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#226705 - 05/26/08 12:28 AM Can you help him if he says he doesn't want help?
Lee73 Offline


Registered: 05/26/08
Posts: 32
I recently found out that the man I dated briefly suffered CSA. He never actually told me straight out, but he gave me a lot of hints that helped me to figure it out, and when I asked him, he didn't deny it. I am the first person in his life that knows, and I really want to help him. There must be a reason he let me figure it out when he's kept this secret his entire life. He has shut me out since I found out 2 months ago and has pushed me away completely. We haven't spoken since, but I've e-mailed him once and mailed him a book that I thought might help. He's told me to find someone else and doesn't think I should waste time waiting for him to heal and says he doesn't deserve someone like me. I just can't walk away and pretend like I don't know though and do nothing. I realize he needs professional help--he is not even able to allow anyone to touch him in even a platonic way so I realize he has a long way to go. When I tried to encourage seeking professional help, he refused and thinks he can deal with this on his own. I've read a couple of books on CSA since then, have considered seeing a therapist myself who specializes in this to find out how or if I can help, but I'm wondering if there's really anything I can do to help someone that doesn't want my help? Am I supposed to keep trying to show I won't abandon him and keep trying to reach out or am I supposed to respect his space and recognize his healing has to be done on his own terms? I would love a perspective from a CSA survivor. Why is he pushing me away now if he allowed me to figure this out in the first place? Thank you.


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#226931 - 05/26/08 07:53 PM Re: Can you help him if he says he doesn't want help? [Re: Lee73]
Liv2124 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 159
Loc: New Jersey
Lee,
Welcome!
Your post brought alot of thoughts to mind, flashbacks of sorts, of when my SO first disclosed.
His reaction following telling you was similar to what happened with us. He wanted me to forget the conversation. (Of course, wasn't gonna happen) Then, the issue was whether my feelings for him would change any now that I knew. Again, wasn't going to happen. He also made similar comments like, "I'm no good for you..etc." The difference is that I'd known him for 14 years before this happened, but his response was still one of panic. If you are considering staying in a relationship with him, you should consider seeing a therapist for yourself. You can't make this all better, no matter how many books you read. But it can be draining and a therapist can help you to keep things in perspective for yourself.
You can't make him see a therapist, take medication, move forward, talk, etc. There is no "magic". The only "magic" I can do? I say the word "talk" and he's sure to disappear!
He obviously trusts you alot to even get into this with you. But it's like he's handed you a cinder block and said, "Here Lee, hold this for me." and walked away.
You can respect his space and still let him know that you're there if he wants to talk. But be consistent. You have to put your own feelings into perspective here. What do you want/need out of this? I can tell you, there's often alot more give than there is take. And this can go on for a LONG time.
If you decide to move forward with this, consider this the first of many times you may be pushed away.
Whatever you decide to do, take care of you first.
Always,
Liv


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#226967 - 05/26/08 09:50 PM Re: Can you help him if he says he doesn't want help? [Re: Liv2124]
Freedom49 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/30/07
Posts: 2723
Loc: Washington State
Lee,
The short answer is ... no. However, that said, there are things you can do to help him see that he needs to get help. Love him. Accept him. Keep telling him he is not alone with this and that you know of many others. Surviving and thriving and dealing with these same issues. Accept him as he is, and don't look at him all pitying and weird. He is a courageous and intelligent man if he has made it this far. Keep reminding him that much of what he believes about himself is lies and was given to him as a kid who drank it up as if it were real. Show him you value him and that he is valuable and lovable and that he matters and has much to be proud of. Keep rememinding him it is not his fault no matter what he was told.

And hope. Eventually maybe he will become curious enough over time that you might be on to something and come to the site and realise for sure he is not alone.

Good luck and I mean it. This will be hard and will take time.


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#227015 - 05/27/08 03:21 AM Re: Can you help him if he says he doesn't want help? [Re: Freedom49]
Lee73 Offline


Registered: 05/26/08
Posts: 32
Thank you both so much for sharing your perspectives. I have thought a lot these last 2 months about if I really have what it takes to make it through this long journey. He feels like family to me now though, and I just can't imagine walking away and never looking back. But Liv, I agree that I need to start focusing on taking care of myself and my needs too and will take your advice and think about what I want and need out of this before I approach him again in the coming months. At the moment, I'm trying to figure out if maybe I'd be more helpful as a friend than as his girlfriend. I just don't think he's ready to talk about any of this or do a lot about his recovery, and if I keep pushing, I think I'll do more damage than good. The difficult thing is that we live on opposite coasts so it was very easy for him to kind of drop this bombshell on me and then completely shut me out so he could go back to his status quo life like I never existed. It's not like I can hop on a plane every weekend and get him to pay attention to me. After all that I've read on the subject though, I admire him for coping as well as he has his whole life. He falls into that super over-achiever category, and I worry that he's so brilliant that he thinks he can rationalize himself out of this. He thinks this whole inability to touch people is a mind over matter thing that one day he just has to force himself to do. He equated it to when people first start drinking they don't like the taste of it but eventually they get used to it. If only it were that easy though--somehow I don't think it will work that way. It's very difficult to win any argument with him though given he's an ivy league educated trial lawyer, and I am not!! He always has a rebuttal for everything. But maybe one day, he will see that going to therapy and facing the issues head-on will be the only way to heal. Right now, he feels that there is no point in dwelling over the past and wants to forget about it. Hopefully just reminding him from time to time that I'm here and not going anywhere despite his desire to have me forward with my life without him will convince him to let me back in one day. Thank you also for reminding me I need to make him feel valued and loved and reinforce that none of this was remotely his fault.

