Feeling like an object

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Re: Feeling like an object

Postby Unfulfilled » Fri Mar 11, 2016 7:18 pm

Could it be that your husband had experienced such worse abuse in his life, that what he understands that he did you was soooo much less severe that he honestly doesn't believe it was that big of deal?

You grew up "normally" and have a more realistic frame of reference and paradigm to know that what you experienced was far outside anything normal or reasonable. Your husband does NOT have that same frame of reference. His reality and frame of reference is so skewed that he honestly doesn't think it was really as bad as it truly was. He might be thinking; "you got off easy, you should have lived through what I had to live through, so what's the big deal, just get over it already, heck I've changed and you've admitted that. What more do you want from me. Melts move on already quit digging up the past"

I'm NOT saying that his perspective is right. Nothing could be further from the truth. I'm just trying to offer a perspective that could possibly explain why your husband is acting the way he is. Something that you can't fully wrap your mind around because his frame of reference is so warped from reality as compared to yours.

I still contend counseling is really the only way that this all gets worked out. So both your husband and yourself can get a unbiased perspective so you each can begin to understand the other. Only after that is achieved can you start to grow and heal together.

Trust me I know what it is like when your spouse has no intent to go to counseling or open up and share. I'm experiencing this same thing right now and for the past several months. So I truly understand the battle going on inside of you.

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Re: Feeling like an object

Postby Vanna » Fri Mar 11, 2016 7:45 pm

It seems that is a real sticking point for you, so the question becomes how do you help him understand why this is so important to you without causing him to feel like he is never going to be fully forgiven and get resentful.

Have you tried explaining it for the angle of- "How would you feel if it had been your own daughter and her husband had done those things to her?"

Sometimes we treat our spouses in ways that we wouldn't want our kids to be subjected to in their own marriages. Maybe recasting it would help him see it in fresh eyes, and see why it bothers you.

Also- how did his behavior compare to the abuse you said he went through? That may also color his perception. I have a friend who was sexually abused from infancy on, forced to prostitute, married a man who trapped her in a room with a 5 gal pail for a toilet. I have no doubt that my own experiences with an angry alcoholic dad pale in comparison. People have ideas as to what constitutes "real" abuse in their minds. So, possibly his definition is different.

Anyway- I'd try helping him see the behavior from the outside, looking into a daughter's life and see if it turns some lights on for him. Pray God softens his heart to hear with new eyes and ears and fresh understanding. Sometimes we can't get through, but The Lord can.
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Postby Job29Man » Sat Mar 12, 2016 7:06 am

Little Sparrow,

You did a fine job articulating why this is important to you. Personally I agree with you. It is NOT sufficient for an abusive person to simply stop abusing and then expect his victim to "get over it." The abuser must go back, make a full acknowledgment of the wrongdoing, giving a detailed explanation demonstrating that he fully "gets" the gravity of what he did, why it was wrong, and confessing it as his own sin without making any reference to "well, we share this sin. It takes two to tango y'know." No. Each person must own their own sin fully independent from the other person's actions.

The whole "It takes two to tango" thing? No. That's not always true. There are plenty of times when blame does NOT go 50/50 but is more like 90/10 or 100/0. Oftentimes the victim is 100% blameless in the matter of being abused and this needs to be confessed by the abuser. "It was ALL my fault. None of this can be blamed on you."

You are not being unreasonable Sparrow. You are not going crazy. Your thinking is logical and reasonable. He can reform and want to move on, but until he returns to the matter of acknowledging and confessing his own sin and stop blaming you, he has no right to expect to get his marriage out of second gear. The fact that he may have grown up in an abusive environment does not excuse him.
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Re: Feeling like an object

Postby doug-h » Sat Mar 12, 2016 7:29 am

I agree with all of that, Job. I also know that understanding for Mr. Sparrow may be a long time in coming.

We are all responsible for ourselves, but we can seldom change ourselves without a massive catalyst . Hopefully that is the case here. Certainly there is a lot for the Lord to work with.

Still, it likely won't suddenly "dawn on him", that he was abusive. It may well be a realization that takes years, if he ever gets to it. My point is that it is equally important to consider current behavior, as long as it is proper.

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Re: Feeling like an object

Postby Job29Man » Sat Mar 12, 2016 7:52 am

Those are good words. I agree with you Doug.

It's like there are three stages.

Stage I- In the Midst of Abuse: You are actively abusing me without repentance. Our marriage is bad and not getting better. There is no fellowship here.

