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#212384 - 03/22/08 11:00 PM question to the loved ones
tartugas Offline
Board Member
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 02/11/07
Posts: 513
Loc: NYC
Hi all,

First off, let me say to you thanks for your love. If the boyfriend/husband/fiancee/SO/baby daddy in your life can't say it, I hope you'll accept my thanks on their behalf. It's a pittance of what you deserve, but I hope it helps. The fact that you're here reading and participating on this forum is a testament to how much you care and the lengths to which you're willing to go to support someone you love. That's big.

All right, now that I'm done kissing butt, let me get to my question. What, in your opinion/experience can I say and share to my girlfriend that will help her understand what I'm going through? What do you, as a loved one, need to know on a recurring basis in order to not feel that you're losing to the abuse?

For what it's worth, my girlfriend and I do talk openly about a lot of my strugggles (sometimes I worry I'm divulging too much). But I've made it very clear from the start of our relationship (now a little over 3 months old) that I am IN recovery, and that I am taking responsibility for getting better. I'm not throwing any responsibility on her shoulders for fixing me or helping me feel better. The things that were done to me in the past are not anything she can go back in time and change. I want to focus on us here in the present as much as I can (though that is hard at times).

Thanks again,

Chris

_________________________
"I am not a mechanism, an assembly of various sections.
And it is not because the mechanism is working wrongly, that I am ill.
I am ill because of wounds to the soul, to the deep emotional self...."
Healing D.H. Lawrence

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#212431 - 03/23/08 06:43 AM Re: question to the loved ones [Re: tartugas]
sweet-n-sour Offline
Member

Registered: 10/03/06
Posts: 409
Loc: chicago
Dear Chris:

When you said: "But I've made it very clear from the start of our relationship (now a little over 3 months old) that I am IN recovery, and that I am taking responsibility for getting better. I'm not throwing any responsibility on her shoulders for fixing me or helping me feel better. The things that were done to me in the past are not anything she can go back in time and change. I want to focus on us here in the present as much as I can (though that is hard at times)."

This sounds to me as if you are doing ALL the right things. Your girlfriend is very lucky to have you!

Best wishes,
S-n-S

_________________________
"As long as he continues to try, I will meet him in that determination and commitment."

cm 2007

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#212510 - 03/23/08 03:22 PM Re: question to the loved ones [Re: tartugas]
Chagrin Offline
New Here

Registered: 02/18/08
Posts: 17
Loc: BC Canada
Hi Tartugas!

I think that being upfront and disclosing the abuse right away is definitely the right way to go!

The biggest thing for my husband and I right now is just constant communication. He has days that he is "not doing well" or times when he seems very distant which used to turn into sources of tension or contention. But the better he does at communicating these times with me and maybe explaining how he is feeling if he can, the more understanding I can be and the better I can meet his and my own needs. I can give him space if he needs space, I can listen if he needs to vent, I can go and do something with a friend or do something nice for myself if I'm feeling like I'm having a hard time with his mood or attitude of the moment. etc. etc.

Communication is truly key and in my opinion the very best thing you can do for your girlfriend! Hopefully she can be understanding and do the same for you!!

Don't know if this is helpful for you?!

~ Chagrin \:\)


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#212737 - 03/24/08 05:43 PM Re: question to the loved ones [Re: Chagrin]
Agape Girl Offline
Guest

Registered: 07/25/07
Posts: 120
Loc: New Jersey, USA
Dear Chris;

I agree with everyone so far. COMMUNICATION! is key! So many things are important to me in my relationship with my bf and learning to deal with the csa. He's still in denial but over the past month has given me a few pieces of information to nibble on and I have to tell you it's very encouraging to me and I believe to him in a totally different way. We've been together for 4 years and I have only been dealing with his CSA since June 24 of last year. I can't imagine having 30 years of silence broken overnight. So keep talking and if you feel like you might be saying to much, ask her first before you say what you might be saying. It gives her just as much chance to be able to hear you 100% and sort of prepare for what might be coming next. BUT keep talking, get it out safely and healthy.

Keep it up!
always,
Kelly

_________________________
AGAPE'
means selfless love of one person for another
without sexual implications
(especially love that is spiritual in nature)

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#212814 - 03/24/08 09:16 PM Re: question to the loved ones [Re: Agape Girl]
Lou Offline
Guest

Registered: 11/10/07
Posts: 100
Dear Chris,

A triple ditto to what everyone else said.

I think you and your GF are very lucky to have one another!

By being totally honest and upfront with her from the very start of your relationship, you have shown her that you truly respect her and consequently she will know that she can trust you to continue to be honest with her.

Even though dealing with CSA is not easy, I believe that you have eased some of the burden for you and your GF by your honesty and I think you should really be proud of yourself for that approach to a very difficult situation.

Best wishes and happiness for both of you!

Lou


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#213057 - 03/25/08 07:18 PM Re: question to the loved ones [Re: Lou]
tartugas Offline
Board Member
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 02/11/07
Posts: 513
Loc: NYC
Thanks for the responses and encouragement guys (and gals!).

I am very fortunate to have her, for no small reason because she can truly appreciate the amount of energy and work I do. If anyone is frustrated by the state of thing it's much more me than her. Happily she's dealt with most of the challenges of her past and is free to struggle with her own present day battles.