Lee


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#227052 - 05/27/08 10:09 AM Re: Can you help him if he says he doesn't want help? [Re: Lee73]
Marissa Offline


Registered: 05/06/08
Posts: 67
Lee -

Not really knowing your complete situation - my first thought was that you are in "rescue mode". You can't really base a relationship on your ability to rescue someone from their situation.

You said you dated "briefly" and that you live on opposite coasts. Just because you know of the CSA does NOT make you accountable for pushing him or otherwise convincing him to seek treatment.

I have to say that I think he is right in that you need to move forward with your life. Be available to him as a friend and offer support. If, in time, it works out that he is in a place to have a healthy relationship and you are available, then go for it - but now all I see is the makings for an extremely co-dependent relationship.

Just my opinion.

Marissa


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#227077 - 05/27/08 12:19 PM Re: Can you help him if he says he doesn't want help? [Re: Marissa]
Lee73 Offline


Registered: 05/26/08
Posts: 32
Thanks Marissa,

This is what I have been worrying about as well and why I thought I should see a therapist myself to make sure I'm not being co-dependent and feeling the need to "rescue" him. It's hard to stand back and do nothing though knowing that I'm the only one who knows. I would feel much better in moving forward with my life if he were seeking treatment or others in his life knew about it and could support him. I don't plan on contacting him for a long while so that when I do, he will better be able to accept that I'm reaching out in friendship and not in the hopes of putting pressure on him to heal in order to save our romantic relationship. Hearing all of this helps a great deal. Thank you for your honest opinion.

Lee


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#227150 - 05/27/08 06:29 PM Re: Can you help him if he says he doesn't want help? [Re: Lee73]
Marissa Offline


Registered: 05/06/08
Posts: 67
Originally Posted By: Lee73
Thanks Marissa,

It's hard to stand back and do nothing though knowing that I'm the only one who knows.



It is his choice that you are the only one that knows.

You're Welcome. :O)


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#227196 - 05/27/08 08:31 PM Re: Can you help him if he says he doesn't want help? [Re: Lee73]
Liv2124 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 159
Loc: New Jersey
Lee,
Going into this is never easy. I have to say you're off on the right path...he needs a friend WAY more than a "girlfriend" at this point.
My SO is brilliantly creative, a business owner, I'd call him an over-achiever although I'm sure he'd disagree. I've always been one of those myself, the straight "A" in high school, the 4.0 in college, and for what? In my current position, that NEVER comes up. That's me, the extrovert. I learned more from my kids, (they would be the 3 INTROVERTS). It was hard on them, with the mom who was on every committee, in every club, recieved every award. Let's all take a moment to feel sorry for them....:0)
It may be different for him, but from where I've been, the "touch" issue is not an aquired taste. Just recently we experienced alittle breakthrough in that, although I can't say, to date, that I've divined "why". Tolerating something doesn't mean you're okay with it.
I believe in hope. If you are in this for the long haul, you are going to have to be creative. You have to find a way to slip past the usual defenses. This is not easy. Alot of the time, you may have to put your feelings aside. You have to take time yourself and evaluate your overall relationship with him. How you feel about him and what it's worth to you. In reading your post, I'm not sure of how long you've known him. (Not that it matters) But this is a full-time commitment. And to keep yourself "grounded" you have to be able to "compartmentalize" and keep your life separate. Please keep in mind that this is only MY opinion, having been dealing with this 29 years. I don't bring his issues to work with me. I make an effort to accommodate his needs as much as possible, and when it comes to physician or therapy appointments, he qualifies as "family" for the purpose of my job. Meaning, I can make MYSELF available unless the DOH or JCHAO is doing some type of inspection. Other than that, if he needs me, I'll do whatever to be there, no exception.
Are you open to my PMing you? I recently tried something that may work for you.
Always,
Liv


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#227202 - 05/27/08 09:03 PM Re: Can you help him if he says he doesn't want he [Re: Liv2124]
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus
MaleSurvivor<

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
Hi Lee and welcome,

You've gotten good advice and your own words tell me that you've got it together. Doing and saying are very different though, yes? Rescue mode is very easy to fall into when we care about someone. If you believe you're in that place or see yourself heading there, I hope you do remember your own words and seek counseling to help you realize what you can and can't do.

For now, I think your plan to let him know that what he's told you doesn't change the fact that you like him is a good one! He is a friend and you do care, whether you're in a romantic relationship or not. That's a very good thing and something he needs to know.

ROCK ON..........Trish



_________________________
If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

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#227226 - 05/27/08 10:14 PM Re: Can you help him if he says he doesn't want he [Re: Trish4850]
Lee73 Offline


Registered: 05/26/08
Posts: 32
All of your varied advice is helping me more than you know. The couple of close friends in my life who know what I'm dealing with have not been very supportive of me trying to help him or stay in his life and have been very vocal in their opinions. I realize they worry that I might become mired in his difficulties and not be emotionally open to dating other men and giving them a real chance, but I do love this man, and I do feel he is part of my family now--if not as his future wife then maybe as the role of an annoying little sister now who wants to be supportive \:\) I know I have to make that transition in my mind though over time and am not there yet. Yes, Liv. Please do PM me with any suggestions you may have. Thx.

Lee


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