Day 50 of Believing the Girl – Telling My Husband

I have a fantastic husband. I couldn’t ask for better. He is like me in his values and priorities. He is different from me in nationality, native language, talents, skills and obsessive interests. His differences are part of what make him interesting to me. He is patient and flexible and loving.

I’ve told him that I experienced sexual abuse as a child and finally, a few months ago, explained how much it’s affected me. His immediate reaction was to spend a day or two online to learn more about how childhood sexual abuse affects people in adulthood. He immediately said to me that he knew it wasn’t my fault, that he absolutely didn’t think it made me dirty or twisted as I feared (and sometimes still fear). He said he was here to listen to me whenever I wanted, but no pressure if I wasn’t ready. Perfect. I shared a few of my blog posts with him, but I haven’t given him the name of my blog or let him read most posts.

Most importantly, I haven’t been able to tell him that my father abused me.

In therapy yesterday, E. asked me why I wasn’t telling him. “What’s holding you back?”

I wasn’t sure at first. “Maybe I’m afraid he’ll be really mad at my dad. And, I don’t know, that could make figuring out how to help my dad even more complicated.”

“Are you afraid he’ll say something to your dad? Or hurt him?” she asked me.

“Um, no, not really. Definitely not hurt him; he’s not the type. And he won’t say anything if I ask him not to. I know his priority is to make things okay for me.”

Silence for a few moments.

“I guess really I am embarrassed,” I went on, awkwardly, “I guess I am ashamed.”

Naturally this led to a repeat of the conversation we’ve had before–more than once–about who should be ashamed, the abuser or the child. (Correct answer: the abuser!) I agree with this intellectually. Sometimes I even agree emotionally. But still I felt ashamed even at the thought of telling my husband.

“You might consider about telling him,” E suggested. “I think it could be good for you. From what I know of him, mostly through you, I feel pretty sure he would believe you. And he would agree that you don’t need to feel ashamed. I think that could strengthen your own sense that you don’t need to feel shame.”

It was only after I left the therapy session that I realized part of my shame is the fear of being wrong about the whole thing, about having somehow made it all up. And what would that say about me? I’m sick, disgusting. I’m a terrible person. Then how could he love me?

Evidently my friend Doubt isn’t staying fully away even though I extended her vacation. I though I was doing well believing the girl, but I don’t seem to believe her enough to tell my husband about what happened to her.

(Side note to the girl: I’m sorry, little one, that a part of me can’t fully banish Doubt. Just remember that many parts of me DO believe you. Forgive me for feeling torn sometimes.)

Sometimes as I write my posts, I start to figure out what I want to do about the issue I’m struggling with. I think that may be happening tonight. Here’s what I think I want to do:

I want to stick with my resolve to intentionally and compassionately believe the girl through the end of the month.

Then in September, I want to invite Doubt to a therapy session. I want to work with her a bit, with a lot of help from E.

Only when I feel more comfortable in my relationship with Doubt do I want to plan plan how I might tell my husband.

So that’s my plan, for the moment anyway. My husband can wait another month or two. He still loves me, knowing I haven’t told him the full story. I’m very lucky in that way.

P.S. I used to have a photo of him posted where you could see his face, but I took it down, afraid I guess that someone would see it and know him and know me.


  1. I didn’t tell my hubby partly because of feeling shameful and uncertain and I can’t give a clear account of everything and there is so much and it’s overwhelming. But the main reason I didn’t tell is because I had pushed the memories away for so long it was all so repressed and I didn’t tell him because I didn’t know to tell him…at least it wasn’t forefront on my mind. But as I believed the girl and began my healing or maybe even when I began to break down I felt like a liar. I was afraid he would be mad. Why did I keep this secret from him, all of these secrets from him. I must not trust him. But that wasn’t it, I didn’t trust myself.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, and it isn’t that my hubby didn’t believe me or that he responded wrongly in fact he disclosed to me that night about something that happened to him. But he was just so stuck on how much he didn’t know about me and that I didn’t trust him and I got myself so sick and it was all so confusing. It’s like we both became little kids or teens and he was accusing me of not being a virgin which of course I wasn’t. In some ways I was and I told him I was and I suppose I did lie about that, well more than kind of. But the point is that we were both responding like children who shouldn’t be talking about sex or abuse and we were emotional and not our adult selves (I didn’t think of that until just now). We are both messed up when it comes to this. Trauma has changed us both. I still can’t talk to my hubby or anyone about it. The words just come out wrong and I emailed my hubby around Christmastime with just an idea of what happened. I think the sooner you tell the easier it will be in the long run. You are ready to deal with it and your little girl needs to not hide or keep secrets and she so wants him to know because (I think) it will help her to feel protected and safe and loved (she worries about things and often believes that if others find out they won’t like her anymore).

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Sounds like a solid plan. I told my wife about six years ago and she handled it beautifully. I am estranged from my family now, but I wasn’t then. She never once let on that she knew. She treated them cordially and respectfully, despite knowing what they had done. And she allowed me to reach the decision to cut them off on my own, in my own time. I was so afraid to tell her because I worried she would judge me or somehow reveal to them that she knew (ie by calling them out on it). I even made her promise that if I died, she wouldn’t make a scene at my funeral. I have since changed my mind and I told her to do whatever she wants, but she always always respected my needs around this. I have a feeling your hubby will have a similar reaction.

    Liked by 2 people

      • It took me about 3 years to be totally forthcoming and…to be completely honest, it was because my abuse led to pregnancy (yes, even while I was an adult and in a relationship) which I felt I needed to tell her about. I was terrified she would up and leave me on the spot, but she was actually rather wonderful and supportive.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I haven’t told mine either because well I’ve never talked about it with anyone. And shame. Yes shame. Your husband sounds like a good grounded man. He’s also allowed to be a little angry because he loves you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, he’s allowed to be angry. That’s something I have worked on a lot and I think I’ve finally got a grip on: we are all allowed to have the feelings we have. If he’s angry or upset, that’s okay. I trust he can control his behavior no matter what he feels.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Your husband sounds wonderful. I imagine he will embrace your story, whatever part you choose to tell him, with love and acceptance. I think you are brave for working through this decision.
    PS he looks like a very gentle spirit. I can see why you love him so much.

    Liked by 1 person

    • He is a kind and giving person, and every single day he makes me feel loved. I know I wouldn’t be even as far as I am now in my healing if he didn’t repeatedly communicate that I am lovable. He gives me a lot of strength.


  5. Re this 2015 post, I’m wondering bout this line: . “Maybe I’m afraid he’ll be really mad at my dad. And, I don’t know, that could make figuring out how to help my dad even more complicated.” Trying to help your dad is the last thing in the world you need to be doing (in my experience). As I understand it, the Trauma Bond needs to be completely broken. In your 2017 post I just read, you had forgotten again? That is so scary. I can resonate to your struggle. Excuse me if I sound preachy.


    • You don’t sound preachy! It’s just messy, isn’t it? Sometimes it’s scary to know that two years later, I can still go around in the same circles. Maybe the difference is that it takes me a little less time now (in 2017) to get out of those dizzy circles.

      Is it even possible to completely break the trauma bond?!?


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