Author Topic: telling secrets???  (Read 5770 times)

Anonymous

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telling secrets???
« on: January 29, 2005, 05:54:33 PM »
Hey everybody
My husband was abusive for the first two years of our marriage... psychologically, somewhat physically and sexually. He definitely displayed N qualities.  I thought he was NPD until when I left for a period of time he reformed. In year three he has radically reformed.  No more put-downs, mind-fucks, or any of that other stuff.  I love him and now I see no reason to leave.

However, recently, as I have been healing, I have been recovering memories that I had blocked.  They are traumatic.  Mostly the sexual abuse, the rape. Recovering these memories was helpful to me.  Finally I could validate my experience.  Finally I understood why part of me still hated him, even though he had reformed.  I was sure without a doubt that I wasn't going crazy, just suffering from trauma.  I have had a good converstaion with him about how I am still suffering the effects of his prior treatment of me.  He said he hated to think about it, but he knew I had to confront the one who did this...  So, I don't want to hold things over his head.  I want to let it go and move on with our lives together.  

If only it were that easy. Inside I'm really pissed off. Sometimes my anger comes to the surface in converstaions with him in which I remind him of how he treated me.  I hate doing that, so casually... It's like those feelings are trying to escape.  It usually hurts him.   I write in a journal... ocasionally talk to a moderately helpful therapist... But really I feel isolated in my experience, namely being raped by my husband, and the rauchy details of the abuse. The effects I have suffered, and am still suffering... the journey I have been on and am on.  

I want some of my closest friends to know.  Part of me doesn't want it to be a secret.  (I have been relatively quiet about this)  I don't want to be traped in this room alone...  But I can hardly type "rape" on an anonymous board without blushing. (there really should be no shame in it, right?) Then there is the matter of his reputation. On the other hand I don't want my friends to feel sorry for me, I don't want them to be sickened by the details... I don't want them to see me differently.

Would you tell your secret? How do you deal with the anger, with the residual symptoms of being abused? How do you get through it?
Part of me thinks maybe it would be a good step for women in general, to tell the story.  If enough people tell, there will be more social action to stop this kind of thing... less shame in admitting you've been raped by an intimate... Maybe less women will feel alone...
I write for fun. So, I'm working on a multi-genre piece that tells the story.

bludie

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telling secrets???
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2005, 07:27:11 AM »
Mirror2,
Are you in counseling? IMO this would be an appropriate first-step in dealing with the trauma you've experienced. Your friends -- especially your husband -- will not be able to truly help you. You may also have some PTSD symptoms which would definitely need to be addressed. Taking it to your friends might provide some initial comfort or relief but it could also further traumatize you. If they don't understand or treat you differently because of your situation, that would make things worse. I strongly urge you to investigate counseling. Ask your therapist if including your husband in subsequent sessions would help. As I see it, he  needs to take some responsibility and face the music. You need to pay more attention to your emotional needs right now than worrying about his reputation. Otherwise, I could see your anger and hurt coming out sideways for a long time.

Best,

bludie
Best,

bludie

Anonymous

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telling secrets???
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2005, 02:54:26 PM »
I don't know who mirror2 is, but I am in counseling, which I mentioned, I find moderately helpful.

Anonymous

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telling secrets???
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2005, 04:32:58 PM »
Sorry about that....  :shock:


Best,

bludie

Portia

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telling secrets???
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2005, 08:22:50 AM »
Very difficult. People will talk about their sex lives, what they do, but they donít talk about why they do what they do. The motivations, the fantasies, the sadistic or masochistic thoughts they may have and never act on. Some women fantasise about being raped (presumably those who havenít been raped), about being overpowered etc. Far from the truth of the act, as fantasies usually are. However, in talking to anyone, you canít be sure of their own inner sexuality and how they will react. They might listen, be empathetic etc but Ė they wonít admit their deepest sexual thoughts and hang-ups (they might not admit them to themselves). Everyone (in the west?) has problems with sex. Admitting it is still partly taboo I think. We donít like to admit that we donít have it figured out.

