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#260248 - 11/06/08 02:01 AM How can I help my boyfriend deal w/ his abuse?
Mimi777 Offline


Registered: 11/06/08
Posts: 8
My boyfriend has confided in me, although I knew even before he told me, that he was sexually abused. I knew also who it was because there was a rift between he and this person that was unexplainable, except for this. He ended up telling me it was his brother, and sadly I already knew. I Having been raped myself, I know the signs and things one does to avoid the topic until they realize, as I did, that until I dealt with the issues it was going to haunt me. My boyfriend grew up in a very conservative family. He believes that the feeling of relief you get when you finally tell your "secret" is the end of the healing process. While it took courage to tell his parents, and I am so proud of him for doing so, he now feels like it is in the past and has no effect on him today. I completely disagree with him and feel that I know personally that it couldn't be further from the truth. I too felt that temporary sense of relief after you finally got it off your chest, but what I realized, is that was the first step not the last.

He has anger and depression sometimes that he simply can't explain. When we first started dating he would literally jump at my touch. I was really patient with this and knew it wasn't about me. I am now happy to say that he knows my touch is safe. That gives me hope that he has had some form of healing, but the other issues are far more disconcerning to me. I have asked him and offered to go with him to a support group and he feels that he doesn't "need" anything like that. However, when he is experiencing those "low" moments he makes comments like that might be something he is open to. Unfortunately, this very brief moment passes and he is back to sticking to his guns about not needing to deal with this subject all together.

I feel like the more I want to support him in this the more he is angered by my even bringing it up. Initially after he told me about what happened, I never brought it up and just wanted to give him his space. However, I finally noticed that he wasn't planning on doing anything else about it. I know that what he is going through is a result of that happening to him. I absolutely love him. It is beginning to interfere with our relationship. I feel like I have hit a road block with him. He sometimes gets angry over very little things and I am at the point that I don't feel that I can help him if he doesn't want to be helped. I also think that I would be the perfect person to be here for him if he does decide he wants to finally deal with this.

What can I do from here? Should I not bring it up to him? I want to do whatever it takes to have him even see that this might be effecting his life. He is at the denial part of recovery. I see it so clear. Is there anything I should try that maybe I haven't?

It hurts to see the one I love in pain and not even know it...


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#260296 - 11/06/08 12:04 PM Re: How can I help my boyfriend deal w/ his abuse? [Re: Mimi777]
wes-b Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/17/07
Posts: 438
Loc: Western, Canada

Mimi777

your boyfriend is a lucky man, your love and caring comes through in this.

It is sooo difficult to watch someone suffer when I "know" where they may find relief. In my personal addiction recovery I have seen where my wife would benefit from the associated "anon" program and told her so in direct terms which sounded like blaming and turned her off of the idea (if it is God's will for her to go he will make it so, and it will be on his schedule not mine). This reinforced what I have been told about staying on my side of the street --had I left it as a suggestion and not launched into why I thought she needed it--. I have for ages manipulated people around me, especially my wife, I now work hard to mention something once and set it down. Once I have shared the information I have done my part. Leaving it in God's hands is the right place.

Pass it on to God and you understand God.

If your bf recognizes his anger and depression and wants to work that out he may be receptive to individual counseling.

With Love and Prayers, Wes

"I pray that your bf seeks and works his personal path to healing and recovery."

_________________________
Happy to be a recovering survivor. :-)

Continuing to meet more of my fellows as I "Trudge the Road of Happy Destiny".

My Story, 1st pass

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#260321 - 11/06/08 03:48 PM Re: How can I help my boyfriend deal w/ his abuse? [Re: wes-b]
Mimi777 Offline


Registered: 11/06/08
Posts: 8
Thank you for your encouragement and thoughts. I realize this is something I cannot control. Just as I came into my healing when I was ready. It is often strange to find that everyone's path is different, I saw an opportunity to deal with my pain and jumped at it. I have just been at the point where I want to be there for him, and yet feel drawn to step back for my own personal well-being. His anger has reared its ugly head and been directed at me. I don't want to be in this type of situation again where my helping him is hurting me. I had a very wise friend once share with me that the last thing you do when someone is drowning is jump in the water with them. For you can do so much more for them if you are able to not get sucked in yourself. I feel like I have been on the beach calling him to join me where the sun is warm and the overall experience is peaceful. You never want to see people you love suffering, but I do know that often times it is all part of the purifying process of working through things. The only way out is through. I will turn this over to God and let him help me have the strength to be the one person that has never given up on my him. And, I believe that it might just take time...


