Wife of a survivor, seeking nothing but to know we aren’t alone

Wife of a survivor, seeking nothing but to know we aren’t alone

Mary80

Registrant
First time posting! Here goes! I apologise in advance if I ramble, there’s A LOT! The last few years have excuse my French been an absolute shit show of a marriage! My husband is a CSA survivor. I didn’t know this when we married it all came out a few years ago. I don’t even think he knew, I think he had blocked it out for so long and a period of instability, verging on a breakdown, bought it all crashing back to him like a brutal tsunami! We have had ups and downs, months of severe depression and then seemingly a few weeks of highs. As I have read it be referred to on here since I have joined it is like the rollercoaster of nightmares! My once happy, energetic, selfless husband became a shadow of himself. I didn’t recognise him anymore! He has tried therapy in the past, and every helpline going, but non of it has made any difference for him, in fact some have made it worse. I have stood by and watched as he self destructed, and as he threw one bomb after another into our marriage. He’s broken, I’m broken, tired beyond belief!




I listen, I take it all in, I offer him my shoulder, I tell him I’m here, I’m not going anywhere but this is the loneliest place to be, holding the weight of his pain, shame, anger on my shoulders but not being able to talk to anyone as it’s not mine to share!

This time, I give him the ultimatum! Am I a bi*ch for doing that? The ultimatum is, you HAVE to go to therapy, you HAVE to stick with it, wrong therapist? We will get another, but there’s no giving up this time! I can’t sit here and watch my husband, my best friend, my soul mate suffer like this anymore, and I can’t let my family suffer anymore either!



I’m hurt, that my husband has betrayed me, I’m sad that what should have been a beautiful marriage is being destroyed by the despicable man that did this all those years ago, I’m broken, for my husband and the pain he has and is suffering, I’m broken for the pain that has been bought to our marriage!



I think love is enough, is that stupid? I think the love we have for each other is strong enough to overcome this, I am strong enough to stand with him however closely he wants, to take this path together, I meant my vows, in sickness and in health, for better or worse!



To my husband:

I don’t know if you are on here, but if you are, I’m here with you, I will stand with you, I choose you, I wake up and I choose you, I choose us!
 
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Wow. You are a wonderful wife. I truly hope that you can work through this. I am a survivor as well and honestly not sure how I could expect my wife to stand by me after basically having affairs with other men if that is what I am reading into your comments. I salute you but I really don’t know how you can fix anything until he is fixed otherwise you are asking for the same thing to continue. And the question is does he want change. Good luck. Take care
 
Wow. You are a wonderful wife. I truly hope that you can work through this. I am a survivor as well and honestly not sure how I could expect my wife to stand by me after basically having affairs with other men if that is what I am reading into your comments. I salute you but I really don’t know how you can fix anything until he is fixed otherwise you are asking for the same thing to continue. And the question is does he want change. Good luck. Take care
Thank you @Maleelder, though I think you are too kind! I’m just trying to be the best wife I can be, which under these circumstances is almost impossible! I gave up thinking I could fix him a few years ago, I know now that only he can do that.

Is it affairs? I’m not sure, if he came home and told me he had been having an affair, with the emotions involved, he would be out the door. But this isn’t that is it? This is ‘acting out’ because of the trauma? From what I’m learning from this forum, that’s not all that uncommon, some survivors are addicted to porn, some have affairs, some ‘act out’, all of which are due to the trauma. There should still be some accountability though? I’m hoping his therapist will help him see that. I don’t know….

I do think he does want change, I think it’s got to the point for him that if he doesn’t change, he doesn’t want to be here anymore. So I’ll stand with him, I’ll fight with every breath I have to help him heal! I just hope that somewhere through that process my husband comes back, I miss him desperately and I know he’s in there somewhere!
 
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I do think he does want change, I think it’s got to the point for him that if he doesn’t change, he doesn’t want to be here anymore. So I’ll stand with him, I’ll fight with every breath I have to help him heal! I just hope that somewhere through that process my husband comes back, I miss him desperately and I know he’s in there somewhere!
@Mary80 , you are a priceless partner. If he doesn't finally see the light, get help and heal, he has no idea what he is loosing. My wife has been my rock throughout my healing journey and I would be lost without her.
 
