When Childhood Sexual Abuse Affects Marriage Intimacy

Dollar Photo Couple sleeping back to back after an argumentA person who has been sexually abused as a child often thinks that once the abuse stops, he or she can “just get on with life” and everything will be “just fine.” After-all, the past is the past, right? Wrong.

I’ve been there and have done that and fell for the same lie. I thought that the pain was behind me and I’d be fine. But I wasn’t. And neither was our marriage, because my “past” affected it, or I should say it “infected” it greatly.

I thought that marrying a man who was gentle and kind would lead to a healthy sex life together and my past would be “my past.” But again I was wrong. It’s not that my husband Steve did everything right to help me deal with things properly. He said and did things in his frustration that sometimes complicated matters all the more. But that was not his intent to hurt me further, it just happened and I didn’t handle matters very well at all, and made matters all the worse because of my inability to know how to best work through my issues.

Like many others who have suffered sexual trauma at the hands of someone who took advantage of a child, I found that eventually the past had to be dealt with. I couldn’t just put it on a “shelf” away from the forefront of my mind and count on it staying there any longer. Eventually memories came out to haunt me when I least expected it —especially during intimate times with my husband.

And even though my husband was and is nothing like either of my abusers, somehow I ended up punishing him for the original pain that he did not afflict upon me. As the memories kept poisoning my mind and our love-making experiences, eventually my husband also became a victim of my past sexual abuse, as I kept pushing him away more and more until I couldn’t even be intimate with him at all.

Yes, Steve understood why I acted as I did (at least he said he did, and I believe him), but it didn’t erase the fact that he wanted to be close to me and yet I couldn’t handle any type of sexual closeness. It was just too painful of a reminder of the hurt I had experienced in my past. So, in essence, my past abuse continued haunting me, as well as my husband.

Something that Dr Archibald Hart said in a past Focus on the Family broadcast rang true in my life and is probably applicable to most people who need to deal with childhood sexual abuse. He said,

“It is understandable that you would continue to struggle with the abuse you went through as a child. Our emotions are so intense when we are young that our wounds and injuries often stay with us for a lifetime. The pain is immeasurably worse when the one who wronged us was a parent or a parent surrogate. Nevertheless, the bitterness you feel today is hurting you. It will continue to haunt you unless you can come to terms with it.”

And that is what I eventually knew I needed to do. It wasn’t until a number of years into our marriage that the Lord started to impress upon me that I had “unfinished business” to work on, in dealing with what had happened to me. That’s when I first started the painful process of praying and reaching out to find the help I needed to settle what had happened to me and begin the process of healing not only my mind, but my love life with my dear husband.

God helped me to come to the same conclusion as a statement that Dr Hart made:

“Your [abuser] has stolen your childhood. Don’t let him rob your peace of mind as an adult.”

It had for me. And if you’re experiencing this as well, I plead with you to please, please, please reach out for the help you need to properly deal with all that happened to you —whether you were a young child or an older one when you were originally victimized.

I eventually got to the point where I pleaded with God to either help me stop the nightmares and flashbacks I was experiencing or help me to die. I couldn’t take it any longer. God spoke to me in a way that made Himself real to me and let me know that if I was serious, the road would be tough and it would be long, but that I would get to the point of reaching the healing I desperately needed, if I was willing. I was and I’m so glad I said, “yes” to God in this.

I won’t lie and say that it was an easy journey. It was very, very painful. And it took a number of years to get through. Yet, even when I was reaching out for help, I never truly thought I would be able to get to the place where I would be completely healthy and whole in dealing with the sexual part of my life and the memories that haunted me for so many years. I was willing for any relief that I could get.

And yet, I can honestly give testimony that God has helped me to do an amazing work, and my past is no longer being dragged around in my life. I am healed and I am whole. And my husband and I have an amazing connection in every way in or lives together.

I encourage you that if you are being haunted by your past, DEAL WITH IT. Make it your mission NOT to allow your own mind and your marriage carry the burden of this horrible emotional baggage. Persevere and be tenacious in opening every door you need to, in order to get to a place where your past no longer steals joy and peace from your present and future life.

You will probably need help. Your spouse will eventually need to be a part of the healing process. But most husbands and wives do not know how to unpack such delicate and yet powerful emotions without professional help. Some do, but not many.

If you reach out for help though, be careful. Don’t trust just anyone to help you deal with this type of problem. Not all friends, family members and counselors are “marriage-friendly” and many can actually hurt you and your marriage in the process more than help it. That’s what recent studies are showing.

I’m all for good counsel, but make sure it’s truly the type of counsel and counseling you need. We have several articles posted within the “Marriage Counseling” Topic that I recommend you read so you have a better grasp on this whole thing. And if you need help finding a “Marriage-friendly” counselor, you can look into the “Links” part of that topic to see if you can locate the one who can best help you.

Also, I found a two articles posted on the Internet that might help you in your journey, and your husband’s journey to healing. I bring up both you and your husband because essentially, you both became victims when you were sexually abused. You received it first-hand, and your husband has been receiving the repercussions —both of you innocent (you didn’t ask for it), and both of you have had your lives changed because of it.

This first article is written by Paul Byerly, posted on The-generous-husband.com web site where he explains how he not only tried to help his wife Lori heal from her past abuse, which she was willing to do, but he owned up to his own “stuff.” In other words, he saw that he had some things from his past that contributed to the problem, as well. So they BOTH made it their mission to work on their own issues. As a result, they have a very passionate, loving, and forgiving marital sex life together. I encourage you to read:


— ALSO —

Below is a link to the Preachitteachit.org web site where, Pastor Roger Barrier answers the following question:


This article was written by Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International


Filed under: Sexual Issues

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172 responses to “When Childhood Sexual Abuse Affects Marriage Intimacy

  1. (USA) I often read that women who experienced Child Sexual Abuse often choose husbands or boyfriends that are physically and verbally abusive. Could it be that if the woman doesn’t share her childhood story and the man has no idea why she cannot meet his needs of feeling loved and close “intimacy,” and feeling rejected, can it cause a man that typically would not have been abusive in a normal relationship become hurt and angry, and then he becomes abusive? I would believe that happens more often than not, but it’s never mentioned.

    1. Floyd, This is what has exactly what has happened in my marriage of 26 years. My wife has all but vacated her position emotionally and physically, she refused to worship God in a small group saying she does not feel comfortable In a mixed sex setting. Any physical and emotional connection is mostly gone. The marriage therapist we saw for 2.5 years “fired us” as we we not making progress. She would not participate in communicating and refused to bring her body and soul to the marriage, somehow expecting me to “get fixed” so she could go on ignoring me emotionally and physically.

      She has busied herself to the point of being too tired or physically unavailable. I was completely ignored through major tragedies one faces in life. When a child is ignored, they do what they can to get attention, positive or negative. If I’m ignored when I’m romancing her I will get her attention in less than nice ways. This has finally put me into the position of needing to disassociate during any emotional or physical intimacy as this has been how she has acted in 27 of the 28 years of marriage.

      It made me similar to her perp, not caring about her needs. She never expresses them so I can’t fulfill them. She couldnt say what was wrong at the therapist so it could be addressed, just that I was mean or uncaring. I knew about the abuse before marrying her, I though I could love her out of it. I’m still trying but I think all hope is lost. All I have left is praying.

  2. I’m so glad I came upon this. I was only trying to think of a topic for my power point presentation. But I thankfully passed by this. I was going through some crazy things and this is a subject that takes me back ALL the time. I end up crying at some point in the day. I don’t really talk about what happened but I know I’m not the only one and I can be strong with my head held high.