So, you havenít told anyone else other than your therapist - you have told your therapist?

Trying to imagine what I would want if it was me. Iíd want him to tell me why he did it and how he could have followed it through. And that he knows it was violent and controlling and about the furthest you can get from closeness or love or respect. Iíd want to know that he knew heíd treated me as an object for his violent thoughts and impulses. Iíd want him to have therapy for this in particular, or work out with me why he acted violently and sexually. Violence and sex donít naturally go together do they? I donít know much about rape, the whys. Do you? Iíd want to understand.

I wouldnít tell our mutual closest friends. I wouldnít colour their view of him. People can be horrified by rape (they may have been abused themselves). People can be very casual about rape (ďwas it really rape? I mean, he didnít hold a knife to you did he?Ē kind of thing).

Iíd try and work it through with him. Get joint counselling where you can get your anger out in a safe place. It sounds as though itís sitting inside you and worming away, like anger does.

Why does typing Ďrapeí cause blushing. Shame? That people wonít like you if you Ďadmití to it? Why are women shamed by rape? Because they think they could have stopped it? I donít know. I can type rape without blushing but I havenít experienced it. What are they going to call it soon Ė rape in war Ė systematic rape as a war crime. Itís no blushing matter. Children being born of rape and living with that stigma, their mothers being ostracised because of it. Sick stuff. Rape Ė by anyone of anyone Ė is a serious matter.

People have weird views about sex, and about sex and violence. Which is why Iíd be circumspect about telling people who you both know. I might tell someone who only I knew but Iíd have to trust them as much as I can. Yes, write it out, there are probably story-telling sites on the web where women share these experiences e.g. http://www.storycircle.org/index.html perhaps. But you have to get it straight with him donít you? Eventually. He did it and heís still with you so your anger has a daily target, and I can understand why. Your problem is dealing with the effect of his actions. His problem is his actions. He did it, you were the victim. Itís primarily his problem. Iíd strongly recommend joint counselling or therapy I think. If you love each other and have a future together, you have nothing to lose by doing this. If you donít do it, the future is more uncertain. Thatís how Iíd feel. Hope this helps.

original guest

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telling secrets???
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2005, 07:13:59 PM »
Hi Portia,
You bring up lots of good points.
I think as I have been pondering this I too agree that he has to deal with this for as long as I have to.  Since, he did cause it.  So, maybe I will ask him to go to counseling with me or something.

I have told my therapist and one friend about the rape.  A few others about the general abuse. All of my friends know my husband.  But some of them are basically my friends and I could probably trust them with this.  

Re the whys of rape... I'm positive if I asked him why he would either not recollect the particular incident, or he would say something like I wasn't clear about it. Of course in his own mind he would never intentionally hurt me. He might also take the "that was then" approach.  Like he is so ashamed because back then he didn't know how to treat women.  The real reason is he thought he was the center of the world.  He thought everything revolved around him and existed to meet his needs.  So, if I was sleeping and he wanted sex, there would be no reason for him not to have what he wanted. I was more of an object or a toy, something there just to make his wildest dreams come true.  
For lots of men, rape is about having power over someone.  With the other things that were going on at the time, I could see how this could be the case as well. Of course needing power over someone is rooted in fear, of vulnerability. But no, violence ansd sex naturally don't go together in my mind.

Re Rape and Shame:
As far as I can tell, there is shame for rape because women are socially conditioned to blame themselves.  So, the self blame comes, then the shame. The victim is often blamed when it comes to rape.  For a while I was asking myself why didn't I do a better job of preventing this... surely I could have... He would never mean to hurt me... It's a crazy making cycle.  Then, how could I have let this happen? I am so ashamed. I am also ashamed because I am afraid if I tell people will look at me differently... like, you poor thing... or why are you still with him? Or why aren't you pressing charges?

