My past pain is getting to him... - Mothering Forums
Parents as Partners Archive > My past pain is getting to him...
Raven's Avatar Raven 02:01 PM 03-27-2004
I have been struggling with some past pain (sexual abuse and rejection from parents when I told them...) and its getting me down.

Pregnancy#2 wasnt planned and it hit me hard. I was happy that I was pregnant but I knew that I was in a hard space within myself and knew that it would be hard for me.

Since having Noah my past pain has hit me like a ton of bricks. I dont want to be intimate - it scares the living daylights out of me - and its getting to my husband. he knows what I am feeling and can logically understand it but it hurts him a lot.

I have hit a hard patch and we seem to be drifting apart. I feel so misunderstood and fearful. What do I do...?

anothermama's Avatar anothermama 02:20 PM 03-27-2004

I can imagine that having this hit you *during* pregnancy would be just such a doulble wammy, emotionally.

Can you go to therapy? I don't mean to sound dismissive.......but maybe you could find a therapist or maybe even a group of women who are sexual abuse survivors to help you get your emotions sussed out.

Other than that, I honestly don't know what I'd do. It seems like a really big issue to tackle. With the husband, my best suggestion is to just keep the communication as open as you can. Talk about it as much as you can with him. Hopefully that will help keep you guys connected during this time even if you can't physically connect as he'd like to.
Irishmommy's Avatar Irishmommy 02:46 PM 03-27-2004
Can you connect physically at all? Hugs, snuggling, etc.? That should go a long way towards reassuring your dh that you still love him. Therapy is also a good idea, to get some of your issues dealt with.

Hang in there!
Katana's Avatar Katana 04:52 AM 03-28-2004
I'm so sorry you have to deal with this.

It sounds like your husband may need to understand what you are going through on a level other than logical. I don't believe abuse can be understood on a logical level. There is nothing logical about it. It's horrible and ugly and senseless. He needs to understand that you dealing with your issues may not make much sense to him, or that you may act in ways he never thought you would, or you may do things that confuse him and make him feel uncomfortable or hurt.

You are trying to heal yourself, and maybe that is what he can keep in the forefront of his mind. He may not understand why you are doing what you are doing, but you are trying to get to a better place. He just needs to hang on, respect the space you need, or whatever your wishes are, and wait it out.

Right now, it sounds like you need the freedom to be able to say who can touch you and who can't. Because you didn't have that when the abuse occured. Having complete control over your body, and keeping intimate encounters to a minimum is your chosen method to heal. There is nothing wrong with needing to do this.

I would suggest, like the other posters have, on trying to find some kind of sexual abuse survivors group. Maybe he could attend with you (if both of you felt comfortable with that). There, if he could hear other people talk about what they have gone through, how abuse does affect intimacy and trust throughout life, etc, and it might make some sense. Or at least give him some kind of insight.

If groups and public sharing are not your thing, there are some good books that deal with overcoming abuse, and maybe by reading some of them, it would help him too.

Maybe you can show affection in other ways. Leave notes for him, expressing how much you do care, or do things that you know he likes that do not involve physical touch. Explain to him that this is what you feel comfortable doing, to look for these different ways of expressing your love for a till you feel ready to be physically intimate again.

Also, would it help if you told him what you needed from him?Right now, you may not need/want him to touch you, but is there something he could do for you that would help you where you are at?

Like anothermama mentioned, just try to keep communication open, even if it is strained or hard at times.

Here's another wish to hang in there and get through this hard time.

Raven's Avatar Raven 11:30 AM 03-28-2004
Thank you all so much for your kind responses.

It is hard at the moment b/c we are in a bit of a stressful financial situation a dh is all stressed out 'n stuff.

I am going to look for a therapist or support group. I have been writing my feelings down a lot and it helps because it kinda gives me a visual.

I am going to speak to dh again and re-explain how I feel and what I am going thru. We met while the abuse was taking place so he knows me better than anyone. He is a very gentle guy...
DarkHorseMama's Avatar DarkHorseMama 04:07 AM 03-29-2004
Raven, as a sexual abuse survivor myself (and also had a blind family) I really, really recommend counselling. The birth of my first child totally stirred up a lot of issues for me, even though I had long since dealt with the abuse. Something about becoming a mother and deep down worrying about how to protect my child forced more feelings to the surface. I finally went to see a counselor after years of dodging and not believing the benefit...but it really did help.