    1. Selena, I admire your courage for pressing on and trying to get past your past. Having been a victim myself of sexual abuse when I was a child, I know how difficult it is to keep the thoughts that can haunt us at bay. I would go along fine for a bit and then cry at different points. It was overwhelming sometimes and confusing. I even went through bouts of nightmares and such. I really thought that if I held my head high, like you are trying to do, I would eventually overcome my past and lead a good life without having my past haunt me. But I found out differently. These types of nightmarish memories don’t just disappear unless they are properly dealt with. If they aren’t, they find ways of creeping back into our minds in different ways.

      Yes, I’m leading a good life now –a great life in many ways, but it has been because I finally faced my past –with intentionality I took all the haunting thoughts and nightmares of my past and dealt with each one of them one-by-one. God helped in revealing the ones I had buried that needed to be faced and worked me through them so I could properly bury them (without them resurrecting themselves). I had the help of a counselor, and others (including a great husband who suffered a lot because of the way I was victimized by other men in my life). It was harder than I could ever describe. But it was also the best thing I ever could have done. My past is now past and the future looks bright, as it should.

      Selena, I’ve never met a woman who has been through sexual abuse that has successfully been able to ignore their past. The ones that are victorious are the ones who face their abusive memories head-on and give them proper burials. Otherwise, they keep living their lives as victims, hurting others along the way too (even though that is not their intent)… the victimization keeps spiraling on. That’s why the abuse HAS to be dealt with, so the victimization is stopped, and THEN the bad stuff can be left behind.

      I’ve been with countless women on this issue and I just want you to know this. You can delay the healing process by just trying to hold your head up high, but if you want to truly leave the past in the past, there is a day (or days, weeks or so) of reckoning that has to happen. I hope you are able to do this sooner, rather than later. I’d hate for you to keep dragging this along with you for the rest of your life. You don’t deserve this… you didn’t deserve any of the abuse that happened to you. I’m so sorry for the pain you had inflicted upon you. I cry with you as your sister. I also pray for you –pray you are able to beat back the past and come to realize the wonderful gal that you are –someone God loves very much –someone He wants to set free. May you be blessed as you lean upon Him.

  3. Dear Cindy, I just finished crying and decided to check for relevant Christian sites on line when I stumbled on your site. My husband and I have been married for 7 years and its been great and at the same time painful for me. I have always believed in keeping one’s body before marriage. When my husband and I first slept together, I experienced a lot of pain and there were thick reddish brown clots but no blood. My husband didn’t really react much (but apparently he was shocked). I really didn’t think much of this incident because I felt an almost unbearable pain. I did not even dwell on the fact that there was no blood because I saw clots etc. As I had never physically slept with anyone, I didn’t think twice about anything.

    But throughout my marriage, my husband has had the habit of saying I am a liar, a deceiver etc., and that I have slept with others before meeting him. The painful truth is I have not, and for years, I have endured the pain and emotional abuse. I have always been very insecure and would simply cry and accept his apologies (after he must have shouted on me or tortured me to tell him the truth). I suspect I may have been a victim of abuse when I was very very young. The only flash back I have ever had was once when I saw a flash of myself as a baby on what appeared to be a kitchen work top surface. I cannot pinpoint clearly if this happened but this is my guess.

    My husband has always commented that ‘I am still very shy with him’. Even when I lived in the university campus, I was very particular about covering up myself whilst changing my clothes, and would often get comments from other students, that I was always covering up so quickly. I am so protective of my daughter and because of this, I never leave her with anyone apart from when she goes to the nursery. I was with foster parents when I was a baby (under the age of one) and I sometimes wonder if anything happened there. Looking back, the only thing I remember is that my older brother playing with my private parts when I must have been 6 or 7 but I can’t remember him doing anything other than this.

    I am a Christian and I love God so much… The past years have been so painful because of my husband’s on and off behaviour, one moment he’s loving and apologizes for ever doubting me and the next moment, he’s calling me all sorts and asking me to tell the truth. I just got an email from him saying ‘I didn’t meet you as a virgin so stop pretending to be one’. It’s like my heart has been ripped apart and I sometimes feel like killing myself. Thankfully, I know God cares deeply about me and this is the only thing keeping me sane.

    My husband even took me to see a Pastor (African) and explained our challenges to him, but the Pastor just asked me questions and told my husband to trust me. After that one visit, there was no follow up and my husband got even more irritated. I feel angry sometimes because I know he has had girlfriends in the past and slept with them in the past. Yet I have never slept with anyone but him and I am going through so much hell and pain. I don’t know what to do. Can you suggest anything? Thanks

    1. Your virginity should have nothing to do with your present state with your husband. Christ teaches that the man should treat his wife like Christ cares for the church. Christ didn’t insult and belittle the church, he cared for it and embraced it because it held his children. Your body is your business and no one has the right to insult and belittle you. He is expressing his own insecurities so maybe approach it with that understanding but you should have firm boundaries that the subject of your virginity is over and not up for him to use as a weapon against you. If he brings it up, resist commenting.
      Perhaps try these replies:

      “I love you – What is happening in your life that you are latching on to something that is not a problem between us? What is really wrong?”

      “That is not an issue between us anymore. Our bond as husband and wife is strong and we are past it. Is there something else that has you feeling down?”

      As far as how you ‘act’ intimately with him, be yourself and if he questions that a short reply of “I am myself. To suggest I am acting simply doesn’t fit. When you criticize my nature it builds distrust between us. I want us to grow together and enjoy sex as a couple. I hope you want that as well.”

      Hope all is well with you!

  4. I have suffered childhood sexual abuse since the age of 6 until the age of 19 when I was nearly raped by my older brother. My 3 older brothers abused me. When everything came into the open I was told the police could not be involved. I was forced into a marriage at 21. I couldn’t consummate the marriage because of the abuse, and was beat up black and blue to live with this person for 6 years. My mother who condoned the abuse, forced me into the marriage, and started beating me until I was at my wits end and nearly committed suicide. I ran away but was found and beat up yet again for running away. I managed to get the jewellery out to hand back to my in laws so I could get out of the marriage.

    I was kicked out of house and home at the age of 26. I thought everything had stopped now and I was ok but that’s so far from the truth, I am still living the abuse, now suicidal, drinking myself to oblivion. I have managed to get myself into trouble with the law as well now, and wanting to die, I am on the mental health register, supposed to be getting support from the right channels but nothing is making me better. The only option I feel I have is death as I live on my own and the 4 walls are caving in on me, and my only friend is alcohol.

  5. I have been on the path to healing for a few years now. I wasn’t raped, so I had issues burying the situation really deep because I would accuse myself for making a big deal out of nothing. I have shared this testimony with my parents, other family, my pastor, my fiancé and I tried to make contact with the person involved through a letter but he didn’t wish to communicate so I let it go. He was a child himself at the time and he doesn’t remember what happened. That is enough peace for me. I’ve looked at other websites but I never felt comfortable posting on any of them. This is a great ministry you have established and I’m grateful for it…it has reminded me that I’m not alone.

    When I was eight my best friend a boy my age molested me. It was a one time event…The thing that remained with me was the point where he said “It is okay I’ve seen my parents do this”.

    I grew up in a religious home, the boy’s parents were our Pastors and his statement made me feel like whatever it is that married couples do is gross and I didn’t want anyone to convince me of otherwise. I kept the incident a secret until I was a teen and therefore I was left to my own imagining and I developed terrible misconceptions…I made a promise to myself I would never get married.

