I thought I had tossed out my copy of Allies In Healing, Laura Davis’ 1991 book for partners of sex abuse survivors. I found it buried among some history books I’ve accumulated over the past few years.
After reading it probably 5 years ago, my intention was to throw it out because it gave me no hope for having a real sexual relationship with Susan. I threw out some “sex with sex abuse survivor” books ( I can’t recall their names) when I was in an extremely angry frame of mind with what was going on – and not going on – between us. They weren’t working for us. And for good reason, which I will discuss in a bit.
Before tossing it in the recycle bin, something said to me to take another look at Allies. I thumbed through the yellow edged pages reviewing the highlighted paragraphs. Most of them brought up Ms. Davis’ remarks where in so many words she say (or I read) some things may not work out. Then there were the snotty comments I wrote in red pencil in the margins. In response to the author discussing trust, I wrote sideways on the page, “Yeah, how long for that? You would think 41 years would do it.”
But I settled in trying to have at least a neutral frame of mind. I discovered a pretty good section on dissociation. Davis does not refer to Dissociative Identity Disorder, but she does a very good job explaining the how and why of dissociation.
I found another good chapter on the need to speak your mind to your partner about how you feel anger, loss, and frustration and that these feelings are entirely valid.
I found a chapter on the validity of having a sexual partner and how to figure some of that out.
There is good information about the healing process that a survivor has to endure and a reminder that it is not a linear process.
Now obviously, the book didn’t change. I changed. But I also got a reminder that you can’t rely on a book, or even a number of books when you are a partner of someone who was sexually abused and are a partner of someone with Dissociative Identity Disorder.
I believe the reason Allies and the other books that I trashed didn’t ‘work’ is Susan was not in a place where she could have a sexual relationship, despite her telling me that she was ready willing and able to work on a sexual relationship. And on my part, I believed her and didn’t think to have a heart to heart talk with her and question the others inside her and get their thoughts. Further, I didn’t question what really was and was not happening. I was fooling myself, but I didn’t know it. What I did learn is a book can’t be our only resource when the time comes to expand our intimacy continuum.
If you have not read Allies, you should consider adding it to your support systee. There are some thoughts in Allies that are honest, which might be interpreted as negative. I think that’s something important to know so one can make an informed decision on what they are into in a this type of relationship. It’s not easy. You and I didn’t ask for this. It’s not what we expected. She sure as shit didn’t ask for this. It’s confusing it’s sickening, but here we are.