It's hard for me to know to what degree I should let her into my struggles. It's really hard sometimes to come out and tell her how bad I'm feeling. I don't want to sound like a freak or an attention monger. And I don't want to play the little boy looking for solace and succor. So sometimes I'll pull into myself to play it safe.

I can finally see the folly in this strategy, but the counter for it isn't all that easy. No matter how many times she tells me she loves me unconditionally, it's still hard for me to accept that. It's a double whammy for me, on the one hand I haven't had enough experience with that kind of love to trust in it, and when I do, it opens up a flood of memories from the all the times I dropped my guard and trusted someone this intimately, going all the way back to my abuser.

I'm making it work though, mostly on faith during the bad times. I've been through enough peaks and valleys of the healing roller coaster to know that the valleys always give way to peaks at some point.

Anyway, thanks again all. I hope that this might give you some insight into what we're facing on the survivor side, even if some of your guys can't express it.

Chris

_________________________
"I am not a mechanism, an assembly of various sections.
And it is not because the mechanism is working wrongly, that I am ill.
I am ill because of wounds to the soul, to the deep emotional self...."
Healing D.H. Lawrence

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#213324 - 03/26/08 06:24 PM Re: question to the loved ones [Re: tartugas]
honey girl Offline
Member

Registered: 10/09/06
Posts: 245
Loc: Midwest US
Dear Chris,

These are really interesting questions, and it has taken me some time to reflect on what to say.

I think part of this reply will sound a little odd, because it's not exactly what you're asking about. But I think it's pertinent all the same. I don't mean to hijack the thread, though, and I hope you don't take it that way. That comes a little later; just wanted to say something about it up front.

Sorry, I still haven't learned how to highlight quoted text. But you said:

"What, in your opinion/experience can I say and share to my girlfriend that will help her understand what I'm going through? What do you, as a loved one, need to know on a recurring basis in order to not feel that you're losing to the abuse?"

I'm not entirely sure you can explain the process in words very effectively. But I would be as specific as you can about the *feelings* especially in your body, not just in your head. That will help bridge some of the immeasurable gap between one person's experiences and memories and another's. Besides, to me it's the connection between words and acts that will be most informative. If you can try to maintain a consistency between what you say and how you act, that will be very meaningful. All of this is over the long haul, though; it is not something that will happen only once or twice, but thousands of times, if you stay together.

What is most important to know is that you are still working on dealing with the effects. I like Sweet n Sour's signature line for stating that so clearly. Yes, of course, progress isn't always steady or direct, but as long as you keep trying, it will make a difference to you, to her, and to your relationship. I don't remember how long you've been in recovery, but the unfortunate truth, it seems to me, is that it doesn't ever really end. There are easier and tougher stretches, but the reality of past events cannot be changed. All you can do is persevere. That, however, is a big deal indeed. Don't give up!

So, I encourage you to make sure that you build in as much fun and pleasure and light-heartedness as you can imagine in your everyday interactions, because when life does get difficult, being able to enjoy each other is very important. Expect bumps even when things seem to be going well; don't be surprised by the hydra-headed nature of the problems that can follow from abuse.

The odd part of my response is this: your GF should anticipate that it is very likely that if she stays in this relationship with you and if you continue in recovery that she is going to be discovering things about her own self that may give her pause. I am most definitely NOT saying that 1) all abuse survivors get involved with other abuse survivors or 2) people who fall in love with abuse survivors are co-dependent or otherwise emotionally challenged. I AM saying that being in relationship with someone in recovery will, if you're honest about it, highlight the issues you yourself have to address. They're not always pleasant, these revelations. It's in the nature of recovery, I think, and in having a genuine relationship with someone: you also learn about yourself, just as you learn about your beloved. It's about mutual growth, isn't it? or else, why bother?

I don't mean to be discouraging, though at the moment my own BF and I are in a very rocky stretch of the river. But I do mean to suggest that it's way more difficult and complicated than anyone can predict, even with the best of intentions.

I wish you both the best, and I encourage you to suggest that your GF check this site out.

Peace,
HG

_________________________
I'm just a poor wayfaring stranger, a million miles away from home.

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#213348 - 03/26/08 08:17 PM Re: question to the loved ones [Re: honey girl]
Agape Girl Offline
Guest

Registered: 07/25/07
Posts: 120
Loc: New Jersey, USA
AMEN HONEY GIRL.....AMEN TO IT ALL BUT AMEN TO THE LAST 2 PARAGRAPHS ON YOUR POST....I'M WITH YOU THERE!!!

BUT WE'RE MAKING A CHANGE TOGETHER OR RATHER I'M MAKING MY CHANGES AND HE'S FOLLOWING ALONG AND IN TURN LEARNING TO LEAVE ME SOME BREADCRUMBS ABOUT HIS CSA, IT'S ENCOURAGING TO ME AND I'M SURE HIM.

THAT'S ALL JUST WANTED TO SAY AMEN ONE MORE TIME!!!

_________________________
AGAPE'
means selfless love of one person for another
without sexual implications
(especially love that is spiritual in nature)

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