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#336761 - 07/25/10 02:43 AM New and not sure what to do
stripeytshirt Offline


Registered: 07/25/10
Posts: 10
Loc: Australia
Hi.

I've just found this forum today, after long hours on the internet trying to find someone to turn to. I cannot talk to anyone else about this because I don't want to break my partner's trust and also don't feel that it is my story to tell - that it is up to my partner whom he tells about these things.

I have been in a relationship with my partner for 5 months. That seems such a short period of time, but we are very close. I have moved in with him, and have stayed in his country longer than originally planned to be with him (we met while I was travelling) - later in the year, he is coming home with me to meet my family and stay a few months.

My partner has had a very difficult childhood. I found a lot of what that entailed about 3 months ago. Then, last night, he told me that his mother abused him. This has really shook me up. I don't know if I can even begin to verbalise these feelings coherently yet.

My partner has never cried in front of me about any of the horrors he has had to witness, except for last night. I think I've reacted in all the wrong ways. I'm worried I wasn't supportive at all. I took a few minutes (it was probably in reality less than 30 seconds) to process this new information, and then I hugged him. We talked about it, and he was so defensive of his mother. He says his biggest fear is that she will die. Although, they do not talk often (she lives in a different city) and he hasn't seen her in almost 2 years, he says she will always be his mum and he loves her. I used the word paedophile. That was so wrong, wasn't it? I was so shocked. So ANGRY at that woman. How could she do that to her son? How can he still love her? I know, from my professional life, that children will always forgive and want to get back to their parents, but I am finding it hard to rationalise this. I can't bear to think someone, let alone the person who was meant to love him and protect him the most, would hurt him in this way. I think I reacted all wrong. I should have just listened.

He won't go to a therapist. He went to counselling and anger management throughout his childhood, until the age of 15 or roundabouts. He said it was all bullshit. I need help though. This is a man I want to be with for a long time, but sometimes he is hard to live with. Our relationship is just like him - either fantastic, loving, wonderful, or horrendous, hurtful and hard. There is no middle ground. Is this a characteristic of survivors of CSA?

Oh - and the last thing (as this post is very long already) - finding out this new part of my partner's childhood has made me very nervous about how it will affect our sex life. I know that I only found out so very recently, and I am still processing it. This thought I have been trying to push away, because I feel so guilty for it. Of course, it was not his fault, he was a child and that was not a loving relationship like ours is, but I know that the next time we have sex, I will be thinking about this. That's awful, isn't it? Oh god. I don't want him to think that I am acting differently because I think he was 'bad' for allowing this to happen, I'm just lost.

I hope that it is ok to post this. Any advice you might have would be very, very gratefully received.

Thank you.



Edited by stripeytshirt (07/26/10 06:12 AM)

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#336766 - 07/25/10 07:38 AM Re: New and not sure what to do [Re: stripeytshirt]
broken13 Offline


Registered: 06/18/10
Posts: 37
Loc: ohio
hi stripeytshirt ... I am "newish" here (a few months) but wanted to let you know that you will learn a lot here. Also start gathering some book to read (he could read some too ... which may help him look for another therapist that is TRAINED in CSA). There is a bookstore on this site that have some really good ones. Victims No Longer is a good start and I'm sure other posters can give some more titles.

From what I understand a lot of the survivors still love their abuser. I'm guessing this is from the loss that they experienced ... wanting a loving parent (if it was incest) or having someone that "loved" them (if it was someone else and their home life was a mess). It's so sad and so hard to understand when we feel such rage towards the abuser. My hubby "hates" his father but also had a teen cousin abuse him and doesn't hate him (they were a lot younger and for a long time I guess he convinced himself it was "child's play" ... but when you're about 9 and the other child is a teen .... not child's play. The teen KNEW what they were doing). It makes me angry cuz the cousin's abuse happened before his father and he may have RAN in fear if the first abuse never happened. I'm thinking in his young mind, he thought "families did this".

For your boyfriend to open up like this is great. It shows he is trusting you. It's hard though because you weren't prepared to hear this ... this is why I say read, read, read. I have been with my husband for close to 20 years. I've known for years about his abuse but he appeared (and possibly thought himself) that he was doing "ok". It's good that you all are talking early in your relationship. It has come to a point of "acting out" (you will learn about this) and our marriage almost being ripped apart for my husband to fully disclose what is going on inside of him. I wish for you that you never have to experience the pain of being hurt from the "leftovers" of the abuser (hope that makes sense, if not let me know and I'll explain)

I TOTALLY understand when you said -

Our relationship is just like him - either fantastic, loving, wonderful, or horrendous, hurtful and hard. There is no middle ground.

