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#416601 - 11/19/12 12:12 AM Just found out. What do I do now?
wrldtrvlr Offline


Registered: 11/17/12
Posts: 10
I've been dating my boyfriend for a little over a year and yesterday he told me (very little) about his story. I feel especially bad for a couple reasons.

One: He only told me about it because I found something embarrassing as I was betraying him by reading his email .

Two: I'm the only person he's ever told and I'm pretty sure he never would have told me had the aforementioned never happened.

Now he tells me that he doesn't know how to act around me because he's embarrassed and ashamed. I don't know if he feels this way because of what I discovered in his email or because of what happened to him. Most likely both. I know that he's not ready to talk to me about it and he is going to schedule an appointment with a professional but I'm lost as to what I can do for him and myself. I feel betrayed because of what I found, sad,of course, and completely overwhelmed, among other things.

I guess I also don't know how to act around him. Do I pretend everything is ok? I've already told him that I'm here if he needs to talk and that I won't bring it up, but it feels like an elephant in the room (I think that's the right phrase). I sent him a link to this website in the hope of helping him find a way to cope, but I've found in reading some of the posts that I need help too.

Can anyone shed some light on my role? I've read a few things but I feel like I need more.

Thanks.

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#416616 - 11/19/12 04:14 AM Re: Just found out. What do I do now? [Re: wrldtrvlr]
whome Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/07/11
Posts: 1736
Loc: Johannesburg South Africa
HI wrldtrvlr

Im sorry that you had to find this out, life is going to be a little different for you both from now on.
The first thing that you need to understand is that this is not something that you can fix. Only your boyfriend can fix this for himself, so he will need to WANT to heal himself. This may sound a little harsh, but you must understand that some men are so embarrassed about their CSA past that they dont want to deal with it.
So you need to do only three things.
1) Make sure that you are not a Co-Dependent, and that you look after your self first and foremost.
2) Learn as much as you can about this and try to educate, in love, this man that you care for. Hopefully what you learn will open his eyes and help him to heal.
3) Encourage him to join this site and talk about his past. Oh And NEVER take it personally, I know sounds crazy because it is your boyfriend and you love him, but all the survivors here can tell you that recovery can be a really ugly process.

Don't ever let your standards and values slip because he wants you too. You are your own person, so take care of yourself.

Heal well
Martin

Oh And feel free to PM Me anytime.
_________________________
Matrix Men South Africa
Survivors Supporting Each other
Matrix Men Blog

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#416639 - 11/19/12 12:24 PM Re: Just found out. What do I do now? [Re: wrldtrvlr]
confusion4life Offline


Registered: 02/12/12
Posts: 109
Loc: Italy
hi,

its good that you found the mail, because now your relation can change from a relation behind a mask to an honest one.
make sure he can trust you enough (thats one very big problem with sexually abused survivors)to always be able to tell you the truth. leaving the elephant unsaid in the room wont help anyone.
you dont say what you have found, but if you have found something illegal such as child porn, you need to consider that you might make yourself criminal if you dont report it. if you just found a few perverted mails, you need to make him understand that you love him, because its something he has learned so very early and he has never had a real chance to develop normally. in the end it comes all down to one thing:
a survivor will keep his mask on until he is basically forced to put it down. my husband had to lose me first before he could come up with his own truth of everything he had gone through and everything he had done sofar. there wont be an easy time for you in the future, but if he is worth you, then help him, support him...thats what he never had from the time of abuse or before. he is a human and deserves that then. be strong, you will need it.

good luck, take care,
ela
_________________________
everything is always okay in the end, if it's not, then it's not the end

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#416640 - 11/19/12 01:40 PM Re: Just found out. What do I do now? [Re: wrldtrvlr]
wrldtrvlr Offline


Registered: 11/17/12
Posts: 10
Thank you ela.

