wife was sexually abused as a child
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Old 07-07-2012, 11:51 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default wife was sexually abused as a child

My W and i have been together 12 years, she was raped and abused as a very young child. I learned from her mother that her bio father would go on drunken rages and beat all of them bad. He would beat my W so bad that she would have belt marks all over her back and legs. My W mother left him when he nearly killed her. My W has not seen her dad since they left. My W mother then met a man when my wife was 3 or 4. My W mom married the guy and he was good to my W mom. W mom even acted as if he was there father. W mom worked 2nd shift and step dad would sexually abuse my wife. mom was still married to him when I met my W.

I started noticing odd things when we first started dating. My wife would ask me to come over at 3pm to go on a dates, we would set at w moms house till night then go on dates. This was with in a cpl weeks of being friends. We would go watch movie or go out to eat and I would have to set at her house till her mom got off work. If I had something to do and could not come over to her house, she would call and ask me where I was then come to me. I found this odd but just played it off as she was really falling for me. My family owns a large farm. I would have to do hard manual labor cleaning farm animal, manure all types of farm work. My W would work along with me and never complain. I was falling head over heals.
Then very very odd things started happening my w came and picked me up because my car had broken down. We went back to her house. We where in her bed room alone and her step dad came home. We where not having sex but I did not feel comfortable be in her home alone. What happen next scared the hell out of me. W step dad put in a porn and started jacking off in the living room. I did not know what to do I just set there and in her room in total disbelief. She started to cry, I knew then something was not right. Then her step dad started putting voice recorders in the vents in her room. We would here them click when the tape ran out. I would take the vents off and find them. I found them under the seats of her car. I found them every where, I found one under the seat of my car. I had enough I confronted him. He left her mom within a month of me confronting him. Her mom was devastated he left. He has since died. I then started asking my wife what was going on she told me he had sexually abused and raped her from 5 years old till we met. I ask her how did she let this go on with out telling her mom. Her step dad had some how convinced her it was her fault. I read some books on it and tried to help her. I tried to make her understand she was 5 years old even if she did not tell him no the sick bastard new it was wrong. She said he would buy her stuff , tell her donít tell nobody, your mom want be able to handle it, she will go crazy.
We finished college, married and had a family. We built a good life for us we where happy. We had our son and then hell broke loose. My wife could not change his diaper she would not be alone with him. She went in to a deep depression would not talk to me or anybody. She then had a Affair 4 years ago. I was destroyed. I have been in IC she has been in IC, we went to church for MC and now going to MC. Our MC says normally he is very hard on the one that does the cheating but her case is not the same. I know if I am sexually aggressive to her she shuts down and the sex is horrible. I hate sex like that, I have learned how to approach her to getting good sex. We have had some amazing sex.
Our MC has told me the abuse she got as a child has gave her the ability to check out her body. We knew the guy she had sex with he is a complete piece of crap. He has bragged to my friends she was a dead **** which hurts me. I know he was so sexually aggressive to her she checked out. She did not have EA with the guy she says she hates him. Our MC tells us she has a problem and needs a lot of help. Our MC has told me she has to keep herself away from men that are sexually aggressive to her. This is hard she is very attractive. She knows she has to keep out of these situations. I am having a hard time accepting this. I donít see how she can just check out and have sex with someone. I cant see how you would have sex with someone and not enjoy it. I posted in the Coping with Infidelity section and those guys are tough like my MC says he normally would be. I guess I want another opinion. I love my wife very much I donít want to leave her. She says I have to understand she needs help. We talk alot she has never tried to rug sweep the sex she had with the OM. I want to know how to deal with this. she tells me i am her everything, i gave her a life she could only dream of. i showed her there are good people left in the world. then she has this sex issue that kills me. she is going to ic and working on it.
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Old 07-07-2012, 12:01 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: wife was sexually abused as a child

First of all I'm so sorry for your wife and what you're going through. Regarding your question, the brain has a plethora of coping mechanisms when it comes under sustained abuse. Repression is often cited. Dissociation is another, especially in circumstances as your wife's. I wholeheartedly believe what she's telling you and that's why you see many individuals who've been abused, seek out non abusers whom have similar characteristics. It gives them a sense of validation because that's all they know. Remember her step father told her that she deserved it? it's become ingrained. You can perhaps read up on Stockholm Syndrome for a simplistic explanation as it's more complicated than that.