Yes, this is common among CSA survivors. They were taught lies about love and relationships. My husband is in protection mode at the strangest times to me. Over the years I have often looked at how he was behaving and thought "what is he scared about" ... or "they were giving you a genuine compliment" ... or "geesh, back off, that is such a little thing to get all upset about". The way they view the world is sooooo different :-(

Sex - hmmmm ... yep I understand this too. It's hard to stop the mind movies. It's like you now have TMI ... and the female mind can just keep going and going which makes it hard....... Honesty is the best way I have dealt with this is finding a safe setting and flat out asking my husband if he thought of his abusers when we are together. I just told him that my mind goes to it sometimes and the last thing I want to do is "recreate" the abuse. In order for me to feel ok in that type of setting, I've just had to be very open and talk about sex a lot to him. I have had some past things in my life and want my married sex to be healthy... I thought it was but not so sure now because what I know he had been keeping inside. I want to MAKE SURE it is now, ya know?

I'll stop for now ... keep coming back and ask questions :-)



Edited by broken13 (07/25/10 10:18 AM)
_________________________
... when you feel like you are falling to the bottom remember God will either catch you or teach you how to fly

... there is a cost to the soul of a person when trust is broken.

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#336876 - 07/26/10 06:36 AM Re: New and not sure what to do [Re: broken13]
stripeytshirt Offline


Registered: 07/25/10
Posts: 10
Loc: Australia
Hi broken

Thank you so much for your response. I really do appreciate every word of advice or support someone extends to me here.

Today was a horrible day for me. My BF is away on business at the moment and I couldn't take my mind off all this stuff all day. I kept trying to push it out of my head but each time I did, a few minutes later I would realise I was thinking about it again. I realised, on the way home, that I was crying at the bus stop. I hadn't even noticed. A few times today I thought I was going to be sick. On my way home (I live in a very busy city) I kept getting scared that someone would touch me, that they would get too close to me. I kept having to visualise I was somewhere else. I felt like I was suffocating and needed to get outside. This is all a bit crazy. It makes me feel guilty too because who the hell am I to react like this, while my BF has been living with this for years and has been able to deal with it - you know what I mean I hope.

I want to talk to him more about it. Is this ok? Or should I wait for him to bring it up? I'm not sure I will be able to function 'normally' when I see him after he gets back from work (he is away on business all this week). I am, unfortunately, the type of person that can't fake my emotions - it is written all over my face. I am so sad, and feel almost broken about all of this. I sound so melodramatic - I'm sorry. I'm almost grateful I have this week to get myself together before I see him again. I think I would have to ask him if it was ok to bring those books into the house. He might get upset otherwise, like I think I can fix him with a book or something.

Do you know any other characteristics of CSA survivors? What is acting out?

Thank you so, so much for your response.

Stripey


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#337251 - 07/30/10 01:32 AM Re: New and not sure what to do [Re: stripeytshirt]
Susava Offline


Registered: 07/17/10
Posts: 11
Loc: Mississippi, USA
Hey Stripeytshirt,

Asking about the books are a great idea....My hubby was not ready to heal until the abuse was ready. He says the abuse chooses it's time not us.

Is bf staying at a hotel? My hubby used to send me "cards" via a fax when I was working at the hotel Just to tell me he was thinking about me. It just gave me a great big smile to have it happen just for nothing.

I think you can send an e card to a fax with his room number on it so it gets to him. "remember nothing to personal" the clerk will probably look at it.

_________________________
Susava

"Believe in someone, trust yourself."

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#337252 - 07/30/10 02:16 AM Re: New and not sure what to do [Re: Susava]
stripeytshirt Offline


Registered: 07/25/10
Posts: 10
Loc: Australia
Hi Susava

Thank you for your feedback.

I have been able to stay in touch with my BF throughout his time away, and things are really good between us. I actually just got a "love you!" text out of the blue this afternoon. Usually I am the one sending such messages, so it was really lovely to know he was thinking of me too.

I've actually bought a book now, not specifically on CSA though. It is called Homecoming by John Bradshaw. I am getting quite a lot out of it at the moment. I also realised (in a spooky sort of coincidence when my mum emailed me re attachment disorder - she's a social worker, and it was completely unrelated to by BF's disclosure - I haven't told anyone about that) that although CSA is just so completely devastating and wounding, it might help to start from this perspective. It is making a lot of sense to me at the moment and I have found comfort in it. I also think that my BF won't be/wouldn't be so resistant to such a book being in the house, as it isn't explicitly about CSA. Not sure if any of that made sense.

Thank you for your practical advice, I really appreciate it.