Thanks for your words... they also help me to realize... It is so hard for me to talk to my H about this. I have once but I just labled it "bedroom baggage" Maybe I need to say the word rape to him. He knows I still struggle but he has no idea how much. I also realize something about our relationship... I have always had to do euphamisms with him... Don't want to hit his trigger. When we first dated, and I was confident and honest, I said one of my opinions, or something I didn't think twice about, and he was hurt.  I had to spend all night appologizing.  God! I should have recognized that sign.  I am really generally a sweet person and my normal interactions don't usually cause people pain.  He was just "extra sensitive" so I adapted. Later I learned the proper term is narcissistic.  Anyway here we are... his behavior is a lot nicer, but I still have baggage about talking to him.  He is still a bit over sensitive.  
Thanks again.

Portia

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telling secrets???
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2005, 08:07:14 AM »
Bludie, I wonít ignore you re your other thread now gone.

I saw your other thread here before and thought about it and decided I couldnít contribute. I see a re-run of something else so I want to say here Ė hope youíre okay. I saw you asking for a meeting and no-one came. Why did you want to know what people think they have learned/gained/similar here? It sounds as though something is coming to a close? Is that true for you, some chapter ending?

Anyway, hello, youíre being acknowledged and it was a good question Ė but not easy to answer. Best, P

Portia

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telling secrets???
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2005, 08:41:35 AM »
Original guest, hello again.

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I'm positive if I asked him why he would either not recollect the particular incident, or he would say something like I wasn't clear about it.


So he might make it your problem Ė saying youíve got it wrong? Denying your feelings, your experiences. Dangerous, destructive stuff, especially for people who rely on their perceptions of their external world to function successfully.

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I am also ashamed because I am afraid if I tell people will look at me differently


Why does it matter to you if people see you differently? (because youíre an extravert and how people see you and relate to you is all-important?)

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When we first dated, and I was confident and honest, I said one of my opinions, or something I didn't think twice about, and he was hurt. I had to spend all night appologizing.

Well, you donít want to upset people and thatís okay. However, he chose to interpret your opinion as an attack on him. You arenít responsible for how he interprets things, he is. Iím sad that you apologised for having your own opinions. I donít think anyone should apologise for having opinions. Itís what makes life interesting, being different. Self-aware adults can cope with differing opinions and enjoy them, damaged adults on the defensive will perceive a different opinion as a direct threat. Their problem.

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God! I should have recognized that sign. I am really generally a sweet person and my normal interactions don't usually cause people pain. He was just "extra sensitive" so I adapted.


Yes! He was screwed up, so you adapted to his problem. You changed your confident, honest, friendly self into one that was wary, nervous, worried about what you say? And you make it your problem. It wasnít yours, it was his.

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Later I learned the proper term is narcissistic. Anyway here we are... his behavior is a lot nicer, but I still have baggage about talking to him. He is still a bit over sensitive.

Heís trained you to have this baggage. It suits him. He likes it that way. He has control over you by keeping you watching your words. And the sad thing is, youíre doing it to yourself. You could stop putting his feelings first and take care of your own instead. Youíre losing yourself with him. Heís an adult, heíll survive.

You said earlier that you love him. I wonder what you mean by love. I think you need to be needed, like many of us. I reckon you are a people-person who needs other people Ė great Ė but please find people who give you energy, instead of draining energy from you, which he does. People who you can be yourself with, who will love you for exactly who you are Ėnot what they want you to be.

Seriously, if you donít have children and you want a rewarding, loving, partnership of equals, Iíd look very critically at what you get out of this relationship and try and see where you might be in 10, 20 years time. This is the only life we have, itís corny but it really isnít a rehearsal. Best, P  
PS. Thereís a good story from Patz on page 15 of the thread called ĎNarcissism Part IIí on the other (top) message board . Itís 4 posts up from the bottom of the page. It features Jim and Jayne.

Anonymous

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Re: telling secrets???
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2005, 06:22:26 PM »
Hello Guest.

I will attempt to not talk about your husband too much, I just want to focus on you. I hope that's okay.

