Where to start...

Where to start...

Pixi

Registrant
Hi there all. I'm new here and feeling very lost. My husband of 10 years revealed a few days ago that one of his brothers sexually abused him as an 8 year old child. He had repressed these memories according to him until recently when a family accquaintance was arrested for molesting his child. I have so many questions but don't want to push him as he doesn't want to relive it. I'm so angry that this happened to him and I'm really struggling that I can't talk about it with anyone. So, here I am.

I've known my husband since we were in Kindergarten. We've been together for many years and love each other dearly. He grew up in an Apostolic Christian family and doesn't think he needs to get help or want to get help. I think he believes he can repress the memories again. I'm trying to be supportive and not pushy but overall feeling like I can't be of any help and feeling lost.
 
This must be a shocking revelation for you both. It is significant that he shared it with you, it means he trusts you and feels safe with you. I have a theory about repressed memories - that memories surface when the person is in a safe enough place in their lives where their mind can handle the information. A safe relationship can allow that.

That said, it is unpredictable how he will handle this now. He might forget again, or he might remember but minimize and try to forget/pretend he's fine (lot of survivors get stuck here), or, the memories might shove their way to the forefront and demand attention (you will find a lot of the men on here are in this 3rd group). It is not really a conscious choice unfortunately so he won't really have any control over the path this takes, nor will you, sadly.

Therapy can certainly be lifesaving for survivors, but, usually happens later. I cannot emphasize enough that this is a process, and usually a long one - and seeking therapy requires an awareness that one needs help, a readiness to admit the need for help (can be especially hard depending on cultural conditioning as well, and male gender and religion are definitely factors), and, I believe it takes a certain amount of desperation/willingness to open and delve into a box of memories that is likely to be extremely painful and disruptive. It is something nobody really wants to do, like scrubbing a toilet. Reaching readiness takes time and doesn't happen on a predictable schedule.

The best thing you can do at this early juncture is let him know you love him unconditionally, respect him so much, and will be by his side no matter what happens. Gently convey support without pushing, exactly as you are doing. Patience, grace, and unconditional love are key. After a lifetime of love and 10 years of marriage, I'm guessing you both have a strong foundation. Most survivors and their partners are in for a rough ride following the breakthrough stage so it's time to strap yourself in and just steel yourself for whatever may happen next. It usually gets worse before it gets better, sometimes much worse. But you are in it for life I assume, this is the "for better or for worse" up there with life's worst stressors and people can and do get through it.

I do wonder, why can't you talk about it with anyone? You are doing right evaluating your support network and putting into place the resources you need. This site is a wonderful help. I myself haven't availed myself of them, but I know there are self help books for partners of survivors of SA. As his journey progresses, you might find the supportive outlet of individual therapy for yourself to be helpful.
 
Hi all,

This week it became aware that my husband watches porn regularly. I know that some consider it normal and maybe it is, i dont know. I think it has to do with his abuse-he was made to watch it starting at age 8. I am hoping we have made a tiny stride in him understanding that the abuse he suffered affects him even if he doesn't realize it.

Thoughts?
 
Hi Pixi,

So sorry to hear about your husbands childhood sexual abuse.
As mentioned earlier you should get help and support for yourself.
As you probably know by now CSA has very damaging and has lasting effects for anyone who experiences it.
Healing is definitely real and very possible for your husban.
Spouses of survivors will have their own healing journey to pursue as well.

In my opinion survivors should be supported and encouraged but not pressured into a proces.
Everyone’s process unfolds differently and the process really can’t be rushed.
It’s great for you to make requests and set boundaries but he’ll have to make his own choices for his recovery.
A good CSA trauma therapist w/experience helping men is something you could look into for when he is ready.

Porn is a real problem for many male CSA victims.
In my opinion it’s probably pointless for him to try and stop using at this time.
But there are lots of ways to cut back and even quit if that is something that he wants once he has the support in place.
The mind and body of a survivor keeps trying to make sense of the sexual trauma.
Excessive porn use is often a way a survivor copes with the his inner trauma.
The CSA conflicts are something that are happening inside the victims mind and body.
Porn can become a major coping mechanism for a lot of us.
It’s really probably not the best thing to even focus on at this time.
What‘s driving the porn use is the more important thing to try and understand.