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#337639 - 08/04/10 08:56 PM Re: New and not sure what to do [Re: stripeytshirt]
west Offline


Registered: 03/15/10
Posts: 20
Loc: Utah
StripeyTshirt - I don't get much time to see the discussion board but wanted to chime in on the abuse by a parent part of this, in case one survivor's perspective is of any use to you and your BF. My father was an alcoholic pedophile & my mother was disconnected & largely unaware. My experience still makes a normal sex life with my wife (of 20+ years) highly problematic. It took me a long time to process and express my anger at my father, who passed away in the early 90's, and have yet to really deal with my feelings about my mother who is in her mid 80's. My abuse started when I was 9 or 10 years old & ended in mid teens, I've been in therapy on and off since the mid 80's and I'm still dealing with it at 63 years. It will always be there but talking with a therapist, other survivors, and one Weekend of Recovery (so far) have helped immensely. It is great that you care about your BF that you really want to help & a supportive partner is a wonderful thing for him. That word pedophile - it took me a long time to accept that definition of my father, whom I can't love or hate. My therapist first said it and I now agree with him. Finding words for the feelings is such a large part of our healing. I found another book "Iron John" by Robert Bly is not specifically about CSA but does address 'men's stuff' through interpretations of mythology to be relevant. Victims No Longer has been helpful. It took me longest time to place the order & just the act of buying the book was an important step for me. My wife has been supportive but the healing is something that has to be owned and made active by the survivor. I think being ready to listen and respond honestly to what ever your BF has to say is as good as you can do. I will try to check in for more conversation in case this helps.

West, WOR Sequoia 2010 (one so far, hoping for more)

_________________________
West
WoR Sequoia 2010

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#337659 - 08/05/10 07:10 AM Re: New and not sure what to do [Re: west]
stripeytshirt Offline


Registered: 07/25/10
Posts: 10
Loc: Australia
Thank you, west.

This has been really helpful.

Things are sort of getting easier, well - relating to my ability to know when to ask something, when to listen and when to just be myself and let him see that, because I love him so much, sometimes it can upset me to think of him so hurt.

We have been able to speak about things a little. I have asked the hard questions re our sex life and he answered honestly and I now feel a little clearer about it.

It amazes me how strong he is, he has been through therapy and anger management before, throughout his school years (which aren't all that long ago) and it seems like, even though he claims it was all worthless, I can see him using the tools and techniques he absorbed then to help now. I am so proud of him. I am so grateful that he received this help at such a young age, and he has been able to talk about it - I really think it has made a difference to him. When I read about others experiences on MS, who haven't been able to talk about it or receive therapy for many decades after the events, I realise how different it all could be.

I know that there is a long way to go - for example, he does not agree with me that his unstable and traumatic childhood effects every relationship he has as an adult. I am currently reading a book on attachment issues and childhood trauma and am finding it helpful. He hasn't touched it, nor seems to have any inclination to, but was open to me referencing it when an issue came up to which it was relevant last night.

Really, at the minute, I am just taking it slow and at his pace. I just hope this is the right path to be following.

Thank you so much for responding and sharing your experience with me. Any other advice or thoughts you have, I would love to hear.

Take care.


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#337786 - 08/06/10 08:50 PM Re: New and not sure what to do [Re: stripeytshirt]
west Offline


Registered: 03/15/10
Posts: 20
Loc: Utah
StripeyTshirt

Glad to hear that my experience is relevant/useful. Does your BF have siblings/cousins? Abuse can run in families & others in his may have relevant experiences. I have two sisters, both were abused by our father & basically ignored by our mother. One of them can talk with me a little bit & the other said something about "carte blanche forgiveness" and has clammed up. It is very frustrating for me because the healing is in the conversation. Our mother now agonizes over it but doesn't know how to talk about it. Silence is deadly and mothers are particularly tough because we are supposed to love them no matter what. At some stage "writing that letter" to the abuser is common. I went through several iterations when I was in a group therapy, not related specifically to CSA, but I read the letter in the group & at that point found the courage to send it. Others in the group were taken aback. My father did respond, & did not deny the abuse, but he did not really own what he had done to us. So the progress for me was having written the letter, not so much my father's response to it. He was in AA and failed to take that step of realizing, owning, and asking forgiveness. I have found it useful to understand my experience in the light of family history. There happens to be a great grandfather on my dad's side who seems to have been the devil incarnate & there is some abusive behaviour, and alcoholism, in my grandfather's generation so the trail is pretty clear. I even came upon a snapshot of my father as a early teenager amongst a group of this branch of the family & he is clearly not a happy camper. He unfortunately did not find an outlet for his pain except the bottle & the rest is history.

Time to go home and feed the puppy dogs - West

_________________________
West
WoR Sequoia 2010

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