Have you ever heard of the Stockholm Syndrome? I would suggest that you do a little research on the net about that Syndrome if you haven't already. From what you've written I doubt that, because he is constant in your life, you have been able to delve deep enough to discover your 'true' feelings about this man and what they really are at this stage. And that is perfectly understandable. You will probably need professional help to do this.

Because you have to deal with him so much 'in the moment' about day-to-day things this would be interfering and clouding the big issue, for you to be able to progress to important stages of repair.

I also recommend individual rape counselling or even joining a workshop group  for rape victims, a type of group therapy. I read an enormous amount  of PTSD symptoms in your written words here alone. Have you been assessed for PTSD? Are you recieving any treatment for PTSD.

Yes, okay, that's a lot of stuff I'm suggesting, but you have to realise, and I really wonder if you have yet?????????? that the crime that was committted against you was an enormous and heinous one.  Where I live that is a jailable offence. He could be in jail now if it weren't for the fact that your mind blocked out the rape. He really should be in jail.

It appears to me that you are still traumised by the event and that you are still in a large amount of denial yourself and how it has affected you. There is also the other issue of fairness and justice which you haven't received.

Your mind may still be blocking the severity of what happened to you, to you. That may be where you need a therapist to help you through the to recovery.

The anger that you feel is perfectly understandable, but in the situation where you feel you need to or want to live with your abuser you are leaving yourself with no choice but to have to have to try to contain your anger.   This is an extremely toxic and vulnerable position that you are placing and keeping your psyche is in. Something must eventually give. Partiularly where he is exhibiting a large dose of denial and lack of personal responsibility.

You need to become aware of the damage which was inflicted on you when you were raped and any subsequent damage caused by any PTSD. Understanding that alone explains the oppositionary feelings you feel. "I love him - I'm so angry - etc."  Past and present contradictions that you are battling with on your own are now creating internal friction that needs to be soothed somehow, and soon.

I agree that writing is good therapy, but I add that you will also need professional help and a wise sounding board who knows the whole story and can help you through it.

I would NOT recommend that go into any joint therapy with this man under any conditions whatsover. Not till you are soundly in touch with you about the abuse.

He abused you physically/emotionally/psycholologically in one of the most violent and aggressive ways possible within or without a marriage.

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But I can hardly type "rape" on an anonymous board without blushing. (there really should be no shame in it, right?) Then there is the matter of his reputation.
This is a very serious accusation that you are making about another person. Slanderous actually. A police matter. Is your husband going to support you in this disclosure of his actions, or will it create more daily conflict for you to deal with? Will he deny it?

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On the other hand I don't want my friends to feel sorry for me, I don't want them to be sickened by the details... I don't want them to see me differently.
My personal experience is that it will most likley colour their view of you and him somewhat. It isn't something we hear of every day. It is such a sickening and violent and selfish and abhorrent crime that he committed against you. And then here you are expecting to share it with your friends without them feeling or thinking anything negative??? People aren't amoeba's and you can't control their thoughts or reactions or what they then decide to discuss amongst themselves. If these perople are even partly normal and partly healthy they will most likely feel many strong and probably some quite negative feelings. Actually, even more so because they are your friends.

I think because you deal with him on a present basis you are still having to block the severity of what happened to you, and so maybe you can't see it as others do. A thoroughly heinous and vile act.

You can't have it both ways in the real world with other people. Because you may have blocked the severity of the act it may be that you are automatically placing this same expectation on others. Even our minds can only block and accomodate such conflicitng views and experiences for a limited amount of time before the walls begin to crumble.

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Would you tell your secret?
Yes, definitely, firstly to the police. Then to Mental Health professionals. Possibly then in some type os workshop therapy. Then maybe my parents.

Please be aware, therapists have a duty of disclosure when they are made aware of such crimes.  You have to remember to be aware of that when sharing this experience and be prepared for the consequences.

Others aren't necessarily going to seei it as you do or would like them to. A therapist would be very aware that this was an unreported crime and would know that they have duty to report such admisssions. Whether they do or not. Who knows? Be prepared for others like friends and professionals to take this secret of yours very seriously. Perhaps some of them may take it even more seriously than you are able to take it a this stage of your recovery and with your degree of memory blocking.

