Right now guys, this is all about you, all about me. I want to share three important things that I found out, what I consider to be the most important things to know if your wife has been sexually abused in her past. It took me years to understand and that’s why I’m sharing this with you guys today because you don’t have to go through this like I did. You don’t have to try and reinvent the wheel or understand what’s going on. I can share these situations and dynamics with you, so that you can move ahead sooner and quicker and with more positiveness because of what you’re understanding by me sharing this with you.
#1 It’s not your fault and please let me explain what I mean by “it.” It’s not your fault. What it mean is, and what I found is that as our marriage was moving along there would be certain things that I would do that would trigger, in Vicki, a negative response, and I always wondered what was it that I did that was wrong that caused that negative response. And there were lots of different things and sometimes still are, they don’t always disappear, or get healed completely, but the understanding of how the dynamic works makes everything easy to deal with and move past.
And so for instance, with us, it could be something like I would walk past her when I’m going somewhere in the house, and I would touch her shoulder as I walked by. And just that touch in a certain time or on a certain day would cause her to cringe and to get up and have to leave the room, and I used to think, “What did I do?” I started blaming myself, looking into myself, or getting frustrated, or angry with her because what is it that I can’t even touch you? Not realizing that what I had done had triggered her to a past memory, or a past feeling that caused her tremendous discomfort, and so she was negatively affected.
And it took me a long time and lots of conversation and understanding with Vicki to understand what truly had gone on. And that’s what I mean by it’s not your fault. It wasn’t my fault that she had that reaction. It was the trigger of what I did. And so the process of learning that and working through it on her end, and on my end are what makes this whole thing work better as you proceed and work through these issues. And it was other things too not just that. There’s times when I may whistle, or hum, or try to sing a song just to myself and that negatively impacts her on certain occasions. So it’s getting to learn her dynamic and what triggers her that allows me to be understanding — it’s not my fault, but — how can I correct this or change my behavior so that I don’t trigger her so often as she’s working through these situations? Because I would if I don’t become cognizant of what I’m doing, I’m not helping the situation at all, and we want to do that. Triggering is such a big situation to understand from her situation and what has happened to her, but also understanding what my behaviors are and how I can trigger her negatively if I’m not understanding what’s going on, but the bigger thing is understanding that it wasn’t my fault. It’s not your fault in these circumstances, that’s #1.
#2 She needs you. Your wife needs you. The dynamic of what she has been through has eroded trust, faith in people, in most everybody. And you need to be there for her. She needs you because you are her husband. You are potentially the last person she has literally on earth that she can put her trust and hope in that you will care for her, that you will understand her, that you won’t judge her. Those things have most likely been torn away from her in a terrible way from the situation of her trauma, or her abuse being caused by a person who should actually be taking care of her. Now that trust in a family member, for instance, or a close friend is completely eroded away and gone, stripped away instantly because of the devastating act that was done to your wife. This kind of abuse and trauma has easily, for her, not just eroded trust, but it has broken down the family dynamic of her family. People who won’t believe her, people who are supposed to take care of her haven’t taken care of her. People who she’s told about this in authority haven’t supported her, or believed her. All these things have devastated her person, and it is us, it is you and me, the husbands who they need, who she needs right now, and to move forward so that she can heal herself and you can heal your marriage.
And so that you can understand the dynamic is to know that you have to be there. You have to be the patient person, the person who is going to stand behind her, and let her know that there isn’t any question in you about what she’s been through or what she’s going through right now in regards to her abuse in the past. It is us being there for her, being tried and true, knowing that she has a place that she can be where she’s safe, and that she will be taken care of, and that is you, that is me. We need to be their oak trees.
That’s what I feel like I’ve become for Vicki and what I hope she can feel in me is that she can lean back and know that I’m there to hold her, to catch her, to support her, to believe her, to not question her, and to defend her when the time comes to defend her. She needs to know that she has that whole package wrapped up in her husband so that she can grow, and you as a couple can grow as you move forward. If you’re not there for her and she doesn’t have that there’s nothing left. We may be the only thing that’s left for our wives. And so knowing that she needs you right now in this difficult time is one of the top three most important things that you need to know. You need to be there. You need to be strong for her, support her, believe her, and defend her.
#3 Don’t try to fix it all the time. This is another big one that I had to learn and understand, and it took a long time and, again, why I’m sharing these things with you so you don’t have to go through the long time of wait that I had, and figuring that I had to go through. I’m a guy and most guys are wired to be fixers and repairers. And when something’s broken to think fix right away. I do home repair for a business, it’s what I do. So when something breaks my immediate switch to go and turn on is how do I fix it? How do I make it better?
Well, a lot of times we just cannot do that with our wives as they’re dealing with this situation. What I found and what became most important in this area is not trying to fix it, but just being quiet and listening. It’s so easy when you think about it to just shut off the fix stuff and just listen. So many times my wife has been able to work through situations just by knowing she can talk to me, and I won’t be going back at her with more words or trying to fix it, or change what’s going on in her mind, or to lessen it somehow.
