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#389784 - 03/19/12 11:46 AM Partner of a survivor.......How do I help
Kazbob12 Offline


Registered: 03/19/12
Posts: 42
Hi

I'm Karen from the UK and I'm new here. My Partner was sexually abused by a neighbour from around the age 7 up to 14 when we started a relationship at school, he very much believes I 'saved' him as the abuse stopped when we entered into a relationship. We have since resumed our relationship after 20 year! I did not know initially that this had happened and only found out last year when he told me. This had been a long standing episode of abuse which was on a weekly sometimes daily basis. My partner is struggling to cope with the past and has just found out his perpetrator will be released in four month after serving only 13 month of his 4 year sentence for a guilty plea!

I'm finding it hard to cope also as my partner is using substances to function on a daily basis and help 'block' things out! He is very emotionally 'icy' in that he can not and will not show his emotions and struggles with sex in our relationship only being able to engage physically when he is drunk or high! He has not gone into any great detail with me as to what happened and has not accessed any counselling although he fully admits he needs to, he cant bring himself to make the first move and pick up the phone. I feel so helpless and want to support him through this but really don't know how or what to do! He has episodes where he will go missing on drink and drug fuelled binges and struggles in general with every day life, he is on self destruct and has been this way for over a year since everything has 'come out'.

Can anyone give me any advice on how best to support him? What to expect???


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#389791 - 03/19/12 01:59 PM Re: Partner of a survivor.......How do I help [Re: Kazbob12]
SamV Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/13/09
Posts: 5941
Loc: Talladega, Alabama, USA
Hello Karen and welcome,

In having a relationship with a survivor, the overwhelming cascade of emotions he is experiencing is causing this separation and inability to function with drugs or alcohol, what we here refer to as a "coping mechanism". This gap between you two needs to be addressed, so that a repair in the current relationship can happen as well as recovery relief for the survivor. Usually if the survivor is not willing to enter recovery, an emergency in his life can help him to be aware that the abuse is causing problems and he needs help. Karen, only he can make the choice to recover, to heal and accept the relief of letting go of the abuse.

The best way to support him is to understand what you want in this relationship. What are your limits? How far and no more are you willing to go to keep this relationship? Survivors can be paranoid of abandonment, rejection and destruction. Make sure he knows positively that as long as he stays within the boundaries you and he agree to, you will stay. Two, get help. Find a support group locally, share your story, interact with other supporters here in MaleSurvivor, and get the information you need to affectively deal with what he is going through, and how you can support him without overreacting.

Expect his acting out, his drug use and withdrawal to continue until he gets help. Recovery is a process of "what you put into it, you may initially get little back", but eventually, with time, patience, self compassion and support, he and you will see success.

I cannot stress this enough, Karen, find support! Share and actively interact locally and on MaleSurvivor. Keep yourself healthy and connected, and no matter what the outcome, and we hope it is relief for you both, you will be an assertive, healthy, balanced, content person.

Sam

_________________________
MaleSurvivor Moderator Emeritus 2012 - 2014

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#389796 - 03/19/12 02:31 PM Re: Partner of a survivor.......How do I help [Re: SamV]
Kazbob12 Offline


Registered: 03/19/12
Posts: 42
Thanks for your advice Sam. It's so hard isnt it for both involved. I sometimes dont know here I stand or wether we are in a 'friendship' as opposed to a relationship. I know this is all part of his coping mechanisms and we have talked bout it freely in that I will always be here for him and support him anyway I can. I have explained that I am willing to remain with him no matter how bad things get on the condition he seeks the help he needs through counselling and beginning the 'healing' process. He states all the time he does want help but does not want the pain of reliving the memories which he is blocking out with substances and has done since he was 11. I totally get it that he does this as a form of coping and he also admits this and that it is completely destructful. I've tried leaving little notes and accessing support from MIND, for myself as much as for him but when the call or appointment arrives to where he has to call back to clarify it never happens, as he see's it its another obstacle to cross. In the UK the survivor has to make the call and take the step in accessing counselling services, something which he struggles with and has said if it is made for me I will go. I try not to be selfish and think of my needs but its so hard being in an emotionally isolated relationship. There are not many support groups that I am aware of in the UK, there have been a lot of services cut also due to the Government overhauls which just adds to the frustration.