Well said, I very much agree with you in regard to my own husband and marriage. As far as I know, my husband has not had any hook ups/physical encounters with anyone. I know he did have a Scruff account and was talking to a couple of guys, exchanged dick pics, but as far as I know, no hookups. He does have a serious gay porn addiction and it is all geared at very young guys, like barely legal age, which is very scary. He has been in and out of counseling but has always skirted dealing with the CSA directly. I gave him an ultimatum that the porn had to stop or I was out, that I just mentally could not take it anymore. He started therapy but then stopped. After coming home and catching him jerking off in the living room, he finally went back. I'm hoping and praying that he'll stick with it this time. I know he has to do the work and it won't be easy,but as long as he is working on it, I'm here to support him.
 
My once happy, energetic, selfless husband became a shadow of himself. I didn’t recognise him anymore! He has tried therapy in the past, and every helpline going, but non of it has made any difference for him, in fact some have made it worse. I have stood by and watched as he self destructed, and as he threw one bomb after another into our marriage. He’s broken, I’m broken, tired beyond belief!
Hey Mary... first, your title said you want nothing but to know you aren't alone. Well... you are not alone. And this is a good place - both to find men who will try to help bring some understanding to things, but even more as a wife of a survivor - to find other women who understand, can empathize, and who want to stay committed to their husbands in spite of all this. I'm so sorry you all are going through this, and I'm sorry for you - because this was not something you ever expected to have to deal with.

In the midst of the rollercoaster, all the ups and downs, the extremely difficult emotions and withdrawal... I believe it is actually making a difference for him. But it's really hard to see because I'm sure it doesn't feel like it for either of you. As for getting worse before it gets better - yes, that is usually the case. Being visited by those type of traumatic memories and feelings can't help but tilt everything on its side.

In the ideal world, some of the less-destructive coping skills we learned as kids and teens can help titrate things a bit to bring back some of the "normal" to life, while we also slowly deal with the root issues / trauma. But that's not always possible - especially when memories and emotions revisit men suddenly like a flood. The picture of a faucet that's turned on during the winter, dripping or running slowly, to keep the pipes from freezing is what we really want while walking through this with a therapist. But that's not always possible - and it can instead be an intense whirlwind of emotions not just for him, but also for you. And, in the midst of the whirlwind, our old methods of coping inevitably kick back in - and they usually are hard to understand especially for a spouse. Because while you may understand the mechanisms of trauma reenactment (sounds like you do), it is very hard as a spouse not to read into those actions in a way that reflects on you. Because it 100% affects you regardless.

I feel like all I can give is empathy and understanding. And the hope that things can and will get better. But it's a long process. I am thankful you are so commited to him and want to stay by his side. I do hope you have your own support system in real life to help you too. I know that's tough because there are only so many people it feels like you can talk about this with.

I'm glad you are here, and hope this place becomes part of that support system for you. There are some awesome women / wives here like @karin4him who have great empathy and understanding.

There should still be some accountability though? I’m hoping his therapist will help him see that. I don’t know….
"I don't know..." is actually a good answer to this question. Yes... there should be accountability. Yes... there are lines that shouldn't be crossed. And at the same time, yes... he probably has such a big need to soothe and comfort these big feelings and memories, and he probably doesn't have alternate ways to have those needs met. Even if he did, they can seem too risky and scary for the kid in him to seek them out. Much grace, forgiveness, and patience is needed during the healing process. And yet - you also have to know where your own limits are.

Perhaps there are some of his coping / soothing mechanisms that - while you don't like them (masturbation by himself might be a good example of this) - are tolerable to you while he sorts through things over the next few years? While there are may be things (such as an all out affair - involving both sex and emotional attachment) that are a road too far? This question would be a good candidate for talking with your own therapist about as you try and figure out how to sort through this all for yourself.

