Well, perhaps I’ve made too much of a deal out of dragging my wife along; but her giving-in was a bigger problem. Tracing her malleability, you have to go back to her childhood and domination by her father and sexual abuse by her grandfather. Wasn’t it the position, as her spouse, that I found myself?
I don’t write about this situation now as an excuse. I simply didn’t pay enough attention to her needs; I am still too often guilty of that.
I am much older now; and I cannot go back and make up for sins of the past. I must therefore concentrate on changing, something I’m still working on.
I place the molestation of my wife in terms of impact at the top of any list of problems that we may have or have had. Note that I have used the pronoun “we.” This may seem to some people strange, particularly to those who think people should be able to get over such trauma, and those who have not experienced the perniciousness of sexual abuse. (By this, I’m not saying with help that sex abuse victims can not restore his or her lives. With help, yes! That’s why I think therapy for victims…and families… is absolutely necessary. And with the right therapist.) I maintain that the spouse of the victim is also victimized…even if he or she had little contact with the perpetrator…and claim the consequences extend way beyond the relationship. The relationship, in its infancy and as it matures, even though it may remain intact, will suffer; and in spite of everything, it will require extra work. I am not a psychologist, though I have been a social worker who for many years worked with victims of sex abuse and their families. I know from personal and professional experience that generally not enough attention is given to the emotional needs to either the victims or their families (husbands and wives in particular). I don’t see any excuse for this; the consequences for not getting the help are too severe. Go out and have an honest look and sure enough you’ll find that the problem is more widespread than you would’ve ever imagined. The abuse once revealed is always apparent; but the devastation that often follows is more times than not overlooked or minimized. Without extensive help there’s rarely a happy ending; unmet needs often lead to perversion. That’s how I see it.