PS: I Cape Town! My DH and I shared our very first kiss up on Signal Hill watching the sun set....sigh.
Ocean_Swimmer's Avatar Ocean_Swimmer 04:25 AM 03-29-2004
As a survivor of incest and child molestation, I recommend you look for Claudia Black's books "Repeat After Me" -- and see if any of the local Alcoholics Anonymous groups are sponsoring a group therapy session for Adult Children of Alcoholics-- Incest Survivors groups. The issues might be similar, and therefore helpful. It helped me a lot.
Let us know what you find, it might help someone else who needs the same info.
Good luck to you. It gets better, I promise.
Raven's Avatar Raven 09:48 AM 03-29-2004
Thanks guys... I feel all teary eyed now... but in a good way.

My situation seems so bleek at times but when I put myself in a quiet space and think carefully about how I feel I realise that there is a lot inside of me that can carry me thru all of this. I beleive that thru therapy will help me utilise these qualities inside of me.

I am so glad I posted here because it makes me feel SO much better knowing that there are other women who know what I mean adn who offer valuable suggetions to heal.

DarkHorseMama--> CT is really beautiful! I love it down here! When you comin' back for a visit? *hint hint*
annakiss's Avatar annakiss 04:10 PM 03-31-2004
DH and I went through this a few years ago. I went through several therapists and never found anyone I really liked. I was sent to a psychiatrist, but was able to convince them to leave me off drugs (didn't want 'em)... What worked for us was communication. I'm a talker. It's probably what I do best. DH is not a talker. It's one of the things he's really not so good at. When we would have quiet moments together (I know, tough with a new baby), I could talk to him about what I was feeling. It was hard for me to open up to him about it sometimes because he doesn't feel in the same way that I do, so I always felt that the things I was saying sounded a little trite. But I made myself. I told him all the emotional and sexual abuse I suffered in detail all at once. It made him physically ill, but that's the first time he understood what I had gone through. Understanding helped him to be patient with me. It took a few more years for me to work through my emotions, but constantly talking and remaining communicative with DH when I really didn't want to helped a lot. Take an evening walk together with the (I didn't see how old your oldest was) baby in a sling and the oldest in a stroller or wagon. Just talk. Stay together psychically and you can eventually work through a tough time of feeling seperate. I'm not an expert at all, but that's what worked for us, fwiw.
Raven's Avatar Raven 06:13 PM 03-31-2004
Thank you annakiss - I have been trying to talk more openly with dh and I think we are going forward with this. I know its a long process but I feel that at least I'm moving forward.

I am glad things are working out for you and your dh - you are very brave!
Rochwen's Avatar Rochwen 01:27 AM 04-01-2004
Hi, Raven,

Your post hits home for me, too. I'm also a survivor and thought i was being smart by being logical about "hmmm, I know I have severe issues with my mother and sex and my body because of my history, so 'll just prepare and everything will be fine." It wasn't fine.

I definately recommend someone to talk to who you trust and who can be compassionate and allow you to have your feelings-- be it therapist, a group of other women survivors, or someone else. Husbands are not exactly great for this job-- even the loving wonderful ones, because they are hit so heavily with their own emotions.

I also definately recommend being as open as possible to your husband. My husband hasn't had the easiest time hearing about my feelings and memories of past abuse because he often feels like he is doing something wrong himself (as in: he touched me a certain way and I cried, therefore, he hurt me-- he's angry because he doesn't want me to feel so hurt, but he also doesn't want to feel like he's hurting me, too.) But, being open with your husband will help both of you realize where the blame really belongs-- on the person/people who originally hurt you (and ultimately, your husband, and your relationship, too.)

Get out and take a walk, soak in the tub or take a leisurely shower, do some yoga, or anything else that helps you get back in touch with feeling good in your body. Share some of those moments with your husband. Cuddle and slowdance together holding your baby or just with yourselves. When your ready, take a step farther. If at any point you don't feel so good, be with that feeling, tell your husband and as you can, take a deep breath and do what you can to still keep close (even if it's just holding hands.) The importance of that last part is two-fold: it helps you reconnect with the positive, even while feeling past feelings, and it helps your husband stay connected and not feel so left out and useless, or even like he did something wrong.

This may seem like an odd suggestion, but my family physician recommended acupuncture to help with some of the feelings I was having related to my past history (I was getting so bad with being touched I could barely nurse my daughter without crying much less have anything pleasant to say about being with my husband, plus a return of childhood insomnia and nighttime panic attacks.) For me, it's worked very well.
Raven's Avatar Raven 11:27 PM 04-01-2004
Thanks Rochwen!

I am making progress - without the hekp from MDC mothers here I dont know where I'd be!

My dh and I are a lot more open since I asked him to be patient. I explained that I have an internal war raging on inside my head and that being intimate takes a lot of energy - I have to be in a safe space and even then I need time, nuturing and positive support. He gets it now and it makes a difference.

BTW - Rochwen!