    I felt a lot of guilt and confusion on anything remotely sexual growing up and when guys started taking an interest in me than my past resurfaced…I was miserable in this sense but the rest of my life was very blessed. I have a close relationship with the Lord and this one point of pain was something I had trouble taking to Him. Why? I didn’t want God to convince me that marriage and sex could be a good thing for me. Isn’t that terrible.

    But then the one guy came along. We were just friends for a while and the reason we didn’t become more right away was me and my issues. Having to admit that someone liked me and that I liked him forced me to face my problems. I held off for a while because I felt it unfair to him be in a relationship with someone like me…touchy, unloving, unable to show physical affection and cold. God brought me to a place where I had to admit that I was in love…his words to my heart were “It’s okay to say you are in love Erica.”, “I’ll help you.”

    He did. I knew I had to come clean with all the right people ( those listed above), and I was surprised by how they were so good, encouraging and comforting. The young man showed his true character and he has been more considerate than I could have imagine. My healing has been miraculous.

    Still there are issues, I never pretended there wouldn’t be. My fiancé and I are saving sex for marriage. Our affection has developed slowly and at each new thing I’ve had problems…I have learned that I need to overcome these hurdles one at a time. He’s a vey affectionate personality and he needs to know I love him in this way. The current problem I have is that if he starts to passionately kiss me I start to disconnect and a have a flashback to when I was molested. I started to seize up and I can’t feel anything, sometimes I twitch and I can’t stop myself. It is all very unnerving and scary…I am trying to figure out what is causing it but I’ve had no success yet. It is exactly what happened to me that day when I was molested, I felt helpless because I disconnected and I couldn’t stop the boy because I felt frozen. He doesn’t do anything my molester did, he doesn’t look like him, and he doesn’t say the things he said. I do know that words have a huge affect on me for some reason.

    My fiancé is a UK citizen awaiting his visa to move to the U.S. We are just waiting and praying and missing each other. It has been a month and a half since we saw each other last ( when my latest problem occured0 and we have no idea when we can marry. It is hard because he gets quite pent up when we are apart for a long time and there is so much to sort out between us on this topic. Trying to learn what is best for us while being apart is confusing sometimes too. We are looking to God and seeking out help in trusted sources. But I know we will be alright. Things will never be perfect we live in an imperfect world, but we can be healthy and joyful and share the message that God heals.

    Any advise our good resources are much appreciated

  6. Hi I’m not even married but I stumbled upon this website via google. I was molested by my father, who was a “respectable” deacon in the church during my teens. I was also foundled as a young child by my cousin who is around my age before then. Back to my father, I didn’t even meet him until I was 5 – both my parents were teens when I was born and my mother stayed home with her mother. My parents got married when I was 9 and we all moved out from my grandmother’s shortly afterwards. Then while my 3 siblings were born, I was gradually abused by him in the name of loving care!

    I told my mother when I was 17 and she was devastated but chose to call the pastor first (who was an older woman) who advised her not to turn him in… instead, he moved out but still kept in contact. And me, I stayed home just as out of it as could be. Even prior to the abuse, I was very sheltered and had a hard time relating to my peers; plus I was raised in a strict Apostolic Pentecostal denomination where we thought nobody else was saved but us and women were going to hell for wearing pants, makeup and jewelry.

    Enter 2011 and here I am, in my early 30’s, in college and angry. I decided to report my abuser much to the anger of my mother and now former pastor. Last year I moved out and stopped going to that church. I felt I didn’t know God well enough and am starting a new personal relationship with Him.

    But I feel like a mess -a freak even because I’m almost 35 and am single with no kids. I’ve never been in a relationship just some talking and maybe one date. I have a hard time relating to folks and I feel bad about it. I feel confused about sex and relationships. I don’t know what it is to be in love. I took care of my family but didn’t have to. My mom didn’t work and was codependent and fearful (me too) so I didn’t know myself well. It even bothers me to see couples walk around holding hands. I’m almost 35, time seems to be running out for me and I feel naive and out of it. Help me please! Thanks for reading!

    1. Monique, I don’t know if I can be helpful but I want you to know there’s hope. I thought love would never happen for me and that I was a hopeless case. But there is no such thing. I’m sorry that you have trouble relating to people I’ve been there. But God will make a way as you continue to walk with Him. Sometimes when we aren’t even looking for what we long for It finds us. The best advice I can give you is to focus upon God and allow him to light your way as a day to day exercise. He pushed me out of my comfort zone and He’ll probably do the same for you. It will be easier with people as He stregthens you, not perfect though…human relationships are never easy…but rewarding. You are a blessing God has given to the body of Christ. He wants you to touch lives…I have no doubt you have…are…and will.

        1. I’m glad Monique, I never used to know that there were others out there who could understand what I have felt. It is good to know one is not alone. Blessings in the New Year!

  7. I’m trying to deal with past sexual abuse but it’s been extremely hard because I haven’t had any support from my husband and my mom. (My dad raped me and different family members and friends of family, etc. molested me in other ways.) My husband isn’t understanding in the start to deal with all the flashbacks and having trouble with intimacy. He used to accuse me of cheating and scare me so much that I knew I had to have sex with him even though I didn’t want to at all. He has changed some on things but he still is constantly pawing on me. I’ve gotten to the point where I can’t be intimate with him at all. I know that he won’t allow this to go on much longer. I dread him making me feel like I have to be intimate with him and him being insensitive to many differenent things that he does that I can’t handle at all.

  8. I had been molested by my adopted father from 11 to 21 years old. What was abnormal became normal that I was able to have a normal relationship around people with my stepdad but when it was just me and him it became completely different. He forced me to do things I never wanted, and if I refused he gave me a bad attitude and blah blah…

    I got married to an amazing man who I happened to share my childhood abuse and he understood me and wants to protect me. We’ve cut off my dad completely from my life. He wanted me to report him and get help. But part of me thinks no one will believe me and putting him behind bars will make the problem go away. The day he dies will be the day that justice is served. And talking about my past to someone just doesn’t set right with me. I have my own copping mechanism and it has worked well so far… My gma lived with us and she let it happen so did my mom (aunt) after I told her that my dad was playing with my boobs and it hurt… And she didn’t do anything except tell him to stop. Of course it never stopped.

    Today I hate the man and I hope there’s a special place for people like him. And yes, he’s a Christian and thinks God will forgive him. But repentance is about not repeating the old sin… But he repeated his for 15 years. Sometimes I hate myself for letting it happen… But it was the only thing I knew. And now I have to live the long term affect of my abuser. Yes, it bothers me deeply.

    I have a daughter and I refuse for my past to take over me and control my life completely. I will never let anything to my daughter. I already suffer for her and if anyone touches her the wrong way I swear I will kill that person in return for my daughter’s safety. I want her to know that someone protected her. No one protected me then and I’m sad and angry for that, that no one cared enough. Now I’m trying to live a healthy life and healthy sex life with my husband. He’s a good man and sometimes I think I’m blessed. Today I am able to fight whatever life throws at me… What is worse than when someone takes your childhood away? Rapes you? Abused you? Death will only finish the job.

  9. I was molested by my sister. She was molested by my mom’s friend’s son. As soon as my mom found out she kicked them out, as they were staying with us. However, after that abuse stopped, my sister molested me until I was 13. I think it began when I was around 5 or so. I am 25 now and I don’t think that I am angry with my sister but it’s like it never happened; we never talk about it. I am still a virgin and when I think about sexual intimacy all I can do is cry. I don’t know what to do. I want to get over this and I don’t think I will be able to lead a normal life, which I strongly desire, like marriage and children.