Your wife has been abused for a very,very long time and her problems are incredibly deep rooted. You have to be patient with her considering her circumstances. In the meantime I suggest consulting the IC on books you can read on sexual abuse to help you better understand the situation.

Last edited by Complexity; 07-07-2012 at 12:08 PM.
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Old 07-07-2012, 12:16 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: wife was sexually abused as a child

also my wife lives with alot of guilt now because she let the step dad get away free. we learned he moved in with a lady who had 2 daughters then he died. my wife says she knows what he did to them. now she feels she cant get closer.
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Old 07-07-2012, 12:34 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: wife was sexually abused as a child

First, I am so very sorry for the pain she has suffered and that the two of you now suffer.

But it is INCREDIBLY important that you stop the "I don't understand how anyone could . . ." type of thinking. Of course you do not understand and cannot understand--you were never sexually abused as a child. This type of questioning will be the death of your relationship. It reveals that you somehow believe your wife is lying/untrustworthy in what are the true consequences of her history of abuse. You are judging her, whether you realize it or not. If you are not emotionally secure enough to accept that she CAN and WILL check out like that, then you need to let her go now, rather than continue down a path that will be emotionally abusive to her (by judging her). I'm not judging you either--if you can't get past her past, that's ok. No one can judge you for what might be your limits. Just do not blame her for the fact that you too have things that limit you.
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Old 07-07-2012, 12:39 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: wife was sexually abused as a child

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First, I am so very sorry for the pain she has suffered and that the two of you now suffer.

But it is INCREDIBLY important that you stop the "I don't understand how anyone could . . ." type of thinking. Of course you do not understand and cannot understand--you were never sexually abused as a child. This type of questioning will be the death of your relationship. It reveals that you somehow believe your wife is lying/untrustworthy in what are the true consequences of her history of abuse. You are judging her, whether you realize it or not. If you are not emotionally secure enough to accept that she CAN and WILL check out like that, then you need to let her go now, rather than continue down a path that will be emotionally abusive to her (by judging her). I'm not judging you either--if you can't get past her past, that's ok. No one can judge you for what might be your limits. Just do not blame her for the fact that you too have things that limit you.
i see i will not say that to her again
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Old 07-07-2012, 01:18 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: wife was sexually abused as a child

see my other post here:
Wife says: don't need sex
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Old 07-07-2012, 07:48 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: wife was sexually abused as a child

read some articles and blogs about Stockholm Syndrome. She seemed to not tell anyone to save her moms name. my W apsolutely worships her mother, her mom was all she had growing up. from what i have read her step dad had to be a serial child molester. he was married to a lady before my wifes mother and then after her. everyone he married had young daughters. luckly he is dead now.
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Old 07-07-2012, 07:58 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: wife was sexually abused as a child

yeah she cheated on you and you are willing to put up with all of this?

life is short that is all i will say you do not get another life. If you believe in a god even than most religions say you dont get another life in this form on earth.

she needs help and your marriage has many problems

best of luck
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Old 07-08-2012, 09:25 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: wife was sexually abused as a child

CheesePuff, as a woman who was sexually abused in a similar scenario and during similar years, I can tell you that recovering from abuse like that took me decades of two steps forward, one step back progress.

Even now, I don't know of any truly great resources for recovery, but one that I found useful in the early stages of healing was
Amazon.com: The Courage to Heal 4e: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse 20th Anniversary Edition (9780061284335): Ellen Bass, Laura Davis: Books book and its associated workbook Amazon.com: The Courage to Heal Workbook. .

At the time I found them (which was when they first got published), they were the most thorough guide on sexual abuse that existed. As I look back now, I can see where they were also limited. I haven't seen the later editions, so this may be improved now, but the limitations to them were that they had a way of making the survivor seem more helpless and advising people to walk on eggshells around them. In early recovery, this extra empathy is good, but it's a very fine line because it can also lead people (like me) to become pretty self-centered.