He has been to the point of suicide several times in the past and in effect is self harming now with the substances. I'm expecting a 'blow out' soon as it usually happens around every four month! He was due in from work 4 hours ago and still hasnt surfaced so I know now that this is the start. It's hard because you try to understand and empathise but cant help feeling as if your being treat like shit in the process. There have been several times lately where he has picked arguments for no reason (after drinking excessively) and been really hurtful in things he has said. There was a time just before Christmas where he left me stranded after not picking me up because he had gone on a 'blow out' and lied as to where he was until the parking ticket came through stating he had an emergency with a family member and this was the reason he could not pick me up! I love him dearly and always have. I try to let him know the boundaries and 'rules' as it were but feel as if I'm mothering him in a way.


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#389802 - 03/19/12 03:28 PM Re: Partner of a survivor.......How do I help [Re: Kazbob12]
SamV Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/13/09
Posts: 5941
Loc: Talladega, Alabama, USA
It sounds like you are on the right track, but may need additional tools to help in supporting your survivor. The absolute reason for boundaries, limitations and a no nonsense "if you break this, it is grounds for me to stop supporting you" is that he needs it. From listening to your share, he does not have appropriate boundaries with drinking, drugs and respecting you by communicating with you when he needs to leave. If he understood that he COULD leave, he may begin to open up and tell you that he needs to be gone for a few hours or days. When he starts drinking, he is committed to the past, overwhelmed and may be contrary to your efforts to help him. In that instance, it may be necessary to tell him YOU are going for a few hours or days, but that you will be back. This is a "consequence/reward" dynamic, allowing him to make a decision about whether he wants the abuse to continue to hurt him in the present. You will also be respecting yourself, for during these triggers, he "picks fights" and isolates. It is empowering to you to have the option to leave.

If this is the beginning of the "blow out" it can also be the beginning of the changes necessary to begin recovery and healing for you both. If not this time, then prepare for the next time, and please make sure you fully understand just how important you are. You are just as important as he is.

_________________________
MaleSurvivor Moderator Emeritus 2012 - 2014

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#389804 - 03/19/12 03:34 PM Re: Partner of a survivor.......How do I help [Re: SamV]
GoodHope Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/05/11
Posts: 413
Hi Karen

Welcome, you are in good hands here.

_________________________
Wife of a survivor

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#389806 - 03/19/12 03:38 PM Re: Partner of a survivor.......How do I help [Re: SamV]
Kazbob12 Offline


Registered: 03/19/12
Posts: 42
Hey,
Ive already addressed the situation in relation to him saying he needs 'time out', and Ive told him that I understand his need for this but also he needs to understand that this is destructfull and really only supressing the inevitable. He states that he doesnt no when this will happem and that it just happens then it's too late because the damage is done. He uses cannabis on a daily basis, up to 8 joints per day, in order to function and be able to go to work. The drinking starts to escalate when he is reaching 'blow out' which it has been over the past few weeks. He only just discovered the perpetrator is being released in July this year two weeks ago and has been on a steady slope since. H has been paid today and therefore has money so was inevitable really that this was coming. I recognise it and I do bring it to his attention when it is happening that Ive noticed he is starting to 'slip' as we call it however he still does not accept it really. He still has not come home I no now that he will not arrive until late, having drove home!!! He has contacted me and told me he has gone for a drink which is a first normally he would not bother and leave me waiting and worrying! Its so hard as you dont want to badger, nag and be a pain in the arse but what can I do when this happens apart from that! x