    1. Dear Curious, I’m so sorry that you are hurting as you are. It’s absolutely amazing how something like this, even though we never invited it and can rationalize in our heads that it was wrong that they did this to us, and that we need to get beyond it… even so, we find ourselves a prisoner to the nightmare of it all for years and years and years. Many times (actually most times, if help isn’t gotten), it’s for the rest of our lives. This is SO unjust, and so unfair, on so many levels! I’m sure you’ve heard the following advice, and I’m sure you can’t imagine how it can help, but you truly need counseling to get beyond this. A trained professional can help you properly deal with it and then put it on a shelf, where it won’t haunt you any longer.

      I did that. I tried and tried myself to “forget it” and get beyond it, but it always came back to haunt me again and again. I know of many, many other people who have had this same experience. A good counselor can short-cut and begin the true healing process. You might say that you can’t afford it. That’s what I said. But I can tell you, from experience, that every penny we paid has been worth every bit of it and more. It’s like a cancer that grows and grows. If it’s not stopped and totally dealt with, it will emotionally damage you for the rest of your life. Freedom is worth every price that must be paid to obtain it.

      If you don’t know of a good counselor in your area, please go into the “Marriage Counseling” topic of this web site. Even though we have listed different referral agencies for marriage counseling… they also can refer you to other types of counselors. Please go to a good counselor. The rest of your life will be colored or discolored, if you don’t get proper help for this. You never deserved what happened to you. Please know that… no matter what you were told or what the horrible thoughts in your head tell you. You DO deserve to “get over this” and “lead a normal life” (whatever that is). Please get the help you need. And if one counselor isn’t a good fit for you, go to another one… find a good one. Please persevere towards healing and help. I hope you will and pray you will find sweet relief and the “peace that passes all understanding.”

  10. I’m 40. Single. Never married. My childhood has caused me much grief and I have pushed people away. My parents included. I’ve prayed for God to get me through this but life just seems to get worse. I don’t let friends or family “get in.” I don’t know who to trust as far as counseling. I’m terrified I’m going to be single forever. How do I get over this emotional wounds and move on? Help me, please.

  11. My wife was abused as a child and the abuse has greatly affected our sex life. I’m looking for some help…and answers.

    1. I love my wife and I have even compromised to one or two times a month. She has even made a comment to have a one night stand, wear a condom, and come back home. I can’t do that to our marriage. I wish I understood and I could help my wife.

  12. Hi, I was sexually abused as a child at the age of 6. Now I am 23. That thing is not leaving me. I felt ashamed, I think I am not worthy of life, dreams, happiness and Love. That thing has affected my studies a lot. I always wanted to commit suicide and now I think it is the time to finally die. Initially, I thought I will never marry my whole life of course as I can’t tell this to anyone. But when it comes to the matter of getting married you must tell that person whom you are getting marry to. In the University someone fell in Love with me. I don’t have the courage to lose him, neither I have the courage to tell him about my past. So death is the only option, which I would have done long before.

    God has never loved me. Jesus is right, I am not worthy of life, that’s why He has done that to me. I will never forgive God my Love and in regard God must not forgive me any single sin. We are square. The only that hurts me in the end is Jesus never cared!

    1. Dearest Jennifer, How sad I am for you to be at this place in your life. TRULY I understand what you are talking about because I was there, in a very dark time in my life, several years ago. I also thought seriously of suicide, and I felt that God never loved me either. I felt like He loved others and yet I wasn’t good enough or whatever, to receive His love. He would give it to others, but I was just a by-stander looking on as others enjoyed what I could never have.

      But I can tell you with everything in me that this was a lie from the pit of Hell. There was a dark cloud, because of the sexual abuse I had suffered in my past (when I was a young girl like you, and then by another relative as a young teenager), that overshadowed the Truth. Have you ever had it happen to you (or you saw it happen with someone else) where someone will tell the truth, but then others will come right behind and tell little lies here and there? Eventually, it’s difficult believe the Truth any longer. The lies seem to block it out. Well, that’s what the enemy of our faith does a good job at doing –making us think that the Truth isn’t real and that which is a lie, could be. It happened to me and it seems to be happening to you (and many, many others in this world).

      I HIGHLY recommend that you prayerfully read the following article and the ones that are linked within it: http://host.agencysrvr.com/~marriage/discerning-the-difference-between-the-conviction-of-the-holy-spirit-and-condemnation-of-the-enemy/. And then after reading those articles, please read: http://host.agencysrvr.com/~marriage/living-in-confidence-because-of-who-you-are-in-christ/. The enemy of our faith condemns us and tries to keep us down, so we are so crippled emotionally that we can’t live our lives as we should –getting back up, defying the enemy, living a good life in Christ, and helping others to do so, as well. Please don’t let those little whispers erase that which God wants to give to you and help you with, now and in the future. You are NOT defined by your past, nor are you condemned to keep its memory alive –continuing to hurt you and others. The only way that can happen is if you keep allowing the enemy to entertain your thoughts, which will feed them and grow them larger than reality.

      I know (from personal experience) how difficult it is to NOT entertain the enemy by letting those lies take root in our thought life. It takes intentionality in throwing them out as we do with garbage, as soon as they come into our mind, over and over and over again. It takes continual perseverance, but eventually, you will find victory. Please read the article I recommend. The enemy of our faith needs to be exposed as a liar. We just can’t allow liars to plant their seeds of doubt. Also, there are several additional articles we have posted on this web site in the “Sexual Issues” topic that I encourage you to read through and pray through, as well, to implant truth with the same tenacity you are making at throwing out the lies. Here are the links:


      I pray they help. And I hope that as you pray and reach for Truth, that you are able to see that suicide is NOT the way to go. How glad I am that I stopped allowing those thoughts to take root. I pray that eventually you see the Truth that God loves you. Don’t worry about forgiving right now. God knows your heart. That can come eventually… as God gives you that ability. We even have articles and quotes here to help, when the time is right. But right now, please work on fighting the good fight of getting to a better place emotionally. Please know that God DOES love you. He has a plan for your life –a better one than you could ever imagine (look what I’m doing –working with multiple thousands of people… I never could have thought that would be possible). The enemy knows that God loves you and that He will work in and through you, and wants to stop that plan. Please realize that. If you need to talk to someone in person, please go to the web site Needhim.org, which you can find at http://www.needhim.org. They have people on call to talk to those that reach out to them. I pray God’s best for you, Jennifer. Even in the midst of darkness, He can be found. I hope you will never stop reaching out and pray you will sense His presence, even in the midst of a storm. “The LORD is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.” (Psalm 145:18)

  13. Thanks for this article. My husband divorced me during the period of dealing with my abuse. He didn’t want “someone like me”- with all my issues. Although I’m in therapy and going through Divorce Care groups –do you know of resources specific to this situation? I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s been abandoned by a spouse due to this. Thanks for your help.

  14. Hello. I’m not even sure if I count as a victim here, but this has haunted me for a long time and I suppose I want advice. I started crying reading this article. Here’s my story: my older brother as far back as I can remember would touch me in the bed and we’d fool around. I wouldn’t really tell him no unless he went too far and then I’d lock myself in my room and cry asking for forgiveness. I would weep in the shower trying to cleanse myself. I wanted it desperately to end but I didn’t know how. This went on until I was 14. I wrote a letter to my parents explaining what was happening and obviously it stopped from there.

    I love my brother, and that’s what makes this so difficult. I don’t think I was abused but I feel like I was. I still have dreams about it and I’m almost 19. It has taken me so long to forgive myself but I want to forget. I’m getting very close to my boyfriend and I feel guilty not telling him about this. I don’t really like to be touched except by people close to me. I’m a virgin still thankfully, because it never went too far.

