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Anyone else's relationship affected by childhood sexual abuse?

(8 Posts)
tryinghardtounderstand Thu 15-Sep-11 13:03:04

DH was sexually abused as a child and we are only just beginning to realise the impact it has had and is having on our relationship. He has a very negative self image and thinks he is flawed in some way, but covers this up with a very outgoing and confident facade. He finds it hard to connect on an intimate level and can be very distant, coming across as unfeeling. If I do anything to unintentionally upset him he often supresses his feelings and doesn't tell me but becomes very resentful and angry instead.

Has anyone else here had their relationship affected by past sexual abuse?

CailinDana Thu 15-Sep-11 15:21:01

I'm so sorry you're dealing with this. I was abused as a child and it did affect my relationship in the sense that in the course of dealing with the abuse I became severely depressed and pushed my husband away. I was convinced I didn't love him and I even talked about divorce.

Your husband needs to get counselling asap to help him deal with the abuse. Abuse leaves you with feelings of disgust and hatred with for yourself and can make you very angry. I know I shut myself off because I didn't want to deal with the pain.

It's great that you're trying to help and understand but remember that your DH has a responsibility to help himself too. One of the best things my DH did for me was to insist that I seek help. He put up with a lot of shit from me but at the same time he made it clear that he wasn't going to stand for endless uncertainty about our relationship and that if I was going to constantly be angry with him and talk about divorce then he would eventually call my bluff. I don't think he was serious but it was the kick up the bum that I needed to realise that yes I was hurting and confused but I didn't have any excuse for taking my pain out on others and that I could whinge about it forever or get my act together and do something about it.

I'm very pleased to say that I have overcome a lot of the trauma that I experienced. I don't think I'll ever be over it as such but it really doesn't have the hold on me that it used to. For example a few years ago I wouldn't have been able to write a post like this, or if I did it would leave me feeling awful. Now I can write it without much emotion at all, which to me is a great step forward.

Being in the midst of it all it can seem like there's no way out but there is, it just takes a lot of hard work. Good luck with it.

izzywhizzyletsgetbusy Thu 15-Sep-11 15:32:55

Many have suffered abuse of various kinds during their childhood which impacts on their relatonship with themselves and with others in later life.

Encourage your dh to confide in his GP and ask to be referred for therapy/counselling, and ask him to consider reportiing his abuser(s) to the police.

I would also suggest that you use the net to source your nearest support group for survivors of sexual abuse.

There is a wealth help available which will improve your dh's quality of life - all he has to do is ask.

izzywhizzyletsgetbusy Thu 15-Sep-11 16:00:30

"wealth of help available^

It's inspiring for others to know that you found the courage to revisit some painful times and places in your quest to overcome the trauma that you suffered in your childhood Cailin.

Our childhood experiences cannot be erased and to that extent, as you have said, you cannot 'get over it' but, as you have demonstrated, we do not have to let the past taint our present and our future, or allow feelings of self-hatred to blight our relationships with others.

In finding the key to leaving the past behind, you've empowered yourself and have rendered your abuser(s) powerless to cause you any more pain. Well done, you!

tryinghardtounderstand Fri 16-Sep-11 04:52:04

thanks for your replies, especially to you CailinDana for sharing your experiences. I am so sorry you had to go through what you did.

We are already in couples counselling, and I didn't make the link between our problems and his childhood until our counsellor pointed it out to me. I think that further individual counselling would help him, but I don't think he wants to delve any deeper than he already has. I think he is scared to. He has completely blocked it all out for so long and would be happier to keep it buried where it can't hurt him. I am encouraging him to seek help but am scared to push him too far too quickly. It is hard for me too as he has done some things that have hurt me terribly. I still don't think he realises how much his past has affected him. I have done quite a bit of reading on the effects but it might be that I am reading too much into this and making links where there aren't any. I have suggested that he does some reading too and he says he will, but I can't see him actually doing this

QueenofWhatever Fri 16-Sep-11 16:55:24

I would suggest looking at www.napac.org.uk and EMDR is very effective at dealing with deep traumatic memories. Sorry to post and run.

AnyFucker Fri 16-Sep-11 17:12:12

Sweetheart, I am sorry for what your DH went through and have every sympathy with him

Can I just chime a little warning bell ?

You say he has done some things that have deeply hurt you

Please remember that irrespective of upbringing, he still has a choice in how he treats you and if he regularly cannot exercise that choice in a positive way that doesn't hurt you, he should be working with you to bring about change

All the best

thisishowifeel Fri 16-Sep-11 17:23:45

My h was sexually abused as a child and is a complete mess. He eventually became abusive to me, and we are now separated.

Shame really, he was ten days away from his first appointment with a new therapists that knew about the abuse. He only finally opened up to me twelve months ago. He has only just started to verbalise his feelings.

I found a book..."If the man you love was abused" by Marie H Browne.

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