I did not find anything illegal. I do have another question. I've read that children who were abused don't necessarily go on to abuse and that comforted me because I have two daughters (7 and 16). Again, there was nothing illegal in his email and he shows no signs of being an abuser, but how do I know it won't manifest at some point in the future? We don't live together and he's never been left alone with my girls. He actually is very good with them and is overly aware of social norms, etc. But I know that he wants children of his own at some point and I'm wondering if I'm being too cautious by worrying about this or is it a legitimate concern? If we're going to move forward with our relationship and if I'm even going to consider having more children, I feel this is now a consideration.

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#416642 - 11/19/12 03:01 PM Re: Just found out. What do I do now? [Re: wrldtrvlr]
confusion4life Offline


Registered: 02/12/12
Posts: 109
Loc: Italy
i really wish you the best


Edited by confusion4life (11/19/12 03:06 PM)
_________________________
everything is always okay in the end, if it's not, then it's not the end

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#416643 - 11/19/12 03:05 PM Re: Just found out. What do I do now? [Re: wrldtrvlr]
confusion4life Offline


Registered: 02/12/12
Posts: 109
Loc: Italy
you are right, that is now a consideration. and yes, not all abused boys or girls go into abuse. i have done nothing but study facts about abused boys becoming abusers in the last few month and unfortunately the circle of abuse simply exists. that does not mean that everyone does it, but many do. there are of course also people who just say they have been abused, once caught and put in jail after an abuse.
its good that you didnt find anything illegal. that is comforting, yes. you seem to be a mom who is very well aware of these things anway and that makes you into a good mom smile

there is this list which could help regarding this topic. due to my personal experience, the list is very accurate, again, unfortunately.

http://kerryperesta.hubpages.com/hub/How-to-know-if-you-are-dating-a-pedophile

there is also this book from anna salter, pedophiles, predators...you can find it on amazon. she explains also what to look out for.

having a child with a survivor is not only hard when the person is someone who feels attracted to kids. its more about, how much development did the survivor have, before he actually becomes a real father. the problem is, that abuse has made a lot of men (also women) not develop the way it should have been, for obvious reasons. they sort of stay kids in many ways. thats why kids love them because they play with them as if they are one of them - the thing is - they ARE one of them.
taking decisions is also hard many times, they rather follow what you want them to do, which is not every womans dream.
you have to totally see how your particular survivor is. read about sexual fantasy due to abuse. make sure he tells you about them, he has them, he must be having them.
you also need to train your kids in case of abuse, tell them abuse exists. train them how to react, consider every possible situation and train them to make sure that any potential abuser knows that it wont work on your kids. that is essential.
this again does NOT mean that your boyfriend or any other survivor necessarly abuses kids, but it is something ANY responsible parents needs to do nowadays, as the world is pretty full of perpetrators considering the fact that at least every 4th girl and every 6th boy is abused by statistics. the people who never talk about it are many though, so you can make out the rest.
i really so hope that you end up being fine with what you decide. he needs to really open up to you. its not fair if you dont know parts under his mask and at the same time you are supposed to share a life with him. make sure, things are fair, but also give him the necessary understanding and especially love. in the end thats all everyone wants, also survivors and survivors mostly even more than anyone of us "non- survivors".

those social manners and all, he needs them to be seen as normal. survivors are the best cameleons ever. they adjust to everything thats necessary. imagine you have to walk around totally insecure all the time, you hate confrontation and it scares you a lot, people scare you, the real you in there. so yes, social norms, planned lives, certain ways of talking, not making points clear...all avoiding even getting into a talk with other people. its all part of the plan to be as invisable as possible. at the same time, some drink, use drugs...they dont care much anymore about social norms, the pain is just too great and they cant really live with what happened. sexual abuse brings the whole list of mental illnesses. but if someone really wants to heal, it is usually possible. when that happens, its a hard way, but there are so many positive things found on the way, that its definately worth the journey.

take care,
ela
_________________________
everything is always okay in the end, if it's not, then it's not the end

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#416646 - 11/19/12 04:31 PM Re: Just found out. What do I do now? [Re: wrldtrvlr]
wrldtrvlr Offline


Registered: 11/17/12
Posts: 10
Again, thank you ela. I looked at the list you sent and he definitely doesn't display any of those traits. He's never offered or tried to be alone with my kids and I've never asked him to. But I will certainly check out the book that you recommended.

