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#263921 - 11/26/08 11:33 PM Don't know what to do...
Looking4Guidance Offline


Registered: 11/26/08
Posts: 3
My boyfriend disclosed to me last night that he had been sexually abused as a child by his neighbor. After some questions from me, he went on to explain that he never told anyone- not even his parents or brother. They moved when he was 9, and he said pretty nonchalantly "i've dealt with it. I still know the guys name. i could find him if i wanted to." I told him that I'm sorry he went through that and held him for a while and told him i loved him, but could he have really "dealt" with it if he's never told anyone before? I dont know how to bring this up again, and I dont want to bring up painful memories if he really has been able to put this in his past. We have a very healthy sex life, and i don't know where i stand as far as this issue goes.

On a sidenote- he also confided in me that he has had sex with men before --during college. When i asked why, he said simply that he thought he might like it, but he didnt. I have no qualms about homosexuality or bisexuality, but i was wondering if this might somehow be linked to his abuse as a child?


I have never dealt with anything like this on any level and could use any advise. THANKS! this community seems amazingly supportive.



Edited by Looking4Guidance (11/26/08 11:59 PM)

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#263929 - 11/27/08 12:27 AM Re: Don't know what to do... [Re: Looking4Guidance]
Bewlayb1 Offline
Guest

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 241
Loc: NYC
You're boyfriend must feel very strongly about you to disclose the abuse, especially if he's never told anyone else. He trusted you with this painful secret. I'm sure it was extremely difficult for him to confess it. I admire your reaction: it was sensible and compassionate. You'd be surprised by some of the reactions I've received, from my parents, friends, even a therapist I went to at nineteen. It's sickening. It's irrevocably changed the way I see people in general.

Your boyfriend's reply, "I've dealt with it," Isn't so disimilar to mine. I've said things like, "I'm fine now," or "things are okay now." I don't believe that I'm "healed." I say it because I don't want pity and it's hard for me to talk about. On the other hand, I can't imagine truly loving someone and not telling what happened to me. The abuse is so much a part of who I am. In a way, it's a litmus test: if you aren't understanding, then you can't love me. You don't know me.

If I were you, I wouldn't pressure him to talk about it. Also, be wary about bringing it up if you ever have a heated argument. Wait for him to open up to you again. He turned to you because he needed your support. It's wonderful that he knows he can count on you. Hopefully, he'll talk about it more when he's ready. If you do mention it, I would do it in a calm and sensitive way.

About his gay experiences, I think it's pointless to worry now. Sexuality is so confusing for many survivors. It's a puzzle. Almost certainly his confusion is linked to the abuse. Did rape break some kind of social barrier? Is everyone bisexual, to some extent? Is it possible he would never have slept with men otherwise, but those early experiences led him to experiment? Did sexual abuse make him too ashamed to be gay? Trust me, you won't know. If you love him, I think your best option is to believe him. The past is the past. If the issue resurfaces in the present, then address it and follow your instincts.

His nonchalant attitude is only a defense mechanism. The abuse has damaged him greatly, and I'm sure he knows it. Recovery will be a struggle for both of you, but I wish you the best.


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#263939 - 11/27/08 01:43 AM Re: Don't know what to do... [Re: Bewlayb1]
Looking4Guidance Offline


Registered: 11/26/08
Posts: 3
thank you SO much for your insight. I love him more than anything and the thought that he has been hurt like that just kills me. I knew in my heart that he couldn't have just "gotten over it", but i needed some validation. Rest assured, I will tread lightly.


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#263940 - 11/27/08 01:49 AM Re: Don't know what to do... [Re: Bewlayb1]
Looking4Guidance Offline


Registered: 11/26/08
Posts: 3
thank you SO much for your insight. I love him more than anything and the thought that he has been hurt like that just kills me. I knew in my heart that he couldn't have just "gotten over it", but i needed some validation. Rest assured, I will tread lightly.

I also have concerns because his brother also had interaction with this man, although he was older at the time (around 13).


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#263965 - 11/27/08 07:15 AM Re: Don't know what to do... [Re: Looking4Guidance]
mapleleafsn Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/03/08
Posts: 131
Loc: Eastern Canada
Hi
I told my wife about my abuse before we got married 7 years ago. I also told her that I was over it and 'dealt with it'. All I really did was gain an understanding that the family member 'my uncle' was a very sick and disturbed individual. This understanding did give me a sense of relief, however the years of living with the distorted self image has had more devistating effects that I am just beginning to understand. I too has some very brief encounters of homosexual sex in my early 20s and did not belive I was satisfied.

My wife has noticed over the years of our marriage so far that the intimate bond that would normally be building for a married couple is not there. This was causing great grief within our relationship and threatened to end it. I was by an act of syncronisity that she was thinking to herself of the abuse I disclosed to her when she saw an Oprah magazine on the shelf of a store and read a headline about women who have married men who were sexually abused as boys. She bought the magazine and read what was an exact story of our marriage struggles.