Please know that you are loved and valued. And that your own need are legitimate through all of this even though they can seem small in the light of his needs right now. Don't neglect your own needs while trying to help and be there for him. Because you can't help or be there for him if you don't take care of yourself. And you are worth being taken care of too :)
 
Wow. You are a wonderful wife. I truly hope that you can work through this. I am a survivor as well and honestly not sure how I could expect my wife to stand by me after basically having affairs with other men if that is what I am reading into your comments. I salute you but I really don’t know how you can fix anything until he is fixed otherwise you are asking for the same thing to continue. And the question is does he want change. Good luck. Take care
I agree with you wholeheartedly although when we are hurt as children by acts of physical sexual violence I ask you to ask yourself, is not seeking non violent sexual experiences with other men healthy? Would it not be an attempt to repair the damage caused by monstrous acts and an act of the seek of being part of "the Pack" since we are communal beings? Sexual Violence isolates; one thing as a survivor I still struggle with is trusting others even in non sexual relationships. I commend this woman for standing by her husband and hope she realizes the strength and belief of their marriage her husband has to be honest and have high hopes this tremendous hurdle won't create a rift of the vows they are still both protecting in acts of the honesty they have with each other. To me or in my opinion, they are practicing spiritual monogamy which is far deeper than any act of physical monogamy.
 
In the midst of the rollercoaster, all the ups and downs, the extremely difficult emotions and withdrawal... I believe it is actually making a difference for him. But it's really hard to see because I'm sure it doesn't feel like it for either of you. As for getting worse before it gets better - yes, that is usually the case. Being visited by those type of traumatic memories and feelings can't help but tilt everything on its side.

In the ideal world, some of the less-destructive coping skills we learned as kids and teens can help titrate things a bit to bring back some of the "normal" to life, while we also slowly deal with the root issues / trauma. But that's not always possible - especially when memories and emotions revisit men suddenly like a flood. The picture of a faucet that's turned on during the winter, dripping or running slowly, to keep the pipes from freezing is what we really want while walking through this with a therapist. But that's not always possible - and it can instead be an intense whirlwind of emotions not just for him, but also for you. And, in the midst of the whirlwind, our old methods of coping inevitably kick back in - and they usually are hard to understand especially for a spouse. Because while you may understand the mechanisms of trauma reenactment (sounds like you do), it is very hard as a spouse not to read into those actions in a way that reflects on you. Because it 100% affects you regardless.

I feel like all I can give is empathy and understanding. And the hope that things can and will get better. But it's a long process. I am thankful you are so commited to him and want to stay by his side. I do hope you have your own support system in real life to help you too. I know that's tough because there are only so many people it feels like you can talk about this with.

I'm glad you are here, and hope this place becomes part of that support system for you. There are some awesome women / wives here like @karin4him who have great empathy and understanding.


"I don't know..." is actually a good answer to this question. Yes... there should be accountability. Yes... there are lines that shouldn't be crossed. And at the same time, yes... he probably has such a big need to soothe and comfort these big feelings and memories, and he probably doesn't have alternate ways to have those needs met. Even if he did, they can seem too risky and scary for the kid in him to seek them out. Much grace, forgiveness, and patience is needed during the healing process. And yet - you also have to know where your own limits are.

Perhaps there are some of his coping / soothing mechanisms that - while you don't like them (masturbation by himself might be a good example of this) - are tolerable to you while he sorts through things over the next few years? While there are may be things (such as an all out affair - involving both sex and emotional attachment) that are a road too far? This question would be a good candidate for talking with your own therapist about as you try and figure out how to sort through this all for yourself.

Please know that you are loved and valued. And that your own need are legitimate through all of this even though they can seem small in the light of his needs right now. Don't neglect your own needs while trying to help and be there for him. Because you can't help or be there for him if you don't take care of yourself. And you are worth being taken care of too :)

Hey Mary... first, your title said you want nothing but to know you aren't alone. Well... you are not alone. And this is a good place - both to find men who will try to help bring some understanding to things, but even more as a wife of a survivor - to find other women who understand, can empathize, and who want to stay committed to their husbands in spite of all this. I'm so sorry you all are going through this, and I'm sorry for you - because this was not something you ever expected to have to deal with.