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#389809 - 03/19/12 04:02 PM Re: Partner of a survivor.......How do I help [Re: Kazbob12]
SamV Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/13/09
Posts: 5941
Loc: Talladega, Alabama, USA
You are doing well Karen, sometimes it is important to know that supporting has it's limits. What you wish for him in calm confidence and healing is not for the time being. You seem stable and comfortable, and that is a necessity for your health and well being. Good job on communicating with him.
That the perp is being released must be extraordinarily difficult for him. This may be the "emergency" he needs to begin to resolve how he can finally protect himself both in the past and now from the damage he was made subject. If he can be convinced that recovery can create an assertive, confident person who may even be able to confront the perp ONE DAY, that may be the impetus he needs to begin.
Please Karen, as you need, find the support you have locally as he is turning to coping mechanisms. By your calm and supportive demeanor, you will be successful in supporting you and him. Apart from what you are doing, I will let the more knowledgeable supporters here help you find tools you can use in these situations. Feel free to keep sharing, Karen.

Sam

_________________________
MaleSurvivor Moderator Emeritus 2012 - 2014

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#389819 - 03/19/12 04:56 PM Re: Partner of a survivor.......How do I help [Re: SamV]
Avery46 Offline


Registered: 09/23/10
Posts: 1243
Loc: USA
Hi, Karen.

Welcome to MS. You are in great hands. Sam is giving you great advise/feedback.

I totally agree with Sam above. Being at peace with yourself and being calm will first help yourself but, also in the process will help your partner.

If he bolts at times just remember it is him reacting NOT and not your fault. I say this because I have reacted out of remaining in the mindset from the past which is never good. In so doing the reacting had a negative effect. I had a friend yell at me which was NOT a good idea. I had some very comforting friends who remained calm.

Peace,
Avery

_________________________
aka DJsport

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#389945 - 03/20/12 03:07 PM Re: Partner of a survivor.......How do I help [Re: Avery46]
Kazbob12 Offline


Registered: 03/19/12
Posts: 42
Thanks for all your support. It would seem w have had a little bit of a breakthrough last night. He did return home albeit in a complete state. He was very intoxicated and high. To my shock he has come straight to me and confided in me that he is not coping and has merely been scrapeing by the past few month. I felt such a relief but also so very helpless. I didn't want to pre-empt anything and wanted to just stand and listen to him. He feels so utterly useless, worthless and undeserving. Very hard not to actually shed a tear with him.

We have agreed together to access counselling support and although he has been very hesitant in contacting the agencies phoned them today and arranged an assessment appointment. It was helped by the fact I had already been in contact with the agency and they therefore had background information about my partner so he did not have to go through the whole scenario of telling them what it was for and about which I think has helped enormously.

He's got such hatred for himself for what has happened, how his life has spiralled out of control and feels weak and not strong for asking for help. Weak for crying, weak for not being able to cope with the feelings he has through the abuse. I reassured him it was not and is not his fault.

This is the start of things to come and I no in my heart things are going to get a lot worse before they get better, I just hope we manage to make the appointment on Monday and it doesn't get put off like so many other times.

xx


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#389950 - 03/20/12 05:00 PM Re: Partner of a survivor.......How do I help [Re: Kazbob12]
KMCINVA Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1550
Glad to see you are there for him. You are trying and counseling will be good for him and you. When the memories began to overtake me almost six years ago, my life unraveled. I lost who I was, tried to cope, did not sleep for almost a year as I tried to fight the memories when I closed my eyes. I asked for help but was always rebuffed and more was also expected. I am envious, but truly happy and glad when I hear of a significant other being there, helping, trying to understand and most importantly seeking help for themselves--because it is a hard battle. I know how your husband feels-we do hate ourselves, we blame ourselves and coping is extremely difficult.

You are realistic when you say things will get worse--when I began therapy, some days I left feeling like a piece of you know what. I learned I was recognizing the memories of the abuse while fighting it. But after time and commitment I have made great stride-I also met some wonderful supporters to fill the void of no supporters, they have been a lifeline, like you will be through the process. Support is essential, because when the feelings of worthlessness hit as the memories are uncovered and the guilt of why did I let it happen overtakes, it can push the survivor to retrench and sink to lows.

Take care of yourself--and hopefully your survivor is there on Monday. He needs to face the past.


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