With her love and support I am just beginning to start the road to a healing that I had thought I had. In my first couple of visits to a counsellor I am realizing just how confused and distorted my thinking is with regards to my self image and intimacy problems.

I belive that if you are seeking some guidance in this area that there may be some issues that you are experiencing. I believe fully with the previous entry form bewlayb1 that your patience right now is most important. You can read the article on line at Oprah's website it is titled 'Love among the Ruins'.

I hope that all will unfold in a loving way for you

_________________________
When the pain of remaining the same finally outweighs the pain of change---things will begin.... life is meant to be enjoyed not endured.

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#265092 - 12/03/08 08:09 PM Re: Don't know what to do... [Re: mapleleafsn]
BroKen5 Offline


Registered: 11/25/08
Posts: 17
Loc: TN
I also told my wife of my abuse before we were married. No details just the fact that I was abused by several men when I was a young boy. I wanted her to know what she was getting into. And yes I too used it as a litmus test.

I can tell someone that I was a sexualy abused child, however I struggle sharing the events of the abuse. I have not told anyone to the degree of my abuse.

My wife is very supportive and she waits for me to talk and never pushs the issuse. I'm so thankful for my wife.

I agree with my brothers, in his time he will talk. Love him and except him, he loved you enough to share his pain with you.

_________________________
Living in the present, shaped by the past, making a difference in tomorrows.

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#265358 - 12/05/08 07:42 AM Re: Don't know what to do... [Re: BroKen5]
Partner Offline


Registered: 12/05/08
Posts: 18
Loc: United States
Maybe you guys can help me out with my predicament.
My boyfriend told me early in our relationship and I was supportive and I allowed him to talk and I very slowly and gently suggested that he might need to talk about it more before he would be able to resolve his feelings and stuff. He agreed and brought it up to me a few times in the next two years. Occasionally I prodded as him gently by asking him if he might want to talk since it had been a while. Sometimes he did sometimes he said another time. I knew he had only told myself and the one other person he had slept with so clearly the comfort was at a maximum there and maybe if he talked more to me he would eventually be able to talk to others (a counselor or group or whatever). I realize this was a little pushy but to be honest I love him so much and I can already see the difficulty with pursuing a more permanent relationship if he keeps himself in suppression mode.

Anyway, he freaked out a few of the times. Like he was open to talking or even chose to but then he got so wrapped up in the memory that he scared me and god I just felt like I was so not qualified to deal with it...I was afraid I was making it worse because I didn't know what to say or do when he was literally throwing himself around the room (this only happened once, believe me when I say I did not push after that at all!). So, I told him that I was really concerned and that he should go to the counselor at the university (free) because he didn't remember sometimes after talking about it and because he scared the shit out of me the one time. He started going to the counselor but in a year still has never talked about it to the counselor. The counselor put him on Wellbutrin 6 months ago. I moved away at the same time due to school. Bad timing!

So, I now live 2700 miles from him and just realized I am also a survivor but I want to talk about it and I honestly want to talk to him about it. I don't know how to do that without talking about him too and I asked him, after telling about me, if it was ok to talk about him too, but he said not now. He is visiting in a few weeks and I don't want to spend the whole time dwelling on our respective pasts nor do I want to open up a lot of crap for him and then send him back all upset. However, he graduates in May and I really want him to move out here. He says the only thing stopping him is his need for "routine" which i know is a direct derivative of the various abuse he dealt with as a child...control. How might I approach this situation so that I neither am pushing nor waiting from 2700 miles away forever?


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#265370 - 12/05/08 08:57 AM Re: Don't know what to do... [Re: Looking4Guidance]
happtobloved63 Offline


Registered: 12/05/08
Posts: 3
I am so glad that i found this website. My lover and best friend has also told me that he was in a way ganged raped at the tender age of 10 years old. I was and still am heartbroken for him. After reading your story it gives me hope that there is hope out there. I have already told him whatever it takes for him to conquer this i will be there for him, but my question is what is too much? I don't want to smother him nor do i want it to be the main conversation when we talk. Give me some ideas, Thanks


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#265387 - 12/05/08 10:06 AM Re: Don't know what to do... [Re: happtobloved63]
BroKen5 Offline


Registered: 11/25/08
Posts: 17
Loc: TN
Suvivors of abuse need to know that they can talk to you when they are strong enough to deal with reliving the events of their past. Don't push the issuse of talking, just let them know you are there for them if and when the time comes that they need to talk about it. As an suvivor what was important for me was that I felt safe, and that I could trust that what I shared would not be told to anyone.

_________________________
Living in the present, shaped by the past, making a difference in tomorrows.

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#265398 - 12/05/08 11:57 AM Re: Don't know what to do... [Re: BroKen5]
happtobloved63 Offline


Registered: 12/05/08
Posts: 3
Thanks a bunch for your insight. I will do such!!!


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