    Do I have to tell my boyfriend about this? (We are very serious.) I feel like I’m lying but I never intended to tell anyone about this. And I’m scared. I’m confused and I don’t want this to affect my future intimacy with my boyfriend. Please help…

    1. Holly, How my heart goes out to you. Yes, you CAN be counted “as a victim here.” What started out as sexual curiosity on your brother’s part, ended up causing you to be victimized. Even if you didn’t stop it sometimes, and even though you sometimes found parts of it pleasurable at times (which is normal), you were victimized. It’s all so confusing, as you very well know. But brothers, or any relatives, for that matter, should be safe for us to rely on to protect us, not look at us, or to approach us as if we are sexual play things. One time or two times might be curiosity, but when it goes on and on, that is not child’s play, it is plain out wrong. He knew it deep inside, but he saw that he could get away with it, and so he took advantage of you and the situation.

      I’m not sure I would call it sexual abuse, unless he clearly raped you. But he definitely sexually victimized you. He took advantage of the confusion that was going on in your mind, at that time, and impulsively kept going after you. It’s good that you finally were able to get your parents to stop it. But that doesn’t erase the images that keep haunting you of what went on during that time.

      Holly, I can’t encourage you enough to find a good counselor that can help you properly deal with this. I know very much what you are going through. My dad victimized me in much the same way. (And one of his brothers did so too, when I was much younger –my dad never knew this.) I wrote the above article. I couldn’t say anything public about him until my dad died (which he did recently… my uncle died years before). But I can tell you that eventually the images in my head and memories haunted me to such a point that if I didn’t get help, I’m not sure our marriage would have survived.

      That’s why I encourage you to find a good counselor NOW before you get married. Properly deal with it now. You may also have to deal with it a bit after marriage, but in a small way –one that wouldn’t hurt your marriage in the same way it could if you got no help right now. Do you keep reading the word “now?” That’s because this is the best time. Telling your boyfriend is your call. There is no real “formula” for the right or wrong time. Getting a counselor that you can work through these issues WOULD seem to be the right thing to do immediately, though. Don’t keep letting misery find its way into your life and memory bank.

      Also, a counselor could help you to figure out whether or not, and/or how to talk to your brother about this. I can well understand that you love your brother, even with all that happened. But this may very well become tainted with time, if you don’t have guidance on this. I was able to resolve things with my dad, and loved him as a daughter should. Thankfully, I am no longer being haunted by what happened (because I got the help I needed). I want to also say that Steve and I have a great relationship now. I’m certain we wouldn’t have if I wouldn’t have gotten help. I’ve seen this scenario time and time again with women. This kind of thing needs the proper guidance, or it seems to be a lifetime type of haunting that goes on. I’d hate to have that happen to you. I pray the Lord ministers to your heart, emotions, and helps you to put the past into the past –laid to rest forever.

  15. I’ve been married to my wife for almost 10 yrs. She’s the love of my life. She disclosed to me while we were dating that she had been sexually absued by an older step brother when she was 8. She had gone to counseling but never really said if she had resolved the issues. She had been in unhealthy relationships before she and I met and gotten out of them but knew she had stayed longer than she should have. I honestly didn’t know how to react so I let a sleeping dog lie.

    After the birth of our second child she was questioning if she should remain married to me, despite the fact that I had never verbally, emotionally or physically hurt her. It rocked my world. She found a ministry through our church to replace false belief systems but it never resolved underlying intimacy issues that she had. In January this year, it came up again, some five years later. Same story, “I don’t know if I should remain married” and again it turned my world upside down, now that we have two kids and over 10 yrs together.

    She’s about to begin counseling with a female counselor that helps women with sexual abuse and traumatic events in their life. I failed to mention that her father committed suicide when she was six and she survived cancer at age 21. My wife is a fighter for sure but my prayer is that she heal from this abuse as a child and that God will make something beautiful out of our marriage.

    I’m 100% committed to supporting her and her healing. I don’t want her to hurt or feel the way she does any longer and told her that I’m putting my wants and desires on hold until she heals. Please pray for her and that God would give me the strength to support her and the right words. Thank you.

  16. I am a 36 year old woman married to a man that was sexually abused as a child. It has greatly affected our marriage to the point that I don’t think we’ll stay married. We’ve been together for 8 yrs and I care about him greatly; however, due to the lack of sexual connection he feels more like a roomate to me than a husband or lover. For some women that wouldn’t be an issue but for a woman like me who has a very high sex drive this is an issue that we talk about daily. I’m surprised the marriage has lasted this long.

    I used to feel very confident in my sexuality but the awkwardness of this situation and the continued rejection has caused me to become depressed, put on weight, and be very closed down myself. I’m starting to hate life and resent him for not putting the time and effort into dealing with his past.

    More awareness needs to be brought to this matter. We’re both Christians who love each other and want to honor our marriage vows. Yet every day we find ourselves asking if there is a future for us or are we just wasting time. I cannot live like this the rest of my life.

    1. I am on the opposite end of this with my husband. He’s the one with the sex drive. When you push him to be intimate with you, he feels as if he’s being abused again. Try to understand anything he has shared with you is most likely a fraction of the horror that he endured. Couples counseling, so you can understand how to support him and he can understand how to work through it.

    2. My husband and I have been married for 47 years, since I was 21 and he 24. He only fully realized the abuse by his mother when he was 9 and his father was away in the Korean war. This has been the most difficult marriage, knowing that you love each other but not able to be fully emotionally close. Only 2 years ago did my husband realize and start working on his extreme abuse issues. We have the best expert therapist and he has attended support group of men molested as children. These things have broken through the isolation (he was an only child and “handled” everything all his life alone however dysfunctionally).

      The pain takes great courage strength and faith in the Holy Spirit to go on, as the incest triggered lifelong abusive addictive and near suicidal behaviors at times, shared therefore with us, his wife and children. He is a very loving man who tortured himself for too long and you both must get lots of help immediately. The intimate connection we now are beginning to feel could have happened sooner. Don’t let this take that long as this situation is a time bomb if not dealt with. Please read Victims No Longer: The Classic Guide for Men Recovering from Sexual Child Abuse by Mike Lew about men.

  17. My story is much like many here. My mother was an uneducated woman who married straight out of her home. By the age of 25 she had 6 kids. She left my dad when I was 5. I remember her having anger issues with my older 3 brothers but never me or my younger 2 sisters. When I was 8 she remarried and it changed her instantly. She let him completely take over all decisions. He had her “sell” my brothers back to my dad. (I know that it was to get them out of his way.) He “groomed” me and my sisters and continually abused us. (I didn’t know at the time that he was abusing my sisters the whole time, as well.) At the time I didn’t know it was abuse.

    He told me “this is how people show they love each other, but I couldn’t say anything to anyone because they wouldn’t understand “not even mom.” When I started questioning that, he said if you tell her you’ll never see your sisters again. They will be sent away like your brothers. Then your mom will go away. When that didn’t work, it was your mom and sisters will die. And when that didn’t work it was, I will kill you and to make sure that I believed him he shot my pillow while I laid on it and said, next time I won’t miss.

    When I was 12 he raped me for the first time. It was his birthday. We didn’t have a washer so he would take monthly trips to the laundry mat. On this day we loaded up the van and my mom asked him what he wanted for his birthday. He said, just leave Carrie here so that she can get my lunch. My mom left and as soon as he heard the van driver away he offered me alcohol to drink and then led me to his room, pinned me down and raped me. During the rape I was crying and pleading with him to stop. He slapped me said to stop; I’m not hurting you. My mom suspected because she peeked her head in the door. I looked that way and pleaded, please help me. She didn’t do anything. She just closed the door and walked away. I knew at that point, if I was going to survive it was up to me.