In time a good therapist can help him through the process of making sense of thing and this is what really helps the most.
If the spouse becomes the primary sounding board it can become a real problem for everyone.
It’s very easy for you as the spouse to become swamped by what is really pretty overwhelming stuff to be dealing with.
Do pay attention to how all this is impacting you.
 
I can speak for myself that I have a porn addiction and I'm hypersexual because of what happened to me 60 years ago...I'm sure I'm not alone in this respect.
 
Hi Pixi,

So sorry to hear about your husbands childhood sexual abuse.
As mentioned earlier you should get help and support for yourself.
As you probably know by now CSA has very damaging and has lasting effects for anyone who experiences it.
Healing is definitely real and very possible for your husban.
Spouses of survivors will have their own healing journey to pursue as well.

In my opinion survivors should be supported and encouraged but not pressured into a proces.
Everyone’s process unfolds differently and the process really can’t be rushed.
It’s great for you to make requests and set boundaries but he’ll have to make his own choices for his recovery.
A good CSA trauma therapist w/experience helping men is something you could look into for when he is ready.

Porn is a real problem for many male CSA victims.
In my opinion it’s probably pointless for him to try and stop using at this time.
But there are lots of ways to cut back and even quit if that is something that he wants once he has the support in place.
The mind and body of a survivor keeps trying to make sense of the sexual trauma.
Excessive porn use is often a way a survivor copes with the his inner trauma.
The CSA conflicts are something that are happening inside the victims mind and body.
Porn can become a major coping mechanism for a lot of us.
It’s really probably not the best thing to even focus on at this time.
What‘s driving the porn use is the more important thing to try and understand.

In time a good therapist can help him through the process of making sense of thing and this is what really helps the most.
If the spouse becomes the primary sounding board it can become a real problem for everyone.
It’s very easy for you as the spouse to become swamped by what is really pretty overwhelming stuff to be dealing with.
Do pay attention to how all this is impacting you.
Great response @SmartShadow.

@Pixi - I'd concur with all of this. Focusing on healing the trauma / abuse is more important than outward behaviors - unless those behaviors are dangerous and / or destructive. Untangling all of the abuse will provide some freedom and more ability to choose different behaviors. But it will take time. If you feel the porn use is damaging / destructive to your relationship, it is okay to talk about it because he should probably know that. Therapy is the best thing he can be doing.
 
Great response @SmartShadow.

@Pixi - I'd concur with all of this. Focusing on healing the trauma / abuse is more important than outward behaviors - unless those behaviors are dangerous and / or destructive. Untangling all of the abuse will provide some freedom and more ability to choose different behaviors. But it will take time. If you feel the porn use is damaging / destructive to your relationship, it is okay to talk about it because he should probably know that. Therapy is the best thing he can be doing.
I agree but I can’t push him into therapy and I don’t think he will do it himself. I am seeing my therapist next week as I need the help myself. Thank you all for your messages.
 
I’m so sorry you’re going through this. Unfortunately, until he is ready to do the work and seek help for himself then you will be banging your head against a wall. I strongly recommend you seek counseling for yourself as you will be on a constant roller coaster of emotions. My husband was an alcoholic for the first 25 years of marriage and following getting sober, he then moved to gay porn. The porn is often violent and of very young men or “twinks”. I finally had enough and said he either had to get help to quit the porn or I was leaving. He is now in counseling I have told him that as long as I know he is working on it, I will support him, but even that is hard. I do see my own counselor but quite honestly she’s not much help. The despair is so overwhelming some days that I just want to get in my car and drive until I find somewhere to start over, but at 58, with grandkids I can’t do it. So I just take it one day at a time.
 
Just a little update-I have done my best to stay in my own lane. On Christmas Eve my husband saw his brother-his abuser. I was concerned but kept to myself. I had told him that he doesn’t have to talk to me about it but if he decides he wants to see someone to let me know. On Christmas he said he thinks he needs to. Today is his first appt. He is nervous/anxious about it which I’m sure is normal. I am just wondering what to expect?
Thank you all in advance!
 
Just a little update-I have done my best to stay in my own lane. On Christmas Eve my husband saw his brother-his abuser. I was concerned but kept to myself. I had told him that he doesn’t have to talk to me about it but if he decides he wants to see someone to let me know. On Christmas he said he thinks he needs to. Today is his first appt. He is nervous/anxious about it which I’m sure is normal. I am just wondering what to expect?
Thank you all in advance!
That's good news! Hopefully he has an experienced therapist who will be able to help him a lot.