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#260328 - 11/06/08 04:33 PM Re: How can I help my boyfriend deal w/ his abuse? [Re: Mimi777]
michaelmovies Offline


Registered: 11/06/08
Posts: 21
Loc: Long Beach, CA, USA
I asked my wife to try and help me survive and it's gotten to be too much pressure for her, so take this with the understanding that my advice is colored by recent problems in the journey.

As a survivor I can honestly say that I have a bundle of anger and rage inside, but no matter how often I've blown up at my wife or my family or any of the people who've tried to help, none of my anger has ever, even in the remotest way, been directed at them. All of the rage I feel is towards myself in some way, towards that kid that failed to protect himself ... any expression of unnaturally high anger from a survivor is, at least from my perspective, probably a triggered response, and not a lucid one.

I've been working and working to try and get my wife to understand that I have a need to be able to find the way to express the tiny little bits of legitimate, adult, human anger and frustration that day to day life brings ... only by getting through to that part of me do I feel I'll ever be fully healed ... but absolutely none of the explosive anger moments has ever been a judgement of her, only a judgement of me.

In other words his rage isn't at you, it isn't about you, it's just the giant wave crashing upon the beach ... it's some internal part of him trying to express the boiling over of fearful memories and emotions ... it may find voice through hurtful things, but the odds are he regrets any of them before they make it out of his mouth.

Thank you, anyway, for trying to love someone like me. Everything you describe of him sounds exactly like how I have been in the past, and am right now. It takes so much for someone to try to love that ... so thank you for having that strength.

_________________________
"Because the stars won't reach for us ..."

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#260958 - 11/10/08 08:27 PM Re: How can I help my boyfriend deal w/ his abuse? [Re: michaelmovies]
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus
MaleSurvivor<

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
Hi Mimi and welcome to MS, although I'm sorry you find yourself here, but it is a healthy and helpful place.

You're so right that you can't make your b/f deal with things from his past if he's not prepared to do so, but as it affects you and your relationship, you DO have the right to ask him to deal with that. Bringing up what you "know" to be the underlying problem won't get you anything but a stone wall, but asking him to deal with the woman standing in front of him, not a ghost from the past, is fair. He may find that to be a difficult task, at least at first, because he may not see that the anger he's doling out to you, doesn't have anything whatsoever to do with you.

He trusts you Mimi, and that's great, but it's a double edged sword because now, no matter how wonderful and caring and understanding you are, you're a danger to him. He cares for you, maybe he loves you so now you can hurt him.

Can I ask how long ago his disclosure was to you? How about his parents and did they deal with it or just put it away as he's trying to do?

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

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

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#262509 - 11/18/08 06:11 PM Re: How can I help my boyfriend deal w/ his abuse? [Re: Trish4850]
Mimi777 Offline


Registered: 11/06/08
Posts: 8
He told me fairly early into our relationship. He hadn't told anyone he's ever dated. He has told me more things through time, even though I have never asked him to disclose and just let him share as he felt comfortable. I feel like he was finally courageous enough to tell his "secret" to his family and then his parents wanted to quickly dust it under the rug. I think he finally got up the nerve and when it got squashed he has been trying to wish it away ever since. The unfortunate thing is he has to see his brother at every family function and is a constant reminder, especially since he isn't doing anything about healing from it. I recently told him I was going to give him some space and time to figure some things out about his anger issues. I feel really torn because I love him and yet I have to create some healthy distance right now. He, of course, doesn't understand why I am doing this. Thanks for your words of wisdom.


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#262510 - 11/18/08 06:16 PM Re: How can I help my boyfriend deal w/ his abuse? [Re: michaelmovies]
Mimi777 Offline


Registered: 11/06/08
Posts: 8
Thanks for a side of this that is opposite of mine. I understand why there is anger. I even understand getting it outside of him. I just want him to seek support outside of me to help him express his anger in healthy ways. It is in there and I just want him to find ways to release it that are not detrimental to me or himself. What ways have your loved ones supported you that worked the best? Is there anything I can change in my approach with him? Thanks for your sharing...