When I initially found out about his abuse, one of the first things I said to him is that he shouldn't have children (this is before I did any kind of research). He agreed and said that maybe he shouldn't. Before all of this I really thought he should have kids because he's such a good person. Now I just don't know...

I know a little about his sexual fantasies and, so far, they do not include children, rather, just the opposite actually...Although, why would he tell me if they did?

I've certainly talked to my kids about abuse in the past. I found out (after I purchased my house) that there is a pedafile living on my street. I told my girls about the house and the person who supposedly lives there (I have never seen him, but his parents definitely live there). And I occasionally ask them those uncomfortable questions about whether or not they've ever been touched inappropriately, etc. So far, so good. I'll definitely continue those talks as well.

It's funny that you say the things about being invisible because he is the opposite. He loves attention and is very open about literally everything in his life, except for the abuse. That is why it was such a shock. I know so many things about him that I don't care to know, but this huge, gigantic thing was there all along. It just freaks me out. I wonder what else could be lurking in there, and do I really want to know about it? Should I be running now?

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#416671 - 11/20/12 01:36 AM Re: Just found out. What do I do now? [Re: wrldtrvlr]
crazy gecko Offline


Registered: 10/04/12
Posts: 309
Here is a read you might find interesting, and that might shed more light on the likelihood (or rather, lack thereof) of your boyfriend being a paedophile:

http://www.taasa.org/library/pdfs/TAASALibrary108.pdf

It discusses the study that forms the basis on which most of the research into this so-called "vampire myth" is based.

Quote:
Although a comparison of the sex offender group to the control group is inappropriate due to the differences in data collection, it is conceded that sex offenders in this study do appear to have a high rate of sexual trauma. That is, until the types of sexual trauma are reviewed. Six percent of the "trauma" involved "a sex-stress situation where the anxiety resulted from family reaction to the discovery of the subject's involvement in sexual activity" (p. 13). Examples given included punishment for masturbation. Three percent witnessed "upsetting sexual activities, usually on the part of their parents" (such as catching them having sex) (p. 13). Eight percent "suffered some sexual injury or physiological handicap" (p. 13). One example cited included a man who had been in a motorcycle accident and was fitted with a penile prosthesis due to erectile dysfunction.

Most experts in the field today would not consider these to be equivalent to the type of childhood sexual assault normally considered in "abuse to abuser" scenarios. If these cases are subtracted, the overall incidence of sexual assault falls from 30% to 13%. Further, "sexual trauma" by a same-aged or younger "assailant" eek occurred in 30% ofthe "traumatized" rapists and 16% of the "traumatized child molesters". No statistical analyses were conducted in this study.

From the data presented, it would appear that sex offenders have a similar or lower incidence of sexual assault by adults than the general population. Not surprisingly, on-duty police officers also appear to report lower rates of sexual trauma than the general population. This frequently cited paper, in spite of its methodologic flaws, therefore supports the exact opposite hypothesis, that is, that abuse does not predict a predisposition to becoming a sex offender. Unfortunately, this fact has not been communicated to many victims of sex crimes (particularly men) who worry that they will inevitably become like their assailants.


(Emphasis mine.)

Do read the full article. It's very enlightening.

When I was younger, I was also told "It would be safer for you to not have children". It hurt like hell, because for years, I believed that I would abuse any children I had. Until the day I tested the facts, and realised that I have never had any inclination to have any kind of sexual contact with a child, nor have I ever fantasised about it. I have had dreams and being a molester, but those dreams were as upsetting - even traumatic - as dreams about my own abuse.

I am a survivor of sexual abuse.

And I'm a DAMN good father.