Stage II- After the Abuse/Before Complete Confession: You no longer abuse me, but you don't accept responsibility or want me to share it. There is little to no fellowship here, little to no healing. Our marriage will limp along like a one-legged man.

Stage III- After the Abuse/After Complete Confession and Repentance: You no longer abuse me, and you have fully accepted blame, confessed it as sin, asked me for forgiveness, and resolved to be teachable, correctable, and humble in the future. NOW finally we have a shot at real fellowship and intimacy at a deep, spiritual level.
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Re: Feeling like an object

Postby Unfulfilled » Sat Mar 12, 2016 11:55 am

LS,

Another book that I have not personally read...Yet

Is the "language of forgiveness" or "the five languages of forgiveness ". This may help. Other you and your husband as each person has a certain need to hear certain Words or behaviors to feel and believe that the others apology is sincere.

It may help for you to be able to show your husband your need and vice versa.

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Re: Feeling like an object

Postby seeking perspective » Sat Mar 12, 2016 11:56 am

During the last year before I began to make any changes in our marriage, I was pretty awful to my husband. When I look at lists of signs of an emotionally abusive relationship, I have to admit that I was emotionally abusive to my husband in many ways during this time. :oops: I say this here only because I want to acknowledge my own bias in responding to this. I have completely confessed and repented, and there has been much healing in our marriage. It is through that lens that I see this.

I think that what Job identifies as three stages may need a bit more expansion. I think of my own process of working toward confession and repentance.

Stage I- In the Midst of Abuse

...1 You are actively abusing me without repentance. Our marriage is bad and is getting worse. There is no fellowship here.
...1 You have begun to change your abusive behavior. Our marriage is bad. It is not getting better, but it is no longer getting worse. There is an attempt at fellowship on your part.

Stage II- After the Abuse/Before Complete Confession

...a You have made big changes, and your behavior is less abusive than it was. Our marriage is getting better in some ways. You continue to minimize the fact that you have been abusive to me or you want to place responsibility for your behavior on me. This is, in itself, emotional abuse. It is a barrier to fellowship and healing.

...b You no longer abuse me, but you don't acknowledge your own responsibility for your behavior. You no longer place responsibility for your behavior on me. There is little to no fellowship here, little to no healing. Our marriage will limp along like a one-legged man

...c You no longer abuse me, and you acknowledge that you have been wrong in your treatment of me. For the first time, I have hope for fellowship in our marriage. I have hope for healing.

Stage III- After the Abuse/After Complete Confession and Repentance

...a You no longer abuse me, and you have acknowledged how your abuse has hurt me. This allows me to begin to work on my own healing. Fellowship is still tentative.

...b You no longer abuse me, and you have fully accepted blame, confessed it as sin, asked me for forgiveness, and resolved to be teachable, correctable, and humble in the future. NOW finally we have a shot at real fellowship and intimacy at a deep, spiritual level. Now we can begin to rebuild trust in our marriage.

...c You continue to demonstrate your commitment to change, and you support me as I begin the process of healing. Fellowship and intimacy are growing.

I would say, little_sparrow, that your husband appears to be at Stage II-a. His minimizing of his behavior and your experience is, in itself still a kind of abuse and adds to the hurt you already carry. As I look at the way I treated my husband and worked through these stages, it was at Stage II-b that I admitted to myself just how horrible I'd been. It was here that I confessed and repented to God for what I had done. It took me another two years before I was able to confess and repent to my husband.

In your earlier thread, I honestly didn't expect to see that your husband would make any changes. I am encouraged to know that he actually has. I also recommend that you seek counseling so that you can begin to lay the groundwork for healing. Work to know your worth in Christ and to know that your are a beloved and cherished daughter of the King. Your husband has much work to do before your relationship can heal--and you can get yourself prepared so that when he has done that work, you are fully ready to take up the task of healing.
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Re: Feeling like an object

Postby Hiswifeagain » Sat Mar 12, 2016 12:28 pm

I disagree that she needs his repentance to begin to heal. She needs to pursue healing for herself regardless of whether he ever admits to the "severity" of the abuse as she sees it. She can find healing for herself even if her marriage doesn't survive.

I absolutely agree that she needs counseling herself to work through her issues. The abuse, regardless of the severity, didn't happen in a vacuum. We are responsible for our part, no matter how small it may be.
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Re: Feeling like an object

Postby doug-h » Sat Mar 12, 2016 12:43 pm

Hiswifeagain wrote:I disagree that she needs his repentance to begin to heal. She needs to pursue healing for herself regardless of whether he ever admits to the "severity" of the abuse as she sees it. She can find healing for herself even if her marriage doesn't survive.