The first session is typically the "intake" session - a lot of background and general conversation. It may focus on questions about his goals for therapy, etc. Probably some practical, logistical (billing, scheduling) topics too. I'm not sure what he had to fill out ahead of time, but the intake can feel a bit intrusive in terms of questions that sometimes get asked. Hopefully he will come home feeling good about the therapist. Not sure how deep they will get into things.

Over time, you can expect him to be dealing with a lot of emotions - more than he may be used to. Depending on how he's managed them before, he may not share much, or he may share a lot. Sessions can sometimes be overwhelming emotionally, and just being a listener if he wants to talk is a huge support.
 
Great news! Hopefully he will stick with it and het the help he needs and deserves. I also hope you get a counselor or have someone, separate from him, that you can vent to or lean on as there will still be rocky days ahead.
 
Well my husband has been in therapy for a few months and here we are with the difficult session of reliving and he wants to give up. I feel for so many of you. Up until now we have dealt pretty well with ups and downs, tears and sadness. But we have always had intimacy-until now. I think he has finally hit a point in therapy where he is realizing the affect and it’s in turn affecting our love life. I would have no problem giving it up if he were to heal. It’s so awful the affects this brings to our family especially when he was the 8 year old victim. I have appreciated all of your thoughtful comments as they have helped me navigate this new part of our life. Wish you all the best.
 
A great site, which I found because I’d this site, is Husband Material. It offers great podcast and tools for men to stop porn and to become better husbands and great future husbands. I know a lot of guys on here, who also use that forum.
 
Well my husband has been in therapy for a few months and here we are with the difficult session of reliving and he wants to give up. I feel for so many of you. Up until now we have dealt pretty well with ups and downs, tears and sadness. But we have always had intimacy-until now. I think he has finally hit a point in therapy where he is realizing the affect and it’s in turn affecting our love life. I would have no problem giving it up if he were to heal. It’s so awful the affects this brings to our family especially when he was the 8 year old victim. I have appreciated all of your thoughtful comments as they have helped me navigate this new part of our life. Wish you all the best.
So sorry for what you are both going through and what he went through as a child. I have learnt since being on here that healing is one thing, but feeling empowered is another. Talking with my wife this year, telling her of my abuse after 27 years (we've been married 20) was such a weight off my shoulders. My advice is be there for him, show him he has strength he didnt know he had and empower him to heal. With empowerment I have found I am much more willing to share and disclose. I wish you both all the best on this journey, please remind him he is not alone, this was not his fault and he is now safe and loved.
 
Hi,

I am a girlfriend of a male molested by his aunt since from 5-13 years old. He is now 60. He was in therapy in his 20’s. He repressed the tendency to act out like he was in his 20’s. He hurt many women in his 20’s. We are in a serious relationship and I need to know how I can navigate and be there for him. There is no alcohol, drugs or porn issues. No infidelity issues. I need information and how to not freak out over the information he provided to me about his childhood sexual abuse.
 
I don't know if it would be helpful, but I do know there are groups online for individuals such as yourself dealing with this issue. I have run across them in the past, but did not pay attention to them since not relevant to my situation. Also you may try working with a therapist yourself. They may be able to advise you. Other than that I am sure it is very hard for you to hear his story. I would just suggest him share it as he feels comfortable and if it is too much for you to process at once. Tell him that you need time to process. If he is sharing this with you, he must trust you. Trust issues are very hard for survivors. Take care.
 
I don't know if it would be helpful, but I do know there are groups online for individuals such as yourself dealing with this issue. I have run across them in the past, but did not pay attention to them since not relevant to my situation. Also you may try working with a therapist yourself. They may be able to advise you. Other than that I am sure it is very hard for you to hear his story. I would just suggest him share it as he feels comfortable and if it is too much for you to process at once. Tell him that you need time to process. If he is sharing this with you, he must trust you. Trust issues are very hard for survivors. Take care.
Excellent response for RAD*. The trust he has put into you and your relationship is mind blowing from my perspective. However, I can also see where it could be very overwhelming for you. As indicated from another female supporter, I would encourage your own therapist to help you down this path without losing yourself.
 
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