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How do you deal with the anger, with the residual symptoms of being abused? How do you get through it?


By facing the whole foul thing that he did.
By recognizing the damage done to you.
By taking personal responsibility for doing the repair work required.
By brainstorming and dealing with it all, and properly.
By breaking out of any personal guilt or shame by taking a position.
By taking the position of naming it as a crime against you.
By saying, "That rape was a crime against me and my humanity".
By taking control of your life and future


Now onto him. Please be aware of this. He has a vested interest in being nice to you. Why? You haven't reported him and his crime.
YET!

David

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telling secrets???
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2005, 11:09:59 PM »
Hi Portia and David,
Thank you both for your supportive and thought provoking posts...
Porta, I looked at that story of Patz that you recommended.  It was thought provoking. Portia you made a lot of good points. I am really trying to communicate honestly with him, baggage and all...

Tonight I spoke to my husband... I told him about the one particular instance that I remember of "unconsentual sex"... he wasn't sure he remembered this particular instance but he believed me took responsibility for it. He said he was selfish and didn't know how to value me.  He was so sorry.  Of course he acknowledged and remembered the other kinds of sexual abuse.  I was honest with him about just how much I have hated him.  How by the time I recognized how serious the abuse was, my self was destroyed.  If I had  been able, I would have left him then.  It wasn't untill I finally built the strength over the next year to really leave him for a while, that he began to change.  
It seems each conversation helps him to better understand how much he hurt me. He was very receptive to this conversation even though it really pained him to remember. He knows he has to deal with this for as long as I have to.  So I have a lot of hope that I can become more assertive with him and he will be kinder to me.  He says he'll do anything to make up for this.  

David, there are moments when I realize that rapists belong in jail...  I wonder how on earth a woman (such as myself) can go on living in a marriage with the one who did this. Is reconciliation possible??? God! Part of me thinks I should be pressing charges.  And the other part of me knows I love him... and I don't think of him as a "rapist" just a messed-up, selfish boy. But then that's what rapists are.  He is now changing and is taking responsibility. He didn't respect me and he's learning to now.  Part of the shame for me is that I'm living with the guy who raped me.  If any of my friends knew that they'd have my head examined.  

In telling my friends... I guess the inclination is just not to have this secret.  Just to have people who love me to sit and grieve with me.. to sit with me as I process this however slowly.  I guess the process is slow. But there is a process.  Denial works so that you don't get more than you can take at once.  I am making a conscious effort not to stay in denial about this. So, I believe over time I will process this, the devide in myself will lessen.  

I imagine I do have PSTD, though I have never been officially evaluated with it.  My therapist says I am "dealing with trauma."  I am looking into sexual assult support group.

I guess the last thing for now is to thank you for being there with your honest, insight.  You probably both think I am crazy for trying to work it out with this man.  I guess it's a process. I am in a more enlightened place now than I was even 6 months ago, and I believe I will continue to be liberate myself until I am liberated.
Thank you...

Anonymous

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telling secrets???
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2005, 07:55:35 AM »
Quote
Anyway, hello, youíre being acknowledged and it was a good question Ė but not easy to answer. Best, P
Thanks for acknowledgement, Portia. No worries. It's a topic whose time has not come, perhaps? Truthfully I couldn't relate to some of the predominating threads in the past few weeks so I was hoping to spur some new discussion along the lines of solutions.

Don't want to hijack this thread, so carry on. And original guest, I encourage you to take good care of yourself as you sort this out. I am hoping you can find some answers here and the peace you so very much deserve.

Best,

bludie

bunny

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telling secrets???
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2005, 02:37:22 PM »
original guest,

It is perfectly fine to have parts of your life private from others. If that means keeping some things close to the vest and not revealing all, that is ok. The only reason to tell them would be if they needed to be warned about him. Since that isn't the case, I would only tell a therapist or support group.


bunny