We May Be On Our Own
Within a 50 mile radius of my home, an area with a population in the multiple millions, there are no support groups for partners of survivors.
No place where a guy can go to spout off, listen to others’ stories, gain insight, and share. Considering how many women are sexually abused, I thought a certain percentage of their husbands would be participating in groups. Wrong. Hell, I even found a book written by a therapist for spouses within 15 miles of my home. I sent off an email asking about groups. I never received a reply.
I called therapists that offer groups for female and male survivors to find out if they had something for husbands. They had nothing. Checking on-line, the closest support group for partners I found is nearly 600 miles from me!
First Line of Support: A Therapist With Experience With Sex Abuse Survivors and D.I.D.
What I decided to do was talk to my wife’s therapist and find out who he might recommend as a therapist for sex abuse survivors and D.I.D. (I didn’t want to muddy the water and wanted to speak freely.) I participated in a few sessions with him and my wife so he had an idea of my style and personality. I’ve had three visit and so far it has worked out well. I get good insight and can ask questions about what my wife has gone through, what she is experiencing in therapy, and what I can do best to support her. My wife is seeing a male therapist and I am seeing a female therapist. I don’t know what that means on a deep level.
I cannot emphasize enough the need for the partner of sex abuse survivior to find a therapist that is experienced working with sex abuse survivors. If your partner has D.I.D., your personal therapist ideally would also have experience working with D.I.D. It’s very obvious to me, now that I am working with a therapist who knows what a survivior experienced in the mind and how the survivior may act out. The guys I was working with were good and could sympathize with me, but they didn’t have answers for the stories I would tell them, if I told them at all. With someone who knows the profiles of abusers, the ramifications of sex abuse and the complexities of D.I.D. I feel I can confidently express my heart and mind and receive support, explanation, and solace.
Perhaps a sex abuse / D.I.D support group can be of assistance. I don’t know as I have not experienced an ongoing support group. For me, one on one has been better as I’ve discussed very personal details that I don’t think I could bring up to a group.
Second Line Of Support: Books
There are a few books for partners. Amazon has the largest choice. I’ve read almost all of them, which does get repetitious after a while but there may be something in them. They have to speak to your style, hopes, and soul. They can be frightening. None really address the issues of D.I.D. (the frosting on the sex abuse case) beyond a paragraph or a page.
I would be careful with Allies in Healing. While is does have some good information, I found when I finished reading the question and answer format that I was left with a feeling of doom and hopelessness. Allies left me feeling lost. I
tossed my copy out some years ago found my copy buried on my sideboard.
For me the best book I found is Ghosts In The Bedroom. Each paragraph was concise, thoughtful and helpful. (My opinion: Ignore the Amazon comments about the author suggesting affairs, etc. taken out of context).
Third Line of Support: Your Wife / Partner
Be careful with this. If you are calm, honest, and sensitive, your wife can help you. Read some books about abuse and pay extra attention to chapters about communication. Talk with your therapist about communication.
Fourth Line of Support: A Trusted Friend
You have a friend you can talk to in confidence about sex abuse and the issues it raises in your marriage?
Neither do I.