Spousal Emotional Abuse

I suffer from PTSD due to spousal emotional abuse. I was consistently compared to other women. I am intelligent, fit and attractive. I am a former nurse and school teacher. I have been married 3 times and currently am living with a man whom I love deeply.

After my divorces, in two instances, I discovered pornographic material they had left behind, and in one marriage, I discovered it during the marriage.

My current partner and I have been together for a little over a year. He knows of my PTSD and tries very hard to understand and be sensitive to me.

Seven months ago, on his computer, I discovered some websites he visited that contained bikini clad women and on his Facebook news feed, it is a constant flow of nude pictures that his "friends" post. He does hide the pictures, and in a few cases, has hidden those people from his news feed. I call it his "nude feed".

A few times recently, he has read articles on some websites (he sits right next to me) that show side pictures of bikini clad women and/or a lot of boobs and cleavage.

I have talked to him about this and he said he "wasn't thinking" and that he barely "notices" those pictures and has tried to reassure me that it means nothing to him, they don't affect him. I, however, don't see it that way.

When we go out in public, we live in South West Florida, the women down here dress inappropriately, showing a lot of cleavage and tight shorts. It makes me want to run and hide from him.

I just can't talke my reactions anymore. My PTSD is moderate to severe. Please offer some advice.
An Ep User An EP User
2 Responses Jan 20, 2013

It sounds like you have a trigger wrapped up in ***********.  That's pretty uncomfortable when it's also got morality issues twisted in, which if you grew up in a conservative culture is understandable.  This is my premise that I'm working from,  trigger and morality, so what follows is written with that thought.

Given your response to jeanemae, I understand that you really would rather your SO avoid any and all images of women showing much, if any skin.  Unfortunatly for you, the culture that pervades the Internet is comfortable with bikini's and the like.  Also, most people will look at other people with some amount of sexual appreciation, This does not mean that your SO is cheating on you, or is going to hurt you... Except this is a trigger for you,  so your brain sees these things and is screaming at you in fear.  

Now, you don't have to like or think that **** or bikini's are right,  but  you do have to be able to cope with the reality around you. Many Women today don't feel ashamed of their bodies or their sexualities, and marketing really takes advantage of that. For that you're going to need to talk to a therapist to desensitize your trigger.  I would also suggest telling your SO that seeing these images on his browser history is a trigger for you, and it doesn't really matter that it doesn't effect him, it effects you.  Work with him to find a way to avoid the trigger,  which, BTW might mean not looking at his browser windows.  This does require you to trust him, which can be hard given that your trigger has already been pulled.  Still, there is no easy answer to this.  A good therapist whom you feel a connection with can help you get through most of this, with time and effort.  

Good luck.

He can't change other people's behaviors. It seems you should talk to your therapist about helping you find some ways to cope. There are always going to be other women that are comfortable showing their bodies...which is certainly within their rights and quite "normal" in the hot Florida communities ...especially at the beach.

No, but he could not go to those websites.

You can't control the ads. Half dressed women are in the ads on my computer too....it's not like I sought them out. He also can't control how women in Florida dress....so it sounds...like you might be expecting more than reasonable ....or perhaps that's not what you meant to imply.

I posted my story to get some understanding and advise on how to deal with the symptoms of PTSD.

That's why I suggested that you talk to your therapist about helping you with some coping skills. It wasn't an insult...just something that honestly might help...because we can't control other people...we can only control our responses to them. Other people's behaviors bother me too (not the same behaviors, but the point is the same) All I can control is my responses to those triggers.

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