What I *do* like about it is that it has some excellent exercises that can help a survivor find closure and stop blaming themselves. These are HUGE when it comes to sexual abuse.

Your wife will not be able to heal without finding ways to place responsibility where it belongs - and part of that is on her mother's shoulders. This can be very frightening because it will challenge her beliefs about love and destabilize her entire worldview in the process. She cannot build back up without shattering the beliefs and coping skills she developed over all those years.

She really never had a chance to develop a sense of self. From a very early age, she had to deny major events in her life and pretend they weren't there. She was 'tutored' to believe she was responsible for everyone else's quality of life, that her thoughts, opinions, and beliefs didn't matter or even exist, and that her worth was strictly sexual. She wasn't able to undress in private, talk to her mother privately, or let people know what her life was like. Instinctively, she knew her mother wouldn't protect her because she never had before. She didn't leave the first jerk until he almost killed mom, because your wife didn't have enough value to her mom to prompt action.

You want her to believe that there are good people in the world, but you're possibly the only one she has ever known. She has developed great coping skills for dealing with the crazy ones, but she hasn't had any way of learning what healthy love and trust look like. To her, they're an awful lot like the same vulnerability she's experienced at everyone else's hands.

A good book for partners like you is Allies in Healing: When the Person You Love Was Sexually Abused as a Child as it helps to answer questions about how to get your own needs met more reliably.

When she says she needs to heal, she is telling you the truth, but it's important to learn how to set boundaries and negotiate agreements.

For me, one of the most important "isms" I developed (and still have) is that if a person doesn't listen to me well, I stop feeling valued by them very easily. It's hard for me to remember that some people just aren't good listeners and it has nothing to do with me. When I met my ex husband, he was an expert at listening and understanding where I was coming from. When we disagreed, he revealed his own views only after he'd shown me he understood my viewpoint completely. That made a HUGE difference for me and let me learn a lot about how to trust and be vulnerable to someone. I never felt like he was trying to force me on things, which allowed me to be receptive to his needs much better.

Best wishes to you both.
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Old 07-08-2012, 10:02 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: wife was sexually abused as a child

CheesePuff, it's great that you won't say that anymore to your wife, but I hope you understand why you can't understand, if that makes any sense.

KathyB has given some great feedback. Also, I suspect that your wife "worships" her mother b/c she is terrified of all the anger that would come spilling out if she admitted her mom DID NOT PROTECT HER. There is almost zero chance that mom did not have an inkling of what was going on, and if if mom didn't, the child your wife was would have been terrified and maybe enraged at the mom's failure to protect her. It does not seem to make sense, but it is perfectly logical: a child expects its mother to protect it, and the failure to be protected is experienced as the worst kind of abandonment and betrayal. Because a child is also horrified at the thought of losing her mother, she represses these feelings of terror and rage--she does not want to alienate her mother; she loves and hates her at the same time.

I'm not remembering if your wife is in counseling or not, but she definitely should be.

You are a good man for not rushing to judgment and abandoning your wife. This is seriously hard stuff, and I think she is lucky to have you because it sounds like you are willing to stick it out and give it your best shot. May God bless you both and help heal your wife, and you, too.
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Old 07-08-2012, 12:21 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: wife was sexually abused as a child

its hard to stick it out. thanks for the kind words. i could give up on her at anytime for betraying me, but i cant just cant give up on 12 years of my life. i feel her betrayal came from her childhood and having a child triggered something.

i have got to read the books, because she opens up to me alot lately. one day i ask her why do you feel it your fault? she told me as a kid he would tell her, no one can find out dss will take you away from mom for being a bad parent. as she became a teenager he would buy her nice gifts, car, jewelry he onces gave her 5k in cash from a insurance settlement . she feels like she let it go on so long, it was as if her step dad was having a affair with her. she also tells me she feels like she had sex with him for money. i dont know how to handle this stuff. alot of times it make me sick to hear it but i dont let her know that.

Last edited by cheese puff; 07-08-2012 at 12:52 PM.
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Old 07-08-2012, 01:46 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: wife was sexually abused as a child

CheesePuff, there are so many things that she will need to cope with and acknowledge and forgive herself for in the coming years. I think you're a great guy and have a lot to offer, and she is a lucky woman.

