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#373803 - 10/30/11 05:48 PM Survivors please respond
esmerelda Offline


Registered: 06/05/11
Posts: 3
My question is,if you are in a close and loving relationship with someone, how damaging would it be for them to ask you if you had been sexually abused?

Everything I have read and listened to says that this is something I shouldn't do. However,there have been a number of posts on this site where the supporter has done just that. It appears that asking this question often lifts some of the burden and the survivor my be inclined to seek therapy.

I ask this because I am in a relationship with a man who exhibits all of the survivor traits. He wants to be in a long term relationship with me and tells me he's never felt so close to someone before. He is in his mid sixties and I'm not that much younger. I love him very much, but I know how hard it will be (I've been reading posts for months) if we commit.

please help- esme


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#373807 - 10/30/11 06:09 PM Re: Survivors please respond [Re: esmerelda]
Tyler845 Offline


Registered: 11/04/10
Posts: 276
Loc: U.S.A.
If a significant other were to ask me this, I would immediately go into a self-blaming mindset. I would be scared, and think I had messed up again.(if i had never attempted to face my past) I would probably quickly respond with "Why do you say that ?" If I were you, I would plan on answering this question more than asking him to begin with. I would prominently ensure him, that it's nothing you find "wrong" with him. That youre genuinely concerned, n love him enough to want him to do the work he needs for you guys to be completely happy n healthy. After the initial feelings faded, I would probably be thankful that someone cared enough to wonder about my pain at all. Personally, ofcourse. I feel you deserve to know enough about him to make an informed decision on your being with him or not. If he does'nt disclose right away, I would be supportive and around for him. Not pressure him up front, maybe he gives it some thought n talks to you after. In any case, if he has, I would be surprised that he dis-closes when you ask him. He'll want to feel in control , n "may" decide to tell you soon after. This 'may' be a sign of his wanting to control his environment, n is in no way a sign that you didnt "ask the right way." Give him time n space. Everything will come out.


Truth is, If i had never saw my talking about abuse as inevitably necessary, I wouldve never talked about it. That being said, its been the most important decision in my life up to this point, n something I wouldnt take back for the world.
God Bless.

_________________________
Most Often, The Child Inside Has Better Access To Execute The Flawless Potential Of Self.

Over-Ride Emotional Conflict With Rational Truths

You Are Freer Than You Think - Paul Berteaux

Come unto Me, all ye that Labor, and are Heavy-ladened. I will give you Rest -Jesus Christ

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#373808 - 10/30/11 06:36 PM Re: Survivors please respond [Re: esmerelda]
EGL Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 7821
Originally Posted By: esmerelda
My question is,if you are in a close and loving relationship with someone, how damaging would it be for them to ask you if you had been sexually abused?

Everything I have read and listened to says that this is something I shouldn't do. However,there have been a number of posts on this site where the supporter has done just that. It appears that asking this question often lifts some of the burden and the survivor my be inclined to seek therapy.

I ask this because I am in a relationship with a man who exhibits all of the survivor traits. He wants to be in a long term relationship with me and tells me he's never felt so close to someone before. He is in his mid sixties and I'm not that much younger. I love him very much, but I know how hard it will be (I've been reading posts for months) if we commit.

please help- esme


I think it really depends on how you frame the question to him. Simply asking "Were you sexually abused?" will quickly put him on the defensive as the question can sound demeaning in a way, as though you're trying to find out what makes him "defective" in some way - the "Were you sexually abused?" can be akin to asking "Were you dropped on your head as a baby?" depending on the tone and inflection in the voice. Very dicey.

I much better way to put the question may be to ask "Were you hurt in some way as a child?" That leaves the answer open to other avenues that could be causing him to not want to commit, such as emotional or physical abuse, etc. But I think if you time the moment right when you are alone and have time to share an intimate talk, that it could come out positively. And if he answers in the negative, don't press it. Disclosure of something like this is something that needs to occur on the survivor's time clock and no one else's. Good luck, and thank you for being concerned about your friend.