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#262512 - 11/18/08 06:29 PM Re: How can I help my boyfriend deal w/ his abuse? [Re: Mimi777]
michaelmovies Offline


Registered: 11/06/08
Posts: 21
Loc: Long Beach, CA, USA
Well I'm still in a place where my own personal expressions of anger have actually gotten me close, right now, to losing the love of my life. She's moved out and I can't calm her down and I'm having a real hard time ...

That said, I know what I was always hoping for. My anger, at the thing in my head, is too big to be appropriate in adult life ... it's too huge, too destructive, too loud, and really should only be expressed in therapy and / or in physical / mental activity (working out, martial arts, painting, writing even) ... because it really is inappropriate for an adult to process anger in social situations that is that old and that huge.

I always wanted my wife to find a way to accept the anger that was adult and earned ... little angers, like not being happy with the way I'm being treated by a boss at work, or the other normal frustrations and angers that crop up day to day ... I wanted her to accept those adult expressions, appropriate expressions of anger so that I didn't ever feel like blowing up in inappropriate ways.

But then I thought I was good enough for awhile to handle this entirely on my own ... and I stopped being able to hear her for awhile, and it got long and hard enough that she just couldn't carry on staying vulnerable with me ... and I may have killed us because of it. So if you really, really want to help him, then love him as hard as you possibly can and tell him there are times you're going to force him to take care of himself, but that you love him and you'll try to be on the far end of that to help him up again.

_________________________
"Because the stars won't reach for us ..."

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#262929 - 11/20/08 07:31 PM Re: How can I help my boyfriend deal w/ his abuse? [Re: Mimi777]
JuliaM Offline


Registered: 11/18/08
Posts: 7
Hello Mimi,
I read your story and I so much feel with you. I am new here and came for two reasons.

I am a European who came to USA to stay with my partner before we move back to Europe. We have been together for over four years and it is the man I want to spend the rest of my life with. Some time ago he confessed to me that as a boy, he was malasted. He seems to go over it quite well on the surface but as I searched for the affects a sexual abuse of male survivors can have on their partners, I have found out we share some of the similarities.
I found some similiarities with you too. Though he is 20 years older than me, it took him a year and half to fully confide in me fully so that we could had been fully intimate.
Throughout his life, he had had many partners but never got attached to anyone and suprisingly, those times, only needed a physical relationship. He also says he is over it, and I beleive he is much more than oyur partner. My partner was malasted by his uncle and they dont see each other often. He did not see him for some years.
I feel very much with you and though I cant give you any profesisonal advise I believe you could try this. (It worked with me). I would give him little time yb him self, not too much, so he does nto start to feel lonely and take some days, if needed, to write him a long letter. In it, tell him everyhting you already told, in loving way. Tell him about oyur love and support. Tell him all about his recovery, why you think it is needed... It makes one difference. A letter always does. One reads it in quitness and has time to think over every word, while during talk, there is not this chance...

Another reaosn I came here is as I work as a journalsit in my country, as a Deputy Editor in Chief of a magazine for women, - There has never been a discusison about this in media and popularising the problem may lead to many helps for the man and us, the parners.
There are so many complicaitons the relationship cna go through and till a woman does not find out what might be the cause, it can not be healed.

Though I have been studying the problem already for some time, I would want to get more witnesses to tackle the topic best I can.
Thats why I am looking for male survivors as well as their partners here to asnwer my questions. They all respect all anonymity and a you could only answer those that you would feel comfortable to.
Would be be all right to ask you some supplementary questions then?

Thank you and lots of strength for your relationship. DO nto give up. It is worth it. An easy path is never the right one... For real things, we need to fight sometimes.
All the best, Julia.


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#271775 - 01/18/09 02:24 AM Re: How can I help my boyfriend deal w/ his abuse? [Re: JuliaM]
Mimi777 Offline


Registered: 11/06/08
Posts: 8
Hello! Thank you for your response that I have just got around to read. I would be more than willing to answer questions for your research. Thanks again for the encouragement.


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