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Husband was sexually abused and now emotionally unstable

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Husband was sexually abused and now emotionally unstable

Postby Spotthedog » Sat Feb 18, 2012 3:28 am

Hi there. My husband is diagnosed with depression. I can handle the depression, that's not my issue, but, he has terrible self worth issues that stem from some serious things that happened to him as a child. He was sexually abused. My husband's brother's friend teased hubby as a child and it got to the point where one day, he made my husband give him oral sex. My husband was around the age of 10 when this happened. He doesn't like to talk about it (understandably so), but his lack of dealing with what happened so long ago is ruining our marriage.

To give you some back history, he is the youngest out of 3 children. His mom has some serious issues as well and has a very difficult time with confrontation. She will avoid it at all costs. In addition to this, she babies my husband. She babies him to this day and husband is 31. We will go over to his parents house and his mom talks to him in the mushy gushy baby voice. It sickens me to be honest. I've expressed my feelings about this, but his response is always "that is just how she is." His father isn't much better. While his father doesn't baby him, his father never gave him the opportunities to make mistakes as a child. The best example that I can give is when my husband made a pinewood derby car for boy scouts, his dad didn't let him touch it. His dad made the entire car. If husband tried to work on it, his dad would pull it out of his hands and do it for him instead. Basically, my husband has never had do to a thing for himself until we got married.

Back to the sexual abuse part. Husband's brother's friend who made him do this, also happens to have parents who are buddies with my husband's parents. When husband told his mom about what had happened, she never contacted authorities. She didn't even make a big deal out of it. She took husband over to the family friends' house and the family friends apologized. Husband (mind you, he was 10 at the time) accepted the apology and that was that. His mother took him to a few counseling sessions, but never a substantial amount of sessions to work through the deep emotional scarring that this caused. His parents are still really close with the family of the abuser to this day. They in fact, were requested by Husband's parents, to receive an invite to our wedding.

My husband has some SERIOUS self worth issues that are now beginning to plague me. I don't know what to do. I want to be supportive, but he refuses to acknowledge these issues. He always pushes his self worth problems onto me and gets angry at me because I don't give him any confidence. He believes that it is my job as his wife to give him confidence. To some degree I agree, but at the same time, I cannot be solely responsible for his self esteem. That needs to come from within and I can build upon that, but I cannot magically make him have self esteem. I am unable to give him any sort of criticism without him blowing up at me. He accuses me of never seeing anything good that he does, which is not true. I always thank him and acknowledge when I am appreciative and thankful for things he has done. He doesn't see that though. He only sees the criticism. I find myself always walking on eggshells around him because I can never tell him how I really feel about something. It will always blow up into a fight of how I don't ever see the good things he does. I am just at a complete loss. I can't give him the self esteem he needs, I can't give him the help he needs, and it is so exhausting to be sympathetic and trying to be supportive. He can be really brutal to me, but he never recognizes that. Its always about how I am tearing him down. In my perspective, I'm not tearing him down. I'm just trying to convey my feelings, but since my feelings/perspective sometimes put him under the microscope, he can't handle it. For example, I was helping him with job interviewing tips (I have a history of being a very strong interviewer) and I was giving him feedback. He blew up at me because I was being too harsh. However, I was treating him absolutely no differently than I would for a friend seeking advice or a client seeking advice (I used to work in career services).

I have a lot of pent up anger at his mother for doing this to her son. I now work with children and I cannot even fathom the irresponsibility and negligence of a parent to just simply let this happen to their child and act so nonchalantly about it. It disgusts me, actually. I feel anger towards my husband for sticking up for him mom in the couple of talks we have had about this. It's not my intention to make him angry at his mother, but I do want him to realize that what happened was NOT his fault and that he should have had people in his corner. He acts like he is over what had happened, but the scars are still there. I want to not be angry at his family, but I have so much difficulty in doing so. I want to be supportive of my husband, but it is becoming so exhausting. I am at such a loss. I don't know what to do. Any advice?
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Re: Husband was sexually abused and now emotionally unstable

Postby CrackedGirl » Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:54 am

hi and welcome

I am really sorry that both you and your husband are in difficult situations. It sounds like you are both struggling with something that is neither of your faults and that is very unfair on you both.

It sounds to me like your husband needs some help and further evaluation of his mental state too. I would suggest that the main thing you could do to help him is to try and persuade him to go to therapy. This may take some time and also be difficult but I think for both of you it would be hugely worth it. He clearly and understandably has some issues.

As for the anger with his family that is difficult to advise as to what would be the way to handle it. One option is confrontation but that could cause problems with your husband. Another option is to hope that with therapy your husband comes to realise that the way he has and is being treated is inappropriate and try to change it for himself.

Good luck - I imagine it is not easy for you, and keep talking.

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Re: Husband was sexually abused and now emotionally unstable

Postby TurningACorner » Sun Feb 19, 2012 4:19 am

I suggest you keep an open mind with your husband and allow him to open up whenever he needs to talk. I am a male childhood sexual abuse victim also. I do know that it's harder for us guys to talk about our own sexual abuse, because males in society are supposed to be strong and manly. Nobody wants to think of themselves as weak. I don't know a single child abuse victim who isn't strong. To go through all the crap we have and we're still alive is an accomplishment in itself.

I have been diagnosed with PTSD, depression, and anxiety disorder, and a severe panic disorder. I am 5 years into therapy and recovery. Everyday is a struggle and the bad days still outnumber the good ones. At 36 years old, I'm afraid of the dark. I have flashbacks and nightmares, night terrors. I wish I had a wife and a family, and somebody close who could support me. I've always been anti-social and I haven't met a woman I could spend the rest of my life with. Abuse took that away from me. I wanted to have kids, but I was afraid to bring a child into this world that neglects and abuses them. Abuse took that away from me too.

All I can suggest is the things I wish I had; a loving a supportive someone, who would listen to me without passing judgment and allow me to open up about my feelings, what really happened back then, and to disregard my pain as some sort of weakness. We had no control over the abuse when it happened, so it's unlikely your husband will have much control over his feelings while in recovery. I hope he gets the help he needs and deserves, most importantly for himself, but also for his family.

Good luck and best regards,
Jack
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is if good men do nothing." Edmund Burke
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Re: Husband was sexually abused and now emotionally unstable

Postby yankintheuk » Sun Feb 26, 2012 9:13 pm

Your husband lacks confidence because he has never done things on his own. His parents did everything for him. They are selfish. They want to feel needed. They did teach him to be a full fledged adult because it fills their desires to have him be dependent on him. Can you give him little tasks to do and then praise him?

I would feel incredible anger if I was in your position.

Your husband is used to his parents behaviour. They raised him. It's a sort of Stokhold syndrome. They took care of him and also damaged him. He probably won't see reason with your reasoning. Emotional behaviour doesn't respond to logical analysis. I hope this has helped.
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Re: Husband was sexually abused and now emotionally unstable

Postby blueeyescrying » Thu Apr 19, 2012 10:31 pm

I too am dealing with a husband that is struggling with abuse and it is tearing us apart... his mother just showed me an evaluation that was done on him when he was 9 years old that opened my eyes and see that he is still this child (now 36). Low self esteem, lacks confidence, has to have approval, and truly believes it's his way or the highway.
We have been married now for 1.5 years, married soon and now find out his anger. I love him but he is tearing us apart, we are separated and now I believe headed for divorce. He blames me for everything, very critical of me and I am exhausted.
I told him I wanted to make this work, he asks why? He also believes I am the one that needs to do all the changes? I hurt for you and understand and nice to find this forum.

So frustrated and at a crossroads...
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