    I talked to my mom later and she accused me of lying and trying to “take the only one that has ever loved her away.” I lived this way until I was 15, when he got me pregnant. I prayed that if there was some way for the baby to be born but for me not to have to bear it. About a week later my step sister fell on my stomach and I miscarried. My mother wouldn’t take me to the hospital because (her excuse) we don’t have the money. The actual reason was she didn’t want anyone asking questions.

    At that point I decided that I wasn’t going to let anything else happen. I found the strength inside myself that inhumane. I told him that he was done and if he ever touched me or thought about touching my sisters again I would turn him in. He told my mom that he couldn’t live with me, that it was either me or him. She beat me with an extension cord until she couldn’t swing anymore. I stood there and let her. Once she was done I asked he if she was done and I left.

    I found out later that he had been touching my sisters all along, so I turned him in. (I kept proof that he had abused me and turned that into the police.) When I made numerous statements, I was treated like I was lying. I had to tell male officers (not female) over and over countless times in detail that he had abused, raped, and sodomized me. He ended up going to prison and served 7 years of a 15 year term and was set free. My mom stuck by him and is still with him now. I still, to this day, don’t understand the hold he had and has on her.

    I’ve been married to my husband for 16 years and have had intimacy issues the entire time. He is aware of my history and until recently (within the last year) has been very understanding. Now he has decided that I should be over this by now and he is done waiting. He wants to feel like he is loved and that I am attracted to him, which I am, but it’s hard for me to be intimate. I have nightmares, flashbacks, panic attacks, and self esteem issues.

    I have prayed my heart out and have done everything I know of but it’s not working. I feel myself “shutting down” becoming hardened by his comments about how I should get over it. I’ve never tried to use this as a crutch but I do ask that my partner be understanding. It makes me resentful and I find myself thinking all men are the same. They just want sexual gratification at whatever cost. I’m hurting and am not sure what to do. If I didn’t have children of my own to care for I wouldn’t still be living this nightmare. They’re the only thing that keeps me here.

    1. Carrie, I’ve been praying the last few days for you. I knew I needed to extend a hand out to you in love, but I wasn’t sure of how or when. I want you to know that I cry with you. Having been a victim of past sexual abuse and misuse from 2 different relatives, I know how devastating it can be to get to a healthier place emotionally and mentally, especially after we marry. It’s like a switch turns on in a different direction once we marry. It’s very, very difficult to deal with all that happened. There are so many triggers. That’s why I cry with you and pray for you. Every victim has different things that happened to her (or him, because some males are also sexually abused), but there is a string of familiarity –frightening, sad familiarity, so we really do feel much of the pain that another abuse victim describes. I feel that for you.

      I don’t know what to say, or how to say it, but all I know to say is that I’m sorry –deep down sorry, that this happened to you. It never, ever should have happened. Your step dad was so very, very wrong in what he did and your mom should have been your protector. How sad I am for you that he and she hurt you like they did. And how sad I am for your siblings that they also had different (and yet partially the same) types of abuse inflicted upon them. All of this was sick and SO hurtful. I cry for each of you.

      As I was praying about what to say to you, amazingly, the ministry of Focus on the Family aired a 2-day radio program on the subject of sexual abuse. I don’t believe this was any accident that you wrote what you did, when you did, and I read your comment, and also heard the radio programs. Carrie, I have no doubt that you have come a long way in your healing, with all that you went through, but I also can tell, from what you wrote that you still have more healing that has to occur. I’m not sure if the radio program (and the book that is talked about in the program) will help you… the approach is a bit different, but I can’t help thinking that God has something in it for you –something you can glean from it all, that’s just for you.

      Please don’t recoil at the title of the programs, because I believe the titles don’t really reflect what was said, and conveyed. Here’s a description of the programs and then I’ll follow with the links to them, so you can listen to them, and then I’ll add a bit afterward, from what I perceived in all of this. The description of the program is this: “Dawn Scott Jones, author of When a Woman You Love Was Abused, explains how she found emotional healing from childhood sexual abuse and how a husband can come alongside his wife who’s experienced similar trauma to offer her love and support.” Here are the links to the programs: — Helping Your Wife Overcome Childhood Sexual Abuse (Part 1 of 2) can be found at: http://www.focusonthefamily.com/media/daily-broadcast/helping-your-wife-overcome-childhood-sexual-abuse-pt1 And also, — Helping Your Wife Overcome Childhood Sexual Abuse (Part 2 of 2), found at: http://www.focusonthefamily.com/media/daily-broadcast/helping-your-wife-overcome-childhood-sexual-abuse-pt2.

      Carrie, I read what you wrote about your husband. I can relate, in some ways to some of what my husband and I went through earlier on, in our marriage. It was a tough one for both of us to go through this. I thought he should understand, and he thought that I had enough time to “get past” my past because he obviously wasn’t an abuser. But unless you’ve gone through abuse, you can’t crawl into the head or heart of a person who has gone through these types of traumas… so he was pretty clueless. He was kind much of the time, but he couldn’t relate, no matter what attempt was made. But I admit, that I couldn’t crawl into his head, seeing it from the outside –wanting to fix it, and yet it just wouldn’t “fix” as he would have wanted it to… to love someone and want to “be one” with someone who is hurting like that… it HAS to be hard to go through for him too.

      Eventually though, as I reached out for healing, because I realized that I no longer wanted to live as a victim, nor should I… I came to see my husband’s side to this. He also became a victim to the abuse I suffered. His life was forever altered in a different way. Here he was a guy –my husband, who just wanted to love me and express his love in ways that he best understood, plus, he wanted to be loved and needed and desired, and yet I was recoiling because of hurt from my past. Eventually, I finally woke up and did what I could to participate in getting the help I needed so I was no longer living as a victim, and I was no longer holding my husband in victimization because of what had happened to me. (I’m not sure I’m explaining this right.) We are in a beautiful place in our relationship now, because of the hard work I put forth, and he eventually did too.

      I need to tell you that the radio program I listened to, and encourage you to listen to, has things in it that ministered to my heart, even though I’m truly doing well, as far as getting past my past and not allowing it to control me any longer (where it was nightmarish before). I LOVE my husband and we do well together sexually. My past doesn’t haunt me any longer. But even so, little things that I gleaned from the radio program (and the book, I’m sure, after I obtain it and read it) filled in a few extra blanks for me to help me even farther in my healing. I pray it does that for you. 16 years is a long time to still be tied up in having “intimacy issues” within your marriage. Yes, as a former victim, I understand that a person could go 50 or 70 years as a victim… those types of memories can keep re-poisoning our thoughts. But we need to do what we can not to allow it the power or the energy. And it takes more than just wanting or wishing or praying them away. We need to reach out to those who know how to better HELP us to properly deal with them and put them to rest so they don’t keep resurrecting themselves. God will help in the process, but we need human help, as He directs to do this.

      The ministry of Focus on the Family has counselors on staff who can direct you to get further help. “Shutting down” is not a good option; you know that. You are a survivor… but you need to go beyond that and be a thriver. I pray that for you. I pray that for you, and pray that for your marriage and for your kids –that you ALL survive this and thrive as a healthy family, despite all that happened to you in the earlier parts of your life. Please listen to the radio programs, asking God to help you to glean through the info that will best minister to your heart and help you to get a better footing on this painful journey to healing. You will find info on the linked pages that will assist you to get that healing help. Please know that I care and am praying for you, Carrie, as you continue on this journey.