Be quiet, listen and let them talk and be understanding and be patient knowing that this takes time, but it’s in that time that the healing occurs for her, for you. And it allows the relationship to gel between the two of you even more when she knows not only that she can lean on you, and trust in you, and that you’re going to believe in her, but you’re not going to try to push and rush things. You’re going to be quiet, and you’re going to listen, and it’s out of those times of quiet and listening that real conversation can begin because she is weeding, and sorting, and putting things in perspective, and getting things out of her mind that don’t need to be there. She needs to purge, and she can’t do that if we’re interrupting, if we’re always trying to fix.
And so I found it’s so important to be able to just be quiet, to listen with my heart. I turn the phone off, I turn the TV off, I put the book down. Whatever it is we do that can interfere put those things aside, turn your attention to her, listen to her, love her and what she’s saying, and respect what she’s doing. Believe her at all times, and let that process flow from her to you, so that the two of you can continue to better yourselves and your marriage by having that kind of a conversation. And sometimes with us and our situations right now, the best conversation between the two of us is her speaking and us just listening, remember that.
I hope these three things that I’ve shared with you have been a help to you. To take full advantage of this, I’d like for you to schedule a Hope and Clarity Call with me. This 30 minute call will let you know that you’ve been seen, heard, and understood by someone who’s been in your shoes. And the purpose of this is so that you don’t have to try and recreate the wheel, or deal with the frustrations of relearning something that I’ve learned for you, that we can together and talk, give you hope for what is truly capable of happening for you as a husband and as a supporter of your wife, and for your marriage and your relationship moving forward. You will be able to learn what the wedges are in your relationship. You’ll be able to understand how and where hope exists, and how you can get there, and be a part of it for yourself, your wife, your marriage, your relationship moving forward. I hope to hear from you soon!
You found the woman of your dreams. You love her and support her, but things are harder than you thought they’d be. She is startled or even walks away when you try to show your affection for her.
You want to help but you don’t know how.
Married to a sexual abuse survivor since 1987, Tom is committed to making his marriage the best it can be. After years of painstaking struggle, he has figured out that working on himself makes his marriage so much easier and, dare we say, “almost effortless.”
Vicki’s Plea to Husbands of Trauma Survivors
I am sending this message to you husbands, letting you know how much it means for my husband to be the person that he is for me, supporting me on my journey of healing from past trauma. It’s a hard road. It’s a really hard road and I don’t know, honest to God, if I would still be alive if it wasn’t for my husband. There are so many things that go on in my brain, all the time, and it is so helpful to have his perspective. It’s so helpful to have his kindness and his gentleness and know that he’s my oak tree, know that he’s always supporting me no matter what. And I invite you to step into that role for your wife, because if you love her and you want to make your marriage work, it can be the difference of life and death to her. I’m not exaggerating.
We have done so much work together. I have done so much work on my own and he has now done work for himself to improve himself and get rid of some of his blocks and his things that are going on with him, that our marriage now is so much more enjoyable. It is scary how effortless it is. We hardly fight anymore and when we do, it’s not nasty. It’s not mean. It doesn’t last for days because we’re so grounded in each other and we’ve done so much work on our own, each of us, that our marriage is so freaking amazing! That’s what the possibility is for you and your wife. And I invite you to step into the role to be her oak tree, to do whatever you need to do to be her support, to let her know that you are behind her no matter what, 100%. It literally is life changing.
And let me tell you, Tom Dau is the man to help you do that. I can’t even believe how wise he is. I can’t believe how awesome he is, how welcoming, how supportive, how loving, how compassionate, how nurturing he is. And he can teach you to do the same for your wife, to be the same thing for your wife and allow you guys to enjoy your marriage together. It changes everything.
I had repressed sexual abuse memories. They came back 17 years into our marriage and we kind of knew something wasn’t right all along, but it was like, “Oh, boy. Okay. Now we know.” It was a lot because mine were multiple things. I was basically sexually abused from the time I was five and a half off and on until I was raped on a date when I was 18. So there is a lot there, family members and not family members, and I had a lot to deal with and it affects everything. It affects how I parent. It affects our marriage bed. It affects how I am a wife to him.
Basically, he stepped back for the first 10 years and allowed me to do my healing. And here’s the cool part, because of what we can share through our business and what we know through our coaching and programs, it doesn’t have to take you that long. It can be so much faster and easier for you because we figured it out. I invite you to contact Tom for a free 30 minute phone call to figure out how you can be her oak tree. It changes everything.
During your FREE 30 minute Call,
- Tom will help you get clear on your goals relating to your marriage and understanding yourself in this.
- He will diagnose the biggest obstacle stopping you.
- You will know what you should focus on to move forward.
- You’ll get his best recommendations for strategy and next steps.
- Tom will give you his honest evaluation of what is possible and what your life can look like.
Book Your Free Hope and Clarity Call with Tom
Understanding & Clarity Coaching Package
- Finally feel understood: Marriage is hard enough — and then add the dynamic of having a wife who has survived sexual abuse.
- Feel supported and grounded, maybe for the first time in your marriage.
- Get clear on your responsibilities: Learn what might not be your fault, and how you can help your wife.