I agree with this completely. The alternative would be to say that I couldn't be healed, if I didn't have my wifes forgiveness.

A confession is, to the extent of my limited knowledge, to heal the offender, not the offended, just as forgiveness is to heal the offended, not the offender.

Yes, there can be healing for both in each case, but there often isn't.

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Re: Feeling like an object

Postby little_sparrow » Sat Mar 12, 2016 12:47 pm

Just so everyone knows, I'm not ignoring other comments; I'm just posting really quickly from my phone before I have more time to respond later.

Hiswifeagain wrote:She needs to pursue healing for herself regardless of whether he ever admits to the "severity" of the abuse as she sees it.

Just out of curiosity, why have you been putting the word severity in quotation marks? I'm only asking because I noticed it several times, and I didn't want to make any assumptions.


Also, I am in no way saying that I can't heal unless he acknowledges his behavior, so no one needs to be concerned about that. :D As I stated before along with my reasons, and as I believe some people picked up on, I just feel that it is important.
Last edited by little_sparrow on Sat Mar 12, 2016 12:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Feeling like an object

Postby seeking perspective » Sat Mar 12, 2016 12:48 pm

Hiswifeagain wrote:She needs to pursue healing for herself regardless of whether he ever admits to the "severity" of the abuse as she sees it. She can find healing for herself even if her marriage doesn't survive.


I agree.

seeking perspective wrote: I also recommend that you seek counseling so that you can begin to lay the groundwork for healing. Work to know your worth in Christ and to know that your are a beloved and cherished daughter of the King. Your husband has much work to do before your relationship can heal--and you can get yourself prepared so that when he has done that work, you are fully ready to take up the task of healing.


I think much of the healing of relationship-rooted wounds doesn't truly begin until there has been repentance, at least in the face of a spouse's long-term unrepentant sin. The bits I boldfaced above are the parts of healing that can (and should) be done regardless of a spouse's actions.
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Re: Feeling like an object

Postby Hiswifeagain » Sat Mar 12, 2016 1:00 pm

But SP, that would make us victims. We can only heal to the degree our spouse is willing to work on themselves. I don't think that's true.

LS, I'm short on time also. Will explain ASAP. Gotta punch in at work.


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Re: Feeling like an object

Postby doug-h » Sat Mar 12, 2016 1:17 pm

little_sparrow wrote:Also, I am in no way saying that I can't heal unless he acknowledges his behavior, so no one needs to be concerned about that. :D As I stated before along with my reasons, and as I believe some people picked up on, I just feel that it is important.

It is important, and I hope he reaches that point sooner rather than later. Maybe it is just the nature of communicating by text, but I took your meaning as saying that it was more than that. Yes, there are some fears that his behavior could return, but a confession will not indicate one way or another. Abusers and addicts are among the most convincing people you will ever run across, and to be honest, they even do a good job of convincing themselves. I remind you again, that long term changed behavior is the benchmark of a changed heart, not confessions and apologies.

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Re: Feeling like an object

Postby SeekingChange » Sat Mar 12, 2016 1:39 pm

There is something extra healing to have someone acknowledge your hurt and their part in it. Maybe it's not "necessary" for our own healing, but for a relationship to be fully restored and healed, I think it is necessary. It tears down an invisible wall. And, it goes both directions.
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Re: Feeling like an object

Postby doug-h » Sat Mar 12, 2016 2:15 pm

Yes, for full restoration of the relationship, I believe it is an imperative, and it applies to all offenses, not just the big ones. That said, it can also become an idol of sorts, where one party refuses to budge until they have it, and then it turns into keeping score, and can turn the offended into the offender. If that happens, it only makes reconciliation more difficult.

I think 1 Cor 13:4-7 would be good scriptures to reflect on here.

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Re: Feeling like an object

Postby little_sparrow » Sat Mar 12, 2016 2:21 pm

doug-h wrote:That said, it can also become an idol of sorts, where one party refuses to budge until they have it, and then it turns into keeping score, and can turn the offended into the offender. If that happens, it only makes reconciliation more difficult.

I just want to quickly jump in again and say, just so it's clear, that's not what I'm doing in case anyone was still under that impression. :D

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Re: Feeling like an object

Postby doug-h » Sat Mar 12, 2016 2:27 pm

I understand, LS.

I just thought that with the various directions this thread has wandered, that it was worth mentioning.