  18. Is there a seminar that husbands can go to in order to learn how to help their wives heal from past abuse?

    1. Hi Laura, There isn’t a seminar for husbands (at least one I’m aware of) but there is a book that I pointed out to Carrie, in an earlier reply to her comment. I heard about it on a Focus on the Radio program. The author was interviewed for 2 days. Here’s a description of the programs (you may want to listen to them) and then I’ll follow with the links to them, and then I’ll add a link to the book. The description of the program is this: “Dawn Scott Jones, author of When a Woman You Love Was Abused: A Husband’s Guide to Helping Her Overcome Childhood Sexual Molestation explains how she found emotional healing from childhood sexual abuse and how a husband can come alongside his wife who’s experienced similar trauma to offer her love and support.” Here are the links to the programs: — Helping Your Wife Overcome Childhood Sexual Abuse (Part 1 of 2) can be found at: http://www.focusonthefamily.com/media/daily-broadcast/helping-your-wife-overcome-childhood-sexual-abuse-pt1 And also, — Helping Your Wife Overcome Childhood Sexual Abuse (Part 2 of 2), found at: http://www.focusonthefamily.com/media/daily-broadcast/helping-your-wife-overcome-childhood-sexual-abuse-pt2.

      The book itself, as mentioned above is titled, When a Woman You Love Was Abused: A Husband’s Guide to Helping Her Overcome Childhood Sexual Molestation and of course, the author is Dawn Scott. I haven’t read the book, but from what I can see of it, I’m definitely going to get it. And if you go to the Amazon link provided, you will see other recommended books. You can get them in Kindle form or book form (I like the book form because I believe it’s easier to mark up and refer to at different times… but it’s a matter of personal choice).

      Whatever book or books you get, I believe these can be a great resources… sure wish I would have had these types of resources available to me years ago when I was first on my journey to healing. I hope they help.

  19. I was abused by both my older brothers. One would have me do things in front of his friend(s) and the other would emotionally torment me and abuse me. He would hold me above an old wood stove and tell me he would drop me. He would throw dogs or cats on me or pretend like he would. He was always hiding in the house and then jumping out to scare me. This started when I think I was around 6.

    I can’t really recall when it stopped. I just remember my brother asking me if I got my period yet. I’m now 40. I’ve been diagnosed with PSTD, Anxiety and Depression. My mother found out from reading my journal when I was 16. She never really dealt with my issues. She took me a counselor but it never continued. I may have seen a counselor about 3 times as a child. My mother never talked me about it and asked if I was okay.

    As I got older I started to resent her and I remember arguing about and she told me I could have called the police. It was then that I really started to dislike my mother. She was supposed to protect me. How could a child know what to do?

    Anyway, now I’m in a relationship with a man that loves me but my PSTD and anxiety have taken a toll on our relationship. I’ve always been able to hurt others by my words. I’m known to say very mean things. When we argue my words are very hurtful to him. So many of my triggers have come out and he asked that I go to counseling. I did in the beginning but shortly after stopped because the counseling said she couldn’t be my therapist anymore because she wasn’t trained. I think I went about 4 times.

    My boyfriend has asked me to go to counseling again if I want this relationship to grow and be successful. He says he loves me but that I need help. He has said it might takes years before I’m healed but that he needs to see me trying.

    I love him. I don’t think he understands how hard this is. I’ve read articles and books for so many years just to understand what I’m going through. My problem is that I have very poor coping skills and it’s hard to control my emotions. It’s not something I can just wake up and say okay I am all healed. Sometimes I don’t think he understand the affects of sexual abuse and how different is from other forms of abuse. Maybe he does…I don’t know. I know he cares about me or else he would not still be here with me.

    I pray that I can one day not cry when I think of what happened to me and I pray that I will not feel all this hurt that I do but right now. I just don’t know how that is supposed to happen. I’m seeking therapy again. I also started looking into group therapy with others who have been through the same. I’m hoping my tears will one day stop.

  20. I’ve been married for 35 years to a woman who was sexually abused by a family member. I knew within the 1st year that something was wrong. There was no closeness, no intimacy, no emotional connection, nothing. She put on a good front before we got married, but it was all for show. Finally after 20 years I spoke up.

    I was praying on the subject, about her, and I had this burning in my bosom, that she had been sexually abused in her younger years. About 4 weeks later, she told me that her grandfather had abused her. We’ve tried counseling together, but it didn’t last. She’d always pull out and quit when the counselor would get too close on personal issues.

    Speed ahead 15 more years, and now it’s worse than ever. She sleeps on the couch now, still no intimacy or closeness. She won’t go on any one-on-one vacations with me. In fact she won’t even talk to me, unless there is a third party in the room.

    She was fooling me, and playing me, for the first 20 years, and it makes me wonder, now, what she is still keeping inside her soul. I married her not knowing all this stuff about her. If I knew then, what I know now, I wouldn’t of married her. It has been very painful, to say the least. For many years, she’d just tell me that I wanted too much sex. I just want her to love me, instead of being fake, and not a genuine person. She is still hiding stuff from me, that she’ll probably never bring up, and close out. Yes, she has “unfinished business” that she needs to take care of.

  21. My wife was sexually abused as a girl. As a matter of fact so was the rest of her siblings, (a sister and two brothers). My wife was very promiscuous before and during our marriage. I tried to be understanding and sympathetic, but in the end she simply couldn’t stop cheating and she would not seek help. Today we remain civil for the kid’s sake. I still love her more than anything, but she made our marriage a NIGHTMARE!! My daughter says she is currently doing the same thing to her current husband.

  22. I was abused from the age of 4 til 15. I had it so bad I had a crush on one of my uncles. Now I am 41 in a relationship and these feelings pop up. I feel to be held by a man. I tried all my life to put this behind me. And when I left the home I started hating myself and every one. It was bad but I know these things were from my childhood and I had been tampered with. I need some counseling please.

    1. I am so sorry. Please remember that you are a victim, you didn’t choose any of this. I can only advise you to get professional help, I have started therapy and counseling and even though it will be a long journey I am so glad that I reached out to get help. God loves you so much, you need to now that. Stop beating yourself up for what was done to you; it’s not your fault. I wish you all the best!

  23. I really appreciate these lessons. I have struggled for years trying to figure out why my wife can be so romantic one day and distant the next. She is an absolute survivor, abused by father, uncle and first husband. We’ve been together for 20 years, married for 18 of them, and trust is still difficult. After reading your teachings I better understand how to support her, words of encouragement and also phrases/comments to avoid. Thanks to this information I now know how to support my wife and help her to thrive.

    1. We’re so glad you found this helpful. I pray the Lord helps you as you walk this very difficult journey with your wife. May the Lord continue to give you wisdom and help as you reach out to Him for the strength and insight you need. “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ –to the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:9-11)

  24. My husband told me a young girl used to sexually abuse him everytime he was taking a shower. She would come through the window. He was 6 or 7; he tells me he liked it. I told him he was confused. He now seems to be over sexed. He also cheated on me. We’re getting divorced. I think he has a problem from his past. I also think she was a family member. He won’t tell or remember. Shouldn’t he have gone to counceling?

  25. I knew my wife was a victim and a survivor of this horrible abuse, as a very young girl, over several years by family members, before we were married. We have been married for almost two years, she recently left.
    While I am heartbroken, she is in much more pain, my advice is to listen, and listen more. I said some things, instead of listening, that hurt her even more. I hate myself for this, and hope she finds peace sometime. I love her so. But she is gone from my life.