_________________________
Eddie

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#373818 - 10/30/11 07:37 PM Re: Survivors please respond [Re: EGL]
esmerelda Offline


Registered: 06/05/11
Posts: 3
Thank you very much Tyler and Eddie. I have noticed, and he has also told me that he doesn't always process things right away. He always says that he loves me and that he thinks this is the first time he has felt love. I am very careful about how I phrase things with him because I can see how much pain he is in.

Actually, he has no problem with commitment and is thinking about where we will live, etc.

esme



Edited by esmerelda (10/30/11 07:45 PM)

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#373881 - 10/31/11 12:29 PM Re: Survivors please respond [Re: esmerelda]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1936
Loc: durham, north england
Hi Esm.

My perspective is slightly different sinse I have the knolidge of my sa but not the so, however it was of all people my mum who first used the word raped in connection with what happened to me at secondary school, something I'd not considdered at all.

I mention this because it just hadn't occurred to me before that I had! experienced sa, not the least because the idea of several girls abusing one boy is not usually thought of as sa.

Perhaps the man you mention is in a similar position? if so, mentioning it might actually help him realize what happened and begin to deal with it, provided of course that it is done as gently and kindly as possible.

Even if he already knows himself what happened was sa, it might also help him think more seriously about you and his feelings.

Part of the reason I've never has any sort of relationship myself is that I haven't ever believed anyone would want to deal with me. if a person honestly told me as much and that she already knew my secret but was quite prepared to be with me because of that, I'd be extremely happy and relieved.

I hope this is helpful.


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#373893 - 10/31/11 12:56 PM Re: Survivors please respond [Re: dark empathy]
unhappycamper Offline


Registered: 10/21/11
Posts: 591
Loc: VA
Esme:

To me, this question definitely does not have a "one size fits all" answer. I'd raise the subject considering the personality and history of your SO and the emotional status of your relationship. Based on my own makeup, I'd raise the subject by mentioning something specific, e.g., "Whoa, you sure are jumpy when I touch you," or "You look gloomy today." If the two of you have advanced further in discussing your feelings and your past, maybe aim closer to the (suspected) target: "You startle so easily--have you always been like that?"

Oh well, I'm not a therapist and I shouldn't play one on-line, so I'll just say I would try to be as direct as I could without stating any assumption about CSA. Peace!

John


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#373906 - 10/31/11 04:01 PM Re: Survivors please respond [Re: unhappycamper]
esmerelda Offline


Registered: 06/05/11
Posts: 3
I think I need to give you more specifics about our relationship.

We have been together for about two years and within a few months I realized something was going on. He told me that his father died when he was twelve. At this point I thought he had ptsd, so I very carefully(and nervously) had a conversation with him about grief and ptsd. He was upset at first but then said I was probably right. There were many other behaviors that I couldn't explain. When he was stressed (probably having a flashback) he needed to get attention from women to calm down. This usually meant touching their arm, hugging them getting them to laugh. He also told me he "lost time", would realize he'd driven somewhere and didn't know how he had gotten there. This sounded like he was dissociating. Once after being in bed with me he started shaking. When we talked about it he mentioned that he gets very cold and then hot. He always comes up with a plausible explanation for why these things happened. I spoke with a therapist and did a lot of reading. We came to the conclusion that he must have been sexually abused. The therapist thinks a woman/girl may have abused him. I think there might have been a male involved too.

We have talked around the subject of his past but not directly about abuse. I think I have to be more specific when asking him about possible abuse. Out of frustration one day I asked him if he had a bad childhood. He took this to mean the time period before his dad died and told me it was good. As I was leaving to go he said some bad things happened after that. Because of when it was said I didn't persue it.

For the past six months he has been much calmer and not at all stressed during sex. He told me that the only place he is able to be calm is with me and that he enjoys sex and looks forward to it now. I am deeply in love with him. I know he has to help himself. But I get the feeling he doesn't realize what is happening to him, or maybe it is just denial.

Thank you so much for your help

esme


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