In the midst of the rollercoaster, all the ups and downs, the extremely difficult emotions and withdrawal... I believe it is actually making a difference for him. But it's really hard to see because I'm sure it doesn't feel like it for either of you. As for getting worse before it gets better - yes, that is usually the case. Being visited by those type of traumatic memories and feelings can't help but tilt everything on its side.

In the ideal world, some of the less-destructive coping skills we learned as kids and teens can help titrate things a bit to bring back some of the "normal" to life, while we also slowly deal with the root issues / trauma. But that's not always possible - especially when memories and emotions revisit men suddenly like a flood. The picture of a faucet that's turned on during the winter, dripping or running slowly, to keep the pipes from freezing is what we really want while walking through this with a therapist. But that's not always possible - and it can instead be an intense whirlwind of emotions not just for him, but also for you. And, in the midst of the whirlwind, our old methods of coping inevitably kick back in - and they usually are hard to understand especially for a spouse. Because while you may understand the mechanisms of trauma reenactment (sounds like you do), it is very hard as a spouse not to read into those actions in a way that reflects on you. Because it 100% affects you regardless.

I feel like all I can give is empathy and understanding. And the hope that things can and will get better. But it's a long process. I am thankful you are so commited to him and want to stay by his side. I do hope you have your own support system in real life to help you too. I know that's tough because there are only so many people it feels like you can talk about this with.

I'm glad you are here, and hope this place becomes part of that support system for you. There are some awesome women / wives here like @karin4him who have great empathy and understanding.


"I don't know..." is actually a good answer to this question. Yes... there should be accountability. Yes... there are lines that shouldn't be crossed. And at the same time, yes... he probably has such a big need to soothe and comfort these big feelings and memories, and he probably doesn't have alternate ways to have those needs met. Even if he did, they can seem too risky and scary for the kid in him to seek them out. Much grace, forgiveness, and patience is needed during the healing process. And yet - you also have to know where your own limits are.

Perhaps there are some of his coping / soothing mechanisms that - while you don't like them (masturbation by himself might be a good example of this) - are tolerable to you while he sorts through things over the next few years? While there are may be things (such as an all out affair - involving both sex and emotional attachment) that are a road too far? This question would be a good candidate for talking with your own therapist about as you try and figure out how to sort through this all for yourself.

Please know that you are loved and valued. And that your own need are legitimate through all of this even though they can seem small in the light of his needs right now. Don't neglect your own needs while trying to help and be there for him. Because you can't help or be there for him if you don't take care of yourself. And you are worth being taken care of too :)
Thank you so much @MO-Survivor for your reply!

Thank you for reassuring me that even if I can’t see it, my support is helping him in some way!

You are absolutely right that we need to discuss some boundaries, though he has been honest and said he can’t promise me he won’t do it again, so for now, intimacy between us is off the table, he has already put my health at risk for the last few years, and I won’t let that happen again!

This forum has been a saviour for me the last few weeks, initially by reading other peoples experiences, knowing that we aren’t alone, and now by being a place I can have a voice, there really is no one I can talk to, it’s not mine to share, it’s his! So I will continue on with my therapist, and continue to come here to seek support and have a voice!

My therapist says to me every week, what are you doing to look after yourself, honestly, the last few years, I don’t know, EVERYTHING is about him, and I just don’t have anything spare to give myself. I’d love to hear from other partners how they look after themselves, it’s not something I’ve ever been particularly good at! 😊

Again, thank you! For taking the time to reply! I’m so sorry for you also, it’s not a place anyone should ever have to be! I hope your healing is going well!
 
I agree with you wholeheartedly although when we are hurt as children by acts of physical sexual violence I ask you to ask yourself, is not seeking non violent sexual experiences with other men healthy? Would it not be an attempt to repair the damage caused by monstrous acts and an act of the seek of being part of "the Pack" since we are communal beings? Sexual Violence isolates; one thing as a survivor I still struggle with is trusting others even in non sexual relationships. I commend this woman for standing by her husband and hope she realizes the strength and belief of their marriage her husband has to be honest and have high hopes this tremendous hurdle won't create a rift of the vows they are still both protecting in acts of the honesty they have with each other. To me or in my opinion, they are practicing spiritual monogamy which is far deeper than any act of physical monogamy.
Thank you for this @JoshuaT! It’s made me consider things in a different way! I absolutely agree that spiritual / emotional intimacy is so much deeper than physical. But that doesn’t stop the fact that he is putting my health at risk by doing it, and also chipping away at my trust if/when he hides it from me. Hopefully with therapy he will be able to begin to control that side of things a little more?