I think I probably misread/misunderstood earlier, and I appologize for that. It seems that you guys may have a long way to go, but I am encouraged, especially as you describe him as a father. Have you told him that?

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Re: Feeling like an object

Postby Vanna » Sat Mar 12, 2016 2:33 pm

Just for the sake of understanding- lets say he has an "a-ha moment", and apologizes the way you hope... What do you anticipate will happen differently from what you are seeing now?

Now- what happens if that moment never comes? What if things continue as they are?
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Re: Feeling like an object

Postby Hiswifeagain » Sat Mar 12, 2016 8:02 pm

LS, the reason I put the quotes around severity is that severity is subjective. The quotes are a reminder that we only hear one side of your story.

My understanding from your posts is that he has acknowledged he abused you emotionally, but you're not convinced he sees the severity of the abuse. How does one define severe? What makes you the one to decide he's not acknowledging enough? If he hadn't changed his ways, I would agree that he probably doesn't really see it as abuse.

By insisting he say what you want to hear, you are practically speaking, make yourself his judge. That is a very bad relationship dynamic and that could be considered emotional abuse as well.

I believe you feel the abuse was severe. I don't feel we have enough information about the situation to judge your husband as a severe abuser.

In a lawsuit the first to speak seems right, until someone comes forward and cross examines. Proverbs 18:17

I don't doubt your sincerity. :) Perceptions just make a huge difference.


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Re: Feeling like an object

Postby little_sparrow » Sat Mar 12, 2016 11:14 pm

Doug: yes, I've told him how good of a father I feel he is.

Vanna: To answer you first question, the short answer is that I would feel like I can actually safely open up to him and feel like I can trust him again; I would feel a huge sense of relief and not feel like I have to protect myself emotionally rather than allowing him to be my protector like he ought to be. As for the second question, if he never acknowledged the truth, those things wouldn't occur, and I'll likely continue to not be able to completely open up to him emotionally or trust him. I have a feeling that I didn't explain that things well enough, but I hope that I got them across clearly.

Hiswifeagain: No, he does not believe he has abused me emotionally in any way. As for how one defines severe, I can tell you that it's not by acting like the list if things he constantly said to me was no big deal. When he blows those things off as "maybe being wrong, but not that bad, and certainly not solely his fault," I would say that my view that he isn't acknowledging the severity is true and justified. I was under the impression that everyone is completely responsible for their own sin.
Hiswifeagain wrote:If he hadn't changed his ways, I would agree that he probably doesn't really see it as abuse.

I would think that since he has specifically said that he does not see it as abuse, anyone would agree that he doesn't see it as abuse period, despite his behavior.

It's not insisting on what I want to hear when I'm simply wanting to hear him acknowledge the truth about it being abuse and him completely owning his own sin rather than blame shifting it; it's wanting to hear the truth, and there is nothing at all bad about that.

I'm not expecting anyone to call him a "severe abuser;" I just [reasonably] expect him to admit the truth rather than acting like his behavior wasn't a big deal or blaming it on me. I want to be able to trust him again and feel safe opening up to him. Honestly, none of this was the point if this thread in the first place, and I'm not sure how it became solely about it.

I realize that might come across as blunt, but honestly, the last post brought back the feelings that I had during the few years that everything was going on that no one would believe me and that I (and my baby girl) would be trapped in an isolated, painful, and emotionally abusive environment for the rest of our lives. I realize that none of you know me, my husband, or any real-life details about the situation and, therefore, understandably can't be expected to fully believe anything I say. However, it hurts extremely badly to feel like I did back when everything was going on and to feel like people would believe that "he could never do such a thing." I know that's not what you're implying, but to be truthful, it's like a stab in the heart to read those things and feel like I'm in that place again.

I really don't feel it's necessary to keep drawing out this part of the discussion since it wasn't part of my original post and I've explained where I stand on it several times.

As for my original question, if anyone has any suggestions as to how I can stop feeling like an object and not feel disgusted by physical intimacy with my husband, I would love to hear it. If you feel that I'll only get over this feelings when I stop breastfeeding or have any suggestions as to how I can not keep my mind off "what if our baby wakes up and needs us?" during sex, that would be appreciated. We've actually only had sex once since she was born, and part of that is obviously due to the time of healing afterwards, but it's also due to there never really being an opportunity for it since she can usually only fall asleep nursing or when I'm wearing her in a carrier in a walk. She doesn't fall asleep at night until well after my husband is asleep, and she only takes naps during the day rather than anytime my husband is home. If she happens to fall asleep when he's home, it's in my arms after nursing, and she wakes up if I try to put her down.


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