You'll need to be prepared to discover:

- A great deal of unacknowledged rage toward her mother that can cause a great deal of heartache and trauma.
- That there were aspects of the abuse that she liked, either because they were physically enjoyable, because they gave her a sense of power over a grown man, or both. She may not even be able to acknowledge this to herself.
- That even if she got some elements of pleasure from it, she's not bad or wrong to have felt that way, that the abuse was still abuse that shouldn't have happened, and that she doesn't need to feel like she brought it on herself EVEN if she learned to seduce as part of coping with such dysfunctional dynamics.

Some of this stuff takes YEARS to acknowledge. See if this makes sense to you:

You awaken in the morning and start your day. You get to work, and discover that a person that looks and sounds just like the boss you've work with for ten years no longer knows who you are and doesn't answer to the name you call him. You try to find out what's happening, but nobody recognizes you. In fact, when you say, "Hey, don't you know who I am?" they reply with answers like, "I already did that," or "Lunch will be at three." None of it makes any sense.... what do you do?

If you're like most people, you try to validate your perceptions. You look for familiar signs, check your perceptions by looking for the date and time on your phone, and when you still can't find a reasonable answer, you find your desk (that someone tells you to go because the one you thought was yours no longer is) and start working. You fill out a report that is in your out box. It's pretty similar to the ones you did yesterday, and you complete it and turn it in as you've always done. You complete another, and another. The first two seem to have been done fine, but then BAM! New-old boss yells at you for doing it wrong. He tells you a different way of doing it. You do it the new way, and he stops yelling at you. He starts learning your name, and you start getting the hang of things.

In time, you discover that if you play by his rules, you'll be ok, but you'll never feel normal. Boss person will never know your history or care about it. Neither will your coworkers. Your wife doesn't seem to see or remember you, but you're not sure because she's aloof, oblivious.

You keep hoping things will change back but they don't. Do you adapt and learn to cope with it while always keeping alert for signs that might let you return to a safe place that feels good? Do you go insane?

This is your wife's reality. She woke one day and was beaten unfairly and it didn't make sense. She woke another day and was sexually misused and it didn't make sense. It didn't make sense that mom didn't love and protect her. She learned to cope, and in doing so, she learned that people are untrustworthy and capable of great harm. As her husband, you represent her hope of returning to that safe place she's been longing for over all these years, but that she isn't sure exists. And if it DOES exist, suddenly the whole reality she's learned in the meantime all becomes meaningless, which is just as scary as finding herself wrapped up in all that dysfunction in the first place.

New/old boss = her abusers.
Wife = her mother.
Coworkers = everyone else.
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Old 07-08-2012, 10:00 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: wife was sexually abused as a child

CheesePuff, I don't think I saw your other thread in the infidelity forum so I will answer here.

You should read the book "Haunted Marriage" if you have not yet.

I am so sorry for what your wife experienced and for what you are going through yourself. You are a Secondary Survivor. You probably have PTSD from all of this. So you should consider some qualified IC. As others have said, your wife needs a lot of good therapy herself. She will likely always have issues, but with therapy she can learn to cope.

The important thing to know right now is that her thought processes and emotional state are very different than yours. While you do love her and should be her safest person, she probably does not understand safety the way that you think of it, and you can trigger her when you might not expect it.

For example, my wife is a CSA survivor and she is triggered by a particular food item and a particular song.

The affair is not necessarily unusual with a Survivor. As with most aspects of a relationship, the psychology of the affair may be quite different than most other people's affairs. You need to be in MC with someone who has experience dealing with abuse survivors.

Best of luck to you and your wife.
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Old 07-08-2012, 11:10 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: wife was sexually abused as a child

her affair she gets mad when i call it an affair she says she had sex with a guy. she told me a affair is when you fall in love with someone. she did not have feeling for the guy and acts like she cant stand him. here i am like wtf, why did you have sex with some random person. i told our MC i cant just rug sweep the sex.
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Old 07-08-2012, 11:11 PM   #15 (permalink)
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oh she cant call her affair sex either.
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