That trust has to be built back, as one day, I hope to be able to have a physical relationship with him again, but for now, that’s off the table as I can’t and won’t put myself at risk.
 
I'm glad you are here, and hope this place becomes part of that support system for you. There are some awesome women / wives here like @karin4him who have great empathy and understanding.
Also @Looking4Grace is a wonderful person with similar experience.
My once happy, energetic, selfless husband became a shadow of himself. I didn’t recognise him anymore!
This really got to me, how abuse catches up with us and we lose ourselves trying to find ourselves.

I got an unfortunate reversal of this, got severely groomed out of my personality/sexuality (which was normal) and life an childhood by my family and lots of predators helping in schools and a culture that has made a success out of child rape and exploitation.

At just before 40 I started regrowing my natural personality and it contributed to me getting interfered with by mental health industry abusers, my mother was the primary beneficiary of my abuse (I'm still trapped with her, never married or had any relationships, she ruined me so I'd never be able to escape her, lots of abusers helped) - when I started resetting and growing my natural personality, like I should have been allowed to do at 7 years old my family made it out that I had become mentally ill because my personality changed and I stopped enabling them, letting them use me and stood up to them.

Because of the sharing of a true Lady here on MS I began to wonder if maybe when men are getting to middle age and resetting their personalities, that got stolen from them by childhood abuse, they end up distanced from and acting out on their wives, as a proxy for their mothers who were the ones that allowed/sponsored/took part in their abuse. I think it's possible the wives are getting the fallout their husbands mothers caused.....maybe try to help your husband assess his childhood relationship with his mother (or sister, someone did it to him) and try to get him to acknowledge that you are not his mother and he can't take it out on you.

Severe maternal and paternal abuse was the making of my life, I expect if I had gotten married my poor wife would have ended up with the fallout.
 
@Alex Zed wow! That is definitely a new way of looking at things. I’m so so truly deeply sorry for what happened to you! I sincerely hope that you are able to heal and begin your life being you!

My husbands abuser was not a family member, or friend, but I know that his mother abandoned him when he was young, and he has a lot of anger towards her, 1 for the abandonment but 2 because he can’t understand how she didn’t know! How she didn’t see that one day her child came home and was different! Because I know he would with our children!

Hos therapist is already working with him to unpick not just the abuse but also his childhood, so hopefully that will help.

And thank you for tagging @Looking4Grace! @Looking4Grace i have read many of your posts and you have certainly helped me to gain some perspective, and feel less alone on this otherwise very lonely road!
 
Thank you for this @JoshuaT! It’s made me consider things in a different way! I absolutely agree that spiritual / emotional intimacy is so much deeper than physical. But that doesn’t stop the fact that he is putting my health at risk by doing it, and also chipping away at my trust if/when he hides it from me. Hopefully with therapy he will be able to begin to control that side of things a little more?

That trust has to be built back, as one day, I hope to be able to have a physical relationship with him again, but for now, that’s off the table as I can’t and won’t put myself at risk.
I still applaud your commitment and sending you strength vibes in doing what's best for you and then keeping what the both of you have worked through thus far
 
Mary80,
You r not alone. I am a wife of a survivor. Some days r hard but some are great. My husband is going to therapy and its the best for him. I am going to my own telehealth therapist. We also go to a marriage counselor to help work through this too. My husband has told me several times , he doesn't deserve to be loved by anyone. I said he was a child when he abuse happened. Told him I am always going to be here for him. I have asked him if he is interested in someone else and he said no several times. If you r interested, Tuesday nights at 7 ct, there is some of wife of survivors that meet in the chat room just to talk. Feel free to join us if I would like to.
 
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