallout the rest of our days - and those closest to us as well.
I,too, would echo what BelovedSon said : keep trying with therapy. I was a weepy mess half the time with my therapist and he never once suggested any medication. It would serve you well to continue to search for a T who can guide you through this. My T and I went through several types of therapy (EMDR was one of the most useful). As JohnnyC said : look for an SAA group. They're much like AA or NA. The group meets the need of a specific person. You don't have to talk, you don't have to sit in front an be introduced, you don't have to stand and read out loud like at the AA or NA meetings. Just go. You will find yourself in the company of like-minded individuals who will support you. You need and deserve the guidance and understanding of both a therapist and the support group. It can be the beginning of some positive changes. Too bad we're not neighbors. I'd come have coffee and listen as you talked.


You're not a manbaby or a crybaby. This pain makes people cry, men and women. Have you ever taken your wife with you when you see your therapist? The therapist might explain some of these things to her so she can understand you better.


I am fearful to take her to therapy with me just yet because she does not know all of the secretive behaviors I discussed with the therapist. I am so ashamed and fearful of hurting/angering her...
This is a very moving conversation simply because it sheds light on how painful it is to carry the residue of trauma through our lives. Invariably we do things to manage the pain that create even more pain, all laden with shame. It is difficult to believe anyone will care for us when we feel in our bones that we're worthless. This is all rooted in trauma and for many of us we don't remember enough to put it in perspective. There is still a little boy in us who is terrified of the world. But we've come here for support and telling the truth is how we find freedom... first here and with our therapists, then with the people we love. Blessings to us all.
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Visitor-You are so right. My wife is having more trouble in understanding the re-enactment of shame and abuse that I did before we were married. She is understanding and sympathetic of the abuse of the little boy at 8, but not what I did in 30-40’svwhich was re-enacting trauma laden with shame which I did with older married men.
Brian-welcome. Hang in there and keep reaching out to us. I came out with my story to my wife a year ago and it incredibly strained our marriage. It was necessary however as I needed help an am now working with a therapist for a year. Things are improving ODAT (One Day at a Time.)