    1. I truly feel your pain. I met and married the most wonderful woman I could hardly have imagined (after having 2 marriages end in infidelity). My wife had a few sexual abuses that haunt her even to this day. Even though I married her knowing this I really had no idea what our life would be like even years later. I was brought up that one needed only to “pull up his bootstraps and move on”, “just get on with your life.”

      Now I can’t believe how ridiculous that sounds. That’d be like telling my wife you’re half way through the Sahara and you won’t need any water till you reach the other side, just keep your chin up. I too feel so lonely and ‘deprived’ sometimes for a few months at a time that even though I know and think I understand her pain, I end up saying hurtful things sometimes without even thinking just how my words sound to her. I love her so much it embarrasses me to admit I do such idiotic things.

      I thank God she has never left me. Actually I’m here because she asked me to look for sites like this so that I may be of more help and comfort to her. I’ve always felt that if I’m not part of the solution then I’m part of the problem. So here I am. I hope I find ways for me to contribute to her healing and to learn to be more compassionate. I wish you the best of luck.

  26. I’ve read this in desperation this morning. I don’t even know if anyone will read this but I have to get some of this pain outside of my mind or I’ll burst. My husband of 18 years and I have split up for the sixth or seventh time because of this very pain. My husband was molested when he was a boy and in spite of every effort I have made, he won’t get help and we have hit the ground; hard. I’m hurting so much. I have become vicious. In the beginning I was compassionate and long suffering but over the years I have become angry. My heart is broken. I myself was molested by two siblings. One source of my anger is that women have had to deal with unwanted attention from men and my view of my husband is that he is somehow special, more special because of what happened when he was a boy. I despise that concept. He is scarred and I understand that but I can’t allow him to continue to lean on me for his identity. We have been Christians but now I feel I’ve lost my faith and my husband. Truth is I’ve never had a husband, he has been a man/boy this whole time. His tolerance of pain has finally beaten me. I have minimized myself this whole time to accommodate his suffering so as not to add to the problem but my dragon has been unleashed and now I feel guilty and ashamed. I can’t go back but I need help going forward. All of the articles about this topic are about the person who was molested, what about the ones who married them? I feel duped and betrayed and now I have been molested by my own husband. Every time I have heard him snoring next to me instead of touching me I die a little more. I think at this point I’m kind of like the walking dead. I want to live.

  27. We’ve been married for 36 yrs and I can count on both hands how many times we’ve been intimate. I love her but I find myself getting resentful. It’s been soo long since I’ve felt wanted or needed by her. She was abused as a child and I try to be patient and understanding but again it has been trying for me. She wants no sex at all. I can’t touch her in anyway, and that hurts so much I feel so inadequate like I’m just in her way.

    I was at the store the other day and an attractive woman looked at me with those eyes and smiled and looked again. I have to say I was very flattered and haven’t felt like that in soo long. I miss my wife I miss our intimacy. Please say a prayer for us. I feel like I’m running out of air. When we are together we are like roommates. That’s no good. Please help God, cuz I’m soo tired!!!

    1. Danny, I’m so very sorry that your wife has taken her victimhood to the level of pushing you into being a victim of her sexual abuse, as well. Please get help for this from a marriage-friendly counselor. 36 years is too long to let intimacy be shoved away. You and your wife are both missing out on so many wonderful, loving moments because of her past abuse. Enough is enough. Yes, you will still need to be patient while she is getting help but those are the operative words, “GETTING HELP” …with an end to this painful situation in sight. Your wife has nursed this hurt too long. Yes, she was a victim and that is horrible (I know, because I was victimized as a child, as well). But she has to quit shutting down that aspect of your marital life together. She married you and needs to quit subjecting you to the temptations you are experiencing and blocking you off from being intimate with you, as a husband and wife should be. She needs to reach out for help.

      I recommend that you contact the ministry of Focus on the Family at http://focusonthefamily.com… looking into their contact info. They have counselors on staff that can get you started on getting the deeper help you both need. You need to know how best to help her as she is getting help, and she needs to wake up and reach out for the help she needs to close up the abusive part of her past so she can grow closer to you.

      You did not do those things to her when she was younger. She needs to face that. And you shouldn’t be another victim of that abuser, which you have been for 36 years. PLEASE reach out for help on your wife’s behalf and from this counselor find out how to best approach her with the tough love stance you will need to take to get her out of this disillusioned state of thinking this is okay to keep denying you intimacy as her husband. When I woke up a number of years ago that I was passing abuse onto my husband and reducing him to living like a eunuch as I kept denying him, and then I reached out for the help I needed, it absolutely put our marriage one a whole different footing –a very good, healthy, and mutually loving one. I will pray for you and pray for your dear wife. She needs help. I hope she will be brave enough to do so for both of your sakes. Her abuser has had power for WAY too long!

  28. How long did it take you to become sexually active with your husband again? My wife of 20 years started working on her issues about 15 months ago and I’m getting frustrated with the length of time it’s taking.

    1. Dude, I’m in your same boat. My wife got serious about this stuff about 13 months ago. My problem is that she won’t let me “see behind the veil” so to speak. I even get accused of being jealous of her therapist when I ask how things are going. I try to explain to her that I don’t need details, but that asking is my attempt to be supportive and involved in some way. Of course she knows that I’m having difficulty being patient, so she angrily tries to frame my asking as a demand when it’s really just a request for a status update…

      I’m really struggling with temptation from all sides but I just keep holding onto the fact that Christ loves me and that he doesn’t see me as deficient or lacking in any way.

  29. A real man would never rape or molest… Sex is beautiful and should never hurt. A real man knows how to please his wife. A real man supports his wife through all problems. That’s life and being there. That means through thick and thin!!! Some men have mental health issues and should join in programs ect to help with sexual tendencies… There is always help. Your partner should never have to be afraid of you period… To all the non abusers keep it up. And don’t forget guys… No matter whom you pray to. GOD will always make a way… Peace aka… Cap10

  30. Hi. I am a person who was sexually abused as a child and I think I am doing a great job. I just don’t cope with my past. But now that I am reading more into my past I realize that I am still recovering from my past and I don’t see that I am hurting. I have someone professional to talk to but I realize I need more talking about my abuse and how I am coping then dealing with my everyday problems. Don’t get me wrong, I need to talk about my everyday problems too but I feel like I am stuck and I don’t want to upset my family by bringing it all up again and I don’t know how to get them to support me.

    And my family is really messed up. Some of them don’t want to be near me or have anything to do with me. They just act like a family when I know they don’t care about me. It is just my impression on them and I feel like I love my family but to me I don’t know what and how to feel. The fact is my family to me didn’t care if I got hurt or not. My sister never cared about my feelings and I even heard her say so. But anyway, I think I need more help and I am trying to get on google.com and search for books and articles on child sexual abuse and everything and I don’t know what to read and such to get a clear mind that I feel that I can relate to and help me with my feelings of anger and frustration and loneliness and betrayal. I just want to have reassurance … I want to know how to have healthy and romantic relationships with my husband. I am afraid I’m too late on that level, but I can always get my act together because who knows what the future holds, right?

  31. I’m finding that my past is affecting my marriage and sexual life. I am quick to shut people out but my husband is my hero. I feel guilty for not satisfying him at anytime. What do I do? We argue about it all the time that I don’t want to. I don’t talk to anyone about my feelings. My mother let me decide what we’d do when she found out of me being molested years ago. I believe that is why I don’t connect emotionally. Am I wrong. What should i do?