Take care of you children and do everything in your power to keep them safe, but at the same time, please judge your boyfriend by the man that he is, and not by what was done to him when he was a defenceless child.
_________________________
I guess what I'm trying to say
Is whose life is it anyway because livin'
Living is the best revenge
You can play
-- Def Leppard

My Story, Part 2

My blog

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#416729 - 11/20/12 06:35 PM Re: Just found out. What do I do now? [Re: wrldtrvlr]
CdnDW Offline


Registered: 08/24/12
Posts: 105
I have to echo what gecko has advised. My understanding is that the majority of those abused do not go on to abuse, but many who do abuse have been abused. These are not the same. In 100 men, 1 in 6 have been sexually abused, or approx 17 men. Of those same 100 men, 3% to 9% are pedophiles or, let's say, 5 pedophiles for the sake of argument. Of those 5 pedophiles, 35% were victims of child sexual abuse themselves. This equates to 1.5 Pedophiles that were child sexual abuse victims. To then determine the rate of victims who go on to abuse, divide 1.5 by 17 and you get 9% of child sexual abuse victims going on to becomes sexual abusers themselves.

These rates come from unrelated studies in the U.S. and rates vary in other countries like Africa where social norms, culture and myths about Aids exist.

With all the above said, statistics are simply averages often taken from small studies and extrapolated to large populations. In short, they mean shit. The 1 in 6 average is used to create awareness and is useful in that context, but averages are fluid and influenced by tremendous factors not considered.

Point is, I think your need to protect your children and be vigilant about teaching them body safe rules is no more influenced by the knowledge that he was abused than by the fact that he may be a brunette.

My husband was the victim of abuse at the hands of 3 perps. One of the greatest stigma that he carries around and impedes his recovery is the myth that he is likely to abuse himself. This myth breeds fear and hurts those victims who are trying to rid themselves of guilt and shame that they are somehow tainted and worthless because of their own victimization.

We mothers must always be vigilant of our children's safety, but paranoia and myths does nothing to protect them. It only confuses the issues and drives this issue further underground.
_________________________
I am not your rolling wheels, I am the highway
I am not your carpet ride, I am the sky
- Audioslave

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#416732 - 11/20/12 07:06 PM Re: Just found out. What do I do now? [Re: wrldtrvlr]
CdnDW Offline


Registered: 08/24/12
Posts: 105
Wrldtrvlr, to address your original question, my best advice would be to try keep this in the open. Express your empathy and listen when he sets boundaries around how much he is willing to discuss, but don't deny yourself a process of healing and understanding. If you love this man and wish to keep him in your life, then you may need to seek therapy for yourself. We can only speak from our own experience, which is validating, but a therapist can truly help you to understand.

Definitely set boundaries around any "acting out" behaviour (like whatever the email indicated) especially if it is hurtful to you, your relationship or to him. Many survivors will continue to abuse themselves with sexual experiences or pornography use because they did not have the luxury of experiences sexual awakening in a healthy, open, consentual manner. Many survivors suffer addictions of all sorts that help them cope, bury the pain or simply punish themselves for their perceived worthlessness.

My husband has gone through cycles of acting out behaviour and the best choice I ever made was to firmly set boundaries around what I would accept within the context of our marriage. I would always love and support him, but I would not aid and abet his self-destruction. I love him too much.

My H quit drinking alcohol 4 months ago and began abuse therapy with a specialist in male sexual abuse just over 2 months ago. After 13 years of marriage, he is no longer saying "he is over it" and he is choosing the steps to find true inner joy. He is getting better at not emotionally detaching, he is getting better with confrontation and he is getting better at communicating. It is such a wonderful process to witness.

Be a good listener, but ultimately you need to take care of you, respect your personal needs and wants and set boundaries around protecting them. I hope he chooses recovery and learns to do these same things for himself.

My very best to you.
_________________________
I am not your rolling wheels, I am the highway
I am not your carpet ride, I am the sky
- Audioslave

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